You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com


Harry Potter and the Hopefully Interesting Sixth Year by minniemcmouse

Format: Novel
Chapters: 52
Word Count: 165,384
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, General, Action/Adventure
Characters: Harry, Dumbledore, Lupin, McGonagall, Snape, Trelawney, Sirius, Moody, Lily, Voldemort
Pairings: James/Lily, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 01/02/2007
Last Chapter: 01/02/2007
Last Updated: 01/03/2007

Summary:

Back by demand! This is the story to which I am often shamed to put my username. Written before HBP, this is the tale of Harry, struggling with abuse, assisted by an affectionate (but not slashy) Remus. They forge a friendship together, as they make it into the realms of death, only to find James, Lily and Sirius happily living their deaths in Hogwarts School. The living and the dead come together to beat Voldemort once and for all.


Chapter 1: Chapter One
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Well, it's been a long time since I've been on this site, and since I've even seen this story. I've had quite a few requests for this story, and, since it infuriates me when I cannot read a story that I once loved, I am posting this once more. I did love writing this, even though it was many a year ago, and even though it's complete drivel in most of it. I'd like to think that one day, I'll rewrite this. I don't think I will. Criticise as much as you want, since it's not current work, and my harshest critic is, and always will be, myself.

For those who were disappointed by the absence of this story in the past months/year, I apologise. I hope you find this again.

Also, before I forget, someone made this banner for me years ago, and I cannot for the life in me remember who. I'm very grateful for it, and only wish that I could remember who made it! :o)

Chapter One


It was midnight when Remus Lupin stepped out of the fireplace in Harry’s bedroom. Professor McGonagall had transfigured one of his books into it and had it connected with the Burrow and Grimmauld Place to give the Order easy access to him. Unfortunately for Harry it didn’t give him easy access to them. There was a barrier on it so that only the people appointed to watch over him could use it, or so Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and the twins had been told. Remus was one of these supposed selected people (although there was no real barrier around the fireplace). There was him, Tonks, Minerva McGonagall and Bill Weasley all on six hour shifts with the lad. It wouldn’t have been that bad, it would have been good in fact, had they been permitted to speak with him, but Moody didn’t hold with that idea. He had said that the more Harry interacted with them then the closer they would be to him and the more vices Harry would have to be manipulated by Voldemort. Remus scowled just thinking about it. He knew that was ridiculous and whether or not Harry spent the first month of his holidays allowed to talk to the people watching him or not wouldn’t make the slightest difference.



He wished he could talk to Harry because all too many times he had seen him utterly miserable and it only seemed to be he that saw him in such states. When he was with Tonks and Bill he was apparently pretty cheerful and he wasn’t reported as being particularly unhappy with McGonagall so why was it only he who saw him so unhappy. He also seemed to be one of the only two who weren’t talking to Harry, despite the instructions given to them concerning interaction with him. Yesterday he had spent almost fifteen minutes watching Harry teach Bill the basics of skateboarding out in the street and here he was now watching as Tonks sat on a large chair with wheels which Harry was spinning round. Faster and faster he pushed it until he leapt onto her knees and spun round with her, both of them laughing until the chair tipped over backwards, throwing them both off and onto the floor where they laughed harder still.




“Uh… Hey Remus.” Tonks said quietly after their laughter subsided. Remus was aware that he was being watched intently by both people on the floor, anxiously awaiting his reaction. He allowed a slight smile to touch his face before helping first Harry and then Tonks from the floor.

Remus was conflicted. He could either tell Tonks off for talking to Harry and save her being caught by someone worse than himself, such as Professor McGonagall or Mad Eye himself, or he could give up his silence and talk to Harry himself. He looked at Harry and saw that he was still smiling slightly but there was no trace of happiness in his eyes, quite the opposite. He realised that he had never seen happiness there all summer, even at school where he seemed cheerful and always full of laughter. School – Harry had been attending Stonewall High during each July since he had started at Hogwarts. He accompanied his three muggle friends, whom he had apparently known since he was about 5, there and back everyday. Remus couldn’t help but think that it was just something to keep his mind from Sirius and the events of the previous month. His own heart sank at the thought of Sirius and wondered how much hurt Harry felt on the subject. He knew he was blaming himself, that was Harry’s way and Remus could easily see why Harry blamed himself, even if the blame wasn’t just.




“Yoohoo!” A call from Tonks brought him from his train of thought. He blinked and saw Harry and Tonks watching him. Tonks looking amused, Harry looking slightly troubled. “Anyway, now that Remus is back in the real world then I guess I’ll be going. I’ll see you tomorrow, Harry.”

“See you.” Harry replied as he watched her walk through the fireplace and back to Grimmauld Place. He threw himself down on his bed and watched Remus eye his school books with interest. “So what’s up?” Harry asked him, “You seem more out of it than usual.”




Remus looked at him for a moment, wondering what really was wrong with him but he just shook his head and told him he didn’t know, which wasn’t a lie. “What’s up with you?” Remus said, turning the conversation away from him and in Harry’s direction, who looked completely different to the way he had when he was spinning round on the chair with Tonks. He no longer had a trace of a smile on his face and the misery in his eyes seemed to have increased.

“Nothing.” Harry replied, and smiled slightly as if to show it, but again it didn’t touch his eyes.




“Do I have such a negative effect on you that as soon as we’re alone you lapse into misery?” Remus asked him. Harry looked at him, shocked and slightly confused. Remus could tell from his reactions that that wasn’t the case.

“Of course not. I just…” Harry broke off, not knowing how to finish his sentence. “Do you ever think I’m really happy?” Harry suddenly asked him, the question caught Remus off guard and he stared at Harry, unable to respond. “And do you know how difficult it is to try and force a smile for 24 hours a day because you’re never, ever alone?!” Harry’s voice had risen slightly and Remus looked at him, quite alarmed. “Sorry, forget I said that.” Harry muttered before moving as if to get up. He never got higher than two inches from the bed because Remus pulled him back down onto it.




“Talk to me.” Remus told him. Harry sighed and lay down on his bed, his head sinking into his pillows. He knew that the consequences of allowing Remus to see him unhappy would be this but he still wasn’t ready for it when it happened. All the same he didn’t regret it being Remus that he would be talking to. He looked to Remus and opened his mouth to speak but stopped at the strange look on his face.

“What’s that on your arm?” Remus asked him softly, looking to his left arm. Harry’s stomach lurched and he pulled his sleeve down over his arm, not wanting him to see the cuts that criss-crossed his arm. He wasn’t fast enough though, Remus had hold of his arm tightly in a moment and he gasped as pain shot through it. He pulled up the sleeve and saw the cuts that were there. It felt like an eternity passed before Remus let his arm drop. “Merlin.” He murmured. His eyes were fixed on Harry now. The eyes are the window to the soul. His head told him. If that were the case then Harry’s soul was breaking under hurt and misery. He swallowed before asking why. Why did he do it? When did he do it? How could no one have known?




Harry smiled sadly and shook his head before turning over onto his side, away from Remus’ hurt stare. He couldn’t take that look he fixed on him, Harry would rather he shouted at him or hit him or anything but the misery in his eyes. Depression had a firm grip on him now and it didn’t look like it was going to let him go. Harry felt a lump in his throat and the tears fall from his eyes. On the floor he could see the glass shards which he had used to make the marks on his arm. He desperately wanted to feel that searing pain again, take away everything else and just feel that, no fear, no misery, no memory, just the pain but he knew he couldn’t do it to Remus, who had already looked as though he was going to cry as well. He curled his legs up to his chest and let out a shaky breath. He felt Remus put his hand on his arm and from the corner of his eyes he could see him, lying on his side next to him, propping himself up on his arm and looking down on him sadly. Harry started to speak to Remus and as he did so he realised that it was everything. All his fears and hates and grief were tumbling from his mouth in a torrent and throughout Remus just lay next to him with his hand on his arm, listening. He heard him talk about his hate of Voldemort, how much he missed Sirius, how he hated his lack of happiness, how he wanted a normal life, how he had never been allowed what could pass for a normal year at Hogwarts, how he feared his OWL results, how he knew he hadn’t got an O in potions, how he couldn’t live up to the excellence of his parents, how he blamed himself for Cedric’s death and how he could never beat Voldemort alone.

“Of course you can’t beat Voldemort alone.” Remus said quietly, “but no one expects you to.” Harry laughed aloud and realised that it must only be he and Dumbledore that knew what the prophecy actually said.




“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches. Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not. And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives. The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies.” Harry said softly, repeating the words Sybil Trelawney had spoken so many years ago. “That was what the prophecy said.” Harry explained. Remus stared at him in horror, realising that Harry would kill… or be killed. Then he remembered the last thing he had said to him. Of course you can’t beat Voldemort alone. His own words echoed back in his head and he felt the utmost regret at having said them. He didn’t know what to say. Throughout Harry’s ramblings he had said various things when he saw fit, either to comfort him or just to put him straight when he was very wrong but now no words came to him and he lay next to him in stunned silence. Eventually he lay his head down next to Harry’s and put his arm around him and held him tightly, feeling a desperate urge to cry himself. This wasn’t fair, why was it always Harry? He had already lost Sirius and he didn’t think he could take it if he lost Harry as well.

“Don’t worry, Remus.” Harry said quietly and gave the hand wrapped around him a gentle squeeze to try and comfort him.




“Don’t worry?” Remus echoed. “How can I not? You’re the apparently immortal Dark Lord’s number one target!” He felt a tear glide down his cheek and fall to the pillow. “I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

“Lots of things already have happened to me and I always get out okay.” Harry tried to reassure him.




“That’s like saying that just because you’ve not yet been killed by a falling piano means that you’re immune to them.” Remus told him and Harry smiled at the analogy.

“That’s really not the same.” Harry told him. Remus didn’t disagree but he knew that his analogy was apt. Harry yawned and closed his eyes for a moment but before he knew it he was fast asleep.




“Harry?” Remus said quietly. No answer. He leant over the boy and saw that his eyes were closed and almost dry. He sighed and murmured a good night before closing his own eyes. In the morning Tonks would most likely find them curled up together but he didn’t care. He wished that he had asked Harry though, before he had gone to sleep, it would be harder to talk to him in the morning when he was getting ready for school. His mind wandered to Sirius’ request only a week before he died.

“If anything happens to me, Moony, promise me you’ll look after Harry for me and be his godfather, promise me…” Remus had told him that nothing would happen but Sirius hadn’t let him get away without his word that he would. Not that he didn’t want to look after Harry or give his word that he would, it was just that promising to look after him when he was dead seemed to make the danger they all were in seem so much more real. His mind began to wander aimlessly and he found himself remembering the last time he had held a sleeping Harry in his arms. It had been fourteen years ago. If someone had told him then that he would never hold the sleeping boy in his arms again for more than a decade he would never have believed it, and yet it had happened. He smiled sadly and fell asleep, his mind filled with the past.



Chapter 2: Chapter Two
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Two

Remus held the 14 month old baby boy in his lap as he struggled to get free and crawl about the house but Remus wasn’t going to let him escape, not after the time that Sirius had almost lost him.

“What’s my name?” Remus asked the child, as James, Lily and Sirius walked into the room.

“Eemus.” Harry cried happily and wrapped his arms round his neck. Remus laughed and gave him a hug. Sirius grinned and threw himself onto the floor next to him.

“Who’s that?” Remus asked him, pointing to Sirius.

“Black.” Harry almost snapped. Sirius stared at the boy, looking affronted.

“No, I’m Sirius.” He said, pointing to himself and then repeating his name again. Harry laughed at him before saying “Black” again in the same way.

Lily and James watched with amusement from the sofa as Harry snapped “Black” at Sirius who was getting more upset each time he said it until the point where he almost looked like he was going to cry.

“I give up.” He said and pulled himself from the floor.

“Sirius.” Said the boy on the floor. Sirius whirled round, his face alight with joy and took Harry from Remus’ arms and hugged him tightly. “Sirius.” Harry said again and tugged on Sirius’ overlong hair.


***

It was already half past six and at Grimmauld Place Tonks, Dumbledore, Mad Eye and Molly were getting anxious for Remus who had been set to return half an hour earlier.

“I think we should go see if he’s okay.” Tonks said.

“He might’ve just fallen asleep.” Molly suggested.

“Or they could be being held hostage by Death Eaters.” Mad Eye countered. Tonks and Molly sighed before stepping through the fireplace into 4 Privet Drive.

“Merlin. Look at all those Death Eaters.” Tonks said coolly as she surveyed the scene infront of her. Remus and Harry lay asleep together on Harry’s bed, Remus had his arm wrapped around the boy and there wasn’t a Death Eater in sight.

Dumbledore chuckled quietly to himself at the sight, his blue eyes twinkling. Molly smiled happily and said “Aww… how sweet!”

“How sweet?” Mad Eye barked at her, “Remus is fast asleep on his post, if Death Eaters came marching into this room now…”

“Then I’d kill them on the spot.” Tonks said. She watched the pair of them sleeping and grinned. Remus hadn’t been the same since Sirius had died, he had been miserable almost constantly, he shut himself away from everyone else’s company and insisted on being alone. She didn’t doubt that Harry and Remus would do a lot of good for each other.

“I think they’ll do a lot of good for each other. You need to be around family when someone dies and they’re the closest to family the other has.” Molly said to the others.

“Family?” Mad Eye scoffed in much the same manner as he had before. “What that boy wants is isolation! Everyone he’s around is put in danger because of him. If the Dark Lord goes into his mind and sees that he’s thinking of Remus he’ll have him hostage before you can say ‘oh dear’.”

“I rather think you are over reacting, Alastor.” Dumbledore said to him, “I agree with Molly on this one: they will do one another good. I believe that before he died Sirius actually asked Remus to take on his duties as godfather to Harry, should anything happen to him.”

“That boy doesn’t half get through parents, he’s on his fourth! Most people only get two.” Moody muttered.

“Alastor!” Tonks said, shocked.

“You are very heartless.” Molly said to him.

In the bed Harry curled up closer to Remus at hearing himself spoken against in such a way and Remus held him tighter, both of them awake, both of them hearing themselves spoken about and neither of them happy about it.

“I suggest we return to Grimmauld Place, we have no reason to stay.” Dumbledore said, taking a last glance at Harry and Remus, whom he was certain were awake. Moody grunted his dissatisfaction with leaving them both there but followed Dumbledore through the fireplace.

“Sleep well.” Molly said to them quietly and left, along with Tonks.

Harry sighed unhappily and ran his finger carefully across the cuts on his arm, regretting them and wishing he could rid himself of the desire to do it again. He knew he couldn’t, even when he was here with Remus he was still engulfed in misery and longed to be alone with a blade. He shuddered slightly but it was not slight enough so that Remus didn’t feel it.

“Are you alright, Harry?” He asked softly. Are you alright? What a stupid question! Had he ever been alright? What do you mean you don’t know? You’ve never once asked him about any time before you met him, not once; you don’t know how happy or sad his life was before then! Harry didn’t answer his question but closed his eyes again, hoping Remus would leave it. He didn’t want to have to go through everything he was currently feeling. Mad Eye had called him a danger to everyone that he was around. He didn’t doubt it, it was what he had been thinking for quite sometime but it was something else completely to hear it from someone’s mouth other than his own. He didn’t want anyone else to be hurt on account of his poorly thought out actions and yet he didn’t see how it could be helped. People were dying by the day because of Lord Voldemort. He was making sure that the public knew about him now, whether they liked it or not, and Harry felt a wave of guilt each time he read the obituaries in the Prophet, knowing how much bigger they were and how many of them had most likely died because he hadn’t beaten Voldemort yet.

That was the worst bit about it all, knowing he couldn’t beat him. How could he? If he killed him then surely that would make him as bad as Voldemort himself? But all the time he wasn’t fighting then innocent lives were being lost because of him. It didn’t matter anyway; he couldn’t kill Voldemort, he was practically invincible and he had survived a rebounded killing curse, but then he, Harry, had also survived a killing curse. This lifted him slightly before remembering that it was only because of his mother’s love for him that he had managed to survive and otherwise he would be dead. At the thought of death and his parents his mind went automatically onto Sirius and once he was back in his mind he didn’t go away. All his dreams were filled with him accusing him of being his murderer and Harry always awoke more miserable than when he went to sleep, dreading the dreams.

He couldn’t take all this. There was only Remus who knew most of the things he was feeling, and he hadn’t shared the part about the haunting dreams or his fears of killing Voldemort or that he knew he was going to die at Voldemort’s hand. He hadn’t dared after seeing the way he dealt with just the information of the prophecy alone and he didn’t want to put more of his misery onto him, it just wasn’t fair that he should have his own troubles as well as Harry’s. He tried to block out the images of Sirius falling back through the veil and suddenly wondered whether he had passed on his guardianship to Remus. He was afraid though, what if Voldemort found out and used his closeness to him in the way that he had done with Sirius? He was doomed to misery, no matter what happened he could never be happy. He was living with the guilt of everyone he killed, if he killed Voldemort then he would know that he was as bad as he, if he didn’t and he died he would let the whole world down. He wanted to be alone, and yet at the same time he feared isolation almost as much as anything. He wanted to be near Remus, Hermione and the Weasleys and although he knew he was putting them in danger every time he was near them he couldn’t resist their company. He hated his selfishness. Whatever happened they would die. Remus was almost certain to be next since Voldemort took delight in removing his guardians from their lives. Harry felt a tear stream down his face and fall to the pillow. He wanted the knife but he couldn’t to it, it would destroy Remus to see him do it. He curled up tighter and tried to stop himself from shaking. It didn’t work, if anything he seemed to shake harder for trying not to.

“Please talk to me, Harry.” Remus said, wiping the tear from his cheek.

“It’s nothing, really.” Harry replied to him, “Go to sleep.”

Remus sighed, he knew that Harry wouldn’t talk to him, although he dearly wished that he would. He was worried sick about him and it didn’t help that he was keeping him in the dark. There was nothing he could do however so he hugged him tighter and fell asleep once more.


Chapter 3: Chapter Three
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Three

Harry awoke at seven o’clock the next morning by Petunia screeching at him to get out of bed and come downstairs to make them their breakfast. Harry sighed and glanced over his shoulder to see Remus still sleeping. If he could sleep through Petunia’s shrieking then he could sleep through almost anything, Harry decided as he carefully took Remus’ arm from around himself and got out of bed. He glanced back at the bed as he left the room and saw that Remus was still sleeping peacefully. He pulled the door shut behind him as he went to get a shower, heedless to the shouts of Vernon from downstairs. After showering he waved a quick spell which dressed him in his jeans and T-shirt from the day before and then raced down the stairs to the kitchen where the irate Dursleys awaited their breakfast.

“Come on, boy!” Vernon barked at him, “We don’t have all day you know!”

Harry rolled his eyes as Vernon started his daily rant about him and his need of a haircut which then went on to “We have the decency to feed and clothe you and put a roof over your head and this is how you repay us?!” Harry put down four plates of bacon, eggs and sausages on the table and watched, nauseated, as Dudley managed to eat the whole lot in less than a minute. He ate what little food he had on his own plate before getting up and doing the washing up. After years of being forced into do tasks such as washing up and cleaning up the Dursleys’ mess in general Harry no longer needed to be told to clear up anymore. As he dipped his hands into the hot water and brought out a plate to clean his eyes met those of a small tabby on the wall of the back garden. He shook his head slightly in disbelief before turning back to the washing up ahead of him.


***


Remus awoke alone on Harry’s bed. He sat up and looked about the room. Mad Eye was leaning against the wall, drinking from his hip flask and watching him with his good eye, his magical eye was watching downstairs where, Remus assumed, Harry currently was. There was a shout from Vernon. Directed at Harry, no doubt. Remus scowled and waved a wand quickly over himself and his robes changed and his skin went a little pinker as the cleansing spell took effect on him. Moody walked over to him and tapped him sharply on the head with his wand and Remus knew he had been disillusioned but it wasn’t the normal disillusionment charm, he was aware of that. He glanced at Moody questioning the charm he had just put on him.

“Invisible to muggles.” Moody muttered and when Remus raised a questioning eyebrow he added, “We’re going to a muggle school today, are we not?” School. He had forgotten. Harry didn’t have to go to school and he couldn’t help but wonder why he bothered since he wasn’t really happy there. But then he wasn’t really happy anywhere, better to be learning something and being in the company of friends than be home alone. He bit his lip slightly, which was a nervous habit for him and felt the tenderness of his lower lip and realised he had been doing that too much recently. He wondered what muggle high schools were like, he had never been to one before since it was usually just Tonks that went with him but today Mad Eye and he would be accompanying her. Tonks fell through the fireplace suddenly and fell to the ground.

“Oops…” She said before adding, “Good morning.” She looked unusually cheery today, with the next six hours being spent following Harry round a muggle school he really couldn’t see the reason for her happiness.

Tonks glanced round the room to see whether or not Harry was there, he wasn’t. Moody had his magical eye focussed on the floor so she supposed that Harry was downstairs. She realised that Remus looked happy for a change. It had been too long since she had seen him as anything but the very epitome of misery so it was naturally a relief to see what an effect just being around Harry had on him.


***


When Harry had done with the washing up he turned around to see that all the Dursleys had since left the kitchen: Petunia had gone next door to gossip with Mrs Figg, Vernon had gone to work and Dudley had gone out terrorising small children on the streets. On the table lay a piece of paper with a long list on it which he hadn’t seen there before. Glancing down at it he saw that it was filled with chores and with a groan he knew that they were all for him. He chose to ignore them, knowing that Petunia would not be pleased with him for doing so and the penalty would most likely be a loss of dinner but he didn’t care; he was sick of working like a house-elf for people who hated him. He ran quickly up to his room where Mad Eye, Tonks and Remus sat chatting to each other in his room. He walked past them and took a handful of change from the windowsill: £1.35. It wasn’t much, but it could get him some dinner at the school. Stonewall high was where three of his muggle friends currently attended. He had been going to school with them every now and again just to escape the monotony of his life with the Dursleys. Today was a Monday and he decided that he was not going to spend his day doing chores; he was going to spend it learning things that he would never need instead. He touched his clothes with his wand and they changed from the casual jeans and a T-shirt to a white shirt, black trousers, shoes and a grey jumper tied around his waist with a yellow and grey striped tie hanging around his neck. The three wizards looked at him in interest as he put the money into his pocket and left the room.

He walked as silently as he could down the stairs, hoping that Petunia wouldn’t catch him in the act of leaving the house for school instead. She wouldn’t be pleased that he was going without having done anything except wash up that morning. He reached the bottom stair which creaked loudly and Harry sighed and gave up his silent charade as he walked towards the door.

“Where do you think you are going?!” Petunia screeched at him from behind him. “You have a ton of chores to do and if you think you are leaving this house—” The door slammed shut and Petunia found herself no longer glaring at the small nephew that she despised so much but at the door. Vernon would hear about this.

He walked down to the end of the street and then went down onto the next street where he saw three people walking to school chatting and laughing along with one another as they meandered in the general direction of the school. One of them turned around: a girl with long blond hair who walked in between the two boys. She spotted Harry and stopped walking until he caught up with them. The other two stopped when she did and noticed Harry walking along towards them, they all smiled when they saw him.

“Good morning, Harry.” One of the boys called Tom said, “To what do we owe this pleasure?” Harry smiled at his false, posh voice which he then dropped.

“It was this or spending the day cleaning the house…” Harry explained.

“I’d have chosen cleaning any day of the week. We’ve got chemistry with Dr Alan today and I’ve not done my homework.” Another boy said, this one was called Jamie. He smiled as they started to walk again.

“Clever.” The girl named Stephanie said to him, “I, on the other hand, did my homework and did it well too so he has no reason to give me detention today.”

“He’ll find a reason,” Tom said, “He always does.”

“You’re one to talk.” Harry said, “You got two hours last week.”

“That wasn’t my fault!” Tom argued.

“You put acid in his tea, I’d say it was your fault.” Jamie said. “We’re going to be late.”

“So what? Let’s skip school and go shopping instead.” Stephanie said but from the looks on the faces of those she walked with she could tell that that wasn’t likely to happen.

“If we’re going to be there on time we’re going to have to run.” Tom informed them and Stephanie groaned.

“Let’s just be late.” She said and Tom shook his head.

“If I’m late again I get half an hour after school of writing lines.” He said, “I’m not being late again.” Harry glanced behind him and saw that Mad Eye, Remus and Tonks were walking along behind them and listening to their conversation with interest. He wondered what they would make of the muggle school that they were going to; it was very different to Hogwarts.

“Come on, Steph!” Jamie shouted to the girl who was refusing to run to school.

“Fine then, we’ll see you later.” Tom said to her before beginning to run, quickly followed by Jamie and Harry who waved to her as they ran away. She sighed before starting to run herself.

“Whadda you know, she can run!” Harry said as she caught up with them.

“Shut up.” She gasped as they ran a bit quicker, her breath already coming in short gasps. “Oh forget it!” She said, stopping and watching her three friends disappear into the distance and not seeing the three magical people who walked past them, seen only by Harry when he glanced around.


Chapter 4: Chapter Four
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Four

Harry, Tom, Jamie and Steph raced through the school as fast as they could until they reached the science block where they ran into room 42 and collapsed into their usual seats.

“So glad you decided to join us.” Mrs Thomas said as the four gasped for breath in their form room. She watched as Tom fell of his seat onto the floor and started wheezing. She rolled her eyes at the dramatic scene and marked them all down as late. Harry and Jamie were the only two that were not out of breath although they were feeling the strain of running for almost ten minutes. Stephanie was on the floor by Tom screeching “Don’t die!” At the top of her voice whilst she mimed CPR on him. Jamie and Harry sat talking occasionally to their form tutor who did not seem in the least bit bothered that two of her students were acting out a death scene on his floor. Tonks, Moody and Remus walked through the door a few minutes after Harry had done and didn’t look the least bit out of breath, they were holding brooms. Harry watched them with jealousy as they vanished them. He didn’t get to fly to school on a broom, why should they? There was little time for reflection, however, as a minute later they were being herded out of the room to their first lesson – chemistry. Harry groaned when Tom told him that they were being taught by Dr Alan, Stonewall High’s version of Snape.

The form walked quickly down the corridor to room 50, home of the most despised teacher in the school. Dr Alan was known, as was Snape, to favour his own form above any other in the school and to despise anyone who crossed him for a very long time. Unfortunately Harry had once made the mistake of not informing him that the clear liquid in the beaker on the table wasn’t water, it was in fact hydrochloric acid. One almost exploded science teacher later and Harry found himself a new enemy.

The four sidled into the back row, hoping for as little attention as possible from their most hated of teachers. They did not get what they wanted. Straight away Dr Alan moved them all into the four corners of the room, Harry was stuck at the bottom left of the room, closest to his desk. After two minutes of silent working Dr Alan decided that Harry just wasn’t working to standard.

“Give me the chemical formula for photosynthesis, now.” Dr Alan randomly barked at him. Harry stared at him for a moment before answering correctly. Being the mean, Harry-hater that he was, Dr Alan decided that he had cheated in someway and gave him detention.

“How can you give me detention for knowing the answer?” Harry said suddenly, the room went deathly quiet.

“Did you just answer me back, boy?” Dr Alan said in a dangerously quiet voice, the whole room was listening and behind the most hated of teachers Tonks was doing a little dance. Harry tried desperately not to watch her and to keep his eyes on the desk in front of him but it was no use. A smile touched the corners of his mouth, just for a moment, a moment that had him dragged from his seat by the back of his collar and dragged down the corridor, down a flight of stairs, through a small art room, and into the art office of Mr Jackson.

“Jackson!” Alan screeched into the art room and all the small year 7s jumped out of their seats. A moment later a man walked round into the room, he was perfectly calm and composed and did not look shocked at the sight he was greeted by: Alan shaking his fist threateningly at Harry Potter, a student at school for the last three weeks of each school year. His favourite student in fact, he felt it was a shame that he saw him so infrequently and it was a waste of his artistic talent for it to be locked away in a boarding school for the year.

“Yes, Dr Alan?” Mr Jackson asked him. “What has Harry done now?”

“The boy was rude, ignorant, impudent and argued with my teaching methods.” Alan snapped, shooting a nasty glare at Harry who gaped open mouthed at him as if to say “what?!”, wisely he stayed silent.

“What would you do with him?” Jackson asked quietly. He reminded Harry of Remus, or Remus reminded him of Mr Jackson, seeing as he had known Mr Jackson longer.

“He will stay here for the rest of the lesson, for the rest of the years lessons! And he will never bother me again!” Dr Alan shouted and marched from the room. Harry couldn’t believe his good luck, he looked up to Mr Jackson who smiled.

“Did you really argue with his teaching methods?” He asked him.

“He asked me a question, I gave him the correct answer, he gave me detention and I said that wasn’t fair.” Harry replied. Mr Jackson laughed.

Harry spent the rest of his lesson sat by Mr Jackson’s desk drawing Fawkes the phoenix from memory and even he had to admit that it was rather good. Remus and Tonks sat by him, quite amazed at his drawing skills but Mad Eye complained constantly that they were given a lesson where they just drew or painted and that it was not a real lesson at all. When the clock reached 10 the year 7s left and Harry moved his things to a table towards the back of the room where he was joined a moment later by Jamie and Tom, Stephanie didn’t take art and was currently in I.T. They couldn’t believe his good luck at being thrown out of his chemistry lessons for the rest of the year and were very envious of him. They spent the lesson carefully making tribal masks from clay as part of a project they had been doing for some time, which meant Harry was a fair way behind most of them but catching up well. Mr Jackson smiled as he passed him and didn’t make a single criticism or alteration to his work which Harry was very pleased about since he had to spend half the lesson helping Tom get something that could pass for a nose on his mask.

The rest of the day passed quickly, despite their having maths which Harry found exceedingly difficult due to him having the mathematical prowess of an 11 year old where as everyone else had had an extra five years of maths which he just hadn’t had. He struggled through and managed to get a few of his questions complete (and correct), despite him being in the top set with Stephanie. It had been a good day in general though, and he now had seven lessons of art a week, four of which had originally been chemistry, so he was reasonably happy even without remembering he was staying to Toms for tea.

Tom’s life seemed everything which Harry could ever want. His parents Debbie and Steven, were both generally happy people, Debbie, who was always fussing over something (or someone) or another, was only 34 and was tall and slim with short, dyed black hair. Steven was tall, blond haired and always joking about something. They lived happily in a large house which Harry admired to no end, with Tom and their daughter, Emily, who was only four and adored Harry.

It was almost six and Harry found himself sat at the table chatting happily with Steven (who refused to be called Mr Hirst) with Emily sat on his knee, playing with his fingers. Tom was helping his mum cook dinner and was telling her how the Dursleys were planning on starving Harry that summer unless he did the right amount of chores completed.

“I cannot believe those people!” Debbie exclaimed. Steven didn’t comment but it was clear from the look on his face that he was equally as outraged as his wife. “Well you know you’re always welcome here, Harry.” Debbie smiled and put a plate of spaghetti down infront of him and Harry thanked her. He liked being with the Hirst family, they just had a nice normal life which Harry wanted more than anything but since he couldn’t have one of his own it was nice to share someone else’s every now and again.

The evening passed all too quickly for Harry’s liking and at almost ten in the evening he found himself walking through the streets back to Privet Drive. Tom had decided that Harry could easily have tea twice a week at his house and chances are that he could have it twice a week at Jamie’s house and twice at Stephanie’s, leaving one night where they would all pool their money together and buy a take away of some kind. Harry didn’t like the idea of having to be fed by other people’s families but he knew that his friend’s families enjoyed having him round since each time he was always asked when he could come again and almost every time he went to one of their houses for tea found himself making arrangements to go again.

His home loomed ahead of him and he sadly opened the garden gate, feeling sorry to have to return to it. He crept in as silently as he could and ran up the stairs silently, into his room where he collapsed onto his bed. In the corner Tonks was beating his chess pieces quite badly and smiled when he came in.

“Wotcher Harry.” She grinned at him, “Have a nice time at Tom’s?” Harry smiled and told her that he had, he tried not to let his unhappiness get to him, he always felt this way when he returned from someone else’s house, so empty and miserable after being around a family. He had nothing much to say so he pulled out his maths homework and began to puzzle it out – ten rather difficult questions on factorising quadratic equations. Tonks came and peered over his shoulder as he slowly started to write a combination of numbers and letters down the page.

What the hell is all that? Tonks wondered to herself as she watched the complex looking formulas slowly become simplified by Harry. She was on the verge of asking him to explain it but since he was struggling enough with it she decided against it. Instead she started to clean his room and organise things a little more for him. She touched his pyjamas which lay on his bed with her wand and they folded instantly. She smiled to herself, she was getting a lot better at domestic charms. She looked to Harry’s bedside table for anything which needed cleaning and saw that his wand was glowing slightly and alerted Harry to that fact.

“I wonder why it’s glowing.” Harry said and moved to pick it up. Tonks moved to stop him but it was too late.

“Don’t it’s a…” She was too late; Harry disappeared. “Portkey.” She said and went straight through the fireplace to Grimmauld Place.

***


“What?!” Remus cried as he heard Tonks tell the short tale of Harry’s disappearance.

“I cannot believe you didn’t stop him from getting the portkey!” Mad Eye barked at her.

“I tried!” Tonks shouted back at him. “I really did!”

“You didn’t try hard enough!” He shouted back.

Stop!” Molly shouted at them, “There’s no point in arguing about Tonks not stopping him, right now we need to know where he’s been sent and by whom.”

“I think it’s quite obvious who’s taken him!” Professor McGonagall snapped coldly, marching through the fireplace into the midst of their conversation. “But where is something else altogether.”

“Molly!” Arthur shouted running from the fireplace, “The clock… Ron, Ginny, the twins… mortal peril!” He gasped for breath and stared with fright into the face of his formidable looking wife. Everyone knew of the Weasleys magical clock which showed each of the Weasleys as things such as ‘late’, ‘home’, ‘prison’ and ‘mortal peril’ and from the breathless ramblings of Arthur they could quickly deduce the situation.

“Then it appears that Voldemort wants more than just Harry.” Dumbledore said from his seat in the kitchen. He surveyed the people at the table with himself. Professor McGonagall was deep in thought, Tonks and Mad Eye were staring daggers at each other and Remus leant his head in his hands and stared at the tabletop, worry evident in his face. Molly was looking pale, Arthur still gasping for breath on the floor, Bill and Charlie looked worried and yet determined at the same time and Dumbledore had no doubt that they would all soon be going to their aid, wherever they were. A few people were missing from the table; Kingsley was out on a mission somewhere in Greenland, Hagrid was at Hogwarts dealing with Grawp and Snape had been called away almost two hours ago to the side of the Dark Lord. There was no way that Snape’s being summoned and the disappearance of many school children weren’t related. Dumbledore closed his eyes and waved his wand at the wall infront of him where a small cloud appeared but in the cloud there was only darkness. Then they heard vague shouts and noises, but just faint. A picture flickered and then died. Then they heard Harry.

“Get out of my head!” He said angrily, and then they realised what Dumbledore was doing. The cloud went black again and all sound ceased.

“You can’t just break into his mind like that!” Remus objected.

“It’s completely unethical!” Molly said, siding with Remus.

“This will be the fastest way of locating them if we can see the world from Harry’s eyes.” Dumbledore said, “As well as this we can guide the boy slightly and talk in his head, so is the nature of the spell I have cast.” Remus sighed in resignation and allowed him to continue uninterrupted.

The cloud flickered and sound returned before starting to fade again.

“Harry wait!” Dumbledore said quickly.

“Professor?” Harry asked, uncertainly.

“Yes, now please allow us to see where you are.” Dumbledore said calmly.

“Us?” Harry questioned.

“Yes, I am not unaccompanied.” Dumbledore replied to him, “I have here Professor McGonagall, Alastor Moody, Remus, Tonks, Molly, Arthur, Bill and Charlie.”

“Hey Harry.” Most of them greeted him.

“Hi.” Harry replied, slightly put off that so many people were in his head. He let his guard over his mind drop slightly and a picture formed on their cloud.

Harry looked around at the crowd of people who surrounded him. The whole D.A. was there and they all looked nervous. All of them knew that they had been brought there by Voldemort and there was no way that he was going to let them get away, alive, without a fight.

On brooms Fred and George flew around constantly, on the look out for any Death Eaters who might take the chance to come their way. Hermione was instructing people on casting the most protective charms they could around the area they were in and on anyone near them and Neville and Dean were helping people cast patronuses. Everyone was employed doing something, mostly protective charms around the area, although Harry knew that the kind of charms Death Eaters would be firing at them wouldn’t be stopped by any protective spells.

“Very good, Harry. Ah, Dumbledore, I see you’re cowering in the head of one of your students instead of actually coming to help them.” A cold voice in his head spoke up. Harry felt annoyed at Dumbledore for being in his head and being of such little help to him since his being there had opened a port which allowed Voldemort in as well. “However I fear that your army is not quite a match for my own.” He laughed coldly. “Care to see for yourself?”

“Not really.” Harry said, knowing that seeing what terrible forces were against him wasn’t going to help much.

“I’m afraid you don’t have much of a choice, Harry.” Tom spoke again. Harry felt a strange sensation in his head and everything blurred away.


Chapter 5: Chapter Five
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Five

Everything came back into focus as quickly as it had gone but Harry was no longer standing in the same clearing as before, he was in a much larger one, standing on a hill and looking out over the area beyond. Glancing at the sky he saw two small shapes which Harry realised were the Weasley twins keeping check on everyone – Voldemort was closer than they had thought. He looked at the Death Eaters and without counting knew that there were about 30 of them there which was slightly more than their army, he also noticed that they weren’t wearing their usual masks and although he wondered why, Harry didn’t ask. There were dementors too, and lots of them, sending a shiver through Harry’s spine.

“You see, Harry?” Voldemort spoke to him, “You cannot beat me, no matter what you do, 30 Death Eaters against 25 children…” He laughed his cold, high, cruel laugh. “And although you may still feel the last remnants of hope still living inside you they will not stay long, especially now you know that the Order will not be there to help…”

“What?” Harry couldn’t stop himself from asking.

“I thought you had learnt enough from your occlumency to know how to reverse the effects of legilimency…” Voldemort mused, “But apparently not. Dumbledore will not lead the Order to you because he feels your chances of survival are laughably low.

“Death Eaters… Tonight is your night!” Voldemort cried, addressing the crowd infront of him, “25 children, that’s all they are, and they are all here tonight. Now is the time you attack, and not one of them will be leaving with their life, Harry Potter included.” Voldemort ended his speech to the crowd and watched as they all walked in their direction. Harry mentally pulled away from the mind of Tom Riddle and felt himself falling until he found himself back in the clearing with Hermione waving her hand infront of his face.

“Hey, earth to Harry!” She said, “You weren’t there for a minute.” She added as she saw him blink and look around at the clearing, he looked a lot more tense than he had before and she couldn’t help but wonder what had been running through his mind.

“Sorry.” He muttered back to her and bit his lip.

“Harry.” Dumbledore said to him, in his mind once more, “Are you okay?”

“Not really.” His mind answered before he could stop himself. “Are you going to help us? We don’t stand a chance alone.”

“Of course we are.” Four or five voices answered him.

“Thank you.” Harry replied.

“You’re welcome!” Tonks replied cheerily. All round the table people couldn’t help but wonder how she could be so happy at a time like this, when they were about to go plunging head first into battle with Death Eaters.

The cloud on the wall disappeared as Dumbledore gave a quick wave of his wand. The room was silent, all in contemplation of what they were about to do. Then Moody spoke up.

“This is insane.” He said, “We’re about to risk our lives for the sake of a few children! It will be us that defeat Voldemort once and for all, not any of those children so why endanger ourselves on their account?!”

Dumbledore smiled, knowing that sometime soon he was going to reveal the details of the prophecy to the group, although he could see from the expression on Remus’ face that Harry had already told him. All they knew for the moment was that there was a prophecy involving Harry and the Dark Lord, nothing more had been told to them since Dumbledore had decided that for once Harry would know something about himself that not everyone else had known first.

“We are going, and we are going now, Alastor.” Dumbledore said to him, “Upon our return a meeting will be held in which I will fully explain the reason we must go to the aid of these children tonight, Remus, you will of course not have to attend.” Everyone looked at each other in wonder and then at Remus who merely nodded to Dumbledore and took hold of a candlestick on the table.

Portus.” He muttered before holding it out to the rest of the Order, all of whom took hold.

Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody couldn’t believe what he was doing. He was once one of the top aurors in the ministry and now he was holding onto a candlestick in the trees of the Forbidden Forest along with several other members of the Order. He peered through the trees into the clearing ahead of him and saw two large groups of people, one of them, a large group of men dressed all in black, unusually not wearing their masks. The other group was made up of teenagers, also wearing mostly black robes which he assumed they had changed into, after finding themselves in the middle of nowhere. At the front of the group of Death Eaters, Voldemort had his wand pointed at a heap on the floor and from it came the Crucius curse. He realised with a jolt that the twitching heap on the floor was, in fact, Harry. From the air the Weasley twins and Lee Jordan sent the Protegium blocking and reversing curse, sister spell to Protego, and it lessened it considerably.

“A little pain never hurt anyone, Harry.” Voldemort smirked, casting his eyes to Neville who was shaking with fury in the front row of those facing the Death Eaters. Harry got straight back to his feet, still aching from the curse that had been performed on him.

“Snape.” Voldemort barked, without turning, “Forward.”

Harry watched in horror as his potions master was called forward from the ranks of the Death Eaters behind him. Snape walked slowly, almost sauntered forwards to his master. He’s a bloody good actor. Harry thought and then pushed it away as soon as it had entered his head, he knew it was not wise to think such things whilst in the presence of Voldemort. He didn’t know what was coming but he knew there was no way that it was going to be good.

“The perfect opportunity for you to prove your loyalty to me has just arisen, Severus.” Voldemort said in a cold, sneering voice. Harry could almost feel the hatred towards Snape emanating from the crowd of people behind him. He knew that there were precious few of them that knew Snape was on their side and in the long run that would most likely be of best interest for everyone. “You will perform the Cruciatus curse on Harry.” He told Snape, who looked at Harry and desperately willed himself to curse the boy. If you want to stay alive then you have to do this. Snape told himself and yet he remained frozen infront of all his students.

Harry had no desire to see his potions master murdered infront of him for being a traitor and it was this that overrode his fear of having the Cruciatus curse performed on him again. Imperio Harry thought inside his head whilst his wand remained pointed at Snape. He willed him to curse him and to his surprise he did. It was a lot worse than he had intended it to be and he broke it off quickly, but not so quickly as to arouse suspicion from the Dark Lord.

“You hesitated.” He stated coolly. Snape flinched and awaited his punishment but it never came. “However, since it was an exceptionally good curse, I think you may be excused any punishment. Do not linger in thought again, Severus.”

“No, my lord. Thank you, my lord.” Snape muttered quickly and fell back into line with the Death Eaters behind him.

“What the hell did you think you were doing?!” Snape’s voice screeched inside Harry’s head the moment he had rejoined the Death Eaters. “You put the Crucius curse on yourself!”

“Really?” Harry’s mind answered coldly, “I didn’t realise.”

“You could have been killed for that! If he knew you had your concentration on me then he would have killed you in an instant you foolish child!”

You could have been killed!” Harry almost shouted back at him, “If I hadn’t done that he would have killed you on the spot!” Snape didn’t respond and Harry put all his concentration back on the Dark Lord.

“Enough games have been played between us, Harry Potter.” Voldemort said to him, “Too many times I have allowed you to escape unscathed but that will not be the case tonight. Tonight you will not escape.” The words were no sooner spoken than dementors ran at them from all around. Almost instantly there was a collective cry of “Expecto Patronum” from the D.A. and the dementors were driven back by an array of various silver creatures. Harry couldn’t help but feel slightly pleased with them but it was short lived as the Death Eaters ran at them once they had been driven back, aiming a variety of hexes and curses at them. The shield Hermione had set up earlier deflected many of these curses but could not deflect the Unforgivables as the Cruciatus curse flew straight through it, knocking Ginny down but thankfully not causing her any pain. The Death Eaters reached the Shield itself and easily walked through it and the battle began.

The battle was not particularly long but the Killing Curse was seen to be flying at someone every ten seconds or so but the DA soon found a quick way of disposing of many of the Death Eaters. Once they had cast the Killing Curse the Death Eater whom had used it needed a few moments to recharge, it was then that one or more of the DA would stun them, take their want, tie them up and then vanish them. This worked quite well in the beginning and almost ten Death Eaters were disposed of in this manner. Soon they began to understand what was going on and held off with that particular curse.

Throughout this the Order kept at the back and spread out through the trees, helping whomever they could without being noticed and stunning and vanishing quite a few Death Eaters themselves with the same method which the DA had devised.

“Take that!” Moody said as he vanished Goyle from the edge of the woods. It didn’t half make him feel young to be part of a battle again, even if he wasn’t lucky enough to be right in the midst of it like Potter was. He looked out into the main battle and saw Harry taking on Mulciber and Bellatrix Lestrange single handed. He blew Mulciber through several separate duels, causing him to be hexed repeatedly and then he turned back to Bellatrix.

Remus bit his lip. He knew that Bellatrix had been the one to kill Sirius but he also knew that killing her wouldn’t bring him back. He hoped Harry knew that and wouldn’t kill her on the spot, as he knew that he had the ability to. He watched them intently; only half aware of the curses he was putting on one of the Death Eaters who had fallen through the trees to him.

Harry and Bellatrix were only sending mind hexes and curses towards one another, waiting for the other to make the first move with the killing curse, as Bellatrix knew he would eventually do.

“What’s up baby Potter?” She asked him, “Don’t you have it in you to avenge your dear godfather?”

“Death’s too good for you.” Harry said coldly before shooting ropes from his wand and tying her tightly before he vanished her as far as he could. Remus smiled and watched as Harry leapt infront of Neville who was about to put the Cruciatus curse on Snape. “Go help Ron and I’ll hold Snape.” Harry muttered to him and was pleased when he did as he asked. Snape was the only one of the Order who was actually on the field and Harry knew that it wouldn’t be good for him to be tortured by his own side.

“I see you have enough self control not to go about killing.” Snape said coolly in his head as he aimed a fast hex at Harry, who dodged it and it hit the Death Eater who had been coming up behind him.

“Curse you Potter!” Snape shouted at him and it was all Harry could do not to laugh as he aimed a curse right back at him. Snape moved easily and it hit Crabbe in the back, knocking him down and allowing Hermione to vanish him.

“Behind you.” Harry thought to Snape as Luna sent a curse straight at Snape’s back. He leapt out of the way and it flew past both him and Harry to a Death Eater.

Voldemort looked around him. He did not move from his spot at the edge of the clearing. All around him his Death Eaters were falling, knocked unconscious and vanished by children. He thought he had seen an auror in the trees but he knew he had been mistaken. The children were alone, no help had been send to them by the Order and he knew that perfectly well by accessing the mind of the youngest Weasley boy, who would have been made aware of the Order’s presence, had they been there, due to his parents being a part of it. His glance wandered to Snape. He still didn’t trust him fully but he had redeemed himself, for the moment. He was almost enjoying a staged battle with Harry, although no one but the Order who prowled about the edge of the forest knew it was not for real.

Snape shot an almost apologetic look at Harry as he sent a hex his way, which Harry side-stepped and allowed to hit the Death Eater behind him. Harry gave Snape a mock look of horror as the potions master cried “Avada Kedavra!” He threw himself out of its path just in time for it to hit MacNair in the back and he instantly crumpled to the ground. Harry glanced around, realising that Snape was one of but a few Death Eaters left now, as the rest had been taken care of easily by themselves and the Order who were removing almost one every thirty seconds from their midst. Harry made up his mind and sent a light stunning spell at Snape, bound him loosely but instead of vanishing him he sent him just a few feet into the trees where he was quickly untied by Lupin.

Voldemort was mortified. There were only two Death Eaters left now and fifteen of the DA still standing, there was something going on here, there was no way that they could have triumphed over him so easily. He saw Snape vanished by Potter and sent the Killing Curse straight at him. Harry threw himself down and rolled over to see it going straight for Seamus Finnegan. His wand lay a few feet away from him, he scrambled for it but as he dragged himself to his feet to remove Seamus from it’s path he looked just in time to see it hit him and Tonks ran from the trees in a vain attempt to save him. Voldemort stared at her and then shot the same curse at her but she easily dodged it and the rest of the Order emerged from the trees, except for Snape who quickly took care of the remaining two Death Eaters and remained hidden in the trees, way out of Lord Voldemort’s sight.

Harry, Fred, George, Cho, Angelina Johnson, Hermione, Neville, Katie Bell, Lee Jordan, Lavender Brown and Ernie Macmillan stood back, behind the Order of the Phoenix who blocked them from Voldemort and looked to Dean who knelt with his head in his hands by the body of his best friend.

“Finally you arrive, Dumbledore.” Voldemort spoke, but with something that was almost fear in his voice this time.

“I have been here quite some time, Tom.” Dumbledore informed him and Voldemort knew suddenly that he had been the reason for so many of his Death Eaters vanishing. He knew that there was no way he could touch the boy now that Dumbledore was here and he put his hand into his robes where he touched a portkey and vanished.


Chapter 6: Chapter Six
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Six

Harry sat hidden in the corner of the great hall in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, surrounded by the sleeping forms of the D.A. who were scattered across the room in sleeping bags. After Voldemort had gone Dumbledore had insisted that they all stay at the school for the rest of the night and sent owls to the families of everyone, explaining where they were but not why; that would be done the next day when all parents of guardians of the students would be coming in to hear Dumbledore’s explanation, all except the Dursleys of course.

Remus stood by the door of the hall – he had been left there to guard it whilst the rest of the Order had a meeting up in Dumbledore’s office to explain exactly why they had to go in to save them, as had been promised. He wondered where Harry was. He stared across the room lit only by the light of the stars in the ceiling but there was no one that he could identify. They were all sleeping anyway, he told himself, and Harry wouldn’t want to talk to him in the dead of night. He glanced over everyone and saw that one or two of them were tossing and turning in their sleep, obviously having nightmares which were most likely linked to the previous events. In the far corner some movement caught his eye and if he strained his already heightened eyesight then he could just make out the form of a boy, sat against the wall. He knew it was Harry and he knew he was awake.

Harry watched Remus watch him from the doorway. There was little point in just sitting there, not sleeping so he pulled himself to his feet and carefully walked through the throng of people, all huddled together trying to get some sleep.

“Hey.” Harry greeted Remus quietly and noticed that he looked completely exhausted. There were shadows under his eyes, he was deadly pale and he seemed to be using all his energy just staying awake. “Are you okay? You look exhausted!”

“Am I okay?” Remus asked him, “I think I should be asking you that after this evening.” He cast a worried glance over Harry. He looked almost as exhausted as himself and yet he knew that the torment of knowing that someone else had died because of him was keeping him wide awake. Remus didn’t blame Harry one bit for Seamus’ death, but he knew that some people probably would, such as Seamus’ parents. He had been there when they had come up to the school and he had been the one who had to tell them how their son had died and they claimed that by forming the D.A. it was Harry’s fault. Had they not been in the state they were in Remus would have argued that Seamus had joined of his own free will to a group which Hermione had started. Harry had only taught. It didn’t matter anyway; Seamus was dead and there was no bringing him back.

“Where is everyone?” Harry asked him, avoiding the subject of his own ill health.

“Having an Order meeting.” Remus told him, “He’s explaining about the prophecy.” Harry’s stomach lurched at the thought of the prophecy. He had faced Voldemort yet again and he had failed to beat him, allowing more people to die. It’s not your fault! His head tried to reason with him, It’s Voldemort’s fault, and no one else’s. Deep down Harry knew that voice was probably right, and yet he couldn’t help but think there could have been something he could have done to save him.

“You can’t save everyone, Harry.” Remus said quietly, putting his arm round his shoulders. Harry leant against him and sighed sadly.

***


“Asleep on his guard again.” Mad Eye commented as he walked in and saw Remus sleeping on the floor.

“But I’m not.” Harry said, appearing from the shadows. He looked at the group of people infront of him and they all stared at him. Molly ran up to him and hugged him as she burst into tears. Harry staggered backwards, taken aback by her emotional outburst but he hugged her back and tried not to look as astounded as he felt. He looked to the rest of the Order. Moody looked grim and deep in thought. He didn’t think that Harry could beat Voldemort; he knew that he had the power to inside himself, but he didn’t think that he could when it came down to it. He just wasn’t cut out to kill when he had to, he could kill when his emotions drove him to it, he was sure of that, but not just because he needed to.

Tonks looked on the verge of tears and found that she couldn’t look at Harry. Each time he looked at her she couldn’t help but wonder how long it would be until he was dead. It wasn’t that she didn’t think he could do it, she knew that chances are that he could, she was just afraid for him. She hadn’t known that she cared so much about Harry, having met him only a few times but now that she found out about the prophecy she realised how much she didn’t want him to die.

The Weasleys all looked quite stunned. They had spent a lot of time with Harry, more than most other people had and they weren’t keen on losing him. They knew he could beat Voldemort, there wasn’t a doubt in any of their minds and yet fear lingered there. They all felt as strongly about it as Molly did but none of the three Weasley men showed their feelings outright.

“Potter, I suggest you get some sleep.” Professor McGonagall said to him. Harry did as he was told and wandered back to his sleeping bag in the corner. Minerva watched him walk all the way back, sadness filling her heart. She had always known that the poor boy would have a hard life but she didn’t think it would be this hard on him, and she feared that the weight of the world on his shoulders would soon crack him, leaving him easy prey for the Dark Lord. She was pulled from her thoughts back to the great hall, where Severus was kicking Remus into a corner, so that no one walking through the door would trip over him. She knew of the animosity between them; everyone did.

“Allow me, Severus.” She said coolly, as she waved her wand and picked Remus up, carrying him to the corner he had intended to kick him to and set him down carefully. She glanced at Snape’s face. His permanent sneer couldn’t quite hide the fact that he looked weary and anxious.

“Thank you, Minerva.” He said coldly, as if he couldn’t use a simple levitation charm when he wanted to. Potter couldn’t beat the Dark Lord, he had no idea of his powers and the world was doomed. Although the prophecy had said that he also had powers unknown to him and he couldn’t help but dwell on what that could mean. He knew that everyone was worried sick about how Harry was taking it but how badly would the world take it if they found out that their fate lay in the hands of a boy not yet 16? Irritatingly his feelings had softened towards the boy, he almost pitied his life, but that wouldn’t stop him from giving him detention the moment he gave him the slightest reason to. He looked across the room and with the extra light in the room, since Mad Eye had several candles lit around the walls, he could see Potter sat in the back corner, staring straight at him, accusingly. He knew that he had most likely seen him kick his latest parent across the room but he didn’t care. Snape barked at him to go to sleep, causing several people to wake up before billowing out of the room.

***


Harry sat in the Gryffindor common room staring at the chess set infront of him. He wasn’t really concentrating on the game; his head kept wandering around to the great hall where the rest of the D.A. and their parents sat listening to the tale of the previous night. Harry had decided that he didn’t want to know how everyone reacted, especially Seamus’ parents so here he was, losing at chess to Tonks. He wondered whether people blamed him or not and got lost in his train of thought.

“Harry?” Tonks said quietly, watching the boy who sat opposite her. He had fallen asleep during their game but she didn’t mind, he was absolutely shattered from having not slept in quite some time. She levitated him out of his seat and onto the sofa where she carefully lay him down and put a blanket over him. Glancing back at the chess set she put a quick charm on it and her opposition carried on where Harry had left off.

Tonks ran her fingers through her lemon yellow hair as she tried to come up with the best way to beat Harry’s chess set. It was getting more and more difficult to beat them as Harry got better and better at the game, which she was quite pleased about; she loved a challenge. She was just about to order her remaining knight to E7 when Mad Eye walked through the common room door muttering to himself under his breath.

“What’s up, Mad Eye?” Tonks asked him as he sank into one of the chairs by the fire and after glancing at Harry, stared into the fire.

“Finnegans are blaming the boy, here.” He told her matter-of-factly, taking neither of his eyes from the flames. “They say that it’s his fault for having the defence against the dark arts group last year.”

“But it’s not!” Tonks said, shocked by the reactions of Seamus’ family.

“I know that, you know that, the rest of the Order and hopefully the rest of the D.A. know that but they refuse to believe it and Dumbledore’s afraid that it’s all going to get out to the Prophet that it was Harry’s fault.”

“How did everyone else take it though?” Tonks asked him, “All the other parents?”

“They took it alright; they were pleased that the lad had taught them all so much to be honest. If he hadn’t been as good as he is then they’d all be dead.” Moody replied in a tone reminiscent of his name. “After seeing Potter in that battle I have a little hope left that we might actually beat Voldemort.” He smiled grimly and dragged himself back to his feet and leant over Harry before shaking him awake. Harry opened one emerald green eye and raised an eyebrow when he saw who was waking him.

“Yes?” Harry asked him, opening his other eye and sitting up.

“Everyone’s going back home, all the students I mean, everyone else should be sticking around for another few hours whilst Dumbledore decides where you’re going.” Moody said to him, “So I thought you might want to say goodbye, you mightn’t be seeing some of them until school.” Or ever again if these killings carry on they way they have been. He added in his head, thinking of the ever growing obituaries in the Prophet.

“Okay, thanks.” Harry said and dragged himself from the sofa and followed one of the greatest aurors ever to fight the dark side down the silent corridors alongside Tonks. He didn’t feel as happy being in the school as he would have done were it filled with students. It was they that gave the castle its life and made it the interesting and often amusing place it was.

Down in the entrance hall there was a rather large crowd of people queuing for portkeys from Dumbledore which would all take them back to their homes. Everywhere he looked, Harry could see students his own age chatting to their families. He sighed softly as he walked with Tonks to the edge of the group. She looked to him and smiled, assuring him that it would all be okay. The prophecy was still very much on her mind, that such a young boy had to bear so much and she put her arm on his shoulder and steered him through the crowd to the edge of the corridor to the great hall where Remus and Arthur Weasley stood talking with Moody, who had gone straight to them upon his arrival.

“Hello Harry.” Remus said, glancing at him and smiling before he was pulled back into his previous conversation with Arthur about the few dementors still at Azkaban.

“—personally I think that the sooner we can find a suitable replacement we should get them out of there.” Arthur was saying.

“But we can’t just pull replacements from thin air!” Remus interjected.

“That’s why we’ve been promoting dozens of ministry workers to aurors, to cover the demand for prison guards.” Moody growled.

Harry had already lost interest at this point; he knew that soon Voldemort would have his supporters who were still locked away and the guards that had so far kept them there. He leant against the wall of the corridor, just outside the staffroom and watched all the people queuing. The rest of the Weasleys apart from Arthur were in the midst of the crowd. Ginny, Ron, Charlie and Bill stood watching as Molly shouted at the twins for trying to feed Collin Creevey a Custard Cream.

“I don’t care if you thought it was good advertisement!” She screeched at the top of her lungs, causing Hannah Abbot and her mother to jump slightly. The twins only stood there staring at the ground with their most convincing faces of guilt on, meekly promising never to do it again, whilst behind Molly, Bill was giving Fred the thumbs up and Molly spun round to shout at him.

Harry smiled and tore his gaze away from his favourite family to Hermione and her parents who stood near the front of the line. She was talking quite quickly about the previous evening’s events and she saw Harry watching and smiled and waved at him. He grinned at her and waved back. Her parents watched the young boy they had been told so much about for a moment but then they were distracted by the headmaster who gave them instructions about the portkey. They all reached out to the small piece of fabric which Dumbledore held out to them and vanished.

After the Granger’s had stared at him for a few moments, Harry soon realised that they were not the only ones. A few places infront of the Weasleys Ernie MacMillan was pointing in his direction and from what little conversation Harry could distinguish from the babble of the group surrounding him, he distinctly heard himself mentioned as the leader of the D.A. Ernie glanced at Harry and smiled, who returned it before both their attention was caught by Ginny, who had hair which was now an interesting shade of purple. Molly was once again shouting at the twins and Ron looked exasperated. He rolled his eyes at Harry and ducked as Molly swung for his head.

“Don’t you roll your eyes, Ronald!” Molly shouted at him. The rest of the Weasleys and most of the teenagers around them were stifling their laughter by this point. Ron’s ears reddened but he still laughed along with the rest.

***


It was quite some time later when everyone had finally gone home and the only people left in the school were Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Snape, Moody, Tonks, Remus and Harry. The latter was in the common room playing chess with the pieces Tonks had charmed earlier whilst everyone else was down in the staff room, discussing Harry’s location for the rest of the holidays.

“There is still one more week which Harry will need to spend with the Dursleys.” Dumbledore said calmly.

“You can’t send him back there after what’s happened.” Minerva McGonagall argued.

“We have no choice.” Moody barked. “For that charm to hold he has to spend one month there, otherwise Voldemort could walk straight through the front door and blow everyone there to smithereens!”

“Personally I don’t see why any special arrangements should be made for Potter.” Snape said coolly, “He can go back to the Dursleys and spend the rest of his holiday there. Find me the problem there.”

“The problem there is that with another 5 weeks of the company of those who utterly despise him he will lapse straight into depression and dwell on the prophecy and Sirius.” Remus said.

“So what?” Snape said.

“So what?!” Remus asked, disbelievingly, “If he gets depressed and Voldemort attacks again this holiday do you really think that he’d actually going to bother fighting him?”

“Potter’s a conceited, selfish child anyway, what makes you think that he’ll bother fighting for the Wizarding world?” Snape replied.

“This is ridiculous!” Minerva said, breaking up the potential argument between Remus and Severus before it had chance to even begin. “It seems that for the next week Harry will have to go back to the Dursleys.” She sighed in resignation to a hopeless cause.

“But what after that?” Tonks asked.

“He can stay at Grimmauld Place.” Moody said.

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea.” Remus said quietly. He himself was currently staying there and the memory of Sirius was so strong there for him that it was close to unbearable and he spent as little time there as he could. Keeping Harry there for a whole month would probably be just as bad as keeping him at Privet Drive. “What about the Burrow?”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea for Harry to stay at the Burrow this summer.” Dumbledore said quietly. Everyone looked at him quite puzzled.

“But he’s stayed there before, Albus, why not now?” Minerva asked him.

“I have my reasons.” He replied in his usual cryptic manner.

“Then where else is there that he can stay?” Moody asked. He looked to Dumbledore and Dumbledore looked to Remus who was leaning with his head on his hand and staring at the tabletop with his mind fixed on Harry.

“He could always stay at the Leaky Cauldron like he did before his third year.” Minerva suggested.

“At least that way he’ll just be in Diagon Alley with witches and wizards who will be all around if he does manage to find trouble within the next few weeks, and I do not doubt he will.” Snape sneered as if the boy were right infront of him. “Then perhaps we could actually use the Order to do something a little more productive than merely guarding the boy.”

“Tell me, Severus.” Remus said coldly, “If Harry is the only one who can defeat Voldemort then what is more important than keeping him safe and away from danger?”

“Well if you’re so bothered about the boy, Lupin, you take him in for half the summer.” Snape scowled at him. Remus opened his mouth to retaliate but before he could Dumbledore butted in.

“Excellent idea Severus!” He said, looking at Remus, who felt slightly stunned at the idea of Harry staying with him. “There would be no problem with your having Harry with you for a month would there?” Remus wanted Harry to stay with him, a lot more than he thought he would have done but he doubted Harry would be that much happier staying with him than with the Dursleys, even if he was his guardian.

“Yes… but… I… he… wait…” Remus stuttered. The headmaster raised an eyebrow and then turned to the rest of the group.

“Then it’s sorted!” He beamed at them all, “Harry can go back to the Dursleys for the week and then stay with Remus until the first of September. You are now all free to pursue what leisurely activities you so wish until the next meeting which will be the day after tomorrow. I believe Tonks is meant to be guarding Harry now?” The lemon haired auror nodded before exiting the room to the Gryffindor common room.

“Professor, do you really think this is a good idea?” Remus asked him once the last of the Order had left the room. “I mean I want to look after Harry and all, and make him happy but I don’t think I can.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Dumbledore smiled at him, “You already have made him happy. Or have you failed to notice how his mood improved after the two of you started talking this summer? And of course you haven’t observed that it is always you he seeks to speak with.”

“Yes, but…” Remus started but found he didn’t have the words to continue.

“Trust me, Remus.” He said, “He cares about you very much, as much as you care about him I daresay.” Remus gave him a dubious look but allowed him to continue. “And with you will be the best place for him. You are the last link to his parents and his godfather, you are his guardian, you live in a magical home with quick access to his friends and to the Order, should he need us, and you are the one who he talks to the most. Did you know that you are the first he’s told about the prophecy?” Dumbledore suddenly asked him.

“What about Ron and Hermione?” He asked of his former professor, quite astounded that Harry would talk to him before his best friends.

“They still do not know, although I think Harry will bring them into his confidence quite soon.” Dumbledore said. He got up to leave and looked down at Remus who was still seated. “I suggest you go tell Harry of his arrangements for this summer, I don’t think he’ll take well to going back to the Dursleys though.” Remus nodded mutely and rose to his feet, leaving the room with Dumbledore.


Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Seven

“I’ll be seeing you soon, Harry.” Remus said to Harry.

“Yeah, see you later.” Harry said. He wasn’t pleased about having to go back to the Dursleys but at least he knew why he had to go back now. “See you.”

“Bye.” Tonks said, “Take care Harry.”

“Constant vigilance!” Moody barked at him. Everyone behind him rolled their eyes and grinned.

“Goodbye Mr. Potter.” Professor McGonagall said to him and Snape shot him a look of utter contempt.

“Look after yourself Harry and I’ll be seeing you in a week or two myself.” Dumbledore said to him before he handed him the portkey back to his home. It was his own wand. Tonks stepped forward and took hold of it as well and he felt the tug around his stomach before he landed on the floor with Tonks next to him.

“Never got the hang of landing on my feet.” She said brightly as she got to her feet and helped Harry up after her. It was only half past ten in the morning but it felt a lot later.

Harry glanced at the windowsill where a pen and a pad of paper were kept. On it Tom had scrawled a quick message before he had gone to school this morning.

Oi! Where are you? I take it you forgot about school then. No matter, it’s not like you have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow; Steph’s dragging all of us shopping. Sounds fun, huh? See you then.

Tom


Harry smiled slightly; he didn’t mind shopping with Steph, even though she dragged them round tonnes of shops just looking for exactly the right pair of jeans. A little distraction from everything was just what he would be wanting since he knew that Seamus’ death would be preying on his mind for the next few hours.

“Boy!” Vernon barked at the top of his voice as he came marching through the door. “Where the hell have you been?”

“Out.” Harry replied coolly, watching Tonks raise her wand in the corner of his eye. This summer his uncle had become all too eager with his fists, despite the warning from the Order and Harry had been beaten black and blue quite a few times already. Most of the Order knew about this and it was taking them a large amount of self control not to go marching into Harry’s and give Vernon exactly what he deserved.

“Out?!” He shouted. “All night?!”

“That’s right.” Harry said, hiding the amusement he felt when Vernon got so angry. His face had turned a bright red, like a tomato, his moustache twitched and his eyes were narrowed. Vernon reached out and grabbed Harry by the back of his robes which he realised he was wearing too late. “How many times have I told you about Wizarding shenanigans in this house boy?!” He almost screamed as he shook him violently, Harry made a choking sound as the neck of his robes tightened from his uncle’s grip. He dropped him to the floor where he lay, gasping for breath.

“Get off him you great fat oaf!” Tonks was screaming at him in the background and making furious gestures at him but because of the charm she had on her she was neither seen nor heard.

“Lunch will be ready in half an hour or else, boy.” Vernon barked at him as he marched out of the room. Harry scowled darkly at the door and reached out for his wand. He pointed it at his robes and they removed themselves from his body and went into his wardrobe, leaving him with his muggle clothes on.

“Go drink some lard Dursley!” She screeched at him as the door closed and dropped to her knees next to Harry. “Are you okay?” She looked at him and saw a purple mark around his neck where the robes had dug into him, underneath that she saw other purple marks which were fading now but were the shape of large fat hands. Her anger mounted and she helped Harry up more roughly than she had meant to.

“That ugly, fat, buffoon!” She was shouting at the floor. Her fists were clenched and sparks were coming off her.

“Calm down Tonks, please!” Harry begged, hoping that none of the sparks would set the room alight. The last thing that he needed right now would be for his uncle to call the police and say that he was an arsonist. She span round, fury in her eyes and looked at Harry who didn’t seem to care that he had almost been strangled and that half of him was covered in bruises. Now that she looked closer she could see that there were bruises on his face and everywhere on his arms. There was barely any flesh on him that she could see that was not bruised in some way. All the fury went, leaving her feeling empty and miserable. Harry just looked tired of it all, as if this happened every day and it was just part of a routine. It probably is part of a routine. Tonks told herself. She reached out to the boy and hugged him tightly. Harry feeling rather confused by her mood swings tried not to wince in pain as her tight embrace pressed against his back, which Dudley had taken delight in kicking only a couple of days before. He was angry with himself for being foolish enough to forget the concealment charms he had been hiding all his wounds with. He suddenly realised that if Tonks saw his wrist now then she would see all the cuts which covered his arm. He carefully pulled his wand from his pocket and waved it swiftly over his arm. He knew he couldn’t risk putting the charm over his entire body so soon after Tonk’s had seen it all, he would wait until later on, but before it was Bill’s turn to watch him.

“Anyway.” Tonks said, pulling back from him, “How about teaching me to skateboard, you started teaching Bill...”

“Sure.” Harry smiled and she followed him from the room, down out into the street.

***


“You’re useless Bill!” Tonks laughed at Bill who had just dropped the ball for the fifth consecutive time. There was an audible groan from Bill’s team and cheers from Harry and Tonk’s.

“That’s 20-13.” Jamie said, smiling broadly since he was on the winning team. Harry and Tonks had spent much of the afternoon skateboarding outside, then Bill came to join them and they spent an extra hour helping Bill off the floor when he repeatedly fell off his skateboard. Later on Steph, Tom and Jamie had shown up and after introducing Tonks and Bill to them they started a rather large game of rounders which had just about everyone who lived in the street (and some who didn’t) under the age of twenty playing as well.

Bill was proving rather useless at the game, although everyone thought he was amazingly cool so that was okay with them and Tonks was pretty good but occasionally she fell over her own feet trying to beat Tom to the ball. Tom, himself, wasn’t pleased that he was being beaten by Harry’s team, especially since he had the first pick of players.

Tonk’s leant back on a garden wall, waiting for the next person to bat and wondered whether the Order were missing her at tea. She had said to Molly that she would be there and she hoped that she hadn’t made her worry in her absence.

“Where could she have got to?” Molly asked the rest of the company, which was Arthur, Ron, Hermione, Charlie, Ginny, Fred, George, Remus, Professor McGonagall, Moody and unusually, Dumbledore.

“I’m sure she’s fine, wherever she is.” Arthur reassured his wife.

“I don’t want to eat before we know where she is!” Molly said and the rest of the group assembled for dinner silently cursed Tonks for not showing up.

“I can show you where she is.” Dumbledore said, with a twinkle in his eyes. “This is something I have been working on for quite some time now and it work’s wonderfully.” He put a large rectangular piece of wood onto the centre of the table and everyone stared at it.

“It’s a piece of wood, Albus.” Minerva stated.

“You are correct.” Dumbledore said, “However it is a piece of wood with a large number of charms on it.”

He waved his wand over the wood and muttered an incantation which was no loud enough for anyone to hear before stating clearly ‘Nymphadora Tonks’. Everyone around the table gasped as from the surface of the wood houses began to grow until it showed a street. Privet Drive to be precise. It was incredibly detailed as well, every brick could be seen in the houses and every single blade of grass was there that should be on the pristine garden lawns.

“It’s not done yet.” Dumbledore said quietly before adding “Ennervate” Another gasp went round the table as many people began to appear in the street. They seemed to be playing a game of some sort.

“They’re playing rounders!” Hermione said in disbelief as she watched the three inches tall Harry leap up into the air and catch the ball.

“Out!” Cried Tonks from the third base and the fielding team cheered.

“Damn you Harry!” Tom shouted as he threw the ball back to him, since Harry was playing as the bowler. “We’ll beat you yet!”

“I doubt it, we’re winning 22-15!” Jamie shouted back at him.

“Oh stop sulking Bill!” Tonks shouted at the redhead who looked rather moody, standing in the line of people who were waiting to bat.

“So what exactly is rounders?” Ron asked Hermione, not taking his eyes from the street infront of him.

“It’s a game.” She said, before going on to explain. “You have two teams, the fielders and the batters.” She pointed at each of the two sides as she said this before carrying on, “the bowler (that’s Harry) throws the ball to the batter, who hits it and has to run round the four bases. The fielders have to catch the person out by touching the ball to the base which the batter is running to. If the batter gets to the fourth base then they get a rounder, if the fielders catch the ball after the batter hit it before it hits the floor then the batter is out and the fielders get the rounder.” She said all this very quickly and everyone else there sat silently for a moment, taking in all that she’d said.

“I get it.” Ron said finally and started to eat the plate of pasta which his mum had placed infront of him, without taking his eyes from the game. The next batter was Bill. Harry threw the ball and Bill hit it as hard as he could. There was a tinkling of glass and everyone at the table laughed. Everyone in the street stood frozen to the spot as they stared at Dudley’s bedroom window which now had a large hole in it.

“Run!” Steph shouted and in seconds the street was deserted and Harry, Tom, Jamie, Tonks and Bill were hiding in Mrs Figg’s garden. An angry looking fat man came marching out of the Dursley’s house.

“You’re for it this time boy!” He shouted loudly into the street, “I know it was you! You’re going to rue the day you broke that window!” He then marched down the garden path and down the street towards the town in the same angry manner.

“Sorry!” Bill said to Harry, “I didn’t mean to!”

“Forget it, Bill.” Harry smiled, “It doesn’t matter.”

“Doesn’t matter!” Tonks said incredulously, “He almost strangled you for nothing earlier! God knows what he’ll do now he has a reason!”

“You wanna stay at mine ‘till it blows over?” Jamie asked him.

“It won’t blow over.” Harry said miserably.

“Yeah, remember that time when we ‘accidentally’ painted Dudley’s face green in the night?” Tom said to him.

“How immature is that?” Tonks said to him.

“We were eight at the time.” Harry informed her. “And I spent a whole week at Tom’s, hoping that Vernon would forget by the time I got home.”

“And did he?” Bill asked.

“Nope.” Harry replied.

“What did he do?” Tonks asked him.

“Dunno but I woke up a week later in the hospital with two broken legs.” Harry said.

“What?!” Cried everyone round the table, along with Bill.

“It’s true.” Jamie clarified. “Anyways if you’re sure you don’t want to stay with me then I’m gonna have to go for my tea.” He said apologetically.

“I’m sure, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Harry replied, before adding “hopefully.”

“Wait and I’ll come with you.” Tom said, running after Jamie who had already started down Mrs Figg’s garden path.

“I can’t believe they treat you like that!” Tonks said, “It’s not fair!”

“Life’s not fair.” Harry said. The door of number four, Privet Drive, opened once more and Petunia stepped out onto the porch.

“Get in here now, boy!” She screeched, “I want tea ready in half an hour!” She turned and slammed the door shut as she went back into the house.

Tonks gasped loudly, “I completely forgot! I’m meant to be having tea at Grimmauld Place!”

“Mum was making it for half five, you’re already more than half an hour late.” Bill informed her.

“Come on!” Tonks said and cast the disillusionment charm against muggles over herself and Bill and the three of them went into the house. “See you later Harry.” Tonks said and hugged him tightly before running silently up the stairs and into Harry’s room. The walls of the Dursley’s house becoming transparent as she did so.

“12 Grimmauld Place.” She muttered quietly before stepping into the fireplace and falling out of it next to the table of people watching Harry in the kitchen.

“I’ve never understood those muggle ovens.” Arthur said.

“Sorry I’m late…” Tonks said, pulling herself up from the floor. She glanced at the table and saw herself in a small model of the kitchen in Grimmauld Place. “Wow, what’s this?!”

“It’s a being locator.” Dumbledore explained, “I recently perfected the charm on it myself, it shows where any certain individual is and right now it shows you.” It sounded odd to hear Dumbledore say this at the same time as his three inch high counterpart in the miniature kitchen on the table.

“How do you use it?!” Tonks asked him.

“You simply tap it and say clearly the name of the person you wish to see. Unfortunately I’m afraid I must be off now.” He said, rising from his chair and stepping towards the fireplace, “Thank you for tea, Molly. Goodbye everyone.” A chorus of ‘goodbye’s met him as he walked into the fire.

“I must also be going.” McGonagall said, “I can’t spend all my time watching Mr Potter on a piece of wood.”

“Likewise.” Moody muttered and they both left via the fireplace.

“Weird.” Ron said at the same time as his miniature self.

“Harry Potter.” Ginny said, tapping the wood sharply with her wand. The scene on the wood began to change and no one moved from their position as Harry’s home appeared infront of them.

The three Dursleys were sat at the table, awaiting their tea whilst Harry busied himself around the kitchen, making it as quickly as he could. Bill sat on the worktop next to him, watching him cook. Soon there were four visible plates of chicken and rice on the worktop and a disillusioned one complete with disillusioned knives and forks for Bill. Harry set all the food down on the table, leaving Bills there since it would have looked odd for him to be carrying nothing to the table. He had eaten barely a mouthful when the phone rang and it was Harry who was ordered to answer it.

“It’s Mr Mason.” Harry said, handing the phone to his uncle. He remembered only too well the summer before his second year where he spent an evening pretending not to exist whilst talking to Dobby the house elf in his room. He went back to his seat and glanced down at his plate which was now empty. He glanced at Dudley’s and saw it now had twice the amount of food on it than it had had before he went to answer the phone. Harry sighed quietly and took his plate to the sink where he ran the water for the washing up.

“I can’t believe they don’t stop their son from stealing someone else’s food.” Hermione said as she watched Bill offer him some of his tea but Harry declined and muttered that he’d have tea later on.

Ten minutes later the room had cleared and Harry dried his hands from the washing up which he had just finished. From nowhere his uncle appeared infront of him.

“So what are you going to do about that window, boy?” Vernon asked him.

“What do you want me to do about it?” Harry asked wearily. This had happened too many times, not with windows but in general. He knew how things went: Vernon asked him questions, Harry was reasonably polite with his answers and Vernon knocked him down and left him lying on the kitchen floor. Today was no exception.

Remus got up from his seat at the table and walked out of the room without a word to anyone. He had seen enough. The last thing that had happened before he left was that Harry had been knocked down and knocked out by his uncle with one swift blow to the head which not even Harry had been fast enough to dodge. He was even at that moment lying on the floor, with blood pouring from the side of his face onto the clean lino flooring of the kitchen. He couldn’t believe the way they treated him and he couldn’t believe that they got away with it. Harry was just like a house elf to them, their slave who cooked and cleaned for them, he did the washing and he did the ironing and then he was periodically beaten up because of it. He entered his room and lay down on the bed, his mind lost in thought. It was his shift next at Privet Drive and he should have spent some time sleeping during the afternoon or he was sure to sleep during the night when he was meant to be watching Harry. He closed his eyes and hoped to get some sleep for a couple of hours until he had to go but it was no use, the house was silent and his room was just above the kitchen and he could hear indistinct mutterings from the room below. He sighed and cast a quick spell on the floor and suddenly he could hear as perfectly as if he were in the room with them.

Back downstairs everyone else was watching Harry carefully clean his cut in the mirror whilst Bill marched round the room insulting the Dursleys at the top of his voice.

“Forget it Bill, you can’t change anything.” Harry said quietly, “This is the way it’s always been.”

“But it doesn’t always have to be this way!” Bill argued with him, much louder than Harry had done, but then he wasn’t in danger of being overheard by the muggles and Harry was.

“As long as I live here then I live like this.” Harry said before he cast a quick concealment charm over his wound and he looked back to normal. Bill raised an eyebrow.

“How many of those charms do you have on you?” He asked Harry.

“Just two, I put a complete one over myself every morning and then there was that one then.” Harry said.

“Tonks saw you without it earlier.” Bill said, “That was why she was upset when I came, wasn’t it?”

“She saw it when it was fading, it’s worse than what she saw.” Harry replied quietly, keeping his eyes on the floor as he walked out of the kitchen and up to his room.

“Merlin.” Tonks murmured, “It was worse?!”

“Worse than what?” Charlie asked her.

“When I saw him earlier he had bruises all over him, on his face, on his neck and arms—” She replied miserably.

“On his neck?!” Ron said disbelievingly.

“Vernon had been throttling him.” She said quietly. The room was silent as they watched Harry playing chess with Bill.


***


It was half past eleven by the time everyone had gone to bed. They had stopped watching Harry soon after he and Bill started to play chess since it wasn’t particularly interesting. Tonks went to bed just as Remus was coming down the stairs and as they bid each other a good evening Tonks thought his eyes looked a little red, almost as if he had been crying but she shrugged it off as she went into her room.

Remus walked silently through the house and into the kitchen where he saw the replica of Privet Drive where Harry was in his room chatting to Bill. He smiled slightly as he stepped through the fireplace.


Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Eight

Moody paid the owl three knuts and it flew back out the open window. He glanced at the front page of the prophet and his good eye widened slightly in surprise.

EXPLOSION IN ST. MUNGO’S CLAIMS 10 LIVES

Early this morning an explosion ripped through the fourth floor of St. Mungo’s hospital, killing 10 people and injuring 8. Of the 10 that were killed only one was a member of the staff.

Mad Eye shook his head and handed the paper over to Remus and Dumbledore for them to read before taking it back to read the rest of the article. Snape, Charlie, Bill and Tonks sat on the other side of the table and read the story on their own papers.

On lighter news today, former Defence Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts school, Gilderoy Lockheart, has left St. Mungo’s after spending the last three years there after losing his memory. Nurses and healers were unable to discover what his loss of memory was triggered by and he stands by his story that he and two second year students entered the chamber of secrets on a rescue mission for a first year and it was lost there. Of course, as well all know, there is no chamber of secrets—

Mad eye stopped reading there and glanced up at Dumbledore.

“That fool taught defence against the dark arts?” He asked sceptically. Dumbledore nodded. “A man who believes in the chamber of secrets?!” He rolled both his eyes. Just then Ron, Hermione and the twins walked in and sat down to breakfast. Hermione pulled the Daily Prophet towards her and started reading the front page, the cereal she had been eating forgotten half way to her mouth.

“Lockheart’s got his memory back.” She said quietly. Ron and the twins gaped at her. Remus and Mad Eye watched her carefully.

“You’re kidding me.” Ron said, “Does Harry know?!”

Dumbledore tapped the piece of wood still on the centre of the table and said clearly “Harry Potter.”

“—But if he’s got his memory back then he’s going to come after me and Ron!” Harry said as he paced his bedroom. Professor McGonagall sat on his windowsill watching him.

“That man cannot take care of a room full of Cornish pixies.” She said coolly, “you should have no trouble from him.” Harry looked at her and grinned, at the table Ron and Hermione were laughing.

“How do you know about that?” Harry asked her.

“He spent almost an hour telling me that my second years had set a gang of them on him.” She said in the same tone of voice.

“That’s not the point though, he’s not trying to control an army of pixies, he’s going to destroy my memory and I’ve seen him cast memory charms, they’re really strong.” Harry said and his professor looked at him dubiously, “He managed to take away his own memory with a seriously faulty wand for three years.”

“How exactly did he manage to take away his own memory?” The professor asked him, “I don’t believe you ever mentioned that part of the tale.”

“He tried to take mine and Ron’s memories when we were down in the chamber of secrets but because he used Ron’s wand which he broke when…” Harry said and broke off.

“When you crashed Arthur Weasley’s flying car into the Whomping Willow?” She suggested. Harry’s cheeks pinkened and little and at the table in Grimmauld Place Ron had gone bright red and Molly was eyeing him murderously.

“Yeah.” He said, “Anyway it reversed itself and he just forgot who he was completely. He thought the chamber of secrets was Ron’s house.”

“No, the chamber of secrets is just a myth.” Moody said. “It’s not real!”

“So a dozen students got petrified by nothing I suppose? And Harry and Ron risked their lives for Ginny in an imaginary chamber?!” Molly almost shouted at him.

“Why couldn’t anyone find it until then?” Remus asked quietly.

“Because you need to be a parselmouth to open the chamber.” Hermione said casually.

“What?!” Moody, Tonks, Molly and Remus cried as one before Molly added, “Which one of them is a parselmouth?”

“Harry.” Fred replied, “We figured you knew.” The twins, Ron, Hermione and Dumbledore looked at the four other adults who looked shocked to say the least.

“Didn’t he once set a boa constrictor on his cousin?” Ron asked and the twins grinned.

“Yes. When he was eleven.” Dumbledore replied and then said to the four adults. “I hope this doesn’t bother you in anyway.”

“Being a parselmouth is the sign of a dark wizard.” Moody said quietly.

“Exactly.” Dumbledore said, “Voldemort transferred some of his power to Harry 14 years ago, I believe that being a parselmouth was one of those powers transferred.”

He looked at them all. Tonks and Remus accepted his explanation readily and were both wondering what Harry had told the boa constrictor to do to Dudley. Moody was a little apprehensive but after all this was The Boy Who Lived in question. Molly on the other hand was in a state close to hysteria.

“That boy is a parselmouth?!” she cried, horrified, “I cannot believe it! He’s evil! All this time I thought he was good! He is no longer welcome in my home, never, and I don’t want any of you four to see him again!” she said, spinning round to the four teenagers in the room.

“He saved Ginny, mum!” George shouted at her, “If he wasn’t a parselmouth then she’d be dead!” But his argument fell on deaf ears.

“Severus, please get Molly a calming draught.” He said to Snape who sat beside him. “Charlie, Bill, take her home to lie down.” The eldest Weasleys took their mother by both arms and stepped into the fireplace.

“The Burrow!” They said in unison as the flames turned green and they disappeared.

“Is this the reason you didn’t want Harry staying at the Burrow this summer?” Remus asked the headmaster once Molly, Bill, Charlie and Severus had gone. Dumbledore nodded. The twinkle in his eyes had died slightly.

“He saved Ginny though.” Fred was saying to no one in particular.

We saved Ginny!” Ron said hotly. The twins rolled their eyes but didn’t correct themselves.

“Someone should tell Harry about this.” Hermione said. Everyone looked around at each other until Tonks spoke up.

“I’ll do it, I’m on watch next.” She said unhappily. The four teenagers went upstairs to discuss Molly’s reaction amongst themselves and back in the kitchen Dumbledore left to do business elsewhere.

“Didn’t you know he was a parselmouth, Remus?” Tonks asked him, he shook his head in reply. “I thought you would have done, with you being his guardian and all.” A wave of unhappiness washed over Remus. Why hadn’t he known? Why had he never asked about the events of Harry’s years before he was in his life? He wondered what had happened in Harry’s first year as well and decided that he would ask Harry when he saw him next which would be that night. It seemed as though his second year had been highly eventful, perhaps as eventful as his other years which Remus knew about. Moody cast a look of exasperation at Tonks with his good eye and watched Remus with his magical one.

“Why would you know?” Moody spoke up, “It’s not the first thing you say to a new acquaintance ‘can you talk to snakes?’”

“I suppose.” Remus said quietly, eyes intent on the table. Still he should know more about Harry’s life than he did. He only knew anything about him from his being born to being almost two years old, and then there was an eleven year gap to when he was thirteen to his current age. A lot could happen in eleven years and it seemed that it had.

Back on the charmed wood the miniature Harry was being shouted at to come and make breakfast by Petunia.

“You get down here right now boy, or else you’ll regret it!” She screeched through the door. Harry rolled his eyes and walked towards the door, followed by Professor McGonagall.

“You’re not disillusioned.” He said to her. In reply she turned into a small tabby cat. Harry smiled and opened the door for her.

Petunia was stood at the bottom of the kitchen stairs with her hands on her hips, scowling at the scrawny boy who walked down them.

“Where did that awful looking cat come from?” She demanded of him. Harry heard the professor growl slightly from next to him.

“It’s one of Mrs Figg’s.” He said quickly. Next to Petunia Mrs Figg appeared and Harry hoped that she would support his story.

“Professor!” Mrs Figg cried, “I’ve been looking all over for you!” She reached out her hands and picked the feline up. Petunia merely raised her eyebrows at the unusual name for the cat and then grabbed Harry by his hair and ordered him to get in the kitchen and make bacon, eggs and sausage for her and Mrs Figg and told him not to forget the tea.

“Oh yes, and how exactly did you end up with the cat?” Petunia asked him as he walked towards the kitchen.

“I dunno, she just appeared in my room.” He replied, truthfully.

“A likely story you catnapper!” Petunia growled and he held back a laugh.

“A delinquent if ever I saw one.” Mrs Figg said from the hallway and Petunia agreed. Harry shook his head disbelievingly and started on breakfast.

***


“Come on Jamie!” Tom shouted over his shoulder, “We’re going to miss the bus!” Tom, Jamie, Harry and Steph raced down the streets to the town centre where a bus was just ready to leave. They ran faster and Harry got to the bus just in time and the four of them piled in, followed by a rather strict, invisible woman. They were going into the town to do some shopping, like they had planned the day before. No one was actually happy about the arrangements but Steph, Harry didn’t mind but would rather have been at home in the street doing something like rounders.

They went round the city centre to what seemed like every shop there until they finally finished shopping for the day and returned to their own homes for the time between four o’clock and seven – when Harry would be going to Tom’s house for tea since Tom’s parents had invited a group of people round.

Harry lay down on his bed. For once he was absolutely alone. Professor McGonagall had long since left at midday and Tonks had joined him in the afternoon, telling him the bad news about Mrs Weasley’s reaction to his parseltongue. Tonks had left once he had arrived back at the house since there was an Order meeting going on about Harry’s ability to speak to snakes and how best to help Molly.

Harry wasn’t pleased that the closest thing to a mother he had in the magical world had rejected him so suddenly and he closed his eyes and imagined infront of him a phoenix, a beautiful phoenix with bright green eyes and a small white zigzag on its forehead. He felt an odd sensation in his body and when he opened his eyes he was that bird he had seen in his mind. He smiled as he flew happily around the room. No one knew that he was an animagus but as much as he liked having a secret of his own, he wanted someone to share it with and his mind went to Remus. He flew into the fireplace and thought “12 Grimmauld Place” as he dropped the floo powder from his beak.

Remus watched as Molly rounded on Tonks who had been desperately trying to convince her that Harry wasn’t evil. Quite a few people were there that night, there was himself (obviously), Tonks, Molly, Arthur, the twins, Charlie, Bill and Professor McGonagall. Snape had been called to the Dark Lord and Dumbledore had been held up elsewhere. He stared into the fire and the fire stared back at him with bright green eyes. He jumped slightly as a beautiful phoenix flew from the flames and perched itself on his shoulder. Everyone glanced at it and then looked back to Molly. They all simply assumed the phoenix was Fawkes since no one but Dumbledore had one. Remus took the phoenix from his shoulder and put in onto his right forearm. He stared at it for some time, not caring what was going on in the background. Those green eyes were almost hypnotising and he brushed his finger over the small white lightning bolt on the birds head. This was not Fawkes, it was Harry. He stifled a gasp and his eyes widened. Harry turned from him and looked to Molly.

“I don’t care!” She screamed, “I will not have that boy, that parselmouth in my home ever again!”

Harry held onto Remus’ arm tighter as he felt misery take hold. He couldn’t believe it when Tonks told him how she had reacted, but seeing for himself was somehow so much more real to him and so much more awful.

“You are being completely unreasonable, Molly!” Moody barked at her. “Harry is not evil!”

“You were fine with him before you knew he was a parselmouth!” Professor McGonagall said, “What’s changed about him now that you know?”

“I wish I’d known sooner!” Molly cried. Harry had seen enough. He didn’t need to see anymore of this scenario because he could see from the determination on Molly’s face that’s she wouldn’t come around. Harry left Remus’ arm and flew back through the fire into his own room and collapsed on the bed, turning back to himself instantly.

“Get down here and make my tea!” Vernon shouted from downstairs. Harry dutifully complied and waited patiently for seven o’clock to arrive.

When it eventually did, Harry found himself running as fast as he could out of the house, followed by Remus who had appeared by the side of him just in time, he ran to the end of the street with Dudley following him all the way and Vernon stood outside the garden shouting insults at him. Steph, Tom and Jamie waited for him at the end of the street and greeted him warmly before starting to talk about the people who were invited to the small get-together Tom’s parents were having. Amongst these people were Steph’s parents, Jamie’s dad (since his parents were divorced), Mr Jackson from school and an assortment of people from the neighbourhood, most of whom Harry knew quite well. With the four teenagers there as well there were fifteen people altogether, not including little Emily who soon made herself comfortable curled up in Harry’s lap and chose to stay there. They barbequed for tea and everyone stayed until well past two in the morning. Harry spent much of that time chatting with various people, mostly Jamie, but he also talked to Mr Jackson a lot as well as Steph’s mum and dad. It was at half past two when Steven tapped his glass with his spoon and everyone went quiet.

“Well I have to say it’s been an enjoyable evening and so to end it all I would like to make a toast.” He said, “A toast to old friends.” He smiled and looked around at everyone gathered there, there was no one that he hadn’t known for ten years present.

“To old friends.” Everyone said and stood about talking and laughing for another five or ten minutes before they all left via taxi.

Harry walked home through the darkened roads with Remus at his side. He hadn’t taken the taxi home because none of them were going his way and he didn’t have the money to pay his share anyway. Neither he nor Remus spoke, they didn’t need to, and Harry approached his house and felt his happiness dwindle slowly away. He went to the front door and tried it. It was locked. He searched his pockets for his keys and pulled them out, before opening the door. Silently he and Remus entered the house, although because he was disillusioned Remus could have walked in and shouted at the top of his voice and no one but Harry would have heard. He crept up to his room and got into bed.

“Good night Harry.”

“Night Remus.”

Harry lay in bed for some time, dwelling on the events of the day and how horrified Molly was at his being a parselmouth. Lockheart was free again and almost certainly after his revenge. Poor Neville. His parents were dead now and he wondered whether or not it was a mercy on them. He smiled slightly, it was nice to know that he was considered as an old friend by Tom’s family and he curled up and went to sleep with the day running back through his head.


Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Nine

The week passed by slowly for Harry but soon it was Friday night. There had been nothing interesting or unusual happening through the few days since Molly found out he was a parselmouth and his birthday. Of course, Harry had forgotten it was his birthday; he had no reason to remember it. He just knew that it was the day he left the Dursleys to stay with Remus, something he was immensely happy about.

During the week little had happened with to the rest of the Order. They had mostly tried to turn Molly around to the fact that Harry certainly wasn’t evil but she wouldn’t hear it, not from her own husband. Dumbledore had received a letter from Neville’s grandmother and he had been corresponding steadily with her about the subject of Neville, who was barely coping with his parent’s deaths. Meanwhile Lockheart had been trying to gain more publicity by writing a new book, one entitled Beating the Basilisk but no one was buying it, to Ron’s satisfaction. Remus had tried in vain on at least two occasions to try and get up the courage to ask Harry what had happened in his first two years but he never quite managed it, although he was not sure why he was refusing to ask him.

“Get up boy!” Petunia screeched through the door. Harry rolled his eyes in exasperation. Even on his birthday he wasn’t allowed to stay in bed later than eight. “Get up now!”

“Alright, alright!” Harry shouted at her. Bill watched as he dragged himself out of bed and glanced back at his bed. Harry’s eyes widened slightly at the sight that met him. A small pile of presents lay at the foot of his bed and he could hardly believe it. He wasn’t used to getting so many gifts and he went back to his bed to open them. Bill sat down with him a moment later to watch.

Ron and Hermione had got together and bought him two books about defence against the dark arts (which Harry knew would have been Hermione’s idea) and a snitch (which was almost certainly Ron’s idea). The Weasley twins had given Harry loads of free things from Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes. Remus had given him a pensieve. Steph had bought him two books by Terry Pratchett which he had been wanting to read for quite some time, Jamie and Tom had bought him a mountain of chocolate and sweets and finally the Order had sent him a card signed by everyone except Molly which made Harry’s heart sink a little. They had charmed their names to do something, Professor McGonagall’s sparkled, Dumbledore’s shimmered, Tonk’s changed colours but the most annoying was Mad Eye’s which caused a mild electric shock to hit you when you read his name.

After looking at all his presents and cards, Harry took some clean clothes with him to the bathroom for him to change into after his shower. He showered quicker than usual and was in and out in five minutes and dressed in two seconds more. He walked back to his room with wet hair and pushed the door open.

He fell flat on the floor with three people on top of him. He heard laughter and he tried to move but couldn’t since he was at the bottom of the pile.

“Happy birthday, Harry!” Steph said and gave him a quick hug. The sentiment was repeated by Jamie and Tom and they all got up from the floor.

“Since when has it been customary to jump someone on their birthday?” Harry asked as he folded his pyjamas and put them under his pillow.

“Did you like our presents?” They all asked eagerly.

“They were all brilliant.” Harry smiled, “Help yourselves to the chocolate you gave me.” He added and all three of them started on the Maltesers that lay on his bed.

“Get up now you lazy child!” Petunia shouted through the door.

“I’m up!” Harry shouted at her, “Now for Christ’s sake shut up!” Jamie, Tom, Steph and Bill laughed. Around the table at Grimmauld Place Ron, Ginny and the twins did as well.

“Who’s Christ?” Ron asked Hermione but before she could recite the New Testament to him Remus butted in.

“I don’t think that breakfast is the time for religious explanations.” He said.

“What’s religion?” Ron asked and Hermione and Remus sighed.

“Pass the cereal.” Remus replied.

“I wonder if the Dursleys remembered your birthday this year.” Tom said to Harry.

“I’m certain of it.” Harry said darkly, “Which isn’t a good thing.”

“Didn’t Dudley come near to beating you to death on one of your birthday’s once?” Steph asked him offhandedly. Harry nodded.

“So far I’ve spent birthdays playing Harry Hunting, crying, cleaning, watching Dudley get presents just for the sake of it and pretending not to exist.” Harry said, “Thankfully, birthdays are only once a year.”

“You’re the only person I know who doesn’t look forward to their birthday.” Jamie said and shook his head.

“What do you reckon Harry Hunting is?” Tonks asked.

“Probably some form of hide and seek with Dudley that ends in him getting beaten up.” Fred said.

“Get down here this minute boy!” Petunia’s shouts filled the house once more, “And don’t you dare speak to me in that manner again!”

Harry sighed and went to the door.

“Are you coming?” He asked the three on his bed. They shook their heads. “A wise choice.” He said as he and Bill went down to the kitchen.

“Breakfast. Now.” Vernon commanded from his seat at the head of the kitchen table. Harry dutifully complied and soon the Dursley’s were greedily gobbling down their food. Harry didn’t bother making any for himself, there was no point since it all went to Dudley. He left the room after washing and drying up (but not before he left a few of Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes lying about the kitchen) and went back up to his room for a breakfast of chocolate.

“Did they remember then?” Jamie asked him.

“Nope. I think they might actually have forgotten this year.” Harry smiled slightly. There was a soft tapping at the window and Harry went to let Hedwig in. She carried a small letter for him.

Hello Harry

Happy birthday. I’ll pick you up at around half past nine tonight. Be ready.

Remus.


“I still think it’s weird you send letters with owls.” Tom said. Harry merely shrugged.

“I’ve to be back by about nine.” Harry said.

“Why?” Jamie asked him.

“Because Remus is picking me up at half past.” He replied. “I’m staying with him for the rest of the summer.”

“What?!” The three said in unison.

“I can’t believe you’re going away. You’re never here for more than a month a year!” Tom argued.

“I’ll come and see you still.” Harry promised them, “It just won’t be everyday.”

“You better come and see us.” Tom said threateningly which made Harry laugh.

“Anyway, what are we doing today?” Harry asked them. They didn’t know and due to their inability to make any form of decision soon found themselves back out in the street, in another large game of rounders which Bill, Tonks and this time Fred, George and Charlie joined in.

“It’s not fair!” Ron shouted at his mother. “Why do they get to see Harry on his birthday? I’m his best friend!” He scowled at all his miniature brothers who were laughing on the street with the miniature Harry. Hermione and Remus were sat at the table eating lunch and watching Harry as well. He was very good at the game, he was quick and had excellent reflexes, and from what they had seen throughout the week, his team nearly always won.

Ron was still furious at his mum for not letting him go and see Harry with his brothers. After all Harry was his best friend and had been for five years now, Hermione’s too, and neither of them had been allowed to go. Ron couldn’t help but wonder whether it was Harry’s being a parselmouth that made his mum so adamant in her decision but whether it was or wasn’t to do with that was irrelevant since he couldn’t go either way. Oh well, at least he wasn’t completely alone since Hermione had been staying with him for the last few weeks anyway and the twins had been accepted back into their home by their mum and although Molly was still annoyed that they had left school, she couldn’t deny that she had missed them terribly.

Remus glanced at Ron and couldn’t resist a smile. He was so desperate to see Harry again, mostly because Molly didn’t want them to see each other. Still, he had Hermione all to himself for a while which was making him very happy. Everyone knew that Ron had a crush on Hermione and had for quite some time, although he believed that Harry and Hermione liked each other instead. Remus was quite tempted to tell Ron just to ask her out, he knew that she wouldn’t turn him down since she liked him too and although Hermione liked Harry, it was nothing more than friendship. Harry himself, seemed to have enough on his mind anyway without adding girls into things. Remus thanked Molly for dinner and went upstairs to his room.

“Run Charlie!” Shouted Tonks from the piece of wood still on the table. Charlie was racing round the bases as quickly as possible and made it all the way round, even managing to beat Tom, who was a very good runner. Harry leant back against the wall across the street from his home, he had long since stopped playing but no one had actually noticed. He didn’t mind though, today was turning out quite well considering it was his birthday. He wished he was able to see Ron and Hermione though. He glanced up at his house and watched Petunia stood in the doorway, chatting with Mrs Figg and then his gaze wandered back to the game where Tonks was running round laughing.

The rest of the day had flown by. They had all spent another hour or so playing rounders in the street before they had all gone up to the park where half of them played football and the other half sat watching from in trees or from the grass by the pitch. Harry never played football; he just saw no attraction in the game and thought it was quite boring. He sat in a tree with Tonks and Bill, chatting happily for some time. In the end Tonks and the Weasleys had returned to the Burrow where they were having tea that night. Molly had stopped coming to Grimmauld Place after finding out Harry was a parselmouth since it was his house now Sirius had died. Harry had been sent a copy of the will of his godfather some days earlier which stated he owned Grimmauld Place but all Sirius’s money had been given to Remus, a situation which Harry was quite happy about, although he would rather not have owned Grimmauld Place either.

At 6pm Harry, Jamie, Tom and Steph left the park and went to Tom’s house where they were all having tea. Debbie and Steven were as hospitable as usual and Harry wouldn’t have left, had he not been eager as he was to spend the rest of the summer with Remus. Reluctantly he left Tom’s home at nine, after having to pull Emily from his leg since she was so reluctant to see him go. He walked through the streets accompanied by a small tabby cat that didn’t speak to him but just walked beside him. The door was locked already and Harry had forgotten his keys. He sighed and climbed into the tree in the Dursleys’ garden. He grabbed one of the branches and swung himself towards the house, his hand catching the windowsill of his own room and with great difficulty he managed to pull himself through his window. From behind him Professor McGonagall levitated herself up to the windowsill and transformed into her animagus form on the windowsill before climbing into Harry’s room as a small cat.

“Honestly Mr Potter, don’t you know anything?” Minerva asked him exasperatedly as she gave her wand a flick and all Harry’s clothes went neatly into his bag. She waved her wand again and they all flew back to their previous positions on his bed. “Try again.” She said. She had more patience with Harry than she had with most of her other students, mostly because she knew he could do it, it was just he who didn’t think that he could. Harry looked hard at the bag and told himself that he was going to do this since he was sick of trying; he had tried five times already and four of those times something had set on fire, on the other time he had managed to freeze Professor McGonagall in a solid block of ice and she was still shivering slightly, despite the warming spell she had put on herself. He flicked his wand in the same fashion that his professor had done and his clothes flew inside, although not nearly as neat as Professor McGonagall’s had been, it was certainly a start.

“Better than before, I suppose.” She said. It was the closest she was going to come to actually telling him well done, they both knew that. “Good evening Remus.” She said as a tired looking man stepped through the fireplace.

“Good evening.” He smiled in return, “Ready to go Harry?”

“Yeah.” Harry said as he shrank his bag down so that it would fit into his pocket. Professor McGonagall looked at him with something close to a smile on her face.

“At least your shrinking spells have improved.” She observed. Harry smiled slightly and he shrank Hedwig’s cage to a similarly pocket friendly size. He glanced around the room for anything he would want but saw nothing. He had put everything else, such as his firebolt, in his bag, shrunk to make it fit.

“The address is ‘13 Parkview Close.’” Remus said to Harry before he walked through the flames. Harry put his own floo powder in the fire and followed him through, saying the same address. He eventually fell out of a fireplace and landed on Remus who had been pulling himself up from the floor.

“Sorry.” Harry smiled. “Never quite got the hang of staying on my feet.”

“Me neither.” Remus said as Harry helped him up. Harry’s gaze wandered over the room he was in. It was a well lit kitchen-dining room with one small table against the wall with four chairs around it and a small note was on the table. Harry glanced at it and Remus picked it up.

Remus,

Order meeting tomorrow night, 9:30. Be there or be dead.

Tonks


Remus rolled his eyes at Tonks’ way of putting things and made a cup of tea for himself and Harry. He watched as Harry gazed around the room at the place he would call home for the next month. It wasn’t much, it wasn’t anything in comparison to Grimmauld Place, but he preferred to be here than at Sirius’ old home. The room was lit by some soft lighting from under the cupboards which hung over the worktop. The floor was a dark green lino and the room was green in general. There was a backdoor which led out onto a small street behind the house. In the middle of the room was a small round table with four chairs around it and on two of these chairs sat Remus and Harry.

“Come on, I’ll show you around.” Remus said to Harry, “I’m afraid it’s not much…”

“It’s better than the Dursleys’ any day.” Harry said as he walked through the kitchen door into the hall. The hall was high and painted a dark red colour but before he had chance to look at it much Remus steered him through a door to his left into the lounge. To Harry it seemed like half a library. One wall was completely taken up with books and there was another fireplace in the room, which was wallpapered a dark blue. There was a chess set in the corner which had a game in progress and a small desk in one corner of the room with a half written letter on it. After looking at the lounge Remus showed Harry upstairs to Remus’ room, the bathroom and Harry’s own room. For the moment the room was a pale blue with a double bed in the centre of one wall with a window to the side. Upon looking out of the window Harry saw a beautiful view of a park filled with people of all ages walking, running and laughing.

“Feel free to change the room as you wish.” Remus said to Harry, “No one stays here anymore; Grimmauld Place is the centre of things now.” Harry glanced up at the ceiling which was black with a few stars dotted on it here and there and his mind went to the ceiling in the hall at Hogwarts. He wondered how difficult it was to enchant a ceiling. From his pockets Harry took Hedwig’s now tiny cage and put it on the bedside table with his case which he reminded himself to put back to a normal size before he went to bed.

For the rest of the evening Remus and Harry played chess once or twice until Harry got bored of losing and sat and talked about anything and everything that came to mind until past midnight when they both retired to bed, both feeling happier than they had in some time. Remus glanced at Harry before they went to their separate rooms, a bruise had appeared on his cheek during the last hour and it was getting stronger and stronger, as were marks on his neck and he guessed that Harry’s concealment charm had reached its end. He wondered whether or not he would put it back on in the morning as he got into bed and fell asleep.


Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Ten

Remus woke up the next morning and lay staring at the ceiling for some time, trying to remember why he felt odd. It seemed to him as if there were something different, and he couldn’t put his finger on it until his mind wandered to Harry. He glanced at the clock by his bed and it read 10:17. It was unusual for him to sleep in so late, due to his normally being awake by eight from constant nightmares or because it was his turn to watch over Harry. He pulled himself out of bed and showered quickly. With a quick wave of his wand he was dry and in clean robes. He opened the door and stepped out onto the landing, contemplating what to do next. It was quite late and Harry was generally awake by now so he went down to his room and knocked softly on the door.

“It wasn’t my fault!” Harry said to Sirius who stood there, staring at him with his cold black eyes, which were utterly devoid of forgiveness.

“Not much.” Sirius said coldly, “If it hadn’t been for you then I would never have had to go in there, neither would anyone. We could all have been killed at it’s your entire fault. You should be grateful only I died!”

There was a flash of green light and a scream. Harry staggered backwards as his late godfather changed suddenly into Tom Riddle as he had been at school; he wore school robes with the Slytherin emblem on the front and a small snake coiled itself around his wrist.

“You can never escape Harry.” He said in a cold voice that was not his own, “You will not triumph over me but instead fall in battle after seeing all your friends die for you. I will make you welcome death Harry Potter and there is nothing you can do about it. Am I right Harry?”

Harry did not answer him but stood frozen infront of him as the snake moved towards him, hissing.

“Harry? Answer me Harry. You will fail.” Tom spoke to him, sneering at him, “Harry?”


“Harry?” Remus said, shaking the boy under the duvet gently as he woke him. Harry gasped for breath as his bright green eyes snapped wide open and he sat up suddenly. Infront of him was no longer Tom Riddle but his guardian, Remus Lupin. Harry closed his eyes and lay back on his pillow. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, just another stupid dream.” Harry said. “What time is it?”

“Half past ten.” Remus replied, “I suggest you get up.”

Half an hour later the two of them were sat down in the kitchen, eating a breakfast of egg and bacon sandwiches cooked by Remus, who wouldn’t let Harry so much as make him a cup of tea. Harry glanced up upon hearing a slight tapping at the window and saw Hedwig pecking at the window to be let in. He flicked his wand at the window and it opened, allowing the snowy owl to fly in to him. She dropped a letter in his lap before flying up through the house to Harry’s room. The letter was for arrangements to meet Ron and Hermione at Diagon Alley that afternoon.

“What are you doing today then?” Remus asked Harry.

“Meeting Ron at Gringotts at 2.” Harry replied, “You?”

“I’m going into Diagon Alley at around midday for a look round.” Remus told him.

“Do you mind if I come with you and then meet Ron later?” Harry asked him.

“Of course not.” Remus smiled as he cleared the table with a quick wave of his wand.

For the hour between his breakfast and when he would be going to Diagon Alley, Remus showed Harry how to use his pensieve and he also started work on charming his bedroom ceiling to resemble the sky. It wasn’t going as quickly as Harry would have liked but at least it was a light blue by the time Remus walked in to tell him they were going in five minutes.

“Harry, we’re go—” Remus started but never finished as a bolt of lightning hit him from the sky blue ceiling. The bolt knocked him down and a moment later he was being helped to his feet by an apologetic Harry. Another bolt came Remus’ way as he left the room but Harry deflected it quickly with a shield charm.

“I don’t think my ceiling likes you very much.” Harry told him in the kitchen a moment later.

“That’s quite irritating, it being my house and all.” Remus said as he threw the floo powder into the kitchen fire. “Diagon Alley.”

“Diagon Alley.” Harry said a moment later as he stepped into the flames. Everything started to spin, faster and faster until he fell out of a fireplace in the Leaky Cauldron. Remus caught him as he stumbled out of the fireplace. “Bloody floo.” Harry muttered as he brushed himself down.

Remus was surprised how quickly Harry was surrounded by people in the Leaky Cauldron, all wanting to greet him and talk to him. Harry managed to escape and he and Remus walked down to Flourish and Botts, where, to Harry’s utter horror, Gilderoy Lockheart was doing a book signing. Remus walked round the large section on Defence Against the Dark Arts, followed by Harry, who kept his eyes on Lockheart’s location as well as he could. It was times like that he wished he had Moody’s magical eye.

“He can’t do anything to you in the middle of a book shop.” Remus told Harry as he leapt behind a bookshelf to avoid the self-satisfied look of Lockheart who was surrounded by women, one of whom was Mrs Weasley, which meant that the rest of the Weasley’s would be around somewhere.

After ten minutes or so of looking round Flourish and Botts, Remus left the shop, with Harry close behind after a cool greeting from Molly Weasley and a loud shout of “Hallo Harry!” from Lockheart as they exited.

They shopped round for another half an hour, although neither of them actually bought anything. Remus almost had to drag Harry out of Quality Quidditch Supplies, before they both went down to Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes and were amazed at how full it was. The twins were stood in the midst of it all demonstrating Skiving Snackboxes, although upon seeing Harry and Remus, they stopped their demonstration and went over to greet them.

“Business is really great.” Fred told them.

“So I see.” Harry grinned and looked around at the crowds of people pushing and shoving around them.

“I think it’s time for a break, Fred.” George said to his brother.

“I agree.” Fred said and after closing the shop, to the dismay of their customers, the four of them walked up to Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour where a large group of people were sat on a very long table outside. Upon their arrival, Dumbledore, Tonks, Mad Eye, McGonagall, Arthur, Bill, Charlie, Hagrid, Ron, Ginny and Hermione all greeted them warmly, and even Snape nodded in acknowledgement of their existence, but Molly sat at the end of the table and did not greet them at all. Harry felt the hurt inside him at being so rejected by her but did not comment. As the four of them moved closer to the table it expanded magically, making four seats at the opposite end of the table to Molly where Remus sat down between Arthur and Harry, who sat next to Fred and opposite Ron and Hermione. Soon they were all in the midst of conversation, even Snape, and most of them laughing and joking amiably. People came and went from the table and as Snape left to go shopping elsewhere, Professor Flitwick came to join them as well as a large number of the D.A. Soon the number at the table was more than thirty and two tables were taken up – one filled with the adults and the other with the teenagers. Remus glanced at Harry who was talking to Neville on the other table before being pulled into a debate about Lockheart by Arthur.

“Hey everyone.” Oliver Wood greeted the table full of the D.A. as he came over to join them with Angelina Johnson and Katie Bell. He was soon bombarded with questions about playing for Puddlemere United but soon managed to get talking with Harry, who he was pleased to hear was still playing as the seeker, and exceedingly well (or so said Katie Bell). On numerous occasions they saw Malfoy and his father march past, casting a contemptuous look at them all as they did so. They all knew that Malfoy wasn’t stupid enough to start a fight with them when there was a large chance of him being cursed into the middle of next week.

“Merlin, look who’s coming our way!” Lavender Brown squealed excitedly as Gilderoy Lockheart came marching through the street and stopped by their table. Everyone froze and stared up at him but none of the adults seemed to have noticed. Lockheart was looking right at Harry and Ron who had their wands in their hands already.

“Good day Mr Potter, Mr Weasley.” Lockheart greeted them both with an incredibly false smile. Still no one moved. Most of the people at the table knew that Harry and Ron had somehow been a part of his losing his memory in their second year and although none of them knew what Lockheart was about to do, they knew he was going to attack them both in some way. With amazing speed Gilderoy raised his wand and cried “Obliviate!”. Everyone ducked and the Order leapt to their feet but not before Harry, Neville and the Weasley twins had hit him with an interesting variety of curses.

Arthur Weasley got to his feet and bound Lockheart securely with ropes which shot from the end of his wand and wound themselves round his wrists and his ankles. “I’ll see you all later.” He told them before he and Lockheart disappeared. Outside Florean Fortescue’s there was a stunned silence before bickering broke out amongst the adults.

“He could have had his memory wiped!” Tonks shouted at Mad Eye. “If you saw him then you should have done something about it!”

“There was no proof he was going to do anything, especially in such a crowded street.” Moody argued.

“Is this the same Mad Eye Moody?” McGonagall asked, “With the philosophy of ‘hex fist, ask questions later’?”

Remus rolled his eyes and felt an odd sensation on his hand. He looked down and saw that there was writing on it.

Me and Neville gone down to Flourish and Botts to escape the madness.

See you later.

Harry


A smile crossed his face as he wiped the note from his hand and thought of Harry. Okay then, don’t be too long. And a moment later that thought appeared on Harry’s own hand.

“What’s that?” Neville asked, looking down at Harry’s hand.

“Just a note from Remus.” Harry replied. He wanted to talk to him about his parents and see whether or not he was okay but he wasn’t sure if he could manage it without somehow upsetting him. He knew how unbearably sensitive he could be about Sirius nowadays and since Neville had just lost both parents, he knew he was going to be a lot worse.

“I heard about St. Mungo’s.” Harry said to him quietly. Neville stared hard at the floor and said nothing. “Are you alright?”

“I’m better than I was.” Neville said softly, “I suppose I’m glad they’re in a better place now.” Sensing that Neville had said all he was going to say on the subject of his recently deceased parents, Harry changed the subject.

“I know what will cheer you up a little.” He said and glanced over at Snape who was walking over to the Order. “Come on.”

Harry and Neville ran up behind Professor Snape as quietly as they could and drew their wands. Harry grinned and muttered a few charms at their potions master and Neville followed suit.

Remus bit his lip to stop him from laughing out loud at Snape whose hair had just turned bubblegum pink and was slowly plaiting itself into pigtails. His robes too, had turned a bright red and now read “Gryffindor Forever’ across the front in gold. It was a moment before anyone dared move and Snape had yet to realise what was happening to him. At the other table, filled with students, no one had seen him yet, but with his latest look it wasn’t long until they did. There was a shout of laughter from the Weasley twins and soon everyone on their table was in hysterics. Professor McGonagall could no longer contain herself and started to laugh herself, soon joined by Remus and everyone else, even Dumbledore. Snape turned brick red before removing the charms on himself. He spun round to face the table of adolescents and noticed immediately that Harry was missing.

“Potter!” He shouted at the top of his voice and stared round the street, hoping to see him. Harry and Neville had already started to move and were soon sat down in their places at the table.

“Yes professor?” Harry asked him as innocently as possible from the end of their table. Snape had never been so angry as he marched towards him, wand raised. Remus, Tonks and Moody instantly got to their feet and ran after him.

“Don’t do anything rash.” Moody muttered to him and with the help of Tonks and Remus he managed to turn the livid man around.

“Nice pigtails.” Someone said from Harry’s table and everyone burst out laughing once more as Snape’s hair started to plait itself again.

“That’s it!” Roared Snape and he tore himself from the grip of the three people and launched himself across the table at Harry, who leapt out of the way and he and Neville raced down the street, with Snape close behind but no one bothered to stop him.

Harry had never run so fast in his life as his potions master ran after him, filled with fury. He knew he was going to pay for it and dearly, but he had cheered Neville up to no end and seeing Snape with bright pink pigtails and sporting a Gryffindor robe was definitely worth it.

“I’ll get you for this Potter!” Snape screamed at them, “If it’s the last thing I do!”

Harry and Neville stopped outside Eeylop’s Owl Emporium as they caught their breath. After a minute of gasping for air and laughing they both wandered inside to have a look around. Neville’s eye was caught by a Tawny owl and he looked at it longingly.

“I wish I could afford an owl.” He said miserably. Harry smiled and took the owl to the counter, paying 15 galleons for him. Neville stared in amazement as Harry handed the owl to him.

“But…” Neville managed to say.

“It’s a late birthday present.” Harry smiled and they started to walk back to Florean Fortescue’s, encountering Neville’s grandmother on the way, who was delighted to see Neville had a friend and was more so when she saw who it was.

Remus watched Harry across the road, talking to Neville and his grandmother, wearing that ridiculous hat with the stuffed vulture on top. Neville was holding an owl in one hand and telling his grandmother something. Harry wasn’t saying anything, just standing there and listening to what Neville had to say. Remus smiled, an occurrence which had been quickly losing its rarity value, and just watched Harry from a distance. He could barely keep his eyes from him, it wasn’t that he was worried about him or anxious for his safety – Harry could look after himself better than many grown wizards he knew, and it just pleased him to see Harry happy.

Sirius rocked back on his chair next to Remus and prodded him in the face but Remus didn’t respond.

“He can’t feel it Sirius.” James told him, “There’s no point.”

“I know.” Sirius sighed. His gaze travelled over the crowded street, filled not only with the living but with those in the world beyond. He watched Harry talking to Neville’s grandmother with Neville next to them and next to him stood Frank and Alice who watched their son with sadness. He was still getting used to things here in Death. Well for one thing he had to realise that it wasn’t death, just a place to wait for Harry and Remus before the five of them left for the real Death together. It depressed him terribly to watch the effects of his demise on Harry and Remus, neither of them had been able to cope with it, although if there was one thing Sirius was glad for it was that he hadn’t had to see Harry cut his wrists, it had only been Lily who had seen that and she had cried for a very long time after.

Sirius glanced over at Lily who was sat on the table next to Molly. He was still furious at the way she had shunned Harry, but that was nothing to how angry Lily had been; it had taken all the calming force of James for almost an hour to make her stop shaking with fury. It was strange in death how everything living seemed dulled down somewhat, and the dead seemed more full of life than ever, life seemed to be behind some dull light filter.

“Yo, Remus!” Sirius said and tried to kick Remus but his foot went through him. That was also another problem; the living just weren’t real to those in death. That was the one thing which was stopping Lily (and James and himself, come to think of it) from just wrapping her arms around Harry and not letting go. Over on the other side of the road Harry was saying goodbye to the Longbottoms and he walked back towards his friends outside the ice cream parlour.


Snape glared angrily at Harry and it took a quick spell from Tonks to bind him into his chair to prevent him from leaping to his feet and going for the young boy’s throat. Harry sat down between Ron and George and started talking about Quidditch.

“Well we’re going to see the Cannon’s play Puddlemere on Saturday, maybe you can come too.” Ron said to his best friend.

“I don’t think Mum would be happy about that arrangement.” Fred muttered, glancing down at the table at Molly, who seemed to be unhappy about the fact that Harry was sat near her sons.

“I reckon you’re right.” Sirius said to Fred, although he wasn’t heard.

“Well we may as well try and ask.” Ron said, “If Hermione’s allowed to come and you’re not that’s a bit unfair.”

Harry watched as Ron got up and walked down to Arthur, who he thought had a better chance of agreeing to let Harry come to the game with them.

“Dad.” Ron asked, out of Molly’s hearing. “Can Harry come to the match with us on Saturday?”

“I don’t think your mother would approve.” Arthur said quietly. He looked down the table at Molly who was watching them carefully.

“Wouldn’t approve of what, Arthur?” She asked. Everyone on the adults table had gone quiet and due to their peculiar silence everyone on the younger table had done the same.

“Ron wanted to know whether Harry could come to the game on Saturday.” Arthur said, a tone of resignation in his voice; he already knew how Molly would react and Harry seeing her do so would not be very good for the boy.

“Most certainly not!” Molly said, horrified that her husband would even have the nerve to suggest such a thing. “It’s bad enough with Ron associating with that parselmouth as it is!”

“How dare you! You awful woman!” Lily shouted at her and cast a variety of hexes at the living woman before James could get there in time to calm her.

There was an audible gasp from the table at which Harry sat and everyone just stared at Mrs Weasley with stunned looks on their faces. They all knew that Harry was a parselmouth and none of them had any problem with it, he had saved Ginny Weasley from the Chamber of Secrets hadn’t he? At the other table half the people stared at Molly and the rest looked to Harry to see how he reacted. Unexpectedly enough it wasn’t Harry’s notorious temper which reacted first, it was Ron who looked absolutely furious.

“How the hell can you be like this?!” He shouted at her, “He saved Ginny’s life! She’d be dead if he wasn’t a parselmouth!”

There was a murmur of agreement from Harry’s table but the adults stayed quiet, watching what would happen next. Harry got up from his seat and walked away down the street, disappearing almost instantly into the crowd.

Back outside the ice-cream parlour, Ron shot his mother a disgusted look and ran after Harry through the crowd, quickly followed by the rest of the younger table. Molly got up herself and marched off in the opposite direction down the street.

“If the fact that he saved her only daughter won’t bring her round then what will?” Mad Eye asked them all as they watched her leave. They did not run after her as the others had done with Harry, there was no need; she would come back, where as Harry wouldn’t.


Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Eleven

“I’ll come and see you the day after tomorrow then.” Ron said to Harry before he, Hermione and the rest of his family stepped through the flames back to the Burrow. No one had seen Molly for two hours and they all assumed that she had gone home after her outburst against Harry.

“Hey Remus.” Harry said, a little absentmindedly, to his guardian who apparated from the other end of the Alley. Harry’s head was still reeling with everything that had happened during a visit to Diagon Alley. In only a few hours he had been happily shopping with Remus, met the rest of the D.A. for the first time since Seamus had died, almost had his memory obliviated by Lockheart, cursed Snape, been chased down the street by him, had Molly voice her loud opinion against him, bought Neville an owl and been part of a conversation with him and his grandmother.

Remus looked at Harry and considered asking him whether or not he was okay, but there was very little point. Remus had known Harry long enough to tell when he was and wasn’t going to talk to him, and it was definitely the latter today. He couldn’t help but wonder what Dumbledore had been saying earlier on; he knew it had been something about Neville and his parents but his mind had been focused on Harry at the time and by the time his thoughts had returned to the present the conversation had finished. He threw the floo powder into the flames in the Leaky Cauldron and, after speaking his address, he stepped inside.

Harry lay on his bed, adding thought after thought to his pensieve. It was rather full now and he had just a few memories left that he wanted to put in it. It was an odd feeling when he used the pensieve – the memory he removed was not completely gone but it could no longer intrude on his mind unless he started to think about it purposefully. He thought hard about his first year when he was trying to escape Quirrel and pulled the memory from his mind, putting into the pensieve with all his other awful memories. Now he had taken almost every memory he had from his mind he lay back on his bed and set to work with the ceiling again.

Remus walked into Harry’s room later that evening and found him lying asleep on his bed. His wand was still in his hand and the book he had been using to charm the ceiling lay next to him. He glanced up and saw that the ceiling was a mixture of reds and oranges. Remus looked out of the window and saw that it matched the sky outside perfectly. The sky in the room was clear, although outside it was beginning to cloud and Remus wondered why the sky should be so different in the two places. He looked down at the book and realised that Harry was charming the ceiling to reflect his mood, his eyes widened slightly; it was quite advanced for someone of his age to be able to charm a ceiling to that degree – Professor Flitwick would be pleased. Remus had no doubt that he’d managed to charm the ceiling to that degree, he looked at the boy and he was sleeping peacefully and his eyes wandered to the most likely reason: a full pensieve. So that was the reason for his being so peaceful. Remus moved away from the bowl; he had a great problem with avoiding other people’s pensieves. The last time he had ended up falling into one that did not belong to him Dumbledore had not been very pleased, but then the memories he had seen had been ones which were not particularly pleasant. Harry wouldn’t mind that much would he? A more awful voice in his head said that Harry wouldn’t have to know. He knew that Harry would have to know, it wasn’t right for him to see all his memories (and it certainly looked like they were all of them) and then not tell him he had done so, but then again it wasn’t right for him to see them without his permission anyway.

Throughout his internal battle, Remus wasn’t aware that his feet were inching him closer and closer to the pensieve. He stopped right infront of it and realised that there was no way he could prevent himself from doing this. He moved his face close to the silvery liquid in the bowl and as the tip of his nose touched the silver, he was sucked inside the bowl.

Remus looked around him and saw nothing but darkness. There were shouts coming from downstairs “How did I know it was from downstairs?” Remus asked himself. There was a cold laugh and shivers ran down his spine. There was a green flash of light and Remus gasped, knowing what he had just seen and heard. He wanted to get out, badly, but there was no way for him to get out unless the owner of the pensieve pulled him out, or unless he waited for the memories to finish. Generally memories were just randomly put into the bowl but Harry seemed to have put most things in chronological order, Remus noticed as he watched a nine year old Harry being chased round the garden by an angry looking dog until he managed to climb up a tree. Everything sped up and he realised that by looking at the moon it was past midnight. A large fat woman came marching out of the house, shouted at Harry and carried the little dog into the house, before locking Harry out of it.

It seemed like forever to Remus, that he walked round Harry’s memories from everything since his parents’ death to part way through his fourth year when he was getting ready to go into the third challenge in the Triwizard tournament. He followed Harry as he went round the maze and he turned and saw another Harry behind him.

“Hello.” Harry said to him, a slight smile on his face, this one was most definitely older and twirled his wand in his hand. Remus was speechless for a moment, not for a minute had he considered the consequences of his actually being caught in the pensieve.

“Harry… I…” Remus tried. He had nothing to say, he couldn’t defend himself.

“It doesn’t matter.” Harry said, knowing that he was trying to apologise for walking into his memories. “Do you want to see anymore?”

“Can I see the rest of this year?” Remus asked him. He had never talked to Harry about his fourth year and he quite wanted to know what had happened and yet at the same time he feared what had happened at the end; all he knew was that Harry had been forced into seeing Voldemort, who had taken some of his blood to assist his rebirth. He knew no details of what had actually happened that night.

“Sure.” Harry said and stood next to him. Time had carried on going by as they had stood talking together. The memory of Harry touched the cup with Cedric and the scenery changed.

“Kill the spare.” A cold voice said and with a green flash Cedric dropped dead. Remus stayed close to Harry throughout the end of the memories of his year and watched the events in horror, gasping when he was put under the Cruciatus curse.

Remus was shaking when he and Harry emerged from the pensieve some time later. He couldn’t speak. He had known Harry’s years had never exactly been any fun but seeing them all was awful confirmation of just how bad they had been. He sat on the end of Harry’s bed and Harry lay down where he had been before and stared up at the ceiling which had now partly clouded over with dark clouds, although some of it remained clear and the stars twinkled at them. Remus stayed in his room for some time, talking to each other of anything but Harry’s past, but soon the thoughts milling around Remus’ mind became too much for him and he left for his own room where he lay on his own bed with Harry’s memories filling his head.

Harry stared up at the ceiling. He felt utterly wretched; upon coming out of the pensieve he had taken all his memories with him and now his mind was filled with all that had previously troubled him, as well as Remus’ current unhappiness. He hated that he made Remus unhappy with his past; it wasn’t his to worry about and he, Harry, should deal with his own problems instead of inflicting them onto other people. How could he never do anything right? He had not been with Remus for more than 24 hours and yet he had managed to make him miserable. He felt like a curse on everyone. He had killed his parents, his godfather, Cedric, Seamus and now Remus would be next, he could feel it. This thought made him so unhappy that he instinctively pulled up his shirt sleeve on his left arm. The marks of agony stood out as bright red criss-crosses down his forearm. He put his hand into the drawer by the side of the desk and pulled out a shard of glass from his father’s old mirror from school. He stared hard at it before throwing it across the room where it landed by the door. Harry curled up into a ball on his bed and shivered slightly, it was cold but he didn’t care about that. All he wanted right then was for his miserable existence to end and he could do it so easily. He tried to push all thought from his mind. He had to stay alive if only for everyone else, after all suicide was such a selfish option. Eventually he managed to fall into a troubled sleep.

Remus twirled his wand between his fingers as Harry had done before and stared into space. He should go talk to Harry and see if he was okay. Why wouldn’t he be? Part of his mind asked him. It happened a long time ago, if there was any time when he would have needed you then that time would have been about one year ago. He knew that Harry was unhappy though, and he didn’t know why. Remus was certain of one thing however, that lying on his own bed wasn’t going to help in any way. He got up from his bed and walked over to the door. As he went to Harry he was certain in himself that it was him that he was helping, never himself, but he was helping himself. Just being around Harry in the first place was helping him and knowing what was bothering Harry, no matter how bad it was, would make him to worry less also.

He took a deep breath and pushed Harry’s bedroom door open before stepping inside. It was raining. Not actual rain of course, but little water droplets which disappeared before they touched anything. The room was grey from the cloud but as Remus entered the moon slid out from behind some of the clouds, illuminating the room for him. Had Remus not been so worried about Harry he would have spent some time just watching the rain fall in his room but as it was he stepped in swiftly. There was a crack from beneath his foot and he pulled back to see a glass shard on the floor. The tip had dried blood on it and Remus realised where he had seen it before. Fear filled him and he froze on the spot, afraid to go to Harry and check whether he was okay, he feared the worst and would rather the uncertainty than seeing the boy bleeding excessively from his wrists. He promised he would never do this again… his mind reminded him as he mechanically walked towards the bed and daren’t look down in terror of what he would see.

His knees almost gave out from underneath him and he sat down next to Harry on the bed. He reached out his hand and took his left arm in his hand. The marks there were all fading and none had been done for some time. He felt sadness at seeing what Harry had once done to himself and at the same time he felt relief wash over him. He must have thrown it to stop himself. Remus thought as his gaze wandered over to the shards of glass on the floor. He ran his fingers lightly through Harry’s dark hair and he could have sworn that the rain lessened slightly. He lifted his wand and carefully put Harry to bed using a variety of spells.

“Sleep well.” Remus murmured before exiting the room.


Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Twelve

Harry opened his eyes. It was two weeks after he had almost cut himself once more and the moment his eyes flickered open the sun on his ceiling began to rise. The ceiling was clear of clouds and there was a vague smile on Harry’s face, it was becoming less and less unusual for him to wake in a good mood. He pulled himself out of bed and went to get a shower before wandering down to breakfast.

It was too early for Remus yet; after a fortnight of living with him, Harry knew his sleeping patterns and had quickly learnt that he generally rose at around half past nine. He pulled his wand out of his pocket and waved it over the general direction of the fridge and murmured a few words. As soon as he had done so, bacon, eggs and sausages flew out of it and began to cook themselves over the stove. Harry waved his wand again and the kettle filled itself with water and started to boil.

After a few minutes Harry had made a quick breakfast with a cup of strong tea which he conjured a tray for and levitated upstairs. He knocked on Remus’ door and upon receiving no reply he entered. His guardian lay fast asleep under his duvet and Harry thought it a shame to wake him, but he did so anyway, knowing that he would much prefer a hot breakfast and an early waking to a cold one and a slightly longer lie in. He reached out and shook Remus gently, breakfast still hovering behind him.

“Wake up.” Harry said and shook him a little harder. Remus opened his eyes.

“Morning,” He yawned, sitting up. Harry levitated his breakfast to him and Remus smiled before taking it out of the air. Harry sat on the end of the bed and chatted to him whilst he ate, after a few mornings of his making his breakfast it had become something of a routine so neither of them was surprised when Hedwig came pecking on Remus’ bedroom window. Harry took the letter she carried before opening the door and letting her fly down the landing to his own room.

The letter was from Hogwarts but it was slightly thicker than usual. Harry’s stomach twisted when he realised that his OWL results were most likely the reason for the added thickness and he stared at the letter.

“OWL results?” Remus asked him.

“Probably.” Harry replied.

“And aren’t you going to open them?” Remus asked him. Harry looked apprehensively at the envelope before opening it. The first page in there was indeed his OWL results.

Dear Mr Potter

We are glad to send you the results of your OWL examinations taken last June. We are pleased to inform you that you achieved the highest grade in your year group in defence against the dark arts, congratulations. Your results are graded with the following marking scheme:

O – Outstanding
E – Exceeds Expectations
A – Acceptable
P – Poor
D – Dreadful

Defence against the dark arts – O
Potions – O
Transfiguration – E
History of Magic – A
Charms – O
Astronomy – P
Herbology – E
Divination – D
Care of Magical Creatures – E

Please complete the form attached stating which four subjects you will take for your NEWTs. Please note that potions will not take anyone who has achieved below O and transfiguration will not accept anyone below E.


Harry stared at the piece of paper infront of him. He had somehow managed to get an O in potions. He couldn’t believe it. He was very pleased with the fact that he had the highest mark in defence against the dark arts, meaning that for once he had beaten Hermione in something. Of course she had beaten him in everything else but he didn’t care. He was dragged back to the real world by Remus waving his hand infront of his face.

“Well?” He said impatiently, “Let me see.” Harry held the paper out to Remus, still in a state of shock and looked into the envelope for the form for his NEWTs. He found it and looked down the list of available subjects, as he did so he absentmindedly summoned his quill and ticked the boxes next to charms, transfiguration and defence against the dark arts before he stopped. He stared hard at the box labelled ‘potions’ before shaking his head and ticking it. He couldn’t believe that he had just given himself another two years with Snape. The letter folded itself up instantly and disappeared with a pop, before being replaced in his hand by another letter, this one containing the list of books he would need for the next year. He glanced over them quickly and automatically checked the authors for ‘Gilderoy Lockheart’; he had been doing so automatically since before his third year, just in case the teacher saw fit to come back. Thankfully this year, just like his previous three, had no Lockheart books assigned to him.

“I wish you didn’t want to be an auror.” Remus said absentmindedly as he sent his plate and cup of tea back down to the kitchen with a flick of his wand.

“Why not?” Harry asked him, and wondered how he had come to the conclusion that he did want to be an auror. He supposed it had been the options he chose for NEWTs.

“Because it’s dangerous and difficult and you’re likely to get dead.” Remus said frankly.

“Yeah well chances are that I won’t live to finish Hogwarts anyway, let alone pursue a profession.” Harry replied and regretted it instantly. He knew that Remus had been getting more and more bothered about him since hearing the prophecy and him saying things like that wasn’t going to inspire the utmost confidence in him. Remus sighed sadly and cast a glance in Harry’s direction before leaving the room. Harry left after him in time to see him enter the bathroom so he walked down to his own room and threw himself down on the bed, staring up at his charmed ceiling which was clouding slightly at the edges, although the sun shone brightly over him. He wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to do today; he could do pretty much whatever he wanted which he found quite strange and most of the time he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. He had spent some time with Tom, Jamie and Steph back at Little Whinging, as promised, and he had seen Ron and Hermione a number of times, either at Remus’ or in Diagon Alley. He hadn’t had the nerve to go back to Grimmauld Place yet, and he wasn’t permitted in the Burrow, not that he would want to go to the home of someone who hated him. Most of the time he spent with Remus, either just in the house, wandering round the park the house overlooked or out at Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley. He was happier than he had been in quite some time, and although Sirius still weighed on his mind it wasn’t half as bad as it had been when he was alone. He just feared that something would happen to Remus, leaving him alone once more and making four dead guardians.

The thought distressed him and he put his wand to his temple, concentrating on it as hard as he could before he took it from his mind and put it into his pensieve. The pensieve: it was almost empty now, since living together both Remus and Harry had found it easier and easier to cope with everything that bothered them due to the fact that they generally talked it over with the other and just that seemed comforting in itself.

Harry carelessly levitated various objects round the room and occasionally transfigured them into something living, which had been his latest task: animating the inanimate. It wasn’t easy and it was irritating how easy it was to do the reversal and not the actual spell he needed. It annoyed him that he could transfigure himself into a beautiful phoenix every now and again and yet he couldn’t make something else come alive even for a short while without much concentration.

The ceiling above him had cleared and it was now a clear sunny day in Harry’s room, despite the weather outside not being quite as bright but slightly overcast. His mind always wondered back to Remus whenever it was left to his own devices which he found odd since the last person that had happened with had been Sirius. He knew that he loved Remus just as much as he had done Sirius and in such a short time that was quite unbelievable but then again they had been living with just the two of them for quite some time now and Remus knew Harry better than anyone else did. Even better than Ron or Hermione. Ron. Just thinking about him made his mind automatically move to Molly. He was still distraught about that; she was the only magical mother figure he had and she had abandoned him because he was a parselmouth. He wished that she would just get to grips with it but he knew that some people could never do that, and Molly seemed to be one of these people, even though he had saved her daughters life and had never intentionally put Ron in danger, nothing could change her mind on the subject. He lay back on his pillow and closed his eyes, his mind blank and free from everything.

***



Harry looked down at the woman infront of him, Molly Weasley. She looked afraid of the man who towered infront of her. Harry glanced down at his long white fingers, between which a wand span.

“You are doing poorly, Weasley.” Harry said to her. “You have yet to bring me any real information as to the whereabouts of the boy or what the Order is up to now.”

“I will never betray the Order.” Molly said boldly. Harry rolled his eyes and pointed his wand at her.

Crucio!” Cried a voice that was not his own, it was the voice of Tom Riddle. “When will you learn that whether you like it or not you will do what is necessary?”

Molly was at this time, lying on the floor gasping for breath, although the curse had been put on her for only a few seconds it had been the most unbearable pain she had ever felt in her life.

Imperio.” Voldemort said coldly as he pointed his wand at Molly once more. Then he froze. Someone or something was in his mind, he knew it. Dumbledore? Harry? Who knew? He knew that if either of them knew that the Weasley woman was under his control then his plans for her would be ruined and he would just have to kill her…

***



Harry’s eyes opened in a flash. He couldn’t believe what he had just seen. There was no way that Molly could be working for Voldemort. Then again he had seen just that with his very own eyes. Well not his eyes as such, but in his mind. But what about Sirius? Had he not seen Sirius in the department of mysteries? Or thought he had seen him? It had been a trap then but who knew what it was now. Above him the sky was twirling in a small tornado which span round his room, occasionally moving objects about before putting them back in their rightful place. He had no idea what to do or what to think. He had to talk to Remus; he knew that much, if anyone could help him decide what to do then it was him.

Remus. If Voldemort could access his mind as easily as Harry had just entered his then who knew what he had in store for his new guardian. Harry knew that his mind went to Remus when it was on nothing else and although his mind was more difficult to enter the less troubled it was he knew it was no mean feat to break through the barely existent barriers he had there. Harry closed his eyes and lightning flashed across the darkened ceiling, turning a part of his carpet into dancing flames before they disappeared and left the carpet just as it had been. He was never safe from the torment of Voldemort. No matter what he did then they were together in their minds and no matter what happened Harry was doomed. If he cared about people then he would endure their deaths with the knowledge that it was his entire fault, and yet if he cared for none and trusted none but himself then he would almost certainly die anyway. Voldemort and all his Death Eaters would outnumber Harry on his own by quite a lot. He closed his eyes once more but sleep was the furthest thing from him. How could he sleep when he was more at risk to attack from Voldemort then than at any other time? Lightning flashed behind the dark clouds, illuminating the dark room once more.

Remus glanced at Harry’s closed bedroom door and saw a flash of light. He knew that his ceiling had been a complete success, an incredible success for one so young and he knew that he would tell Professor Flitwick about it when he next saw him, such amazing charm work would astound the small professor. He walked over to his door but didn’t bother to knock; he knew that there was no need. He opened it quietly and looked into the room. A small tornado span round and round, levitating objects around the room whilst lightning occasionally caused something to burst into flames for a few moments before returning to its previous state. Glancing up at the ceiling, Remus noticed that where he stood the cloud was barely existent and he realised that Harry had also managed to charm the ceiling to reflect the mood of whoever was in there as well. Seeing the ceiling change in the doorway Harry rolled over on the bed so that he was lying on his stomach and looked towards him. As he did so rain began to fall from the sky but the lightning stopped.

Remus walked over to the bed and sat down next to him. He didn’t ask him what was wrong; what was the point? He had long since learnt that if Harry wanted to talk to him then he would, whether asked to or not.

Harry didn’t speak a word but emptied the thoughts in the pensieve into his head before taking a single thought back out and putting it into the pensieve, pushing it towards Remus, who stared at it for a moment before looking back to Harry.

Remus realised that whatever was bothering was much more effective when put into pictures than when just told. He knew that he didn’t want to see it, after all it would most likely have a connection with Voldemort and he hated anything to do with him, except Harry of course. He looked down into the bowl and took Harry’s hand in his own before putting his face into the silvery material that lined the bowl.

He opened his eyes. Harry was lying on the bed and the ceiling was clear. Remus looked confused for a moment before he glanced to the side of him and saw that Harry was there as well, but what could he possibly show him that occurred in his room barely any time previously? He watched as Harry fell asleep on the bed and then things changed. He was inside someone’s head and before him he saw Molly Weasley. As the person whose body he was in glanced down at their hand he noticed how dreadfully pale it was and the abnormally long fingers which twirled the want between them. This was not Harry, but then if it wasn’t Harry then it was… The thought was too awful to be considered and yet he knew it was true. He watched as Molly was tortured for a moment and then put under the imperious curse before he and Harry left the pensieve.

Next to him on the bed Harry watched his reaction to what he had just seen. Remus closed his eyes and leant back against one of Harry’s bedposts. He was under the same dilemma as Harry: was it real? He knew of the way Harry had been tricked with Sirius before, and yet Voldemort had seemingly just discovered that Harry was in his head, but had he just added that to make it seem more real?

Harry watched as another tornado started round the room, joining with the other and moving everything that it came into contact with, and moments later Harry and Remus held onto the bed as that too was lifted a foot off the floor and did a few laps round the room.

Remus reached a decision, it was the only one that he could think of doing which seemed to make any sense to him and that was to go to someone wiser than himself. The bed stopped spinning and he got up. Harry watched him interestedly to see what he would do.

“I’m going to Dumbledore.” Remus told the boy before exiting the room, quickly followed by Harry.


Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Thirteen

Remus turned round in the kitchen and looked at Harry who looked back at him through his shielded green eyes. He hid most of his emotion because it was second nature for him to do so, having grown up in a home where he only made things worse by showing his misery.

“Do you want to come?” Remus asked him but he already knew the answer before Harry shook his head; Grimmauld Place was not somewhere he wanted to go to anytime soon. They most likely wouldn’t let Harry in any way, what with there being an Order meeting at the moment. “I’ll see you soon.” He stepped into the flames.

“—I don’t care what you say; it will destroy them both if you tear them apart.” Minerva shouted at someone as Remus stepped out of the fire and into the front room. They had changed the fire so that it went into the dining room recently so that anyone who came to the house couldn’t just barge in on an Order meeting, as Ron and Hermione had tried numerous times to do. Remus walked up to the kitchen door and noticed that it was slightly ajar and through it he could see that Molly was sat at the table looking perfectly calm and collected.

“The longer that they are together then the more danger Lupin is in!” Mad Eye shouted, “Surely you see this!”

“Well you shouldn’t have allowed them to be together in the first place if you feel this way!” Minerva shouted back at him. “Neither Harry or Remus took the death of Sirius well and losing the support of each other could easily push them over the edge!”

“If this carries on then they will both be killed because of the other anyway, it is better to have them utterly miserable without each other than to have them dead through Voldemort!” Mad Eye shouted.

“And if they can’t take being alone and one of them kills themselves, what then?” Tonks asked.

“Then the other will kill himself straight afterwards.” Minerva answered her coldly. “Neither of them can be isolated.”

“Remus is no use to us in this state.” Mad Eye stated matter-of-factly. “He is too protective of Harry now.”

“Similarly he is no use to us suicidal or dead.” Tonks added.

“Harry cannot be isolated; he has grown up without being cared for and then he got Sirius who was like a father to him. Losing him would have been one of the worst things that has ever happened to him and now that Remus cares for him then taking that away will destroy him again.” Minerva said.

“Well losing Remus won’t be as bad for him,” Charlie said, “It’s not like Harry loves him as much as he loved Sirius and he won’t be dead…”

“They won’t see it like that,” Minerva sighed, “They’ll see it as that they may as well be dead for all that they’d be in each others lives. And I hate to contradict you but I’m certain that Harry loves Remus just as much as he loved Sirius.”

Behind the door a sad smile touched Remus’ face and then faded. Molly had heard that, she would know that he could be used just as well as Sirius had been and he knew that he almost certainly would be. Maybe isolation from Harry would be better… But then neither he nor Harry could take that, even if they knew it was to save the life of the other, it would still be close to impossible to pull it off without one of them going mad. He couldn’t believe that they were even contemplating this.

“Merlin!” Mad Eye growled as he smashed his fist on the table, “Either way they’re both dead, either together or separately.”

“And if Harry’s dead then we’re all dead.” Tonks said quietly. There was silence all around as the weight of this hit them.

“Then we’ve always been doomed to lose.” Bill said quietly, “Harry can’t take isolation and that would destroy him, and yet when he’s given someone who he can care for and care for him then Voldemort will use them against him. How were we ever to win?”

“We can’t.” Moody said. “The only thing left to do is isolate the boy. Chances are that it will crush him but it’s better that end than at the hand of Voldemort.”

“I hate to say it but I think you may be right.” Minerva said resignedly, “If he and Remus are left together then Voldemort will certainly use this as a weapon against them.”

No! This isn’t fair! Remus closed his eyes and leant back against the wall. When the majority of the Order was decided on something then chances are that it would come to pass. There was only Dumbledore and Snape missing from the table that day, as well as himself who seemed to be acting on constant guard duty to Harry and was being excluded from most meetings.

“I believe that there is no more which needs to be said.” Molly said quietly. She had said very little throughout the whole meeting and she was the first to rise from the table and bid everyone else goodbye as she walked towards the door behind which Remus stood. He snapped back into life and realised that unless he moved now then everyone would see him stood there when Molly opened the door. He turned and almost ran into the front room where he grabbed a handful of floo powder from the mantelpiece and muttered “13 Parkview Close” before stepping inside the flames.

Remus felt himself falling forwards before someone caught him when he was a foot or so away from the kitchen floor in his home. Harry pulled him back to his feet and let go of him.

“Well?” Harry asked him. Remus looked away from him and busied himself making some tea which he knew he wouldn’t be able to drink. His hands were shakings lightly as he made it and he knew that Harry was watching his every move. “So what happened then?” Harry asked again.

“There was a meeting already happening when I got there so I didn’t go in.” Remus replied, hoping he could keep as much of the truth as possible from Harry.

“You were a very long time if you didn’t go into the meeting.” Harry said quietly. “Was Molly there?”

“Yes.”

“What was the meeting about?” Harry asked. He could tell that something bad had happened at Grimmauld Place but Remus didn’t seem particularly willing to part with the details.

“It was about us.” Remus replied, abandoning the tea and turning round to face Harry. “They don’t want us living together; they say we’re a danger to each other.”

“You mean I’m a danger to you.” Harry corrected him quietly. “What are they going to do?”

“I don’t know.” Remus said, annoyed with himself that he was making Harry unhappy. “But there was a lot of talk of isolation. Let me show you.”

Remus waved his wand and said “Accio Pensieve”. A moment later the bowl came through the door and landed on the table between them. Remus went to it and took the memory of his head and waited for Harry to go into it. Harry bit his lip, he wasn’t sure that he wanted to see the meeting and know who wanted him and Remus apart but curiosity overtook and he walked over to it and put his head inside the bowl, feeling himself get sucked into it a moment later.

On the outside Remus watched as Harry went inside the bowl and then he saw the same small boy walk around the inside of the sieve, watching everything that happened at the meeting. He waited a few minutes until Harry was thrown back out of the pensieve and landed ungracefully on the floor. Harry’s head was spinning after everything he had just heard everyone say. He couldn’t believe that they were to be torn apart without as much as a word or explanation to them. It just wasn’t fair. Remus bent down and helped him from the floor and Harry got up and turned to Remus but he had nothing to say, what was there to say? ‘Sorry Remus, I’ve managed to get you into a position where you’re going to be killed no matter what’? Feeling so utterly desolate he did the only thing that seemed to make any sense to him: he laid his head against Remus’ chest and wrapped his arms around him, hugging him tightly. Remus sighed and wrapped his arms around Harry tightly. He would rather die with Harry than die alone without him and misery took hold when he knew that he felt the same way.

“What are we going to do?” Remus asked softly, after what seemed like an eternity.

“I don’t know.” Harry replied truthfully, no matter what they did they were bound to die and although he didn’t want to have Remus used against him by Voldemort he knew that without him he would most likely end up back at the Dursleys’ and he didn’t think he could take it back there again. “I think I’m going to go see Tom and try and take my mind off things.” Harry told him as he pulled away from Remus.

“Good idea.” Remus said quietly and he turned back and started making himself the cup of tea which he had forgotten some time earlier. “I’ll see you later then.”

“Bye.” Harry said and stepped through into the fire.


***


“I couldn’t care less what the new Audi-whatever looks like!” Stephanie scowled as she swung back and forth in the playground in the local park. Harry was on one side of her, stood up on the swing but not actually swinging, Tom was stood next to Steph telling her all about the latest cars and Jamie sat on the other side of Harry watching a group of people playing football.

“But it looks really cool!” Tom was insisting. Harry rolled his eyes and started to swing a little higher.

“Let’s go to the shops or something.” Jamie suggested to stop the arguing, “I’m starving.”

“You’re always starving!” Steph said.

“That’s because you’re always arguing.” Jamie said quietly and Harry grinned.

“What?” Steph asked him, not hearing what he said.

“Nothing, let’s go then!” Jamie said and the four of them left the playground and walked down the street to the local shop.

“So who actually has some money?” Tom asked when they were getting nearer. Harry told them that he had and Tom wondered how he had so much money this summer. Harry had said that he borrowed some money from Hermione before he left school but he had quite a lot of it or so it seemed. They stopped as they reached a busy junction about 200m from the shop and they glanced to each side before starting to cross. The road was oddly quiet but from somewhere there was a roar of a speeding vehicle. Tom knew that it couldn’t be from anywhere nearby since it would have been a lot louder and he and his three companions continued walking quite slowly across the road.

The noise got louder and louder as they crossed the large road at a leisurely pace until Steph tripped over a dent in the road. Tom bent down to pick her up and Harry and Jamie waited by the side. As Tom pulled her to her feet he glanced up and stared in horror into the road. That roaring had become incredibly loud and a bus was speeding towards them now. It had been but a few seconds since they had been on the pavement on the other side of the road and now they were close to the middle and Steph had hit her knee hard and could barely walk. She limped slowly to the other side of the road and the other three followed her, thinking nothing of the bus that was travelling so quickly towards them, after all it was on the other side of the road.

Tom looked up and saw that the bus had changed lanes, onto their side of the road and his mouth opened in horror as he saw how close it was and he froze in fear. In the front of the bus were three men, all wearing black hoods to conceal their faces but he knew that they were about to be run down. The bus was ten metres away, eight metres… He tried to cry out but no air went in or out of his paralysed lungs. Six metres… Everything seemed as though it were in a dream and suddenly he snapped back into life and looked to his friends. Four metres… Harry was almost to the other side of the road, with Steph on his arm. Jamie was quite a bit in front but then glanced at Tom, then to where Tom was staring and he cried out. Harry and Steph turned round. Two metres… Tom’s mouth opened wide and he leapt at Jamie, hoping to get him to the other side of the road in time. Tom felt himself fall into Jamie and down… down… The world went black and he saw no more.


Chapter 14: Fourteen
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Fourteen

Harry opened his eyes. He was hovering above a bed in Little Whinging Hospital and leapt out of bed suddenly and stared down at the bed over which he had hovered. In that bed was… himself. Harry’s mouth dropped open as he ran his gaze over his own face which looked battered to say the least. A large scrape covered the left side of his face and on the right side there were various new bruises, covering the old which Vernon had inflicted upon him. He reached out to his own face but a hand reached out and grabbed his own from behind him, he spun round and his knees almost gave in as he stared into the face of his godfather.

“Sirius?!” He choked. The man smiled and hugged Harry tightly. When they pulled apart Harry could only gape and although he tried to talk nothing came out. “You’re dead!” He managed eventually.

“I am, yes.” Sirius replied, “And for the present, so are you.”

“What?! How can I be dead?!” Harry cried. Then it all came flooding back to him: the bus, the road, Tom… “Oh god…”

“You can go back.” Sirius told him, “You’re not quite dead yet, only in a coma.”

“But I don’t have to?” Harry asked. It was odd being given the choice between life and death and he already knew which one he would rather have. Sirius shook his head in reply to his question and watched Harry sadly, when people preferred to stay in death when given the choice it was reflective of how awful their lives generally were. “Are my mum and dad here?” Harry asked him suddenly.

“Yeah… somewhere.” Sirius told him, “This isn’t really Death you know.”

“What is it then?” Harry asked, reasonably confused.

“It’s the world between life and death. It’s accessible from life but not from Death. Your parents and I are waiting for Remus and yourself to die and then the five of us go into Death together.” Sirius explained, “The plus side of this world is that we can watch you, and I must say that your blaming yourself for my death was not quite what I thought the repercussions of falling through that veil would be.” He grabbed hold of Harry’s arm and pulled it up revealing the cuts which ran up and down it, “Nor did I think that these would be.” He added sadly. Harry found he was unable to meet the eyes of his deceased guardian and looked down at himself.

“So where are my parents then?” Harry asked him, taking his arm back from Sirius and pulling his sleeve down over it.

“Lily is following Remus around and James is at Grimmauld Place waiting for any news of what’s happening.” Sirius said, “We take it in turns, one of us follows you, one follows Remus and one follows Dumbledore or stays at Grimmauld Place.”

“Is Molly working for Voldemort?” Harry asked him suddenly.

“I don’t know. I saw what you saw in the dream but no one’s been following Molly so no one knows.” Sirius replied, “Sorry for being such a lack of help.” He put his hand on Harry’s arm. “As much as I want you to stay here with me, and your parents of course, I would suggest you go back to life.”

“Why?” Harry asked him, unhappy at the thought of his life.

“Remus needs you, the
world needs you!” Sirius said dramatically, “Yes, I know how corny that sounded but it’s unfortunately true.”

The door opened and in the living world Remus walked into the room. Harry noticed instantly how worn out and miserable he looked. He never realised quite how much of an effect he had had on the man. After Remus his mother entered the room and, as with Sirius, Harry could only stare. His mouth opened and closed but again no sound came out.

“No good with meeting the dead are you?” Sirius said to him and clapped a hand on his shoulder.

“Hi Harry.” Lily smiled and Harry couldn’t help but smile back. She walked over to him and hugged him tightly and Harry felt a wave of misery wash over him. He knew that he would be going back to Remus and although he loved him he wanted dearly to be with his mother whom he hadn’t seen in almost a decade and a half.

Back in the real world Remus sat down by Harry and leant his head on one of his hands and with the other he brushed Harry’s hair out of his eyes. He couldn’t believe what had happened to him. He had been run over by Death Eaters who had stolen a muggle bus who had managed to hit almost 15 people on a short rampage through the town, fortunately only two of them had died. The result: Harry was in a coma, Jamie was in intensive care recovering as best he could, Tom had died up on impact and Stephanie had died just two days ago during an operation on her lungs – one of which had been punctured when run over.

Harry reached out to Remus and his fingertips went through his shoulder. Harry gasped as a flood of thoughts went into his mind that weren’t his own and he retracted his hand.

“We can feel what other people are thinking when we try and touch them.” Lily explained. Harry nodded and reached out towards himself, wondering what he was thinking. Again Sirius pulled back his hand. “If you touch yourself you go back.”

“And I suggest you decide what you’re going to do.” Sirius said, “If you linger too long then the coma could just get worse and you mightn’t be able to get back.”

Harry sighed. He knew he was going to go back. Not for himself; if the decision was based on himself then he would be staying here with his family, no; his decision was made for Remus and everyone who he cared about.

“I suppose I’m going back then.” Harry said quietly. “Love you both.”

“Love you too Harry.” Lily and Sirius said in unison and Lily added: “And we’ll tell James the same.”

“Tell James what?” His father asked as he walked into the room, just a moment too late. Harry glanced up and saw his father walking through the doorway just as his fingertips touched his own face and he felt an odd sensation as he was sucked back inside his own body.


“Remus?” Harry croaked as he opened his emerald eyes and looked to his latest guardian. Remus’ eyes were wide with shock, red with crying and filled with worry, exhaustion and relief.

“Harry! Thank god!” He leant over him and hugged him tightly. In the doorway Dumbledore stood observing. “I thought you were…” And he broke off, unable to say it.

“I see you needed little convincing to come back to the world of the living, Harry.” Dumbledore said, stepping forward. Remus released Harry and turned to look at the old man with a confused expression on his face.

“What do you mean, Albus?” Remus asked him.

“Harry went into a coma: a state between life and death, wherein he was able to enter Death but was free to return or to stay as he wished.” The headmaster explained, “I believe that in Death he will most likely have encountered Sirius, James or Lily, all of whom have most likely been following him about since their Deaths. Am I right Harry?”

Harry nodded and Remus stared at him.

“You saw them?” He asked. “What did they say?”

“Not much really, Sirius was there all the time then mum walked in with you and I just saw my dad following you, Professor.” He said to them, “Although I did ask Sirius about Mrs Weasley but he said he didn’t know whether it was true or not.”

“Shame.” Remus replied, his mind suddenly back on Molly and what he had seen in Harry’s pensieve.

“What about Molly?” Albus asked them.

“I had a dream where I was Voldemort and he tortured Molly and said that she wasn’t getting enough information. It’s in my pensieve.” Harry replied and Dumbledore sat in some thought for a while before reaching a conclusion.

“I would like to see this when you return home Harry, and then depending on certain things then Molly will be fed Veritaserum to discover the truth.” Dumbledore said before continuing in a lighter tone. “I know I can speak for all the Order when I say that we are glad you are beginning to recover and you will most likely be well enough to come to school on the first of September next week.”

“Next week?” Harry asked, astounded that time had gone so quickly and he wondered how long he had been in a coma.

“Time flies when you’re having fun.” Remus said in a rather sarcastic tone but Harry smiled at him and he couldn’t help but grin back at him. It had been a rough few days for him worrying about Harry but now it would be okay, he would be okay.

“How long since the accident?” Harry asked.

“It was no accident.” Remus muttered darkly.

“4 days.” Dumbledore replied, “And Remus is right when he says it was no accident. Did you see who was driving?” Harry opened his mouth to say ‘no’ but before he spoke a memory filled his mind. He was stood in the road again and the bus was incredibly close and he looked to the front window and saw Death Eaters: three of them.

“Death Eaters.” Harry said quietly and swallowed hard. In his memory he remembered Tom being hit before everything went black. “What happened to Tom, Jamie and Steph?” He asked suddenly, fear filling him.

“I’m so sorry Harry.” Remus said and he didn’t meet the young boy’s eyes which widened in horror.

“What happened to them?” Harry asked.

“Tom died when the bus hit him. Stephanie died in hospital later on.” Remus told him quietly, “And Jamie is in intensive care, recovering quite well.”

Harry couldn’t speak. They were dead. Two of his three best friends had died and it was because of him. No! You weren’t driving that bus! There’s only one person who’s to blame for this! His mind tried desperately to argue back but it was no use… As far as he was concerned if they had never met him then they would still be alive and Jamie wouldn’t have to wake up to the fact that he no longer had any friends. He could feel the tears welling up in his eyes now he knew he would never again see the three people who had been his only friends between the age of 5 and 11.

“You clearly need your rest, Harry.” Dumbledore said quietly, “I shall expect to see you once you go back home about Molly.”

“Yes Professor.” Harry managed to say and Dumbledore nodded to him and left the room. Remus sat on the edge of his bed and put an arm round Harry’s shoulders, holding the trembling boy against him. Remus knew exactly how it felt to lose all your best friends in one day and sympathised with him. He also remembered the terrible guilt he had felt when he had found out Lily and James had died, and seemingly because of Sirius. How could he never have suspected Peter…? It seemed so obvious now, but now was too late, he had successfully ruined Harry’s life along with his own and he was free. Harry’s tears dripped onto Remus but he didn’t care.

“Your life shouldn’t be like this.” Remus said quietly.

“And yours shouldn’t be the way it is but it is.” Harry replied softly, laying his head against Remus’ shoulder.

“If I’d only seen through Peter all those years ago…” Remus said.

“Then Voldemort wouldn’t have fallen.” Harry finished his sentence for him. “It’s my fate to be unhappy and to have everyone I care about killed.”

“What’s my fate to be then?” Remus asked. “The werewolf used against you?”

“No, you’re fate is to support me on my path to my impending doom.” Harry said. Remus rolled his eyes but smiled down at Harry.

“I also remind you that I care about you and I’ve not yet been killed.” Remus said to him, “And I don’t plan on dying any time soon.”

“I don’t think Steph or Tom planned on it either.” Harry said and sighed as a doctor walked into the room. Her name was Leanne and she had known Harry since he was only four. She met him when he first came into the hospital for a broken rib after Dudley had hit him with Vernon’s hammer and each time he had been brought into the hospital since she had tried to make sure it was she assigned to look after him.

“Glad to see you’re awake, Harry.” She smiled at him, ignoring the redness of his eyes and nodding in acknowledgement to the man on whom Harry leant. “How do you feel?”

Like two of my best friends just died. “Fine” Harry lied. “When can I go home?”

“We’ll have a doctor look you over and some X-rays taken and then if I think you’re okay then you can go home tomorrow.” Leanne said and Harry managed to force a smile.

“Thanks very much.” Harry said.

“So I’ll come back in an hour and I want you dressed and ready to go down to the X-ray department.” She said, “You’ve hardly got any injuries.” She said thoughtfully looking over his face, “All superficial really. Anyway I’ll see you later.”

“Bye.” Harry said as she left them alone again. “I can’t wait to go home again.” He said to Remus who smiled. He called it home… He thought to himself. “Speaking of which – what time are you going home?”

“I don’t know, I’ll stay as long as you want me to.” Remus told him.

“Then go home now and get some sleep.” Harry said to him, “You look exhausted!”

“But...” Remus started but didn’t bother to finish. He knew he must look tired due to his not having more than a couple of hours sleep each night since Harry had almost been killed by the bus. There was also no arguing with a boy who had been run over by a bus and had had his oldest friends murdered. “If you’re sure you’ll be alright…”

“I’ll be fine.” Harry told him, “I always am. Now go and come back tomorrow please.”

Remus sighed in resignation and hugged Harry, kissing his head lightly as he did so before leaving him sat up watching him with his bright eyes. He had never felt as relieved in all his life as he walked slowly down the corridor, unaware that he was not alone; that he was never alone in fact.


Chapter 15: Fifteen
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Fifteen

Harry stood at the back of the gathering of people. He didn’t want attention drawn to him; that was the last thing that he wanted right then. He stood alone at the back of the group of people all listening to the vicar speak the immortal words

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” Harry wasn’t listening. He knew that he should but he just couldn’t, not here, not dressed all in black, surrounded by other people in black, people crying, people clinging to each other for support but he stood alone, at the back. Remus had wanted to come with him, to make sure that he was okay but he knew that he couldn’t mix his friends and he didn’t really want to. This wasn’t just the end of the lives of his friends but it was the end of his life here in Little Whinging. He may have to come back here for a month every year but it would no longer count as a life as it had done before, now it would be time spent alone. He looked round at the people surrounding him and he knew almost all of them by their faces and half of them by their names, although he knew that a lot of them wouldn’t know him. He liked that, liked to know but not to be known. There would be few in the Wizarding world that didn’t know his name, didn’t know what he had done, or what he had survived as a baby. And what his parents hadn’t survived as adults.

“Harry.” A voice from behind him. He knew the voice well and turned to see Mr Jackson stood behind him and Harry smiled slightly to see him, it had been too long since their last meeting and Harry knew that this would be their last. He couldn’t stay here with them any longer, he had been the cause of death of two of his muggle friends who had done nothing wrong and he knew that causing any more pain, any more death, was beyond the question. “How are you?” He asked him.

“Not bad, thanks.” Harry replied and looked up at the man next to him. Mr Jackson reached out and tilted his face to one side to examine the scrape down the side of his face before letting go and looking down at the boy sadly.

“I get the feeling that this will be the last time that I see you.” Mr Jackson said to him as they turned back to the funeral, his hand rested on Harry’s shoulder.

“You’re probably right.” Harry said quietly. “I’ll miss you though.”

“Really?” Mr Jackson asked him curiously.

“Of course.” Harry smiled and leant against him. He had been right in thinking that he was like Remus; in his mind he seemed more like him than ever now.

“I’ll miss you too.” He replied. “I’d like to stay but I won’t be able to stand staying here much longer.” Then as an afterthought he added: “No parent should have to bury their child.”

“I know.” Harry said as he watched Tom and Stephanie’s parents at the front, the women in their husband’s arms, sobbing quietly throughout the proceedings.

“I just wanted to say goodbye.” Mr Jackson said, turning to face Harry, “I’m leaving myself soon, for Scotland. I’ve been here too long, become too attached. I need a new life.”

“What’s wrong with becoming attached?” Harry asked him.

“I’ve seen too many deaths in my life, when you become attached to people they almost always die in my life, when I heard that you four had been run over I was almost certain you were one of the two who had…” He broke off, unable to continue. “Let’s just leave it at this, Harry.”

“Goodbye.” Harry said sadly and hugged the man tightly.

“Goodbye Harry, it’s been nice knowing you.” Mr Jackson smiled and turned from the teenager and walked away down the hill. The wind ruffled his long hair and Harry watched him until he could see him no longer, until he was out of sight, and he knew that was the last time he would ever see him again.

“Jamie!” Harry gasped, seeing his friend walking over to him. He looked exhausted and he was covered from head to foot in bruises and cuts and yet he managed to smile. He looked utterly desolate, as if he hadn’t a friend in the world… “How are you?”

“Awful to be honest but I managed to convince Leanne to let me out to see the funeral, but I don’t want to be here, I’m going back to the hospital in a few minutes in fact, mum’s waiting over there.” He replied and watched Harry carefully. “Mr Jackson says that you’re probably not going to come back anymore…”

“He’s right.” Harry said quietly. “Too many memories here for me, now that Tom and Steph…”

“I know.” Jamie said. “Well I thought I’d do the same as Mr Jackson and say goodbye now, since it’s the last we’ll be seeing of each other for some time. I’ll write to you of course.”

“Yeah, me too.” Harry answered, sadness in his eyes. Jamie was going to be alone now. All three of his childhood friends gone. Two already in death and one on his way. Harry felt the guilt inside him, but then he knew that he couldn’t stay with him, then he would surely die.

They both stood in silence for a few moments. Both knowing that they had just lied; their communication ended here.

“I’m sorry, I really have to go back to the hospital now, Mum’s not looking too happy.” Jamie said, glancing over at his mother who was stood with her hand on her hip by the car.

“Bye.” Harry said, “Get well soon.”

“Goodbye.” Jamie said as he started to walk away, “Good luck Harry.”

Harry watched feeling completely alone as his oldest friend walked out of his life. He waved to Jamie and his mother as they both got in the car and drove away. The funeral had ended now and Harry walked over to the two graves, side by side and looked down to them. Some few feet away Tom’s parents stood, watching. Harry had nothing to say to the two slabs of marble which marked the place where, six feet underneath the soil, his two friends lay at rest. He turned and almost walked into Steven and Debbie. He smiled unhappily when he saw them, he had hoped not to encounter the two people who had been the closest things he had had to parents in the muggle world.

“Goodbye.” Harry said to them.

“Goodbye Harry.” Steven said to him, resting a hand on his shoulder. Looking at them Harry knew that they were aware they would not be seeing him again. He was a strong link to their dead son and they couldn’t bear to see him, the pain was unbearable.

“Thank you, for everything.” Harry told them.

“You’re quite welcome.” Debbie smiled, “Take care now.”

“I will.” Harry replied softly and walked away from his muggle life.

Why couldn’t I have died instead? I don’t have parents to destroy in life, only ones to meet in death. He thought sadly as he walked down the small path to the cold iron gates, the faces of the people who had been his refuge from the Dursleys’ imprinted in his mind, the last he would ever see of them, and they were all miserable, each and every last one of them. Because it is your unhappy fate to have to save the damned world. His mind replied. Or at least try to at any rate

As he walked alone down the road he concentrated his mind on the phoenix he could so easily become and he stopped as his body changed suddenly and he flew up into the air, to freedom. Or at least for the while he was free. He knew that he couldn’t stay in the air forever, although sometimes he felt as if he would like to. He flew high up into the air until the maze of houses and streets below him looked as if it were only a map instead of something real. He knew where Remus lived from his own home and although it was quite far, he could fly there easily.

***


Remus finished writing his letter to Dumbledore and then folded it neatly, putting it inside an envelope and sealing it with wax. He wondered whether or not he was doing the right thing… Don’t be stupid, everything will be fine. He reassured himself. He glanced up to see Hedwig standing on the table, looking expectantly at him. He knew Harry wouldn’t mind her sending the letter for him so he attached the letter to her leg.

“Take this to Professor Dumbledore for me please.” He said to her and she gave a small hoot and nipped his finger lightly as she set off.

A few minutes later a tapping at the window caught his attention and he looked around to see Harry in his animagus form pecking at the window. Remus smiled and went to open it for him.

“How was it? Are you okay?” Remus asked him as he flew through the window and onto a chair, where he turned back into himself a moment later.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Harry said quietly, the thoughts of his friends still in his mind.

“No you’re not.” James scowled at his son and vanished the broom he held in his hand. Following Harry had become more difficult since he had become an animagus, and a flying animagus at that.

“He’ll be okay.” Lily reassured him.

“Yeah, he always is.” Sirius agreed, appearing beside them.

“Hey! You’re meant to be watching Grimmauld Place!” Lily scowled at him.

“Relax, there’s not an Order meeting until six.” He replied and glanced at his best friend who didn’t look particularly happy. “What’s up James?”

“I wish I’d seen him.” James said quietly, his eyes on his only son, “I can’t believe I swapped with you to go watch Dumbledore, if I hadn’t have done that then I could have spoken to him…”

“He didn’t say much.” Lily told him.

“He spoke a bit before Lily got there but not much, I think he was pretty shocked to see us to be honest.” Sirius said, trying to comfort him.

“I know. I just wish I could speak with him. You got to talk to him loads in life; I should have been the one to talk to him in death.” James said sullenly.

“Forget it James!” Sirius said. “Anyway since not much is happening here then I’m gonna make my way back to Dumbledore and see if he’s doing anything.”

“See you later…” Lily said as Sirius disapparated…

…And apparated again some feet from Dumbledore’s desk in his office. Due to the charms around the school, those in death could apparate in and out of the Hogwarts grounds.


‘—Neville is still finding coping with his parent’s death a terrible burden to him and I don’t know how much more of seeing him so depressed I can take…’ Read the letter from Neville’s grandmother to Dumbledore, who frowned slightly and stroked his moustache thoughtfully. He knew that there was one thing that he could do for Neville but it would either work very well to the point where he could be happy and live his life again… or else it would ruin him and push him to the brinks of suicide. It was a difficult decision, one which needed much thought as to the way he would respond, oh yes much thought indeed.

***


Harry walked slowly and silently behind Remus as he walked across the landing. He was about to hex him when he stood on the loose floorboard.

“Not quite as sly as you’d like to be.” Remus said and blocked the hex Harry sent at him effortlessly. “Are you sure you want to duel with me?”

“Why not?” Harry asked him defiantly, but he was smiling all the same. He had been dying to see how strong Remus was in a duel and the quickest way to find out seemed to be to jump him at some point during the day.

“Because I doubt that you’ll win.” Remus said lightly and grinned wolfishly at Harry, whom he knew hated to be bettered. Harry sent a jinx his way and Remus countered it, which Harry then proceeded to block. “Well just remember that you wanted to duel with me…” He smiled as they started to duel faster and more furiously.

Harry was very good, Remus had to admit that, and he liked to duel with him. It was quite challenging since he had never duelled with him before and had yet to learn his style which seemed quite random at first but Remus was beginning to see the pattern in his style when he managed to hit him with a strong freezing charm, stronger than he had meant to send at him and Harry stopped and toppled over, frozen solid. Remus smiled and walked over to him.

“Very good, much better than I had expected to be quite honest.” He smiled down at the frozen boy who managed to narrow his eyes at his guardian. He grinned at his annoyance of being so easily defeated and murmured a quick warming spell and in a moment Harry was defrosted and helped to his feet. “However, you have a lot to learn.” Remus kept eye contact with Harry who was watching him carefully, but not quite carefully enough. “And one of those things is to never drop your guard, even when the duel is over.” Remus smiled and glanced down at Harry’s legs where long green tendrils of something which looked similar to devil’s snare were at his feet and in a sharp flick of his wand they wrapped themselves around him right up until they reached his shoulders. “Expelliarmus” Remus said and caught Harry’s wand in midair.

“I’m not amused.” Harry said. “Let me up.”

“Let yourself up.” Remus said, “It doesn’t matter that you don’t have a wand, I’m certain you can get out, or else I wouldn’t have done it, would I?” He grinned that wolfish grin again and left Harry on the landing trying to get free from his bonds.

Harry struggled against the plant-like thing which bound him but they got tighter and tighter as he did so until he was forced to stop. He lay and relaxed his body and they got looser, but the moment he tried to move again they tightened instantly. He got more frustrated with them and sparks flew from him, and he stopped instantly to try and calm himself down. He realised that he had just done magic without a wand, accidental magic. But what if it wasn’t accidental? What if he got annoyed to the point where he could magic the tendrils away? Harry smiled before concentrating on becoming irritated with them again. It took a good couple of minutes since he felt pleased with himself for figuring out a way to escape but eventually he managed and, letting his fury flow through him, the Devil’s Snare (or whatever it had been) burst into flames and disintegrated. Harry got up, brushed himself down and proceeded to walk downstairs into the front room where Remus was sat on the sofa drinking tea. He looked up to the boy who tried to scowl but failed and smiled instead and he couldn’t help but smile back. To be perfectly honest he had expected to have to go up there and get him out himself, it was very advanced to be able to harness your emotions enough to get yourself out of situations without using a wand. He glanced down at his watch.

“Five minutes and thirty three seconds.” He smiled, that was quick for a first attempt, including the fact that he would have had to figure out how to get out in the first place. “Not bad…”

“I can’t believe you did that.” Harry said and sat down next to him. Remus looked at him with amusement, his hair was still dripping from the freezing spell which he really hadn’t meant to be so strong and he was shivering slightly, even though he seemed to be radiating warmth. He supposed Harry had conjured a flame of some kind to burn through the vines.

“You look freezing.” Remus said and conjured a blanket from nowhere and wrapped it around him.

“I wonder why that could be…” Harry said coolly.

“I did warn you…” Remus smiled and cast a quick warming spell over him, hoping it would help. “Sorry about the freezing spell by the way, I didn’t mean it to be so powerful.”

“No problem.” Harry said and leant against him for warmth.

That was how Dumbledore found them when he stepped through the fireplace a few minutes later.

“Hello Albus.” Remus smiled.

“Good afternoon to you both.” The professor smiled down at them both, “What happened to Harry?”

“He’s defrosting.” Remus replied and glanced down at Harry who pulled a face at him before grinning and curling up closer to him, still shivering slightly.

Dumbledore looked down at the two of them sadly, they were all each other had left now and he heard of Alastor’s plans to tear them apart and have each made to live alone, of course it was a ridiculous idea and they couldn’t possibly live alone without trying to seek each other out at any rate. No, they could not be isolated from one another, now they were this close they would have to live together and Remus would have to bear the consequences of loving The Boy Who Lived.

Dumbledore’s mind wandered back to Neville who he knew was struggling with the deaths of his parents and to Remus and Harry who were still thinking about Sirius and he wondered whether or not he was doing the right thing… Of course he was, he was Albus Dumbledore, the greatest headmaster Hogwarts has ever seen! Well if you wanted to blow things slightly out of proportion then he was, and he was certain that they were ready.


Chapter 16: Sixteen
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Sixteen

“Well let’s be seeing that memory then, Harry.” Dumbledore said and Harry nodded. Remus glanced at him and realised that there were icicles in his hair and his skin had a slightly blue tinge to it.

‘…the freezing charm may often have unfortunate side effects on the charmed, especially if put on quite forcefully. Such side effects include shivering, turning blue, turning everything they touch to ice and so on…’

Remus remembered what awful effects the freezing charm could have when not removed completely and it seemed like this charm was quite loath to leave Harry.

“You stay here and keep warm.” Remus said to Harry, “That freezing charm will get worse unless you stay warm.” He waved his wand and a mug of hot chocolate appeared in midair. He took it from where it hovered and handed it to Harry with instructions to keep warm. “Incendio” He muttered and pointed his wand at the fire place and the small fire which had been in it before became much larger and much warmer for Harry’s benefit. “We’ll be back soon, Harry. And if you’d care to follow me Albus…”

Dumbledore and Remus left the room and went out into the hall where it was quite a bit cooler and proceeded to walk up the stairs.

“So how did he come to be frozen then?” Albus asked him as they ascended to the first floor.

“We were duelling and…” Remus started but Dumbledore cut him off.

“You were duelling with Harry?” He asked and raised his eyebrows slightly. He wouldn’t have thought that Remus would have accepted a challenge from Harry to duel him, since Remus barely ever duelled anymore, despite his being excellent at it.

“Yes, he apparently wanted to see how well I duelled and the fastest way to find out how well someone duels is to attack them of course.” Remus smiled. “He was very good, much better than I thought and I already knew he would be excellent.”

“It’s good to see Harry’s keeping you on your toes, it’s been too long since you last duelled.” Dumbledore said quietly as they reached the landing.

“I know.” Remus said to him, “But his duelling wasn’t the most impressive part…”

Dumbledore raised an eyebrow and glanced down at a small patch of black on the carpet where it had been singed by Harry’s spell which had burned through the Devil’s Snare.

“I’d heard through various people about how Harry often lets his temper get the better of him so I decided to see whether he could use that to escape a certain situation without a wand.” He paused and watched the headmaster’s reaction – his eyes were twinkling and he was deeply interested in what he had to say, “Well basically I bound him in Devil’s Snare and left him here to see whether he could escape – hence the burnt carpet.” Remus said and waved his wand over the carpet which became as good as new a moment afterwards.

“So Harry managed to harness his emotions?” Dumbledore said. “Very impressive. I suggest you keep trying to make him do this, it could prove invaluable to him in the future.” Dumbledore chuckled quietly; Harry certainly was proving to be an extraordinary young man. Remus reached out and pushed Harry’s door open and he and Albus walked inside and over to the bedside table where Harry’s pensive sat.

“He charmed the ceiling himself.” Remus commented as he noticed Albus staring upwards. He couldn’t help but smile thinking of how he had managed to charm a ceiling so very well, he felt… well he supposed he felt proud of him. His happiness sank as he wondered whether anyone had ever felt proud of Harry before. The portion of the ceiling above him clouded very slightly as the thought crossed his mind but over Dumbledore it was sunny and bright, he was clearly in good spirits by seeing and hearing of Harry’s excellent skills in defence against the dark arts and charms.

Dumbledore looked down into the pensieve and took a deep breath before plunging himself in head first. Remus watched the pensieve and wondered how Dumbledore would take things; he wondered whether or not Molly really was working for Voldemort, how much she knew and how much she had told him. A minute or two later Dumbledore emerged from the pensieve looking rather more grave than when he went in and the ceiling clouded over.

“I fear the worst.” Was all he said and he turned and left the room, walking swiftly down the stairs to the front room where Harry sat watching the door for the return of Remus and the professor. Harry looked at Dumbledore and the way his face had clouded over since last speaking to him only a few minutes earlier did not inspire him with confidence, Remus looked troubled but he knew that was probably because the headmaster was troubled.

“Well?” Harry asked them as they entered the room. Remus sat down heavily next to him and put his arm around him, he was no longer as warm to the touch as he had been but very much colder and his hair was damp from where it had frozen over and then melted in the warmth of the room. Dumbledore stayed standing, observing them both.

“Things do not look good; it certainly looks like Molly is under the control of Voldemort.” He said quietly. “I shall summon her to Grimmauld Place this evening and talk to her there.” Harry glanced at Remus who raised an eyebrow, it seemed that it was not only Harry who wondered at the euphemistic use of the word ‘talk’ in his sentence, but neither of them mentioned it as he went on. “I will of course inform you both of the results of my questioning her. Good afternoon to you.” And with this he nodded to them both and then disappeared with a crack.

“I better be removing that charm now, it can get very nasty.” Remus said and he turned so that he was facing Harry directly. “Now I want you to keep eye contact with me whilst I counter-charm it.” Remus took his right hand in his own and gasped as his hand started to freeze over. He looked into Harry’s eyes and concentrated hard as he started to murmur the counter-charm. He repeated it again and again until he saw Harry’s face become closer to its natural colour again and until his hand defrosted and felt warm again.

“That was really weird.” Harry said once the charm was lifted. “Teach me how to freeze things like that.”

“What, so you can use it on me?” Remus raised an eyebrow, he sighed and submitted, “Oh alright then, but not now. Later on maybe.” Harry scowled but knew that if he complained then Remus would keep making the point when he taught him later and later.

Harry stared hard at the table infront of him and flicked his wand upwards before murmuring “Firmus Expecto Patronum Minuo” and he smiled as in the table a little silver stag about four inches high galloped around the table. Remus gaped at it; he had never seen such a thing before. It’s little hooves made a clicking sound with each step he took and Harry concentrated hard again before murmuring “Firmus Expecto Dementum Minuo” and a small similarly solid dementor appeared next to the patronus. Although it was a dementor it had no effect on either Harry or Remus due to it’s miniature size. Remus watched in amazement as the small silver stag attacked the dementor and drove it back until it fell off the coffee table and Harry caught it and put it back on.

“That’s incredible Harry.” Remus managed to say. He knew that he had been taught to mix the occasional spells together such as shrinking charms and simple transfiguration ones and it was amazing to see that he had had the ingenuity to try and change his patronus. Remus smiled and murmured the same alteration to the patronus spell which Harry had made and then watched as his own patronus appeared next to Harry’s. It was a small phoenix and when he had first conjured it at school he and Lily had been astounded that their patronuses had been the same but now it made perfect sense, although how could he conjure the animagus form of Harry before he was even born? Before Lily and James were together?? He wondered this silently for some time as he watched the dementor become overwhelmed by the two strong patronuses and fall repeatedly off the table.

Reverto” Remus muttered as the dementor fell off the table again, it was as if time stopped and reversed itself around the dementor and he fell back upwards to where he had been standing before. Harry’s eyes widened.

“Wow, teach me to do that.” He said to Remus.

“No, you’ll learn that this year in charms anyway.” Remus told him. “And I’m not teaching you about twenty different charms at once.”

“You’re not anyway; I only want to know two.” Harry replied but Remus just shook his head.

“No, I’m not teaching you!” Remus sighed before rising and going into the kitchen to make dinner for them both and Harry followed him.

“Stop trying to help!” Remus said to him after he realised that Harry was cooking the spaghetti.”

“Why don’t you let me cook?” Harry asked, amusement twinkling in his eyes, “I don’t cook that badly.”

“I know, you cook remarkably well in fact… I just don’t like you cooking because it reminds me of you cooking for the Dursleys.” Remus said and Harry stared down at the floor which moved beneath him as Remus levitated him an inch from the floor and moved him away from the stove.

“Yeah but I’m cooking for you, not them!” Harry tried to argue.

“I feel awful enough letting you cook breakfast for me! I don’t need you cooking dinner as well.” He said and Harry tried to walk forwards to him but Remus kept him hovering one inch above the floor and he couldn’t move forward, or back, or anywhere for that matter.

Dumbledore smiled at the two small people in the kitchen of Remus Lupin on the enchanted piece of wood. Soon the wood would be destroyed, he knew it was too much of a risk to keep it around – after all it may be very useful for them but it would also be very useful to Voldemort, should he get his hands on it. Glancing down at the wood he saw Harry thank Remus as he levitated him his dinner to the table and then levitated Harry there also.

“Molly Weasley” Dumbledore said clearly and tapped the piece of wood on the table sharply. The red haired woman sat at the table of Grimmauld Place and talked to Alastor and Tonks about nothing in particular whilst Snape sat at the other end of the table staring moodily down at it. Now was the time, if ever there was one, when Severus could so easily go get some Veritaserum and if Molly tried to escape then Alastor and Tonks would be there to stop her. Dumbledore got up and walked over to the fireplace, threw in some floo powder, spoke the address he wanted and put his head and shoulders into the fireplace.

“Remus, if you would care to come to Grimmauld Place with me in a moments time? Molly is there now along with Alastor, Tonks and Severus.” He said to the man who sat at the table, “I do apologize Harry but I don’t think your being in the presence of one potentially controlled by Voldemort is a good idea.”

“Yes professor.” Harry answered dully, he knew it was for his own good and if he went he would probably end up cursed, should Voldemort decide to cause Molly to take drastic action but he still wanted to go.

“I’ll be there in a minute Albus.” Remus replied and the old man’s head disappeared inside the fire. “Sorry Harry. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.” And Remus got up from his chair and glanced back at Harry before he let the flames engulf him and sent him spinning into Grimmauld Place after Dumbledore. For once he managed to stay on his feet as he stepped out into the house of Black once more. Dumbledore stood waiting for him in the front room and after Remus brushed himself down, the two of them walked into the kitchen where all four people sat there stared up at them. Remus watched Molly and upon seeing him she recoiled slightly.

“Severus, would you get me some Veritaserum, please?” Dumbledore asked him. Everyone watched him with more interest and Molly started to look uneasy.

“Of course.” Snape said and infront of him was a small bottle which appeared with a pop. Severus picked it up and handed it to the professor who turned to Molly.

“Must I administer this to you Molly or will you speak freely?” Dumbledore asked her and it was plain to see the panic in her expression. She stared wide-eyed at the bottle but she did not reply to him. “Very well, you have sealed your own fate.” Dumbledore said and walked over to her but Molly leapt from her chair.

“No! I will not drink it!” She cried and moved to try and get out the door but the way was quickly blocked by Tonks and Remus. Moody made a quick swirling motion before ending it with a flick and Molly flew into the chair she had sat in before and was bound by thick ropes. She clamped her mouth shut but Tonks took a firm hold of her nose, forcing her to open her mouth for air and when she did so Dumbledore held her mouth open and poured the potion in.

“What is your name?” Dumbledore asked her.

“Molly Weasley.” She replied.

“What do you have to do with Voldemort?” Dumbledore asked her.

“He is controlling me.” She replied simply.

“How?” Moody questioned.

“The controlling curse and fear.” She said. “If I do not give him information about the Order and about Potter then he will kill my family.”

“What have you told him?” Remus inquired.

“I do not remember, he wipes my memory after each time I speak to him.” Molly said.

“How long have you been under his spell?” Tonks asked.

“Since the Department of Mysteries.” She replied. Everyone stared down at her in disbelief. She had been feeding information to Voldemort about the Order and Harry for almost two months which meant Voldemort would certainly know about Harry and Remus and Merlin only knew what else.

“Merlin.” Moody breathed, “What now?”

Finite Incantatem” Dumbledore said, his wand pointed at Molly and she blinked and looked around her.

“Albus! I’m so sorry!” She begged forgiveness from the man, “I had no choice…”

“We know.” Tonks reassured her and helped her up from her seat.

“Return Mrs Weasley to her home and see that she gets some rest.” Dumbledore instructed Tonks who nodded and took the woman by the arm, leading her into the front room to the fireplace.

“How did you ever know?” Moody asked Dumbledore.

“Harry.” He said simply. “Now that this awful business is hopefully cleared up now I must be going. I shall see the three of you at the meeting tonight.” And with that Dumbledore walked into the fire and disappeared. He had known that something had been wrong for some time and it was only his concern for Harry which had kept Remus from the Order meetings and now his fear was confirmed – somehow Voldemort had got hold of Molly and put her under the Imperious curse and if he could get hold of Molly he could get hold of anyone.


Chapter 17: Seventeen
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Seventeen

Harry stared at the flames in the fireplace and pointed his wand at it. “Gelotrium!” He said and thoughts of snow and frost filled his mind but the fire didn’t freeze. Instead water seemed to fall from the chimney and douse the fire. It was four days after Molly had been discovered as being controlled by Voldemort which meant that there were only three days of the summer left before Harry would be returning to Hogwarts for his sixth year. Harry scowled and muttered “Incendio” before getting up and going into the kitchen where Remus was sat reading a letter sent to him by Dumbledore. Upon his entering, Remus put the letter away with a flick of his wand and Harry looked at him suspiciously.

“What was that?” Harry asked.

“Nothing, just a letter.” He replied, still under the close watch of Harry, who knew not to bother pursuing the matter further, he would get nowhere. “How’s the freezing charm going?” He asked, knowing from the manner with which Harry conducted himself he had not yet managed to cast the charm fully – although he could get things rather wet.

Harry scowled by means of a reply and picked up the newspaper on the table. His mouth fell open.

“How could you not tell me about this?” He managed to say.

LOCKHEART AT LARGE

Gilderoy Lockheart was sentenced to one year in Azkaban after attempting to remove the memory of a small number of youngsters currently attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry earlier this month; however he managed to escape several ministry officials before reaching Azkaban and is now on the loose once again. After his seemingly motiveless attack on the teens the Wizarding public is warned that he is a potentially dangerous maniac who…
Harry stopped reading here.

“Now I’ve probably got Lockheart trying to kill me as well.” Harry scowled.

“You’ll be fine.” Remus reassured him, “After all, the man can’t handle Cornish pixies.”

“But he can remove memories very well.” Harry said, feeling troubled. Remus rolled his eyes and sent a burning hex his way. Harry quickly blocked it and tried to glare at him over the kitchen table without laughing. He failed. After having duelled for the first time with Remus, and lost, Harry had been quite determined to do better, and as much as Remus hated to admit it, he was getting better and it took longer and longer to beat him. They had duelled quite a few times since that first one and generally Harry was left to magic his way out of various binding spells without his wand, something he was getting better at but still annoyed him greatly when having to do it.

“Why haven’t you learnt that you can’t beat me yet?” Remus asked him.

“I can, I’ll just run out the door now and due to your expanding head you won’t be able to follow me.” Harry grinned and sent a freezing charm at him and to both their surprise it worked. “I did it!” Harry exclaimed and Remus was momentarily frozen solid, before he managed to melt all the ice with a heat spell without using his wand, which irritated Harry greatly.

Both of them rose from their seats, waiting for the other one to do something, and Harry did. He ran from the room and into the hallway, leaving Remus in the kitchen, undecided as to whether or not he should follow and where Harry would have gone to, since he could easily walk round the corner and be frozen again. There was a small pop behind him and a goblet filled with Wolfsbane potion and a small note from Severus reminding him that it was the full moon and that he was to take the potion directly. Remus sighed and put a strong shielding spell around him before drinking the potion. A shudder passed through him and glancing back at the door to the hall Harry stood there watching him. He smiled and vanished his shield before sending a powerful binding curse at him which ricocheted off the wall and down the hall at Harry, whom it almost hit, or so Remus assumed from the yell as it chased him up the stairs. The man laughed and ran after Harry and his binding curse.

Gelotrium!” Remus cried as he pointed his wand at Harry who was hit in the chest by the freezing spell and staggered backwards. He cried out as he lost his footing and fell backwards. This wouldn’t have been so bad but Harry had the misfortune to have been stood at the top of the stairs at the time. “Reverto” Remus said, hoping that it wouldn’t be too late to prevent Harry from falling down the stairs. Harry and Remus froze in the positions that they had been in and suddenly the world began to spin before it stopped sharply, causing both of them to fall forwards onto their stomachs.

“Ouch.” Harry said, “What did you do, Remus?”

“I really don’t know.” Remus replied and pulled himself up into a seated position next to Harry who still lay down beside him. “Are you okay?”

“Not really…” Harry muttered and glanced up. “Remus…” He managed to say as his eyes widened with the shock of realising where they now were. He sat up instantly and they both turned to stare at the two people stood behind them.

“You appear to have broken Time.” Harry said to Remus.

I broke time?!” Remus cried, “if you hadn’t been fool enough to be anywhere near the stairs then this never would have happened!”

“You didn’t have to try and reverse it.” Harry argued.

“So I was meant to let you fall down the stairs?!” Remus asked in disbelief.

“Ok, this isn’t helping anything.” Harry said, “We just need to find a way to get back!”

“Just because you lost.” Remus muttered.

“Just because you broke Time.” Harry retorted and stared up at the people who were watching them in a state of shock.

“Do I look different to how I did then?” Remus asked Harry as he stared at himself three years ago, who stood with a protective hand on the shoulder of the thirteen year-old Harry who had his wand in his hand and a rattle from the filing cabinet behind them alerted them to the fact that Professor Lupin had been trying to teach the young by how to conjure a patronus.

“Not really.” Harry told him, “You look a little happier now, but then that’s probably because then your future self had just appeared in your midst with the son of one of your dead best friends so…” Remus rolled his eyes and laughed at the boy sat beside him as he watched their past selves to see how they reacted.

“There’s no way this is real.” Professor Lupin said.

“I don’t remember this at all.” The older Harry said. “And if we have gone back then shouldn’t we remember?”

“Yeah,” Remus agreed and bit his lip slightly.

“Stop that!” Harry said to him, “I’m surprised you have any lip left!”

“Well if you didn’t get yourself into various life threatening situations and make me so worried all the time then I wouldn’t end up biting it, would I?” Remus scowled. “Anyway, we have just over two days before people notice we’ve disappeared in the future.”

“How does that work?” Harry asked him.

“Well time isn’t standing still, since they’re still able to move.” Remus said looking at his former self, “And there’s two days before you go back to Hogwarts so if you’re not on the train then Dumbledore’s going to know something’s wrong and when he can’t find either of us then Merlin only knows what he’ll do.”

“How far into the future are you from?” The younger Harry asked them, walking over to them and Professor Lupin followed him, with his hand still on his shoulder.

“About two and a half years, I think.” Harry replied.

“We’re going to have to go find Dumbledore.” Remus said and got up from the floor helping Harry up straight after.

“You can’t just walk out of here.” Professor Lupin said, “People will notice that Harry’s almost three years older.”

“True.” Remus agreed with himself. “We don’t know where he is anyway.”

Accio Map” Harry said, pointing his wand at himself and a piece of parchment flew into his outstretched hand. He spoke the password and the large, complex map appeared on the page. The younger Harry and Professor Lupin stared at each other for a moment or two before going to look for the location of Dumbledore.

“He’s there.” The Professor said after a minute of searching. The headmaster was in his office and there were few people around since most of them were out at Hogsmeade.

“I reckon we can get there without being seen.” Harry said to Remus who raised an eyebrow.

“Snape’s there,” he said, pointing out the potions master who was on the same floor as Dumbledore’s office. “If he catches us then we’re in serious trouble.”

“Well I’ll fly there and he’ll just assume I’m Fawkes, if we’re lucky.” Harry replied to him, momentarily ignoring the puzzled looks from the past.

“I can’t believe we’re doing this.” Remus said. “Are you two coming?”

“I suppose so.” Professor Lupin said. “Let’s go then, before Snape moves.”

They all made for the door; Remus went first, followed by Professor Lupin, then by the younger Harry and then a beautiful golden phoenix. The younger Harry and Professor Lupin stared at him in awe and amazement.

“I’m an animagus?!” The young boy asked in disbelief. Professor Lupin couldn’t speak with shock; he remembered how difficult it had been for James, Sirius and Peter to become animagi and James and Sirius had been very gifted and, as extraordinary as Harry was, he wasn’t close to their excellence in academics.

“You are indeed.” Remus smiled and Harry flew to his arm. “You two go through the main corridors and stairs and we’ll take the passageways.” Professor Lupin and Harry nodded in agreement and walked off down the stairs to the next floor.

“I can’t believe this.” Remus murmured to the bird on his arm as they walked through the many secret passageways Hogwarts had on their way to Dumbledore’s office.

After a few minutes they were stood outside the gargoyle entrance to Dumbledore’s office.

“Chocolate Frog.” Remus said and the two of them entered and behind them their past selves ran inside too. The wooden spiral staircase started to move upwards until it reached the door.

“Enter.” Dumbledore said and the two men, one boy and a phoenix went inside the room. The old man raised his eyebrows slightly and his eyes laughed. “Hello Professors and Harrys.” He said to them and Harry glided gently to the floor in his phoenix state and transformed back into a teenager. All four of them took a seat infront of him. “So how did this bizarre time travelling even occur?” He asked them calmly.

“Well Remus and I were duelling and…” Harry explained the events which had brought them to their present conundrum whilst the other four listened to the tale. Professor Lupin and the younger Harry both thought it odd that Harry referred to Lupin by his first name but neither of them mentioned it.

“It’s good to know that you will duel once more, Remus.” Dumbledore said to Professor Lupin. “You always were excellent at it.” Professor Lupin and Remus smiled slightly but said nothing.

“So how can we get back?” Harry asked him, “There’s only two days until I have to go back to school and someone might have noticed we’ve gone even before then.”

“They already know, Harry.” Dumbledore informed him, “Alastor realised that something was wrong as soon as you disappeared – your going back in time did not just affect yourselves but things altered very slightly, not enough to change anything really but Moody picked up on this and alerted my future self. An Order meeting is currently in progress, discussing the matter.” He waved his wand in the air and a small cloud appeared, soon voices could be heard and eventually sight came to them.

“I have just received a note from my past self informing me that Remus and Harry have gone back in time to 1994.” Dumbledore said which caused a varied reaction. Tonks and Molly gasped, McGonagall didn’t react at all, Snape sneered, Mad Eye’s good eye widened, Arthur groaned, Bill and Charlie looked worried and the Weasley twins laughed and said “Way to break time Harry!” Outside in the hall Hermione, Ron and Ginny gasped and stared at each other in horror.

“Why does everyone assume it’s my fault?” Harry asked Remus.

“Because people think that because I’m older I have more sense and am less likely to break things like Time, as well as that you have an extensive history of getting into bizarre situations like this.” Remus replied.

“Potter and Lupin are a bad combination.” Mad Eye said in the cloud. “They will be each other’s destruction.”

“Well Lupin had a history of causing trouble with Potter, did he not? And now he’s causing mayhem with the next generation.” Snape said coolly.

“Git.” Harry muttered, “First thing I’m going to do when we get back is to hex Snape.”

“You will not hex Professor Snape when we return, Harry.” Remus said to him, “I will.” And Harry laughed. Professor Lupin watched them both with interest.

“Just put your stupid feud with Harry and Remus aside and think of some way to bring them back!” Tonks shouted at Snape.

“Why would I do a thing like that?” Snape asked calmly.

“Because the fate of the world rests on that boy’s shoulders and if he’s stuck in the past then we’re all as good as dead!” Molly shouted and on both sides of the magical cloud there was silence.

“What does she mean by that?” Professor Lupin asked Harry and Remus eventually.

“Forget it.” Harry said quietly. Back in the future Dumbledore pointed his wand seemingly towards those in the past and murmured a few words and the familiar cloud that they had all seen before appeared there and it was to the past, upon seeing two versions of Harry and Remus sat with Dumbledore they all stared in amazement.

“Hello to you all.” Dumbledore from the future greeted them and the five of them managed a small hello in return. They had a brief conversation through the clouds but then they all dispersed to try and discover a way for them both to get back. Remus and Harry were instructed to stay out of sight of everyone else and to either stay in Remus’ office and living quarters or to be in Dumbledore’s office. They were only allowed out of those places at night when they could travel around as they pleased but only under Harry’s invisibility cloak which Remus summoned for the two of them to leave the headmasters office and make their way back up to his old office.

“This is so surreal.” Professor Lupin said as he stared at the people from the future before and he and Harry went their separate ways. He went to his lesson with the fifth year Ravenclaws and Harry went to potions with Snape.

Back in his office Professor Dumbledore of the past realised that he knew how to get them home, but it was a big risk, the dangers were large but the only way to get them home was to go back the way they had come. He knew that and decided to wait until the morning when he would meet the two from the future and explain the way in which they would be returned to their home time.



Chapter Eighteen

Professor Lupin returned back from his teaching for that day and walked through a small section on the wall of his office to his living quarters and smiled slightly at the sight that met him. Harry lay in the arms of himself and they both slept on his sofa, a game of chess lay half played infront of him and the pieces were shouting and trying to wake them up.

Silencio” He said quietly and the pieces became silent. He couldn’t believe the way that things were going to go for him; he had spent long years mourning the death of Peter, Lily and James and he had hated Sirius for just as long. He had heard things that Remus and Harry had said, enough to gather that things would change and Sirius was innocent and that Peter was alive and guilty. He heard Harry blaming himself for the death of Sirius and Remus tried to comfort him as best he could, he helped but he knew that he couldn’t change his mind. So Sirius will die in the next couple of years. The professor thought sadly, And after we find he’s innocent… A strong urge to go find him filled his thoughts but he knew he couldn’t, Harry had told him that he would have to wait until the end of the year before he would meet him or risk messing time up very badly. Professor Lupin sighed and threw himself down into a comfy chair and watched Harry and himself sleep peacefully together. He saw the way in which he would come to regard Harry, as a son… And Harry would love him as a father. Of course from a quiet conversation between the two he head overheard that afternoon he found how much Harry feared for him, after all he was his fourth guardian since they just didn’t seem to stay alive for very long after becoming so attached to him, Harry was afraid that Remus would meet the same end as Sirius or his parents.

Professor Lupin knew he was going to lose this glimpse of the future, they had already said that they couldn’t remember this happening to them so they would most likely have their memories wiped. He liked knowing what would happen, knowing what would become of him and Harry after that year. His mind went to the version of the boy that he knew. Would he ever succeed in teaching him to conjure a patronus? What did it look like if he did? If he didn’t manage then why not? Questions filled his mind and he decided that when he woke up, he would ask Harry to see his patronus.


***


Harry opened his eyes to see Professor Dumbledore sat there chatting to Professor Lupin.

“Yes, I can send them back but it is risky.” Dumbledore said quietly.

“Time travel always is.” Professor Lupin replied.

“I wonder how Harry feels at seeing himself so close to you in the future…” Dumbledore mused. “It must be quite strange for him since at the moment you are just another teacher really.”

“Hello Harry.” Professor Lupin smiled at him.

“What time is it?” Harry asked as he sat up.

“Almost ten p.m.” Dumbledore replied without looking at a watch or a clock, something which Professor Lupin and Harry found rather odd. “Good news, I know how to get you home.” Harry smiled, “But it will be dangerous.” He added, to which Harry’s smile faded slightly, but any way home, whether dangerous or not, was welcome to him.

“So how do you plan on sending us home then?” Harry asked him.

“I’ll wait until Remus awakes and inform you both then.” Dumbledore replied. Harry turned to look at Remus and contemplated waking him up, after some thought he decided that would be quite an unfair course of action and left him to sleep.

“Can you show me your patronus please?” Professor Lupin suddenly asked him.

Expecto Patronum.” Harry murmured, not wanting to wake Remus. Harry had wisely pointed his wand over to a space so that the large silver stag didn’t appear on the coffee table; instead it was over by the window. Professor Lupin could only gape and Dumbledore seemed at a loss for words. Harry smiled slightly.

“But it’s incredibly difficult to create a corporeal patronus… and you’re only sixteen!” Professor Lupin finally managed to say. “And you’re an animagus!”

“And I can apparate too.” Harry said quietly, “But you don’t know that yet.” He glanced down at Remus who slept peacefully beside him. “I can’t do it often though or the ministry might catch me and I don’t need another trial.”

“They put you on trial?!” Professor Lupin said, quite loudly, Remus started to wake.

“Yeah, full Wizengamot as well, just for accidental magic…” Harry told him.

“Where am I?” Remus mumbled.

“Snape’s house.” Harry told him.

“What?!” He said and his eyes flickered open. He wasn’t pleased at the amused expressions on the faces of the three people watching him. “You should have woken me…”

“Dumbledore can send us home.” Harry told him and his guardian’s eyes widened.

“How?” He asked.

“You must go to the top of the stairs and be in as close to the same positions you were in before and perform the same spells together, Remus must be thinking of the duel and Harry must be concentrating on not falling down the stairs.” Dumbledore said, “Can you remember what time it was when you went back in time?”

“About midday, I think.” Harry said and Remus nodded in agreement.

“Then we will try and send you both back tomorrow at that same time, which means you have around 14 hours left here.” Dumbledore said. “Anyway I must be going; I fear that Dobby has just caused a small fire in the kitchens. I will see you tomorrow at midday.” And with that he left the room.

“I wonder what Dobby’s been cooking at this time of night.” Harry said.

“Probably socks or something.” Remus yawned. “I don’t like waking up at night, it’s rather weird.”

“Come on, let’s go get food!” Harry said and pulled him to his feet to a mumbled protest from Remus. “Well you stay here and feel hungry then, it’s up to you.” Remus mumbled a bit more but soon the two of them were sat in the kitchens watching as Dumbledore tried to control the fire and Dobby ran around screaming. Luckily the kitchens were soundproof. Harry ate a chocolate éclair and Remus shook his head and ate a small sandwich.

“Merlin, what am I thinking?” Harry gasped, after seeing Remus shake his head at his choice of food, “All these calories, I’ll get fat! Where’s the celery?” Remus rolled his eyes and finished eating his food.

***


“I cannot believe I’m doing this…” Remus murmured as he crept up behind Mrs Norris. It had just passed 1a.m. and he and Harry were out in the castle trying to irritate Filch as much as possible and they were doing very well so far. Earlier on Remus had disillusioned them both so that they didn’t both have to stay under the invisibility cloak. Now he was holding the Marauders Map from the future and creeping up on Mrs Norris whilst Harry created a loud distraction on one of the other floors for Filch with the Marauders Map from the past. On the third floor on the map there was a little burst of colour and the dot labelled Harry Potter was carefully avoiding the one labelled Argus Filch as he was most likely trying to put out the firework. Remus grinned, it had been so long since he had felt so young, he remembered Sirius telling him once how young Harry made him feel and they had never done anything like this, James and Sirius would be so jealous. Lily would be fuming of course. He waved his wand and murmured a quiet incantation and smiled as Mrs Norris’ fur stood on end and changed to red and gold stripes.

“Mrs Norris!” Filch cried as he ran up the stairs and on the top stair Harry had collapsed with silent laughter. Remus grinned and grabbed hold of Harry, pulling him into a secret passageway behind a picture. The picture was magical, it was completely transparent from the side they were on so they could watch and laugh quietly without being seen. “I’ll kill whoever did this.” He cried into the still and silent school. “You won’t get away with this you fiends!”

“Come on.” Harry smiled and pulled Remus down the passageway just as Mrs Norris ran through the passageway after them.


Remus couldn’t suppress a grin when he followed Harry back into his old office. From the ground floor there was a loud yell of fury from Filch as he entered his office to find it decorated with the same red and gold stripes. There was no way that Filch would think it was a Gryffindor since not even the Weasley twins would be stupid enough to decorate his office in their own house colours. He felt younger than he had done in years, and happier too. He sat down on the sofa and leant back into the corner of it with Harry leant against his side and fell asleep almost instantly.

***


“Mr Filch isn’t impressed.” Dumbledore was saying to Remus who tried to hang his head in shame and bite back his laughter at the same time. Behind him Professor Lupin stood trying to look disappointed in his own behaviour but he couldn’t quite manage it. It had been he and the headmaster walking through the castle earlier that morning who had discovered Filch standing in the doorway of his office, frozen still and gaping in horror at his red and gold office. Mrs Norris was sat on his desk with the same colour scheme painted on her newly spiked hair and it had taken all the self-control he had to stop himself from laughing at the sight of it. Professor Lupin watched Remus and he glanced up and caught his eye and the professor turned away to stop himself from laughing, there was just something that reminded him of Filch’s face when they found him, and his future self was close to laughing himself. “I don’t expect this kind of trouble from you now Remus and I hope this won’t happen again.” Dumbledore concluded.

“Sorry Professor.” Remus mumbled. He was biting his lip hard to stop from laughing and it wasn’t going to work for much longer.

“Well now that’s cleared up then I would like you and Harry to be ready to leave at quarter to 12 in Professor Lupin’s office.” Dumbledore said, he was smiling slightly and Remus wondered how he had reacted to finding Filch in the state he was in. The golden paint Harry had painted his face with earlier in the night still hadn’t come off and the students were very amused by it, so were some of the teachers in fact. The old man smiled at them and left.

“So what are you doing today then?” Remus asked Professor Lupin who was sitting down in his chair watching the chess board which separated them. The two of them were sat in his bedroom in the small seating area whilst Harry slept a little longer on the bed. Remus stared down at the white pieces before him who kept arguing with his choices and tried to convince him to do things which would certainly cause him to lose.

“Not much I don’t think, I’ll probably try and teach Harry to conjure a patronus again since you interrupted us yesterday.” He replied and twirled his wand between his fingers before ordering his castle once square forward.

“Your pieces are irritatingly biased.” His past self told him whilst his own knight kept trying to convince him that getting his queen taken was a good thing. Professor Lupin smiled and glanced over at Harry who murmured something in his sleep before rolling over.

Time passed and soon Dumbledore walked into Lupin’s office to find the younger version of Harry trying in vain to fight off the dementor boggart whilst Professor Lupin tried to help as best he could, the older versions sat and watched in interest.

“Ready to go?” Dumbledore asked them and the two older ones said that they were. He handed them each some floo powder. “13 Parkview Close” He said and stepped into the flames, followed by the other four people.

“You shouldn’t be here.” Professor Lupin said to the younger Harry who just shrugged.

They all walked upstairs to the landing and Remus stood where he had been standing before and Harry balanced himself precariously at the top of the stairs, hoping that this would work and that he wouldn’t just fall down them.

“Concentrate hard on the time you’re meant to be in Remus.” Dumbledore told him and he nodded.

Gelotrium” Remus cried, Harry fell backwards and he shut his eyes, hoping that he wasn’t about to fall down a flight of stairs. “Reverto” They both felt the odd spinning sensation and Remus thought hard about the duel they had both just been in and about chasing Harry up the stairs after drinking the Wolfsbane potion earlier.

“Harry!” Remus gasped and ran down the stairs as quickly as he could after him. It had worked; they were back in the time that they were meant to be in, or very close to it, unfortunately the reversing spell had only acted upon time and not on Harry, who had tumbled down the steps. Harry groaned and opened his eyes to his guardian who looked worried. “Are you okay?”

“Never felt better.” He muttered and managed to sit up. It was a miracle he hadn’t broken anything. It was also a miracle that he wasn’t frozen solid, the freezing spell had only worked on his chest for the moment but it was spreading and he could feel his breathing and his heart rate slowing. His chest began to feel tighter and so did his throat as the spell spread. He gasped at the cold and his eyes widened. Remus realised what was wrong and put a warming spell on him to neutralise the cold. Harry’s breathing became normal again and after a minute of sitting on the floor, discovering various new bruises, he got to his feet with the help of Remus and sat down in the kitchen for a cup of tea. A moment later Dumbledore and half the Order came through the fireplace to check that they were back.

Up on the wall in 1994 there was a cloud which showed the future. Harry watched as everyone talked to himself and Remus as they sat in a room he had seen briefly before being brought back to Hogwarts.

“Good to see they have returned to their own time.” Dumbledore smiled and the cloud on the wall disappeared. “Unfortunately I cannot permit either of you to remember these events.” Professor Lupin and Harry glanced at each other. Lupin felt slightly annoyed by this, he liked knowing what the future held for him, even if he only knew a little bit.

Obliviate” Dumbledore said quietly. “Anyway, as I was saying, I am certain your private tuition will be of great use to Harry against the dementors, should he need it.”

“Erm… Yes Professor.” Professor Lupin said. He felt a bit dazed and couldn’t remember any part of the conversation before it. He wondered what else had been said and how Dumbledore had known he was teaching him the patronus charm. He supposed it didn’t really matter and he and Harry left his office, their memories of the past few days obliviated.



Chapter Nineteen

“Come on, Harry!” Remus said and shook him gently. It was the first of September and Harry’s school things lay packed at the end of his bed. “Get up!”

“Alright!” Harry moaned before he turned over and went back to sleep. Remus scowled and with a quick wave of his wand his duvet disappeared leaving Harry rather cold in just his pyjamas on the bed. Harry sat up and scowled at him and then went off to get a shower.

Remus watched him leave and then followed him out of the room. He turned and leant against the doorframe, looking at the ceiling and the room. This summer had been so much better than he could have expected – he had thought he would spend almost two months mourning the loss of his old friend, instead of that he had been forced into watching the wreck that was Harry grieving as well as being beaten and forced into something close to slavery, watched and assisted the D.A. fight Voldemort’s Death Eaters and then, after things had been so awful, Harry had come to stay with him and all that had been bothering him incessantly for so long seemed to have disappeared. He knew that being separated from Harry would be very difficult from him and he knew he was right in accepting the offer from Dumbledore, although he feared the reaction of some of the students (especially a few Slytherins he could name) he had been assured that Dumbledore would deal with any complains about his lycanthropy personally. He smiled slightly, he hadn’t told Harry that he would be teaching him defence against the dark arts again; he wanted to see the expression on his face when he told him. It wasn’t as if there wasn’t going to be anyone to cover for him on the full moon either, due to Harry’s tendency to get into danger at school he was not going to be the only dark arts expert. Alastor Moody would be teaching DADA alongside him, since he, Remus, was the dark creatures expert and Moody’s forte was curses, although both could teach the other more than adequately. Tonks would also be around just because she wanted to be helpful in someway and she would be demonstrating her abilities in transfiguration as a human transformer, helping in charms – which she was very good at, and DADA whenever needed.

Remus thought there were going to be more than enough people teaching defence against the dark arts without Tonks to be perfectly honest but she was more protection for Harry and the school and she could be very useful with demonstrations since Alastor had a tendency to hex you instantly if you sent any spell in his direction, demonstration or not. He smiled slightly and turned from Harry’s room and walked down to the kitchen where he was accompanied by Harry a few minutes later.

Remus’ last few minutes of living with Harry came quickly and soon he and Harry were ready to leave, both of them with shrunken suitcases in their pockets.

“Are you ready to go?” Remus asked him.

“Yeah.” Harry replied, “Remus, thanks for this summer, I don’t know how I would have managed without you.”

Remus smiled, “I don’t know how I could have managed either.” He wasn’t lying and he hugged Harry. It felt nice to feel needed by someone. “Let’s go then.” And he walked over to the fireplace.

“Let’s apparate instead.” Harry said to him, he hadn’t told Remus that he could apparate yet and he wanted him to know. Remus spun round and stared at him.

“You can apparate?” Remus asked him. Harry nodded, “And you never told me?!”

“Let’s go.” Harry grinned. “Just outside Platform 9 ¾.”

Remus smiled and disappeared with a crack and appeared outside the platform a moment later. Harry appeared next to him a second later. Remus gazed at him in wonder that he hadn’t managed to splinch himself. They stepped through the barrier onto the platform where they were immediately greeted by the Weasleys, Hermione, Tonks and Mad Eye.

Harry started to talk to Ron and Hermione and found that Hermione had also charmed her things to fit into her pocket and after some tuition from Hermione, Ron had also managed the same. The twins were also there to see them off and Molly wasn’t very pleased with them; they had been offered a chance to come back to Hogwarts and redo their last year but they turned it down, the shop was doing too well and even though Dumbledore had told them that there would be more than competent teaching of defence against the dart arts this year (and he wasn’t wrong) they still chose not to go back.

“Go get on the train!” Mrs Weasley said to them all. There was a babble of voices as they all said their goodbyes to one another and then Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny all got on the train.

“I suppose we better be going then.” Mad Eye said, “You haven’t told him have you?”

“No, I wanted to see how he reacts.” Remus smiled and he boarded the train right at the end with Tonks and Alastor.

***


Harry sat in a compartment with Ron, Hermione, Luna, Neville and Dean. There was constant conversation and people from the D.A. were always dropping in. Unfortunately they weren’t the only ones.

“Hello Potter.” Malfoy said coolly as he slid open the compartment door. “Have a nice summer? I hear you had an unfortunate run in with some Death Eaters.”

“Yeah, has your dad come back from wherever one of us Vanished him to?” Harry asked him. Malfoy’s eyes narrowed dangerously and he was struggling to control his anger. “Don’t cry Malfoy.” Harry unwisely said.

Protegium” Harry said, almost lazily, blocking and absorbing the power of Malfoy’s Furnunculus charm and sending it back at him. Malfoy screamed when he realised that he was now covered in boils and from nowhere Mad Eye appeared and everyone gasped at the sight of him since all but Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys assumed him to be the man who had tried to kill Harry after his fourth year.

“Potter! Malfoy!” He barked at them, “Come with me.” Harry got up to follow him but Malfoy made to hex him as he rose and so they both sent another quick spell at one another before Mad Eye decided that enough was enough, bound them both with Devil’s Snare and after levitating them, he dragged them floating down the corridor into the end compartment in which sat Remus and Tonks. Both raised their eyebrows when Malfoy was thrown in and then managed to look even more shocked when followed by Harry.

“Duelling in the corridors, what were you thinking you foolish boys.” Mad Eye shouted at them, “You will never do such a thing again or you may find yourselves transformed… into ferrets for instance.” Harry tried hard not to smile and by some miracle he managed, glancing to the side Harry saw that Draco looked horrified and wriggled, trying to get out of the bonds that had him. He gasped for air as they got tighter and tighter and the tighter they got then the more he wriggled and a vicious circle ensued until Mad Eye dropped him onto the floor from the Devil’s Snare and told him to get out and not to come back on pain of transfiguration.

“I’ll tell my father on you.” Malfoy threatened. Harry rolled his eyes and Malfoy saw him. “At least I have a father to tell, Potter.”

“I’d rather my dad was dead than anything like yours, Malfoy.” Harry retorted and in the corner of his eye he saw Remus smile.

“Out Malfoy!” Mad Eye barked at him and he did as he was told and slunk out of the compartment and shut the door. “Don’t try overhearing Malfoy, get back to your own compartment.” There was a banging sound as Malfoy stomped out of the carriage and into the next one down.

“Don’t lower yourself to his level, Harry.” Remus told him, “It’s not worth it, he’s not worth it.”

“As well as that you don’t really want Lucius Malfoy after you either.” Mad Eye told him.

“Cause he really loves me at the moment doesn’t he?” Harry scowled.

“Now go back to your own compartment.” Mad Eye said and put him down on the ground, the Devil’s Snare disappearing in an instant. “Good reversing charm by the way.” And he grinned lopsidedly at him, “Constant Vigilance!” Harry had long since ceased to jump after this remark was bellowed at him and he only smiled himself.

“Why are all three of you here?” Harry asked them suddenly.

“We’re merely enjoying the train ride.” Remus told him.

“Seriously, I assume one of you has the dark arts job, but then what about the other two?” Harry asked them.

“You’ll see Harry.” Tonks said to him and the three of them grinned at Harry.

“Now go!” Mad Eye said to him and lifted him from the floor a few inches and levitated him out. They heard him walking away and Mad Eye watched him through the door until he had gone. He turned back to his two colleagues: Tonks was watching Lupin intently, who in turn was watching where Harry had been a moment earlier and staring into space. He was far too attached to that boy.

“You really love him don’t you, Remus?” Tonks said to him.

“Huh? Oh, sorry.” Remus said as he returned from his daze. “What were you saying Tonks?”

“I said you really love Harry, don’t you?” She said, smiling. It was awful that they both cared about each other and chances are that Voldemort would be able to get them because of it but she knew as well as they did that there was nothing anyone could do about it.

“I suppose I do…” Remus said, smiling slightly himself. That word had never crossed his mind when thinking of Harry but now that it had it would again. He loved Harry as if he was his own son and he knew he was the closest he would ever have to a son. Still, it’s not like he’d ever have the chance to have one of his own should he want it. He wondered suddenly what would happen when he and Harry died, since surely the two incidents wouldn’t be that far from each other. He wouldn’t be Harry’s only guardian then, there would be Sirius, James and Lily. There would be barely room for him. He bit his lip slightly and blinked, Tonks was still watching him but she was also listening to Mad Eye talking about Death Eaters. That was all they ever talked about in the Order, Death Eaters, Voldemort, how best to keep Harry alive and away from trouble, away from danger, away from any potential harm, away from anything of any potential interest to the boy, they had even talked of banning him from Quidditch for Merlin’s sake!… It was all so tedious. When he was with Harry they talked about anything and everything, and when they had nothing to say it didn’t matter because they were usually doing something anyway, if not playing chess then duelling or he was watching Harry be infuriated with freezing spells… There was never a dull moment with Harry in his company, not unless he, Remus, chose that he wanted it to be dull and quiet, then Harry would be quiet for him, just because he wanted quiet. He wondered whether Harry ever wanted quiet and if he got it when he did.

***


The train journey passed quickly. Soon Harry was stepping off the train with Hermione and Ron.

“Firs’ years! Firs’ years, this way!” Hagrid’s familiar shout above all the noise met them as they stepped onto the ground. “A’right you three?” He shouted over the small people who surrounded him. They didn’t bother to shout anything back, there was no point, and they weren’t anywhere near as loud as he was, so instead they waved energetically to him over the masses before getting into one of the horseless carriages which to Harry weren’t horseless anymore, as he looked at them he saw Cedric die, Sirius fall back through the veil, remembered the bus flying towards him and his friends and finally the green flash of light and his mother’s scream. He looked away from the thestral and got into the carriage with Ron and Hermione.


Remus watched Harry climb up into the carriage and wanted to talk to him, he had seen him pause and look at the thestral and he knew that all the deaths he had seen would be replaying in his mind and all the misery he associated with them would fill his thoughts. There was nothing to be done now however. He was in a carriage himself, with Tonks and Mad Eye but theirs was much faster. It practically flew over to the castle and they reached the castle doors within moments.

The three occupants of the carriage got out quickly, Remus felt rather sick and almost fell over, and would have done had Tonks not caught him at the last moment. They walked up to the main doors which opened for them and all of them smiled, even Mad Eye, at being back at the castle.

“Welcome!” Dumbledore greeted the three of them warmly. “Do come on through to the hall.” And with that he turned and left, the three of them quickly walked after him and into the great hall, their eyes instantly drawn to the ceiling and then back down to the gathering of the staff there.

“Our two new defence against the dark arts teachers, Remus Lupin and Alastor Moody.” Dumbledore introduced them, “I’m sure you will remember Remus—”

“And it’s not like we could forget Mr Moody.” Sybil Trelawney said.

“Sybil, you know full well that it was an impostor of Alastor teaching here two years ago, now do put that in the past.” Dumbledore said quite harshly to her, it was evidently a subject which had been talked through between them a lot. “And last but not least, Nymphadora Tonks (who prefers to be known by her last name only) will be assisting the two defence against the dark arts teachers as well as Professor Flitwick and Hagrid here throughout the year.”

There were a few minutes of talk between all the professors, who were all quite eager to get to know Tonks and were pleased to meet Remus again. Mad Eye stayed quite out of things and watched the approaching carriages through the walls.

“The students are arriving.” Mad Eye alerted them when the carriages pulled up outside. The teachers carried on talking as they walked over to the main table and waited for the students to enter. They soon did and Harry, Ron and Hermione were the first to enter. “Make way for the heir of Slytherin, seriously evil wizard coming through.” Ron said coolly.

“Do shut up Mr Weasley.” Professor McGonagall told him before walking out into the small room where the first years would be waiting. Harry watched Remus out of the corner of his eye and wondered about him, Mad Eye and Tonks all being there. Soon everyone was seated and the sorting began. Harry was incredibly hungry and he wasn’t the only one. They all watched the last first year, Mindras Zabini, get sorted into Slytherin and then Dumbledore stood up.

“Well I have just a few announcements to make before the food arrives…” Dumbledore said and a few groans were heard and his eyes twinkled.

Hungry? Appeared on Harry’s hand in Remus’ hand writing, Harry grinned and glanced up at the staff table where Remus was watching him.

Starving Harry send to his hand and he wiped his own.

“This year there will be two, joint defence against the dark arts teachers. Fourth years and above may remember Professor Lupin who had once again returned to take the job.” Remus stood up and smiled to a tremulous applause, mostly from the Gryffindor table but a lot from Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff as well. The Slytherins made a point of sitting in silence. Remus sat down. “And the third years and above may think they remember Professor Moody, but rest assured, they do not.” Moody stood up and there was a general applause and some muttering since a lot of them remembered the article in the Quibbler which had been published the previous year and told of the impostor who had posed as him. “Those are the two defence against the dark arts teachers and now Professor Tonks will be assisting classes in defence against the dark arts, charms and care of magical creatures throughout the year.” Tonks stood up and there was more clapping, “On one last final note Mr Filch reminds people that, contrary to popular belief, the Forbidden Forest is forbidden and that no magic is to be used in the corridors between classes. Now tuck in!”

Infront of them the plates filled with masses of food and Hermione instantly began talking to Ron about house elves and the outrage that it was that they weren’t paid.

“Slave labour!” She cried as she ate another Yorkshire pudding, “That’s what it is!”

Unusually Ron didn’t argue with her but kept his mouth shut, even when Hermione took the chocolate éclair he was about to eat and informed him that he shouldn’t eat anything produced by slave labour (before going on to eat a jam doughnut herself). Harry couldn’t resist a smile at Ron’s desperate new idea that if he kept his mouth shut and didn’t argue with Hermione then he would soon find himself going out with her. He had tried this earlier on in the summer and given it up after about five minutes of Hermione talking non-stop about potions. Now he had only started again because Hermione had received a letter from Krum that morning.

“…and Victor said I can go stay with him for Christmas and I told him that my parents would want me to stay home for Christmas but he said they could come too and…” Hermione was saying to Ron who was sinking deeper into despair. Harry rolled his eyes and glanced down at hand when he felt an odd tickling sensation on it.

You look happy… Remus wrote.

Hermione’s talking about Krum and Ron’s utterly depressed about it Harry replied, I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you’re working here again!

I wanted to see what you did when you found out, if you hadn’t ended up fighting Malfoy then I could have had the amusement of seeing your face in here. Oh well… Remus repliedHang on, do you mean Victor Krum? Isn’t he a seeker for Bulgaria?

He’s the seeker for Bulgaria and yeah that’s him. She met him during the Triwizard thingy and everyone thought he was evil… I’ll tell you about it later. Harry replied.

“What’s that?” Neville asked pointing at the small rectangle in Ron’s robes.

“Oh, it’s my suitcase.” Ron grinned proudly, pleased that he had managed to shrink it himself.

“Is it meant to be getting bigger?” Neville asked him and Ron looked down in horror at the rectangle which was, as Neville had said, getting bigger and bigger.

“Hermione!” Ron said urgently to Hermione who sat besides him.

“…anyway Victor really is amazing, his family are so nice!” She was telling Parvati, “and… oh what is it Ron?”

“Well if you’d shut up about Vicky for one moment then you’d know!” Ron scowled at her.

“I’m really going to listen to you now Ron!” Hermione scowled and turned back to Parvati.

“Hermione! I’m really sorry, just help me please! It’s getting bigger!” Ron said. Hermione raised her eyebrows and Parvati and Lavender giggled. Hermione looked down to Ron’s pocket where his suitcase which he had insisted on shrinking himself was getting bigger and bigger. By now there was Harry, Hermione, Neville, Parvati and Lavender all laughing at Ron’s misfortune and the Slytherins were already aware that something was going on at the Gryffindor table. On the Ravenclaw table next to them Padma saw that Ron’s pocket was expanding and pointed it out to her friend and they both burst into laughter.

What’s going on down there?” Remus sent and it appeared on Harry’s hand a second later.

Ron shrank his suitcase earlier and put it in his pocket and now it’s expanding! Harry wrote back to him.

Up at the staff table Remus laughed and when Professor McGonagall sat next to him, asked what was so amusing he showed her the note Harry had sent to him on his hand. She repressed a smile and watched the chaos increase down at her house table. She was never one to leave chaos to develop but young wizards who insisted on messing with charms which were too advanced for them needed disciplining with the best way possible: humiliation.

“What am I going to do?!” Ron gasped as it got bigger and bigger, now it was about five inches long and his pockets weren’t that big.

“Get it out of your pocket!” Harry told him. Ron tried.

“It’s too big! It’s stuck!” Ron howled. Over at the Slytherin table on the other side of the hall Malfoy was craning to get a look at the disarray on the table of his rival house.

“Do you want me to shrink it?” Neville asked him. Hermione shook her head and looked away, Ron agreed to having him shrink it back to what was hopefully a normal size but this was Neville… He pointed his wand at the suitcase and muttered the shrinking charm. Ron looked down at the suitcase, it was still getting bigger.

“Ron, your robes!” Hermione shrieked as Ron’s robes got smaller and smaller.



Chapter Twenty!

“My robes! They’re shrinking!” Malfoy screeched in a high pitched voice as he passed the Gryffindor table the next morning. “Nooooooo!” Ron groaned and shrank down in his chair, wishing for invisibility.

“At least Hermione managed to get them back to a normal size for you.” Harry said trying to be comforting.

“Yeah after Neville reversed it and made them huge.” Ginny chimed in, coming down to join them.

“And not to forget before he changed them green and silver and set them on fire.” Dean added as he reached out for the cornflakes.

“Sorry Ron.” Neville muttered as he came down to join them. Ron sighed and muttered something along the lines that it was okay.

“Your timetable Mr Potter.” Professor McGonagall said from behind him and Harry turned round to take the piece of parchment from her. She handed timetables to the rest of their group before saying: “Oh and Mr Weasley? Do not attempt to use spells which are out of your abilities again, or at least not in such public circumstances.” And with that she walked down the rest of the table, leaving Ron holding his timetable and looking rather red in the face.

“You took potions Harry?” Dean said as he stared down at Harry’s timetable.

“Yeah,” Harry replied and looked down at Ron’s timetable which was soaking up some milk from the table. Transfiguration, Charms, DADA and Care of Magical Creatures. “Didn’t you take potions, Ron?”

“I only got an E, Snape wouldn’t let me.” He replied dully. He looked over to Hermione’s timetable which was identical to Harry’s. “Oh well, at least I don’t have potions first.” Harry stared down at his timetable and realised to his horror that he did have potions first. Then he had a free period to recuperate, and then there was a small break, then transfiguration, charms, dinner and then defence against the dark arts last thing. He was looking forward to that, seeing Remus and Mad Eye teaching together should be interesting and he knew that he would probably be a reasonable way infront of the rest of them at duelling and other such things.

“Come on, I suppose we may as well get potions over with…” Harry said to Hermione and they both walked down to the dungeons together after quickly finishing their breakfasts; the last thing they wanted was to be late to their first NEWT potions lesson. They were just in time to walk into the room with the others, which they were not surprised to see were mostly Slytherins, although there were a few Ravenclaws. They were the only Gryffindors there and there were no Hufflepuffs who dared to try and complete the course.

“Welcome. You are all here because you have proven you can make a basic potion at OWL level. Things are going to get harder and I fear that some of you less capable students may not complete the course.” He looked at Harry at this point who scowled back at him, “Today we will begin the first part of the Polyjuice potion which takes how long to brew, Mr Potter?”

“A month, sir.” Harry said. Snape glared at him, infuriated that he had lost the first chance of the year to take points from Gryffindor.

“So I suggest you get started, instructions are on the board and I suggest you don’t get any funny ideas of whom you will be transforming into, it will be only your lab partner who has the misfortune of becoming yourself. Now begin!”

Harry and Hermione partnered up together and spent the lesson stewing lacewing flies and chatting quietly. Snape occasionally came past them and glared angrily for no reason but he didn’t have anything to say so he quickly stalked on.

“I can’t wait for Defence Against the Dark Arts!” Hermione said excitedly as they walked up to the common room to spend their free lesson in some comfort. Unfortunately Ron didn’t have his free period now, he was down in Care of Magical Creatures, his free period had been last lesson and had spent his lesson in the common room with Neville.

“I can’t wait for it either.” Dean said as he caught up with them from further down the corridor. “With two really good teachers it should be really interesting this year.”

“Especially since it’s advanced stuff as well.” Harry added. He was quite relieved that he wouldn’t have to do the D.A. again this year, not that he hadn’t enjoyed it, it was just a lot of hard work and although they didn’t have the D.A. anymore he still carried the small coin with him and he knew that everyone else did too.

“Devil’s Snare.” Hermione spoke the password into Gryffindor tower and the Fat Lady’s portrait swung open to let them in. They all lounged about in the common room with a few of the seventh years who had Divination at the moment, although they didn’t talk between the two groups. Harry stared down at the chessboard between himself and Dean.

“Did you year screaming then?” Harry asked Hermione and Dean and he got up and went to look out of the window down at the grounds. From here he could see someone running as fast as they could from a group of people at the edge of the forest. He turned back from the window to see his chessmen arguing between each other and settled back into the game.


***


Ron ran as fast as he could from the edge of the forest. He could hear Pansy Parkinson’s screeching laughter coming from behind him but he didn’t care. Aragog stood at the edge of the forest with Hagrid after being coaxed into being used as an example of an acromantula and although he had promised not to eat anyone under pain of death Aragog was hardly classed as friendly. Unfortunately Ron feared spiders and had encountered this particular acromantula just over three years ago and was not keen to meet him again so understandably he was now running from his first lesson of the first year as fast as he wobbly and terrified legs could carry him.


***


“Ron! Are you okay?!” Harry asked him as staggered into the common room. He collapsed by means of a reply. Hermione rushed forwards and levitated him onto a chair.

“What happened?” Dean asked him and Ron soon found himself surrounded by his friends. Harry put a cleaning spell on the knees of his robes which were muddy and dusty for having fallen over so many times on his way to the tower.

“Aragog.” Ron gasped. Hermione raised her eyebrows and Dean looked confused.

“You were the one I saw running from the edge of the forest a while ago weren’t you?” Harry suddenly said and Ron managed to nod as he gulped down some water Dean handed him.

“Care of Magical Creatures…” Ron said, “Hagrid’s mad! That thing almost killed us in our second year!” Ron closed his eyes and leant back against the chair he sat in and took a few deep breaths.

“Cheer up, it’s transfiguration next.” Hermione said brightly and everyone groaned.

“I musta been mad to take transfiguration.” Dean groaned some time later as the five of them walked to transfiguration and were met with Neville on the way who had just returned from double Herbology.

“I know exactly what you mean.” Ron said as they all entered the classroom. It was mostly Gryffindors that had taken transfiguration as well as quite a few Ravenclaws. There were no Slytherins in their lesson and Harry laughed when he heard that Malfoy wanted to take it but had only managed an A in his OWL and was therefore unable.

“Settle down!” Professor McGonagall called over the hubbub of the full classroom. “Your NEWTs are very important tests and only the best have been accepted into this class. The lessons will be difficult and you will be doing a lot of homework and research in your spare time, and I know for a fact that you will have at least one free lesson a day in which to do your work so do not tell me you have no time…

“Today you will begin attempting to transfigure these small ornaments into living things, this will be challenging for most of you and you will be taking them with you after the lesson. I expect all of you to bring a living ornament to your next lesson.” She finished announcing. “Ornaments are at the front, you may begin.”

Harry went to the front of the room from his seat and picked a small dragon ornament and took it back to his seat between Ron and Hermione. Ron was working on a small muggle gnome and Hermione had a small kitten which she had already made to meow at intervals. Neville was at the back of the room and had picked a small merman but he wasn’t doing very well with it because he had managed to set him on fire.

“…how you could manage to set a sea dweller on fire I really do not know Mr Longbottom…” Harry could hear the professor shouting at Neville. He glanced down at the little dragon and smiled. He didn’t have to transfigure it all at once, even Hermione was doing hers in stages, but he wanted to try all the same. He concentrated hard on bringing the dragon to life and visualised the Horntail he had faced two years ago in his mind. He could feel the warmth of its fire, hear it roar. He tapped the dragon lightly on it’s head, still holding the image in his head and to his surprised the dragon came to life, soared around his head and as if to prove it was alive it breathed fire onto Ron and set his parchment alight. Hermione stared at him in shock and at the front of the room, Professor McGonagall stared at him also.

“25 points to Gryffindor for that excellent transformation Mr Potter.” The professor said. Harry grinned and began to transfigure and charm various parts of his dragon so by the end of the lesson it was breathing bubbles and occasionally it would change colour as well as having large fangs. Professor McGonagall was very impressed with him and gave him another 20 points for Gryffindor at the end of the lesson.

The end of the lesson came all too soon for Harry who was really enjoying changing his dragon and also charmed a little phoenix into life as well but Hermione was in something close to a rage with her kitten which could only purr and move its front two legs. Ron grinned at this but chose to say nothing. As Harry moved to leave the professor called him back.

“Yes Professor?” Harry asked, puzzled as to why she would keep him back.

“As I am certain you are aware, Quidditch season begins in two months. The only players we have are yourself and Mr Weasley and as astounding as you are on a broom you cannot win the game by yourself. We are in need of two beaters and three chasers and I trust that you will be able to supply them. Oh and you will of course be Quidditch captain..?” She said to him. Harry had managed to forget about Quidditch, although he wasn’t quite sure how, and he really did want to be captain, but then again he knew that Ron was desperate for it too. He decided that he should do the right thing…

“Professor, I think that Ron would be a much better captain than me, I don’t really know much except how to be a seeker.” Harry explained.

“No, you will be captain, Potter, or you will not be on the team, is that understood?” She said rather more harshly than she had meant to, causing Harry’s little dragon to blow an angry jet of bubbles at her, “Excellent work today.” And Harry nodded and walked quickly out of the classroom. Charms was next and it was up on the sixth floor, being on the second floor things weren’t looking good and he was already a few minutes after the others. He walked quickly down the corridor and past the staircase up to the third floor. He reached a mirror and muttered something causing it to swing open. He smiled and walked inside it. This was a passageway rarely used now and Harry liked using it for this purpose. It also lead straight upwards and came out of a mirror next to the charms room. He ran up the slope he was on quickly and within a few minutes he left the passageway. That was one of his favourites because as well as being mostly out of use it was also quite mysterious. The walls were made of a different stone to that of the main castle and a very long painting of a battle scene ran its entire length with horses and people running alongside him. The other side of the wall had flaming torches lighting the way for him.

“Harry!” Hermione said as he emerged from the mirror. “I can’t believe you managed to get here so quickly. I don’t know how you can use that passageway either; it’s quite creepy to be honest.” Harry merely shrugged and followed her and Ron into charms.

“Welcome to advanced charms!” Professor Flitwick squeaked from behind his desk. “Today we will be doing a freezing charm so wands out everybody!”

Harry could have laughed aloud, Remus didn’t mention that he’d be learning the freezing charm this year, only the time reversal charm, and this was going to be another good lesson, one where he might even outdo Hermione again… if he was lucky, his freezing charms weren’t that good.

“Right, now everyone find something to freeze…” Professor Flitwick had ordered them and started his rounds of the students as they worked. “Ah, Mr Potter… You may find that difficult to freeze due to its fire breathing abilities. You will need to concentrate very hard in freezing it.” Harry did so and the dragon froze solid in midair as it circled his head. He summoned it to him and thawed it quickly.

“Excellent!” Professor Flitwick cried, “10 points for Gryffindor. Now try this…”

Gelotrium Solidius” Harry said and this time the dragon froze into a solid block of ice.

“Brilliant, have another ten points for Gryffindor!” Professor Flitwick said. “The advantage to that is that if used in a duel then your opponent would have to use a lot of harnessed emotional energy to escape it.” Harry smiled, knowing that this would be a charm he would use in Remus in their next duel. Professor Flitwick grinned at him and Harry wondered when Remus had told him about their duelling, “Oh, and another ten points to Gryffindor for your excellent use of charms on that ceiling of yours.”

“Wow Harry!” Ron said as they walked down to dinner together, “You’ve got 75 points for Gryffindor in two lessons!” Harry couldn’t help but grin, the last two days had been awful for Ron but they had been great for him and he knew from experience to enjoy them whilst they lasted, after all it was a rare occurrence for happiness to stick around in his life. He glanced up at the staff table which was already full as they entered and seeing Professor McGonagall reminded him that he would have to tell Ron about becoming Quidditch captain.

“Erm Ron… There’s something I have to tell you.” Harry said to him as they sat down for dinner. Ron glanced at him wondering what it could be that he had to tell him on the first day which didn’t seem to be good news. “I’m Quidditch captain.” Harry told him and Ron’s face fell slightly, he had really wanted it to be him. “I told McGonagall that I didn’t want it, I said it should be you because you know strategies and stuff and I’m only a seeker but she wouldn’t listen to me… Sorry mate.” Harry finished quite lamely. Ron nodded.

“I understand, I’ll help you with strategies though.” Ron said, with a fake smile. Inside he felt wretched; all he had wanted was to be captain of Quidditch for the year or two and at least live up to Charlie, now that wouldn’t happen. Next to him Harry looked slightly relieved for telling him although he knew that he wasn’t happy with the idea.

“Hey, that reminds me, we have to have tryouts; we don’t have any beaters or chasers!” Harry told him and Ron groaned.

“Do we have to?”

“It’s either that or we are the Gryffindor Quidditch team for this year.” Harry warned him.

“Ginny’s good, I bet she’d make a good chaser.” Ron said, his mind filled with Quidditch, “and Dean’s not bad either, he might make a fair beater…”

They both started to tuck into their dinner and Harry wondered how he had never become fat at Hogwarts. Glancing up at the staff table he saw Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick talking to Remus and from the glances in his direction he guessed that he was their subject of conversation. His little dragon which had been sleeping on the table besides him was summoned by McGonagall and flew off in her direction, Harry glanced at it as it flew away and started eating ice cream.

“Amazing transfiguration work.” Professor McGonagall smiled.

“And the charm work was utterly superb.” Flitwick said, “I gave him 30 points in one lesson, twenty for the charms on this little thing and 10 for those on his… sorry I mean your ceiling.”

Remus smiled. He was glad to hear that Harry had been doing so well in his lessons.

“Well I gave him 45.” Minerva said and they both glanced at the giant hourglasses, the Gryffindors were already well in the lead and Snape soured as he glanced at them as well.

“Anyway the third years I had earlier were atrocious!” Flitwick said, “They couldn’t even levitate their own chairs and I spent the rest of the lesson going over levitation again.” He sighed.

“We had an interesting lesson with the third years and a boggart.” Lupin said, glancing down at Mad Eye who was occasionally talking to Tonks. The little dragon flew onto his hand and walked around his fingers, blowing bubbles every now and again.

“That dragon seems rather fond of you, Remus.” Flitwick noted.

“Well it was Harry who animated it and objects generally take feelings, emotions and personality in general from he who charmed it so it’s only natural it likes you I suppose.” Minerva explained. “That was an odd lesson though, Harry was the only one who managed to animate his ornament, even Miss Granger was having trouble and Neville Longbottom managed to set a merman on fire!”

Remus watched as a small phoenix flew over to the dragon on its finger and tried to pull it away and back to Harry. A smile touched his lips and he froze the phoenix in ice before changing it back to the inanimate object it had been before and sent it back to Harry who scowled up at him.

Thanks for that, now you can reanimate it. Appeared on Remus’ hand and the phoenix appeared next to him again, unfrozen. With a sigh he animated it and it flew back to Harry.

“You should keep that dragon you know.” Filius Flitwick said to Remus, “Because Harry was the one who animated it then you can tell his mood and if he’s in danger then it will know and such things.”

“Really?” Remus asked him, quite interested.

“Yes, and if he keeps that phoenix you animated then the same will work for you.” He continued. “Very useful, especially in times like these.”

“I have to say, that is a very good idea.” Minerva agreed, “Anyway I should probably get going soon, I have fifth year Ravenclaws next and they’re always early.”

“Alright for some,” Filius replied, “I have fourth year Slytherins and they’re convinced they rule this castle…”

“Not so much as the seventh years.” Remus chimed in, “But luckily I’ve got the sixth years next and it’s basically the D.A. although there’s Malfoy in there as well.” He smiled, “This could be interesting.”

“Yes, they’re all very advanced now aren’t they?” Filius said.

“And all after Potter’s teaching them last year.” Minerva said, “Well I must be going now.” And with that she got up and left the two men who started chatting about the D.A.


Harry watched McGonagall leave the staff table and looked down at the little phoenix that looked quite proud of something, perched on the side of his plate. He smiled and picked it up before leaving for the common room with Hermione and Ron to dump their stuff in their dorms before walking back down to the first floor for their first defence against the dark arts lesson of the year.


Chapter 21: Twenty-One
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Twenty One

Harry, Ron and Hermione were the first ones to reach their defence against the dark arts class. Harry pushed open the door and gasped at the sight that met them.

“We’re in a hedge maze.” Hermione said quietly.

“How very nice of them.” Ron groaned.

“Déjà vu.” Harry scowled as they took a step forwards and the door slammed shut behind them and at the same time a small sign fell down infront of them.

Welcome to Advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts!

Your task for today is to reach us. You are headed due North through this hedge maze and it will take all your ingenuity and skills in defence against the dark arts to reach us at the end. Ten house points for each student to successfully reach us. You have three hours.

Professors Lupin and Moody

P.S. We’ll be watching you… Especially you, Malfoy.


Ron laughed. “Come on then, what are we waiting for?” He took a step forward and instantly the door moved from behind them to somewhere else in the room.

“I suppose they don’t want us all going in at the same place and at the same time.” Hermione said quietly. She walked forwards a step and before Harry could grab her wrist to pull her back she was caught in a net some 10 feet above the floor. Harry sighed and hovered himself up to cut her down. As he did so the walls of the maze got higher so that they couldn’t see the way.

Wingardium Leviosa!” Ron said quickly to stop Hermione breaking her ankle as she fell.

Another sign fell from nowhere. Watch where you walk Miss Granger.

Harry smiled slightly and they went on. Ron staring at the floor constantly.

“We can get through here, I know it.” Hermione said as they walked down a small path. “At least there’s three of us, I bet Malfoy’s on his own.”

“I hope he is and I hope something gets him.” Harry said.

“Speaking of which, what do you think’s in here?” Hermione asked Harry.

“I’m not sure, boggarts maybe?” He replied.

“What if Aragog’s in here?” Ron gasped in horror.

“Ron, they’re not going to have an acromantula in here.” Hermione tried to reason with him.

“Quiet.” Harry said. Something was walking towards them. They could hear a rattling sound and felt cold wash over them.

“Dementors?” Hermione said, panic suddenly engulfing her.

“Boggart.” Harry contradicted. “Dumbledore would never allow a dementor in this castle again after the end of the fourth year.” A dementor came sweeping round the corner and for a moment Harry froze. “Riddikulus!” he managed. The dementor looked at Ron, pointed at him and screamed. Harry and Hermione laughed at it but Ron wasn’t impressed.

“Come on,” Ron muttered and they walked on through the maze, encountering Firenze on the way who had a riddle for them and after some thought Ron solved it, and he was rather pleased with himself for doing so.

“Good luck, Harry Potter.” Firenze said as they walked away, “You have still a long way to go.”

“Why look who it is!” Malfoy drawled from behind them, “Potty and the Weasel and their mudblood friend.”

“Leave them alone Malfoy!” Neville stammered from behind him and Malfoy laughed aloud.

“I’m really scared Neville, what are you going to do? S-S-Stammer at me?” Malfoy laughed. “Anyway, that’s not the way through this maze. This is.” He turned to the hedge infront of them and pointed his wand at it. “Incendio!” Nothing happened. Neville turned to the maze and muttered the same spell and the hedge set on fire, before it was somehow extinguished and the hedge re-grew itself instantly. A new note dropped down infront of them.

Cheating will not be tolerated, Mr Longbottom, back to the beginning you go! Read the notice that dropped down infront of him and Neville was suddenly lifted up and dragged back to the front of the maze.

“Bye Longbottom.” Malfoy grinned, “And on we go!”

“This is by far the best lesson we’ve had today.” Harry said as they walked along, Malfoy trailed sulkily behind them.

Why thank you! Appeared a note on his hand, Harry smiled and got rid of it. They went down a windy, darker area of the maze in which it sounded as if they were in the Forbidden Forest. There was a small part which led off in a separate direction which they turned and followed but it lead only to a gathering of thestrals.

“I wonder what thestrals are doing in here.” Hermione said,

“What are you talking about? There wasn’t anything there.” Malfoy snapped.

“Really? I’m quite surprised by that.” Harry said as they walked on, “Of course if you had paid any attention in Care Of Magical Creatures before instead of only when it can help get Hagrid sacked then you’d know what we were talking about, right Malfoy?”

“Shut it Potter.” Malfoy muttered and marched past them into a large clearing.

“A lake?” Ron said in puzzlement. “And boats.” Malfoy ran forwards and jumped into one, Ron and Hermione tried to do the same but Harry pulled them back.

“Watch.” Harry told them. The boat Malfoy was in started to row itself forwards through the lake until it reached the middle. Hermione gasped when a whirlpool formed in the middle of the lake and the boat, which must have been enchanted she realised, went straight for it. Malfoy’s shouts could be heard for miles as he was sucked into it and presumably back to the start.

“How did you know?” Ron asked Harry who turned and walked back up the path.

“I didn’t,” Harry replied.

“And where are we going now?” Hermione asked him

“To get the thestrals of course!” Harry said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Ron and Hermione uttered a soft ‘Oh’ and followed him.

A moment later they returned to the lake with a thestral each. They mounted them quickly and Harry flew off over the lake, quickly followed by Ron and Hermione. They got off at the other side, left the thestrals there and walked into the next part of the maze.



“Those three are doing very well.” Tonks observed.

“No surprises there.” Professor McGonagall muttered from behind them. Originally it had been just Mad Eye, Remus and Tonks watching but after all the staff had finished their lessons they too decided to come and watch the sixth years in action. Most of the lessons were only an hour long, but the sixth years had already been in the maze for an hour and a half. They had already had half their time. The professors so far consisted of Remus, Mad Eye, Tonks, McGonagall, Flitwick, Snape, Hagrid and Professor Sprout. They were all in a small section of the maze which was under the top layer. On one of the large walls it was like a TV but with many sections, one for each student as they made their way through the maze.

“So what happens when you go into the whirlpool?” Sprout asked Mad Eye as Lavender and Parvati got sucked into it, screaming all the way. “Do they go back to the beginning?”

“No. That would be too mean since half of them wouldn’t be able to find another way across it.” Mad Eye replied, “There’s another layer to the maze, but underneath which we are currently in.” It was ingenious really, that they had managed to make a whole new layer to the maze but to get to them (the staff) and finish then they had to go down a slide on the top layer to their section below which was cut off from the rest of the underground part of the maze; it was all very intricately designed.



“So what do we do?” Hermione asked Harry, “Should we split up?” Harry bit his lip and stared at the three different passageways infront of them. He didn’t want to split up, they didn’t seem to have as much chance if they did and yet if they did this then at least they would have a better chance of one of them finishing it.

“Yes.” Harry said. “You take the right, Ron – take the left and I’ll go down the middle.” They glanced at each other before they walked into their separate passageways. As Harry entered his all the lights suddenly went out but when he looked behind him he could see that it was still light behind him. He wondered briefly whether or not to go back and he decided to go on, despite the darkness. “Lumos Totalus” He muttered and his whole passageway filled with light. Infront of him was a dark hole which he decided he didn’t want to fall into. It was only a couple of metres wide but he didn’t think he could jump it, and besides it could easily be a trick of the light. He put his foot forwards into the hole and realised that it was solid. He bent down to touch it and realised it was glass over a hole. Harry smiled and walked forwards over it, never taking his eyes from it and it was just as well, halfway across there was an actual hole in the glass. Glancing to the sides of the passageway there were two branches there, he reached out to both of them and tested his weight and decided it would hold, he took a step back before swinging on them across the hole in the glass and onto more glass on the other side. It cracked beneath him and Harry raced across it, leaping onto the grass just in time as the glass behind him fell into the hole. Harry walked forwards and realised happily that he was out of the tunnel, looking to the sides of the tunnel he had just exited there were not the other two to be seen. He bit his lip slightly and went on alone.



Ron had not been so lucky in getting through his tunnel. Halfway through he had fought a boggart successfully before walking straight down a hole like Harry had almost done. He fell without a sound and landed on the floor below.

Hermione had similarly bad luck. She went through her tunnel quickly but met Dobby on the way who greeted her with a friendly manner before pushing her down a slide which led to the underground section of the maze. She screamed all the way down and came to a halt when she landed on Ron.

“Thanks for the soft landing.” She grinned and helped Ron up. “We’ve got to get back up there.”

“There’s some light coming from there.” Ron pointed out the hole through which Harry had almost fallen but there was no sign of Harry anywhere. “I see Harry got through that alright then!”

Wingardium Leviosa!” Hermione said, waving her wand over her and Ron and they both rose up in the air high enough so that they could climb through the hole in Ron’s tunnel after deciding not to go after Harry.


Harry walked through the maze quicker than he had done before. He didn’t like it so much now that he was on his own. He easily beat a boggart which challenged him and then met Firenze again.

“What are you doing here?” Harry asked him, “I thought you were miles back!”

“I can move.” Firenze pointed out and Harry smiled. “Now for your riddle…” Harry managed to answer the riddle correctly and moved on through the maze until he reached a clearing. The clearing which Harry entered was circular, with another entrance to it to the left of him. In the middle was a trophy on a stand.

“There’s no way I’m touching that!” Harry spat and walked past it to the hedge wall. There was a part of it that changed colour slightly and when Harry reached out to touch it he realised it was an optical illusion and it was really a passageway onwards. He grinned and walked a few paces.



“He’s excellent at this.” Professor Sprout said of Harry.

“He most certainly is.” Remus smiled.

“No shock that he didn’t go anywhere near that cup.” McGonagall said, “Not after the Triwizard tournament.”

“I suppose not.” Remus said, “Do you think it awful that we’re using a hedge maze filled with obstacles with a golden cup in which will cause whoever touches it to fall down to the next level?”

“Well I’m sure Harry didn’t need the reminder of his past but it is an excellent obstacle course for them.” Flitwick told him. “Oh no! Don’t touch it Miss Granger!”



Hermione reached out to touch the golden trophy and Ron moved to pull her back.

“Hermione! No!” He shouted. Harry was but a few paces down the passageway leading from the trophy area and he turned and ran back to see Hermione in a hole, the trophy had vanished and Ron was gripping her wrist tightly, trying to stop her from falling. He ran forwards and grabbed her other arm and both of them tried to pull her up.

“It’s got me!” Hermione shrieked, “Something’s got my ankle!”

“What are we doing?” Harry suddenly asked Ron and pointed his wand at Hermione. “Wingardium Leviosa.” Hermione floated up to them and landed on the floor. Looking back down into the hole they could see Malfoy below them grinning. Harry scowled and stood up. “Let’s go, we can’t be far now!”

They walked down the hidden passageway that Harry had been part way down before until there was a slide before them. Unfortunately there was no choice as to where they went – it was the slide or going back to the trophy.

“What do we do?” Hermione asked Harry, who was getting sick of being asked their course of action.

“this!” He said and pushed her down the slide.

“I’ll get you for this Harry!” She screamed. Harry and Ron jumped down after a second later.

Petrificus Totalus!” Mad Eye cried as Hermione fell into their midst. Harry and Ron came down a moment later to see him standing over Hermione.

Gelotrium!” Remus cried and sent the freezing spell straight at Harry who leapt out of it’s way and then pointed his own wand at him and performed the spell Professor Flitwick had taught him earlier.

Gelotrium Totalus!” Remus was frozen in a block of ice, surprise apparent on his face and Mad Eye laughed.

“Excellent Potter!” He said. “50 points for Gryffindor! Ten for Miss Granger and 30 for you Mr Weasley.”

Harry quickly defrosted Remus who pulled a face at being frozen but smiled all the same.

“A shame to get so far and then to be hexed Miss Granger.” Professor McGonagall said to Hermione as she removed the spell Mad Eye had put on her and helped her to her feet.

“Fantastic use of the total freezing charm!” Professor Flitwick said to Harry.

“The only thing I would say to you three is that splitting up was your one mistake.” Remus said to them. “Other than that you were superb. Harry is the only one who didn’t fall down onto the other level of the maze.”

“What was that part like?” He asked Ron.

“Dark.” Ron replied.

“Well naturally I would stay just for the amusement of seeing Longbottom try to answer that riddle,” Snape said coolly, “10 points from Gryffindor, Potter, for allowing Malfoy to go over that lake whilst you just stood and watched. Good day to you all.”

“Fifteen points to Gryffindor because Harry waited to see what the lake would do to Malfoy.” Professor McGonagall said and actually smiled at Harry. “Excellent work Mr Potter.”

Harry smiled and sat down on the sofa which Professor McGonagall conjured for him. He was joined by Ron and Hermione and then after Remus stretched it out to make it longer they were joined by Remus, Professor Sprout, Hagrid, Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick. They all watched everyone in the maze try desperately to find their way out. After touching the trophy three times, Malfoy managed to find his way down to them and earn 10 points for Slytherin. Hannah Abbot found her way down a few minutes after him and then came Ernie MacMillan, Neville and Dean who had to drag Neville down the slide because he was so reluctant to go down it. They were the only one’s who finished within the three hour time limit. Harry, Ron and Hermione had finished with over half an hour to spare and after being congratulated by the staff once more, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville and Dean all left for the common room.

“I can’t believe it…” Ron was saying, “That was the coolest lesson we’ve ever had!”

“I know!” Hermione said enthusiastically, “I bet the rest won’t be as good thought.”

“Well obviously.” Harry said, “They can’t have us running round a maze each lesson.”

“Anyway, I’m sure you’ve set a record for house points today, Harry.” Ron said, “You got 75 in charms and transfiguration, and 55 from defence against the dark arts. That’s 135 in one day!”

“As well as that Ron got 30 points and we all got ten.” Hermione said, “So that’s 195 points between the lot of us.”

“I bet Snape’s down in the dungeons giving out points for breathing.” Harry said before adding in his best Snape impression, “100 points to Slytherin for existing, Draco!”

The five of them walked into the common room and started work on their transfiguration homework which was to get their ornaments completely animated by the next day. Harry sat watching them and smiled at Hermione’s frustration with her kitten. He watched the little phoenix walk over his hand and occasionally fly about. The little bird sung happily every now and again and from what McGonagall had said about animated objects having the thoughts, feelings, personality and emotions of their animator then he knew Remus must be in a good mood. He smiled down at the little bird and watched it soar over Hermione’s notes and start to shred them innocently.

“Harry! Keep that damned little thing away from me!” She shrieked before taking numerous swipes and the phoenix which flew back to him and somehow managed to look smug. Harry rolled his eyes at the bird and in Remus Lupin’s office the little dragon stuck out its tongue and grinned at the man who watched it.


Chapter 22: Twenty-Two
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Twenty Two

Harry walked down the corridor to Remus’ office and walked in. Remus was sat at his desk reading over some papers, the little dragon kept blowing bubbles at him, trying to make him do something more interesting but it wasn’t getting much of a result. Remus glanced up when he entered and smiled when he saw who it was.

“So how did you like your lesson then?” Remus asked him with a grin.

“It was great thanks.” Harry smiled.

“You weren’t annoyed that we used a hedge maze, filled with obstacles, isolated you from your friends and had a rigged trophy in the middle?” Remus asked.

“Well it wasn’t nice to be back in a hedge maze and I won’t be venturing in one of my own free will anytime soon but it was really good.” Harry replied. His little dragon came and walked over his fingers before returning to Remus. “That phoenix shredded some of Hermione’s notes earlier.”

“Really?” Remus asked and laughed, “Well your dragon’s been trying to distract me from my work ever since I started.” Harry sat down on the edge of his desk and they passed an hour just talking about the day’s events, the maze in particular. It had taken not only Remus and Mad Eye to make it but also a lot of help from Tonks, McGonagall and Flitwick before the top floor was made, the bottom floor had been made from an elongated classroom beneath.

“Anyway, I hate to leave you but I promised Hagrid I’d go down to his and if I don’t go soon then I’ll get caught repeatedly coming back by Filch.” Harry said and they smiled at the remembrance of the trouble they had caused Filch in the past.

“Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow; you’ve got defence against the dark arts first thing I think.” Remus said and although he sounded quite cheerful he didn’t want to see Harry go.

“See you tomorrow.” Harry echoed and left the room. As he walked down through an assortment of passageways and tunnels to the ground floor, the little phoenix on his finger pecked at him incessantly and kept looking up at him sadly. “Don’t do that.” Harry murmured to it, “I’ll be seeing you tomorrow.” The phoenix looked sad still and pecked at him again. The little dragon on Remus’ desk looked up at him in the same sad manner as he sat on his work and kept trying to get in his field of vision which basically meant he walked all over the work he was trying to do and whenever he tried to write he sat in the way of the pen.

“Stop it.” Remus said to it and stroked its little head. He reached out and picked up the little dragon and put it down by the side of his work. He cupped his hand round its back and the dragon curled up inside his hand, resting it’s head on his thumb.

As Harry got further from the office the phoenix stopped looking so unhappy and perched on his shoulder instead. Harry reached Hagrid’s hut quickly and after knocking on the door the usual sounds of Fang barking inside and Hagrid shouting at him to try and calm him came from the other side of the door. Hagrid swung the door open to find Harry stood on his doorstep.

“Harry! Good ter see yer!” Hagrid said and let him inside. Fang jumped up at him and Harry stroked his head. “Have a good firs’ day back?”

“Yeah, it was great thanks.” Harry replied, “That maze was brilliant!”

“And you were brilliant in that maze.” Hagrid chuckled. “How was summer with Remus then? I didn’t have chance to talk to you much over the holidays.”

Harry told him what his holidays had been like and how much he had enjoyed staying with Remus and the phoenix hopped along between his fingers.

“Wha’s that?” Hagrid asked, looking down at it.

“It’s an ornament I transfigured but then Remus froze it and then I made him transfigure it back to life so now it’s got all his feelings and his personality in it and it just follows me about.” Harry smiled.

“Ah yes, like the dragon that’s been following Remus about.” Hagrid beamed, “could be useful havin’ two little things like them about, they’ll show yer when the other’s in trouble.”

“Anyway it’s past nine now so I’m gonna have to make a run for it through the castle and hope Filch doesn’t catch me, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Harry said.

“A’right Harry, take care now.” Hagrid said and rose to watch Harry up to the castle.

Harry walked quickly through the night air up to the castle and through the main doors. The entrance hall was already darker than it normally was during the daytime due to the lights being dimmed, after all, since it was after hours then there shouldn’t be anyone up to need them. As Harry was walking down the corridor Mrs Norris suddenly appeared infront of him. He stopped abruptly and turned and ran back to the entrance hall and into a passageway behind a portrait there. There were steps in the passageway and it worked like an escalator; slowly moving up or down in the direction needed but Harry ran up them despite this and came out on the second floor. He ran down the corridor and past Remus’ office. He stopped and turned around, making his way back to the office. He opened the door quietly and glanced in, Remus was still working and the dragon was curled up beneath his hand.

“Night Remus,” He said quietly. Remus looked up and smiled.

“Wait a minute.” Remus told him and from his desk drawer he pulled out a piece of parchment. “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.”

The map of the school materialised infront of him and Harry opened his mouth to say something but Remus beat him to it.

“I didn’t steal it if that’s what you’re thinking.” He smiled, “I made a copy because it just wouldn’t do for me to be constantly summoning yours when I wanted it. Anyway, Filch is currently prowling this floor on his search for you so I suggest you wait a moment.” Harry and Remus watched the little dot labelled ‘Argus Filch’ as it walked up and down the corridor until it went up onto the fourth floor.

“Thanks.” Harry said, “night…”

“Good night, Harry.” Remus replied and watched Harry leave before turning his attention to the map. He watched as Harry raced down the corridor and then down another corridor past the transfiguration rooms, past the stairs up to the next floor and to the secret passage up to the sixth floor. He ran up it quickly and when he reached the sixth floor he just made it to the staircase up to the seventh floor when Filch saw him from below and chased after him. Remus smiled, he knew that Harry was a very quick runner when he needed to be and he easily made it to the Fat Lady and inside before Filch could do anything about it. He wiped the map clean before tidying the papers infront of him and retiring to bed himself.


***


“Good evening Harry.” Voldemort said and Harry’s eyes widened in shock and for a moment he was frozen to the spot in the Great Hall. “Surprised to see me?”

“This is just a dream, you can’t get into Hogwarts.” Harry managed.

“You’re only half right, I’m afraid.” Voldemort said, “I cannot get into Hogwarts – yet, but this is not just a dream. It is quite something else, and as you will soon become aware it is almost like life, excepting one difference, you can’t die.” Harry watched him uneasily, he didn’t like this, “And there are two things that you will be wanting to know. The first is that you cannot escape whilst I hold you here in your own mind, and the second is that pain is in the mind Harry, and I am in your mind, therefore I control your pain.” An awful smile touched his face and Harry turned and ran to the door. It was locked.

“I control everything here.” Voldemort said quietly and stood up. He pointed his wand at him and uttered the word Harry most dreaded. “Crucio” Harry dropped to the floor and gasped in pain, trying desperately to keep in any signs of suffering after that as he writhed on the floor.

“I could hold you here for as long as I care to do so… but that is not my intention. My intention is merely to remind Dumbledore that even in the walls of his castle you are not untouchable Harry.” Voldemort said, “I will be seeing you later.”


Harry opened his eyes suddenly and sat bolt upright in his bed. Ron, Dean and Neville were stood at the side of him looking anxious.

“Harry! Are you okay?” Ron asked him instantly. Harry breathed deeply for a few moments and lay back down onto his pillow.

“I’m fine,” he managed.

“That was really frightening; it looked like… like you were under the Crucius curse.” Neville said quietly. Harry smiled lightly.

“In my dreams?” He asked him. “No. But it was awful though. What time is it?”

“Half past five.” Ron replied. “If you’re sure you’re okay then I guess I’ll be going back to sleep.”

“I’m fine.” Harry reassured him and watched his three friends return to their own beds. He was worried. Voldemort could get into his dreams and hold him there… he could take complete control of his mind and inflict pain on him. Occlumency. The word floated through his mind and he knew with dread that he would have to learn it once more. He hoped that it wouldn’t be Snape that taught him again because although Snape didn’t seem quite as bad as he used to be to him he was still a long way from friendly.

The phoenix Remus had transformed for him jumped down onto his chest from the bed head and started pacing back and forth across his chest. He didn’t seem very happy and quite worried about something. Harry pulled his wand out from under his pillow and thought hard of Remus and the message he wanted to send to his hand before flicking his wand slightly.

I’m fine… Why do you ask? The reply to his question appeared on Harry’s hand almost immediately after he had sent his to Remus.

Because the little phoenix which is pacing up and down across my chest seems quite agitated at 5 in the morning when it should be asleep. Harry replied to him

I was worried because your dragon was writhing in pain some time earlier… explain? Remus said to him.

I won’t explain like this, I’d rather do it in person. Harry said. It was true, he didn’t want to tell Remus about his horrific dream just over their hands, he wanted to see him in person.

Then come and see me now.

It’s five in the morning!

Well if you’re planning on going back to sleep then you needn’t come but I won’t be sleeping again for some time. Remus replied. Harry looked down at the message until it faded away. He wanted to go see him, and at the same time he wanted to put off telling him about his dream; it had frightened him, although it had been a dream Voldemort had been there and he had inflicted the Crucius curse on him and it had hurt. The dragon had writhed in pain and so had Harry… Harry?

Ok, I’ll see you soon… Harry said. He took the marauders map out from under his bed and looked it over in wand light. No one was up at this time; it was far too late for teachers to still be patrolling the corridors. Even Filch was asleep in a small room off the side of his office and Mrs Norris was curled up at the bottom of his bed from the little dot next to him. He touched his pyjamas with his wand and he was fully dressed in an instant, and he walked across the darkened room in silence and left their dorm. The silence was quite eerie as he walked unhindered through the dark corridors and made his way down to the second floor where Remus’ office was. Harry wished it could have been closer because although he knew that all the teachers were in bed at this time he was still afraid that Filch would catch him wandering in the middle of the night. Eventually he reached his door and stepped inside Remus’ office, the owner of which sat staring out of the window at the night but as he entered rose to greet him.

“So tell me what happened…” Remus said after they seated each other opposite one another on the large windowsill, looking out over the lake. Harry took a deep breath and told him every detail. That was another thing which differentiated between dreams and that particular dream he had had – he could remember every detail. After he had told of the events he watched Remus carefully. He was lost in thought as he stared out at the lake. Remus was afraid. He wasn’t often afraid either which made it all the more strange for him to be so. It wasn’t for himself that he feared: it was for Harry. Voldemort could get into his head and control his dreams in such a way that he could inflict pain and hold him there. What if he held him there and tortured him until he went mad, like the Longbottoms? What if he could control his actions? What if he knows about how close we are? What if he can see through his eyes as he goes about his life? What if…? Thoughts and fears raced each other round his mind. He was aware that Harry was sat opposite him and probably wondering about the amount of time he had spent staring out at nothing… What was there to be done? Occlumency again? That hadn’t gone well last time and if he did have to take it again then who would be his teacher? Snape? Dumbledore? He bit his lip slightly and glanced at Harry who he realised had been watching him patiently for his response for quite some time, although how long he didn’t know.

“I don’t know what to say…” Remus said, “I suppose Dumbledore has to be told…”

“I’m going to have to start occlumency again aren’t I?” Harry said, more as a statement than a question.

“I’m not sure… I doubt that Snape will teach you again and yet I don’t know whether or not Dumbledore can risk teaching you himself, it leaves your mind wide open and Voldemort will be able to access it easily, if he sees you with Dumbledore then…” Remus said, his thoughts still whirling in his head. He wished he could be of more help to Harry, although he hoped that just talking about it may have helped him slightly. Harry still watched him quietly, not knowing what to say, he felt exhausted but feared going back to sleep, in case he was there. “He won’t get you again in the same night, Harry.” Remus said, seemingly reading his thoughts. Harry looked up at him and into his deep brown eyes and wondered how he had known that. “You should try and get some sleep…”

“I suppose so.” Harry agreed, it was one thing to say that he should get some sleep after what had happened but quite something else to actually get it. “I’ll disappear and let you get some sleep then.” Harry said to him and stood up to leave. Remus watched him, knowing that he wouldn’t and probably couldn’t sleep again, he wondered whether or not about keeping him with him until morning, he wouldn’t sleep either and it was better to be not sleeping with someone else there than not sleeping on your own. In the end he decided not to say anything and let him walk back up to his dorm.

“See you later, Harry.” Remus said quietly as he left and returned back to his own bed where he lay for some time afterwards before finally drifting off to sleep.


Chapter 23: Twenty-Three
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Twenty Three

Harry sighed as he went down to breakfast – it was going to be a very long day. He sat down between Ron and Hermione and glumly ate his breakfast which was only a small bowl of cornflakes; he really didn’t feel hungry at all. Today was the day when the Quidditch trials would be held and he, being the team captain would have to choose two beaters and three chasers from all the hopefuls who would apply and that was going to be quite a lot of people since chaser was the most popular position to be played. Ron was excitedly chatting to Hermione about it although Harry really couldn’t see what he was so bothered about.

“I take it you’re not going to try out for chaser, Hermione.” Harry said to her as he chased his remaining cereal around his bowl with his spoon.

“Me? Quidditch? I don’t mind watching it but playing it?! I think not.” She said before biting into a bacon sandwich.

“I wish you would try out Hermione!” Ron said suddenly and Harry and Hermione glanced at each other wearily, both of them knowing that Hermione would rather die than try out for Quidditch. Ron followed up by telling her the numerous reasons she should try out for Quidditch which were long and rather dull for all but Ron. Harry rolled his eyes and returned up to the common room. It was Saturday morning and they had been back at Hogwarts for almost a week now. He walked through the portrait hole and glanced at the message board where the only poster was for the tryouts that were being held in half an hour. Harry summoned his broom to him using the summoning charm which had taken him so long to master in his fourth year and it came flying into the room and stopped at a dead halt infront of him, sitting on the front of the broom was the tiny three inch high phoenix that Remus had transfigured back to life for him. It looked quite happy, from what Harry could tell of phoenix emotions, and pecked amiably at his finger when he lifted it from the broom and took him back to his dorm. It had been quite annoying to Snape in his lesson and had shredded half his notes with his claws before Snape had managed to stop him and he still didn’t know for certain who it had belonged to, although he had a fairly good idea. He had been transfiguring it and practicing most of his charms on it in his lessons but hadn’t dared to take it into defence against the dark arts where it would probably be blown into oblivion. Defence against the dark arts was still pretty interesting although there had been nothing as spectacular as the maze they had on the first lesson. Now they were revising old spells for defence and once that was complete they would be going on to duelling, something which Harry was rather looking forward to. In his dorm he put him down on his bed and shook his head at him when he tried to follow him out of the room. He promised the tiny bird that he would be back later and it pecked him sadly before he left. Back in the common room Harry threw himself down into his favourite chair by the fire with his broom propped against the wall next to him. There was rumour of a new broom coming out soon, one that would be even better than the firebolt but most people doubted the accuracy of this rumour, after all, how could the firebolt possibly be improved? He sat back staring into the flames infront of him for some time until he pointed his wand at the fire.

Gelotrium” He said quietly and to his surprise the flames froze instantly. They didn’t just disappear or get put out by any falling water like they had mostly done before and Harry smiled and reached out to the oddly frozen fire. Weird. He thought when his fingers came into contact with solid ice. He touched it with his wand and muttered “Finite Incantatem” and withdrew his wand quickly, for fear it should set on fire. Half an hour of charming and transfiguring various objects in the room later and Harry walked down to the Quidditch pitch, with his firebolt and met Ron in the front entrance. He looked nervous which was quite odd since it was not he who would be trying out for the team and all he had to do was sit there and judge people applying for their places. They walked out of the castle together down to the pitch where they found a large group of hopefuls waiting for them. Harry’s eyes widened slightly when he saw how many people wanted to apply but he said nothing as he walked onto the pitch followed by everyone else.

“Hi, everybody.” He smiled to them all as they gathered round him. “Well as you know, today we’re only doing tryouts for the chasers; any potential beaters are to come back tomorrow.” A few people groaned at their mistake and three younger boys set back off to the castle. “Anyway, I trust you all brought your brooms…?” Almost two dozen brooms waved back at him and he grinned at them, “Well let’s get started then! A couple of laps around the field should get us warmed up.” Everyone mounted their brooms and took off into the air, Harry and Ron rose up with them and waited in the middle, watching everyone as they raced each other round. They could instantly identify a few people who they knew could be very good and to Harry’s surprise Dean was one of those in the lead as they raced around the field.

Next they let the others fly around the pitch whilst they took one at a time and tried their shooting skills against Ron in the goals. Colin Creevey was aiming quite well but he was also rather slow and Harry marked him down as a no. Next came Dean who was very quick in the air and managed to get three of his five shots into one of the hoops with the other two dead on target but not quite fast enough to beat Ron. Harry smiled as he watched him, he knew that Ron was an excellent keeper now and to get even three goals past him was an achievement. Harry marked him down as one of those that had a lot of potential for a chaser and watched as they went through the rest of them.

By the end of it Harry took Ron to one side and pointed out those that he wanted to be the next chasers. There was Dean who they had both agreed on from the start, a seventh year called Magadi Kirke who was incredibly fast and knew quite a bit about tactics as well, which could come in very useful, and finally a fourth year called Andrew Williams who had managed to get all five of his shots past Ron, not because of his speed but because of his aim and his feints, something which had irritated Ron to no end. Harry took the three of them out of the crowd and informed them that they would be the new chasers for Gryffindor and although everyone else looked quite disappointed, no one took it particularly badly.

“Training will begin next week some time; I’ll be in touch with you to tell you when and tomorrow I expect you all to be at the tryouts for the beaters at 11. Don’t be late.” He told them as they walked back up to the castle together.

“No worries.” Magadi said to them.

“Hey Ron, I hear that Ginny might be trying out for a beater.” Dean said casually as they walked back up.

“What?!” Ron cried, “She’ll get battered!”

“Fred and George never got battered.” Harry pointed out.

“Fred and George were good at it.” Ron scowled.

“Well Ginny might be.” Harry said and Ron just glowered at him and dropped it.

“Ah, Mr Potter, I see we have three new additions to the team.” Professor McGonagall said as they walked into the entrance hall. Behind her Remus stood chatting to Professor Flitwick about something. “I hope you do Gryffindor proud.” She said and let the five of them walk back up to the tower.

“Hey Harry!” Remus called to him as they started down the corridor. Harry turned back and the other four kept on walking. “You seem to have forgotten to tell me that you’re the Gryffindor Quidditch captain.” He said with a smile. “How were the tryouts?”

“Sorry, I can’t believe I forgot to tell you that.” Harry grinned, “Anyway tryouts were pretty good, too longer that I wanted but we’ve got three new chasers and they’re all great.”

“Glad to hear it.” Remus smiled, “Have you heard who Malfoy has playing on the team this year?”

“No who?” Harry asked, eager to hear who Malfoy, the new team captain.

“Marcus Flint.” Remus told him. Harry stared at him in outrage.

“What?! He left years ago!” Harry said.

“I know, Snape gave him special permission to bring him back since Slytherin doesn’t have a decent chaser amongst the lot of them.” Remus replied as they walked down the corridor after the Gryffindor team, who, Harry thought, were probably listening in to their conversation.

“That’s not fair!” Harry scowled as they walked along, “McGonagall won’t let me bring players back.”

“I know. But then she reckons that you can win the cup this year even without having to resort to underhand cheating methods.” He smiled slightly. “Oh and I hear Ginny Weasley might be trying out for a beater as well…”

“What?!” Ron screeched, suddenly turning round and marching over to them, “Ginny is NOT going to be a beater!”

“I didn’t really hear her say that.” Remus smiled, “I just wanted to see whether or not you were listening.” Ron stared at him, outraged and also quite amused and relieved, “Anyway I’ll see you later Harry.”

“See you.” Harry said as the five of them carried on up to Gryffindor Tower. Dean and Harry kept joking about Ginny definitely being a beater for the team whilst Magadi and Andrew listened to their teasing, amused and talking about Quidditch every now and again as they walked up.

As they entered the tower a wave of clapping met the three new chasers and seemingly most of the house had stayed back in the common room to see who would be the next players in the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Harry smiled and sat down by Hermione who was submerged in Transfiguration homework which Harry had already managed to do whilst she finished her Charms yesterday.


***


The rest of their Saturday passed quickly and Harry spent much of it writing an essay about the Unforgivable Curses for DADA which he thought was quite good. Soon Saturday had turned into Sunday and once again Harry and Ron were out on the Quidditch pitch, this time joined by their three new chasers. They surveyed the group of people infront of them. There were certainly less people wanting to be a beater, but there were also fewer places to be filled. Harry couldn’t resist a smile when he saw that Ginny was with the group of mostly boys who wanted to be beaters for the team. Ron stared at her in disbelief and behind him Dean, Andrew and Magadi laughed.

“Let’s get started then!” Harry said to them and they all rose up on their brooms on the pitch and did a few laps around them whilst Harry watched, taking metal notes as to who was lagging behind the rest and who was speeding easily ahead. Ginny was one of those in the lead almost all the time and she turned easily and gracefully and always did well against the boys. Next Harry had them on the ground facing a bludger. Then in the air doing the same, and finally Magadi flew across the pitch and one of the potential beaters aimed a shot at her and another had to block it.

Throughout all their tasks Ginny did very well and at the end, despite Ron’s disagreements, he and the rest of the team decided that she should be one of their beaters. The other was a seventh year called Luke Peterson. He had proved excellent throughout all of it, he was quick and accurate and had almost knocked Ginny off her broom in one round which had biased Ron against him but as Harry was captain and he had the deciding vote he and Ginny made it into the team.

Ron walked back up to the castle next to Harry and behind the rest of the team. He was close to angry at the way his reasons for not wanting the two people on the team had had no effect on Harry whatsoever. He was part of the team and his voice should be heard, Harry took plenty of notice of the rest of the team, and he was his best friend!

“I can’t believe they are the new Gryffindor beaters.” Ron said sourly as they walked back up to the castle. “That Luke is a danger; he almost knocked Ginny of her broom and as for Ginny herself…”

“Luke is an excellent beater, if he almost knocked Ginny off then she should have been faster, you know as well as she does that being a beater is a difficult position to play.” Harry said coolly.

“Yeah well you didn’t have to have Ginny on the team…” Ron said.

“Like Luke she is really good.” Harry said exasperatedly as Ron got more and more annoyed with him, “She knows the dangers of being a Beater, and she chose to tryout for the team so just drop it, Ron.”

“I’m so sick of this!” Ron almost shouted at him, “I’m sick of you not listening to me! Just because you’re the captain you think that you get all the decisions! I should be the captain, not you!”

“He does make all the decisions.” Magadi said, spinning round, “You’re on his team and if you don’t like it then you can go play for Slytherin!” Ron scowled at her but didn’t reply, he knew that Harry wouldn’t hesitate to have him removed from the team if he carried on pushing his luck.

“Just for the record, we’re glad Harry’s captain and not you.” Andrew said coldly to him.

“Anyway,” Harry said, sick of the fighting, “Training begins on Tuesday at 7, then again on Thursday and Sunday. We meet here. Don’t be late.” With that he turned and walked up to the castle alone.

He was pleased that he now had a team but if the arguments carried on then he knew they wouldn’t play well. Ron was already proving to be a big problem but he was the best Keeper in the house, he couldn’t afford to lose him, but then again if he argued with everyone else then he couldn’t exactly get rid of the rest of the team either. He walked back up to the castle with his head full of Quidditch and his team.


Chapter 24: Twenty-Four
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Twenty Four

“Look, I don’t care what your reasons were for cursing him! You were well out of line… He is one of your professors and can make life very difficult for you…” Remus shouted at Harry as he walked quickly after the boy down the corridor.

“Oh, I wonder what it would be like to have a difficult life!” Harry shouted back at him and he didn’t stop. He didn’t know where he was walking to but he didn’t want to have to listen to Remus’ reprimanding him for something that he felt he had been justified. Snape had started another verbal assault on Neville as he passed him in the corridor and Neville had been reduced to something bordering on tears. Harry had unwisely picked an argument with him and Snape had argued back, taking a few dozen points from Gryffindor as he did so. Eventually Harry got infuriated with him and cursed him – the results had not been pretty.

“For once, just stop being so self absorbed and listen to reason!” Remus yelled, “Do you think that it’s made it any better for Neville now? And now that you will most likely have detention once Snape has a mouth to inform you that you have one do you think it was worth it? You changed nothing!” Harry kept walking. Remus was right. He knew that and hated that but he wasn’t going to stop and admit defeat. He turned into one of the rooms on his right and slammed the door shut, not caring where he was since in every classroom there was generally a secret passageway out anyway. He stopped at what he saw before him.

The mirror of Erised. He hadn’t seen it in a long time and he knew that he really shouldn’t want to see it again but he did. He was pretty certain of what the mirror would hold, unless what he wanted had changed and he wondered whether it had. He walked forwards and from behind him Remus walked into the room after him and, he too, stopped and looked at the mirror. He had seen it before; many years ago when he had been at school and he had stared into it to see what he wanted the most. He remembered seeing himself reflected back at him with the full moon in the background and he didn’t transform… he was still himself. He wondered whether it was still the same after all these years. Remus walked over to Harry who stood just far enough from the mirror so that he wouldn’t be able to see himself in it. Remus remembered seeing the mirror in Harry’s pensieve and he saw all the faces of his family watching him and smiling back at him through the glass. He sighed inwardly and went over to him and put his hand on his shoulder.

“You were right about the whole Snape thing.” Harry said dully, as if he didn’t really care that he had cursed his professor and removed half his facial features around half an hour earlier. “But I’m not sorry that I did it.”

“I know I was right about it.” Remus said, a smile touching his face, “and I don’t expect you to regret it. Seeing Snape panic after his old enemy’s son cursed away his mouth, one of his eyes and most of his hair was very amusing.” They both smiled. “Are you going to look in the mirror?”

“Yes.” Harry replied quietly and took a step to the side so that he was looking into the mirror. What he saw was not the same as the last time he had looked. He felt quite surprised and yet, at the same time he was not surprised at all. Remus noticed the surprised look on his face and realised that it must have changed. He wondered what he could possibly want more than family… Remus stepped to the side and looked into the mirror, knowing that even if they both looked at the same time then it wouldn’t alter the fact that each of them would see their deepest desire. What Remus saw surprised him slightly as well. His own had also changed.

“What do you see?” Remus asked him.

“I see me, you, Sirius and my mum and dad.” Harry said and he smiled sadly. He knew he could have what he wanted, but the expense was the world and everyone in it. He would just have to wait until Voldemort killed him for his wish. “What do you see?”

“I see the same.” Remus replied and looked at himself. He looked happy in the mirror, so did everyone else. He was quite surprised that Harry saw him in the mirror; well he knew that he cared about him but not as much as all that. He had thought that maybe he saw Voldemort dead or just gone, or that he had a normal life, or he was with Sirius again, or with his three muggle friends… “We should leave… after all; it doesn’t do to dwell on dreams…”

“…And forget to live.” Harry finished for him, “I know. Come on, let’s get out of here.” Remus and Harry left the room quietly, wondering what it was doing back there, Harry hadn’t seen it since his first year and you would have thought that had the mirror been around the school then he would have come across it again. They walked up to Remus’ office on the next floor up and sat down there, chatting away happily. They talked of the upcoming Quidditch game against Hufflepuff now that Gryffindor finally had a team which Harry had managed to assemble after some trouble. Ron was still jealous and Harry talked to him about it, worrying that it would affect their friendship in someway and all throughout the three inch tall dragon Harry had transfigured what seemed like an age ago, although it was only a week since, perched on Remus’ fingers and occasionally blew bubbles.

“Everything will be fine…” Remus reassured Harry, “You know what happens: you argue with Ron, one of you sees the error of his ways and then you’re friends again.”

“I know… But what if one day we don’t end up friends again?” Harry asked, “He’s really upset that I’m captain and I’m making decisions he thinks he should be making.”

“You put Ginny on the team didn’t you?” Remus asked him suddenly, realising what must have sparked a row between them. “Not a brilliant idea.”

“But she’s really good at it.” Harry complained, “And I know Ron’s really protective of her but…”

“Well you make the decisions but if they start to argue one of them will have to go.” Remus told him.

“But the whole team’s on Ginny’s side.” Harry said, “If I get rid of Ginny then they’ll be furious.”

“So get rid of Ron then.” Remus said.

“He was the only decent keeper to try out for the team before though.” Harry said, “The rest were abysmal.”

“Then get rid of Ginny.” Remus said.

“But the whole team’s on her side.”

“Then get rid of Ron.” He replied unhelpfully. Harry rolled his eyes.

“This could go on for some time.” He smiled. “I hate being captain…”

“I know, but it’s that or don’t be on the team.” Remus said. “Anyway I’ve got to go meet Moody at his office to plan next week’s lessons. I’ll see you later.” He stood up and picked up a few papers on his desk and Harry moved to the door. On the table the little dragon looked up at Remus sadly and head butted his finger. He smiled slightly and told it to stay where it was before following Harry out of his office.

As Remus walked through the castle to the fifth floor where Moody’s office was situated his mind flickered into work mode and he started to think about the lessons he had to teach next week. He had to take the sixth years on his own whilst Moody went somewhere for the Order, although he wasn’t aware of where it was he went. He wasn’t looking forward to that; Malfoy was being purposefully difficult in his lessons and without Mad Eye he would be almost unbearable. At least he was teaching Harry, something that seemed to cheer him up, even though Harry had already known a lot of the things they had been doing previously.

Before he knew it he had reached Moody’s office and he knocked before entering, knowing that if he didn’t he could find himself with a number of interesting hexes on him. Just thinking about hexes made him wonder whether or not Snape had regained his facial features, he couldn’t suppress a grin as he entered the office, his mind in the hospital wing laughing at Snape.

Snape scowled at the wall with his one eye. His mouth had finally returned and Madam Pomfrey wasn’t much pleased by this due to his constant ranting about Potter ever since. Apparently it had been he who had cursed away his mouth, giving the school more than an hours break from the awful man. Snape rose from his bed and glanced in the mirror. What he saw didn’t please him one bit. His mouth had finally returned to its full, sneering state, however his hair was much thinner than before and Madam Pomfrey had informed him that it would take the rest of the day for it to go back to the way it was, as for his eye, that was hidden by an eye patch which made him look even more menacing that usual. That would be there for the rest of the week, and although he liked looking more menacing, he didn’t like his vision being altered, after all how could he possibly watch Potter and Malfoy at once during his lessons? Speaking of Malfoy…

“Mr Malfoy!” Madam Pomfrey almost shouted at him, had they not been in the hospital wing Snape didn’t doubt that she would have, “Your arm is fully healed, now get out!”

“Professor Snape.” Malfoy nodded at him as he left. Snape hated him and his entire family but for the sake of keeping up his double-crossing actions he had to keep that a secret. He watched him leave with his one good eye and glared after him. Malfoy walked out into the corridor and was immediately met with Crabbe and Goyle who looked (if possible) even more gormless than usual. He marched down the corridor and barged into the werewolf.

“Watch it, wolf.” Malfoy muttered.

“20 points from Slytherin.” Remus said as he walked away.

Malfoy muttered something unintelligible as he stalked away through the castle and managed to bump into the mudblood going to dinner.

“Watch where you’re going, slime ball.” She told him before marching off. There was another one who needed sorting out. From nowhere Snape appeared and took ten points from Slytherin for her cheek.

“Have you seen Potter anywhere?” He asked him in his usual cold voice.

“Why yes Sir, he’s over there.” Malfoy pointed him out in a small crowd of people walking down to the hall for dinner, which had been identified as the latest Quidditch team for the sorry house.

“Thank you, Draco.” He said in the same tone and marched off towards him. That team will get what was coming to it. He decided, so will that werewolf and the mudblood. He watched as his head of house marched towards Potter who ran away from him. Coward. He thought and smirked.

“Get back here Potter!” Snape shouted down the corridor after him. Harry wondered whether anyone had even been mad enough to go back on his command and kept on running through the school, knowing that Snape was chasing him and wasn’t pleased. He had much less hair than before and had the look of a man who was going bald and that eye patch amused him to no end. He had to think about something else before he doubled up laughing at the thought of Snape in the eye patch. He raced up through a passageway to the floor above and then ran down the stairs to where he had been before and somehow made it into the great hall for dinner. He stopped running as soon as he got to the doors and a glance behind him told him that Snape was on his trail, running behind him and looking furious. He walked calmly to a seat between Dean and Hermione and sat down looking perfectly composed. Snape on the other hand raced through the doors and, not caring that everyone’s eyes were on him, marched over to the Gryffindor table and to the boy who had rid him of his hair.

“Potter!” He shouted at him.

“Yes, Professor?” Harry asked him, trying to fight back a laugh at his lack of hair and that ridiculous patch.

“100 points from Gryffindor!” He barked at him,

“For what, Sir?” He asked innocently.

“You know damned well for what!” Snape shouted.

“I don’t, Sir, and you can’t take points for nothing.” Harry said quietly, although everyone in the hall could hear what he said.

“For vanishing my hair, my eye and my mouth!” Snape shouted at him and the Gryffindor table erupted into laugher. Snape glared at him and marched up to the staff table, where most of its occupants were also trying not to laugh.

“Now you mention it, Severus,” Minerva said, “You do seem to be rather lacking in hair today.”

“And your eye seems rather more Vanished than usual.” Remus pointed out.

“Your mouth seems fine, however.” Filius informed him. Snape glared at them all and stalked over to the other end of the table and sat down as far away from them all as possible. They’re all in it together. Snape thought sourly, Potter, McGonagall, Lupin and Flitwick… They’re all against me. he took a stab at the chicken that sat on his plate and ate it remorsefully. At least this year they would win the Quidditch cup, and the house cup as well, if he had to take 100 points from Potter a day he would get the house cup, and the Quidditch cup should be easy, after all the Gryffindors didn’t have a team as far as he knew.

At the other end of the table, Minerva was discussing the probabilities of Gryffindor winning the cup this year.

“I think we have an excellent chance with Potter as the captain.” She said, “Although he wanted Weasley to be it instead of him… Merlin only knows why.”

“But Snape brought back Flint.” Remus pointed out.

“Really?” Filius asked, “How desperate he is to win.”

“Well quite, but even with him before we’ve beaten them.” She said.

“Yes but there’s only Harry and Ron from the old team.” Remus said, “The twins and the three chasers left and Ron’s been starting arguments with the new players already.”

“Well he’ll have to go then!” Minerva said.

“According to Potter, he’s the only decent Keeper in the house.” Filius said.

“True.” Minerva said, admitting defeat. “Well they’d better make up their differences if we’re to beat Slytherin.”

“Not to mention Ravenclaw.” Filius said, “After all Miss Chang has put together a very strong team this year.”

“Well as long as Slytherin don’t win then I don’t mind who wins.” Remus said, before adding: “As long as it’s Gryffindor.” Filius rolled his eyes.

“Were you always so biased?” He asked him, with a smile.

“I’m afraid so.” Remus replied. “Anyway, the Gryffindors are going to be practicing on Tuesday so we’ll see how they fare as a team then.”

Practicing on Tuesday? Snape thought, I wonder what Draco could do with such information? He glanced over at the Slytherin table where Malfoy was doing various impressions.

“My robes! They’re shrinking!” He shrieked at the top of his voice and at the Gryffindor table, Ron groaned and buried his head in his hands.


Chapter 25: Twenty-Five
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Twenty Five

It was Monday night and Harry walked down the corridors to the dungeons, where Snape’s office lay. Dumbledore had informed him, after much thought, that he would be starting occlumency again with him. Harry wasn’t pleased, nor was Snape, but Dumbledore didn’t seem to care. After all, as long as Harry’s mind was protected then did it really matter about whether teacher or student was happy with the arrangements? As before Dumbledore had been unable to teach Harry himself, due to the dangers of Voldemort and although he had asked, Remus simply wasn’t as accomplished at the field to teach Harry himself. Harry’s mind wandered to the dream he had had, with Voldemort in his head inflicting pain on him. He shuddered slightly and pushed the thought from his mind as he knocked on Snape’s office door.

“Enter.” Snape’s voice said from within. Harry pushed open the door and saw his potions master sat behind his desk, presumably waiting for him to arrive. He still wore the eye patch he had worn the day before and although it was no less amusing than before, Harry found it much easier to fight back the laughter bubbling inside him when faced with the man, alone, in his office. “Let’s see how much you remember about Occlumency then, Potter.” He said quietly and rose to his feet. He created a space quickly with a wave of his wand and soon he and Harry stood facing each other.

Harry took a deep breath and cleared his mind as best he could, concentrating on the man who stood infront of him. Snape glared at him and a mocking smile touched the corners of his mouth. He didn’t think Harry could do it. I’ll do this if it kills me, there’s no way I’m losing to him. Harry’s mind said angrily and he forced the feeling of anger away instantly.

Legilimens.” Snape cried and Harry instantly felt him in his mind. Seamus’ death began to resurface infront of his eyes. Harry tried to force it back and to some degree it worked, it began to fade out and he could see the room he was in again, for a moment, then it all came flooding back and he saw it, then he saw Sirius’ death, he saw Cedric’s death, he was at the funeral of his two muggle friends and then he saw it: his parents’ death. He couldn’t remember seeing it like that before, so clearly. By this time Harry was on the floor, shaking violently. Snape broke of the spell and stared down at him.

He can remember his parents dying… Snape thought as he stared down at the small boy infront of him. “Get up.” He told him quietly. His tone wasn’t the usual cold command that he would normally have used on the boy but somewhat warmer. Merlin, tell me I don’t pity Harry Potter! Snape’s mind groaned. Harry heaved himself to his feet and stood shakily infront of him. How thin he is! He thought. You’re meant to be breaking into his mind! Not noticing how malnourished he is!

Harry breathed deeply. He had never seen their deaths like that before. It frightened him and he knew that that was something he probably couldn’t confide in Remus, after all how would he go about telling him what he had seen? He had been their best friend and their deaths had shaken him up for a very long time. How could he possibly revive that in him? But didn’t he do that anyway? He was the spitting image of his father, didn’t Remus think of James every time he saw him? His breathing slowed and he stared into the eyes of his potions master.

“Ready?” Snape asked. Harry nodded. Once again he felt the rushing of the same thoughts. I’m not losing to Snape! Harry’s head argued and he forced Cedric’s death away from him and held onto the real world infront of him. Snape looked slightly frustrated and Harry gave one final push. Suddenly thoughts rushed into his head that were not his own. He saw Snape at Hogwarts with Lucius Malfoy in potions… Avoiding Sirius… Going after Remus… Harry didn’t need to see this and Snape probably wasn’t pleased that he was in his head. He could feel him pushing against the tide that had alarmed him so much. Harry concentrated back on the world instead of the thoughts in his head and it all stopped. He looked at Snape and awaited his response.

“Good. You have improved.” Snape said quietly, never taking his eyes from Harry, aware that he had just given him the highest compliment he had ever paid a Gryffindor pupil, he had just said the equivalent of McGonagall hugging one of her students and holding a small celebration party in honour of their outstanding achievements. He kept his mind on Harry. He beat me… “Now we will run through that a few more times until you can throw it off faster. Three memories is good but it could be much better… Please try not to reverse it completely; I do not appreciate your presence in your mind.”

Harry nodded and awaited his attack. You’ve done it before, you can do it again… Again the memories rushed through his head, a little more violently this time but he forced them back and kept on his feet. Three memories passed before he stopped it. Snape nodded his approval before hitting him with the curse again. More violent and faster still and yet only two memories passed him this time but they were the worst two and Harry lay on the floor recovering, knowing that he had still managed to beat Snape, he hadn’t made it past two memories and that was very good, he knew that much. He rose to his feet and noticed that there was something close to a smile on Snape’s face, not even a sneer, but a smile! Harry smiled slightly in spite of himself and Snape raised his wand but the words never reached his lips. Harry dropped to the floor, his hand clutching his forehead.

“Hello Harry! How nice to speak to you!” Voldemort said in his mind.

“Get out of my head.” Harry said softly and forced him back as hard as he could, but to no avail; Voldemort was going nowhere. Snape stared down at Harry, fear in his eyes. He’s there, in his head! He walked to him quickly and pointed his wand at him, murmuring the legilimency curse he had used so many times that evening.

“Severus, how nice to speak with you, and through such an interesting medium too…” Voldemort said to the man as he entered his head.

Images of Death Eaters filled Harry’s mind, and he remembered the Dark Mark he had seen on his arm, remembered the mark at the Quidditch world cup, and remembered seeing him at their fight during the last summer.

“You’re a Death Eater!” Harry thought at Snape, sounding horrified as possible.

“I am indeed, Mr Potter.” Snape thought coldly. “What would you have me do, my lord?”

“Wipe his memory, he will not remember this occurrence…” Voldemort said with a smile, “Keep up the occlumency, Harry, it weakens your mind greatly.”
With that Voldemort left, leaving only Snape in Harry’s mind. He pulled away from him and both of them lay on the floor in Snape’s office. Harry was the first to recover, after all he was used to such occurrences. He rubbed his forehead, which burned painfully and dragged himself to his feet, Snape lay on the floor next to him, shocked to say the least.

“Are you alright, Professor?” Harry asked quietly. Snape rolled over onto his side and looked up at Harry who seemed fine now. How can you be fine?? You just had your mind invaded! Snape thought. He took the hand that was offered to him and got to his feet, brushing himself down afterwards. “Is it true that occlumency weakens my mind?”

“Only during and after training,” Snape said quietly. His mind was on the thoughts of Death Eaters that Harry had in his head when Voldemort was there. He was astounded that Voldemort hadn’t seen through them, or pulled out proof that he was a spy from the boy’s head, and yet he hadn’t. He had to admit that Harry had been convincing, but then the boy was an actor, he always had been. He knew that he could change his image displayed to the people he was with easily, he had to – living with those muggles, if they caught him feeling sorry for himself then he got it all the more worse than he would have otherwise done.

“Are you sure you’re alright, Professor?” Harry asked. He was almost worried about Snape, he was staring into space and he distinctly lacked his usual sneer which he wore whenever they were in close proximity of one another. Snape blinked and looked at him.

“I’m fine. Go back to your common room.” He instructed him, “Clear your mind every night. Oh and one more thing…” A smile touched his face slightly, “You have done very well tonight, and so to keep you on your toes I will be periodically invading your mind, it will be at any time, in any place during the next week… Be warned Mr Potter.”

“Yes, Professor.” Harry said quietly and left the office. He didn’t want to be attacked periodically throughout the week and knowing Snape he would pick the most awkward moments…

Snape paced his office, his mind on the previous events and then decided that he was going to the staff room. He needed to find McGonagall, Mad Eye, Flitwick and that damned wolf as soon as possible. They were the subject teachers of Potter and the sooner he could inform them that he would be attacking the boy’s mind, occasionally in their lessons then the sooner he could start going after the boy.

He left the office just in time to see Potter disappearing round one of the corners, not wanting to bump into that irritating entity, he took a passage through a seemingly solid stone wall to his right. Harry continued on, aware that Snape had been following him a moment before and he wondered where he had gone to now, he also wondered when he would have his mind attacked first. He just knew it would be during one of his lessons or during breakfast or some similarly public time when Malfoy would be sure to be there…

“Oh, sorry Tonks!” Harry said as he walked into her as he reached the entrance hall. He had almost forgotten that Tonks had been in the school, he had seen her so little during the past week and a half after arriving at the school again. She had been in only one of his lessons so far and according to Lavender and Parvati she had been in lots of Divination lessons with Professor Trelawney who had been reinstated when Umbridge had left the year before.

“How’s it going Harry?” Tonks asked him.

“Not bad thanks,” Harry replied.

“I hear you’re taking Occlumency again…” Tonks said, “Is that why you’ve been down in the dungeons?”

“Yeah.” Harry replied unhappily. “Apparently I’ve been doing quite well and my reward is that Snape’s going to attack me throughout the week at random times to see how awful I am at it.”

“Sounds fantastic.” Tonks grinned. “Where are you headed?”

“I think I might go talk to Remus for a bit…” Harry said, “So the second floor.”

“I’m walking up to fifth to see Mad Eye,” Tonks replied and they set off walking together to the stairway to the next floor. “Is it true your Gryffindor Quidditch captain this year?”

“Yeah,” Harry smiled slightly.

“I hope you beat Slytherin.” Tonks said as they walked along. “I saw what you did to Snape the other day, with his eye and his hair and all…” She tried and failed to suppress a grin.

“I know. Try doing Occlumency with him when he’s wearing that eye patch!” Harry laughed and suddenly his memories were flying infront of his eyes. He was caught off guard and he cursed himself for letting Snape get him so easily. After almost a minute Snape broke it off and appeared from behind them.

“Tut tut, Mr Potter.” Snape said coolly, “It’s one thing to fight off a spell you know is coming, but you’re not very good at handling surprises are you?” With that he turned on his heel and marched off down the corridor to the staff room, his robes billowing out behind him. He distinctly heard Potter ask Tonks whether he thought he charmed his robes to billow out like that before he reached the room. He opened it and found McGonagall and Flitwick in there with a few other members of staff but unfortunately there were neither of the two defence against the dark arts teachers present.

“Good evening, Severus.” Minerva greeted him with a reasonable amount of warmth in her voice.

“You look suspiciously pleased with yourself.” Flitwick noted and all of them began to wonder which sorry student he had just attacked.

“I’m not staying, I have other business to attend to.” Snape said, “Just a heads up for you both. You are of course aware that Potter studies Occlumency with me…” They both nodded and waited for him to go on, “Well he has been doing rather well since the last time I saw him and although he can easily fight off an attack he knows is coming, he can’t fight off those he isn’t aware of.”

“What do you propose, Severus?” Minerva asked him.

“I will be periodically invading his mind throughout the week.” Snape informed them, “I have already informed him of this and I merely ask for your cooperation to allow me to occasionally conduct these invasions during a few of your lessons.”

So that’s what’s made him so pleased with himself… Filius and Minerva thought as they listened to what he proposed. They didn’t like the idea of it but they didn’t really see how they could refuse.

“On one condition…” Minerva said to him, “That during Quidditch training you will not go anywhere near him.”

“The boy cannot afford to drop his guard.” Snape said, “I doubt the Dark Lord would agree to such terms as to leave him alone during his Quidditch.”

“But you are not the Dark Lord.” Filius argued.

“True.” Snape agreed, “But invading that boy’s mind are his actions. If he should fall then I would catch him, do you think I am stupid enough to let him fall to his death?”

“No, but I think you are devious enough to let him hit the floor just before a Quidditch match, after all Gryffindor Vs. Hufflepuff is next week.” Minerva said.

“I will not attack during actual matches, only during training if it pleases you.” Snape said to her and Minerva agreed, knowing that otherwise Harry would find himself attacked during a Quidditch match infront of the entire school.

“I cannot believe I am letting him do this.” Minerva sighed as Severus left the room.


***


“I suppose it will be good for you.” Remus said to Harry who was restlessly pacing the room.

“Yeah but I don’t know when he’s going to get me or how often.” Harry complained.

“Don’t forget that he had his own lessons to teach as well so he can’t really get you in lessons that much, can he?” Remus said to him and was interrupted by a knock at the door. “Come in…” Harry and Remus raised their eyebrows as Snape walked into the room, followed by his billowing robes which almost got trapped in the door.

“Yes, Severus?” Remus asked him quietly.

“I venture here only to inform you that I will be attacking Potter throughout the next week, possibly during your lessons. You have been warned.” He said quietly.

“Very well.” Remus said and Snape turned and left as quickly as he had come in. Harry threw himself down on the floor infront of the fire. “You’ll be fine…” Remus told him.

“No I won’t. He’s going to get me at breakfast or some other such time when everyone’s around.” Harry complained, “What if he gets me during Quidditch?!”

“I don’t think he will, what if you fall from your broom?” Remus said,

“Yeah, exactly! If he gets me during the match against Hufflepuff and I fall…” Harry said, “He’ll most likely catch me so I can’t accuse him of attempted murder but we’ll lose.”

“Harry!” Remus said, over his babblings, “He won’t get you during a match, I’m sure neither Dumbledore nor McGonagall will allow it.”

“I suppose… but what if he gets me during training?” Harry asked.

“Then if he enjoys having his facial features back he just better catch you.” Remus said. Harry sighed and pulled out the Marauder’s Map from his desk drawer. Snape was lurking on that floor and Harry had a fair idea as to why.

“I may as well go; I need to get back to the common room and do last minute Charms homework.” Harry said and walked over to the door.

“Good luck.” Remus said to him as he opened the door. He listened outside and heard Harry running as quickly and as quietly as he could down the corridor. Consulting the map he could see that Snape had anticipated this and was taking a passageway up to the seventh floor to head him off. Harry wasn’t stupid however, and had turned round and was going to seek refuge in the library. Remus smiled slightly, what with their plans for the sixth years in DADA, Harry could have a very interesting week.


Chapter 26: Twenty-Six
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Twenty Six

Harry sat down to breakfast the next morning. So far Snape had tried to attack him twice – once the day before when he was with Tonks and then on his way down to breakfast about 10 minutes earlier. Harry was certain that he was going to try and get him before breakfast time was out and he wasn’t wrong.

“Care to see Potter fail?” Snape asked Minerva, Filius and Remus at the breakfast table as he came to sit down at the end of the table.

“Not really.” Remus replied as he sipped his tea. The three of them watched as Snape took out his wand and carefully aimed it at Harry on the Gryffindor table, after all, he didn’t want Neville’s memories in his head.

Legilimens.” Snape muttered and Harry fell off his chair at the Gryffindor table. He glared at Snape as he regained his feet. Snape was quite annoyed; he had managed to stop just after the first memory then so he must have been expecting the attack.

“Do try to stay in your seat, Mr Potter.” Snape said across the hall and the Slytherins sniggered.

“What’s wrong? Didn’t he fail as abysmally as you’d hoped?” Minerva asked him with a slight smile on her face, she was pleased Harry was excelling in his Occlumency and happier still that he was irritating Severus at the same time. Snape didn’t answer her but growled slightly and stabbed his cereal with his spoon. Over on the Gryffindor table, Harry was watching Snape with a slight smile on his face. He had indeed been expecting the attack, which had made him much better than he could have been, were he not expecting it.

Breakfast couldn’t have ended sooner for Harry’s liking and as he got up to leave he waved his wand quickly at Snape, who fell off his chair instantly.

“Do try to stay in your seat, Professor Snape.” Harry called to him over the laughter from the Gryffindor table. On the staff table everyone but Snape grinned or tried to hide their laughter, although Remus, Minerva and Filius didn’t bother to try and laughed at him outright. Snape got up to his feet and stalked after him as he ran from the room laughing.

Unfortunately Harry hadn’t thought things through very well. The day was Tuesday which meant that his second lesson was Potions after DADA so he had just over an hour’s break from Snape before he would have no choice but to meet him. He ended up at the defence against the dark arts room in the end, after taking a rather long detour around the fourth floor, almost knocking Magadi and Luke over as they made their way to their lesson.

“You’re late, Harry.” Remus said to him as he arrived in the room, rather more tired than he had been before. Everyone glanced round to look at him as he almost collapsed into his seat next to Hermione and Ron. He noticed that Tonks was sat at the side of the room grinning at him. “5 points from Gryffindor, I’m afraid.”

It’s much faster to hide behind the second mirror on the right until Snape’s gone than it is to run through the third mirror and cut through the fourth floor. Appeared on Harry’s hand in Remus’ handwriting a moment later. Harry rolled his eyes at his more obvious mistake and wiped the message from his hand.

“Today we’re going to be having a practical lesson on one of the Unforgivable Curses.” Mad Eye said from the side of the room. There were a few gasps and some people stared at him in horror, although Harry thought it was quite obvious as to the one that they would be practicing, or have practiced upon them.

“The Crucius curse!” Neville gasped and Mad Eye rolled his one good eye.

“No, Mr Longbottom, we are not going to torture you, although if some of your homework grades don’t pick up that may be the only option.” Mad Eye stared pointedly at Malfoy at this point, “Today you will have the Imperious Curse practiced upon you.” There were a few groans around the room, mostly from those who remembered their fourth year when the impostor Moody had put them all through it. “First up will be Potter, for being late.” Harry groaned and Malfoy laughed.

“Second up will be Malfoy because he finds it amusing.” Remus said and most of the class grinned.

The lesson felt like it went on forever for Harry who had lost his grip on the curse slightly since he had last encountered it and unfortunately for him he had Moody putting the curse on him instead of Remus, due to Remus’ inability to put the curse on Harry. After two attempts Harry could throw it off completely once again, after almost breaking his wrist trying to prevent himself from somersaulting around the room. Remus gave him thirty points for defeating the curse which easily made up for the points he lost for being late. Finally the end of the lesson arrived with dreaded words from Moody.

“Professor Snape gave me an excellent idea the other day.” Moody said quietly, “Professors Tonks and Lupin and I will be catching you unawares during this week with the Imperious curse to see how well you have mastered it. Be on you guard, we will get you at any time, day or night.” The three professors grinned menacingly at the class and Harry groaned and his head fell into his hands. “Class dismissed.” Harry dragged himself to his feet, glaring at the three professors at the front of the room as he did so, and then left for Potions.

“Don’t make me go…” Harry moaned as Hermione half dragged him down the corridor. Suddenly Hermione stopped, looked at him and slapped him hard, repeatedly. “Hermione!” He shouted at her.

“Sorry… I don’t know what came over me.” She replied and gave him a hug, as if to rectify her slapping him.

Slap her back. A voice in his head said.

She deserves it.

Go on…


Harry span round to see Tonks and Remus leap behind the corner. He turned and walked over to them.

“Harry!” Tonks said, “Who slapped you?!” Harry opened his mouth to say something but from behind him he heard Snape’s voice echo through the corridor.

“Late again Potter?” He said in his usual sneering voice, “10 points from Gryffindor.” Harry gave the two of them one last scowl before turning and running into his potions class.

“You were under the Imperious curse.” Harry said to Hermione as he sat down next to her.

“I’m really sorry, Harry…” Hermione said to him and blushed slightly when she saw the red mark on his cheek.

The lesson was interesting to say the least. They were still making the Polyjuice potion, and they would be doing for another two weeks. Harry and Hermione had eventually been separated because Snape decided that Hermione doing all the work and Harry taking the credit just wasn’t fair, as well as that it would be much easier for him to sabotage one person’s cauldron than one that was being watched by two people. So far a firework, a miniature phoenix, a shredded broomstick and an electric eel had made its way into Harry’s potion and each time he managed to save his potion from near destruction (although it occasionally electrocuted him after the eel). Snape tried to take points every time he passed him and once ‘accidentally’ tripped whilst carrying shrinking solution. Unsurprisingly it flew in Harry’s direction and he managed to deflect it from him and his cauldron with a shield just in time. Oddly enough, during their lesson, Terry Boot got up and cart-wheeled round the room, earning himself 20 points from Ravenclaw and a face full of shrinking solution from Snape. Then later on Malfoy burst into song and Harry almost died of suppressed laughter.

“The hills are alive with the sound of music…” Malfoy chirruped and half the class fell off their seats laughing.

Snape managed to silence him with a silencing charm but then Malfoy went on to dance around the classroom and Harry had to be administered a calming drought and ended up lying on the stone floor of the dungeon. Staring up at the ceiling Harry saw Remus and Tonks clinging to the roof. Tonks pressed her finger to her lips and went on to curse Malfoy.

The lesson ended early when Snape took all his strength into not punching Malfoy in the face and gave him detention for a week and Harry had to be almost carried from the room by Hermione whose knees were still quite weak from the laughter.

“Best potions lesson ever.” Harry laughed and leant back against the wall whilst he composed himself.

“I wasn’t impressed… Lupin and Tonks should know better than to interrupt the lessons of a colleague.” Hermione said and started to walk away.

“Lighten up Hermione, Malfoy sang, he actually sang!” Harry said and Hermione grinned in spite of herself. “Come on, let’s go get to the common room before Snape decides to break into my mind again…”


***


“Mad Eye kept putting the curse on people in Care of Magical Creatures as well.” Ron was saying as he and Harry walked down to the entrance hall where the rest of the team were already waiting. Harry smiled when he saw them all and he levitated the box of Quidditch balls at Ginny’s feet down to the pitch.

Actual training itself went well. They worked well as a team and no one got hit by a bludger at all, some goals went in but Ron kept a lot of them out and Harry managed to catch the Snitch three times during the practice.


Remus glanced up from his work to see the little dragon chasing a little ball of paper around the desk that he had levitated for it a while earlier. He assumed that Harry must be playing Quidditch and he walked over to the window to watch. Harry truly was superb on a broom and he loved to watch him racing round the pitch after the little golden ball, at one point he chased it round the towers of the school and flew past his window, slowing enough to stick his tongue out at him before flying back to the pitch. Remus leant against the windowsill, giving up on his work completely to watch them practice. They really were good, Harry had an amazing team and they all worked well, despite the problems Ginny and Ron had caused before.

Something caught his eye at the bottom of the pitch and Remus stared hard at it to try and distinguish what it was. Snape! He realised suddenly. He couldn’t believe that he was going to attack Harry during a practice. If he falls and you let him touch the ground Snape… Remus thought as he narrowed his eyes at the figure that slinked towards the pitch. He shouldn’t warn Harry… After all it was for his own good, and yet it wasn’t quite fair to warn him on his first practice, his second maybe, but not his first…

Watch out for Snape. Appeared on Harry’s hand suddenly and Harry stopped chasing the Snitch and glanced down at the floor below him. Snape wouldn’t be in the air, or else he would easily have seen him by then, he would have to be on the floor somewhere.

Thanks. Harry sent back to Remus and the moment after he had sent it he felt himself lose control, lose consciousness. He was 70 feet in the air and he was falling…

Remus gasped in horror as he saw someone fall from the sky and he knew with terrible certainty who it was. He stopped breathing and he could only stare at the boy as he dropped to his certain death.

Harry fought back the spell instantly and after one memory regained consciousness.

Accio Firebolt!” he cried and above him his broom raced down against gravity towards him. He hadn’t far to fall now and his broom was getting closer and closer. He reached out with his hand and grabbed hold of the broom. Instantly he stopped falling and clung 30 feet from the floor to a small wooden stick. He reached out with his other hand and grabbed hold, now he manoeuvred the broom carefully down to the ground and collapsed onto the floor, relief encompassing him.

In his office Remus sat down on the windowsill and breathed again. He had never known how frightened for Harry he was until he had seen him falling so very far to what could easily have been his death. For a terrible moment he had been certain that he would die… he had envisioned Harry lying on the floor, his broom next to him and his body broken… his eyes shut… He shivered slightly and looked back down to the pitch and a figure all in black was billowing back up to the castle; there was no mistaking who it was.

Remus looked back outside to see that training had stopped for the night and the seven figures walked back to the castle with Harry in the middle. Snape wasn’t far ahead; he didn’t want to be caught up by the Gryffindors so he walked faster. Unfortunately McGonagall had seen what had happened and she ran out of the castle doors and down to Snape. Remus grinned and ran from the room, down to the entrance hall where he was met by Tonks and Filius.

“Is it true?!” Tonks asked him when he arrived, slightly out of breath. “Did Snape make Harry fall off his broom?” Remus nodded and Tonks gasped.

“Come on.” She said and ran off towards Minerva who looked furious in the face of Snape.

“He could have died!” She shouted at him. Snape didn’t look pleased by this. Between Minerva and Severus, Harry stood and behind him was the Quidditch team. Remus glanced around and noticed Malfoy creeping closer to the action from the direction of the pitch… What could he have been doing there during a Gryffindor Quidditch practice?

“I was perfectly justified in what I was doing.” Snape said to her, “I told you that even during Quidditch practices he would not be exempt from legilimency.”

“And you decided that whilst he was 70 feet in the air was an appropriate time to test his occlumency?” She screeched at him. No one had seen McGonagall this angry in a long time and Harry was quite shocked at how protective she was being over him. Snape didn’t answer her but then he didn’t have to.

“The hills are alive with the sound of music…” Malfoy screeched at the top of his voice as he pranced between them and up to the castle. There was an odd moment of silence until Mad Eye emerged from the trees behind them; his wand was pointed at Malfoy who had just embraced Marcus Flint who was walking out of the castle with a pipe between his lips. Everyone burst out laughing and the Quidditch team was reduced to a hysterical heap on the floor.

“Don’t you dare go near him again whilst he’s on a broom.” Minerva said, pointing her wand at Snape’s face before she turned on her heel and marched back up to the castle past Marcus Flint who was still trying to figure out what had just happened.

“Breathe Harry!” Tonks said and she offered her hand to the first of the teenagers to recover. Harry took her hand and got shakily to his feet. He wiped his eyes and glanced down at Ron who had tears streaming down his face and was laughing harder than ever.

“Are you alright, Harry?” Professor Flitwick asked him.

“You fell a long way.” Remus said quietly, his eyes had lost the laughter they had contained a moment before.

“Well hurtling towards the ground from a great height wasn’t the highlight of the day but I’m fine.” Harry said to them. He looked back down at the Quidditch team who were still laughing. Harry grinned and rolled his eyes before turning and walking up to the castle with Remus at his side.

“Get up now, Weasley, or you’ll find yourself in detention!” Snape barked at the redhead on the floor before giving up and marching past Harry and into the castle. Marcus Flint just realised that Malfoy had hugged him and he narrowed his eyes and marched over something soft and down to the dungeons. Harry grinned at the ‘something soft’ that lay on the floor with a scowl plastered on its face.

“20 points from Slytherin for trampling a Professor.” Filius said with a smile as they walked past Snape who dragged himself to his feet and marched off after Flint.


Chapter 27: Twenty-Seven
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Twenty Seven

Harry glanced down at the Marauders Map which was like his best friend this past week, what with Snape after him half the time to break into his mind and then the rest of the time he had Mad Eye or Tonks after him trying to control him. He had found out a few days earlier that Remus just didn’t have it in him to control him, although he had put an excellent curse on Malfoy which had had him slapping Snape repeatedly at breakfast one morning.

On the map Harry could see that Snape was two floors up, Remus was in his office with Mad Eye and Tonks was following Malfoy. He grinned and cast his eye about the seventh floor, which he was currently on. Just around the next corner Neville and Professor Dumbledore were talking and Harry watched them to wait for one of them to move but after twenty seconds both were still stood where they had been before. Curiosity overtook Harry and he crept down the corridor with his back pressed to the wall, hoping to stay unseen by the almost omniscient professor. The closer he got to them the more of their conversation he could hear…

“So would you like to visit your parents then, Mr Longbottom?” Dumbledore asked.

“I’d love to, Sir.” Neville managed, “But I’m afraid of going into Death…”

“Nothing to worry about.” Dumbledore said lightly, “After all, you’ll have your parents there to protect you.” He smiled kindly at him. “And you will, of course, be able to come back at any time you wish.”

“Must I go alone?” Neville asked quietly.

“By no means. I shall escort you to the gateway and into Death with you, although once you’re reunited with your parents I daresay you’ll want me out of the picture.” Dumbledore said.

“Professor…” Neville said and paused, it seemed to Harry that whatever it was that he wanted to ask he felt very awkward about doing so, “In life my parents were…” He swallowed, “Insane.” He added softly. “Will they…?”

“No, in death the mind is fixed.” Dumbledore informed him. “Anything else?”

Neville shook his head. “No Professor.” He said, there was a small smile on his face.

“Excellent!” Dumbledore said cheerily, “Come to the front entrance at about midday on Saturday and we shall go then. Goodbye for now, Mr Longbottom.” Neville murmured a goodbye as Dumbledore walked away and round the corner.

“Ah, hello Harry.” Dumbledore said to the boy who hid behind a tapestry to the side before walking off down the corridor with a slight smile on his face. Harry emerged, his head reeling from all he had heard… Neville was going into Death to see his parents… He turned and walked quickly down the corridor and down the stairs, intending to go straight to Remus. He stopped on the fourth floor and suddenly memories hit him hard. Harry fought back and in his irritation with Snape, who had leapt out from behind a stone pillar, he stunned him, put him in the full body bind, tied him with Devil’s Snare, froze him into a block of ice and took his wand, sticking it to the ceiling with a handy sticking charm he had learnt from Dean a week ago. After having done this he raced down the corridor and down more stairs until he reached the second floor where he ran inside Remus’ office and found his guardian sat with his back to him on the windowsill. The little dragon was jumping about energetically on his fingertips and occasionally fell off. Harry closed the door quietly behind him and walked over to Remus and put his hand out to his shoulder and to his astonishment his hand went straight through it. Harry jumped back a step before moving to walk around the man and saw the strange Wizarding version of a hologram sat on the windowsill with a hologram of the dragon with him. He heard familiar laughter behind him and felt a pair of hands on his shoulders. He turned round to Remus who grinned.

“How did you do this?” Harry asked him. Remus smiled and pointed his wand at Harry.

Effingo” He said quietly and on the end of his wand a golden trail came from it. Remus gave his wand a gentle flick and a new Harry materialised next to him. Harry stared at it, amazed at how solid it looked, although he knew that if he reached out to touch it his fingers would simply go through the magic it was made of. “Ennervate” Remus said, putting his wand through into the magical hologram and instantly it began to move, exactly as Harry did and Harry stared at his duplicated self in amazement, whilst it stared right back at him. Remus grinned before touching it again and murmuring “Finite Incantatem” Harry was still quite stunned at seeing himself in a holographic form.

“Can you do that with anything?” Harry asked him, wondering at the possibilities it may hold to be able to create such things.

“Anything at all, yes.” Remus replied, “Although it works best with solids, but liquids work as well.”

For a few moments Harry was silent, wondering at all the possible ways in which he could use this against Malfoy and perhaps help him evade Snape during the remainder of the week, which was only a couple of days.

“So what did you come here for, anyway?” Remus asked Harry and for a moment he couldn’t remember the reason he had raced here to see him.

“Oh yeah…” Harry said, “Anyway, I was up on the seventh floor, trying to get away from Snape and—”

Harry told Remus exactly what had happened and when it was all told then they were left stood in the middle of the room, just looking at one another. Remus felt quite stunned – Neville was being allowed to visit Death to see his parents. Why had Harry never been allowed that privilege? Why had he, Remus, never been permitted into Death to see Lily and James when he had been suffering under the grief of their loss so badly? Would they be allowed to go now? What was the gateway of which Dumbledore had spoken? Did he mean the gateway to Death or merely the gateway into the grounds…?

Remus’ head began to hurt as all the thoughts raced each other around his head and he found himself being seated by Harry after staring hard at the floor for almost five minutes. He blinked and jumped slightly when he realised that he was sat down in the chair behind his desk and Harry was sat on the windowsill watching him with the little dragon wandering over his hand.

“So what are you going to do?” Remus asked Harry eventually. Harry looked at him in confusion.

“What do you mean?” He asked.

“Well you know when Neville is going to go to Death and you know where he will be meeting Dumbledore…” Remus said, “Will you follow them?”

“I don’t know… Dumbledore didn’t say that I couldn’t.” Harry said quietly.

“He didn’t say that you could either.” Remus pointed out, “Although he did know that you were there.”

“Will you come with me if I follow them?” Harry asked Remus, who looked at him with surprise evident on his face. “And I know you’re a teacher and you don’t really go in for the whole stalking your colleagues thing but…”

Remus smiled slightly. He was a good teacher when it came to actually teaching but when it came to setting a half decent example around the school he wasn’t very good at it: twice this week he had cursed Snape in the corridors and once he had cursed Filch who had been threatening a small Gryffindor in the first year for hexing a Slytherin and now here he was, contemplating following his employer with the boy whom he was a guardian to around the school into what could be Death.

“I suppose I will come with you.” Remus sighed, “But only to keep you out of trouble.”

Harry laughed. “Yeah, right.” He smiled, pleased that Remus had consented to come with him in his stalking of the headmaster. He touched the little dragon with his wand and murmured “Effingo”. A small golden thread fell from his wand to around the height of the little dragon and Harry gave his wand a flick as Remus had done and a duplicate of the dragon appeared next to the real thing which stared at it and then tried to head butt it. Harry smiled and brought it to life with the same incantation Remus had used and watched the dragons move in sync and become very confused until Harry ended the spell. Suddenly Harry realised what he was going to do with his new found spell and who it would be practiced on of course.

“Anyway, don’t you have charms now?” Remus asked Harry who glanced at his watch and saw that he was going to be late unless he started to move, and pretty quickly as well. Harry had forgotten that it was Thursday and had been pretty convinced for some time that it was Wednesday which meant that he would have had a free period for his last lesson, but unfortunately he was one day behind everyone else and was going to be late for his last lesson of the day, which was up on the sixth floor.

“Yeah, I’ve gotta go!” Harry said, grabbing his bag from the table and slinging it over his shoulder, “I’ll see you later!”

“See you.” Remus echoed and smiled as Harry ran from the room and down to the mirror at the other side of the second floor. He murmured a password and ran up the passageway, with people in the battle scene along the wall occasionally shouting at him to run faster or usefully informing him that he was late for charms again. Eventually he reached the sixth floor and almost fell out of the mirror at the other end. He walked quickly inside the charms classroom and sat down; relieved to see that he was not the last person to reach the class.

“Try to reach the lesson on time in future, Harry.” Professor Flitwick said to him as he sat down in his seat between Ron and Neville and waited for the lesson to begin.

“I hope they start doing that reversal spell soon.” Sirius said to Frank, Alice and James who all sat along the sides of the room, watching Neville and Harry freezing various things, or in Neville’s case, get them quite wet and cold. Harry was already drenched and shivering by the time Neville had cast three spells.

“So do I.” Alice said, “Although I don’t doubt that our Neville will end up speeding up time or something along those lines.” She smiled as she said it and looked fondly at her son who had just managed to successfully freeze his quill.

“I can’t wait to see Neville.” Frank said quietly and then remembered with a jolt who he was with and wished he’d kept quiet,

“I hope Dumbledore lets Harry and Remus come with him.” James said, “Although I’ve never heard of this gateway he mentioned.”

“Me neither.” Alice said thoughtfully and looked back at her son who was panicking because he had just frozen his hand solid and Harry was melting the ice carefully with a warming spell.

“What have I missed?” Lily asked, appearing beside them. James and Sirius scowled at her; she was meant to be following Remus. “He’s over there.” She replied to their complaints at her deserting their friend to watch Harry in her favourite subject.

They looked in the direction she pointed to see Remus, Mad Eye and Tonks. They all stood at the back of the room, disillusioned and then next to them Snape appeared a moment later. Remus cast a cold look at him and then glanced back to the class.

“You missed Neville freezing Harry’s hand but that’s about it.” Frank informed her.

“I’m going to get Snape the moment he dies.” James said as he watched the man take out his wand and point it carefully at his son.


Harry sat at the front, oblivious to the four people at the back of the room and the five deceased who sat to the side as he concentrated on freezing the small fire that he had conjured a moment before. Suddenly all the memories of death he knew came flooding back to him and he realised too late that Snape was somewhere in the room. He blocked them all as best he could but not before his desk had set on fire and Neville put it out by attempting to freeze it. Harry glanced round and when he looked closely at the back of the room he saw the three wizards and one witch who stood there, two of them smiling, one of them with a blank expression and one of them scowling darkly at him.

The lesson drifted along. Snape tried twice more to break into his mind but Harry managed to block him much more effectively than the first time to Snape’s great annoyance. Malfoy sat at the back of the class with Crabbe and Goyle, neither of whom had managed to freeze anything, although some of Malfoy’s things had set on fire due to some of their poorly performed charms. To everyone else’s annoyance, Malfoy had succeeded in mastering the charm and took to freezing something around the room every now and again, such as Professor Flitwick’s mouth, which Harry melted quickly and earned himself thirty house points for, whilst Malfoy lost thirty. Soon Remus tired of seeing his pitiful attempts at freezing Harry across the room and decided to do something about it.

Imperio” He muttered quietly and pointed his wand at Malfoy.

At the front of the room, Harry had turned around to see whether Malfoy was trying to curse him still and saw that Remus had his wand pointed at his enemies back and decided to watch what happened. Suddenly Malfoy pointed his wand at his own face.

Gelotrium Totalus!” He said loudly and in a moment his head froze into a solid block of ice. Harry burst out laughing and everyone glanced at him in puzzlement until they turned to where he was looking and saw Malfoy’s shocked expression at having frozen his head in a large ice cube. Crabbe and Goyle looked utterly stunned by this and decided to try and unfreeze his head in a variety of ways. Crabbe managed to conjure a small portable fire which he put on the top of the ice cube and Goyle decided to lick the ice cube to see what it tasted of. Unfortunately for Goyle, his tongue stuck to the ice and he panicked as he saw the flame his friend had conjured was quickly melting the ice and moving towards him. He pulled away from the cube and managed to break away from Malfoy just as the top of the cube finished melting and Draco’s hair set on fire.

By this time Harry was close to hysterics once more and he was not alone. Ron was already on the floor laughing so hard, so was Dean and Neville was clinging to the desk to stop himself from falling off. Even Hermione was laughing hard and at the back of the room Mad Eye was grinning lopsidedly, Tonks was screeching with laughter, although she was unheard by those not disillusioned, and Remus was doubled over with laughter.

“Nice one, Moony!” James laughed at Malfoy as he waved his arms frantically and tried to get up. Even Lily found it amusing that the boy who had been so awful to her son in the past currently had his hair on fire and was running blindly down the side of the room.

“Mr Malfoy!” Professor Flitwick shouted at the boy and ran over to him as quickly as his small legs would carry him. He had left him until he had run blindly about the room and eventually fallen over an outstretched foot (Potter’s he believed) and had landed on his frozen face. Unfortunately he could leave things no longer. He stretched out his wand and defrosted the block of ice that remained and an infuriated Draco Malfoy lay on the floor with his head still burning. Professor Flitwick also put out the small blaze in his hair and left the boy on the floor as he went on with the lesson. Eventually Malfoy got up from the floor at the feet of the deceased Sirius Black who had been attempting to kick him repeatedly but due to his still being living, he had failed. Malfoy glared around the room and at the sight of Malfoy with half his hair singed or missing Harry burst out laughing again.

“Think it’s funny do you, Potter?” Malfoy hissed.

“Yeah, I do.” Harry grinned.

“You’ll get yours, don’t you worry about it.” Malfoy said, moving slightly closer to him so that no one would overhear what he said, “After all, the Dark Lord doesn’t allow humiliation of his loyal servants to go unpunished…”

With that he marched off out of the room and Harry distinctly heard Professor Flitwick mutter “Good riddance” quietly as he left.

“Like Voldemort’s going to be infuriated because he got his hair set on fire.” Harry muttered and Hermione and Neville grinned, whilst Ron hissed at him not to use that name. The rest of the lesson passed without much more excitement due to Professor Flitwick’s having asked his colleagues at the back of the room to please leave their cursing of the students until they were out of his classroom and all four grudgingly consented, and Tonks and Remus stayed until the end, although Snape marched out of the room and down to the dungeons and Mad Eye left also, and Remus strongly suspected that he had gone after Malfoy to try and curse him some more.

Malfoy ran as quickly as he could down the corridor, trying to get to the hospital wing as quickly as he could before any of the lessons ended and anyone saw him with a large bald patch in the middle of his head where his hair had been burnt off. Behind him he could hear a slight clunk on every other step someone took and he knew without looking who it was, after all, who else had a magical wooden leg in the school but Mad Eye? Moody waved his wand at the boy and he stopped still suddenly. He was frozen to the spot. The ex-auror grinned at his work and then marched on past the boy to the staff room.

Some time later when the lessons all ended for the day and everyone headed down to the Great Hall for dinner, Malfoy was discovered in this state by none other than Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dean and Neville, who laughed at him and left him lying there, half bald for the rest of the school to find.

Around twenty minutes later, Malfoy had the curse removed from him by Snape who was marching down to the Hall. Malfoy got up and walked into the hall with him, forgetting about his ridiculous hair until the Gryffindor table erupted in to laughter. Malfoy turned and ran back out into the main entrance but he was met with a huge tidal wave of water coming his way. He screamed loudly and ran back into the Great Hall where he collapsed onto the floor and the huge wave of holographic water washed over him, leaving him just as dry as before. The Gryffindors were struggling to breathe with hysteria by this point in time and Malfoy was lying, half bald and utterly terrified in a ball on the floor. Harry cleared up the water that he had spilt on the table and grinned. It had been a hologram of the cup of water he had infront of him that had chased Malfoy, only expanded to a very large size. No one knew this however, well maybe Remus. Glancing up to the table Remus was trying not to laugh at Malfoy and every now and again his eyes would flicker in his direction but whether this was because he knew he had done it or not he wasn’t quite sure. Both of them laughed along with most of the school as Malfoy was taken down to the hospital wing by Professor Snape a moment or two later.


Chapter 28: Twenty-Eight
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Twenty Eight

Draco Malfoy awoke early the next morning, lying in the hospital bed to which he was bound with magical threads. Seeing him awake Madam Pomfrey came bustling over to him with a smile on her face.

“Good to see you calmer than yesterday, Mr Malfoy.” She said brightly. Draco stared at her for a few moments, not understanding what she meant.

“And what do you mean by that?” He snapped.

“Well yesterday you were almost in hysterics.” She explained lightly, “You were brought in babbling about some wave or another and half your hair had been burnt off…”

Malfoy scowled darkly as the memory of the previous day drifted through his mind and he remembered running in terror from the giant wave which had turned out not to be real after all and had ended up as a blithering wreck in the middle of the Great Hall, and he had been half bald to make matters even worse! Potter would pay for this he decided, but then he had a better idea…


***


The day was Thursday, which meant that Harry had double potions, followed by double defence against the dark arts before dinner and then transfiguration afterwards, which would be the last lesson of the day.

Potions was becoming close to unbearable. Harry had been moved well away from Hermione to the front of the room where Snape could keep an eye on him and break into his mind as he pleased and Malfoy was sat right behind him, giving him all the opportunity he needed to curse him repeatedly without any punishment being handed out to him. During one potions lesson Harry discovered in his cauldron various things such as blood, a small model of himself with a noose around its neck, half a chandelier and a poorly spelt death threat which was signed by Crabbe.

His Polyjuice potion had somehow managed to survive to the point where it was still the same colour and just about the same texture as Malfoy’s, which couldn’t be bad, although after the blood had become mixed in with it he was surprised that it hadn’t managed to self destruct or something along those lines. Before the lesson got to half way Harry carefully duplicated his potion and vanished it in a few vials into his dormitory so that, should Snape or Malfoy go slightly overboard and ruin his potions completely, he would still have some potion that was close to how it was meant to be.

Snape walked past him and was infuriated that his potion was still looking like a Polyjuice potion should and hadn’t reacted badly with the blood that was in it. So far he had seen Malfoy attempt to curse Potter around half a dozen times and none of them had worked. He assumed that it was due to a strong protective spell that the boy had wisely put around himself before the lesson and also blamed his current successes in Occlumency on this, despite the knowledge that the Legilimency spell couldn’t be affected by any spells of protection that one cared to cast on oneself. He had long since given up trying to break into his mind during that lesson, it was just too predictable and Harry was always watching him just to make sure that no hexes came from his direction.

“Five points from Gryffindor, Potter.” Snape barked suddenly. Harry looked up to him and wondered whether or not it was safe to ask why. He decided against it and looked back down to his cauldron which was simmering nicely. “Another five for being ignorant.” Snape said when Harry failed to ask him why. “Five more for being an insufferable moron.” Snape hissed at him when he failed to rise to his bait and stormed off across the room.

“Ah, I see Harry must be in potions.” Minerva said to Filius and Remus who were all sat in the staff room, enjoying an hour’s free time from their hectic teaching schedule.

They all glanced up at the small copies of the giant hourglasses, the originals of which were in the Great Hall. Gryffindor had just lost 15 house points in quick succession which meant Snape was in a very bad mood, or that Harry was being very irritating, or both as the case may be.

“I do hope that my lesson goes uninterrupted today.” Filius said, glancing at Remus who smiled apologetically in remembrance of the chaos he and three other members of staff had caused in his last lesson with the sixth years.

“I do apologise.” Remus said to him, “but it must be done.”

“I hate to admit it but it was very amusing to see Malfoy freeze his own head.” Filius chuckled. “Even if it was at the expense of a calm lesson.”

“You made Malfoy freeze his head and I missed it?” Minerva asked sounding quite disappointed.

“He also managed to set his hair on fire somehow.” Filius added, “Hence his lack of hair.”

“Nothing interesting happens in my lessons.” Minerva said as she idly transfigured various objects around the room.

“You say that but if anyone dared to cause havoc in your lessons then you’d have them all in detention for a week without a moments pause.” Remus said as he glanced over The Prophet which lay on the table, although there was nothing particularly interesting in the news.

“Merlin, I wonder what Harry did this time…” Filius said, looking to the left of him at the small hourglasses he saw that Gryffindor had just lost 50 house points.

“POTTER! GET BACK HERE NOW!”

Outside there was a light patter of footsteps which raced quickly past the room and then some louder ones, which presumably belonged to Snape. The staffroom door was flung open and inside marched Snape with Draco Malfoy and behind him Harry Potter who had been tied extremely tightly by Devil’s Snare and was now struggling to breathe. Malfoy was trying to hide a grin as he changed his expression from a sneer which he shot at Harry to a frightened, pained expression for Snape and the other staff which consisted only of the three who had been conversing previously. Harry was covered in some kind of dark green slime which occasionally shocked Snape.

“That boy has just attacked one of my students!” Severus said to Minerva who already doubted the reliability of the tale she was about to be told. “I ask that you discipline him accordingly since the taking of house points seems to have no effect on the boy.”

“Haven’t you put him in detention?” Minerva asked him calmly.

“And spend an evening with the brat?” Severus asked incredulously as he spoke of Harry as if he weren’t there. It reminded Remus of the way that the Dursley’s had often spoken about him in the past.

“What exactly happened?” Filius asked in the same calm manner which Minerva had used and which greatly irritated Snape.

“Draco was carefully making a Polyjuice potion when Potter decided to add a firework to it, hence his current state.” Snape spat as he pointed out the slime which covered Harry. Draco stood there next to him looking as small and frightened as he could. Harry looked at Remus who met his gaze and shook his head slightly. “I hope that you can some how discipline the boy, Minerva, he seems completely impervious to my attempts at being a disciplinarian to his spoiled self.” With that Snape turned and severed the rope from his wand, leaving Harry floating in midair, still tightly bound and covered in slime. Snape and Malfoy marched off down the corridor together back to the dungeons and Harry wondered whether or not Snape would tell Malfoy how to make his robes billow as his did.

Minerva sighed and rose from her seat and shut the door which Snape had so kindly left open for her. She waved her wand over Harry and the slime disappeared. She touched the plant tendrils that bound him and instantly they fell from him and he dropped a foot to the floor.

“So what’s your side of the story, Harry?” Remus asked him as he took a sip of his tea.

“Snape’s been putting things in my cauldron to try and stop my Polyjuice potion from working.” Harry said and the staff raised their eye brows. “Ok, I know it sounds farfetched but I’m not joking, come to the next lesson and see for yourselves!”

“Carry on.” Remus said quietly and Harry went on.

“Anyway, Malfoy’s been trying to curse me all lesson because of the wave yesterday.” Harry said and then wished he hadn’t.

“You conjured that?” Filius asked him, looking surprised. Harry cursed his stupidity and then told them that he had. They all smiled slightly. “Why was he only trying to curse you?”

“Because Hermione put a really strong protection charm on me before we went in.” Harry explained, “So last lesson Snape put an electric eel in my potion to try and stop it from working and Malfoy saw him so this lesson he’s been putting things in my cauldron as well—”

“What did he put in your potion this time?” Remus asked, interested in how he was trying to sabotage Harry’s potion.

“Erm… blood… a death threat… a little version of me with a noose round it’s neck and a chandelier.” Harry replied. “So I just took them out and tried not to get annoyed and retaliate because the last time I did that… well Snape’s still wearing the eye patch. Snape didn’t like that I wasn’t doing anything back so he took five house points for nothing and he just waited for me to ask why.”

“And did you?”

“No, because I thought he’d take more points if I did so when I didn’t answer he took five more because he said I was ignorant and then when I didn’t respond to that he took five more because he said I was an insufferable moron.” Harry said.

“Right… and then what?” Minerva asked him. “Did you put a firework in Malfoy’s cauldron?”

“Do you think I couldn’t think of anything more interesting and original to do to one of his potions than just put a firework in it?” Harry asked, slightly affronted and Remus grinned at him. “Anyway that wouldn’t explain why I’m the one who got covered in failed potion and not Malfoy. It was he who put the firework in mine.”

The teachers watched him carefully, trying to deduce whether or not he was telling them the truth.

“Do you really think I’d bother making all that up to get myself out of trouble?” Harry asked them, exasperatedly.

“What do you think?” Minerva asked the other two members of staff.

“I think he’s telling the truth.” Remus said as he watched Harry out of the corner of his eye.

“You would think that.” Minerva smiled.

“Actually if Remus knows Harry well then chances are that he can tell whether or not he’s lying better than we can.” Filius said. Harry leant back against the wall, listening to himself being discussed.

“True.” Minerva said and looked back to Harry who had been observing her calmly, waiting for their verdict. “Mr Potter, you may leave now. You will receive no punishment but I will not give back the house points you lost.”

“Leave to where?” Harry asked, “I’m not going back to potions.”

“Go up to the common room.” Remus told him, “Ron’s got a free period.” He informed him and Harry turned to leave. “Don’t go back to the dungeons to try and get revenge on Malfoy.” He added as he noticed Harry turned to go in the general direction of the dungeons as he reached the doorway. Harry sighed and submitted.

“Fine.” He scowled and turned the other way and walked up to the common room to find Ron. Minerva stared at Remus.

“Did he just listen to you?” She asked incredulously, “And do what you said??”

“I believe he just might have done.” Remus said with a slight smile at her disbelief that anyone could actually control Harry. He stayed for another half an hour of idle chatter with his colleagues until the lessons had all finished and so had most of their break. “I’ll see you later.” Remus said to Filius and Minerva as he got up and left the staffroom for his favourite lesson – the sixth years.

He walked into his classroom and looked for Mad Eye before remembering that today he had gone elsewhere on a job for the Order. For once Harry had made it to his lesson on time and was sat in the front row, next to Hermione and a couple of seats down from Malfoy. That was unusual – Malfoy never sat in the front row, generally he sat as close to the door at the back as he could, so as to be out as quickly as he could. Why he took the subject had been a complete mystery to most of the staff and a lot of the students as well and Remus and Mad Eye were just waiting for Malfoy to mess up so that they could throw him out of their lesson for good.

“Today we will be doing a blocking and reversing spell. The incantation for which is Protegium. It is very like Protego which you all know and can use.” Remus said once the last person had entered the room. Soon the lesson was underway but because there was only himself as the teacher, since Tonks had gone to be of assistance in Care of Magical Creatures, he was practicing the charm with two or three students at a time whilst the rest took notes.

Malfoy stood infront of him, lazily stood, waiting for Remus to hit him with a curse or jinx of some kind and behind him Harry stood, leant against the wall, waiting for his turn. He knew that Harry could easily do the spell but he had to run him through it just like everyone else. Remus send quite a violent Jelly-Leg jinx at Malfoy but instead of blocking it like he was meant to he sidestepped quickly and Harry blocked it and absorbed its power instantly to avoid wobbling around the room for the next twenty minutes. Malfoy raised his wand quickly and sent chains flying around Remus’ middle, tying his arms and his legs and causing him to fall to the floor. Harry instantly pointed his wand at Malfoy who looked at him and grinned as he disarmed Remus and his wand flew into his hand.

“This is for humiliating me the other day.” Malfoy said to Harry and pointed his wand squarely at Remus’ chest. “Crucio!” Malfoy cried and a beam of red light shot out of his wand.

Protegium” Harry said quickly and a blue streak flew into Malfoy’s curse and the red disappeared instantly. On the floor Remus smiled slightly before freezing the chains around him and breaking them easily with a shattering spell. He stood up and his wand flew from Malfoy’s hand back into his own. Malfoy and most of the class stared at him in amazement.

Petrificus Totalus.” Remus said quietly and Malfoy’s arms and legs snapped to his sides. He waved his wand and murmured something else and what looked like black thread tied him securely.

“What is that?” Harry asked and reached out to it but Remus pulled back his hand quickly.

“A very strong bond. Reacts badly to movement.” Remus replied shortly, “Whilst I go and discover whether or not that was enough to have Mr Malfoy expelled, Harry will teach the class.” Harry looked at him sharply and quite worriedly. The rest of the class looked fine with it since all of them had been in the D.A. during the last year and were all accustomed to his teaching methods. “Don’t worry. Just teach them to block and reverse jinxes.” Remus said to him quietly. “Oh, and Harry? Thanks for blocking that.” He added, out of hearing from the rest of the class. He always found it difficult to thank people, although he didn’t know why.

“It’s not like I needed to.” Harry said to him, still amazed at how strong he was.

“I couldn’t have blocked that.” Remus said to them as they both walked to the door. He turned and pointed his wand at Malfoy. “Mobilicorpus.” Malfoy flew across the room quickly and out the door, hitting his head on the door frame as he went.

“Before I forget…” Remus said, just before he was about to leave, “Your homework is to become fully able to block, reverse and absorb the power from various jinxes and curses using Protegium.” He turned and walked down the corridor, bashing Malfoy’s head on walls as he went. Harry shut the door behind him and the class turned to him and waited to see what he would do next.

“Everyone up.” Harry said, still quite worried about his teaching abilities with this particular spell. Everyone stood up on his command. He waved his hand to his right and every desk and chair in the room suddenly flew to that side of the room and piled up neatly, leaving a large space in the middle of the room. “Partner up.” Harry told them all and, as usual, Neville was left without a partner. “You can work with me then, Neville.” Harry said and smiled as encouragingly as he could.

“He’s a good teacher to say he’s only sixteen.” Alice said as she watched Harry demonstrate how to block using the charm. Frank nodded and watched their son successfully block the jelly-legs jinx, the spell that they were all using to practice with.

“Come on. Let’s go see whether or not that slimeball’s going to get expelled.” Lily said and grabbed hold of James’ hand and dragged him from the room as he stared back at his son who was cheerfully running through the correct blocking of the spell one more time for Lavender’s benefit. James finally tore his gaze from his son to watch where he was going as he was pulled down various flights of stairs and through many secret passageways which he didn’t know Lily knew about until they reached the gargoyles that guarded the entrance to Dumbledore’s office on the second floor. They ran past the gargoyles without being stopped and up the moving stair case until they reached the headmaster’s office.

“Ah Merlin, I’m getting too old for this!” James gasped as he leant back against the wall and stared in wonder at his wife who didn’t appear in the least bit tired from their race around the school. He looked around the room and wasn’t particularly surprised by the scene that met him.


Dumbledore sat behind his desk, observing Malfoy who sat in the chair opposite him, but now he had been frozen solid to discuss the matter with his other colleagues. By the sides of the desk stood Minerva, Remus and Severus, none of whom looked pleased.

“How can we afford to keep him in the school?!” Minerva almost shouted, “He just attacked a teacher!”

“With an Unforgivable curse, no less.” Remus added.

“But his father is a Death Eater and expelling his son could have grave repercussions on Severus.” Dumbledore said quietly.

“If he’s willing to use that curse on Remus then what’s to stop him using it on Harry?” Minerva asked and then got quite annoyed with herself for using the boy’s first name infront of Severus, who noted it and raised an eyebrow slightly.

“He could easily have done,” Remus said quietly, “He tried to curse me because Harry humiliated him the other day.”

“I knew that wave was Potter’s doing!” Snape said and the other staff all knew that Snape was already plotting revenge against Harry. Minerva rolled her eyes. “But that he chose to curse you as revenge against Potter isn’t a good sign.”

“It most certainly isn’t.” Dumbledore said thoughtfully.

“The fact is that he is a danger!” She said, “He should go to Azkaban for trying to torture a teacher, and with his father as a known Death Eater he should do!”

“Why bother? Half the dementors in the place have already left.” Snape said to her. “Anyway, I seem to recall your giving Potter another chance when you almost expelled him in his second year, and after all the trouble he caused afterwards he’s still here!”

“Yes but there is a slight difference there.” Minerva said calmly, “And that is that Ron drove a flying car into the Whomping Willow with Harry inside and then redeemed himself slightly by saving the life of Ginny Weasley and preventing Voldemort from coming back to power.”

“And he did a very good job of that.” Snape said coolly.

“He’s a sixteen year old!” Remus almost shouted at him, “Why should he be the one to keep Voldemort from power?!”

“Because it is his fate to do so.” Dumbledore said quietly.

“I pity the world, with its existence in the sorry hands of Potter.” Snape said coldly, intentionally trying to wind Remus up.

“He managed to keep Voldemort from power on two occasions.” Remus said to him, “That’s better than you could have done.”

“Potter would be dead if it weren’t for me!” Snape said.

“And you would be dead if it weren’t for him.” Remus retaliated.

“Quiet.” Dumbledore said to them and they both shut up instantly. “Unfortunately we will have to keep Mr Malfoy in school for the moment.” Minerva and Remus stared at him in horror.

“How can you do this, Albus?!” Minerva cried, “He’ll be aiming the Killing Curse at people next!”

“We must allow him to stay, for the safety of Severus and the fact that Mr Malfoy is known to boast widely about his family and their actions. Any activity on his part in the Death Eaters will get around easily from him.” Dumbledore said. He looked at the three teachers before him, none of whom looked happy with the arrangements; even Severus didn’t look too pleased. “Minerva, if you would please thaw out Mr Malfoy.”

Minerva dutifully complied and pointed her wand at Malfoy, and a fire encompassed his frozen self completely. Her colleagues raised an eyebrow at her fury with the boy and hoped that she wouldn’t allow him to be burnt to death. She didn’t and she broke off the spell when Malfoy shouted out in shock at being part of an inferno.

“You are on your very last chance, Mr Malfoy.” Dumbledore said to him sternly. “If you dare to raise your wand against a member of the staff again you will regret it most severely. As it is you have lost 200 house points for Slytherin and will be spending your evenings on the next two weeks in detention with Mr Filch. You will no longer be permitted in Defence Against the Dark Arts. Now remove yourself from my office.” Malfoy scowled at all the teachers but Snape and marched out of the room and down the stairs.

“Who did you leave teaching your lesson, Remus?” Dumbledore asked him suddenly.

“Harry.” Remus replied and Snape stared at him.

“You left that cretin teaching NEWT level Defence Against the Dark Arts?!” Snape said in disbelief.

“I think it was an excellent choice.” Dumbledore said. Minerva said nothing on the subject, although she too felt that Harry had been a good choice as a substitute teacher. “I suggest you all get back to your lessons.” And with that their meeting ended and the three teachers turned from the headmaster and left his office.

Remus walked quickly back up to his lesson to witness the last ten minutes of Harry’s teaching. He tapped himself sharply on the head before entering through a small entrance which would lead to the back of the room. He looked round with a smile on his face. The desks and chairs had all been cleared to one side to leave one large open space in which all the students had been paired up and were blocking, reversing and occasionally absorbing the power from the Jelly-Legs jinx that their partner sent at them. Harry was on the far side of the room, helping Hannah and Ernie whilst Neville worked in a three with Hermione and Ron, who shot a quick freezing spell at Hermione in his irritation with her.

“Ron!” Harry scowled at him, as he appeared from the other side of the room, “How many times do I have to tell you? Jelly-Legs jinx only!” Ron rolled his eyes and grinned at his friend.

“You’ll have us calling you professor next.” Ron grinned and Harry pulled a face.

“Yeah, right!” Harry said and after helping Ron absorb the power from the jinx Hermione sent at him and then reverse it quickly, he went back to the other side of the room where Terry Boot was wobbling round the room due to a poor block against Dean’s jinx.

Remus smiled as he watched Harry helping everyone who needed it and the time flew by and soon the bell went for the end of the lesson and the beginning of their dinner but they didn’t seem to want to go.

“Come on! Go to dinner!” Harry said to them exasperatedly after five minutes extra and everyone dutifully complied and grabbed their bags from wherever they had left them scattered around the room and left the room. Harry was the last one in the room and summoned his bag to him and walked to the door. He waved his wand and all the tables and chairs flew back to their original positions in the room before turning off the lights and leaving to go to dinner himself.


Chapter 29: Twenty-Nine
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Twenty Nine

“I can’t believe he’s not going to be expelled for this!” Harry said in disbelief to Ron and Dean as they walked quickly down to the entrance hall, wearing their Quidditch robes and carrying their brooms, “He tried to torture Remus!”

“I know, mate.” Ron said to him, “We were there.”

Harry glanced around at the people stood in the entrance hall waiting for them. There were four other people in red, seven in blue and seven in yellow. Harry grinned when he saw everyone. They had arranged between the three houses to have a small tournament between them as practice.

Cho and Justin Finch-Fletchley came to meet him as the heads of the two other Quidditch teams. They had already sorted out earlier on in the day how things would work and everyone was eager to get playing. Harry had had the idea after hearing Cho complaining to one of the chasers that they couldn’t get any actual training against the other teams before their first match.

“First match will be Gryffindor against Hufflepuff.” Cho said and the Ravenclaws all flew up on their brooms on the pitch and stayed around the edges to what the game.

“We need a referee.” Ginny said. “Do you want me to go get Madam Hooch?” Justin nodded to her and she flew back to the main doors of the school and ran to the staff room to request the presence of Madam Hooch. She returned a few minutes later with the woman and a few other students that had wanted to see the match on the way, mostly Hufflepuffs.

“I wonder what all that was about.” Filius said as Ginny dragged Madam Hooch out of the room.

“Potter’s arranged a few friendly games with Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.” Snape said coldly. “Needless to say he was too intimidated by Slytherin to ask them to join.”

Soon most of the staff in the room had left and were walking down to the pitch and the crowds began to grow when Filius, Remus, Minerva, Pomona Sprout and Hagrid all sat up in the stands watching the match with a growing number of students.

“And Justin almost got hit by a rogue bludger!” Anthony Goldstein shouted over the crowds. Hermione had put the Sonorous spell on his throat and he was commentating the match that was going on between the Hufflepuff and Gryffindor. It seemed a lot more laidback than when they were in a real match and whether that was because there weren’t half as many people in the stands, the knowledge that this wasn’t for the Quidditch cup or just the fact that everyone was simply having fun, they didn’t know. Everyone was laughing when Ron almost fell off his broom and Luke had to fly over and drag him back up onto it. This kind of match was what Harry liked, not really flying to win, just to have some fun instead. The beaters weren’t really hitting to hit anyone, just deflect the bludgers from their own players. “Harry and Justin going into an amazing dive for the Snitch!” Everyone stood up to watch as Justin and Harry collided into one another and ended up sprawled on the floor laughing.

“Come on, Harry!” Magadi shouted down at him, “Get up before I have to go catch the Snitch!”

Harry leapt back onto his broom and was up in the air in an instant. The Snitch was glistening across the pitch and he flew after it and caught it easily and everyone cheered, even the Hufflepuffs.

“Great game, Harry.” Justin said when they touched back down on the ground.

“Next match is Gryffindor against Ravenclaw.” Anthony announced and the Gryffindors groaned and flew back up into the air. Cho was a lot more difficult to play against than Justin had been and it took a lot of feints and dodging to finally catch the Snitch before her but he managed.

“That’s two games won by Gryffindor and none by anyone else!” Anthony laughed. Harry flew up high around the outside of the pitch and watched the Hufflepuffs score against the Ravenclaw Keeper.

“Oh come on!” Filius shouted when the Keeper let in another goal. At the top of the pitch the three Seekers were all flying about, laughing and chatting, trying to see the Snitch but none of them could find it. From the bottom of the pitch there was a pale blue light and it hit all three Seekers, freezing them all in the positions they were in. Everyone gasped as they began to fall and there was nothing anyone could do about it. The teachers leapt to their feet and everyone on a broomstick tried to get to the Seekers in time to stop at least one of them from hitting the ground, but it was no use. The three of them fell faster and faster to the ground, despite everyone’s attempts to stop them or catch them and Cho, Justin and Harry crashed into the floor. From somewhere near by there was hysterical laughter and a group of people were seen sprinting back to the castle.

The teachers were the first to arrive on the scene by levitating themselves down from the towers quickly to the casualties. Next came Mad Eye, Snape and Dumbledore from the castle as worried students milled around the area.

The freezing charms had broken before they reached the ground and all three of them were shivering. Cho had clearly broken both her arms and by the looks of it she had also broken her collarbone. Justin had the misfortune to land facedown and when turned over it was clear that he had broken his nose. He had also broken two ribs and one of his wrists. Harry groaned slightly as he was levitated onto a stretcher by Minerva, he had broken both his legs badly and broken his left wrist. All of them had cuts and bruises on them from the impact on the hard floor, which was much more solid than normal due to the lack of rain for some time.

“Go back to your leisurely activities.” Dumbledore said quietly, “There will be no visitors in the hospital wing who are not staff tonight.” All the students murmured a protest but they gave up, they just didn’t have the spirit in them after seeing their team captains crash into the ground.

All the teachers walked up to the school with the heads of houses levitating their students to the hospital wing. Remus walked along with them, anxious for Harry, the rest of the teachers also followed the heads of houses to see what the outcome of all this would be.

“Oh dear lord!” Madam Pomfrey cried as she saw the three people carried in on stretchers. She ran her eye over them all. “What on earth happened?!”

“Someone froze them in midair and they fell around sixty feet.” Pomona informed her. “But they should be dead if they fell that far.”

“Yes but half the students were casting protective spells at them as they fell.” Minerva said. Harry moaned slightly from his stretcher and tried to move.

“I’ll get these three into a bed.” Madam Pomfrey said and took the stretchers over to three beds at the end of the ward. The teachers all stood where they were in the entrance to the room and glanced around without speaking. There was no one else who had to stay in the hospital wing except for the three that had just been brought in.

Within a few minutes Harry, Cho and Justin were all in beds at the end of the room and the teachers walked down to talk to Madam Pomfrey and discover their condition.

“I need them to be conscious before I can conduct a full medical on them.” Poppy informed them. “Do you know who it was who froze them?”

“I have a fairly good idea.” Remus said coldly and cast his gaze over Harry who he realised was watching him. He wasn’t aware that any of the three were currently conscious and yet there they all were, watching and listening to the teacher’s verdict. He contemplated informing Poppy that they were awake, since they must all be in considerable pain and yet he let them listen, knowing that it was the only way they could find out what would happen about this. It was their right to know and they could easily make enough noise to show they were awake themselves.

“Malfoy, of course.” Tonks said with anger in her voice.

“But we have no proof of that!” Minerva said. “We can’t just expel him because we think that he might have cursed three people off their brooms.”

“O’ course it wa him!” Hagrid said, “He’s ‘ad a grudge agains’ Harry since before they even got t’ Hogwarts!”

“And he tried to put the Cruciatus curse on Remus earlier on as revenge against him.” Mad Eye said.

“Yes, but he was almost expelled for that!” Snape said, “I doubt even by his standards of stupidity that he would attempt to kill Potter in the same day.”

“Perhaps he wants to be expelled.” Filius suggested.

“Ridiculous, why would he want to be expelled?” Pomona asked.

“So that he can go join his father with the Death Eaters.” Moody growled.

“I don’t doubt that.” Tonks agreed with him.

“Then we must keep him in the school.” Filius said.

“But we don’t know that’s his intention!” Minerva said, “If it’s not and he’s stupid enough to try two acts of vengeance against Harry in the same day then he needs to be expelled!” She had called him by his first name again and she cursed herself inwardly for it.

“Silence.” Dumbledore said, “No one is aware of whether or not Mr Malfoy was the one to cast that curse. If it was not then you will be expelling him for nothing.”

“Then we’ll feed him Veritaserum.” Snape said.

“You can’t,” Remus said quietly, “If you do that it will look like he’s a suspect.”

“Then I’ll do it in potions tomorrow and tell him that he’s testing his own Polyjuice potion,” Snape said.

“No.” Dumbledore said. “There will be no Veritaserum fed to Mr Malfoy. He will stay in this school until conclusive evidence has been formed against him.”

“Veritaserum is conclusive proof!” Snape almost shouted.

“But this week three of our teachers have been putting the Imperious curse on the Defence Against the Dark Arts class that he belongs to. He could easily argue that he was under the curse at the time.” Dumbledore said.

“But he wasn’t!” Remus, Tonks and Mad Eye said as one.

“There is no proof of that.” Dumbledore said calmly.

“You would do well to remember that three students are in agony because of his actions!” Minerva said. “And he could easily have hit Remus with the Cruciatus curse earlier.” All the teachers looked to Harry, Justin and Cho who quickly shut their eyes, but not quickly enough and they were all seen to be awake and listening to the argument.

“Mr Malfoy will stay in this school until he has been proven guilty of another incident worthy of expulsion.” Dumbledore repeated. “I bid you all a good evening.” Dumbledore walked out of the hospital wing followed by Mad Eye and then by Severus. The rest of the teachers seemed quite loath to leave the three students that had pain written all over their faces.

“You should have said something you foolish children!” Poppy said to them when the headmaster had gone. She went to Cho first and quickly mended her arms as best she could and then put a variety of healing spells on her collarbone, which she was told would take a few days to heal properly. She moved on to Justin and she stopped the blood from flowing down his face in an instant. She rolled him carefully onto his side and pressed her hands to his ribs and murmured a healing spell which she said wouldn’t start to work until dawn and then mended his wrist quickly afterwards.

She moved onto Harry and mended his wrist before looking down at his legs which bent in all variety of ways under the pyjamas that had been charmed on him a few minutes earlier by Poppy. She turned and walked away to her desk and then returned with a bottle which Harry recognised only too well.

“No… Not Skele-Gro.” Harry groaned.

“It’s the fastest way, unless you want to be limping around the school for the next two weeks. Your legs have broken in seven separate places; it’s easier to grow new ones.” She informed him.

“And a hell of a lot more painful.” Harry scowled but he didn’t stop her when she vanished all the bones from his legs. Most of the staff pulled a face at seeing his legs suddenly become rather more flat than they had been a moment before. Harry reached out and unhappily took the goblet that was being offered to him. He observed it unhappily and then drank it down as quickly as he could. He spluttered as the awful potion burned his throat and lay down unhappily in the pillows behind him.

“You’re in for a rough night, Mr Potter.” Poppy said to him and returned the Skele-Gro to its previous location. “Unless any of you wish to stay the night then if you would be kind enough to allow my patients to rest now.” She said to the group of staff by the door. All the heads of houses volunteered to stay with their Quidditch Captain but under the request of Remus, Minerva allowed him to stay instead.

“You’re not getting revenge, Harry!” Remus said for what must have been the second time in twenty seconds. “There’s no proof that Malfoy did it.”

“Yeah, but you think that he did.” Harry said, “And he tried to torture you, Remus!” Remus rolled his eyes slightly, he knew that Malfoy had most likely done it and he wanted nothing more than to see Harry get revenge on him in a variety of ways, as he knew that he would most likely do but for the sake of being a halfway decent teacher he denied him the opportunity. The other staff and students listened with interest to their conversation, it was well known that Remus was Harry’s guardian now and it just seemed quite odd to the students that Harry was looked after by a teacher. At least it was a cool teacher though.

“I don’t care what he tried to do!” Remus said, “Anyway, what are you going to do? Hobble after him?”

“You can hit him with crutches!” Justin said.

“Or throw Skele-Gro on him.” Cho suggested.

“There will be no revenge taken against Mr Malfoy!” Pomona said.

“Whether you let me or not, I’m going to get revenge.” Harry said to Remus.

“Fine, but I told you not to, remember that.” Remus said, giving up what was a hopeless battle, “Now for Merlin’s sake try to get some sleep!” Harry smiled and closed his eyes and drifted into an uneasy sleep.

Harry awoke some six or seven hours later in agony. He gasped as the splintering pain he felt in both his legs. He closed his eyes tightly and tried to bite back an urge to cry out. A moment later he felt someone’s hand tightly in his own and he heard Remus to the side of him.

“It’s okay Harry, it’ll be over soon.” He murmured to the small boy who squeezed his hand tightly. Remus reached out and carefully brushed his hair from his eyes and Harry smiled slightly.

“Thanks.” Harry said quietly and fixed his pained eyes on Remus who smiled sadly at him. Another wave of pain washed over him and he clenched his teeth to try and prevent himself from waking the other occupants of the hospital. Soon the pain began to die down a little and Harry drifted back into sleep, his hand still in Remus’.


***


Malfoy smirked to himself as he walked into the Great Hall the next morning and glanced over at the Gryffindor table, knowing that Potter wouldn’t be there, after all he had broken both his legs in a tragic accident during Quidditch practice from a freezing curse sent from an unidentified assailant. How he hadn’t got expelled for that he really didn’t know. He sat down at the Slytherin table, all of whom were in unusually good spirits today and he knew that seeing the team captains and Seekers of all the other houses injure themselves probably had something to do with it.

The room went deathly quiet suddenly as a large group of people entered the room and irritatingly enough at the front of it were the three team captains.

“What?” Malfoy said in disbelief to Pansy Parkinson, “I broke both his damned legs and here he is, walking about the school as if he owns the damned place!”

Harry hadn’t intended to go to breakfast the next day, and yet there he was, entering the Great Hall. He had woken at around seven that morning with his hand still tightly clasped in Remus’ and after carefully removing his hand without waking his guardian, he had spent the next hour trying to rehabilitate his legs so that he could walk again. When it got to eight o’clock Remus awoke to see Harry walking around the room and charmed him straight back into bed, where he rested for another half an hour until Ron and Hermione came running through the double doors into the hospital wing and managed to convince Remus to allow him to join them at breakfast. Harry had risen from his bed and exercised his legs some more for a while until he left with Ron, Hermione, Cho, Justin, Remus, Pomona and Filius for breakfast. He had done well with his legs in such a short time; he could walk small distances of around fifty metres and sometimes manage a flight of stairs. Due to the fact that the hospital wing was up three flights of stairs from the Great Hall and quite a long walk between, Harry had taken to levitating himself down most of the place, only walking from the bottom of the main staircase into the Great Hall.

During their walk down three flights of stairs, four corridors, a number of passageways in between and passing through the entrance hall, they had managed to reach a number of somewhere close to thirty, since most of the D.A. had stopped along their walk to wait for them and as well as them there were the three Quidditch teams and a few stray people from their houses along the way.

“Malfoy is going to pay for this.” Ron was muttering under his breath angrily as their large group entered the hall to stares from everyone else in the hall and soon everyone was seated at their respective tables.

“Care for a little Defence Against the Dark Arts?” Tonks asked Minerva, Filius, Remus and Mad Eye as she came to join them at their end of the staff table. She smiled menacingly and glanced over at the Slytherin table who, by the looks of things, were plotting against the Gryffindors.

“Yes, and do you know who I think needs a little more practice with the Imperious curse…?” Remus asked the group of people around him, all of whom smiled that same awful smile of Tonks.

“I really don’t!” Filius said, “Do tell us.”

“Why, Mr Malfoy of course.” Mad Eye growled and pointed his wand in the direction of the Slytherin table, “Not to mention some other people at that table.”

There was a collective murmur of “Imperio.” from the staff table and none of the students in the room were any the wiser for it for some time.

“My robes!” Malfoy shrieked suddenly, “They’re shrinking!”

Over at the Gryffindor table Ron buried his head in his hands and groaned. He was never going to live that down, he may as well emigrate to another country now… There was a lot of murmuring going on around the room and suddenly at the Ravenclaw table Padma Patil and Lisa Turpin burst into laughter and everyone looked to see what was so funny.

For Malfoy, the unfortunate truth was that for once his robes really were shrinking and there didn’t seem to be anything he could do about it. Snape marched over to him quickly once he saw what was going on to attempt to put matters right but after many failed attempts at causing the spell to reverse he gave up and ordered Malfoy to leave the room, but he could no longer move due to the tightness of his robes.

“Cause a distraction or something!” Malfoy hissed at Pansy who sat next to him.

“I’ll give you a distraction.” Moody muttered and pointed his wand as Pansy and Millicent. Dance. He thought and in an instant Pansy and Millicent leapt to their feet and began to waltz around the room. Their faces were filled with panic as they began to screech and attempt to pull away from one another but the more they struggled, the faster they waltzed. Everyone was laughing by this point but the attention soon left the two dancers when there was a loud ripping which went through the hall and Malfoy realised that his robes had shrunk away to nothing and he sat naked at the Slytherin table.

Tell me this isn’t real… He thought desperately as he tried to think of something that he could do to get out of this situation. After almost a minute of laughter at the naked boy, Remus decided that was enough and he pointed his wand at him and waved it so that some form of clothing would cover him. There was more laughter which was becoming more hysterical by the minute when the effects of Remus’ spell kicked in.

“Oops. Wrong spell…” Remus said mischievously as he looked over at the Slytherin table and against all the black of the many robed students, there was one bright pink boy in the middle and you only get three guesses as to who it was.

Draco Malfoy had been relieved to know that he was no longer wearing nothing, although now in his opinion he was wearing worse than nothing: a bright pink tutu, white tights and ballet shoes. He was actually wearing the most hideous costume of a female, muggle dancer!! It was taking all his self control not to burst into tears and he leapt up instantly and made a run for the door to the dungeons but he fell over the blocks in the toes of his atrocious pink shoes.

“You’re not going anywhere yet.” Tonks muttered and held her wand pointed at Malfoy, who recovered from his brief slip by gracefully leaping into the air and pirouetting before he touched the ground and went on to leap around the room around Pansy and Millicent. Crabbe, Goyle, Theodore Nott, Blaize Zabini and Marcus Flint all leapt jumped up from their seats and gave a gruff version of ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’.

Everyone was struggling to breathe either from laughter at the Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Staff tables or from sheer panic at the Slytherin table by the time that their song was almost finished. Pansy and Millicent joined in with the last chorus before finishing their waltz but it was Malfoy who had the grandest finish of all and as their song ended he pirouetted once more and flung himself into the arms of Severus Snape, who stood horrified against the wall at seeing the humiliation of his house. Malfoy grabbed his head and pulled him into a kiss, which Snape shared, still in a state of horror before blowing the boy across the room with an incredibly powerful spell which sent him half screaming, half singing his own chorus of ‘The Wheels On The Bus…’ straight through a stained glass window in the hall before Snape stormed out of the room.

“Ah, music and dancing, a treasure to be sure.” Dumbledore said quietly, rising to his feet. “Now to your lessons everyone.”

With tears of laughter still streaming down his cheeks, Ron managed to heave himself up from the floor and, with the support of Dean who was in a similar state, managed to stagger off out of the room to Transfiguration. Hermione and Neville walked along after them with Harry levitating himself an inch from the floor behind them.

“I think they may have learned a valuable lesson in Defence Against the Dark Arts today.” Tonks said, as she rose to leave.

“Do you?” Minerva asked, traces of laughter still evident in her face.

“Nah, not really. Good fun though, wasn’t it?” Tonks grinned and walked off to charms with Filius.



Chapter Thirty!

It was Friday which meant that after an interesting breakfast, Harry would be making his way to Transfiguration, then Potions, Charms and Defence Against the Dark Arts. Ron was still laughing when they reached Professor McGonagall’s room and when they sat down inside Hermione was trying to get him to breathe deeply and be calm. It was working until Malfoy entered the room when he burst out into hysterical laughter once more. Harry was surprised Malfoy had the courage to show his face in public after his dancing and rendezvous with Snape.

Today they were transfiguring their chairs into small tables. It was their first instance with working with larger objects and Malfoy had chosen a seat unsettlingly behind Harry.

“Think you’re so great, don’t you Potter.” Malfoy hissed from behind him, “just because you can use the Imperious curse, well there are other Unforgivable curses, Potter… don’t you forget it.”

Harry was going to retort that he had never used an Unforgivable curse on him in his life, but there was no point. Instead he transfigured his chair into a small table and then quickly put an anti-magic spell on Malfoy’s chair, which left him trying in vain to change his chair in the slightest for the rest of the lesson.

Malfoy, getting irritated very quickly with his lack of success in transfiguration and Potter’s incessant transfiguring of the furniture around the room just to annoy him, decided that he was going to transfigure Potter into something, preferably a nasty something. He raised his wand against the turned back of Potter and aimed a curse to turn him into a bat, getting ready to shout “VAMPIRE!” at the top of his lungs. He shot the spell at him but to his surprise it went straight through him and hit Professor McGonagall who instantly turned into a bat behind her desk. Malfoy realised that he had been tricked and infront of him was only a hologram of Potter, as the real version of him quickly removed the hologram and pointed his wand at Malfoy.

“Are you alright, Professor?” Harry asked Professor McGonagall after transfiguring her back to her natural state.

“Yes, I’m fine. Thank you, Potter.” She replied and looked at him oddly, “Where on earth did you get that monkey?”

“I don’t know, Professor.” Harry replied as innocently as he could, “It just appeared in the classroom.”

“Dispose of it then.” Professor McGonagall said, noting the laughter in the boy’s eyes and couldn’t resist the urge to smile back.

“Of course, Professor.” Harry said, pleased that his professor had taken the fact that he had just transfigured Malfoy into a red and gold striped monkey with a little flag that said ‘GRYFFINDOR FOREVER’ in it’s paw so well. He walked down the middle of the room with most of the class laughing and realising who the monkey was as he literally threw him out of the door and shut it behind him. Harry smiled and sat back down where he began to transfigure his desk and everything on it into various objects. By the end of the lesson Harry was sat in a comfy chair whilst a small version of Ron flew about on a miniscule firebolt infront of him.

“Excellent work!” Professor McGonagall said and the class wondered for some time whether or not she was getting nicer. That was before she gave them a six foot long essay about transfiguring large objects. Ron stared down at the miniature version of himself that had been a desk not fifteen minutes earlier.

“You know there’s a series of charms that can make tiny people like that.” Hermione told Harry as she turned Ron back into a desk, “If you get something that belongs to the person you want in a tiny form and then do all the charms then you get a little version of them and they’re just like them as well. I sent Viktor one of me.” Ron looked disgusted.

“Come on, it’s potions now.” Harry said to Hermione, trying to stop her from irritating Ron as much as possible in a short space of time.

“See you later, Ron.” Hermione said to him before they both walked away down to the dungeons. “I wonder what Snape will say when he realises that Malfoy isn’t there.”

“I bet he blames me.” Harry said, “What if he blames me for making Malfoy kiss him?!” He asked suddenly.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Harry.” Hermione said to him as they reached the dungeons, “No one could be that irrational, he must know it was the teachers.”

Harry knew with a terrible certainty that he was in for a horrible lesson, after all Snape was as irrational as they came. He walked into Snape’s classroom and tried to sit down at the back of the room but that lasted no longer than a few seconds; the moment Snape saw him he moved him straight to the front of the classroom. Luckily Harry and Hermione had anticipated this and Snape had had no choice but to sit them both together if he was to have Harry at the front of the room.

“No Mr Malfoy today?” Snape asked the room in a dangerous voice. No one answered, but then even if they had Snape would have most likely given them detention. “Very well.” He stared at Harry for some time and looked very suspicious of his involvement in the lesson’s lack of Malfoy.

“Today we will be finishing the Polyjuice potion. I am aware that it has not been one month in which it has taken to be brewed but that is due to our making a simplified version of it.” Snape said to them all, “You will firstly finish adding all your ingredients, then leave your potions to simmer for seven minutes and then take it off the fire. You will then bottle the finished potion and leave a vial on my desk. At the end of the lesson you will all test your Polyjuice potion.” Harry tried not to groan; he knew that during the time his potion was bottled on Snape’s desk it would have some awful ingredient added to it that would change him into a warthog or something like that. He finished his potion off quickly and bottled it as instructed. Without Snape noticing, he duplicated the potion and sent a version of it to his dorm; he then duplicated it again and hid one in his robes, whilst handing the other to Snape who looked at it critically before marching off with it.

Harry sat down behind his desk and began to make notes on the correct brewing of the Polyjuice potion whilst Snape marked the potions behind his desk. There was silence in the room and everyone stopped suddenly when they could hear a scratching at the door. Snape raised an eyebrow and marched over to the area of the offending noise. He swung the door open and a gold and red monkey leapt inside and went for Harry’s face. Snape smirked when he saw the animal try and gauge out the boy’s eyes with the flag that was stuck in his hand before realising who the monkey must be. Harry blasted the monkey across the room where it went flying through the wall and Snape grabbed hold of the back of Harry’s robes, and dragged him out of the room, shouting at him all the way.

“100 POINTS FROM GRYFFINDOR AND IF YOU EVER TRANSFIGURE A SLYTHERIN AGAIN YOU WILL MOST SEVERELY REGRET IT!!” Snape screamed at the top of his voice as he shoved Harry into the staffroom for the second time that week. It seemed to be the easiest way of getting him out of his lessons. In the staff room Filius, Tonks, Minerva and Remus looked at him astonished as Harry stumbled into the room, followed by Snape who held a golden and red monkey in his arm. Minerva saw this and burst out laughing.

“I wouldn’t have thought you would be so keen to be near Mr Malfoy again after this morning.” She smiled and the monkey hissed at her. Snape glared at her and put Malfoy on the floor before transfiguring him back to his usual, sneering self. To his horror his robes were still red and gold and his hair was a bright red.

“Nice hair.” Tonks grinned at the boy whose hair colour currently matched her own. Malfoy made to say something to her but stopped when he realised that the ‘GRYFFINDOR FOREVER’ flag was still stuck in his hand. He tried desperately to get it off but as it was in his wand hand he couldn’t so much as attempt to curse it away.

“Get it off his hand, now!” Snape shouted at Harry who tried not to laugh and failed.

“I don’t know how, sir!” Harry laughed.

“What do you mean ‘you don’t know how’?!” Snape shouted, “100 points from Gryffindor!”

Malfoy shrieked and tried to get the flag off his hand and failed. Snape glared at Harry and took a threatening step forwards and Harry took one backwards. He threw a few pieces of parchment down on the coffee table and ordered the boy to write an essay on the Polyjuice potion that was six pages long by the end of the lesson, or else. He turned to leave and then an idea hit him, from his robes he took the small flask of Polyjuice potion that Harry had made earlier and plucked a hair from Remus’ hair and dropped it into the potion, which turned a bright red in colour instantly.

“I’m not drinking that.” Harry said.

“And why not?” Snape asked him in a dangerously quiet voice. “Do you doubt your potion making abilities?”

No, I don’t want to drink something that probably has electric eel in it. he thought. “No, Sir. I doubt that my potion is un-tampered with.” He said.

“Do you possibly suggest, Potter, that I have sabotaged your potion?” Snape said to him, now barely above a whisper but everyone heard his words, “I assure you I would have no need, after all, you are an incredibly poor potions maker. Now drink it.”

“I would sir, but I don’t want to stretch my robes. I’m quite a lot smaller than Professor Lupin.” Harry said.

“I’m sure that problem can be sorted.” Snape said, a malicious smile curving his lips. He raised his wand and pointed it squarely at Harry’s chest. “Evanesco!”

Protegium!” Harry said at the same time and the spell was absorbed into the shield and Harry allowed it to bounce back at Snape, who moved just in time and the spell hit Malfoy.

“MY ROBES!” He screamed at the top of his voice when he realised that for the second time in one day his robes had vanished and he was utterly naked infront of the teaching staff. Harry collapsed with laughter on the floor and so did most of the teachers in fact.

“100 points from Gryffindor!” Snape shouted at him as he took yet more points from the house, “I WANT THAT ESSAY DONE AND I WANT THAT POTION DRUNK! IF I COME BACK AND THERE ISN’T A LONG ESSAY AND TWO LUPINS IN THIS ROOM THEN YOU ARE IN DETENTION FOR A MONTH!” With that Snape turned and marched out of the room, quickly followed by Malfoy.

“Care to learn an interesting spell, Harry?” Remus asked him. Harry grinned and agreed, wondering what the spell could be for. “Observe.”

He walked quickly to the door and Harry followed him. He pointed his wand steadily at Malfoy and a wolfish grin touched his tired features. “Praeconor Sonorus All hail Draco Malfoy in all his glory!” Remus said, without laughing somehow. A moment later a loud booming voice echoed his message throughout the school and running through the school as fast as he could; Draco Malfoy tried his best not to burst into tears. In the staffroom the teachers sniggered.

“Three hundred and fifty house points to Gryffindor for a good laugh.” Minerva said to Harry who knelt down infront of the coffee table on which the parchment and his quill lay.

They all glanced up to the miniature hourglasses on the wall and noticed that Gryffindor flew back into the lead they had over Slytherin. From his pocket Harry took another vial of Polyjuice potion and pulled out a hair from Remus’ head, something he was not pleased about, and put it into the potion. This time it went a slightly darker red. Harry examined the two and knew which one he was going to drink. He put Snape’s potion aside and glanced unhappily at his own.

“Are those dentures?!” Filius asked in disbelief when he noticed something in the bottom of Snape’s potion.

“Probably.” Harry smiled. He touched his robes with his wand and made them get bigger. Harry groaned and reached out to the potion and drank it all down as quickly as he could. He gasped as the potion began to take effect and after a moment of pain and discomfort he had taken on the appearance of Remus. He shrank his robes down to a size that fit his current self and noticed that the teachers all stared at him.

“What?” He asked.

“Nothing.” Minerva said and went back to glancing over her lesson plans for that week. Harry rose from his feet and looked in the mirror that stood at the end of the room, just to check that the potion had worked. It was weird looking into the mirror and seeing his guardian there and then looking back at the sofa where his guardian was also.

“There’s Veritaserum in this.” Tonks said, after she had finished examining the potion. The teachers were mostly shocked although Harry wasn’t particularly surprised.

“I’m so shocked.” Harry muttered. A smiled touched his face, he could have some fun like this. He moved to the door but Remus had already comprehended what he was going to do and blocked the doorway.

“There is no way in hell I am letting you out of here as myself.” Remus said to Harry as he tried to get past him. He eventually gave up and sat down again.

“Do you feel different then?” Filius asked him.

“Nah, I feel the same, just look different.” Harry said.

“Do try not to sound so common, Harry.” Remus said to him, earning him a scowl from the boy who resembled himself. Harry touched his quill with his wand and murmured an incantation. Immediately after the quill went to the parchment and began to write. The quill wrote very quickly as Harry thought up what he wanted to say about the Polyjuice potion and in less than ten minutes he had the full six pages written, although he was fully aware that he had repeated a lot of it. He took the charm off the quill and Snape walked into the room. Harry noticed that he already had his trademark sneer plastered on his face and he had thought he would get the better of him.

Harry rose to his feet and handed his essay to the now fuming Potions master who glanced first at Harry, then at Remus and then at Harry again. He snatched the parchment from him and stormed out of the room. Harry moved quickly to the door and Remus didn’t get there quickly enough to stop him from following Snape. A moment later everyone on the bottom three floors of the school and anyone underneath could hear a loud booming voice shout “Oh yea! Oh yea! All hail Snivellus Snape in all his fury.” This was intermingled with the loud ringing of a bell. Harry was dragged back a moment later by Remus who told him that he was going to stay in the staffroom until the potion wore off.

“And you shouldn’t have called him Snivellus; he’ll think it was me.” Remus scowled at him but the rest of the staff smiled as they heard a roar of rage from in the dungeons and a scream of “POTTER!” as the town crier spell carried on.


***


“I can’t believe that spell is still going!” Hermione laughed as they walked up to their last lesson of the day – Defence Against the Dark Arts. They had just had their dinner which was filled with the cries of the spell Harry had put on Snape. The spell was very good, it seemed to know when Snape was getting irritated with it because it would shut up for a while and then when he sighed with relief it would start again, louder than before and occasionally in a different voice. The ghosts had somehow come across ghostly bells which they were cheerily ringing behind him and Nearly Headless Nick declared that it was the most fun he’d had in five hundred years.

“ALL HAIL SEVERUS SNAPE IN ALL HIS FURY!” Came the spell again, this time in a bizarrely Welsh accent as they walked up to the first floor.

Defence Against the Dark Arts was an interesting lesson and they were told that they would be doing about magical creatures for a few months or two, recapping on everything they’d done and working their way up to werewolves.

“Professor Lupin has kindly allowed us to see him transform during a full moon in a month’s time.” Moody informed the class, “And you will all be pleased to note that now we have finished doing the Unforgivable Curses the chances of our putting you under the curse have severely lessened, although they have not gone completely.” The class exchanged nervous looks but Harry strongly suspected that this was only so that they could carry on cursing Malfoy. The lesson came to an end quickly, after they had spent much of the lesson going over what they knew about Kappas, boggarts, grindylows and hinkypunks.

“Before you leave…” Remus called and everyone who had been on their feet, putting things away groaned and sat down again, “Professors Moody, Tonks and I will be running a duelling club…” There was a babble of talking, after all the last time there had been a duelling club the school had discovered that Harry was a parselmouth and other such interesting events had occurred, “…on Monday and Wednesday at eight. If you are interested then please meet us on Monday in the great hall at the appointed time. You may leave.” The babble of talk continued as they left the room.

“Did you know about that, Harry?” Ron asked him as they made their way up to the common room to get rid of their bags for the day.

“Nope.” Harry replied, “Are we going then?”

“Yeah!” Dean said, “It’ll be great, not like last time.”

“And with Mad Eye, Tonks and Lupin teaching us it should be amazing!” Hermione said, “Two of them are aurors and I hear that Lupin is a fantastic dueller.”

“Well I’ve never beaten him.” Harry smiled.

“You’ve duelled with Lupin?” Neville asked him, quite stunned.

“What was he like?” Hermione asked.

“How did you end up duelling him?” Ron questioned,

“Well it was during the holidays, I wanted to see how he duelled so basically I attacked him during the day and we ended up duelling.” Harry said, “We duelled quite a few times because after I lost the first time I wanted to keep trying.”

“How many times did you duel?” Hermione asked him, almost annoyed that Harry had spent his summer practicing Defence Against the Dark Arts with Lupin and she had spent hers reading and occasionally cursing Ron.

“I dunno, I lost count.” Harry said, “He’s unbelievably good though, he beat me every single time and I know he wasn’t even trying.” The four people that walked along side him raised their eyebrows at hearing that the leader of the D.A. who had taught them so much and had done so well on his DADA OWL was beaten so easily by a man who looked like one good curse could finish him off. “He could have beaten me with his eyes closed and without a wand.”

“That was amazing, what he did to Malfoy the other day!” Neville suddenly said, “He didn’t even have a wand and he was tied up and it was so cool!” Harry grinned.

“I never knew he was so powerful!” Hermione said, “It takes a lot of emotional control and a very strong wizard to harness their emotions to the point where they can escape a situation like that.”

“I wish I could do that.” Dean said, his voice filled with admiration for the man widely thought of as the coolest teacher in the school, by just about everyone except the Slytherins. Behind them Remus walked along quietly, it amused him to see that they were so impressed with the fact that he could beat Harry in a duel and escape simple bonds without a wand, although Harry had exaggerated how easy it had been for Remus to bead him, and surely he must know that it was becoming quite difficult to carry on his winning streak which was about 14 to him: 0 to Harry.

“So are you all coming on Monday then?” Remus asked the group infront of him, who all span round to see the man whom had been the subject of their conversation only moments before.

“Of course,” Harry told him, “Is anyone allowed to go?”

“Unfortunately so,” Remus said and soon found himself walking in step with Harry at the front of the group who slowed down enough so that they were walking behind them and could listen to their conversation.

“What do you mean?” Harry asked.

“Well we had to ask Dumbledore if we could,” Remus said, “And he said it was fine but we had to keep it open to everyone because originally we had just been going to allow students taking Defence Against the Dark Arts in and he said it was unfair.”

“So that means Malfoy can go.” Harry said, seeing the problem.

“Exactly, and I know that somehow you’ll end up duelling with him.” Remus said, “Because I failed to mention that there won’t just be Mad Eye, Tonks and myself running it…”

“Who else is…?” Harry asked, uncertain whether or not he wanted to know the answer.

“Snape, McGonagall and Flitwick, but chances are that because the teachers never have much to do in the evenings there’ll be more of them there.” Remus said.

“So if there’s lots of teachers then there shouldn’t be a problem,” Harry reasoned.

“You’d think so wouldn’t you?” Remus sighed, “Well Snape’s going to be there and due to a few events of today he’s not your biggest fan and probably thinks that a few curses from Malfoy is just what you deserve.”

“Fabulous.” Harry muttered as they reached Remus’ office on the second floor, “See you later.”

“Take care.” Remus said, as he turned from the group and made to go into his office as Harry and his friends carried on up the staircase. Behind them he noticed that Crabbe and Goyle were tailing them, most likely to try and find out the location of the Gryffindor Common room. A smile touched his lips and he murmured “Imperio.”. Crabbe and Goyle shouted out as they suddenly turned away from one another and walked into the opposite walls. Repeatedly.

“What’s going on?!” Goyle said, as he began to panic.

“I don’t know!!” Crabbe shouted back and began to howl and beg for mercy from an unseen force as they ran into the wall again and again. Harry had turned round to watch Crabbe and Goyle’s bizarre incident and noticed that Remus stood watching, his wand pointed at them. He caught Remus’ eye and shook his head in disbelief before walking away.


***


The teachers were becoming bored with daily life and had taken it upon themselves to make sure that the students were providing the necessary entertainment to keep them in good spirits. In the staffroom sat the usual trio of Minerva, Filius and Remus, now joined by Tonks, Mad Eye, Severus, Pomona, Sabina Sinistra and unusually, Sybil Trelawney.

“…ah yes, but is your animagus form not a cat?” Sybil asked Minerva.

“Yes, but what is your point?” She asked irritably; she had not been in the best of spirits after a lesson of reasonable excitement where in Potter had transfigured Malfoy into a monkey with red and gold fur and let him lose on the school, she was now stuck in the staffroom with a self-proclaimed prophet.

“Cats have nine lives and in this room there are nine people… ‘tis not a sign of good luck for you.” Sybil went on to explain.

“Then maybe you should leave and reduce it to eight.” Minerva said slightly annoyed.

“Where’s Harry when you want some entertainment?” Filius said mildly to Remus who was staring out of the window.

“Most likely ‘entertaining’ Malfoy somewhere in the castle.” He replied, before adding in an undertone: “Or setting traps for Snape, you never know…”

Severus yawned and pointed his wand at Sabina, whom he wasn’t in good spirits with, due to her backing Sybil up that there was more truth in the skies than in dungeons surrounded by bits of things in jars. Irritatingly enough she seemed to possess some form of intelligence though, and had a lengthy conversation with Minerva about transfiguration so he had come to the conclusion that she just didn’t like him. He gave his wand a sharp flick and a wave of energy flew at her and a moment later he found himself doing the chicken dance to the laughter and applause from his colleagues.

“You seem to forget, Severus, that it is not only you in this school that can perform magic.” Sabina said to him with a smile. Snape glared at her as he danced around the room, shaking his fist at her and shouting in annoyance as Filius opened the door for him to leave and he danced through it, although he desperately tried not to.

As they all talked dully of similarly dull and uninteresting things in the staffroom, there came from outside the loud voice of Anthony Goldstein which was magically enhanced out at the Quidditch stadium.

“The game is Extreme Quidditch!” His voice said as it drifted into the staffroom. “The rules of which are still in the making… There are four sets of hoops, four house Quidditch teams, two Quaffles, five Bludgers and only one Snitch. The rules are simple: Do whatever you can to score as many points against whichever team you like and hope your Seeker catches the Snitch for an increased 200 points.” There was clearly quite a large crowd assembled outside at the pitch as the roar that came from the pitch drowned out Anthony’s voice momentarily. The staff were listening intently to what sounded like their evening’s entertainment as it came in through the open window. From outside an argument could be heard.

“I hope you enjoy this match, Potter.” Malfoy drawled, “It will be your last, you can count on that!”

“I’m sure you’ve said something along those lines before every match we’ve ever had, Malfoy. Your brain must be addled from kissing Snape…” Harry retorted.

“You’ll rue the day you ever met me, Potter.” Malfoy spat. There was a collective sound of “Ooooo!” from inside the staff room.

“And we’ve got the Ravenclaws and the Hufflepuffs out here, now we’re just waiting for Gryffindor and Slytherin.” Anthony said.

“Here we have the Gryffindor Quidditch team now!” Neville shouted out to huge cheer from the crowd. Neville had been coaxed into being a second commentator by Anthony who didn’t like being the sole speaker throughout the game. “I give you Weasley, Weasley, Thomas, Williams, Kirke, Peterson and Potter!”

“And the Slytherins have arrived so let’s play Extreme Quidditch!” Anthony and Neville shouted over the crowd that was almost everyone in the school.


Chapter 31: Thirty-One
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Thirty One

There was a brief struggle to reach the door inside the staffroom but eventually everyone made it out of the room and walked as quickly as they could to the front doors without actually resorting to running. When they opened the doors they looked out to the Quidditch pitch, where by the looks of things there was complete chaos. There were 28 people on brooms and various balls flying about through the air. Throughout it Anthony and Neville were cheering and commentating the game.

“And the Ravenclaws are coming up fast behind the Slytherins….” Anthony shouted.

“Nasty tackle by Flint on half the Hufflepuff team!”

“Duck, Cho!” There was a shout of horror from the fans as Cho Chang got a bludger to the face. The teachers quickly made their way up into the stands and watched the hectic match.

“The scores currently stand at Gryffindor in the lead with 140 points, Ravenclaw second with 120, Slytherin in third with 110 and Hufflepuff in last place with 90 points. If any of our four Seekers can catch the Snitch now then it’s all over!” Neville said to the crowds.

“Fantastic save by Weasley there!” Anthony said.

“Malfoy’s seen the Snitch!” Anthony and Neville cried at the same time and the other three Seekers soared after him through the sky and all four went into a spectacular dive.

“Watch out, Harry!” Neville shouted as the Slytherin beaters hit every Bludger in the air at the Seekers. The Seekers broke apart in their dive and scattered as five Bludgers flew straight at them. Malfoy didn’t and went straight for the Snitch, determined to beat Potter for once. They all hit him, one on the head, two on the back, one on each leg and one on his outstretched arm, breaking it instantly. Harry, Cho and Justin couldn’t help but grin as they flew after the Snitch once more. A stray bludger almost knocked Cho off her broom and she fell ten feet or so until one of her team caught her and Justin and Harry flew on after the tiny golden ball. Harry reached out as far as he could and felt the fluttering of its tiny wings on his fingertips and grabbed it, holding it tightly in his fist.

“GRYFFINDOR WINS!” Anthony shouted and there was a stupendous cheer from the crowd. As always Malfoy wasn’t pleased by this and, taking charge of one of the beaters bats, he hit three Bludgers straight after him in quick succession, none of them hitting and one of them flying straight at the teachers stand, where Professor McGonagall obliviated it and took 100 points from Slytherin. Overall, everyone was pleased by this new version of the popular game, which the teachers later discovered had been invented by Potter and Weasley in the Common room earlier that day.

“We won!” Ron said as he landed next to Hermione who smiled slightly and then an odd change came over her expression and she grabbed Ron’s face and kissed him before she came back to her senses and ran off with her face in her hands up the castle. Snape smirked from up in the teachers stands and made his way back down to the ground.

Malfoy collapsed onto his knees in the middle of the Quidditch pitch and Snape walked over to him to conjure him onto a stretcher. Remus grinned, and muttered the incantation for the Imperious curse and the Sonorus curse at Malfoy.

“Professor…” Malfoy said in the middle of the pitch, heard by all and producing from his pocket an onion ring from earlier that day. He grabbed his professor’s hand and said the words that no one had ever expected to hear. “Will you marry me?!” There was an eruption of laughter all around the stands and the people still in the air had to land quickly to prevent themselves from falling of their brooms. Snape stared at the boy horror-struck, and Malfoy stared at Snape as he fluttered his eyelashes.

“Well Professor?” Harry asked daringly as he walked over the pitch to him, “Will you marry him?” Snape leapt at him with an angry cry and for a moment it looked like he had him but Harry was still on his broom and flew up into the air just a few feet above Snape’s humiliated head.

“I’ll get you for this, Potter.” Snape muttered before marching off into the castle, leaving Draco still on his knees in the middle of the pitch. The rest of the school filed back into the building and into the Great Hall for tea.

Severus Snape was the first in the hall and had to endure even more time of his colleagues’ snide comments of the previous events. He glared across the room at Potter who noticed him looking and waved cheerily at him, to which Snape glowered at him even more darkly, causing the Gryffindors to laugh. I’ll get you for this Potter, no one humiliates Severus Snape and lives to tell the tale… He thought darkly and already plans of how best to get the boy were forming in his mind, after all if Draco couldn’t properly get Potter then he would just have to take matters into his own hands. The first thing he was going to do was to discover the location of Gryffindor tower.

Dinner ended and Harry left his seat before anyone else on their table and moments afterwards Snape left also in the same direction, something that Remus, Filius and Minerva found very suspicious.

“He’s going to get him, I know it.” Remus said, “And it wasn’t Harry that made Malfoy propose.”

“It was you!” Filius laughed.

“Harry can look after himself; he’s proven that numerous times.” Minerva said lightly, “Very good work on Malfoy though.”

Snape followed Harry through various passageways and onto many different floors until he realised that Harry must know he was following him and was intentionally leading him around the school on a wild goose chase. He watched as Harry turned round a blind corner and walked slowly after him, and then he stopped in shock when he realised that the place Potter had just entered was a dead-end. At the end of the corridor was a solid wall and he walked down to it, examining the walls on the way for any passageways out; he found none. He turned to go back the way he came but then on the other side he found a wall, he looked around quite shocked and walked down to the new wall that most certainly hadn’t been there before. There was a small noise behind him and the wall had got closer! Panic began to rise in his throat and he ran to the side on his left, hoping for a passageway to get him out of the mad area of the corridor… There was a creak behind him and he span round to catch the person who must have been controlling this and found a wall inches from his face. He whimpered slightly and fell back against the original wall. He heard laughter from nearby and recognised it instantly. Snape reached out to hammer on the wall infront of him and realised to his horror that it was not real… It was only a hologram. With as much dignity that he could have mustered under the circumstances he passed through the wall and into the corridor where he saw Lupin and Potter stood laughing at him, he turned back and saw that from this side the walls were translucent and he narrowed his eyes dangerously at the two who were determined to humiliate him as much as possible.

Reducto!” Snape shouted in a violent rage at Harry and the powerful spell sped towards Harry. Remus stepped forwards and blocked it with ease.

“Don’t let us do this again; it is not in your nature to make the same mistake twice, Severus.” Remus said in a quiet voice. Harry stood partly hidden by his guardian, watching Snape’s expression out of the corner of his eye, whilst his eyes stayed on his wand. Snape was not pleased – he had wanted to blast the arrogant boy into the wall and then march off as the victor, leaving the foolish wolf worrying over him. Unfortunately he had not seen this as one of the possible consequences of attempting to curse him, although he really should have known, after all, it was well known amongst the staff of the protectiveness of them over each other. He felt disgusted in the way that the rest of the staff thought it was so brilliant that Potter had a new guardian who ‘loved’ him and whom he ‘loved’ back… Hah! He knew it was utter nonsense and that they didn’t love each other any more than he loved Draco Malfoy, it was just a show, a show to irritate him; wasn’t that was Potter was made for? To be the bane of his life and now that he was dead his even more arrogant son had taken up the same role in his life.

He still didn’t know what to do… The last time he had dared to duel with Lupin had been in their last year at school and he had attempted to catch him unawares out in the grounds whilst he walked behind Black and Potter. Unfortunately for him, he hadn’t been to the duelling clubs that McGonagall has been running then and wasn’t aware that Lupin was by far the best at duelling in the student body… He didn’t know that the boy who looked so weak and pathetic was incredibly fast and could easily beat both his good friends at once, despite their being renowned for their intelligence and general excellence. He had aimed a hex at him and he had spun round quickly and blocked it, rebounding it back at him and then hitting him with a vast variety of curses, a lot of which didn’t wear off until almost a week later when the last of the wrinkling spell disappeared. That had been a long time ago, and he, Snape, had improved greatly at duelling during that time, but then he knew that Lupin would have done the same… But if he beat Lupin and Potter saw then he could have the fun of ruining his latest Guardian’s perfect image in the boy’s eyes. It was too much of an opportunity to miss, and there would only be Potter and Lupin to witness it, he would not lose infront of a large number of people.

Stupefy!” He cried and sent a bolt of red streaking towards Lupin’s chest. He deflected it easily and laughed.

“Is that the best you can do?” He mocked, “Your stubbornness hasn’t improved much, I see. Pride always comes first, although you must know that you will have very little of it left when I am done.” He didn’t like speaking in that manner in Harry’s presence and knew that it was a very bad example to set the boy but he would not step down from a challenge by Snape. He waved his wand over Harry and put the strongest charm of protection he could on him before he fired a spell back at him. “Diffindo!” Harry instantly remembered this as the spell he has used to cut Cedric’s bag open two years ago and watched as it cut across Snape’s chest, splitting his robes in a perfect line and blood slowly began to seep into his robes.

Incendio!” Snape yelled and swirled his wand as he cast the spell, causing Remus to be engulfed in a circle of raging fire. Remus smiled slightly and cast a quick banishing charm on the fire, causing it to fly away from him in all directions, a large amount of it hitting Snape hard and making him stagger back. Remus turned quickly and glanced at Harry, when he cast the spell, hoping that he had come to no harm, he hadn’t and was watching them in amazement. Snape followed this quickly with a cry of “Incarcerous!” and vines shot from his wand at Remus, which were reduced to ashes by a well placed fire spell.

Impedimenta.” Remus said straight afterwards, so as not to allow Snape to get anymore double spells in before he could.

Locomotor Mortis” Snape said and with some satisfaction the curse hit. To his intense irritation Lupin didn’t fall over but managed to stay on his feet, despite his legs now being locked together.

Reducto!” Remus cried at the same time as Snape shouted “Serpensortia!” Snape was blown backwards by the curse that Remus put on him and hit the wall hard. A giant snake now made it’s way to Remus, who couldn’t move due to the leg locking charm Snape had put on him.

Leave him…” Harry said to the snake in parseltongue and Remus stared in amazement as the snake turned and went after Snape. Remus touched his legs with his wand and murmured “Finite” and his legs were under his control once more. He touched Harry and murmured the same curse and Harry suddenly felt very vulnerable from the side effects of the charm Remus had used and he moved instinctively closer to his guardian.

“Sorry, strong protective charm.” Remus said when Harry moved closer, “It’ll wear off soon.”

Harry walked over to where Snape lay and cast a quick colour changing spell on his hair, making it change between gold and red every ten seconds before an exasperated sigh from Remus caused him to turn around and smile. He honestly couldn’t believe that at one time he had thought himself capable of beating him in a duel, he really was incredible and Snape had never really had a chance. Seeing Snape duel like that also caused him to make a mental note not to push him to the point where he could easily end up duelling him. He wondered about the duelling club on Monday again and realised that the days in which the club was held didn’t coincide with any of the Gryffindor Quidditch training sessions and was at the same time as the Slytherin practices.

“What’s on your mind?” Remus asked Harry as they walked down to his office, which was three floors below as they were currently on the far West side of the fifth floor. Harry still clung to him but not as much as before.

“I thought I might be able to beat you before.” Harry grinned at him. He realised just how easy he must have been going on him to have kept their duels up for so long, Harry was quite surprised that he hadn’t got bored of his feeble duelling skills and simply cursed him repeatedly during the time it took Harry to cast two spells of his own.

“I reckon you can.” Remus said, “Anyway, it’s different duelling with you because your style is entirely different. Snape just casts as many spells as he can as quickly as possible and uses disabling charms where as you use ones like freezing charms and then use fire ones straight after or vice versa and make it difficult to defend against. You should try Serpensortia in duels, being a parselmouth it could be to your infinite advantage.” Remus said to him as they walked along together, Harry holding onto his arm as they went down the main staircase onto the third floor. “I’d love to see Snape duel with you.”

“What, so that you can see me get blasted through various walls?” Harry asked him.

“No, because he’s a Slytherin, and like all Slytherins he’s very proud of that.” Remus said, “So proud that he almost always uses a snake summoning spell in each of his duels, making him very predictable and very easy for you to beat.”

“I want to duel with someone now.” Harry said as they stepped into a passageway that would take them down to the second floor. “You’re a bad influence.”

“I know, terrible aren’t I?” Remus smiled. “I’ll see you later.”

“See you.” Harry said as Remus turned to enter his office, “You’re still coming tomorrow, right?” Remus looked at him in confusion and he had evidently forgotten that Neville would be entering Death the next day. “We’re following Neville and Dumbledore, remember?”

“Oh, sorry.” Remus smiled, “Of course I’m still coming, and I’ll meet you here in the morning.” Harry said goodbye and turned to go back up to the common room, unsure as to why he had walked all the way down to the second floor with Remus. As he walked through the fifth floor he hear Snape’s enraged yell as he came to consciousness and noticed the alternating colours of his hair. There was a scream of “POTTER!” and he wisely began to walk a little faster.


Chapter 32: Thirty-Two
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Thirty Two

Harry walked quickly down the stairs onto the sixth floor and then from there ran all the way down the long passageway with the battlescene onto the third floor before running down the main stairs onto the second floor. He went to Remus’ office and entered quietly. There was no sign of Remus in the room and after calling his name, he walked through the small door, cleverly concealed in the stone at the back of the room and into Remus’ living quarters. He glanced around the room which was dimly lit and noticed Remus lying in bed. Harry rolled his eyes and went over to wake him. He knew it was Saturday but it was already half past eleven and Dumbledore and Neville were meeting at midday.

“Remus.” He murmured softly as he shook the man who buried himself deeper under his duvet. “Remus, wake up!” He got no response but an incoherent mumble and he scowled.

“Remus Lupin, get up now!” He said, quite a lot louder than before and shook him harder. Remus opened an eye and saw Harry sitting on the edge of his bed and pulled a face at being woken up.

“It’s Saturday, leave me alone!” He said to him and hid once more. Harry got tired of this and took off his shoes and proceeded to jump around his guardian on the bed who was curled up right in the middle of it.

“Get up!” Harry laughed as he jumped about.

“No! I’ll hex you.” Remus said from under the covers.

“I’ll hex you if you don’t get up!” Harry said and carried on jumping. Remus stayed in bed, knowing that Harry would have to run out of energy at some point. He realised the stupidity of the thought – Harry would never run out of energy. “Come on, it’s half eleven and Neville and Dumbledore are meeting at 12!”

Wingardium Leviosa” Remus said and Harry floated above the bed. Remus sighed at his lost sleep and dragged himself out of bed. “You’re going to stay here whilst I go get ready to prevent myself being irritated to the point where I need to curse you.” He smiled and left Harry in the air, trying to get down. Remus walked through a full length mirror on the wall and stepped into his bathroom, laughing quietly at Harry’s irritation with him.

Remus returned ten minutes later, after having a shower and changing into some robes to find Harry a few feet lower than he had been before but still not back on the ground. He grinned and ended the spell, causing Harry to drop two feet and land sprawled on the floor.

“Come on, get up Harry!” Remus said to him, “We don’t have all day you know.” Harry gave him a stony look and go to his feet. “We’re going to the kitchens, I’m starving.” Harry rolled his eyes and they both made their way down to the kitchens. Harry didn’t eat anything and just watched Dobby run frantically around the kitchen with a fire extinguisher whilst Remus ate some cereal.

Time ticked on and soon it was almost five to twelve and Harry and Remus soon found themselves almost running down the corridor to the main entrance.

I’m a teacher! I shouldn’t be running round the school! Remus thought as he raced after Harry down the corridor and ran into the back of him when he stopped suddenly at the edge of the entrance hall. Dumbledore was stood waiting for Dumbledore, who appeared there a moment later and held out a candlestick to him and they both disappeared. Harry leant back against the wall and groaned and Remus bit his lip.

“I can’t believe they used a portkey.” Harry said and hit his head backwards on the wall a few times before Remus put his hand between the two.

“You shouldn’t do that; the castle will hit you back.” Remus smiled slightly, “I know you’re disappointed and rather annoyed and I am too.”

“You don’t look it.” Harry scowled.

“I hide my feelings better than you then,” Remus replied, “But maybe they only went by portkey because Dumbledore knew you had been listening in on the conversation, maybe you should just go talk to him…”

“With you.” Harry said, “You want to come with me then you’re coming to Dumbledore as well.” Remus sighed and submitted to go to Dumbledore with him when they returned. After that Remus bade him goodbye and said he was going back to bed. Harry looked after him anxiously, it was not usually in his nature for him to be this exhausted but he excused himself by saying that it was the full moon that night. Harry had completely forgotten, even though their DADA class would be meeting that night to watch Remus transform, something he wasn’t looking forward to; he hated seeing him in pain and transforming was hellishly painful. Remus knew that he was thinking about that night and his transformation and smiled at him before reassuring him he would be okay, he always was. Harry still looked worried when they parted, and Remus walked back to his room to sleep with his mind on Harry. It pleased him to know that he worried about him and he thought it very sweet of him, considering that Harry was almost always in more danger than he was. He wondered suddenly whether the dreams he had been having about Voldemort before had stopped or not and how he was doing in Occlumency, now that Snape had just about given up attacking him, although he still got him every now and again, just to check he was still halfway decent at it.

Remus drifted along the corridors, not really paying attention to where he was going until he found himself outside his own office, opening the door and he snapped out of it a little. He wasn’t usually this drowsy before a transformation but the thought was lost when he collapsed back into his bed. He could still smell Harry’s scent on it when he curled up tightly under the duvet and turned out the light. That was another thing that annoyed him about the time before his transformation, during the last few days before the full moon his sense of smell, his eye sight and his hearing all improved greatly up to the point where the littlest noises would wake him in the dark and he would have difficultly sleeping when he went to bed on account of it being so very light. As he lay in the dark, or only semi-dark to him, his mind inadvertently wondered back to Harry who was at that moment in time wondering around the school, with nothing much to do.

Harry decided that, although he knew Remus wanted to get some sleep he would go and see him, and just hope that he was already awake. Ron and Hermione had disappeared a while ago and when he looked for everyone on the Marauders’ map some time earlier he had seen them walking around the edge of the lake together. He thought it very weird that they were together, after all they had had so many arguments of late that he thought their friendship must be drawing to a close, and a very violent one at that, and yet there they were, together and alone. Harry had enough sense to think that it had been something to do with Snape’s influencing Hermione into kissing Ron at the Extreme Quidditch match the other day that had caused this sudden desire to be alone with each other and he wasn’t that bothered really, although he did feel very much like he was intruding when they wanted to be alone so clearly. Dean was still going out with Ginny, and for the past day Harry hadn’t heard any of his usual complaints about it, something rather unusual.

He reached Remus’ office and walked inside, finding everything exactly as it had been before. Harry crossed the room quickly and silently pushed open the hidden door to his guardian’s chambers. Well he thought he had been silent, but in his bed Remus heard the door pushed open and sat up to see whom his visitor was who entered his room as quietly as possible. Harry didn’t see him sit up in bed, but saw only blackness within and heard no sound at all. Assuming that Remus was asleep or trying to sleep, he stepped back out of the room and made to shut the door as quietly as he had come in.

“Harry.” Remus said from his bed and the boy stopped and leant against the doorframe, waiting for his eyes to become accustomed to the dark before attempting to reach the other side of the room.

“You’re meant to be sleeping.” Harry said to him when he thought his eye sight good enough to venture across to his guardian, “Although I suppose I’m not helping that much.”

“It’s too light and I don’t particularly feel tired anymore.” Remus explained and smiled as he saw Harry trip over the sofa and land on the floor. He supposed a little help may be necessary for Harry and he waved his wand and levitated him over onto his king-sized bed, which he had no need for and would have been perfectly happy with a bed half that size. “I’m here.” Remus told Harry when he removed the spell and allowed Harry to fall almost a foot onto the bed, he took his hand to show him where he was and pulled him a little closer to him, in case he should fall off the bed.

“You should try and sleep if you’re going to be awake most of the night.” Harry told Remus, although he knew he didn’t need telling.

“I know.” Remus said to him, “But like I said, I can’t sleep in this light and I can’t get the room any darker than this.” He was still sat up and his head rested back against the headboard and Harry was leant back on him. He liked being close to Harry, he always managed to cheer him up, even though he knew that tonight was the full moon. Remus needed sleep but he knew he couldn’t get any with Harry so near him, he wouldn’t want to sleep in his company and it wasn’t as if Harry generally gave him the chance; he was generally pretty talkative and never ceased to amuse. Yet now he was being quite contrary to himself and curled up closer to Remus and they both sank down on the bed until they were no longer seated but lying down. As sleepiness began to steal over Remus he allowed his eyes to shut for a moment, just a moment…

Harry waited some time, almost ten minutes until Remus was seen to be sleeping soundly and he gently freed himself from his gentle embrace and pulled the duvet around his guardian, making him warmer and more snug in his bed. He bent down and kissed his cheek lightly.

“Love you, Remus.” He said quietly and he turned to the room that only seemed dim instead of black as pitch before. He carefully made his way back to the door and glanced back at Remus, smiling slightly as he left him and went out into his office.

Love you too, Harry. Remus had added in his mind. He had been in the strange state between sleep and consciousness when he had felt Harry carefully remove his arms. He felt his movement next to him and resisted opening his eyes to look at the boy. Instead he felt him put his arms under the duvet and pull it up around him, sealing in the warmth. He kissed his cheek lightly and murmured the three words he had never heard from him before and never thought he would have heard and then he turned and went. Remus smiled and moments later slipped into slumber.


***


Remus stood outside with the small class of Defence Against the Dark Arts surrounding him. Mad Eye and Tonks stood by the side as he talked about werewolves, a subject he was only too good at teaching. It was almost dark now and Harry knew that the moon would soon make it’s appearance. He had been present earlier that day when Remus had drank the Wolfsbane potion and he would see him transform for the second time only too soon.

The moon began to rise and Tonks moved the teenagers back and Mad Eye went to his side. Harry resisted the urge to run to his guardian as he gasped and doubled over. Everyone watched in amazement and horror as their teacher went through agony and Harry felt quite ill at the thought of the pain he was going through but soon enough it was over. Harry was leant back against a tree at the back of the crowd and Remus’ calm eyes flickered over the group, coming to a halt on Harry who looked deeply unhappy.

“…as you can see, Professor Lupin is still himself. This is thanks to the Wolfsbane potion that he drank earlier today, without it he would not be safe to be within 300 metres of any human.” Mad Eye explained. Harry sat down and leant back against the tree. The students near him were mostly sitting and watching Remus with an odd mixture of emotions running through the group, ranging from pity, to fear, to interest. “Now if you would follow me, we will go a little way into the forest and look for some unicorns Hagrid tells me are close by.” Harry noticed the half giant walking across the ground to them and he stopped next to Mad Eye.

“Ready ter go, Professor?” Hagrid asked and Mad Eye nodded. “Stay close now.” He warned them all. The students walked along in pairs, although Harry was left behind on his own and he noticed that Ron and Hermione were near the front together. He felt something brush his hand gently as he walked along, his mind miles away. Harry glanced down and saw Remus walking besides him. They felt glad of each other’s company and walked on into the forest with the three other professors.

After having shown the students the unicorns and a few thestrals as well, (and now everyone could see them) the Defence Against the Dark Arts group slowly made it’s way back up to the castle, although Remus was forced to stay outside. He watched Harry leave and walked over to the lake and lay down, staring at his own wolfish reflection in the water which lapped up against the ground gently. He hated it; his cursed life. He felt so isolated from everyone and he stared miserably across the lake, not hearing the quiet flutter of wings nearby. There was a small burst of song from above him and he looked up to see the most beautiful phoenix land next to him. Harry instantly turned back to himself and Remus shook his head in disbelief at the boy.

Harry reached out to Remus and stroked his fur peacefully and looked across the lake where they saw a flicker of white and knew it was one of the unicorns they had seen not long since. Remus closed his eyes and leant his head on Harry’s leg next to him, and there they stayed until the moon disappeared from the sky.

Harry awoke with a jolt when he heard the sharp intake of breath besides him and saw Remus, in his human form, half conscious lying against him. He instantly conjured a stretcher for him, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to walk, and levitated it along besides him as he made his way up to the castle. Glancing at his watch he saw it was now half past five in the morning and it was almost dawn. He ached all over from managing to sleep sat up and he regretted it. Upon entering the hospital wing Madam Pomfrey didn’t look surprised to see Remus there, although she wasn’t too pleased by Harry’s having accompanied him but she allowed him to stay nonetheless.

It was half past eight when Remus awoke in the hospital bed, clinging onto Harry’s hand who sat besides him, sleeping in another uncomfortable position. He felt quite happy, it had been some time since he had woken after the full moon to a friendly face by his bedside. He remembered the last time he had been in here, it was when Harry had been re-growing his legs the previous week and he smiled at the role reversal: now it was Harry at his bedside holding his hand, instead of he at Harry’s. Drowsiness was creeping back up on him and his eyes closed once more and he fell back into slumber.


Chapter 33: Thirty-Three
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Thirty Three

Harry ached all over and Remus had reprimanded him numerous times for having been fool enough to sleep sitting up twice in the same night. Nonetheless Remus was pleased that he had stayed with him all night, although he hated to admit he put his own happiness over Harry’s comfort.

The day was Sunday and by this time they had been at Hogwarts almost one month. Remus was idly twirling his wand between his fingers, a habit he had been told had come from Harry, as he lay back on his bed. He had very little to do at that moment in time since everyone was out doing other things. He needed entertainment of some kind, and he was sorely tempted to go find Snape and taunt him but he knew that he had already been a terrible example to Harry by duelling with Snape not long since and knew that he shouldn’t do the same again. Remus felt his stomach rumble and realised that he hadn’t eaten in some time, glancing at the clock besides him he found that the time was only half past nine in the morning, which was quite odd although he reminded himself that he had been up for what seemed an age due to it being the morning after his transformation. He pulled himself to his feet and walked slowly down the corridors to the great hall.

“Morning.” Minerva greeted him, stifling a yawn as she did so. It being Sunday morning, quite a few of the students were still in bed although the majority of them had dragged themselves down for the first meal of the day. Snape was at the other end of the table to him and looked unusually menacing and he made a mental note to tell Harry to keep out of his path for once. He glared across at the boy who wasn’t really eating much at the Gryffindor table but chasing food around his plate with his fork.

“You really should eat more, Harry.” Hermione said to him. He noticed that she looked so much more cheerful than usual and Ron was by her side. They weren’t bickering as they normally did at breakfast and everyone found this rather eerie.

“Snape doesn’t look too happy, does he?” Harry said and looked up at the staff table, where the potions master glared at him. In answer to this Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville and Dean all turned to him and gave him a cheery wave which he didn’t return.

“Neither does Malfoy.” Neville said as the blond Slytherin marched into the room and threw himself down at the Slytherin table without so much as looking at Snape.

“Trouble with our betrothed couple?” Hermione asked in shock.

“We can’t have that!” Dean said and they all grinned, plans already forming in their minds.

“I wonder what they’re planning.” Remus said, mostly to himself at the staff table.

“How do you know they’re planning?” Filius asked him. “Maybe they’re just cheerful?”

“Yeah right, and they’re constantly glancing at Snape and Malfoy for no reason I suppose…” Minerva said.

“They’re managing to have some fun at least.” Tonks said, “And in dark times like these, they’re perfectly entitled to it.”

“Although whether or not they’re entitled to publicly humiliate Malfoy and Snape on a daily basis may not be quite what they’re entitled to.” Minerva said, although she had yet to stop Harry from cursing Snape or Malfoy. It would be too hypocritical of her and yet she had her duty as a teacher to maintain. But then Snape was always picking on Harry for something or another and he hadn’t made this year any easier for him so he got what he deserved. Minerva reasoned all this through in her mind and decided to let what chaos ensue as it would.

Snape got jerkily to his feet and couldn’t control himself as he marched slowly forwards into the middle of the room and he noticed to his dread that Malfoy was doing the same. He glared over at the Gryffindor table and noticed that Potter and Weasley were watching him in interest but didn’t appear to be doing much by way of magic, he looked up to the staff table immediately afterwards to see which one of those it was that was cursing them. Again he was irritated to find that he couldn’t see who was creating this magic.

In the blink of an eye he was wearing the clothes of a muggle groom and he realised that he could no longer control his arms; they hung numbly at his sides. He watched Potter intently now, he was certain he had seen a little flick of his wand a moment before his clothes had radically changed. Draco was facing him now and he dreaded what was to come. With another flick from someone’s wand, Malfoy was wearing a wedding dress. Malfoy screamed in horror at being in the wedding attire of a woman, and a muggle woman, and a muggle woman who was standing opposite Severus Snape at the altar…

Where the hell had that altar come from?! Snape thought frantically as he tried to see a way out of this terrible situation which was going to have him married to Draco Malfoy. For Merlin’s sake! Fight it! His head screamed as Pansy Parkinson walked towards them in the same jerky manner, which meant surely that she was going to be the vicar in all of this. You die for this Potter! He thought furiously and as his determination rose, the spell binding him broke and he marched straight over at Harry who leapt out of his seat and ran to the door. Snape kept his composure up until he had left the great hall when he broke into a run and raced after Harry who stopped suddenly and he ran into him.

“POTTER!” He shouted at the boy who was only inches away from him and he grabbed his robes. He stopped when he saw the headmaster standing behind him and he had evidently been the reason that the cursed boy had stopped.

“Severus, if you would be so kind as to allow me to talk to Harry for a while.” Dumbledore said to him quietly. Snape glared at them both.

“But Albus he—” Snape started.

“I do not care for the present what Harry has done during breakfast, for the moment I wish to speak to him alone.” Dumbledore said and Snape grudgingly left them, “Now shall we go up to my office?” He asked pointlessly as he put his hand on Harry’s shoulder and lead him to the stone gargoyles which blocked the door.

“So I believe there may be some things you wish to talk to me about.” Dumbledore said once they were both settled in his office and he observed Harry carefully over his half-moon spectacles.

“Did Neville go into Death?” Harry asked him quietly.

“Yes.” Dumbledore replied to him, knowing already where this was going.

“Can I… I mean would it be possible for me and Remus to go as well?” Harry asked, hoping desperately that he would be allowed. Dumbledore watched him. He had known that he would ask, and ask soon as well but it had never occurred to him that he would want Remus there as well. That was going to complicate things slightly and make refusing him much less reasonable than before. If he went he would have Remus to pull him back, Remus to live for… If he went alone and decided he liked it better there then he would die, it was as simple as that. Thoughts of Remus and Harry going into Death and the possible consequences that formed in his head were rapid but Harry waited patiently for the headmaster to come to a decision.

“Oh come on!” James said and watched Dumbledore in frustration.

“You have to let him!” Sirius said from the track that he was constantly taking around the room. He couldn’t bear to stand still. Lily was sat down on a chair next to Harry and looked utterly numb. She was watching his face and his eyes and searching to find the answer first, and she gave a cry of delight when she saw a twinkle in the old man’s eye. Sirius stopped walking and looked at Dumbledore.


“You may both go.” Dumbledore said and Harry’s face lit up. “But not yet.”

“When…?” Harry asked, his mind reeling. He would be able to see Sirius again, he would meet his parents…!

“Not for some time, I’m afraid, perhaps not until after Christmas. I will judge when and you will be informed as soon as I know.” Dumbledore said and Harry looked slightly disappointed – Christmas was almost three months away!

“Thank you, Professor.” Harry said quietly and rose to leave.

“Oh, and another thing.” Dumbledore said before he left, “Don’t be too hard on Mr Malfoy.” Harry nodded, both of them knowing that he would not heed the words just spoken to him.

Harry ran out between the stone gargoyles and had planned on going to find Remus as soon as he could but to his surprise and annoyance he found Snape stood some feet infront of him, a scowl prominent on his face. Harry turned away from him and Snape reached out to pull him back but Harry was too quick and ran down the corridor.

“Get back here, now!” Snape shouted and ran after him. Harry wasn’t sure where he was going but he knew that Snape was going to catch him, wherever he went. He raced round and round with Snape never giving up and occasionally firing spells at him to slow him down but none of them had hit, yet. He leapt to the side, into a disused classroom on the seventh floor, hoping that he could get out quickly.

“Tut tut, you don’t yet know the school so well Mr Potter.” Snape said with a smirk as he entered the room slowly after Harry. “If you did you would know that I had the way out of this room blocked some time ago.” Harry cursed himself for walking into this trap and bit his lip slightly when he saw Snape lock the door with his wand and then point it at him. He was going to end up duelling him, he knew it and he wasn’t pleased by it, especially after having seen him duel the day before. He felt quite intimidated by the man who stood infront of him. Where was Remus when you needed help? He remembered that Remus had told him expressly not to duel with Snape and wondered how he would react to this, wondered whether or not he would be angry with him for allowing himself to get into this mess that was most likely going to cost him dearly.

“Let me out.” Harry said quietly.

“Let you out? After you have repeatedly humiliated me and don’t you dare deny it, boy!” Snape said in a quiet voice, either because he didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that he was there or because he was furious to the point where he had forgotten how to shout. He stopped as a piece of chalk hit him on the side of the head and Harry instantly made for the door during the diversion that Peeves had made for him but it was of little use and Snape stopped him instantly with a curse from his wand. “Be gone, Peeves.” Snape muttered to him and the poltergeist cackled and left down the corridor outside, frightening a group of Gryffindor first years, on their way to the Common Room.

“Leave them alone!” Nearly-Headless Nick said to him as he drifted along past.

“Just because you can’t get into the headless hunt…” Peeves said and chased the students screaming down the corridor. Nick sighed and floated down the stairway and an odd feeling cam over him and he glanced down at Hermione Granger who had dropped all her books when she walked through him.

“Sorry Miss Granger.” Nick said to her.

“No problem, Nick, I wasn’t looking where I was going.” She said by way of an apology herself and walked on up to the common room, where she had to get rid of Peeves before she could get herself and some first years into the room. She glanced up at the notice board in the entrance and noticed that there was to be a visit to Hogsmeade some time soon. The duelling club had a poster in the middle of the board advertising for the next day and she reached out and pulled down a poster about the past Quidditch trials which Harry had forgotten or not bothered to remove but she left the one about Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes there for all to see.

“Hermione!” Luke said to her, walking across the common room, “Have you seen Harry anywhere? I wanted to talk to him about practice.”

“ ‘Fraid not, no one’s seen him since breakfast.” Hermione said. “I hope Snape didn’t get him too badly…”

“Likewise.” Luke said and turned away from her to Magadi who was wondering where their team captain could have got to.

“Come on, I bet Ron’ll know where he is.” She said to him and they both left the room in search of Ron, who had been out in the grounds with Hagrid some time earlier.

“…Professor, do you really think that will come to pass?!” Luke heard Lavender Brown asking Professor Trelawney excitedly.

“Without a doubt my dear.” She replied as mysteriously as possible. Magadi rolled her eyes, knowing that whatever she had predicted was as likely to come to pass as her growing an extra set of arms, although bearing in mind that she was in Hogwarts that wasn’t entirely impossible.

“Lavender, have you seen Harry anywhere?” Luke asked her.

“Nope, try Lupin’s office.” She said.

“Harry Potter… he is doomed to die, I am afraid he is in mortal peril…!” Trelawney exclaimed.

“Don’t raise a panic, Sybil!” Minerva scolded her as she walked past, along the corridor. “Try Professor Lupin’s office if you’re looking for Harry.” She advised them before walking off in the directions of the dungeons looking for Severus. As she walked along she saw Tonks hiding behind a corner and laughing quietly. Upon passing round to the other side she was amused to see Draco Malfoy obviously flirting with Marcus Flint, who had clearly not cottoned onto the idea that another member of his sex was flirting with him. Realisation dawned on the slow boy’s face and Malfoy found himself with a face full of fist a moment later.

“50 points from Slytherin, Mr Flint.” She said and marched on down the corridor until she walked into Remus on the third floor. “I do apologise, Remus.” She said to him.

“Quite alright.” He smiled and she noticed the bags under his eyes from his lack of sleep the night before. “You’ve not seen Harry anywhere have you?”

“No, although some of the Quidditch team has been looking for him on the higher floors so he’s probably not in the common room.” She said, leaving Remus stood on the third floor, wondering where he could find Harry. He remembered that Snape had chased him out of the room and he sincerely hoped that Harry had not managed to get into a duel with him, he knew that the consequences could be most unfortunate.

“Professor Lupin!” Magadi said from behind him and he turned to see two of his seventh year students behind him, looking quite tired from their excursion around the school, “Have you seen Harry?” He told them that he had not and he was looking for him himself. They told him he wasn’t on any of the higher floors, or if he was then they had missed him and Remus nodded his thanks and went back down to his office for the marauder’s map.

“…I thought it was great when Harry turned Malfoy into a monkey!” Dean was laughing with Neville down near his office. Remus grinned and rolled his eyes as he entered his office.

“I know, but I bet Snape gets him for breakfast this morning.” Neville replied. “I haven’t seen Harry since, have you?”

“Nope.” Dean replied, “Anyway we’ve still got a ton of Charms homework to do, I suppose we best go do it. I’ll meet you in the library in half an hour.”

“See you then.” Neville smiled and walked off down the corridor and down in the direction of the kitchens.

“Sorry Neville!” Hagrid apologised when he knocked Neville down in the main entrance. He reached down and pulled him back to his feet.

“Neville, I’ve been looking all over for you!” Professor Sprout said to the boy who stood next to Hagrid in the entrance hall. “If you’d just come with me down to the staffroom a second…” Neville dutifully followed his Herbology teacher down the corridor to the side, leaving Hagrid stood in the entrance hall and was found a moment later by Dumbledore.

“Ah Hagrid, right on time, now we shall go down to the staffroom to get Professor Sprout and then we’ll be on our way!” He said cheerfully and he and the half giant walked down the way that Pomona and Neville had walked just moments before. Inside the staffroom were around half the staff, excepting Minerva, Remus, Tonks, Severus and Sybil who were all in other locations in the school. Pomona was congratulating Neville on a piece of his work which she had just taken from her bag. Mad Eye was talking with Sabina Sinistra about defences around the school although he ended the conversation soon after and went to find Remus to plan their lessons for the end of the week. He rose to his feet and looked up with his magical eye for the man. He saw him soon and walked quickly as he could so that he could catch up with him before he got too far.

“Remus.” He said and the man turned instantly.

“Yes?” He asked good-naturedly. “What can I do for you?”

“I was wondering about next weeks planning, mostly for the NEWT classes and the duelling club…” Mad Eye said, “Although you look busy, we’ll speak of this later.” Remus nodded and Mad Eye left him to go about his business. He held the map in his hand, although he had wiped it before he left the office. Harry and Snape were both up on the seventh floor in a disused classroom… There was no way that was good. He walked quickly up onto the fourth floor and carried on going upwards through the school.

“Watch it, Wolf.” Malfoy muttered as he passed him, holding his face.

“50 points from Slytherin.” Remus said as he passed and wondered how Malfoy’s face had come to be in the state it was in. A moment later he encountered Tonks who was laughing hysterically and following Malfoy. He shook his head in disbelief and watched as Tonks ran after him as he made his way down to the hospital wing. She was dying to transfigure him but if she got caught changing him then she would be in for trouble, especially if it was Snape that caught her, and yet she hadn’t seen Snape in some time, not since he had been chasing Harry. Come to think of it she hadn’t seen Harry since then either, that wasn’t good…

“Sorry Ron!” She apologised as she ran into the red head, sending him flying down the rest of the stairs they had been on. She helped him to his feet and watched him limp away quickly into a passageway. Ron hated the passageway up to the sixth floor that Harry always took, this was mostly because most of the people in the battle scene were forever informing him that his hair was on fire and he scowled at a knight that tried to tell him just that a moment later as he ran up towards the Fat Lady as he tried to find Hermione. He ran past Professor Lupin who was walking up to the seventh floor and said a hurried greeting.

“Ron!” Hermione said as she greeted the boy who ran up to her and almost collapsed at her feet from running, “You’ve not seen Harry, have you? Only Luke and Magadi have been looking all over for him.” She said and Remus smiled to them as he passed, not saying anything about Harry’s location.

“Good day, Remus.” Nick greeted him as he walked down towards the disused classroom which Harry was in, “I wouldn’t go in there if I were you, Mr Potter is duelling with Professor Snape…” He informed him and Remus groaned softly before opening the door gently.

Serpensortia!” Harry and Snape both cried at the same time and a snake shot from each wand. Harry couldn’t believe his good luck as he ordered both snakes after Snape, who cried out in horror at his own stupidity and cursed both the snakes and turned back to Harry just a moment too late, as he found himself frozen in a solid block of ice a second later. Harry breathed a sigh of relief and collapsed onto the floor.

“What the hell did you think you were doing?!” Remus almost shouted at him as he marched into the room. “You could have been seriously hurt!” He tried to say in the same tone but it didn’t come out the same, instead it was quite a bit softer than he had intended but he knew that he couldn’t make himself angry with him since his driving emotion had been anxiety for him.

“I’m sorry but it wasn’t my fault!” Harry tried to argue.

“Of course it was!” Remus cried, “You didn’t have to duel with him!”

“I did! He locked us in.” Harry said to him and Remus sighed and shook his head before asking for him to relate the tale of what had happened and he found that Harry had been running from him around the school when he ran in here and couldn’t find an alternative escape than the one which Snape blocked. Remus was sat down next to him on the cold floor, Snape was melting a little as Harry explained the details of what had happened.

“I still can’t believe you duelled with him,” Remus said, quite shaken that Harry had managed to beat a grown wizard, and not just that, he was a grown, infuriated ex-Death Eater.

“I know. I’m sorry,” Harry apologised for what seemed like the twentieth time. “Still, I won though.” He watched Remus’ expression break out from the sombre mask he had been trying to keep up into a smile.

“I know. I’m astounded.” Remus smiled and they both got to their feet and began to walk down through the castle, not going anywhere in particular, just away from Snape who was thawing rather more quickly than Harry had hoped. They walked around the ground talking idly of anything and everything until Remus happened to mention Dumbledore and Harry gasped, realising that he hadn’t told Remus that they were permitted to go into Death.

“You’re kidding me!” Remus said, stunned by the news; never in a million years would he have thought they would be able to enter Death and see Lily, James and Sirius again. He also wasn’t pleased by the fact that they wouldn’t be allowed to visit until after Christmas or around that time, although he hid this quite well. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me until now and I thought we were going to go to Dumbledore together…”

“So did I, but then I ran into him earlier when Snape was chasing me and I asked him then.” Harry explained. Remus still had very little to say. We can see them again… his mind kept repeating over and over again. He looked down at Harry and wondered how he felt about it all, and then he wondered what on earth Dumbledore was doing, allowing them to go into Death, after all neither of them had been able before so what was so different now? He stopped thinking about that and then knew that he had to get back to the castle and find Mad Eye, since Duelling Clubs don’t plan themselves. Their pace quickened as they walked back to the castle, Remus’ mind fixed firmly on Death, Harry’s wandering between Remus, cursing Snape, Remus, Snape’s possible revenge against him, Remus and the upcoming duelling club.


Chapter 34: Thirty-Four
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Thirty Four

Time flew past, quicker than anyone could have imagined and soon it was the Christmas holidays and most people had gone home to their families due to the ever growing obituaries in The Prophet. Those few that had stayed at the school were mostly the D.A. but there were other people who had decided to remain at the school and to everyone’s surprise Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, Flint, Millicent and Pansy were some of these. Harry had a sinking feeling that something awful would happen during the course of Christmas due to their staying behind at the school but obviously there was nothing that he could do about it. It was Monday the 23rd and everyone was excited about Christmas.

Being Monday, that meant that it was the day on which their bi-weekly duelling club was held. After it’s phenomenal success earlier in the year almost every single Gryffindor and Ravenclaw student in the school had attended, as well as large proportions of some of the Hufflepuffs and to everyone else’s dismay, some of the Slytherins. Due to the success of the club, it’s leaders had become the entire teachings staff and they had all turned to teaching various groups of people on different days, in different locations and at different times throughout the weeks. There was one group which consisted only of the D.A. and that was taught by Mad Eye, Remus and McGonagall on Mondays and Thursdays at 9p.m. in the Great Hall.

Harry was sat down at the large extended table between Professor McGonagall and Hermione and started chatting with Remus across the table. Since there were just over thirty students still at the school and all the teachers, they had decided that only one large table would be necessary. Most people preferred this to the old way in which they had a huge number of people at the Gryffindor table and hardly anyone at the Slytherin table. Still, the Slytherins that had stayed had refused to join everyone else at their table and had made their own table on the other side of the room to sneer at everyone else from. This suited the D.A. and everyone else besides just fine. Harry ate his cereal and spent five minutes in conversation whilst chasing the rest of the uneaten flakes around the edge of the bowl with his spoon before he glanced down at the paper that had just been dropped onto the table infront of him.

LOCKHEART KILLS SELF AND 5 MINITRY OFFICIALS IN DARING ATTACK ON MINISTER

Harry gaped at it in disbelief and next to him Hermione did the same.

“I can’t believe it…” Harry said, shocked at what had happened. “I wonder when this happened.” He glanced through the article for some indication of time but unhelpfully found none.

“Yesterday.” Ron said, “Dad was talking about it last night and the twins owled me to tell me about it earlier.”

“I can’t believe he’s dead… Still, that’s just one less person to kill you, right?” Dean said to Harry, who murmured a reply and stared down at his cereal.

He’s going to be there in Death, waiting for me… He thought unhappily and pushed the thought from his mind as he rejoined the conversations around him. Remus watched him carefully and when he met his gaze he returned his smile with a little worry. He didn’t want anything awful to happen to Harry and he had instantly made the connection that Harry had, that he would be waiting for him in Death when they went to visit it, which should be some time soon, or so they both hoped.

Remus glanced down to the other end of the table where Fred and George were clearly plotting against Malfoy. He rolled his eyes when he saw the dungbombs unsubtly hidden in their shirt pockets and wondered how long it would be until Molly confiscated them. A few seats down from him, Molly was watching the twins as they tried to sneak some of them to Bill and Charlie and was not very pleased with them. Ron had been the first to complain when he found out that a lot of the Order were staying with them over Christmas and all the students had been informed of this, although the Slytherins preferred to say that Ron was having his family to stay because they couldn’t afford their dinner that year. This wouldn’t have been feasible had there been more of the other Order members staying but unfortunately there was only Molly, Arthur, Bill, Charlie and Kingsley there, which meant it was the entire Weasley family and one extra. The Slytherins had since decided that Kingsley was originally a Weasley who had tried desperately to escape the clutches of the poverty-stricken family and had changed his name. Naturally the twins hadn’t let the incessant insulting remarks about their family go unpunished and were constantly plotting a way to get revenge.

Harry got up from the table, vanished his plate and wandered back up to the common room, but no one followed him, not even Remus, which he was especially glad about. Due to the dwindling numbers of students, the Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors were all sharing their common rooms with one another, and were all working on breaking into the Slytherin dungeons. Due to the students now sharing their common rooms, the teachers were also to be found in any of the common rooms, although the Staff Room remained a safe haven for the teachers to congregate. It was for this reason that Harry kept checking to see whether Remus was following him.

Harry ran into his dorm after saying the password: ‘Season’s greetings’ which was the same for all three of the friendly houses. In his room he flung a variety of things onto his bed. There was a picture of his parents and Sirius from years ago, the tiny phoenix and a quill that belonged to Harry. Next to all these was a book on very advanced charms which Harry had taken from the Restricted area in the library with Professor Flitwick’s permission.

He read back through the spell he had to do to each object once more and picked up the quill which belonged to him and concentrated hard on himself and a strong memory and mental image of himself.

Minuo Solidium Ego Effingo…” Harry murmured, the tip of his wand just touching the feather. He repeated this three times and he looked down at the feather. It was glowing gold and he watched incredulously as it began to change. The wand levitated in the air a little and he held his wand to the feather and saw a swirl of glittering gold whoosh from his wand and encompass the feather entirely. As quickly as the spell had begun it ended again and there was a small thud as a four inches high version of himself landed on top of the quill and stared in amazement at the phoenix which was as big as itself.

“Wow… I don’t believe it!” the smaller version of himself said in a higher and quieter voice than his own. Harry’s eyes widened and he stared down at himself, unable to believe the advanced magic that he had managed to complete with out the assistance of Hermione, which he had thought he would need. Filled with confidence from his success, Harry took the picture of his parents and Sirius next and performed the same spell, holding a mental image of them all strongly in his head.

“Harry!” His mother shouted at his smaller self, “You’ll fall and break your neck!” Harry had been trying to climb up a small mountain of duvet on the bed and had slipped, tumbling backwards and his mother, who was slightly taller than himself, and his father and Sirius, who were quite a bit taller (almost 5 inches high) had laughed and run up after him. Harry smiled at the progress he had made in such a short time and finally took the phoenix and after immobilising it with a weak full body bind, he performed the same charm and soon a miniature Harry stood with four miniature guardians behind him laughing, joking and trying to ride the small phoenix which was around their size.

Harry could have watched them all day, but he froze them all to prevent them from running amok around his room and getting lost. He had spent the last month trying desperately to think of a present to get Remus for Christmas although they had agreed not to get each other anything. Finally his mind had drifted back to the mirror of Erised and what he and Remus had both seen and decided that he would charm small versions of himself and his four parents, which could be frozen when they got too irritating, so that they would always be around. He hoped that he would like it, since it had taken him quite some time to get Professor Flitwick to give him permission to get the book from the library and he eventually had to tell him that he was charming something for Remus for Christmas. He smiled and quickly boxed the little figures and wrapped it with a wave of his wand. He had known that he could have bought Remus almost anything he could have wanted with all the money that lay untouched in his bank vault but he knew that Remus would probably want something with a more personal touch.

“Hey, Harry!” Ron grinned as he walked into the room and Harry banished the present to under his bed the instant he heard his voice. “Fancy a game of Quidditch? Only Cho and Justin say that they fancy another tournament, what with all their teams being at school as well as ours.” Harry agreed to the match and made arrangements to play in half an hours time. Ron grinned and ran from the room to go find Cho and Justin, whom he found a little time later in the Gryffindor common room, chatting about the addictive sport.

“I’ll go down to the staff room and see if Madam Hooch will referee if you want.” Andrew Peterson said from the sofa as he changed himself into his Quidditch robes with a quick wave of his wand. Justin nodded for him to go to the staffroom and within a moments time he was out of the common room and walking quickly down to the ground floor. “Sorry, Professor!” He said, as he walked into Remus just outside his office. Remus smiled and replied that it had been his fault before disappearing inside his office. He crossed the room quickly and went into his living quarters. On his bed lay a copy of ‘Hogwarts: A history’ and a piece of parchment, on which a complex charm had been copied. He smiled and sat down on the bed, pulling his wand from his pocket and checking through the spell. He knew what he had to do, and it would be reasonably difficult, but it was Harry’s present and he knew that he’d like it. Around him the little dragon flew happily and ran across his knees, jumping about. Remus grinned and commenced with the spell.


***


It was half an hour after he had begun charming Harry’s present for Christmas and he was now watching Harry flying about in the snowy weather outside with the other two Quidditch teams. Today had attracted numerous people to come and watch them fly, but he had chosen not to go out and watch from the stands, but to watch from his window, where he still had an excellent view and Harry would occasionally fly past and stick his tongue out at him when the Snitch flew too far. At one point in the game the Snitch had flown right over the school and the two Seekers playing at the time had chased it over the rooftops and around the towers until Harry had caught it and flown back amid the cheers and applause to the pitch. He watched the matches end and saw the students building up teams for a huge snowball fight but Harry flew back up to the castle on his firebolt and as Remus walked to leave his office he heard a tapping on his window, when he went to open it he found the frozen boy who looked rather more blue than he had before.

“You’re freezing!” Remus said as he helped him through the window. His foot slipped on the windowsill and Harry fell into his arms, his broom falling to the floor. “Watch it.” Remus smiled and helped his frozen self over to the fire to warm up.

“Thanks.” Harry smiled as his guardian handed him a cup of steaming hot chocolate. He sipped it before wrapping both his hands around the mug for extra warmth. “At least we won…”

“Yes, but you flew into a huge snowdrift at the same time.” Remus pointed out. “I saw Dumbledore earlier… We’re going into Death tomorrow.” Harry stared at him in disbelief. Tomorrow was Christmas eve and he was already pretty excited about that, but going into Death… he couldn’t believe it. Remus watched his expression change from shock to excitement to worry to shock to excitement where it stayed.

“I-I can’t believe it…” Harry said, “We’re finally going to be able to go.”

“I know.” Remus said softly and came and sat down next to him by the fire. He wrapped his arms around the boy who was rather damp and pretty cold as well, but he didn’t care, the warmth of the fire was easily enough. Harry curled up to him the way he always did and stared into the flames. His mind wasn’t on Death anymore but on the best ways he could get Snape and Malfoy, seemingly one of his default thoughts. He remembered a few years ago when the Weasley twins had made the snowballs repeatedly hit Snape in the head…

***


“POTTER!” Snape screamed at the top of his voice as yet another snowball chased him down the corridor. Severus turned and ran as a huge snowball, more than six feet in diameter came rolling along the corridor towards him. Snape was trapped on the fifth floor and he couldn’t think of any corridors in the area that would get him out. He knew that it was Potter, of course, who else was it likely to be?

Harry was almost on the floor with laughter and at the other end of the corridor Remus raised his eyebrows when he saw his old enemy running from the snow. He glanced up at the ceiling and saw Snape’s wand stuck to the ceiling above him, just out of his reach. He grinned menacingly and summoned the wand to him and a moment later he hid it in his pocket. Snape was backed against the wall, ready for the snowball to hit him and instead it went straight through him. It was just a hologram. Remus grinned and looked for Harry, who he could see, peeping out from behind a tapestry hanging nearby. Snape had seen him too and marched over to him but before he got within ten feet of him, another snowball went after him.

“Do really expect me to run from another hologram?!” Snape asked him in disbelief, just before he was bowled over by a large snowball. There was spluttering to be heard from a large mound of snow as Snape tried to escape it, but unfortunately it had been enchanted to be sticky – either to keep it together or for the purpose of sticking to him once he got up. Harry recovered from his laughter quickly and ran past Remus, who ran after him instantly as they began to run up the stairs to the next level.

“What the hell are you doing?!” Remus asked him in disbelief, and Harry, seeing Snape running quickly behind them, began to run a lot faster. Remus sighed and ran faster still, somehow managing to keep up with Harry’s quick pace. “You can’t just curse Snape!”

“Why not? You do.” Harry said and Remus spluttered something as a reply, “You did, I saw you curse him just this morning so that he was stuck in a pink dress through breakfast.” Remus grabbed Harry’s wrist and pulled him quickly up the next flight of stairs as Snape began to gain ground during their brief bickering.

“Do as I say, not as I do.” Remus told him as they ascended into the owlery. They realised that they had run into a dead end but when Remus looked at Harry he saw laughter and excitement in his face, which he tried and failed to hide from him. He wondered what it could be about being stuck in the owlery with a rather sticky Snape that could bring out laughter… that was before he looked above the door and saw the large mound of feathers hovering there.

Harry cried out as he was catapulted forwards and Remus jumped back in surprise.

“I am not as stupid as you think, Mr Potter.” Snape said as he climbed through the trapdoor which Harry had been standing on a moment before. Remus cursed himself, he had forgotten the trapdoor, and apparently so had Harry as he lay in a pile of feathers, laughing. Remus stood behind Snape and murmured the summoning spell with his want pointed at the feathers. They shot towards him but he stayed close behind Snape and in a few seconds Snape was covered. Remus made for the door and pulled a laughing Harry to his feet as he did so, both of them raced down the stairs and along a few corridors until they reached the portrait of the Fat Lady.

“Season’s greetings.” Remus gasped when they reached her and they walked inside, trying to steady their breathing before they reached the crowd of people inside. Gryffindor tower had become the most popular place to be and the Ravenclaws and the Hufflepuffs had no problem with being in there, neither did the teachers.

Harry and Remus sat down on one of the sofas by the fire. Mad Eye, who was sat in a chair to the side raised an eyebrow at seeing them steadying their breath as if they’d been running. Minerva smiled slightly and wondered what they’d done but chose not to ask. On the other side of the large sofa sat Tonks and Charlie who were chatting about the D.A. and sat near the fire was Filius, who shifted uncomfortably as the fire began to burn him. Tonks raised an eyebrow as she pulled a feather from Harry’s hair and allowed it to glide down into the flames.

“So what have you done then?” Filius asked Remus, wondering whether or not he would actually say.

“Nothing.” Remus said as innocently as he could, which turned out to be not very innocently as he tried to fight back a laugh at the idea of Snape basically tarred and feathered. From outside the common room there was a shout and a low rumbling and Harry smiled slightly. “What was that?”

“Another snowball.” Harry explained, “I timed holograms to appear every five minutes and real ones every 15.” Remus rolled his eyes but laughed all the same as Snape staggered through the portrait and over to them, still with most of his robes covered in feathers.

“Ah Severus.” Minerva said to him, “You’re looking more birdlike than usual.”

“Yes, I’m afraid feathers don’t quite become you though.” Filius said.

“Nor will they assist you in flight.” Mad Eye observed. Snape glared at them all and his hatred filled stare rested on Harry, who was fighting back a smile as he sat at the end of the sofa closest to him with Tonks on one side of him and Remus on the other, with his arm around his shoulders.

“50 points from Gryffindor.” Snape hissed at Harry who merely watched him without expression. “And you’re as bad as he is!” Snape growled at Remus, “You’re a teacher! Have some responsibility!” Remus raised an eyebrow slightly.

“Severus, do you suggest that I am immature enough to cover you in feathers with a permanent sticking charm?” Remus asked him and seeing the panic on Snape’s face he grinned wolfishly at him. Snape babbled something incoherently before running from the room as fast as his legs could carry him and everyone gathered around the fire laughed.

“Did you really use a permanent sticking charm?” Mad Eye asked him.

“Nah, it was magic snowball.” Remus explained and the rest of the group nodded in understanding, although how they could just accept ‘magic snowball’ as an answer for the adhesive used on Snape, Harry didn’t quite know.

The rest of the day was passing quickly for Harry, who spent most of his time in the common room on the sofa with Remus, talking with whoever came to sit with them, which seemed like everyone during the course of the day. One of the most avidly discussed topics was the Quidditch cup, which everyone wanted but didn’t mind losing, so long as Snape didn’t get it. So far Gryffindor had beaten Ravenclaw at the end of November, although that match should have been played by the Slytherins, and Hufflepuff had beaten Ravenclaw at the beginning of December. The twins were already accepting bets on the outcome of Ravenclaw Vs Slytherin which would be during January.

“I bet 5 Galleons that Ravenclaw wins,” Tonks was saying to Fred.

“Yeah, but they lost to Hufflepuff.” Remus said.

“Only because Cho took a bludger to the face five minutes in.” George said,

“And then again ten minutes later.” Harry said.

“It wasn’t my fault we lost!” Cho scowled.

“Well it wasn’t my fault, was it?” Harry said to her. Cho scowled at him and looked away. “Slytherin always cheat anyway.”

“True, but we’ve beaten then when they cheat before.” Ron said.

“We’ve also lost when they cheat before as well.” Fred said to his younger brother. “And with Flint again you’d better watch out.”

“Well Malfoy’s only playing games in decent conditions.” Tonks said, “He bottled out of playing Gryffindor last month and they had to play Ravenclaw instead,”

“Worst game ever,” Ron said.

“I’ve played worse…” Harry said darkly.

“Like with the dementors in third year?” Fred said.

“And when Dobby enchanted that bludger to only go after you in your second year.” George said.

“And then it broke your arm and Lockheart de-boned it.” Ron said.

“And then when you almost got thrown off your broom by Quirrel in your first ever match…” Cho added.

“Enough!” Remus said, “No more stories of how you’ve almost died in Quidditch…” Everyone smiled.

“Yeah, almost died.” Harry said, “I’m not dead yet.” Remus shook his head and with the arm that was around the boys shoulders he gave him a squeeze.

“Anyway, duelling club soon.” Tonks said, “You all ready to be cursed into next week?”

“I suppose so,” Harry smiled.

“Good, I expect just about everyone in the school will be there tonight,” Remus said, “Although hopefully not the Slytherins,”

“That’s very house-ist of you Remus.” Tonks said to him.

“It’s not, they always cause trouble and try and hex Harry all at once and then wonder why they’re knocked out on the floor a moment later.” Ron said.

“I suppose we’d better be going then, Tonks.” Remus said and reluctantly he removed his arm from around Harry’s shoulders and pulled himself to his feet before he left the room, accompanied with Tonks.


Chapter 35: Thirty-Five
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Thirty Five

At one end of the Great Hall stood Remus, Mad Eye, Tonks, Minerva, Severus, Filius, Pomona, Sabina, Arthur, Kingsley and Dumbledore. They stood awaiting the students that were to come to the duelling club that evening. Predictably they all appeared pretty much together. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Dean, Luna, Fred, George and Ginny all appeared first, and then everyone else followed soon after.

“Due to the fact that there are so few of you here today and so many teachers still in the school, each teacher will work with two or three students duelling each one in turn.” Dumbledore said quietly. He read out the list of students and they all moved to their teacher that they would be working with for the evening.

Soon Harry found himself with Minerva, Michael Corner and Susan Bones. He watched Michael and Susan begin to duel and then turned to his professor who smiled slightly at him. They both bowed slightly and raised their wands to duel. McGonagall instantly shot a stunner at him and he leapt out of the way quickly. He was already glancing around for things that would assist him in some way in the room and fired a quick freezing spell at her. He knew that he used those often in duels and decided that he would not use it again. Harry glanced across at his opponent and then something above her head caught his eye.

Ron watched Harry duelling on the other side of the room and wished he could duel as well as he did; he was giving McGonagall a hard time of it and she was excellent. Ron looked up from where he lay on the hard floor to Tonks who grinned apologetically at him and dragged him to his feet. He had just been knocked down by a strong full body bind and even after she had taken the spell off him he hadn’t wanted to get back up again so that he could lose. Tonks allowed him to sit to one side for a while whilst he recovered and she began to duel with Luna and Cho sat next to him watching everyone else.

Near the door Ron could see Lupin duelling with Magadi Kirke and he was doing very well. He hadn’t thought that someone who looked so weak could be so incredibly powerful in a duel, and yet he was. Magadi was struggling and a moment later she lost and was laying on the floor, under a leg locker curse. Remus smiled at her and helped her to her feet, giving her a few words of encouragement before taking on Fred. Ron grinned and looked for his other brother who was across the room duelling with Padma Patil whilst he waited to duel with Snape, who was doing very well since every now and again one of the other students would fire a curse at him, just because they could.

“Watch Harry.” Cho told him and he glanced over at his best friend who had conjured a giant snake to chase McGonagall, although she never faltered for a moment.

Gelotrium Totalus!” She cried, her wand pointed at the giant snake infront of her. It froze into a solid block of ice and impressed Harry who had nowhere near enough skill to totally freeze an object of that size. He leapt behind the snake for shelter against the freezing spell which she linked with a light spell so that she ended up freezing Marietta Edgecombe across the room and blinding anyone looking their way at the same time. Harry took the opportunity to thaw his snake with a strong inferno spell and he sent it back after Minerva again. She leapt out of the way as it lunged for her.

Reducto!” She cried and the giant cobra disintegrated instantly.

Impedimenta!” Harry cried and she slowed down instantly, giving him the advantage. He conjured another snake and then glancing up at the wall he pointed his wand at two of the gargoyles there and transfigured it to life, something that impressed McGonagall and everyone else watching to no end. He sent them both after her but in a twist that Harry had not foreseen she controlled them with the Imperious curse and soon they found themselves in stalemate: Harry was surrounded by two gargoyles, ready to strike at any moment, and Minerva was at the mercy of Harry’s snake which was poised above her with it’s fangs bared. They looked at each other and Minerva smiled at him, something she seemed to do more often these days, and called off the gargoyles and Harry vanished the snake, which was a boa this time.

“Excellent Mr Potter.” She said to him, “50 points to Gryffindor for a brilliant display of Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration and ingenuity.” There was applause from around the hall and Harry looked around in surprise to find that most of the people had stopped duelling to watch him and McGonagall.

Harry couldn’t help but smile at Remus, whom he now faced. It had been 15 minutes since he had opposed Professor McGonagall and a few minutes afterwards Dumbledore had ordered everyone to switch around so that they were duelling a new challenger. Harry had found himself with Remus, Ernie Macmillan and Andrew Williams – the fourth year chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Ernie and Andrew duelled somewhere behind them but it was Remus with whom Harry was concerned. Remus returned his smile and they bowed, never taking their eyes from one another. In a moment they were in a fast paced duel. Harry drastically changed his style so that he used only offensive moves which quite put Remus off, since before Harry had used a vast range of spells which was difficult at first but after a minute or two he saw the pattern in his attacking and defending.

Expelliarmus” Harry said and Remus moved quickly so as not to find himself without his wand.

“Is that all you’ve got?” Remus asked teasingly.

Reducto” Harry said quickly and Remus had to use a very strong blocking charm to prevent himself from being blown apart. He smiled; it was going to be an interesting duel.

Harry had greatly improved at duelling since the first time he had been challenged by the boy and it was difficult to beat him now. He eagerly anticipated the day when he would lose and he knew that when he did it would be a spectacular loss since Harry generally either lost himself or he beat his opponent amazingly. He had seen him draw against Minerva and he was very impressed at the way in which he had controlled the snake and transfigured the gargoyles, although that backfired on him. He sent a jet of sparks at Harry, who dodged them easily and sent the same curse back at him.

Gelotrium Totalus.” Remus said and the spell shot straight at Harry and he rebounded it back at him with the blocking and reversing spell, catching Remus by surprise, and it just missed him. Remus scowled, he had been purposefully not blocking any of his charms so far so that he could catch him by surprise with that one, if he had been just a centimetre or two to the left then he would have frozen him solid and beaten him.

Locomotor Mortis” Remus said quickly and Harry’s legs snapped together and he struggled for a moment before falling backwards. Remus moved to him and caught him as he fell a second later, unlocking his legs soon after. “I believe that’s somewhere around 23 to me and 0 to you.” He said, but not unkindly as he helped Harry over to the side of the room so that he could sit down; the spell hadn’t quite worn off yet and Harry’s legs had a tendency to give in after every few steps he took. “You surprise me – you didn’t use Serpensortia, I thought you would have.”

“I was going to, and I would have done.” Harry said to him as he was seated, “but you didn’t give me chance.” Remus smiled to him turned back to Ernie and Andrew who waited to see with whom he would duel next.

“Come on then Ernie.” He smiled encouragingly at the boy who stepped forwards to try and beat him. Harry sat at the side of the room and watched as the teachers beat all the students with general ease. He had enjoyed the evening and he knew that it was coming to a close. As the clock struck 9 Dumbledore ended the club for that night and everyone disappeared to various locations around the school.

“Harry did very well tonight,” Minerva noted with a smile on her face to Remus as they made their way down to the staffroom.

“I know,” He replied “I wonder when I’ll lose to him.”

“Hopefully not any time soon.” Filius said.

“It should be soon, the sooner I lose the sooner it’s proven that he’s excellent.” Remus said to them as he pushed open the staffroom door and then lowered his voice, “He beat Severus earlier on in the year,”

“Really!?” Minerva asked in disbelief as the three of them sat down, “When?”

“September.” Remus replied, “I didn’t mention it because I didn’t want Harry to get the idea that it was right for him to go around cursing his teachers.”

“Still, it was pretty brave of him to start a fight with Snape.” Filius said.

“He didn’t, he trapped Harry in a room up on seventh after chasing him round the school and they ended up duelling and Harry ended up winning.” Remus smiled. The door opened and Mad Eye, Tonks and Snape joined the group.

“The D.A. really are exceptional.” Tonks said, “One or two of them almost beat me!”

“No shocks there.” Snape muttered under his breath, “I lost to no one and came no where near losing to any of them.”

“You only went because you wanted to duel with Harry and humiliate him infront of everyone.” Remus said coldly to him.

“So what if I did?” Snape asked coolly, “Pity I never got to duel him.”

“Pity…” Minerva agreed, “And perhaps had the both of you duelled then he could have beaten you again and then you would be humiliated.” Snape shot an angry look at Remus and raised his wand against him. Remus looked at him calmly, knowing that he wasn’t stupid enough to lose to him in a duel for the third time in his lifetime. Snape knew this and lowered his wand before marching out of the room.

“Good evening, headmaster.” Snape muttered as he left the room and Dumbledore walked into a room of his staff who looked tired but happy.

“Remus, if I could speak with you outside a moment.” Dumbledore said and Remus nodded and got up from his chair and followed the headmaster form the room. Minerva, Filius, Tonks and Mad Eye all looked between each other inquisitively and seeing that none of the others were aware of what the conversation outside the door was about, Filius cast a quick charm on the door so that they could hear the conversation outside.

“Ah yes, about tomorrow.” Dumbledore said to them once they were out in the corridor. “If you and Harry would meet me in the entrance hall at midday we will go to Death then. That is all.”

“Thank you, Albus.” Remus smiled.

“Death?!” Tonks asked in disbelief on the other side of the door. The four professors in the staffroom stared at each other in disbelief but forced the puzzled looks from their faces as Remus re-entered the room a moment later.


Chapter 36: Thirty-Six
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Thirty Six

“I feel nervous and I don’t know why…” Harry said as he and Remus walked down through the school to the entrance hall. Remus put his hand on his shoulder and for a moment Harry felt it tremble very slightly.

“So do I.” Remus smiled at him and they walked on together through the school.

“Why do they feel nervous?!” Ron asked Hermione, Neville, Dean, Luna and Cho, Fred and George. The eight of them had been sleeping in the common room and had been woken some time earlier by Harry sneaking out on his own. They had followed him to see where he was going and began to get even more suspicious when he met Remus walking down through the school as well.

“I dunno.” Dean replied, “But doesn’t he normally go on adventures and such and such with you?” Ron scowled darkly at Remus and they marched on after him.

“There is no way that this isn’t suspicious.” Tonks muttered to Minerva, Filius, Mad Eye and Snape who had followed the other four from their meeting place earlier on. They were walking silently around the school after the eight teenagers who in turn were following Remus and Harry, who hadn’t been as discreet as they would have liked to have been.

“I wonder where they’re going.” Filius said, “They can’t actually be going into Death can they?”

“I don’t know… if they are you’d have thought Dumbledore would let them in years ago.” Minerva replied and they became much more quiet as Remus and Harry reached the entrance hall.

“It would appear we aren’t alone.” Remus said quietly to Harry.

“Aren’t we?” Harry asked and was about to glance about for those who had followed them when Remus told him not to.

“They’re over by the corridor behind you.” Remus told him, “There’s Ron, Hermione some others and a teacher or two.”

“I’m never ever alone, am I?” He said in disbelief.

“It would appear you aren’t.” James said to his son, who he would soon be able to speak to for the first time in his life. Lily and Sirius stood besides him as well as Frank and Alice who they had become quite a lot closer to since their death. They were all a lot more quiet than usual, owing to their partly being nervous about seeing Harry and Remus and because there was little to say. After a few minutes of watching Remus and Harry chatting easily in the entrance hall and watching their followers try to figure out what was going on, Dumbledore appeared and walked over to them.

“This is a portkey.” Dumbledore said, holding a small candlestick, the one he had used when taking Neville to Death. “We will take the portkey to the location of the gateway into Death so that we are not followed.” His gaze travelled beyond them and to those that stood behind watching.

“Three—Two—One—NOW!” Ron said and as Harry and Remus reached out for the portkey Ron, Hermione, Dean, Neville, Luna, Cho, Fred, George, Minerva, Filius, Mad Eye, Severus and Tonks all flung themselves forwards and were all clinging on to one another and the portkey when they all vanished.

Harry picked himself up from the floor and looked up to see that only Remus and Dumbledore had managed to stay on their feet. Remus didn’t look impressed with the pile of people which Harry had been forced to drag himself out of, but Dumbledore’s eyes were still twinkling and his expression was blank. He looked around to see that he was in a circular room, presumably at the top of a tower with no doors except for one archway at the side of him. The archway had a black veil fluttering in a breeze that they couldn’t feel and Harry knew already what that veil was.

“Hello everyone.” Dumbledore said once they had all regained their feet. “I am so very glad that you were all able to come. Before you is the gateway to Death which Neville has taken before. I did not plan on having all of you entering the realms beyond with Harry and Remus but Death is a dangerous place to those who still possess life and I should not want anything to happen to either of you. It is for this reason that any of you who should wish to enter Death may do so, although any who do not may come back with myself.” Dumbledore finished his rather long speech to them all but no one moved towards him to go back to the land of the living.

“Very well.” Dumbledore said, “If you would all follow me please.”

The group glanced about nervously before all of them followed Dumbledore through the veil, Harry and Remus being the last to leave life. They stepped through into Death and only Harry, Dumbledore and Neville were not shocked that they were in Hogwarts and they noticed the immediate differences in the place, such as the massed ranks of the dead which walked amongst them and the living which couldn’t see them and were somewhat duller and less vibrant in colour than they. Remus looked around him to see that they were on the seventh floor corridor just outside the Gryffindor Common room.

“I give you until tomorrow morning at midday to spend in Death. You will all be here at the appointed time or you will pay severe penalties. Anyone wishing to leave Death before that time can of course re enter life using this gateway.” Dumbledore said to them all and pointed to the veil they had just walked through. “Now, Harry and Remus – if you would follow me.”

The three of them turned to walk away from them and everyone else watched them leave.

“Should we follow them?” Ron asked and no one answered for a moment.

“No,” Neville said quietly, “They’ll be going to see his parents. He won’t want you there.”

“Very true.” Minerva said to him. “Shall we enter the common room then?”

“Season’s Greetings.” Filius said to the Fat Lady and she swung open instantly for them to enter.

They walked into the common room and were greeted by many people all at once. Cedric went forwards to welcome them into Death and Cho broke down sobbing into his arms. Frank and Alice entered shortly after them and hugged Neville tightly and started chatting with him about life. They had been sat in the common room only a minute when two people came running down from the dorms. One of these men looked like an older, scarless version of Harry and seemed to be quite agitated about something, where as the other was a man slightly taller than him with long black hair and a grin on his face.

“Potter, Black.” Moody nodded to them and they came over to greet him. They stood talking for a minute or so.

“So why are you here?” Sirius asked him eventually.

“I take it Lily decided not to tell you… Harry and Remus are here in Death and we followed.” Filius informed him and the two men stared at each other gob smacked.

“I can’t believe she didn’t tell us! Where are they?” James asked but no one seemed to know. “Come on!” He said and grabbed Sirius’ arm and ran from the room.


***


Harry turned away from his friends and followed Dumbledore and Remus down the stairs onto the sixth floor. Harry asked where they were going and was told that they were going to meet his parents and Sirius down in the entrance hall. He glanced up at Remus who met his gaze and smiled back at him, his hand was resting lightly on his shoulder as they walked through the school.

“I wish everyone else hadn’t followed us here.” Harry said quietly.

“I know, me too.” Remus said in reply, “But you may be thankful of them later on, you never know.” Harry nodded and they walked down into the entrance hall. Harry was instantly embraced by his mother and he hugged her tightly back. Remus had stood back so as not to be knocked over by Lily and then once the two of them had broken apart she looked to him and embraced him in the same suffocating fashion.

“So where’s Sirius and James?” Remus asked her.

“I don’t know, I’m sure they’ll be along shortly.” She said in a voice that seemed to hide laughter. Harry glanced at her and saw his own eyes twinkling in delight at being with her son.

“You know the rules, Lily,” Dumbledore said to her, “You must return them at midday tomorrow and no trying to keep them in Death.” Dumbledore smiled at the three of them before turning to walk away, “I’ll leave you all to get reacquainted.”

“Come on, let’s go for a walk.” Lily said and took Harry’s arm and on the other side of him, Remus put his arm around Harry’s shoulder as he often did and they walked outside into the snow. It was odd but they didn’t feel the cold at all, not even when the wind blew fiercely and they realised that they were wearing very little to keep them warm.

“So where are they then? Sirius and James, I mean,” Remus asked Lily as they started to walk around the frozen lake. It was all very beautiful outside with the world covered in snow and ice.

“I ‘forgot’ to tell them you were coming to visit.” Lily told them and Remus raised his eyebrows slightly, “They’ll find out soon, someone in the tower will tell them and they’ll come and find us. I just wanted some time alone with you and without their inanity.” She smiled to them. Lily stopped and looked down at her boots before taking out her wand from her pocket and transfiguring them so that there was a small blade in the middle of each boot. She did the same to the shoes of both Harry and Remus and with each of the adults holding onto Harry, they glided out onto the ice.

Remus had never skated on the ice with blades on before, only when he was at school and skidded across it on his shoes so it took him some time and a lot of dragging across the lake from Lily and Harry to get him going. Lily was an excellent skater but that was because she had skated across and around the ice each year since Harry had begun school and Harry himself was rather good at it owing to the fact that he had been skating once or twice with his muggle friends before they… well, before.

“Come on Remus!” Lily laughed and she had Harry raced across to get him but collided on the way and the three of them ended up sprawled on the ice.

“I’m no good at this.” Remus laughed as he helped Lily back to her feet. Lily skated off after Harry once she had helped Remus back up and Harry’s newest guardian stood in the middle of the lake watching Harry being chased round and round. He span quickly and skated backwards for a little way, sticking his tongue out at his mother before skating off faster than before. I wonder where Sirius and James have got to. He thought before being whisked off by Harry as the boy skated past and grabbed his wrist.


James and Sirius walked back to the common room and threw themselves down onto a sofa near the fire.

“Why are you up here?” Frank asked Sirius.

“Because we don’t know where they went.” Sirius replied. He watched Neville happily curled up in Alice’s arms and stared into the fire, trying to think where they could have gone.

“I’m sure they’ll turn up.” Said Alice as she and Neville got to their feet. “We’re going to go have a walk in the grounds, are you coming Frank?”

“Sure.” The man said and the three of them left the common room, leaving only Sirius and James sat by the fire. Nick came floating through one of the walls to the side and Sirius asked him whether or not he had seen Harry and Remus.

“Ah yes, I spoke to them not five minutes ago on the lake.” He replied and James and Sirius ran to the window and looked outside. Sure enough there were three figures skating across the frozen water and by the looks of it Remus had just fallen over. James grinned and ran to the door, pulling Sirius after him.

“Come on Padfoot!” He said and the two of them sat down on the banister and flew down to the sixth floor and then down to the fifth in the same fashion. Soon they reached the main entrance and ran outside to see Harry laughing at the edge of the lake as he dodged his mother and flew off to the other side of the lake after Remus. They went to the edge of the lake and quickly charmed blades onto the soles of their shoes and went out onto the lake.

Remus turned and saw Sirius and James skating across towards them and a moment later Harry ran into him, knocking them both down.

“You can’t just stop!” Harry laughed and smiled when he saw his father and Sirius skid to a stop next to them. He gratefully accepted his dad’s hand as he got to his feet. In a moment of his being back on his feet he was embraced tightly by both Sirius and James.

“Missed you, Harry.” Sirius grinned when he pulled away from the boy.

You missed him?” James asked, “How do you think I felt?!” Harry laughed and span quickly on the ice and skated away from them. Remus greeted them both warmly and skated off after Harry.

James was as excellent a skater as Lily was but Sirius was not quite as good as was even worse than Remus was. When they began to play tag on the ice some time later it was always Sirius who found himself chasing after the others in vain.

Sirius scowled at Harry as he stood still in the middle of the lake whilst Harry skated round him in the same track each time, teasing him because he was ‘it’. Harry laughed at him and Sirius reached out to grab him but he leant back just in time and his fingers just missed him. Sirius happened to glance down at Harry’s feet and realised suddenly that the blades on his shoes had gone more than an inch into the ice. He opened his mouth to warn Harry to stop but no words ever escaped him as he felt the ice move beneath his feet and suddenly his mouth was filled with icy water. He felt someone besides him and realised that Harry must have fallen in too.

Remus had watched Harry spinning around Sirius and skated around the edges of the lake. He watched Sirius glance downwards at Harry’s shoes and then they both disappeared with a splash. He, James and Lily raced towards them and James dropped onto his knees next to the perfect circle in the ice where little fragments of the ice bobbed on the surface. There was no sign of either of them until suddenly Sirius’ head broke the water and he gasped for breath. He clung to the sides with one arm and with the other he grabbed hold of Harry’s robes and pulled him to the surface, spluttering in the same manner but also half laughing at the same time.

Harry glanced up at the three adults above him who looked very relieved that they were okay. Next to him Sirius held onto him with one of his arms and he was clearly amused by it all, despite the fact that he was now submerged up to his chest in icy water. Remus waved his wand quickly and murmured something under his breath and Harry and Sirius were lifted from the water and back onto the ice. Remus took off his cloak and wrapped it around Harry before casting a drying charm on him, then afterwards he cast a warming spell. Sirius scowled at Harry’s treatment and his own lack of treatment.

“You can dry and warm yourself Sirius.” James said to him as they skated across towards the school.

“I know, but…” Sirius started. Lily sighed and took off her cloak and put it around his shoulders before casting the same two spells Remus had cast on Harry moments earlier. Sirius grinned and together the five of them walked back up to the castle. Lily walked along with her arms linked with Sirius’ and Harry’s and on the other side of Harry walked James with his hand on his shoulder and Remus next to him. She wondered how Remus felt about coming here… obviously he would be glad but how well would he accept the fact that he was no longer Harry’s only guardian? Harry loved being close to him but here in Death he would always be closer to James, Sirius and herself because of their absence in his life.

Harry and James walked infront of them and as Sirius, Remus and Lily dropped behind them Lily took hold of Remus’ arm and pulled him into step with her. He smiled slightly at her and they made their way back up to the tower in that manner.

James couldn’t help but smile every time he looked down at Harry walking along next to him. He felt a bizarre mixture of emotions whilst he was around him, and at the same time he managed to feel both happy and sad. He loved being with Harry and having never had a conversation with him he was enjoying every moment of it and at the same time he felt utter misery coursing through him. It was his fault Harry’s life was the way it was. If he had never trusted Peter in the first place all those years ago… At the same time if he had then he wouldn’t have been half as close to Remus and Sirius as he was. He involuntarily moved closer to Harry and gave his shoulder a gentle squeeze. Harry looked up to him with Lily’s jade eyes and smiled at him, making James even more unhappy. He shouldn’t be happy there in Death with him, he should be alive with the four of them and he should be happy and childish and obsessing over girls and exam results, not worrying about how he was going to save the world. Some of his thoughts must have shown in his face because a moment later Harry asked if he was alright.

“I’m fine,” James said to him and forced a smile. He shouldn’t feel so awful when he was with Harry, what was wrong with him? But then again he wasn’t going to be with him for long, it was just past one in the afternoon and they had almost reached the tower. They had seen a few people on the way up but they didn’t stop to chat, James knew that he would have an eternity to talk with those people, he only had 23 hours with his only son. “Do you know what I have to do later?” James asked him as they walked into Gryffindor tower.

“What?” Harry asked him.

“Beat you at Quidditch.” James said with a grin.

“You might be hard pressed to do that.” Sirius said.

“Yeah, Harry’s excellent.” Remus said but Harry didn’t comment. They walked into the room and on one side they could see the teachers whom had come from life sat chatting amongst themselves and on the large stairs to the dormitories Ron, Hermione, Dean, Seamus, Cedric, Cho, Fred, George and Luna were laughing about something.

Remus, James, Lily, Sirius and Harry all sat down infront of the fire. Harry lay with his head against James’ shoulder whilst he had his arm around his shoulders and on the other side of Harry Sirius leant back against the tall back of the sofa. Lily and Remus sat in opposing chairs making a rectangle between their chairs, the sofa and the fireplace and sat like that they chatted about everything for ten interrupted minutes. Eventually Mad Eye, Minerva, Filius and Tonks came over to sit with them, although no one knew where Snape was.

Harry got up whilst everyone was in a heated debate about the ministry and he left to go sit with his friends unnoticed by any one. He walked out of the common room and went down to the sixth floor where the base of Ravenclaw Tower was located. He said the password and ran up inside where he found everyone laughing and joking round the fire.

“Hey everyone.” He smiled and he was met by a variety of greetings from all those that sat around him before they lapsed back into the conversation they had been having previous to Harry’s arrival.

“So what can we do?” Ron asked them all. They had been sat there for quite some time and were becoming very bored.

“Let’s go try and hex Mad Eye.” Fred suggested.

“Or we can plant Toad Toasties around the staffroom…” George said.

“I know what we can do…” Harry said and everyone listened closely.


***


“Where’s Harry gone?” James asked when the debate had ended. Everyone glanced around the common room but to no avail, Harry was no where to be seen. “I’ve lost my son! I’ve been with him less than two hours and he’s disappeared!” Everyone laughed and James tried to think what could have happened to him.

“POTTER!” Came a scream from outside that was all too well known around the school and everyone’s face around the fire lit up. The common room burst open and Harry and Fred walked in supporting Ron between them as he laughed hysterically. Then came Cho and Cedric holding hands and grinning, followed by Dean and Seamus who were laughing and joking about something, Hermione and Luna walked in last with George who was staggering along with laughter.

The adults watched as they entered and walked across to a seating area on the other side of the room where they proceeded to laugh and joke. They couldn’t help but wonder what it was they had done to Snape but none of them moved for the door, they would find out later they didn’t doubt.

Later came a lot quicker than any of the adults would have thought and the common room door was thrown open five minutes later. Frank, Alice and Neville entered the room.

“Look what we found on the ground floor.” Frank said and grinned as he levitated a large round white ball into the room. “He says he was pushed from the top floor by a few certain individuals…” After looking carefully at the white ball the adults noticed that it had two feet at the bottom and two little hands just sticking out of the sides. On top was a head… and not just anyone’s head, but Snape’s head. James, Sirius and Remus all began to laugh when they realised and Lily and the rest of the staff followed suit soon afterwards.

Alice reversed the extreme cushioning spell Harry had used and allowed the irate potions master to drop to the ground. The moment his feet touched the ground he launched himself across the room at Harry who leapt out of the way just in time and Snape hit his head on the wall. There was more laughter which only served to incense Snape further and Severus chased Harry from the room outside, quickly followed by Sirius, James, Remus, Lily, Ron, Hermione, Dean, Seamus, Cedric, Cho, Fred, George, Luna, Neville, Alice, Frank, Minerva, Filius, Mad Eye and Tonks.

Outside Snape had his wand pointed at Harry’s throat at the top of the stairs. James, Sirius and Remus moved forwards to stop him but they never got anywhere near him. Lily marched straight past them and slapped Snape hard around the face.

“DON’T YOU EVER THREATEN MY SON AGAIN!” She screamed at the top of her voice into the frankly rather frightened face of Snape, who looked as if he would give anything to be somewhere else at that moment.

“Control him then!” Snape shouted at her once he had the nerve to argue back. “He just encased me in a sphere of marshmallow and pushed me down the main stairs, where, after falling down numerous different staircases, I finally ended up in the entrance hall!”

“Is it my fault that you cannot defend yourself against a 16 year old?!” She demanded, “You even lost to him in a duel for Merlin’s sake!” None of those under the age of 20 had known this information prior to Lily’s having shouted it out and Fred and George were the first to burst out laughing and then starting up a chant of “SNAPE IS A LOSER!” as loudly as they could. Behind all this Harry started to laugh and Snape spun round to the boy.

“Do you think this is a laughing matter?” Snape asked him in a deadly quiet voice.

“I do yeah.” Harry said and leapt onto the banister behind him so as to escape Snape’s hand which instantly reached out to grab hold of his robes. Harry stood on the banister and grinned at Snape as he slowly began to slide backwards down the stairs. “Cheerio.” He smiled and Snape gave a yell of fury and leapt onto the banister himself in an attempt to catch him and the two of them sped off from the seventh floor to the main staircase.. Sirius, James and Remus all looked at each other before they ran up to the banister and leapt on behind Snape, wanting to catch up with him so that they could ‘accidentally’ knock him off the banister and down the long drop beneath them. Lily ran down the stairs onto the sixth floor, knowing that they would all end up in the entrance hall she took as many passages as she could to make sure that she got there first, everyone else just stood at the top of the stairs, staring down as Harry flew down to the fifth floor with Snape close behind and Remus, Sirius and James close behind him.

“Oops, sorry Snivellus.” Sirius said as he crashed into the back of Snape and sent him flying off onto the stairs. They were catching up to Harry quickly now and they all ducked as one of the staircases over head moved across. James grabbed onto the back of Remus’ robes to stop himself from falling when they took a sharp left and they all wobbled dramatically when the staircase began to move and they reached a crossroads in the middle of the fourth floor.

Harry realised too late that the staircase that he would have transferred to was moving to the left and he flew off the edge of the banister and leapt up into the air before beginning to fall. Behind him he heard shouts as Sirius, Remus and James saw him fly off the edge and Harry looked down to see his feet connect with the banister of another staircase and he went faster and faster as he flew down to the third floor.

“My son is so cool!” James laughed when he saw Harry land perfectly on the next banister. A moment later he leapt into the air as Harry had done just after Sirius and Remus and infront of him Remus lost his footing but he managed to help him keep his balance as they raced onwards. They had caught up with Harry now and Harry felt Sirius’ hands on his shoulders as they sped downwards at an alarming rate and at the same time the four of them began to wonder how they were going to stop…

The stairs began to get more curvy and they all ducked as another staircase moved over head and leant to the left as the stairs took a sharp right. They had almost made it down to the entrance hall now and Lily was stood there watching them.

“How the hell did she get there first?!” Remus shouted over the rush of air.

“Magic!” Sirius replied.

Lily watched as her son came flying down towards the floor with his godfather behind him and then came his current guardian and his father. They couldn’t stop and Lily watched calmly as they flew off the end of the banister which flicked upwards and they flew up into the air, crashing into the wall and falling down onto the floor. Lily smiled at the pile of stupid men and her stupid son. She bent down and helped Harry to his feet, who then turned and helped Sirius and Remus up whilst she helped James to his feet.

“What did you do to the wall?” Harry asked Lily once they had all regained their feet. The men looked at him questioningly, “Well don’t you think I’d be a bit more hurt if I just flew into a wall with all you behind me?” They gave him a look which said “good point” and glanced to Lily who told them she had softened the wall slightly so that it wouldn’t break any bones when he smashed into it.

“Snape had a go at me because of you.” Lily scowled at Harry as they walked outside into the snow. They wandered over the grounds and sat down under Harry’s favourite tree in the snow which was neither wet nor cold. Harry leant back against the tree and Sirius who sat by the side of him. He watched as Cho and Cedric skated around the lake hand in hand and he scowled at Cedric. He didn’t know that he still quite liked Cho but apparently he did.

“She’s doing that to irritate me, isn’t she?” He said to no one in particular.

“Definitely,” his mum replied and grinned.

“I hope they fall in.” Harry said bitterly, although he really didn’t know why he was that bothered.

“Do you know what you need?” James asked him, “Revenge!” Lily tutted and rolled her eyes and Harry laughed. Remus and Sirius sat there watching the couple nonplussed as to why he wanted Cho or Cedric to fall into the frozen lake.

“But they’ve not done anything to me!” Harry said to him, “I can’t get revenge for nothing.”

“Why not?” James asked.

“No! You aren’t getting them.” Lily said to Harry, “Besides, you’ll go back into life and Cho will be all miserable and boring again because she’ll remember her boyfriend’s dead.” Harry and James laughed. Remus and Sirius still didn’t understand what was going on and decided to leave it.

“Do you know what’s getting revenge for unknown reasons?” Sirius asked him, “Quidditch!”

“No! You aren’t playing Quidditch!” Lily almost shouted.

“Do you know what’s better than Quidditch?” Harry asked Sirius who shook his head and grinned, “Extreme Quidditch.”

“NO!” Lily shouted at him, “No extreme Quidditch! You could have been killed last time.”

“I’m always almost getting killed!” Harry tried to argue.

“So there’s no need to raise the odds is there?!” She argued back and Harry gave in, knowing that he couldn’t win this.

“Come on then, let’s go play Quidditch!” James said, getting to his feet and helping Harry up a moment later. “You’ll play, right Moony?”

“I don’t play Quidditch, you know that.” Remus replied,

“You don’t duel either.” James said pointedly at him.

“I can’t believe I’m allowing this to happen!” Lily groaned, “Be it on your head if Harry gets smashed up.”

“I won’t get smashed up, mum!” He scowled.

“Aww, you called me mum!” Lily said and gave her son a hug as they all walked back up to the castle.

“Well I’ll call you dad if you’d rather.” Harry said to her.

“You’re so sarcastic! You’ve got that from being around Remus too much.” James told him as the ascended the main staircase.

“I’m not that sarcastic.” Remus said, “Sirius is more sarcastic than me.”

They arrived at the common room some five minutes later and found everyone sat where they had been before, with the teachers around the fire place and the students on the other, colder side of the room, chatting about nothing in particular.

“Anyone for Quidditch?” Sirius asked the room loudly.


Chapter 37: Thirty-Seven
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Thirty Seven

Harry raced across the sky a ducked underneath Sirius who feebly hit a bludger at him as he sped after the snitch. James flew after him as quickly as he could, determined not to lose to his son and yet at the same time it didn’t seem very likely that he was going to come out on top in this match. They had eventually got two teams for Quidditch, on the team of the dead there were Sirius and Frank as the beaters and then Cedric, Alice and Seamus as the chasers with James as the Seeker and Edgar Bones, uncle of Susan Bones, as the Keeper.

Harry had a reasonably strong team on the side of the living which consisted of himself as the Seeker, Ron as the keeper, Cho, Dean and Tonks as their Chasers and Fred and George as the beaters.

“Come on Harry!” Cho cheered as he passed her. Followed slowly by the bludger that Sirius had hit at him. That was one draw back of having Sirius as one of the beaters, he just didn’t have it in him to try and hurt Harry and Frank gave Sirius an exasperated look as he cut across the pitch and hit the bludger between Harry and the Snitch. Harry saw it coming and ducked underneath it but lost sight of the Snitch at the same time and James flew past him and up into the air, where he could more easily survey the pitch for the Snitch and a moment later Harry followed him.

“And Tonks scores!” Alice said over the crowds of the living and the dead that had gathered to watch the match. “That’s 50-40 to the living.”

In the stands Remus stood next to Lily as they watched Harry flying about at the top of the pitch. It cheered both of the immensely to see him so happy although the fact that he was only so happy in Death always brought them down.

“Are you happy to be here then?” Lily asked him. Remus didn’t look at her but kept his eyes on Cedric as he raced towards Ron with the quaffle.

“I’m not sure.” Remus said, his voice sounded heavy.

“Why?”

“Well obviously I’m glad to see you three again and seeing Harry happy but…” He trailed off, “It sounds so incredibly selfish but I liked having him to myself and in life he’s only got me but here he has you, James and Sirius and I feel like…”

“Like you get pushed out of the picture.” Lily finished for him and he nodded glumly, “It’s not selfish of you, did I or did I not decide not to tell Sirius and James about your visit just so I could be alone with you both?”

“Yeah, I know.” Remus said quietly and all around them the crowds cheered as they watched Harry and James diving after the Snitch and weaving in and out of the Chasers who tried to get out of their way. James was closer but a bludger hit by Fred cut him off and Harry’s hand closed around the Snitch. Everyone cheered as Alice announced the score.

“Harry caught the Snitch!” Alice shouted over the spectators, “Giving a final score of 200-40 to the living.”

“He loves you just as much as any of us.” Lily said to him as they watched Harry surrounded by both teams and when everyone descended slowly to the ground they could see James with his arm around Harry laughing about something. “Just because we’re his parents and Sirius was his godfather… it means nothing Remus and you better believe it.” Remus didn’t reply but let her take his arm and lead him down the stands and onto the ground where there was a crowd of people all chatting to the players after the match.

Lily walked through them and to Harry. Both she and Remus congratulated Harry on winning the game for them and James went on to blame Sirius for their having lost due to his inability to hit a bludger at his godson. The five of them turned back up to the castle whilst everyone else stayed out to play more Quidditch. James and Sirius walked in front and argued all the way back up to the tower and Remus noticed that Lily walked in between them and kept breaking up the arguments, allowing for him to walk along next to Harry.

“… and Tonks got knocked off but Dean caught her on his broom but then he fell off…” Harry was saying to him and he realised that he had been lost in his thoughts, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” Remus replied to him and smiled as if to show it. Harry watched him for a moment with a slightly troubled and confused expression on his face, “Really!” He added.

“You sure?” Harry asked him, “You’ve not seemed yourself since we got here.”

“There’s nothing wrong, honestly.” He said to Harry and put his arm around his shoulders. Harry seemed to accept this and walked along with him, listening to Sirius and James arguing infront.

“Well if you had actually managed to hit the bludger at him then we would have won!” James said.

“But he didn’t do that because he knew that I would have killed him if he did.” Lily said.

“You can’t be a beater and not hit the bludgers at them!” James said exasperatedly.

Harry listened to them argue as he walked next to Remus, there was something bothering him since he had got into Death and he didn’t know what it was, the only thing that he did know was that had he wouldn’t tell him; if Remus had planned on telling him at all then he already would have done.

They arrived up in Gryffindor tower some time later and after glancing at the clock, Remus found that it had just gone three when they sat down around the fire and started chatting. This time it was he on one side of Harry and on whom he lent, Sirius was on his other side and was half lying down against Harry. Lily and James were in the chairs nearby.

“Just drop it James!” Remus said to him after almost fifteen minutes of more Quidditch arguing, “Face facts, Harry’s better than you.”

“I agree.” Sirius said and James pulled a face.

“Before you leave I’m going to beat you at Quidditch.” James said to his son.

“We could be here for some time then.” Remus said.

“No more Quidditch!” Lily said, “I don’t want to see Harry black and blue because of that stupid game.”

“Don’t you care if Padfoot and me get black and blue then?” James asked her.

“Not in the slightest, knock yourselves out.” She said wryly.

“I can’t believe you care more about your son than me!” Sirius said, offended.

“Shocking, huh?” Lily said to him and smiled, “Anyway it’s almost six.”

“Tea awaits us!” Sirius said and leapt to his feet, quickly followed by James.

“You’re too thin.” James said to Harry, “We’re going to have to force-feed you.”

“Great.” Harry said and rolled his eyes.

“See! You are sarcastic!” James said to him.

“And he gets it from Moony, not me.” Sirius said as they walked out of the common room and down to the Great Hall.

Harry’s eyes widened slightly as they entered the hall to see not just the one table which was suspiciously low on people dining that evening but almost ten other tables spread out across the room. James and Lily went to a deserted table in the corner which they always occupied and were soon followed by Sirius, Harry and Remus and then a moment later by all those that had followed Harry and Remus into Death and Neville’s parents. They ate hungrily and chatted about the events of the day but mostly Quidditch.

“I can’t believe there are so many dead people in Hogwarts.” Harry said to his mother to break up the Quidditch conversations which filled the table and most of the hall.

“There weren’t always this many people here,” Lily said, eagerly taking up the conversation which didn’t have anything to do with sport. “It’s just since Voldemort came back people want to stay where it’s safe.”

“But isn’t it safe in Death anyway?” Remus asked her, “It’s not like you can get killed or anything.

“That’s where you’re wrong.” Frank said to him, “We’re not dead yet; this is just somewhere in the middle of life and Death.”

“And unfortunately, should Death Eaters make it into Death then they can get into Hogwarts too, although it’s safer than anywhere else.” James said, pulling himself out of the conversation with Sirius about who was the better seeker, himself or his son.

“But how can they get into Death anyway? Isn’t the gateway in Hogwarts?” Harry asked them.

“One of them is.” Lily replied, “There is another one and if they get in there then they can easily get into the school and from there they can come back into life and kill everyone in the castle.”

“Nice to know we’re safe.” Minerva said.

“So how do you get into the real Death from here then?” Filius asked no one in particular.

“There’s another gateway, out on the edge of the forest.” Alice said, “That one goes into the real Death.”

“Of course you don’t just have to take the veil there, if you get hit by Avada Kedavra here then you’ll go straight there as well.” Sirius said, “Loads of people have come back just to see how everything turns out though, and find out who wins.”

“Who wins?” Hermione asked and Harry realised suddenly that he hadn’t told Hermione or Ron the prophecy yet. His four guardians stared at him as if to say “how haven’t you told them yet?”

“Who wins what?” Ron asked through a mouthful of food.

“Who wins the most disgusting teenager award, and congratulations Mr Weasley, you’ve won!” Minerva said monotonously. Ron and Hermione scowled at her and looked back to Harry, who had now started up a new conversation about Quidditch, to Lily’s annoyance.

“I can’t believe you haven’t told them yet!” Remus said to Harry, out of Ron and Hermione’s hearing, “It’s been six months!”

“I know, I’ll them tonight then!” Harry said.

“So they can spend the whole of Christmas Day worrying about you?” Lily asked him, “I think not.”

“Tell them on Boxing Day then.” Sirius suggested.

“But then they’ll spend the rest of the holidays worrying.” James said, “Tell them when on the first day back after New Year.”

“Fine, I’ll do that.” Harry said.

“You better or I’ll do it.” Remus said to him.

“Okay then,” Harry said, welcoming the idea of someone else telling his best friends that chances are he was going to die.

“You better or I’ll hex you.” Remus corrected himself and they went back to their dinner.


***


Lily looked down at her son who was curled up against her and she summoned her cloak from the other side of the room and wrapped it around him, like a quilt, letting him sleep on. The three men she was with had finally stopped talking about Quidditch although her husband kept bringing it back into the conversation whenever possible.

“I can easily beat Harry!” James said during the middle of a conversation about dementors. Everyone, even Sirius, gave him an exasperated look and Lily was sure that if Harry was awake he would have given his father the same look.

“You can’t beat him and we’re past that now! Just be proud of your son and don’t be so bloody loud!” Lily said as close to a shout as she could without waking Harry who murmured something in his sleep and curled up tighter.

“I am proud of him, I just don’t like being beaten by him.” James said and everyone rolled their eyes.

“I don’t see why not.” Remus said to him, “And you should be proud of him!”

“Yeah, after the life he’s had I think even Snape could be proud of him.” Sirius said.

“I think Snape being proud of the boy who curses him twice daily could be going a little too far.” Lily said. “I just wish he could have lived with Remus after we died, at least then he could have actually had a childhood.” She watched her son sleeping and stroked his fringe from his eyes.

“Yeah, well were it not for the fact that I’m a werewolf then maybe he could have had a decent life,” Remus scowled darkly but his expression soon changed when he looked down at Harry.

“That’s no fault of your own.” James said to him, “And he has you now, that’s what matters.”

“It’s almost half one,” Lily said, “Maybe we should turn in for the night.” The three men agreed and Lily and Sirius walked up the stairs to the dormitories, which Remus noticed weren’t for each gender. James walked behind them all, levitating Harry gently up the stairs and taking great care not to hit his head on anything.

Eventually they walked up to the corridor where there were usually seven rooms, a dorm for each year group, but things were slightly different here. Remus found himself in a large square room with a few doors on either side. Sirius lead the way through one of the doors and they found themselves at the end of a corridor, with six rooms on either side and Remus followed, amazed, down this corridor to the end.

“You and Harry can share Sirius’ room for tonight.” James said to Remus, although both he and Lily looked slightly regretful that their son wouldn’t be staying with them. Sirius opened the door and allowed Remus to step inside and his eyes opened in amazement at the large room that was all Sirius’ own. The inside was decorated a deep blue and the window to the side looked over the Quidditch pitch. But we’re not anywhere near the Quidditch pitch! Remus thought before mentally slapping himself for being so foolish. Was he or was he not in a magical castle, where anything was possible? And he was wondering how a window could see the Quidditch pitch?!

James levitated Harry inside and Sirius quickly conjured two more beds for Remus and his godson. James moved Harry into one of the beds in the corner of the room and with a touch of his wand put him into a pair of pyjamas before tucking him in.

“Night Harry.” James said and kissed his son on the forehead before the gesture was imitated by Lily. “Night you two.”

“Night.” Sirius said and threw himself down on his bed. He waved his wand in the air and said “Nox Totalus” and the whole room went dark. Remus was still stood in the middle of the room at this point and had no idea where his bed was.

“Turn the lights back on, Sirius!” Remus commanded.

“Night Remus.” Sirius said in reply. Remus tripped over one of Sirius’ shoes which he had haphazardly left lying in the middle of the room and he fell, landing on Harry, who awoke with a start.

“Sorry Harry.” Remus said to the boy who instantly made some light with his wand. Sirius was in bed, laughing at the werewolf who didn’t look too impressed, nor did Harry who had Remus sat on his legs. Harry slipped his legs out from underneath Remus and smiled evilly as he turned off the light. He had just enough bearings to know where Sirius was and in a moment he had jumped on him in his bed. Sirius laughed and threw him off only to have Harry scramble on top of him again a moment later. Sirius looked up at his godson who was sat cross-legged on his chest and laughed.

“Is that meant to do anything?” He asked him, “You’re too light for that to work.” Sirius reached up to Harry and easily lifted him off and onto the ground.

“That’s not fair.” Harry scowled as he sat down on the floor. He quickly turned into a phoenix and flew up to the ceiling, where he perched on the light fitting. As a phoenix his vision was greatly improved and he could see the form of Sirius sat on the end of his bed, peering through the darkness, hoping to see him and Remus lying on his bed, waiting to see what happened next. He dropped silently to the ground behind Sirius’ bed and turned back into himself and then in one fluid movement he leapt onto the bed and from there onto his godfather’s back.

“Hey, you can’t do that!” Sirius said to him and got up with Harry still on his back and began to spin quickly round and round.

“Sirius! Stop!” Harry laughed as Sirius finally lost his footing and the pair of them landed on top of Remus who groaned under their combined weight. Sirius got back to his feet and he could just see Harry lying on the bed with Remus underneath him. Harry made to get to his feet but Sirius quickly transformed.

“Quit it!” Remus said as a huge black dog pounced on them both and Harry and Remus scrambled to get away from him.

“What is going on in here?!” Lily demanded as she marched into the room and they realised that they must have been quite loud. James stood behind her and he turned on the lights to see a tangle of his son, Remus and a giant black dog. Lily scowled at Sirius and marched across the room. “Go to sleep for goodness sake!” She said to them and dragged Sirius off from Harry and over to his own bed. Remus got out from underneath Harry and quickly waved his wand over himself, Harry and the bed, removing all the traces of dog fur from them all.

“Let them get some sleep, Padfoot.” James said as he and Lily turned to leave the room and turned the light off on their way out.

“Yeah, Sirius.” Harry said and smiled through the darkness at his godfather who barked at him.

“If I’ve got fleas because of you now, Sirius…” Remus said sleepily as he let his eyes close.


***


Harry opened his eyes to the same dimly lit room that he had gone to sleep in and through the darkness he could make out the forms of his latest two guardians as they slept soundly.

“Harry… for the last time you’re not going to Durmstrang on your firebolt…” Remus murmured in his sleep as Harry got out of his bed and walked over to the window and glanced outside to see that it was just getting light. By consulting his watch he found it to be half past seven in the morning and it was snowing. He was quite irritated to be woken so early and then he remembered that it was Christmas Day and he stood watching the snow for some time until he got cold and decided to discover whether or not anyone else had already arisen.

He touched his pyjamas with his wand and instantly he was wearing some clean muggle attire. He thought it would be odd when he had finished Hogwarts and would probably end up wearing robes everyday and the Weasleys were an example of this since the Weasley twins hadn’t worn robes during their time out of school until they finished at the school and now they never took them off. Harry pondered this as he quietly opened the door.

“…it’s not fair!” Sirius moaned from his bed, “Harry gets to break his neck so why don’t I?” Harry shook his head in disbelieve and left the room containing his two dreaming guardians for the common room which he managed to find fairly easily, although he was quite stunned to find himself in something close to a labyrinth of dorms in the tower.

“Merry Christmas!” Ron said as he leapt out from behind the wall and Harry faked a look of surprise.

“He’s been crouching there, waiting for you for almost half an hour.” Hermione informed him from the sofas infront of the fireplace. Fred, George, Dean, Seamus and Luna were sat with her and all had stopped their merry chattering to watch Ron make a poor attempt of jumping Harry.

“You waited so long and that was the best you could do?” Harry asked him and everyone laughed as he sat down on the elongated sofa.

“I don’t like waking up to no presents on Christmas Morning,” Ron complained. Harry, having spent all too many Christmases cooking as much dinner as Petunia trusted him to make and watching Dudley unwrap present after present decided not to comment.

“I bet mum’s doing her nut.” Fred said.

“I think we should go find her.” George said.

“Why bother?” Dean asked them, “Just wait until breakfast and she’ll be there then.”

“I hope she’s terrified,” Fred said and Hermione gave him a cold look.

“Because then she’ll be pleased to see us and won’t mind too much about the bucket of slime we gave her for Christmas.” George explained.

“I bought her some flowers,” Ron said, “Well… when I say ‘bought’…”

“…You mean that you picked them from the grounds.” Luna finished for him and Ron’s ears pinkened slightly.

“It’s not my fault I have no money!” Ron scowled at them all, as if daring to say that it was. “Alright then, Harry,” Ron said to his friend who sat beside him, “You’ve got more money than the rest of us… How much did you spend on Remus?”

“Nothing.” Harry replied truthfully and Ron gaped at him open-mouthed, Hermione smiled.”

“You’re not giving him a Christmas present?” Ron asked,

“I never said that.” Harry told him, “I am getting him something but I didn’t have to buy it.”

“You stole it!” Fred said.

“Yeah, that’s right. I’ve been stealing Christmas presents for people.” Harry grinned.

“See, the best presents cost nothing to get and mean the world.” Hermione said and Ron pulled a face at her.

“Yeah right!” George argued, “What about Harry’s firebolt? That must have cost loads and Sirius bought him that.”

“Proof that the best presents cost a skip full of galleons.” Ron said.

“You have no idea, Ron.” Luna said, “No wonder you don’t have a girlfriend.” Ron’s ears pinkened.

“Yeah well Harry doesn’t have a girlfriend.” Ron argued.

“But he went out with Cho last year, who have you been dating?” Luna asked him.

“You went out with Cho?” Sirius asked from behind them. “I’d have thought you could do better than her…” There was an amused silence and Sirius turned round to see her standing behind him scowling darkly at him. “I mean she could do better than you…” He tried to mend the situation but she turned on her heel and stormed off.

“She could do better than me, hey?” Harry asked him.

“You know I didn’t mean that!” Sirius said exasperatedly and from the laughter infront of the fire informed him that Cho had returned and she ran up into the dormitories after sending a stunner his way. Sirius gave up and buried his head in his hands. “I’m no good at this.”

“We’ve noticed,” Harry said, “What time’s breakfast?”

“Half eight.” Sirius informed him as he sat down next to him.

“That’s ages away!” Ron moaned.

“It’s less than half an hour!” Hermione said in disbelief and she and Ron launched into an argument about meal times and how there should be seven meals in a day.

“Come on, let’s get out of here.” Sirius murmured to Harry and they both got up and left, leaving the argument in full swing.

“Do you know how fat you would get with seven meals a day?!” Hermione demanded of Ron as they left the common room and walked down the castle, through various passageways.

“So where are we going?” Harry asked him as they stepped out into the cool morning air.

“Nowhere really,” Sirius said to him, “I just wanted to be alone with you for a while before you leave.” Harry looked up to him and smiled. “You do know that it’s not your fault I’m dead, right?” Harry smiled slightly and didn’t answer. He could never believe that it wasn’t his fault and he could never forgive himself for the series of errors that had lead his godfather to his grave on his account. “Look at me, Harry.” Sirius said and turned to face Harry. He stared into the emerald eyes that were filled with so much emotion and he hated everything in the world that had made Harry unhappy. All he wanted was to make him happy and to look after him and he managed to do the exact reverse of that by throwing himself into battle needlessly. “None of this was your fault, you may as well blame yourself because Remus is a werewolf. You have to believe me.” Harry smiled sadly and dropped his eyes from Sirius;.

“Are you happier here than in life?” Harry suddenly asked him and Sirius had to think for some time before he was able to give an answer.

“No.” He said finally and Harry watched him with interest. That was not the answer he had thought he would give. “Obviously I like being here with Lily and James… I mean I’ve missed them since the day I died but I have to watch you everyday, living a life that you like very few things about, living a life that put the world on your shoulders and kills everyone you love. I’d rather be with you in life and try and help in any way that I can than only watch you.” They walked along in silence for a few moments as they made their way around the outskirts of the lake.

“I love you, Sirius.” Harry said and hugged the man tightly, “And I miss you so much.” Sirius was slightly taken aback by this but he hugged Harry back just as tightly. He found it odd that Harry would say that so suddenly, but he had never said it to him in life, maybe he had just wanted to say it now. Added to that there was also the fact that he had grown up as something on the way to a servant to his hateful family, with no love or compassion for him from a very early age. Sirius hadn’t known before how awfully the Dursleys had treated him and he had watched in horror at the violence Vernon demonstrated against his godson and he had spent much of the summer Harry had spent at home shouting himself hoarse at the fat man. He still held onto Harry, although he knew that he had to let go at some time.

“Love you too, Harry.” He managed and realised that there were tears in his eyes. He wiped them away quickly before pulling away from Harry and resuming their walk around the grounds. “I guess I just wanted to tell you that… well that I love you too and I miss you.” Sirius said, “And I know you can leave your life, having done your best to so something for the world, whether or not you succeed is irrelevant.” He put his arm around Harry’s shoulders and hugged him slightly. All this being close to people business and being supportive and loving wasn’t new to Sirius but showing it certainly was and he was having quite a difficult time of actually telling his godson how he felt.

“God, that reminds me I have to tell Hermione and Ron about the prophecy soon.” Harry said unhappily as they walked back to the main doors to the castle.

“It won’t be so bad.” Sirius tried to reassure him, “Merry Christmas by the way.” He smiled slightly, remembering that it was Christmas day and contrary to his previous beliefs, he had managed to spend at least some of it with Harry.

“Merry Christmas.” Harry echoed to him before suddenly asking, “Do you think Remus will like his present?”

“He’ll love it!” Sirius said, “Your mum was dead impressed, no pun intended.” Harry grinned.

“I’m glad, it took me forever to get the charm right, as you most likely know.” Harry said to him.

“I prefer it when you get the spells wrong, it’s more amusing.” Sirius said to him, “Like when the whole dorm went up in flames.”

“Being in the middle of all that, is it unsurprising that I wasn’t very amused?” Harry asked him and Sirius laughed. They glanced over to the castle doors and Sirius groaned.

“It’s so far away!” He complained and Harry grinned. Suddenly Sirius found himself being lifted off his feet by a golden phoenix and they flew higher and higher above the school and swept easily through the air and around Gryffindor tower where they could see Lily watching them in amazement. Sirius held onto Harry’s claws that held him as they flew round and round, before landing back down on the ground infront of the castle doors. Sirius staggered slightly when his feet were back on the ground and he glanced to the side where his godson grinned at him. “That was incredible!” He said and a moment later they were met with Lily, James and Remus. They all grinned at Sirius’ semi-stunned state as the five of them walked into the hall for breakfast.

“I wonder where Harry is.” Magadi was saying at the main breakfast table to the few people that were still there.

“I know where he is.” Luke said and most people decided to listen in to his theory, “Well what happened was that he hexed Snape and Snape went after him and killed him and now he’s afraid to come back ‘cos I know he killed Harry.”

“That doesn’t explain where everyone else is.” Ginny said.

“Maybe they were witnesses to it.” Parvati suggested.

“Yeah, and then Snape killed them all off because they knew he killed Harry!” Hannah Abbott said.

“Snape couldn’t kill McGonagall.” Ernie Macmillan said.

“So maybe she’s in on it too and she helped kill Harry and that’s where she is!” Justin Finch-Fletchley said.

“Some very intelligent friends you have there, Potter.” Snape sneered as he walked past them.

“Where on earth are they?!” Molly demanded of Dumbledore towards the end of breakfast. “Three of my children have disappeared without a trace!”

“Calm down, Molly” Dumbledore told her, “They’ll turn up.”

“They better do!” She said, “And then Fred and George can explain why they gave me a bucket of slime for Christmas!” Everyone started laughing at this and even Molly managed to smile. Breakfast ended quickly and Harry found himself walking behind his father, Sirius and Remus with his mum who chatted with him as they made their way back up to the tower but she slowed him down considerably and when they began ascending the main stairs she pulled him off down a corridor on the third floor and they took an alternative route up to the astronomy tower and stood there, talking.

“As I said before, I just wanted some time alone with you.” She said to him as they sat against the wall and stared up at the sky, “You couldn’t possibly believe how much I’ve missed you and how terrible it’s been just watching someone else raise you, and raise you badly as well.”

“I’ve not turned out so badly,” Harry smiled and curled up to his mother, who wrapped her arms around his slight figure.

“No, you’ve turned out better than I could ever have dreamed.” She said to him quietly, “I’m so proud of you, honey.” Harry smiled sadly and wondered about the life he could have had with his parents had not a succession of events occurred, leaving them dead and him with his awful relatives. “Things could have been so different…”

“I know, I wish they had been.” Harry said quietly.

“But then you wouldn’t be so close to Remus or Sirius.” His mother said thoughtfully. They heard footsteps and voices nearby and they both knew who the three intruders would be. “Look after Remus, won’t you.” She said to him and smiled.

“Of course,” Harry grinned, “Although I rather think it may be the other way round.”

“He needs you just as much as you ever needed him,” She said quietly and hugged him tightly before the three men walked in. James smiled down at them both before offering his hand to each of them, helping them back to their feet. Sirius smiled but Harry thought there was something of regret at being there on his face, he hadn’t been interrupted with Harry earlier and there was no reason that Lily should be.

“What time is it?” Sirius asked no one in particular.

“Almost ten o’ clock.” Lily replied. “Two more hours.”

“Let’s go flying!” James said suddenly and Lily groaned.

“No, we’re not going flying!” She said.

“Fine, Harry and I shall go flying then.” He said and in a direct act of defiance to his wife he conjured two firebolts and leapt onto one, throwing the other to Harry.

“Harry! Don’t you dare!” She shouted at him but Harry got on it anyway.

“See you later, mum.” He smiled at her and flew off out of the tower.

“I can’t get over being called mum.” She smiled as she watched her son fly away with her husband up into the air. She sighed sadly and leant her head against Remus who put his arm around her and he and Sirius tried to comfort her as best they could. “I’m sorry…” She said and got to her feet, leaving the two men sat on the floor, “I don’t mean to be so emotional but I can’t bear to see him go back now he’s here.”

“At least you’ve seen him for a while,” Remus said as he and Sirius got to their feet too.

“I know and with the way his life seems to go I don’t think I’ll be waiting long to see him…” She said quietly and the three of them were silent.

“It’s not right that he’s happier in Death than anywhere else.” Sirius said quietly, and glanced at Remus, whom he knew was happier when he was alone with Harry in life than when he had been here with all of them in Death.

“I know.” Lily said, “Come on, let’s go back to the tower. I’m sure they’ll find us there.” They all glanced up at the father and son who chased each other across the sky and around the castle, weaving in and out of the towers and picking the most troublesome paths around the skies.

“Can’t keep up?” James called back to Harry as he deftly manoeuvred the broom under a bridge across from two parts of the building and then raced around the divination tower.

“It’s you who can’t keep up!” Harry shouted to his father as he raced past him and flew in and out of the towers, followed by James all the way. Eventually they came to a halt on one of the roofs on the castle and they lay down on a slightly sloping section of the roof at stared up at the sky.

“You must be getting sick of all these singular goodbyes” James said with a smile, “But Sirius and Lily got one and I can’t stand to let you go without talking to you too.”

“You don’t have to, Dad.” Harry said to him and a smile touched James’ face.

“I can never get used to being called Dad by you,” He said to his son, “You called me it once before we died.”

“Only once?” Harry asked.

“Well you spent a lot of your time with us irritating Sirius and I. Your mother quickly taught you to say ‘Mum’ and ‘Moony’ but she decided not to teach you our names,” James said, as his mind wandered back to the past, “I’m certain it was only out of spite… Do you hate me for ruining your life?” He asked suddenly.

“What?” Harry asked him, “How did you ruin my life?!”

“If I had never trusted Peter all those years ago…” James said but Harry cut him off.

“Don’t be ridiculous, no way was that your fault! You didn’t know!” Harry said to him and James smiled.

“You didn’t know that Sirius wasn’t at the department of mysteries.” James replied and Harry was silent. “He said that he was pleased you had gone in there, even though you were tricked. He would have been upset if you hadn’t.”

“No, instead he’s dead because I did. I’d rather he was upset than dead.” Harry murmured.

“Don’t Harry.” He said softly, “You know it wasn’t your fault and it’s time you stopped blaming yourself. Even Remus stopped blaming himself for it and he’s the ultimate in self-blame.” Harry smiled sadly. “I don’t know what I wanted to say to you originally… I suppose it was all the usual things: that I love you, and that I miss you. Just don’t forget that I’m more proud of you than I can ever say and no matter what the outcome between you and Voldemort as long as you try then I don’t care if you lose… Oh, and look after Remus, I know Lily probably told you to do that as well but he needs you, without you he’s fall apart.” He sat up and wrapped his arms around his son, something he had done too few times in his short life and too few times after life. “I never thought I’d be so sentimental.” He grinned down at Harry who held onto his robes.

“Come on, let’s get back then.” Harry said, after managing to convince himself to let go of his father, whom he never wanted to leave. They both got on their brooms and from his pocket James took a golden snitch.

“Whoever gets this will be proven the best of all time.” James said, still wanting to beat his son at Quidditch once and for all, “Agreed?”

“Yep.” Harry grinned. He didn’t care whether or not he won, although to be perfectly honest he wasn’t too keen on losing. James let go of the snitch and after ten seconds they both raced after it. James was in the lead and Harry was close behind but suddenly the snitch swerved from it’s path and towards Gryffindor tower but neither of the two Potters noticed this and went straight after it.



Lily screamed, Remus gasped and Sirius laughed when Harry and James came flying through the window, although luckily there had only been those three and the Longbottoms in the room at the time, and all six of them had been sat around the fireplace at the time. Lily was the first to the scene, quickly followed by the other occupants of the room.

“Harry! James! Are you okay?!” Remus asked them as he dropped to his knees next to them.

“Obviously they’re not okay! They just came hurtling through the window!” Sirius said.

“Oh shut up, Padfoot!” Remus barked at him, “How the hell did they manage that?”

“Ouch.” James gasped when he regained consciousness a second later but he didn’t move.

“James Potter! You killed our son!” Lily shouted at him.

“I’m not dead yet.” Harry muttered. He felt something fluttering in the palm of his hand and he moved so that he could see his father and vice versa. “Look what I caught.” He smiled and let the snitch fly out of his hand.

“I don’t believe it!” James cried, “How can I have lost, again?!”

“ ‘Cause Harry’s just that great.” Sirius grinned and touched the tip of his wand to his godson’s head, murmuring a healing charm as he did so and immediately Harry felt much better.

“I cannot believe you almost had him killed!” Lily shouted at James, “I take it Quidditch was your idea!?”

“Well… as a manner of speaking…” He mumbled as he managed to pull himself into a seating position and avoided his wife’s angry glare, “Kind off… what I’m trying to say… yes.” Sirius and Remus rolled their eyes at the familiar scene and helped Harry to sit up, which he did but not without some pain.

“Broken rib.” Sirius diagnosed as he ran his eyes over Harry, searching for any discernible injuries. Remus nodded in agreement.

“Lily, are you gong to fix your son’s broken rib or do we have to wait until you’ve finished arguing, by which time Harry will have managed to puncture his lung with it.” Remus said to the infuriated woman next to him, who’s anger instantly subsided as she tended to her injured son. She turned her back on her husband and pressed her wand to Harry’s broken rib. He bit his lip slightly but didn’t complain.

“You don’t complain enough,” Sirius said to Harry, “That’s your problem!”

“Shut up, Sirius.” Remus told him. Harry bit his lip harder as the pain got worse and he found that he was clutching Remus’ hand quite hard and he loosened his grip on his guardian. A moment later the pain disappeared in an instant, leaving an odd feeling of warmth inside him.

“Thanks.” Harry smiled weakly as he was helped from the floor by Sirius and Lily turned back to James, who cowered slightly. Lily shot him a nasty look but waved his wand over him, healing all his minor injuries and left him sat on the floor as the other four of them walked over to the Longbottoms who had been watching the scenario from the sofa.

Eventually James had been accepted back into their circle by Lily, who was still reasonably angry with him and they talked of Quidditch, Harry, The Order, Voldemort, the D.A., Harry, Quidditch, and Harry until Harry got sick of talking about himself and Lily got sick of talking about Quidditch.

“That’s what would be different if James had raised you,” Sirius said to Harry, “You’d talk about yourself incessantly, like he does.”

“I don’t talk about myself incessantly!” James argued.

“No, not often…” Alice said and smiled at James who was looking rather offended. Before the argument had chance to develop any further, the common room door opened and Snape walked in.

“Aren’t you late for something, Lupin, Potter?” Snape said to Harry and Remus who looked at him nonplussed, “Ah, so you intend to stay here forever then…”

“They’ll be there in a minute!” Sirius said to him and made him walk back out of the common room. There was silence between everyone there and the Longbottoms all got up and left through the portrait hole, leaving the five people sat on the sofas. “Come on then,” Sirius said and they all got to their feet. Sirius hugged Harry briefly but tightly before letting him go, then James moved to him and wrapped his arms around him, lingering slightly longer than Sirius had done and then Lily embraced him tightly, trying not to cry.

“I’ll miss you so much!” She said quietly, “And look after Remus, won’t you.”

“I will.” Harry smiled and pulled away from her. They all moved to the door once Lily had finished saying goodbye to Remus and Sirius opened the portrait hole for them all to pass through.

“Ah, right on time.” Dumbledore said as the five of them joined the crowd of people outside by the veil back to life. Harry hadn’t noticed before but this veil was white, where as the veil in the gateway to the real Death was black, as he remembered seeing it out in the grounds as he walked around it with Sirius that morning. “Let’s be going then.”

One by one everyone passed back through into life. Harry and Remus kept at the back of the crowd with Lily, James and Sirius until there was only the two of them and Dumbledore left to go back into life. Lily couldn’t resist hugging Harry again and did so.

“We’ll miss you both.” She said and everyone murmured in agreement.

“Come on then,” Harry said, smiling at the three he was to leave as he took hold of Remus’ hand and walked back into life with him.


Chapter 38: Thirty-Eight
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Thirty Eight

“Where in Merlin’s name have you been?!” Molly demanded of her sons when she found them some ten minutes after they returned. The twins told her where they had been and she gasped in surprise.

“You’ve not to tell anyone, mum!” Fred said.

“Yeah, Dumbledore swore us to secrecy.” George said.

“Well now that’s cleared up,” Molly said, “Why did you get me some slime for Christmas?!” She glared at them all menacingly and Remus and Harry grinned as they walked past, “Hello, Harry dear. Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas to you too, Mrs Weasley.” Harry said in return as he carried on walking.

“Don’t call me that!” She shouted after him before turning back to the twins.

“You alright?” Remus asked Harry as they walked into his office some time later. “You’re very quiet.”

“I’m fine,” He said distractedly. Remus raised an eyebrow. “No I’m not.” Harry said, giving in.

“What’s wrong?” Remus asked him as they sat down together infront of the fire.

“I wish I’d never gone to Death,” Harry explained and Remus looked surprised. “All I want to do now is go back.”

“I know, I want to go back too but…” Remus said quietly as he wrapped his arms around the unhappy teenager.

“I can’t, I know.” Harry said as he curled up against his guardian and stared into the flames. He raised his wand slightly and murmured a spell that Remus didn’t hear and some seconds later a small present fell into Remus’ lap and he looked at it in surprise.

“For me?” Remus asked, surprised that Harry had got him a present when they had made a deal not to get each other anything. Although he had got Harry something anyway.

“No, it’s for me. I’m getting myself Christmas presents now, don’t you know?” Harry smiled slightly and touched the present with his wand. “Ennervate.” There was muffled laughter from inside the box and Remus looked at it curiously as he could hear the present being unwrapped from the inside. Suddenly five miniature people and a small phoenix fell out of the box and onto Remus’ lap.

“How did you get in there?” Harry muttered as he lifted the phoenix away from the small people.

“Merry Christmas!” The people said to Remus and waved at him. Remus could only stare.

“I think he’s dead.” The small Sirius said.

“You killed him!” Miniature Harry said and leapt onto the back of the little dragon that flew over to greet them from the other side of the room.

“Harry!” His mother screamed, “You’ll break your neck!”

“Oh my god…” Remus murmured, “This is incredible! You did this yourself?” Harry nodded and smiled at his guardian who watched as the small Harry flew down on the dragon to where the small Remus stood and pulled him onto the back of the dragon.

“Harry! No!” He shouted as he was swept up into the air and a moment later Sirius and James leapt onto the back of the phoenix and flew off after them, leaving Lily sat on Remus’ knees shouting at them all to come down.

“So you like it then?” Harry asked him.

“Of course I do! I love it.” Remus said and hugged him warmly. Lily climbed off his knees and started climbing up onto the mantelpiece. As Harry had done, Remus raised his want slightly and summoned his gift to Harry to him and a moment later a small box appeared on Harry’s lap. “Open it then.” Remus said and watched him unwrap it carefully. Harry’s eyes widened when he saw what it was. It was a snow globe. But inside the globe was an exact replica of Hogwarts and the grounds. Harry shook it slightly and it began to snow, looking closer at the grounds he could see that there were people moving around on it and playing Quidditch, although he knew for a fact that no one was playing then. “That’s not all.” Remus said to him and reached out to the globe with his wand and as he touched it he murmured “Cresco”. Harry felt an odd sensation inside him and suddenly he found himself standing up in Remus’ office but move very slightly. Infront of him his parents stood with Sirius looking down at the globe which lay on the sofa.

“I don’t get it… They just disappeared inside.” Sirius said and made an attempt to prod the globe with his wand but due to his being dead he couldn’t touch it.

“Wow…” Harry murmured as he stared around the room.

“This will let you see into Death the way that they can see into life, you can follow your parents all around the school.” Remus explained to Harry who was utterly amazed, “Although chances are that each time you come in here you’ll end up just seeing the three of them puzzling over the globe.”

“Thank you…” Harry managed and hugged Remus who hugged him back just as warmly.

“Oh, and remember the spell you put on your ceiling?” Remus said to him.

Your ceiling you mean.” Harry corrected him.

“My ceiling then,” He said, “Anyway it reflects your mood and I did the same in here with the weather, except at Christmas when it always snows.” They glanced out of the window and saw that it was snowing quite heavily. “And you should do your homework in the library, it’s almost always empty in Death.” He watched Harry look around him, utterly astounded.

“I wish I could have done something like this for you,” Harry said quietly.

“I love your present, although I get the feeling it may be the kind of present that likes to sit on your paper when you’re trying to work and charge at each other with quills.” Remus smiled at him, “Where did you ever learn the charms for it though?”

“I don’t get it!” Sirius complained by the side of them.

“I got Professor Flitwick to let me get the book from the Restricted section of the library.” Harry explained, “Took me ages though, the first time I tried I set the whole dorm on fire!” Remus laughed.

“Shall we go back then?” Remus asked and Harry nodded. “Decresco” He said, waving his wand in the air and a moment later they both appeared in Remus’ office on the sofa.

“I wonder how puzzled Sirius is now.” Harry said.

“He’ll be there in Death still saying ‘I don’t get it!’” He smiled. He looked down at the coffee table where he was duelling the miniature Harry and winning.

“I’ll beat you! You just wait and see!” Harry said to Remus as he ducked behind a mug that had been left on the table some time earlier.

“Come on, let’s go get some dinner.” Remus said to Harry as he glanced up at the clock and realised that they had already been back in life an hour and it was 1pm. Harry nodded and some time later they were in the great hall.

“Seriously, where did you go?” Hannah Abbott asked them at dinner.

“I still think that Ravenclaw will beat the Slytherins.” Harry said to Ron, choosing not to acknowledge Hannah.

“Did Snape try to kill you?” Ernie asked.

“No way, Slytherin are too good.” Ron replied.

“How did he try and kill you?” Ginny asked them in amazement whilst a lot of the students glared at their potions master down the table who shook his head in disbelief.

“Care to put a bet on that little brother?” Fred asked him.

“Did he chase you with the killing curse?!” Andrew Peterson asked.

“Fine, 2 galleons.” Ron said.

“Or did he try and torture you to death?” Lavender asked.

“2 Galleons? Is that all?!” Bill asked.

“Did he put the Imperious curse on you and try and make you walk over a cliff?!” Justin Finch-Fletchley asked.

“Where’s the nearest cliff?!” Ron suddenly asked him and everyone who had gone into Death who had purposefully been ignoring the questions of everyone else groaned and glared at him.

“Do shut up Mr Weasley.” Snape said to him coldly from the Slytherin table. Harry glared at Snape and wondered how he could dare to sit on the same table as the boy whom he had kissed and almost married during the course of the year. Harry turned back to the table which was filled with laughing and joking people all eating very little so that they could eat all the more at tea which would be a large Christmas dinner. A few seats down Remus rose from his seat and walked back to his living quarters alone. Christmas was a time for togetherness, he knew that but he just wanted to be alone, at least for a little while.

He lay down on his bed and a moment later the smaller version of Harry was sat cross-legged on his bedside table, just watching him.

“Cheer up, it’s Christmas!” the miniature Harry said to him and he was joined by small Remus a second later, who had had trouble climbing up the table and collapsed when he got to the top. “Get up, fool.” Harry said, turning to small Remus who muttered something incomprehensible next to the lamp. As Remus watched his smaller counterpart he was once again astounded at the charms he had worked to make them alive, and so very like themselves too. He knew that Lily would be in raptures with them and James would probably say that he could do better, which he could, and Sirius, well Sirius would be puzzling over the snow globe.

“I just don’t get it!” Sirius said for the hundredth time that day.

“I really don’t think you’re going to find out unless either Harry or Remus states very clearly what it is and what it does.” James said from the other side of the room. “Why can’t you just accept that you’re not going to find out any time soon?!”

“I will… You’ll see.” Sirius said determinedly, “And when I do find out I’m not going to tell you about it.”

“Oh no.” James said, “Woe is me.”


Remus stared up at the ceiling and closed his eyes. He felt unhappy and he wasn’t quite sure why. He just wished that he could go back into Death and relax there and chat to his old friends about anything that came to mind and forget the world that moved on. He knew he couldn’t go back there any time soon, he would end up wanting to stay… he would end up finishing his own life, leaving Harry alone and he didn’t want to do that. He couldn’t leave him. He remembered something Sirius said about how awful it was just to watch them both but play no part in their lives anymore. He wanted to stay a part of Harry’s life and he was damned if he was going to let his own suicidal thoughts get in the way.

Are you alright? Remus watched as the words appeared on his hand in Harry’s familiar handwriting. You disappeared very quickly after dinner…

I’m fine. I just wanted to be alone, that’s all. He replied.

Oh, ok. Harry ended his communication and walked back up to Gryffindor tower with Neville, whilst behind him Hermione and Ron walked together. They weren’t arguing at all and appeared to be having a civilised conversation. That was unusual… Harry wanted to talk to Remus for a while but since he wanted to be alone he knew it was best not to push it.

Once they reached the tower everyone was absorbed in talking about Christmas presents they all got from each other and Hermione was excitedly reading through a large volume called Twenty First Century Transfiguration which Ron had bought her. Harry wasn’t particularly interested in the conversation and picked up The Prophet which lay on the coffee table.

DEATH EATERS ATTACK MINISTRY

Yesterday evening no less than 20 Death Eaters walked into the Ministry of Magic and marched through the building until they reached the Department of Mysteries which they broke into…

Then later on it read:

during their battle with the Death Eaters, the seven aurors that were in the building had been incredibly overwhelmed and only one of them escaped with his life. Kingsley Shacklebolt tells his story.

Harry stopped reading and stared down at the page he had just read. How could it be that Kingsley had been in the Department of Mysteries fighting with the aurors? He was sure that he had already seen him that day but he dismissed it and assumed The Prophet had made a mistake as it so often (and intentionally) did.

“Care for chess?” Ron asked Harry who unwillingly consented to play. He was getting much better at chess but he still lost every time he played Ron. Ron grinned and summoned the chess set over to them. For the next half an hour they concentrated hard on playing the game between them until Ron finally beat Harry, who was still puzzling over the last move Ron had made which had somehow put him in checkmate.

Next to them Lavender and Parvati both burst into tears when Harry lost.

“I know he’s bad at chess but he’s not that bad!” Ron said to them and they cried harder still whilst they both watched on with puzzled expressions.

“P-P-Professor Trelawney s-said…” Lavender managed to choke out and Ron rolled his eyes.

“Ok, that’s all we needed to know.” Hermione said and both Lavender and Parvati shot her an angry look.

“Come on Lavender, let’s get out of here.” Parvati said and both of them left the room, still crying but without a backwards glance to those behind them. They both trotted down through the halls until they reached the staffroom where Professor Trelawney was sat in the midst of the staff who were arguing about the relevance of Divination. Upon seeing the two crying girls Sybil immediately rose to them.

“What is the matter, girls?” She asked the concernedly.

“What you said came true Professor!” Lavender said to her, “Harry lost in a game of chess to Ron and… and…”

“The poor boy…” Sybil said and the rest of the staff gave her exasperated looks.

“Do tell us what is the matter, Sybil.” Minerva said.

“Yesterday I saw a sight in my crystal ball…” She began and there was a tut from Severus’ direction but she ignored it and carried on, “I saw the young Mr Potter playing chess against an unknown redhead and then losing… then straight after I saw his death.” The girls began to sob uncontrollably.

“Is Mr Potter dead, Miss Patil?” Filius asked her and the girl shook her head.

“Then you were clearly mistaken.” Bill told Sybil.

“I was not, the crystal ball never lies.” She said with as much mystique as she could muster.

“I beg to differ.” Minerva said to her.

“How many times have you predicted Harry’s death now, Sybil?” Remus asked her. He had joined the group in the staffroom some time after he had retired to his quarters once he had become bored of his lack of company. “It must be something close to a dozen times now.”

“And he is not yet dead.” Arthur said.

“So basically you’re a fraud.” Minerva said to her, “Even when Harry has died, should I still be living, then I wouldn’t doubt that you will still predict his death.”

“I see a bleak future for you Minerva.” Sybil said to her before marching out of the room with the two sixth years at her side.

“She sees a bleak future, Minerva…” Molly said.

“Maybe you should start building your fortress against evil now.” Filius suggested.

“Perhaps so…” Minerva said.

For the rest of the afternoon the staff sat around in the staffroom talking about nothing much in particular, occasionally touching on the subject of Death since all the staff had been enlightened into their whereabouts for the last few days. Soon tea was ready and everyone walked into the Great Hall at six p.m. laughing and joking about the day’s events. Remus sat down next to Harry who started chatting with him almost instantly about nothing in particular.

“Merry Christmas to you all!” Dumbledore said from the head of the table, “Now tuck in!” Immediately plates of food appeared infront o them, piled high with anything you could wish to eat, and some things that most people wouldn’t.

“…as we all know, The Prophet isn’t prone to keep to the truth.” Kingsley said from along the table.

“So you weren’t there then?” Pomona asked him.

“How could you tell your story to them about being the only survivor if you weren’t there?!” Filius asked.

“I bet Skeeter just made it up.” Minerva said.

“You can’t just make up an interview like that!” Tonks said.

“That’s what she did repeatedly with Harry during the Triwizard Tournament.” Mad Eye growled and there were some murmurs of agreement from the end of the table but Harry chose to ignore the rest of the conversation.

“So you like my present then Hermione?” Ron asked her hopefully.

“I love it Ron!” She said happily.

“I love it Ron!” Malfoy mimicked from behind her on the Slytherin table and there were some gormless guffaws from behind them and Hermione made a noise of disgust as she turned back to the table.

“…we can’t do nothing, we have to act!” Kingsley said quietly.

“Well what would you suggest?” Dumbledore asked him.

“Bearing in mind that the only person capable of defeating Voldemort is Harry, unless Sybil got it wrong again that is.” Minerva said.

“Well he’s doing very little to stop him, wouldn’t you agree?” Kingsley said.

“What would you suggest he does?” Mad Eye asked him, “There is very little he can do at present, he is only young.”

“And so are many of the people You-Know-Who killed.” Kingsley said.

“So there is no need to make that number greater by trying to make Harry fight him at a time when he has no chance of defeating him.” Filius said.

“We have no choice but to wait until he is strong enough to face him, if we force him into battle with him he will almost certainly die!” Minerva said, her voice rising slightly, “Or we can make him fight now to try and save the lives that will be lost whilst he gets stronger and then when he dies even more lives can be lost.”

“This is neither the time nor the place for this.” Dumbledore said quietly, seeing that Harry had been listening to his elders discussing his fate. Harry turned from them and saw that Remus was watching him with a concerned expression on his face.

“You mustn’t listen to them, Harry.” Remus said quietly, “Lives are always going to be lost. You will get stronger and you will beat Voldemort, I have never doubted it.” Harry smiled gratefully and left the table some time later and walked up to the common room alone, stopping in Remus’ office on the way to pick up his present that his smaller self had been looking at with interest.

“I don’t get it.” The miniature Sirius said as he appeared at miniature Harry’s side. Harry grinned as he picked it up and stuck his tongue out at the little people he had created as they shouted at him and told him to put it back. He left the room and walked through the silent corridors until he reached Gryffindor Tower. Once inside he walked up to his dorm and set the snow globe down on his bedside table and threw himself down on his bed, staring up at the ceiling. His mind wandered over everything he had heard at the dinner table and he couldn’t help but wonder whether or not he could ever truly defeat Voldemort and what would happen if he did not


Chapter 39: Thirty-Nine
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Thirty Nine

“And it’s the long awaited Ravenclaw Vs. Slytherin match and the first of this year!” Neville said above the noise of the crowd which was tremendous as the two teams flew onto the pitch. Ron was desperate for the Slytherins to win since he had bet 2 galleons on it during Christmas, although out of the school it was only he and the Slytherins that wanted that outcome, everyone else was rooting for Ravenclaw.

Harry wanted the Ravenclaws to win since they had lost to Hufflepuff and Gryffindor earlier in the year, as well as that, Slytherin would be in last place if they lost to them. He cheered along with everyone else as Cho lead her team out onto the pitch, although some of the Slytherins started aiming hexes at them, most of which never went near them and any that did hit had no effect due to the strong protection charms Professor Flitwick had put on them earlier. The staff were aware of how prone to cheating the Slytherins were and weren’t taking any precautions, all of them had their wands and all of them kept their eyes on Malfoy and Flint.

“Now the Slytherins have finally arrived let the match begin.” Anthony Goldstein said after Hermione put the Sonorus charm on him. Madam Hooch blew her whistle and both teams and the referee kicked off into the air.

“And that’s a penalty to Ravenclaw for an uncalled-for attack on their Keeper by Flint.” Neville said. The Slytherins made a point of shooting hexes and harmful spells of all kinds at any Ravenclaw that flew anywhere near them but Remus, having noticed this, quickly put a shield around the stand wherein all the troublesome Slytherins sat and laughed at their horrified cries as their spells ricocheted back on them.

Harry didn’t pay too much attention to the game, because although he loved Quidditch, it wasn’t played particularly well by the Ravenclaws on this particular occasion and he was more occupied with watching the Slytherins curse themselves repeatedly and then wonder why their spells bounced back at them.

“Chang’s got the Snitch!” Anthony shouted and everyone cheered, except the Slytherins who tried, stupidly, to curse their way through the shield and jinx Cho, needless to say it didn’t work and they all ended up cursed with a variety of interesting spells. Ron groaned and buried his head in his hands as his brothers appeared to the side of him asking for their money.

“I don’t have it yet; can’t you wait for a while?” Ron asked them unhappily.

“I’m afraid not my dear brother.” George said.

“But it’s my birthday in a couple of months.” Ron argued.

“Fine, we want it on your birthday or we break your legs.” Fred said and they turned away from him and left the stands. Harry would have offered to pay for him until he could pay it back but he knew that Ron was very touchy about his distinct lack of cash so he kept quiet.

Ron and Harry walked back up to the common room and threw themselves down on the sofa, everyone was talking about the match and Ron was no exception. He was outraged that he had lost some money but at the same time he was pleased that Slytherin were in last place in the position for the Quidditch cup, which made a nice change for all.

“I still can’t get this reversing charm right!” Harry complained as Ron knocked the cup off the table for him to reverse. He remembered watching Remus cast the same spell on a miniature dementor he had conjured what seemed forever ago when Harry had stayed with him over the summer. He had tried very hard to get it right and had asked Remus for help but he had been unable to help him so Harry was left attempting the spell repeatedly until he got it right. “Reverto” Harry said as he knocked a cup off the table and for a moment it was suspended in the air but then it fell to the floor with a clatter. Harry groaned and lay back on the sofa and scowled and nothing in particular.

“I wonder if we’ll be allowed to go back into Death any time soon.” Ron said as he cast a few charms over the chess board in front of him and the pieces complained as they were lifted into the air and began to change colour. “I’d like to go back, it was interesting.”

“I dunno.” Harry said, “Anyway if I go back then I’ll want to stay again. I don’t know whether or not I can take it.”

“I know what you mean.” Ron said, “Well when I say I know what you mean, I mean that I’ve heard it all from Neville who feels the same but he’s still here isn’t he? He goes every couple of weeks and he always comes back.” Harry looked at him steadily for a moment and remembered suddenly that he had completely forgotten to tell him about the prophecy and knew that at some point he really should do. He sighed sadly.

“Ron, there’s something I need to tell you.” Harry said and Ron watched him with interest, “Where’s Hermione?”

“Erm… She said she’d be along in a minute, she just went to the library.” Ron replied, “What is it?” Harry shook his head and a moment later Hermione walked through the portrait hole. After explaining to her that he needed to tell her something, Harry lead the way up to their dorm, followed by his two rather puzzled friends.

“You know when we were in the department of mysteries…” Harry said, “And we found that prophecy about me.” They both nodded, afraid of where this was going. “I found out what it said.”

“Really?” Ron asked him, “What does it say? When did you find out?”

“It’s not good, is it?” Hermione said quietly, seeing the look on Harry’s face.

“Not at all.” Harry said quietly. He repeated the prophecy to them and for a moment Ron sat there comprehending what had just been said and Hermione gasped in horror and buried her face in her hands.

“I can’t believe it.” Ron managed. “You’re the only one who can. That’s why he’s been after you all these years.” Harry nodded and next to them Hermione started to cry. Ron moved instinctively towards her and wrapped his arm around her. Harry smiled sadly; at least they would have each other…

“I don’t want anything bad to happen to you, Harry.” Hermione choked out through her sobs.

“Bad stuff already happens to me.” Harry said to her, “It doesn’t matter what I do to try and stop it.” He sat and watched the two of them tentatively for a few moments and then decided he should leave. He turned back to look at them from the doorway as they watched him leave and now even Ron looked like he was going to cry. He smiled at them before he left and turned down into the common room. Around the fire sat the Quidditch team, except for himself and Ron and he walked over to them. He sat down between Andrew and Magadi and joined in the argument that was raging about the Slytherin Quidditch team.

“Well if they bring back Flint then why shouldn’t we bring back the Weasley twins or something for the beaters?” Luke asked, acknowledging that he was not as good a beater as the two redheads who had left the day before term commenced once more.

“Because then we’ll be just as bad as they are. We need to prove that even if they cheat we can still beat them.” Dean said.

“Yeah but if they cheat no one will think any less of us if we do the same,” Andrew said.

“No they won’t, but they’ll think more of us if we win without bringing people back.” Magadi said.

“Unless we had no choice, if people got injured and there were no replacements then we could bring people back then.” Harry said thoughtfully.

“So all we have to do is jump off our brooms about 20 feet from the floor and invite the rest of the team back.” Luke said and everyone rolled their eyes.

“I’m not jumping off my broom.” Magadi told him. “We’re not bringing anyone back anyway. We have a perfectly good team here.” And everyone nodded in approval.

“I’ll see you all later.” Harry said and turned away from them and walked out of the common room, meaning to make his way down to Remus’ office. He got halfway there and remembered that it was the full moon and wouldn’t be too pleased by his waking him whilst he slept through the day in an attempt to save his strength for his transformation. After getting all the way down to the fourth floor he changed his mind and turned to go back up to the common room, meeting Cho on the way who challenged him to a game of Quidditch against Ravenclaw, who although had just played their match against Slytherin some couple of hours ago, were invigorated by their win and wanted to try their skill against the Gryffindors. Harry agreed, knowing that the team that sat up in the common room, discussing the match would much rather play against one of the teams in question, than just discuss their skill in the match. Even Ron agreed to play after he had got over the initial shock of the information Harry had given him and soon fourteen people in red and blue Quidditch robes made their way onto the pitch, flanked by various other people from both houses and some from the Hufflepuffs who were eager to see the outcome of their game.


***


They had played a tough game but in the end Ravenclaw had triumphed and Ron put it down to the fact that they had just beaten the Slytherins and had more confidence. Harry put it down to Luke almost hitting him with a bludger as he and Cho raced after the Snitch. He wasn’t bitter about their loss, he knew that Ravenclaw had become a lot better since they had last faced each other and he was relieved that they had already beaten them in a real match instead of just a friendly game.

Harry lay back against the sofa as he chatted to Remus about it later on. He had been forced to wait around the school to see his guardian earlier since there had been an Order meeting in the room, since they had taken to moving the locations of the meetings around the school and eventually Molly, Arthur, Fred, George, Bill, Charlie, Dumbledore, Minerva, Snape, Hagrid and Kingsley had all left in that order.

Remus looked down gloomily at the smoking potion in front of him that he knew he would have to drink. He was happy to have Harry’s company that evening; he took his mind from his impending agony which would occur later that evening and he reached out to the potion on his desk and drank it as quickly as he could. Harry watched him despondently as Remus emptied the contents of the vial down his throat and pulled a face. Harry reached out and offered him a cup of tea, just as the clock struck five and Remus reached out to take it. They stared at each other in horror for a millisecond as they felt an all too familiar pull around their navels and they disappeared from his office.

Sirius leapt up in horror from his seat next to Harry and Lily did the same. For a moment they stood transfixed in horror as the things they had just witnessed hit them and they began to wonder where they both could have gone before Lily realised it

Outside in the corridor there was a quiet laugh as someone turned and walked away from the office, confident that their work was done.



Chapter Forty!

Lily and Sirius sprinted up the corridors and up the stairs to the common room faster than they had run in a very long time. They collapsed through the portrait hole and immediately James, Alice and Frank ran towards them.

“Lily!” James said as he helped his wife back to her feet. “What happened?!” She gasped for breath and on the floor Sirius was helped back up by Frank and Alice.

“It’s Harry and Remus…” Sirius said and James shot him a frightened look, “They’ve gone.” Alice quickly grabbed hold of Lily as James’ knees weakened and Frank moved to support James over to the sofas in front of the fire whilst Sirius told them what had happened.

“But where could they have gone?!” James asked and Sirius realised that he knew.



***


“Welcome.” Lord Voldemort said as he stood over the two people on the floor. “To your death.” A cruel smiled touched his face and Remus felt terror seeping through his body. He didn’t care about himself but Harry lay next to him, the portkey lay between them. There was no one with Voldemort, which seemed odd to both of them, although Harry strongly suspected that he would have some of his followers nearby, just in case. Remus didn’t suspect this but that was because a million terrible and yet possible scenarios chased each other around his head, each more horrific than the last and all of them ending Harry’s life in various agonising ways.

“Where are we?” Harry asked, managing to keep the tremors from his voice. Voldemort looked down on him with a contemptuous sneer before answering.

“You are in the depths of the Forbidden Forest.” He said quietly, “Even if you are not destroyed tonight, as you should be, you will have great difficulty locating the school once more.”

“Why have you brought both of us here?” Harry asked him.

“Shall I save you the trouble of all these questions and answer them all at once?” Voldemort asked him and Harry raised an eyebrow, “You forget that your mind is not entirely your own, Harry.” Harry swallowed and wondered, not for the first time, just how much Voldemort knew. Besides him, Remus, totally ignored so far, was afraid of his answer. Why had they both been brought there?

“It has taken me much toil but I now know the contents of that prophecy spoken so many years ago. I am aware that there will be one battle to end them all between you and I, Harry.” He said quietly, “But that does not necessarily end the fun of removing your latest guardian from his life, does it?” Harry felt a rush of fear course through his body and Remus felt Harry tense next to him as some slight satisfaction held him; it would be he that died first, not Harry. “Or should I merely add to the ruin both your lives are currently in? Both of you are, of course, aware that tonight is the full moon…” He said and Remus bit the inside of his lip and recalled an unusual sweetness to his potion.

“Never add sugar to it, Lupin.” Snape said coldly, “I don’t care how awful it tastes, or would you rather spend the night as a raving monster?”

“I would not, Severus” Remus answered tartly.

“Good job, wolf.” Snape scowled at him before leaving the werewolf sat behind his desk, a pile of essays and the Wolfsbane potion in front of him, and the third year Harry on his mind.


Voldemort, seeing the expression on Remus’ face, laughed coldly.

“You realise all too late that sugar was in your potion not so long ago.” Voldemort stated. Harry bit his lip and tasted blood in his mouth. “There is a strong barrier of trees surrounding you. Should you escape these bonds…” He waved his wand and Harry and Remus flew to trees a few feet from one another and were tied with the same black thread that Remus had used on Malfoy some time ago. “Then you shall not get too far. Harry, are you aware that a werewolf can smell a human from almost two miles away?”

Oh God, NO! Remus thought desperately. His worst fear was coming true. Nothing more terrible than making Harry like himself had ever crossed his mind, he would rather Harry died… Remus was in control of his own life, however. He could end his own life first… But Harry would never let him do it. Voldemort watched him with smug satisfaction on his face and glancing to the side he could see that Harry was already thinking hard about the way to get out of this situation.

“You have approximately twenty minutes until the moon rises.” Voldemort announced to them both. “Animagus Prohibeo” He grinned as he pointed Remus’ wand at Harry’s chest and then added, “I would love to stay but I would not run the risk of being bitten myself. I shall be seeing you again, Harry.” Voldemort threw Remus’ wand onto the floor before reaching into his pocked and he touched a portkey, disappearing instantly.

“Remus…” Harry murmured and saw the tears in his guardian’s eyes. It frightened him to see him so pessimistic, but there was a way out… There had to be! Voldemort himself had said that he, Harry, wouldn’t die but he knew Remus’ fears and that the current situation was at the top of the list. Remus looked down at the wire that bound him and closed his eyes, a tear fell from his cheek and he shuddered slightly. A second later, after a moment of intense concentration the black wire whipped itself away from him and into oblivion. He glanced at the wire around Harry as he leant back against the tree and with the same concentration he managed to remove his bonds, although it took a lot more effort and his energy was beginning to drain. Sadly he knew that it wouldn’t last once the moon rose. Once free, Harry moved to him immediately and wrapped his arms around his shaking guardian.

“This is the worst that could ever have happened.” Remus said softly, picking up the wand that lay at the side of him, whilst he sank deeper into despair. “And there’s only one way out.” He looked at the wand; he hated himself enough to end his life. Harry stared at him, shocked, frightened and determined.

“Don’t you dare!” Harry said and grabbed the wand from his hand.

“It’s the only way.” Remus said softly, “If I die you are in no danger, as it is I could tear you to pieces.”

“I don’t care.” Harry said defiantly.

“You will.” Remus said darkly, “By the end of the night you will be bitten or shredded.”

“And if you kill yourself by the end of the night I’ll be just as dead as you are.” Harry said coldly, not loosening his grip on the wand for a moment. “I’ll never let you do this.”

“Then go now, and try to get as far as you can!” Remus pleaded with him but Harry refused and shook his head sadly. Remus pulled his knees up to his chest and buried his head in his arms which lay on them. Harry put both his arms around him and Remus let out a shaky breath as he leant against his warm body that will soon be torn to shreds. Remus reminded himself. As hard as he tried he couldn’t understand why Harry wouldn’t just leave and make some attempt to save himself. Why did he have to stay? Why couldn’t he allow him to die?

They sat like that for what seemed like forever until Remus felt a prickling heat throughout his body and he stiffened up against Harry who took a deep breath and held on to him tighter. Remus gasped in pain but bit down against a scream as agony shot through every part of his body. Harry let go now, he knew that Remus would no longer be able to feel his presence and he got to his feet, the wand in his hand. There was little he could to protect him against Remus, he knew that from his DADA lessons. He cast as many protective spells over him as he could and he heard a growl from where Remus was. What faced him now was half man, half wolf and although much of Remus’ features remained he knew there would be none of his mind. He cast a strong locking spell on his jaw to keep it shut and cast a powerful Impediment jinx on him before steeling himself for the worst as the wolf leapt at him but Harry was much quicker than it, due to the jinx and he turned and ran through the trees.

“He should have run before.” Sirius said quietly.

“No, he was right to stay with Remus,” James disagreed with him as they and Lily sprinted after Harry through the trees.


Harry didn’t know why he ran, the wolf would be able to catch him with his eyes closed, and he already knew that during the last few days before his transformation Remus’ senses all became heightened so he could only guess at how powerful they were now. He reached the strong barrier of trees that Voldemort had mentioned and ran along the side of them for some distance before racing back into the thick of the trees. He could hear the wolf behind him, not needing to run. He waited patiently for Harry’s energy to run out before he would pounce but Harry knew he had to keep away for as long a time as possible, just to give him more chance against the monster that had been a father figure to him only minutes before. He had a lot of energy and a lot of stamina from years of escaping Dudley and his gang, but Dudley didn’t have claws that would tear out his throat when he caught him. He considered climbing into a tree but he didn’t know how well werewolves could climb and he doubted the wolf would give him the time to get into the tree. The soft padding of paws behind him had stopped at Harry was glancing backwards when he re-entered the clearing Voldemort had taken them to earlier. He heard the soft crack of china breaking and he looked round to see that the wolf stood there, watching him.

It’s Harry! Fight it! Remus screamed in his head but the wolf was winning…

Harry stared in horror, frozen to the spot as the wolf leapt towards him, he couldn’t move. He wouldn’t be quick enough to escape him now that the Impedimenta jinx had worn off. He was knocked down onto his back with a heavy thud and he felt searing pain as the wolf’s claws tore across his chest. Harry cried out in pain and everything went black.


Chapter 41: Forty-One
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Forty One

Remus groaned as he returned to consciousness. It was the night after the full moon and he was lying outside somewhere, the cool breeze ran over his cold body. He was lying on top of something that was cool and damp. He kept his eyes closed, not wanting to wake up just yet but he was outside, and the rustle of leaves nearby alerted him that he was close or possibly even in the forest. He stayed still and quiet whilst he tried to remember what had happened the night before and he remembered everything in a flash… Voldemort… Harry… the moon… the forest. Merlin don’t let it be true! Remus felt a wave of terror sweep over him and he felt frozen solid, unable to move if his life depended on it. But it wasn’t his life depending on it, it was Harry’s. That thought alone made him want to move. Beneath him he realised that his pillow was breathing gently and he realised that he was lying with his head against Harry’s chest. He opened his eyes to see red. And lots of it. His hand lay next to his face and he could see it was covered in blood and from the little pain that he felt he knew it was not his own.

He carefully rolled over onto his back at the side of Harry and looked to the side. He gasped at the sight that met him. Harry lay there, covered in blood. His face and chest had clearly borne the brunt of the attack, his attack, Remus reminded himself. There were some very deep gashes, mostly across his chest, some on his shoulders. The lighter scratches seemed to be on his legs and arms, although even those would normally be considered quite bad. His face… Remus felt the tears spring to his eyes as he reached out a trembling hand to Harry’s forehead. Gently he brushed his hair from his eyes as he stared down at the terrible sight, of the boy he was to look after, to protect. He had done this; he had gauged those deep marks down the side of his face. There were four of them down the right side of his face from his temple to his jaw line. His nose looked broken and one of his eyes was badly bruised and swollen, underneath which his lip poured blood down the side of his face where it dripped onto the grass. A solitary tear fell from one of his sorrowful brown eyes and landed on Harry’s cheek, mingling with the blood that covered it.

Shaking violently Remus tore his gaze from the boy he loved more than anything else in the world and his eyes landed on his wand that lay some few feet away, surprisingly still in tact. He reached out to it and felt it in his grasp. He touched the tatters that remained of his robes and a moment later they were replaced by one of his less shredded garments. Now what to do… He was trapped in the middle of the forest and he had no idea where about. He couldn’t leave Harry, even if he wanted to; he was still far too weak for that and doubted whether or not he had the strength to make it back onto his feet. He put his head in his hands and groaned unhappily before taking them from his face quickly and remembering that he was drenched in Harry’s blood. The first thing he should do would be to stop the bleeding, but there was so much blood already lost and he didn’t know how strong he was. He breathed deeply and dragged himself closer to Harry. Remus begged himself to keep calm as he was forced to stare down at the broken body before him. That you broke! His mind shouted angrily at the wolf inside him. He took deep gulps of air until he knew he was as calm as he was going to get.

His mind ran back to when he had been training for a healer some many years ago, back before Peter betrayed them, back before one spiteful student had informed the head healer that he was a werewolf… Don’t think about that… He touched Harry’s heart with his wand and murmured a charm. He felt his own power draining out of him as he did so but the blood had stopped flowing, he knew that much. Remus took a few more deep breaths before looking back at Harry’s face, but he couldn’t bear to see him like this and felt the tears slide down his face once more, blurring his vision and his hand began to shake violently as he pointed his wand at him.

“Just be calm… you have to do this.” He said to himself quietly and felt his jaw ache terribly as he did so. He ran his fingers across it and remembered that Harry had put a locking spell on it. He could only pray that it had lasted until dawn. “Abluo Mansuetus” He said softly and carefully moved his wand around his cuts, cleaning away the blood on his face. Once he had done this he didn’t look so bad, but the deep gauges in his almost gaunt face remained, as well as his black eye and swollen lip. He felt another tremor pass through him but he ignored it. He had to heal Harry as much as he could so that he wouldn’t look so terrible when they made it back to school and to lower the serious risk of infection he was currently running. Remus carefully removed the last shreds of shirt that clung to his frighteningly thin body. He could see the outline of his ribs and on one particularly nasty cut he could see some white showing through his skin and he looked away quickly, afraid to acknowledge what it was. Taking up his wand again he gently cleansed the blood and grime from his torso, leaving some awful looking cuts and scratches but as well as that there was a small chunk taken out of his side and Remus groaned softly and looked away from it. He bandaged his chest before moving onto his legs. Looking down at his legs there were just a few scratches there and he healed them instantly. His strength was quickly fading and he could feel his eyelids drooping. He quickly clothed Harry using magic but he could take it no longer; he needed some kind of rest before he could do anymore. He lay down next to Harry who now looked nowhere near as awful as when he was drenched in his own blood and kissed his cheek gently.

“I’m so sorry, Harry.” He murmured, quickly casting a spell for warmth over them and sending a message to Dumbledore before he slipped into unconsciousness once more.

“There has to be something we can do!” Lily said as she paced the area around which Remus and Harry slept. Her eyes were filled with worry and James sat by the side, sleeping against the trunk of a tree whilst Sirius sat, half awake, listening to her.

“Lils, there’s nothing we can do.” Sirius said softly, “We’re dead. Their lives are in the hands of the living now.”

“I can’t take this! Their lives are terrible enough! They don’t need Harry becoming a werewolf on their minds.” She said quietly and sat down next to Remus and watched him and her son sleeping soundly.

“Get some sleep Lily; you’ve hardly slept at all last night.” Sirius said to her, “I’ll wake you if anything happens.” She nodded unhappily and moved to her husband and curled up against him. He opened his eyes but he was only half awake. James put his arms around her and fell back to sleep.



***


Help. The word appeared on the hand of Albus Dumbledore as he wrote yet another irritated letter to the Minister of Magic. He stopped and stared down at the singular word. The handwriting was familiar but he couldn’t place who it belonged to. His mind wandered to Remus. It was the night after the full moon and he and Harry had a tendency of communicating in that fashion so it could well be him. In fact the more he stared at the word, the more certain he became that Remus needed help. Albus sighed and from one of his desk drawers he pulled out the piece of wood he had shown to those at Grimmauld Place during the summer.

“Remus Lupin.” He said quietly and his eyes widened as he saw hundreds of trees spring up all over the wood, except for in a small clearing in the middle. It was clearly in the Forbidden Forest, but what bothered him the most was that Harry was laid next to him. It was the night after the full moon… Harry shouldn’t have been anywhere near him. He remembered Madam Pomfrey coming to him the night before asking whether or not he knew the location of the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and he had replied in the negative. It appeared that this had been their current location. How could they have made it all the way into the forest to the point where there were just trees surrounding them? Madam Pomfrey had come to him not ten minutes after their Order meeting had ended and that had been in Remus’ office and when he left he had been sat talking with Harry. They had clearly been transported there. He reached out to the wood and murmured an incantation. Immediately the two figures in the clearing became much smaller and so did the trees, but there were still only trees surrounding them. Albus’ brows creased in worry and he zoomed out of the image again. This time he could barely see them anymore, but he could see the clearing easily and found that they were almost a mile from the edge of the forest. He got up from his seat and after noting their location he picked up a quill from his desk.

Portus.” He said quietly and touched it, disappearing.

“Lily! James!” Sirius hissed as he moved to wake up the couple who lay in each others arms. The headmaster had appeared and looked particularly grim. “Wake up!” He shouted, after giving up on the gentle approach. Lily opened her eyes and shot him a scathing look before seeing Dumbledore stood to the side of Remus and Harry.

“Merlin.” He said sadly as he looked at the two people lain there. Remus was in a deep, calm sleep but next to him Harry’s breathing was ragged and he occasionally groaned or whimpered in his slumber. Albus conjured two stretchers for the injured and carefully levitated each of them onto it. He made sure that he was touching each of them before reaching into his pocket and curling his fingers around the portkey.

“Good lord!” Madam Pomfrey cried as Remus and Harry appeared in their midst, both in bad shape with Dumbledore stood between them. “What on earth happened, Albus?!” She asked them but the headmaster shook his head, aware that they were being stared at by the other students that were staying in the ward. She took hold of both stretchers and pulled them through the air to the far end of the ward and through a small door which expanded to allow them to fit through. Inside was the teachers ward, where any ill teachers were generally kept until well enough to leave. It was smaller than the other ward but it was also much quieter and more private than the rest of the ward and would require anyone under 19 to be accompanied by someone older to enter the room. Harry and Remus were quickly moved into separate beds next to each other in the ward and Madam Pomfrey moved to Remus and poured a potion which she had made earlier for him down his throat. He groaned and moved a little but then became still once more. She went over to Harry and examined his face and saw the tears down his face and she already knew what had caused them.

“I do not know how this came about, Poppy.” Dumbledore said to her before she could even ask her question, “I only know that they awoke in the Forest this morning and that Remus did this last night.” His voice was grave and he wondered how on earth such a terrible thing could have happened. As she bustled around the silent room, Poppy wondered the same thing.

She took a soft cloth and dipped it in a potion on the table that appeared with a small pop. Carefully she ran it over the scratches down his face and there was a slight hissing sound from the wounds and Harry moved to try and get away but she held his face with a tender but firm grip as she carried on over all his cuts. Next she healed the two broken ribs he was suffering from and his sprained wrist before standing back to look at the boy with a look of deep misery on her face and once again looked to Dumbledore for an explanation but he could give her none.

“I suppose there is one small consolation,” She said quietly to him as she turned and left them to sleep and lead the headmaster from the room.

“And what is that?” Dumbledore asked, hopefully.

“There were no bite marks on his body.” She said and Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled back to life. She smiled slightly as the headmaster nodded to her and left the hospital wing. “Mr Malfoy! There is nothing wrong with you!” She shouted at him, “Now for the last time get out!”


Chapter 42: Forty-Two
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Forty Two

Harry opened his eyes to feel burning all over his face and his chest and he moaned and moved his hand as if to touch his face. In an instant Madam Pomfrey was by his side, had grabbed his wrist firmly and reprimanded him for trying to touch his wounds.

“Mr Potter.” She said to him in a strict and quiet voice, “Do not touch it, you will only make it worse! And keep quiet, Professor Lupin is asleep.” Harry nodded to her and she left him in peace to go back into the main part of the hospital wing. Harry looked around him with interest; he had never seen this part of the wing before and it was a much more pleasant place to be. Looking to his left he could see his guardian tossing and turning in his sleep and murmuring things every now and again. He slipped out of bed and felt some pain and dizziness when he was back on his feet and for a moment he stood there, swaying slightly until the dizziness subsided. He looked down to see that he was wearing a pair of black silk pyjamas that were not his own but as it brushed his wounds he realised that it didn’t cause any pain or irritation on his cuts and supposed that must be the reason why.

He remembered what had happened up until the wolf had knocked him down and he had fallen unconscious. Then he had a vague memory of seeing Remus next to him for a moment and blood, lots of blood. There was nothing between then and now. He walked slowly across the room, the cold floor feeling welcomingly cool against the soles of his feet in comparison with the burning he felt all over him. Harry reached the mirror on the far side of the room and his one good eye opened in surprise. The other eye was swollen until it was almost shut from a deep purple bruise that was on the top of his cheekbone. He looked more gaunt and ill than usual and glancing at himself sideways in the mirror he saw four deep gauges right down his face. They were bright red and he wondered for a moment what Remus must be thinking, he presumed that he had done something to get them here, he had been unable to anything himself. He opened the front of his pyjama shirt to see the state of his chest and saw many deep cuts of the same nature and a small chunk out of his side. He looked away and quickly fastened his shirt up.

Remus was murmuring again and he walked over to him and gently put his cool hand on his feverish forehead. He calmed visibly and the murmuring subsided before he relaxed and he became still.

“Harry! Get back into bed right now!” Madam Pomfrey scolded him as she walked into the room and Harry found himself being lifted from his guardian’s side back into his bed. She informed him once he was back under the duvet that he would be able to leave in a day or two once the cuts had been given a chance to heal. He had broken several bones and was warned to take care of his left wrist as well as his eye.

What do you think I’m going to do? Start running face first into walls just to spite you?! Harry thought at her bizarre request to keep care of his eye.

“You will be pleased to note, however.” She said quietly, “That you have not been bitten during the night before last.”

“Night before last?” Harry asked, puzzlement on his face.

“You slept through the whole of yesterday, last night and most of today.” She informed him, “It is now half past four in the afternoon.” Harry wondered how the time had escaped him so easily as she left the room from the calls of one of her patients. “IF YOU DON’T GET OUT OF THIS HOSPITAL WING NOW, MR MALFOY…” Harry heard her yell from a door opposite him, “THEN YOU WILL BE VERY VERY SORRY. I DO NOT WANT TO SEE YOU IN HERE AGAIN UNLESS IT IS FOR A REAL EMERGENCY!” Harry grinned as he heard a muffled retort, presumably from Malfoy and then the pattering of feet running out of the hospital wing. He smiled and looked to the side at his guardian who was watching him unhappily. There were tears in his eyes and Harry felt his satisfaction of hearing Malfoy thrown out of the wing disappear in an instant as he got gingerly out of bed and moved to Remus.

“Harry…” He said softly and swallowed hard as a tear fell from his cheek and he turned away. He let out a shuddering breath as he felt Harry embrace him gently and he relaxed against him and let his head lean against his chest. It felt odd to be the one being held but Remus didn’t care and just curled up tighter as he felt more tears brimming over his eyes. “I’m so sorry…” He choked out.

“For what? Something you can’t control?” Harry asked him quietly but he received no answer.

Tell me I didn’t bite you, Harry. Remus thought desperately. He needed to ask him but he was afraid of what the answer would hold, or what if Harry had been and he didn’t know yet? He stayed in his arms for what seemed like forever, tears still streaming down his cheeks before he got up the nerve to ask him.

“No. I’m fine.” Harry told him and Remus felt relief flow through him and a weight was lifted from his heard.

Thank God… He thought and shut his exhausted eyes as he leant his head against Harry and breathed in his familiar scent. “Love you, Harry.” He murmured softly as he felt sleep closing in on him.

“Love you too, Remus.” Harry said and a sad smile touched Remus’ lips before he went back to sleep. Harry lowered his head back down on to his pillow before returning to his own bed.


***


It was one day later and Remus and Harry sat opposite Dumbledore in his office. Behind him stood Minerva, Severus, Mad Eye, Tonks and Filius, who had been newly accepted into the Order of the Phoenix. Harry and Remus quietly told them their story of what had happened and Severus was amused to hear that Harry hadn’t run as soon as he had the chance to. On the other hand, everyone else seemed quite pleased that he had stayed with Remus, even Mad Eye, which made a nice change.

“The question remains.” Minerva said quietly, “As to the person who added sugar to the Wolfsbane potion and changed the teacup into a portkey.” Tonks looked hard at Severus at this point.

“Do you honesty think that should I so much as attempt to hand Potter and Lupin to the Dark Lord I would be stupid enough to sabotage the potion I and only I was to give to him?!” Snape almost shouted at her.

“I do not believe it was anyone in this room.” Dumbledore said, calming the matter.

“It must have been someone on the second floor at the time.” Mad Eye said.

“How very profound of you, Mad Eye.” Minerva said coolly.

“But the second floor was almost entirely cleared of students and anyone else due to the Order meeting.” Filius said.

“And I gave Lupin the potion just before the meeting.” Severus said and Remus nodded in agreement.

“Unfortunately I didn’t take it straight away but left it on the side until the meeting had finished and took it some minutes after everyone had left.” Remus said quietly.

“As well as the potion we have the tea cup which had been sabotaged.” Tonks said, “Someone knew that the cup would be used and the time as well.”

“It must be someone in the Order.” Harry said and all the adults stared at him.

“In the Order?!” Snape almost shouted at him, “Are you mad?!”

“No, think about it!” Harry said, “The second floor was almost cleared of students and teachers. Plus few students could make a portkey anyway.”

“Quite a lot can, it’s your lack of intelligence that means you cannot.” Snape muttered and Harry glared at him.

“No, he’s right.” Mad Eye said, “No one under seventh year could have made this and all the seventh years were at the Duelling Club with Filius and Pomona at the time.”

“The Order were the only people in the room between the time that you brought the potion into the room and the time that we vanished.” Harry said, “So it was either someone in the Order or you put sugar in it.” Minerva, Mad Eye and Filius nodded. Snape scowled at him and Tonks was thinking.

“Unless someone altered it whilst you made your way up to Remus’ office with it, Severus.” Tonks said.

“Of course not! Do you really think I wouldn’t notice something like that happening under my nose?!” He almost shouted.

“So which is it then, Severus?” Remus asked him quietly, “Was it you or another member of the Order?”

“I suppose it must have been one of the Order there that evening.” Snape concluded. “Not everyone was present, however.”

“There were Molly, Arthur, Fred, George, Bill and Charlie all there.” Remus said thinking back.

“We three were present.” Snape said, indicating himself, Minerva and Dumbledore.

“Kingsley.” Minerva inputted.

“And there was Hagrid.” Harry said.

“Molly was under Voldemort’s control over the summer.” Snape said quietly.

“He wouldn’t use the same person twice.” Filius said.

“He might if he was trying to trick us.” Mad Eye said and Tonks rolled her eyes.

“It wasn’t Molly.” Tonks said.

“What was that a while ago about Kingsley being in the Department of Mysteries?” Harry asked them and they were quiet for a moment.

“That was nothing.” Mad Eye said.

“We don’t know that though.” Minerva said, “It also said that he was the only auror to survive.”

“He wasn’t there!” Mad Eye said.

“The Prophet might lie and change details but it can’t make something like that up entirely.” Snape said, inwardly hating himself for agreeing with Potter and Minerva.

“Ask him then.” Tonks said.

“How? We can’t just assault him and pour Veritaserum down his throat, can we?” Remus said to her,

“Why not?” Mad Eye asked, his good eye glittering maliciously. Harry grinned.

“No.” Dumbledore said to him firmly.

“We need to question him but if he has done this we can’t possibly get him to take Veritaserum.” Snape said.

“Then we have to force-feed him it.” Minerva said coolly.

“So how on earth are we going to get him? He’s an auror!” Filius said.

“So are we.” Tonks said and already plans for catching the man were running through her head.

“What if we’re wrong?” Filius asked and there was silence.

“Then Potter gets detention for suggesting it was Kingsley.” Snape said coldly and Harry shot him a contemptuous look.

“Alright.” Dumbledore sighed, “This is how we’re going to do this…”


Chapter 43: Forty-Three
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Forty Three

Remus walked down the silent corridor into the headmaster’s office where Severus, Minerva, Albus, Filius, Tonks and Mad Eye had been waiting. Harry was up in his dorm, most likely watching them on the marauders map. The young boy’s deep cuts kept surfacing in his mind and he pushed them as far away as he could as he stepped into the room.

“Good evening.” Dumbledore greeted him, “Now that everyone has arrived we have only to wait for Kingsley.” Everyone nodded. They had informed Kingsley that there was going to be an Order meeting that night in order to make him take the potion. No one was particularly happy about the prospect of force-feeding the auror the potion except for Mad Eye, everyone else felt rather uncomfortable with it. “You all know what to do.” Dumbledore said as there was a knock on the door. “Enter.” He said loudly and the door swung open.

Kingsley Shacklebolt walked in looking perfectly calm. He knew his instructions and intended to carry them out, no matter what the outcome. “Good everyone.” He said calmly and smiled at them all. He certainly didn’t look dangerous. But then again, neither did Peter. Remus reminded himself to stay on his guard against the man. If he was a spy for Voldemort then keeping a close watch on his movements would prove invaluable, if not…? Then it wouldn’t hurt surely.

“Sit, Kingsley.” Dumbledore said and offered him a chair, opposite himself.

“I’d really rather not, Headmaster.” He said quietly, he smiled but his eyes were cold. Remus felt a chill just looking at the man and became certain that he was a spy. His fingers were around his wand, ready to draw it should he need to. “So what is this meeting about?” He asked quietly and everyone looked at him for a moment. Kingsley didn’t like the looks that he was getting from each of them, although Remus’ didn’t look too suspicious of him, even if he was holding his wand. He already knew what he was going to have to do. Voldemort had been furious when he found that both Potter and the wolf had escaped with little harm from the woods and Potter had not been bitten. His master had ordered him that he was to kill the wolf, if possible and if not to transport either Potter or his wretched guardian to him.

“We believe that there is a spy in the Order.” Dumbledore said to him in a grave tone. Kingsley looked straight at him for a moment and already knew what he was going to have to do. “We wondered whether you would be willing to take some Veritaserum.”

“No, I would not be willing.” Kingsley said.

“You leave us with little choice.” Mad Eye growled at him and cords whipped out from his wand at the man, who blocked them quickly with his own wand. Kingsley put a strong shield around himself and turned to the door. Someone moved infront of it and he raised his wand. “Avada Kedavra!” He cried and the man infront of him crumpled to the ground. Kingsley leapt over him and ran out the door, which Dumbledore tried to seal too late.

“After him!” Tonks cried and she, Minerva and Severus ran from the room, leaping over their fallen friend and down the spiral stairs to chase after the man. They stood in the entrance hall for a moment looking around when Snape caught movement with the corner of his eyes and a strong curse flew his way. He leapt out of it’s path and it collided into the wall, causing a portrait to burst into flames and the occupant of the portrait to run out screaming.

“Come on.” Severus said and ran up the staircase after the man, his wand raised and his mind prepared for any attack; there was no telling what a man so desperate would do. He had already killed after all.

“Where the hell could he be going?!” Tonks asked her elders as they made their way up onto the third floor. They stood still in the middle of the floor as they looked around for any sign of the man but they had lost him without a trace. A terrible idea hit them all at once and they realised that they were swiftly running out of time.

“Harry.” Minerva said quietly and the three of them sprinted up two more staircases onto the fifth floor.

Avada Kedavra!” Kingsley screamed and Tonks leapt out of the way as the killing curse shot past her and down the stairs, creating a large crater on the fourth floor. It would appear that the man they pursued was not keen on leaving witnesses to the crime he had committed. Kingsley cursed himself inwardly and turned and sprinted up the stairs hoping that he could lose his followers in the castle.

“We can’t get too close, he’s already killed this evening, and we don’t need another death.” Severus said and Minerva nodded, the reminder of her lost colleague fuelling her to catch the man and the fear for Harry adding to that. They ran after him again as he ran up through the sixth floor, uneasiness taking hold as he reached the seventh floor.

“Stop right there.” Tonks said to the man she had thought she knew. Kingsley span round to see the three of them with their wands pointed at him. He had just reached the seventh floor and it had taken them all this time to get close enough to him but not too close.

Kingsley stood facing them with his wand raised, unsure of his next move. There were three of them against himself, and the three of them were good at duelling, he knew that much. But if he could hit them all at once… not with the killing curse, that couldn’t kill more than one at once but with a similar curse… his mind ran through the possibilities until he made a snap decision.

Impugneus!” He cried and a wave of energy hit the three who opposed him hard, knocking them all back down the stairs. There were many consecutive thuds until the three of them reached the bottom and heard laughter from above as he turned and ran down the corridor to the common room.


***


Harry stared down at the Marauder’s map in horror as he watched three of his professors blown down the stairs by Kingsley as he moved towards him. He had killed that night; one of the teachers was no longer attached to their life and he felt fury because of it. He was coming for him, he knew that now and the longer he stayed hidden in the dorms then the longer it would take to find him but who only knew how many people he could kill whilst he searched for him. No it would be better to go out and face him and try to make some escape around the school if possible so as to get him away from everyone who slept peacefully that night. He leapt out of his bed as he saw him reach the door of the common room on the map, wiped the map quickly and dressed himself magically in an instant before moving quickly and quietly to the door.

His heart was pounding as he made his way to the door and turned the handle. Harry knew that the man was down there, waiting either to make his next kill or transport him to the man that would. Either way it looked like his life was going to end very soon. He would fight him as best he could but there was no defending against the killing curse. He had just blown two strong witches and a wizard down the stairs, what chance did he have?

You have to try. He thought and he knew it to be true as he silently descended the stairs into the common room. Kingsley stood in the doorway surveying the scene and locking the door with magic. Harry took a few steps forwards and Kingsley, hearing his soft footsteps span round in an instant. He saw who it was and a terrible smile touched his face as he advanced towards the boy whom he was here to take.

“We can do this the easy way or I can take you by force.” Kingsley said to him quietly.

“What do you think the chances are of my giving myself up?” Harry asked him coldly and put a quick spell of protection on himself.

“I thought not.” Kingsley said with a sneer, “Always the brave Gryffindor.” Harry narrowed his eyes and held his wand tightly, preparing to duel for what could be his life.


***


Minerva McGonagall opened her eyes to find herself lying at the bottom of the stairs to the seventh floor. Panic took her as she remembered what had happened and hoped for Harry’s sake that she had not been unconscious for long. Next to her Tonks was reviving Severus whose eyes snapped open in a second and he leapt to his feet, curing vehemently.

“How long have we been out?!” He demanded of Tonks who had not fallen unconscious.

“Less than a minute.” She informed him as he helped Minerva to their feet and they all ran up the steps, taking them two at a time.

“You should have gone straight after them; it takes a second to take life and less to transport someone to the Dark Lord.” Severus said to her but thanked her for reviving him a second later as they reached the portrait hole to the Fat Lady.

Avada Kedavra!” A voice yelled from within and there was a crash. “Do you submit to me yet?” The voice asked and they knew it to be Kingsley. “Or would you choose more death instead of the easy way out?”

Harry didn’t answer him but shot a powerful stunner his way. Harry knew that he couldn’t kill the man, as much as he would have liked to for the life he had already dared to remove that night under the very nose of Albus Dumbledore. The stunner missed him, barely and Harry damned himself for his poor aim as he reversed the Cruciatus curse which hit the man full on, reducing him to his knees. He shot a stunner at him again and to his utter annoyance Kingsley leapt to his feet and dodged out of the way as he aimed the torturing curse at him once more. This time Harry wasn’t fast enough to block it and he was knocked to the ground in agony. He looked up once the curse had ended to see Kingsley stood over him, his wand pointed at his chest.

“I have waited a very long time to do this, Harry Potter.” He said softly.

“Do what? You were to take me to Voldemort weren’t you?” Harry asked him uncertainly as he tried to think of a way out of his current situation.

“I was, yes.” He said and he smiled maliciously at him, “But the Dark Lord has a tendency of allowing you to escape. I will not allow that to happen.” He said softly as he took a step back to cast the curse that would end his life. Harry took his chance and blew the man backwards with a very strong stunner which drained the last of any strength he had previously had. He saw the man thrown into the wall from the strength of his magic and slipped into unconsciousness with panicky voices ringing in his ears.


***


“On three.” Tonks said and the other two nodded. “One… Two… Three!” There was a collective cry of “Reducto” and the portrait hole was finally blown open and Snape ran into the common room just in time to see Kingsley blasted across the room and Harry lying unconscious on the floor.

The two women gasped as they ran in after him to see the state of the common room which had been destroyed. For a moment they stood fixed to the spot in the centre of the room, unsure as what to do, unsure as to whether either of them were dead and unsure as to what had happened to the other students. Eventually Minerva was the first to move. She made a quick barrier over the entrance to the common room from the dorms and magicked a quick notice onto the other side of the wall, informing students that the common room was currently out of bounds and the way out of their dorms was through a mirror at the far left in each room. Strangely enough Severus was the one who moved over to Harry and checked he was still alive. He put his fingers on his neck and felt a weak pulse. Looking down at the boy he had to admire the fact that he had managed to successfully take out a fully grown auror and Death Eater but there would be time to admire his courage and then hide his admiration from the boy later. Right now the boy needed medical attention. In a moment he had conjured a stretcher and sitting on one end of it he controlled it so that it flew to the door of the common room. He turned and looked at Minerva and Tonks who announced that Kingsley was not yet dead before nodding to them and leaving the room for the hospital wing on a flying stretcher with Harry Potter. This is a position I never thought I’d be in… He thought as he flew quickly down onto the third floor and jumped off the stretcher and walked quickly into the hospital wing so that he could at least appear in the presence of the Nurse with something close to an air of decorum.

“Good Lord!” Madam Pomfrey cried as the boy appeared in the room, “Not again!” She quickly led the stretcher and the potions master through into the teachers’ area of the hospital wing and put Harry into a bed before administering several potions and charms to him. She thanked Severus for bringing him to the hospital wing.

“I was given little choice.” He said, as if to excuse himself for helping Potter in any way. Before Poppy could say anything in return Minerva appeared with Kingsley on a stretcher. She had his wand and her own in her hand and Kingsley himself had been tied down onto the stretcher to prevent him from escaping or doing anything that could harm her or any one else.

Madam Pomfrey raised her eyebrow at seeing the man brought into the wing in such a restrained fashion and if possible raised it even more when Minerva asked him to be isolated and put in a place where he could cause no harm to himself or others.

“Where is Tonks?” Severus asked Minerva once Poppy had taken Kingsley into a small room off the side of the ward for secure keeping.

“Cleaning the common room.” She replied and suggested that Severus joined her, which he agreed to with a scowl.

“Where will you go?” He asked her before leaving. “Will you stay here with Potter?”

“No, I shall go inform the headmaster of the events.” She said and left the room. She went down to the first floor where the entrance to Dumbledore’s office was and after speaking the password she entered.

Her mouth opened in horror at the sight that met her and succumbed to unconsciousness.


Chapter 44: Forty-Four
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Forty Four

Dumbledore watched as Minerva, Severus and Tonks leapt over the body of Filius Flitwick who lay on the floor in the doorway. Mad Eye had grabbed Remus at the last minute to keep him from leaving; he had known all too well that Kingsley was going for Potter and those three alone would be enough to knock him unconscious, leaving him able to answer questions later on. If Remus got to him he would kill him, there wouldn’t be a doubt about it – he was protective of Harry now, very much so and couldn’t bear to see anything happen to him, especially after the events of the full moon. Dumbledore sat in his chair with his fingers steepled as he stared into the flames of the fire, his mind wandering quickly over the events that were occurring. He should have seen it before but he was old now, he was not what he once was. He had failed to see it in Molly, he had failed to see it in Kingsley, he had foolishly kept the truth from Harry in the previous year, effectively ending Sirius’ life and just now Filius Flitwick had been murdered under his very nose.

Dumbledore looked to Mad Eye who was carefully moving Filius to the side of the room and Remus who stared out of the large window into the darkness beyond. He could see the anger building in the young man and his desperation to check on Harry but he could not be permitted to leave the room.

Remus closed his eyes as he leant forwards resting his head against the cool window pane as he desperately wished to escape and find the boy he played guardian to. He still had his wand in his hand as he had done when Kingsley had shown himself. He had known that man quite a long time, long enough to think he knew his true allegiance but then again he had known Peter for longer and nothing had shocked him more deeply than that. His hearing was still very sharp and he heard something from behind him, just a gentle sound of a footstep but he knew not to whom it belonged.

Avada Kedavra!” Someone screamed and Remus whipped around to see the curse shot straight at Dumbledore who looked up in surprise to see the green curse flying towards him.

“No!” Remus and Mad Eye cried at the same time and both tried to move but the caster of the curse span around to Remus and blasted him through the window he stood next to with much force.

Mad Eye lost no seconds with capturing the Death Eater who stood before him with a quick succession of stunners, binding spells and cords which flew at the follower of Voldemort. He cursed her vehemently when she leapt out of the way of all three and locked the door from the study with haste before turning back to her. For now he could see who it was, Bellatrix Lestrange. This woman was intent on killing as many innocent people as she could, destroying members of the Order and attempting to kill Harry. She sent the killing curse straight at him but he sidestepped it and she scowled darkly at him. They duelled with much power and force for almost fifteen minutes.

Reducto!” Mad Eye cried and Bellatrix staggered backwards as the spell hit her shoulder, disintegrating a large portion of it. Blood immediately drenched her robes and she cried out in agony as she fell to the floor. Mad Eye decided to be merciful and knocked her out with a quick stunner before putting her in the full body bind, tying her with a thin black thread and freezing her into a solid block of ice. He stood back and looked around the room. The door was still locked but someone rattled it on the other side. Mad Eye felt too stunned to take the lock off and could only stand, staring around the room in disbelief whilst Filius lay dead at the side of the room, Dumbledore was slumped back in his chair in a similar state of lost life and Bellatrix lay frozen in a pool of blood. How could this have ever happened?!


***


Remus saw the curse hit Dumbledore as he fell through the window and as he began to fall from the tower at the top of the school he quickly shielded his eyes from the glass that fell along side him. He was falling but shock resided throughout his body, he couldn’t believe what he had just seen, he couldn’t believe Dumbledore was dead and Bellatrix was in the school. If she made it to Gryffindor tower… He looked down into the dark depths to which he fell. He was falling faster and faster and there was nothing he could do about it, he was going to die. No, I’m not getting this far only to die! His mind shouted at him and he realised that he was still clinging tightly to his wand as he fell.

Wingardium Leviosa!” He managed over the rush of wind that met himself and with a quick swish and a flick over his own body he jerked to a halt just feet from the ground. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, he had been so close to meeting Dumbledore in Death. He lowered himself to the ground and ran as quickly as his shaky legs could carry him into the main entrance of the school where he had to stop for a moment to catch his breath and calm himself before running on up to the first floor and through into the entrance to Dumbledore’s office. He ran up the spiral staircase and reached the top but the door was locked. He shook the handle in frustration before turning and running back down onto the first floor. All he knew was that he had to get back up there. He summoned a school broom from the cupboard which was only a floor below and in less than ten seconds he had a Nimbus 1000 in his hands and he flew out of one of the windows on the first floor.

It felt odd to be going upwards through the air so soon after he had been falling to what should have been his death but he pushed the thought from his mind as he flew back into Dumbledore’s office to find Mad Eye still stood in the middle of the room in shock, Filius still at the side of the room, Dumbledore behind his desk but now there was a lot of blood and destruction from powerful spells in the room. Bellatrix was frozen in the middle of the room, her face contorted with pain. The sadistic side of him smiled at seeing her there before he walked over to Mad Eye and seated him. He didn’t know what he had been expecting, perhaps a few good curses or two but the old auror just simply sat in the chair Remus conjured for him. Mad Eye stared into the flames in the same way that Dumbledore had done just before his death but there was no thought or regret running through his mind. There was nothing in his head, his mind was numb from shock and he was only dimly aware of being seated by Remus.

Remus let out a shaky breath and stared around the room, what now? The door. They would return soon: Minerva, Severus and Tonks. They couldn’t return if the door had been locked. He forced himself to remain calm as he walked around the frozen woman whom he kicked causing pain in his foot but he didn’t care anymore. He easily unlocked the door with a few spells and he heard a small click of the latch inside the door itself.

Dumbledore, Filius and Sirius stood staring around the room in misery. They watched Remus run his fingers through his hair as he stared around the room as they did. Mad Eye blinked and they wondered whether he would come out of his trance but he did not.

“It is good to see you again, Sirius.” Dumbledore said to the man who stood to the side of him, glaring at his cousin. “Although I don’t think either of us thought it would be so soon.” Sirius shook his head as he looked around to see Lily run through the door followed by Minerva a second later.

“What happened to Harry?!” Sirius asked instantly. She shook her head as she gasped for breath and managed to tell him that she would explain later but from that he knew he was still alright.


Remus moved quickly to catch Minerva as she fainted and lay her down carefully on the floor.

“Mad Eye?” He asked the man who stared into the fire. No response. “Mad Eye!” He shouted it this time and the man’s magical eye swivelled round in his head to look at him before turning his body around to do the same.

“Right…” Remus said, knowing that with Mad Eye in his current state of shock he had to be the one giving out the directions. “You take Filius and Dumbledore down to the hospital wing whilst I revive Minerva and keep an eye on Bellatrix.” He said, feeling better about doing something. Mad Eye nodded and he got to his feet. He conjured two stretchers for the dead men and levitated their bodies onto them, before walking to the doorway with both stretchers in tow.

“Minerva, I…” Severus started as he walked into the office of the late headmaster and saw Mad Eye with the two stretchers containing two members of staff and dropped to the floor in the same manner that Minerva had done some time earlier. Mad Eye ignored him and stepped over him as he took the stretchers out of the room. Remus quickly walked after them and conjured two sheets to cover them; it wouldn’t do to have the students in the hospital wing see their dead headteacher. He turned back to Minerva whom he awoke after a few ennervation spells.

“Tell me it’s not true…” She said as she opened her eyes to find herself lying on the floor next to Snape. She glanced round and saw the destruction in the room and knew it to be so. She found herself being helped to her feet by her old student, Remus Lupin who was reasonably in control of the current situation.

“I need you to take Bellatrix to the hospital wing to be kept in a secure place.” Remus said to her and she nodded. She wiped the tear from her eye as she turned to the woman who had murdered Dumbledore and levitated the block of ice she was encased in out of the room and down the corridor to the hospital wing. Remus sighed and stared around the room, things wouldn’t be the same again. He turned to Severus and awoke him easily.

“What happened?!” Severus cried as he awoke and leapt to his feet, staring around the room and the blood and the mess that littered the room. Remus only shook his head.

“We’re going to have a meeting of the staff first thing tomorrow.” Remus said to Severus.

“Who says you’re making up the rules now wolf?!” Snape almost shouted at him.

“Considering that I am the only member of staff who knows what happened and isn’t in a state of shock or hysteria I think I am perfectly within my rights to control things now,” Remus said to him and Severus scowled in return. “At eight tomorrow morning I want every member of staff in the staff room. Go to the staff room and put a notice up there.” Snape did nothing and walked down the corridor in the direction of the hospital wing with him. “Now Severus.” He said and dutifully Snape turned from him and walked to the staffroom.

Remus took in a deep breath as he walked along to the hospital wing. He glanced at his watch: almost midnight. He knew that all the staff would be in bed now, except for those that had been involved in the events of the night. He pushed open the door to the hospital wing and walked through past the rows of empty beds, with one or two occasionally occupied by a student. He walked straight to the end and through a door into the staff sector. Poppy ran over to him instantly and he found himself under a barrage of frantic questions as she pointed at the headmaster and Filius who were currently lying on the floating stretchers under the same white cloths he had put over them not long since.

“I will answer no questions tonight, Poppy.” He said as calmly as he could manage, “There will be a staff meeting tomorrow at eight; I suggest you leave your patients and attend.” She nodded and moved away from him to check on her patients. He glanced round and saw at the far right of the room Minerva was in bed, clearly under a calming drought and a sleeping potion and the same could be said for Mad Eye who was sleeping in the same eerily still manner. Tonks walked into the room a moment later looking quite calm and Remus realised unhappily that she was not yet aware of what had happened to Dumbledore or Filius. She looked at him and questioned his grave nature. He sighed and took her to the end of the ward where he showed her who was underneath the white sheets. She opened her mouth to scream but fainted instead and Remus caught her.

“Good lord!” Poppy said as she returned to see Remus catch Tonks as she fell unconscious. He levitated her into a bed and Madam Pomfrey administered the same sleeping drought and calming drought to her that she had given to everyone else. “Professor Snape… I must insist that you leave.” She said as Severus walked into the room and over to Remus, ignoring Poppy completely.

“I put it on the notice board.” Snape told him and looked to Remus for what he should do next. Remus thought it odd that Snape took orders so easily from him after his outburst before but he assumed it was just the shock he was suffering from. Poppy noticed his odd behaviour and soon had him into a bed and taking the same potions much to his protest. Remus said nothing whist this was happening and just paced the room. He wondered where they had put Kingsley and Bellatrix. She asked Poppy this when she came over to him next and she explained that they were down in the dungeons in a secure section of the hospital wing that could only be reached through her office. Remus nodded satisfied at this.

“You look exhausted, Remus.” She said to him, “You should get some sleep yourself.” He thanked her but shook his head, he had never taken sleeping droughts well in his youth and he hadn’t changed much over the years. “Very well then, I suggest you sleep here tonight so I can keep an eye on you.” She said to him and smiled. Remus nodded and agreed to stay in the hospital wing that night. She turned and walked away to check on the students leaving Remus stood alone in the dimly lit wing.

Everything is in such a mess… He thought unhappily as he walked down to the far left of the wing and stood looking out of the window before he realised that he was being observed. He glanced to his right and saw Harry half sat up, his gaze fixed on him. Remus smiled at him and went to sit by his side.

“How are you?” Remus asked him and Harry shrugged.

“Not too bad, thanks.” He replied and asked of his own health.

“Exhausted... worried… but otherwise fine.” He replied softly.

“What happened to you tonight?” Remus asked him when he noticed a burn mark down the side of his face.

“What happened to you?” Harry asked him and Remus sighed.

“You tell me first.” Remus said to him and Harry duly did so. Remus listened to him tell how he had been laid in bed watching the map and how he had gone out to fight Kingsley when he reached the common room. He told Remus everything he could up until the point where he had knocked Kingsley out and fainted himself. Remus shook his head at the teenager whom his arm was wrapped around. “You could have died!”

“And if I’d hidden in the dorms more people could have died.” Harry said quietly.

“Yes but going out to face him…” Remus said before breaking off. He knew he had probably done the right thing by keeping away from the dorms and at the same time he had endangered himself. What if he’d died? What if he’d been transported to Voldemort?

“So where is he now then?” Harry asked him.

“Locked up in the dungeons somewhere.” Remus replied. Harry nodded.

“So are you going to tell me who died this evening?” Harry asked, catching Remus off guard. Seeing his surprise he added: “I’ve been in here ages, do you think I wouldn’t notice two stretchers with people on them down there?”

“I suppose not.” Remus murmured and taking a deep breath he began to tell Harry of the events that had happened that night. He hated doing it, knowing that he was telling the boy that someone he had always thought of as damned near invincible, someone they had all thought of as almost invincible had died. When he had finished Harry was silent and staring at the wall opposite him. Remus watched him and waited for some kind of response.

Harry couldn’t believe what he had just heard. Dumbledore was dead… Never in his life had he thought that Dumbledore would die, he needed him to be there to help him and guide him against Voldemort, and how could he possibly defeat him without Dumbledore?! Remus had it worse; Remus had seen him die and had been able to do nothing about it. For an odd moment his mind wandered back to the way he had felt when he had watched Sirius fall through the veil and this was the same, it wasn’t his fault in the slightest and he had been there watching, helpless. Flitwick as well had died. He didn’t feel as strongly about that since he had already known he had died earlier on but he still felt the same fury at knowing he had just been killed for no reason at all, just because he was there at the wrong time. The Death Eaters had a reason to kill Dumbledore but not to kill Flitwick, he had done nothing.

Harry turned on his side slightly and leant his face against Remus’ chest and he felt wretched. Remus wrapped his other arm around him as well and that was the way Madam Pomfrey when she came round in the morning to check on the staff. She tutted at neither of them having slept lying down in a bed of their own but there was nothing she could do now; she supposed it could be good for them to be together during such hard times.

“Good morning, Mr Potter.” She said as she walked past his bed and pulled the curtains open to allow the light of dawn to fall through the window and into the ward. Beside Harry Remus stirred a little but stayed asleep. Glancing at his watch Harry found that it was only six in the morning and Remus had mentioned that he had to be awake for the staff meeting at 8. Harry slipped out of his guardian’s embrace and got out of bed, charming himself into a clean set of robes as he did so. He took his wand from his bedside and carefully charmed Remus into his bed so that he was lying down in a more comfortable position. Looking around now that he was out of bed Harry could see that he was not the only one awake. Snape and Tonks were both watching him and Madam Pomfrey walked in and saw him up and looking out of the window before instantly ordering him back into bed.

“I don’t expect to see you out of bed again until I give you permission.” She said to Harry before she turned away and walked into her office. When she was in her office she murmured a password to the portrait of an old healer which hung on the wall and a small section of the wall moved to one side, leaving a darkened passage down which she walked into the dungeon sector of the wing to check on her two more restrained patients. Harry sat on the bed charming things with his wand until he heard a pair of familiar voices from the end of the room. He curled up next to Remus on the bed and peeped at them over Remus’ shoulder, effectively hiding himself from view.

“Look, as far as anyone knows I am that Healer.” Madam Pomfrey said but Harry knew it couldn’t possibly be her, or else why would she say that?!

“I know, but I have no disguise do I?!” Kingsley said to her and Harry realised that it must be Bellatrix posing as their resident Healer trying to get out of the school before they could be questioned. His stomach tensed up as he heard their footsteps getting closer and closer to him. He watched as they walked past Snape, Tonks and McGonagall, all three of which he now knew were awake but had their eyes shut nonetheless. Next to him he realised that Remus’ breathing had become very shallow compared to the deeper breaths of a sleeper. That meant that everyone in the ward was now awake and all of them holding their breath as the two murderers made their way along the ward to Harry and Remus.

“Oh god.” Remus murmured and Harry took a deep breath before they stopped at his bedside.

“So what should we do with him then? Do you think we should kill him now or send him to the Dark Lord?” Kingsley asked her.

“I’d rather kill him now but the Lord wants him.” Bellatrix said and Harry felt Remus tense next to him. Harry opened his eye very slightly and could make out two blurs standing at the foot of the bed.

“Very well.” Kingsley sighed and brought out a small skull from his pocket. “Portus” He said as he pointed his wand at it.

At the other end of the room Snape, Mad Eye, Tonks and McGonagall all stared at each other in horror. Harry and Remus were about to be transported straight to Voldemort and there didn’t appear to be very much they could do about it. Tonks could see his wand just out of her reach and she leant over out of bed to try and get it but her fingertips could only brush it. She scowled and leant over further but instead of her fingers catching hold of it they inadvertently knocked it off onto the floor and it landed on the cold marble with a clatter that echoed around the ward. Her eyes widened as both Death Eaters turned to her.

There was a clickety-clack as Bellatrix turned from her partner and marched down the ward to where Tonks sat. Snape lay with his back to them and his eyes closed, praying that they wouldn’t notice him lying in the ward. Minerva, Mad Eye and Tonks sat up straight in their beds and stared straight at the witch who walked towards them.

Harry raised his wand and murmured “Silencio” softly as he waved his wand over the end of the ward in which he, Kingsley and Remus currently were. Kingsley opened his mouth to shout out something to Bellatrix and he was shocked to find that no sound came from him.

Tonks watched over Bellatrix’s shoulder as Harry, taking full advantage of the silencing charm leapt out of bed and stunned, tied and froze Kingsley into a solid block. Bellatrix noticed where Tonks had been looking and span round to see Kingsley frozen in a solid block of ice at the end of the room. Her eyes narrowed dangerously and she aimed her wand straight at Harry.

Avada Ked--” She managed before she flew forwards from a powerful attack from Mad Eye and her face slammed into the floor. Minerva, Snape, Tonks and Mad Eye rose from their beds and went to examine the woman, who was clearly knocked out. Mad Eye tied and froze her in the same manner that Harry had done and walked down to where Remus and Harry stood together.

“Nice work Potter.” He said quietly and Harry managed a quiet “thanks” in reply.

“Right… First thing’s first.” Minerva said, “What are we going to do with these two?”

“We should lock them up.” Tonks said.

“We already tried that and they’ve escaped.” Severus pointed out as he looked down at Kingsley and Bellatrix, who still had the form of Madam Pomfrey.

“Which reminds me…” Mad Eye said, “Remus, Harry – go into the dungeons through Poppy’s office and try to find Poppy.” They both nodded and turned away from him.

“So if we can’t lock them up then we can kill them, send them back to Voldemort, give them over to the Ministry or vanish them somewhere.” Tonks said.

“We’re not killing them.” Mad Eye said to her, “Nor are we giving them back to Voldemort.”

“Well we can’t get the ministry involved…” Minerva said, “What with Dumbledore’s death we should want to keep the Ministry out of things as much as possible.”

“People will have to know what happened.” Severus said, “Do you think we can just pretend that Dumbledore never existed? He’s very well known and people will want to know how he died.”

“He’s right,” Mad Eye said, “And if we do anything else with these two than hand them over to the Ministry then they’ll want to know why not.”

“But if we hand them back they’ll just walk out of Azkaban a few weeks later!” Minerva said.

“That doesn’t matter! They’d get back in a few weeks anyway if we vanished them somewhere.” Tonks said. The four of them turned around to see Poppy levitated into the room by Remus who stepped out of her office and into the wing, quickly followed by Harry. He levitated her onto a bed and quickly administered some of her own potions to her putting her into a dreamless sleep for an hour or so.

“We’re giving them to the ministry.” Severus informed Remus and Harry who nodded, knowing that this would have already been debated to the point where it was decided that was the best option for them.

“How are we going to tell everyone about this? There’ll be uproar.” Tonks said.

“Well Minerva’s the headmistress now.” Remus said and looked to the woman who looked quite grim at the prospect of following in Dumbledore’s footsteps. “You’ll have to break it to the staff, the students and probably the ministry and the press too.”

“I’ll break it to the Order.” Mad Eye said quietly and everyone nodded in agreement except for Harry who stood at Remus’ side, feeling out of place with the adults and way out of his depth with the current conversation which spoke of breaking the death of their headteacher to everyone.

“We have a staff meeting at eight.” Severus reminded them all.

“So how quickly can the rest of the Order get here? That’s not for almost an hour and a half and I’d much prefer to inform them first.” Minerva said.

“Well all there is to join us are the Weasleys, Arabella, Mundungus, Dedalus and Hagrid.” Tonks said after running through the members in her head.

“Tonks, Severus – if you would go contact them and tell them to meet in my office as soon as possible.” Minerva said to them. They both nodded and left the room as quickly as possible. “Alastor, if you would lock these two up securely in the dungeons somewhere and join us in my office when you are done.”

“Of course.” He said to her and nodded to the three that remained: Minerva, Remus and Harry who followed her down to her office on the first floor. They walked in and sat down in the room that she expanded to a size which would be comfortable for everyone during the Order meeting which would take place in some time when they entered.

“Harry, I will expect you to be present at the Order meeting.” She informed him when they sat down opposite her with a large wooden desk between them. She reached into one of her drawers on the left hand side of her desk and pulled out a pensieve. “If you could both put your memories of the previous night into here it would make it much easier to explain to people, that is unless you have any objection to doing so?” She said to the two people that sat infront of her looking quite lost for the moment but both of them nodded and put a memory or two into the pensieve before them. “Thank you both.” She said and the door burst open and Mad Eye walked in and sat down as well. He put his memories of the evening into the pensieve and Minerva thanked them all before adding some into it herself. Once she had done Tonks and Snape had joined them and told them that the Order would be arriving any minute.

“Now we have gathered at this highly unsociable hour to inform you of the deaths of Filius Flitwick and Albus Dumbledore.” Minerva said once the group had gathered. Harry, Remus, Mad Eye and Tonks sat at the front of the group, whilst Molly, Arthur, Bill, Charlie, Fred, George and Dedalus sat behind them. Severus paced the room at the back and Mundungus stood leaning against the wall next to Arabella. At Minerva’s words there was uproar and everyone who had just joined them of late began questioning everyone else between gasps and cries of “I can’t believe it!”

“Alright, settle down everyone!” Minerva shouted over the crowd before her. “The fastest way for you to understand the events of the last night are for you to see them.” Everyone was quiet and looked at the small pensieve infront of her. “Everyone make sure you’re holding onto someone else.” She ordered them and once everyone (even Snape) had hold of someone she submerged herself in the pensieve. Instantly everyone appeared along side her and they were in the room just after the last Order meeting inside Remus’ office. Everyone left and then there was just Harry and Remus left talking. Remus drank the Wolfsbane potion that Snape had brought in for him earlier. Harry passed a cup to Remus and they saw the shock on their faces as they disappeared. Next thing they knew they were all stood in the woods listening to Voldemort half talking and half threatening Harry before he left them both in the woods. There was some murmuring from the people when they heard Voldemort announce that there had been sugar in his potion.

“Quieten down!” Minerva ordered them all and they became quiet once more. Much to Remus’ relief the scene changed once Voldemort disappeared, which meant that they wouldn’t see him break down completely. Now he was sat staring in horror at Harry the morning after, both of them covered in blood. Remus groaned slightly and moved closer to Harry who felt quite nauseated at seeing himself in that state.

The scene changed again to show Dumbledore, Minerva, Remus, Severus, Filius, Tonks, Mad Eye and Harry all in the headmaster’s office discussing who must be the spy in the Order. Molly was relieved when she was announced not to be the spy.

“What was that a while ago about Kingsley being in the Department of Mysteries?” Harry had asked the group and they watched the conversation which followed.

The scene altered once more and Dumbledore, Minerva, Tonks, Mad Eye, Severus, Remus and Filius stood there as Kingsley entered the room. A conversation followed and everyone cried out as Filius was killed mercilessly for blocking his way out of the room. Dumbledore was sat behind his chair and they watched as Mad Eye grabbed hold or Remus, preventing him from leaving the room as Severus, Tonks and Minerva ran out after him. The scene followed the three chasing after Kingsley up onto the point where they got to the third floor but then it flickered back to Dumbledore’s office. Remus was leant against the window; Mad Eye was moving Filius to the side of the room and out of the doorway. Dumbledore was sat in his chair staring at the flames.

Avada Kedavra!” Bellatrix cried and the green jet of light flew at Dumbledore and everyone cried out in horror as it struck him. Harry turned away; it horrified him to see it happen. Remus and Mad Eye cried out and then they saw Remus blown through the window. They fell for a moment with Remus before things flickered back into Dumbledore’s room where Mad Eye duelled with Bellatrix before taking part of her shoulder out. Everyone winced at that part and watched as he stunned, bound and froze her before looking round the room, feeling utterly stunned.

It went back to Remus who had just prevented himself from falling to his death and who ran up into the castle and couldn’t get into the room because of the locking charm. He cursed softly and conjured a broom. The scene changed and Kingsley was stood at the top of the stairs to the seventh floor and blasted Severus, Minerva and Tonks down the stairs. Everyone gasped again. Things changed again and now Harry was stood opposite Kingsley, who was grinning inanely. He and Harry began to duel furiously and then it changed back to Dumbledore’s office where Remus stepped through the window on the broom and tossed it to one side before flickering Harry rebounding the Cruciatus curse back at Kingsley. They watched him duel from then until he fell to the floor and Kingsley stood above him as if to kill him and Harry blasted him back across the room. The scene changed perspective as Minerva, Snape and Tonks blasted the door down.

The last change took place and they were in the hospital ward that morning. Poppy had been kidnapped down in the dungeons and Bellatrix and Kingsley talked of what to do with Harry. They watched as they were both recaptured and then the image faded and all fifteen of them were thrown out of the pensieve where they began talking instantly.

“Now that Dumbledore has gone we are weaker than ever before.” Minerva said, “But we will pull through this.” She said to them and people listened to her intently, “We will be contacting Aberforth as soon as possible and then things will steadily fall back to something close to normal.” She finished and nodded at them all.

“Unless anyone has anything else to say then this meeting is ended.” Mad Eye said to them all and everyone left the room talking amongst themselves except for those removing memories from the pensieve.

“What’s Aberforth like?” Harry asked Remus who shrugged.

“I’m not sure; I’ve never met him – few have.” He said to the young boy, “Although I do not doubt that he will be a man of great interest.”

“I shall see you both later.” Minerva nodded to them both as they left.


Chapter 45: Forty-Five
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Forty Five

The school gasped in horror and behind Minerva the teaching staff stood, all wearing grim expressions. A babble of conversation broke out amongst some students whilst everyone else sat in shocked silence. From the Slytherin table Draco Malfoy dared to laugh and was met with strict looks from all.

“I can’t believe it…” Hermione said as she stared up at the teachers. Ron tried to say something but no words appeared so he shut his mouth and glared at the Slytherins who didn’t seem particularly bothered. The staff sat down to their breakfast which no one managed to eat without much force on their part.

They had announced that Minerva would be the new headteacher as well as keeping her old post as the transfiguration teacher, despite Mad Eye and Remus offering to take her place. Tonks had taken Filius’ place teaching them all charms and the school was heavily subdued, even the Slytherin table who had been hoping for a new headmaster.

“I’m going to get my father to apply for the position.” Draco said with a smirk. “With all his connections it shouldn’t be too difficult to arrange…” The Slytherins grinned and all gave Draco their support for his father becoming the new headteacher.

“Then we could finally get all the mudblood filth out of this school.” Pansy said and glanced across at Granger who was staring down at her bowl at the Gryffindor table. “And now they’ve got that wolf as head of Gryffindor, I almost feel sorry for them…”

The students had been given the day off school, the staff knowing that neither they nor most of the students would be able to concentrate that day. The Slytherins had been tempted to cheer at this announcement but seeing the look on the staff’s faces they had decided against it.

It was for this reason that Remus found Harry sat outside in the cold staring out over the lake with his back against a large tree some time later. The Slytherins were all shouting and cheering on the Quidditch pitch, taking advantage of everyone else’s misery to get in some training and laugh loudly at the same time. Remus looked down at him sadly, knowing that his entire hope of ever defeating Voldemort must have come close to disintegrating the night before. Harry glanced up at him inquisitively and Remus sat down by the side of him, staring out over the lake.

“We’ll get through this you know, you’ll get through this.” Remus said to him.

“How can we? Dumbledore was the only one Voldemort was ever afraid of, he’s not going to wait long until he tries to take Hogwarts is he?” Harry said, little above a whisper but even with the howling of the wind Remus still heard each word.

“He’s afraid of you.” Remus said to him and Harry raised an eyebrow. “Of course he is, there’s a prophecy that says you can defeat him, that’s not going to fill him with confidence… and if he wasn’t afraid then why would he try to kill you when you were only 2?”

“Because he liked killing children?” Harry suggested and Remus sighed and shook his head.

“Believe it or not, Harry, you are going to beat him. If there never was any hope there never would have been a prophecy.” Remus said to him and wrapped his arm around his shoulders. Harry leant his head on his shoulder and they sat like that for some time. “I hate to leave you but there’s an Order meeting. You should go inside and keep warm, it’s freezing out here!” Remus told him some time later, after glancing at his watch to see that it was almost ten o’ clock already. Harry nodded and agreed to go somewhere warmer. Remus gave Harry a brief hug and reassured him that things were going to be okay before he got to his feet and walked up to the castle, glancing back at Harry for a moment and almost tripping over one of Hagrid’s pumpkins which had managed to take over quite a large portion of the grounds in random places. After that he decided that keeping his eyes on the castle would be a good idea.

Harry smiled as his guardian almost tripped over a pumpkin as he glanced back at him before turning round and keeping his eyes where he was going. He sat outside for a few minutes longer before the isolation began to get to him so he rose to his feet and followed Remus’ trail back to the school, without tripping over random vegetables on the way.

“Oh, sorry!” Harry said as he walked into a man in the entrance hall. He had been staring at his feet as he made his way into the castle and looked up in surprise at the man he remembered seeing in the Hogs Head the last year. But it couldn’t be… He remembered his face and knew that he was the bartender but now he was wearing decent robes he knew immediately that this was, in fact, Aberforth Dumbledore.

He looked down at him with a pair of very dark eyes, which were almost black. They twinkled in the same friendly way that Albus’ had done though, before… before, well just before. He wore long deep crimson robes with a pointed hat and large boots which added an extra two inches to his height, which already caused him to tower over Harry. His beard and hair was long in the same way that Dumbledore’s had been.

“Quite alright.” He said in a friendly manner and his eyes flickered up to his forehead and back. “So you are the young man whom our world rests on…” He said softly before smiling at him, “From what my brother used to say I believe you will do a most excellent job.”

“Thank you, sir.” Harry said to him and smiled slightly in return.

“Oh please, do not call me ‘sir’.” He said, “It is so very formal. Call me Aberforth.”

“Okay then Aberforth.” Harry said. It felt odd to him to call a man so alike to Dumbledore by his first name, but this wasn’t Dumbledore he reminded himself. Well it was but it wasn’t the one he was accustomed to.

“Do excuse me; I have a meeting to attend.” He said and nodded to Harry before disappearing from view. Harry watched him leave up onto the first floor, presumably going to the old office of his brother. He was eerily alike Dumbledore but there was something about his manner that made him completely different at the same time. He shrugged it off and walked up to Ravenclaw tower which was currently serving as the common room for Gryffindor also, due to the near destruction of it the night before. Not wanting to be left out the Hufflepuffs had also taken to entering the Ravenclaw tower and listening to the conversations and arguments that arose between the brave and the intelligent.

“Hey Harry.” Ron shouted over the noise as Harry entered the crowded room and saw Ron and Hermione sat on the far side of the room. He went over to sit with them and proceeded to tell them about Aberforth Dumbledore whom he had just encountered in the entrance hall.

“He sounds strange.” Ron said.

“Only because he’s so like Dumbledore.” Hermione said in reply.

“Well yeah.” Ron agreed, “I wonder what he’s like then, do you think he’ll be anything like Dumbledore?”

“I dunno,” Harry said to him, “He seemed kinda like him but you can’t tell that much from one conversation.”

“I wonder what he’s been doing for the Order all these years.” Hermione said, “We know he’s in the Order because he was on Moody’s photo but working in the Hog’s Head…”

“I know, it just doesn’t seem to make any sense, does it?” Harry said.

“Well you get some weird blokes in the Hog’s Head.” Ron said, “Maybe it’s to keep an eye out on their more interesting clientele.”

“He’s not done very well then has he? He had Quirrel in there and he gave Hagrid an illegal dragon’s egg under his very nose!” Hermione scowled.

“Maybe he felt shadowed by Dumbledore and kept a low profile.” Harry suggested.

“I don’t know…” Hermione said, deep in thought. “I suppose we’ll find out though.”


***


Minerva, Severus, Remus, Tonks and Mad Eye walked through the castle as they made their way down into the dungeons. Mad Eye led the way down to the location where he had locked the two Death Eaters up in. They finally reached a place far below the main school in the depths of the dungeons when they reached a row of cells backed against a far wall. From here they could see that two frozen people were at either end of the cells. Mad Eye walked confidently down towards them and stopped around five metres away.

“Well? Do we question them separately or together?” He asked them quietly.

“Together will be quicker and we’ll get the fuller picture.” Minerva said,

“But we put ourselves in twice as much risk.” Remus said and Mad Eye nodded, considering for a moment.

“Both together, I think.” Mad Eye said and Minerva gave her approval which was enough to have both brought from their cells and defrosted by Tonks and Mad Eye whilst Remus, Severus and Minerva kept their wands trained on them. The moment they had defrosted and were coming to their senses the two aurors bound them securely to the chairs they were seated on.

From his robes Snape produced a vial of Veritaserum and walked towards Bellatrix who had assumed her natural form, instead of Poppy’s. Mad Eye held her head still with a spell and forced her mouth open and the three drops fell into her mouth before the same was done with Kingsley. Immediately they became limp and their expressions which had been of anger and contempt were passive and calm.

To the side Remus dipped his quill into the Veritaserum and then into the ink and murmured a charm on it before testing it quickly.

“Gathered here today is only myself, Molly Weasley, and this quill is uncharmed.” He said.

Gathered here today are Minerva McGonagall, Alastor Moody, Severus Snape, Nymphadora Tonks, Bellatrix Lestrange, Kingsley Shacklebolt and myself, Remus Lupin. This quill is under Veritaserum. It wrote neatly on the paper. He nodded to Minerva who told Mad Eye to proceed and the quill raced across the paper, noting this down.

“Are you, or are you not Bellatrix Lestrange and Kingsley Shacklebolt?” Severus asked them both, each of whom gave a curt “yes” in reply.

“Shacklebolt – are you a spy for Voldemort?” Mad Eye asked him expressionlessly. “If so then how long have you been in his services, if not then how do you justify your actions?”

“Yes I am a spy for the Dark Lord.” He replied, “I have been in his services for almost one year.” His audience raised their eyebrows slightly at this but carried on.

“How did you come to be in the service of the Dark Lord?”

“Ten Death Eaters approached me last year and brought me to him. The Dark Lord is very strong. Only a fool would refuse his offer to join him.” He said coldly.

“Shacklebolt – tell us what happened last night, 27th January 1997.” Tonks said to her.

“The Dark Lord ordered me to go into Hogwarts for a meeting of the Order of the Phoenix and kill Remus Lupin.” Kingsley said smoothly and Remus felt his stomach tighten, “Failing that I was to capture Harry Potter and transport him to my Lord.

“I attended the meeting but their suspicions of me had already arisen. They tried to force-feed me Veritaserum so that they could discover whether or not I was a traitor.

“I escaped by killing Filius Flitwick and running from the room to Gryffindor tower to attempt to catch Potter, having failed to kill Lupin. I was followed by Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall and Nymphadora Tonks. I knocked them down the stairs and entered the common room where I locked myself and Potter in and duelled him. I hit him with the Cruciatus curse and he fell down. I moved to kill him but he blew me across the room when I fell unconscious.”

“Lestrange – what happened on the night just passed, 27th January 1997?” Mad Eye barked at her.

“I entered the castle under Polyjuice potion in the form of Kingsley Shacklebolt.” She said, “I entered Dumbledore’s office and hid in his living quarters whilst he had been gone. I waited until Kingsley had left after killing Filius Flitwick and entered his office. I killed Albus Dumbledore with the Killing Curse and knocked Remus Lupin out of the window. I duelled with Alastor Moody and lost.”

“What happened the next morning, Lestrange?” Severus asked.

“The school’s Healer came down to where we were being kept as both Shacklebolt and I were injured. She unfroze me to heal me but I overpowered her and stunned and silenced her. I still had a spare Polyjuice potion and took her hair so I could escape from the castle. I drank the potion and woke Shacklebolt. We left the dungeons and walked up into the hospital wing.” She said.

“What happened when you reached the hospital wing?” Minerva asked.

“I saw Moody, Tonks, McGonagall and Snape sleeping at the near side of the ward and Potter and Lupin sleeping at the other side. I went to Potter with the intention of transporting him to the Dark Lord and Shacklebolt followed me. I heard a noise at the other end of the ward and Tonks knocked her wand on the floor. I went down there to wipe her memory and whilst I had gone Potter stunned, bound and froze Shacklebolt after putting silencing charm on him. I turned around and was knocked out.” She said.

“Do you plead guilty on a count of the murder of Albus Dumbledore and of supporting Voldemort?” Mad Eye said to Bellatrix who said she believed so.

“Shacklebolt, do you plead guilty to a count of murder of Filius Flitwick, attempted murder of Harry Potter, attempted murder of Remus Lupin and supporting Voldemort?” Mad Eye asked the man who sat infront of him.

“Yes to all.” He said calmly. Mad Eye nodded to Remus who removed the quill from the paper and read through all that was written and all of it matched the words from the mouths of the Death Eaters. Mad Eye froze them both into a solid black after putting the full body bind on each of them and left them both locked up securely in separate cells.


***


“It’s been a very long day.” Remus said to Harry as he lay back on his bed and let his head sink into the pillows beneath it. Harry sat at the end of his bed leaning back against one of the posts.

“So what happened with Fudge?” Harry asked him.

“He walked around the school and made pointless observations about how it didn’t look like there had been any such thing in Dumbledore’s office.” Remus said to him and rolled his eyes, even though Harry couldn’t see as he was lying down, “Then he flooed to St. Mungo’s to see the bodies, can you believe? After that he returned and demanded to see the two prisoners whom he questioned under Veritaserum.”

“I thought you’d already questioned him.” Harry said.

“We had!” Remus replied, “And after he had listened to their accounts he insisted on having accounts from me, Minerva, Tonks, Mad Eye and Snape. He wanted to send for you as well but Minerva shouted at him for about ten minutes until he gave in on that one. After all that he started up an argument with Snape about his past, said I was unreliable because… well because, said Mad Eye was a mad old auror, Tonks was young and foolish, you were a lying little— (I won’t finish what he said, it was very insulting and unpleasant) and he told Minerva that the four stunners she took last year had addled her brain!”

“He didn’t!” Harry said, deeply shocked that he would challenge all those people at once and wondering what he had said about himself at the same time. “So what happened then?”

“Snape started arguing with him when he was challenged and Tonks backed him up. Mad Eye managed to shut them both up in the end. It took all my self control but I managed to stay quiet and Minerva went very white and then just started shouting at him. She said she’d never met a man more incompetent than he and managed to defend everyone all in one breath until we thought she was going to pass out from lack of air. Eventually when she lost her voice Fudge left wringing his hands and trying to decide how to break it to the Prophet.

“Wow, I wish I’d been there.” Harry said.

“You don’t, Minerva is very frightening when she’s angry and she was furious.” Remus said to him.

“So what’s happening now then?” Harry asked them.

“The staff’s trying to get things back on track again after the house elves revolted and said they worked for Dumbledore, not for Minerva.” Remus said, “So Tonks has spent most of the afternoon bargaining with them. The Order is trying to find out everything that Dumbledore knew but didn’t tell us and is trying to convince Aberforth to help with the Order and go to the vampires.”

“Vampires?!” Harry asked him.

“Like werewolves, they’re not all evil.” Remus said to him. “He has strong links with one of their leaders and if we can get the vampires we will be much stronger.”

“And you?” Harry asked him.

“I’m currently trying to come to terms with what’s happened and find out how to get into Death, Dumbledore never actually told anyone it seems.” Remus sighed, “If we could get into Death to speak with him that would be very helpful but as it is…”

“Did he tell Neville or just show him?” Harry asked,

“Just showed him, I managed to find him earlier and asked him but no luck.” Remus replied. “All I get wherever I go is Gryffindors asking when the common room will be open to them again.”

“So you’re enjoying being head of house already then.” Harry smiled at him.

“At least now I can support Gryffindor in matches without Snape accusing me of bias every five minutes, Merlin knows how Minerva will cope without taking sides in that.” Remus smiled slightly.

“Does Ravenclaw have a new head of house yet?” Harry asked.

“Professor Sinistra is applying for the position, I believe,” Remus informed him. “And before you even think of asking the common room will be open again in a day or two, Mad Eye, Sinistra and Mad Eye have spent most of the day trying to charm it back together again but they’ve not had too much luck as of yet.”

“How did you know I was going to ask that?!” Harry asked him disbelievingly.

“I’m just that great.” Remus muttered, “Anyway get back to your dorm, it’s almost ten o’ clock, no wonder I’m so tired!” Harry grinned at Remus before bidding him a good night and leaving his quarters through a passageway behind a sliding bookcase which lead up to the fifth floor.


Chapter 46: Forty-Six
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Forty Six

“Good evening, Harry.” Voldemort said to him and sneered at him. “Good to see you’re ah… recuperating from Dumbledore’s death.”

“What do you want?” Harry asked him as he stood in the doorway of the common room which was utterly destroyed. Voldemort was sat on a chair next to the fire and watching him intently, never moving his eyes from his own and never allowing the smirk to disappear from his face.

“I just wanted to pay you a little visit.” Voldemort said. “Have I had the fun of showing you my army?”

“No, you haven’t.” Harry said, “Although I think I’ll live without seeing them.”

“Well we can’t have you living, can we Harry?” Voldemort replied.

“Why not? You’ve let me live for sixteen years so far.” Harry said and Voldemort’s expression soured slightly and Harry felt pain shoot through his body and he collapsed to the ground with a gasp.

“Tut tut, Harry. It isn’t wise to mouth off to those older and infinitely more powerful than you.” Voldemort said and Harry chose not to retort as he pulled himself back to his feet. Once he was standing again the room began to spin and Harry staggered backwards from the dizziness until they came to a stop in Azkaban. Harry remembered an article in the Prophet that had told of his taking over the wizarding prison some time back. He looked around and saw a large hall filled to bursting with Death Eaters with Dementors floating about the place and the occasional vampire. Harry smiled slightly at seeing so few vampires that had come to his aid, when Aberforth had been able to convince so many of them to side with the Order.

“A few Vampires are nothing, Harry.” Voldemort said to him coolly as they made their way across the hall by walking through the Death Eaters that stood there. When they stood at the far end of the hall they could see that there were literally hundreds of the Death Eaters and Harry couldn’t help but know that they would be greatly outnumbered should choose to fight the Death Eaters. There were more Dementors than he had thought but there were still not very many vampires on the dark side. Once he had taken all this in, Harry felt the world spinning again and he was stood outside the common room again which had long since been repaired.

“Why are we back here?” Harry asked him as he saw a figure robed all in black walk up to the common room and stick a piece of paper to the wall with a dagger. He moved closer to the paper but the words blurred and he couldn’t read them. He raised an eyebrow and turned back to Voldemort who watched him with his usual contempt.

“This is just my way of proving that even on the highest floor of Hogwarts you are not entirely unreachable…” Voldemort said to him in a quiet voice. “Now that Dumbledore has gone you are more vulnerable to me than ever before, and you will be finding this out very soon Harry, you have my word. Until we see each other again…” He finished and the world span at a sickening rate and everything went black.


Harry sat bolt upright in bed and gasped for breath. He closed his eyes; it had been a dream, a terrible dream. He looked around the dorm at the other three beds and felt relieved that none of his friends had been woken by him; he didn’t need questioning about what he had seen at this time.

He realised that he didn’t know what time ‘this time’ was and he glanced at the clock on his bedside table and saw that it was seven in the morning. He had lessons today although he deeply wished that he didn’t. It was the first Wednesday of March and months had flown by since Dumbledore and Flitwick had died, although things hadn’t seemed the same since. Tonks had taken to teaching charms lesson with her usual zest for anything and was doing a brilliant job of it since all the students managed to like her and learn at the same time, that is, all the students that weren’t set against her, like students of one certain house. Professor McGonagall had managed to teach most of her Transfiguration lessons although when the paperwork began to pile up for her Mad Eye or Remus would take turns at taking her lessons to allow her some time off; they appreciated that being the headmistress and teaching a major subject were difficult enough without doing both at once. Professor Sinistra, the astronomy teacher, had taken over as Head of Ravenclaw house and she spent much of her time gloating to Professor Sprout about how they were beating them for the Quidditch cup, despite the fact that it wasn’t Ravenclaw in the lead, it was Gryffindor still. Remus was very pleased about this (and so was Professor McGonagall although she could no longer show it) but chose not to make snide comments at Snape about it each time he passed, although he was sorely tempted to.

Harry pulled himself out of bed and quickly robed himself before scowling at his hair in the mirror. Why is this all it does?!” He wondered as he stared at his hair in disdain. He glanced at the dark purple bruise on his cheek and scowled as he ran his finger over it. Saturday afternoon would hold the Gryffindor Vs. Slytherin match which was being debated incessantly amongst the staff and students alike and not just those in life: Sirius had held a huge argument with Filius about the likelihood of Gryffindor winning the cup this year which had gone on for around half an hour before becoming extremely heated and both had to go to the hospital wing with injuries.

The bruise on his cheek had been from a curse from Malfoy which had thrown him into a wall, almost knocking him out. Since then it had been something close to war between the Slytherins and the Gryffindors and at first the other two houses had tried to avoid becoming entangled in this animosity but many of them had done, despite their efforts. It was not only Harry who was in danger; both teams feared to practice Quidditch and would not do so without at least one teacher present. The team tried not to be all together at any one time so as to reduce the chances of their being attacked but that only meant that the Slytherins would try to pick them off one by one which had lead to Harry, Dean, Ron, Ginny, Magadi, Luke and Andrew permanently being surrounded by a large group of people. Harry ran his gaze over the bruise from a day ago and left the room.

He liked it so early since there was no one around and the few moments he had alone at this time could be the only ones he had until the next morning. He walked down into the common room and glanced around, there was no one there. He smiled slightly before walking over to a chair infront of the fire, which had become his favourite place to sit. The suddenly Harry remembered the paper that someone in his dream had stuck outside the portrait hole. The curiosity he felt just to go and see whether or not it was there was overpowering and he found himself walking down to the portrait hole, wondering what Remus would say when he knew what a ridiculous thing he was doing. He could be killed, there could be someone out there, or there could be no one and nothing out there… He just didn’t know but if there was someone working for Voldemort in the school wouldn’t they be waiting to see if he went out of the common room on his own and then simply take him straight to the Dark Lord? All these thoughts raced through Harry’s mind as he reached out to the portrait hole and then decided strongly against going out there. Even if whoever had put that note there (that was assuming that there was a note) had gone, then how did he know that the moment he touched the paper or the knife that stuck it into the wall he wouldn’t be transported straight to Voldemort? No, it was a much safer idea not to go near it until someone else was there with him.

Harry turned away from the door and walked back up to the dorm, where he stepped through the doorway behind the mirror and walked down the passageway. It was a short passageway and came out on the fourth floor, which seemed quite odd since most people would have thought it would be very long to go down three floors. He stepped out onto the fourth floor and quickly walked down to the second floor and into Remus’ office.

He glanced around the room. Remus wasn’t there but there were signs that he had been up: there was a steaming cup of coffee by his desk which hadn’t been there when he had left the night before (accompanied by a large crowd, of course) and the ink on a piece of parchment on his desk wasn’t quite dry.

“Engarde!” Shouted the miniature Harry from the desk and had a quick fencing match against James with an unfolded paperclip and James was irritated when Harry won, to the point where he kicked over Remus’ ink bottle.

Reverto.” The larger Harry said and smiled as the ink flew back into the bottle and stood upright again. It had taken him a long time to master the reversing spell and it had seemed as if things had gone back to their old ways when Hermione had to teach him to reverse things properly. Things seemed very different to the way they once were now that Hermione and Ron were going out. Harry felt quite pushed out of things but he supposed that their having each other could only be a good thing, just because he was alone didn’t mean that everyone else should be. He sat down on the windowsill and stared outside at the grounds which were wet and muddy from all the recent rain. At least that would give him something soft to land on when he was knocked off his broom by the majority of Slytherin house on Saturday, he reasoned.

Remus walked into the room and smiled when he saw Harry sat on his windowsill gazing out across the grounds.

“Good morning.” Remus greeted him. Harry looked away from the grounds and smiled at him, returning the greeting. “This is a first, not only are you up early but you’re also alone!”

“Shocking huh?” Harry grinned.

“So how did that come about then? You can hardly go anywhere without being accompanied by around 10 people nowadays.” He said as he sat down at his desk and took a sip of his coffee.

“I know.” Harry said and rolled his eyes, he was sick of never having a moment to himself. He went on to explain his reasons for waking up so early and Remus listened intently, especially interested in the part about the letter stuck to the wall with a knife.

Remus thought for a moment once Harry had told him what he had seen to reflect on what happened and decided upon a course of action. They were both going to go up there and find out whether or not there was anything or anyone there. Harry agreed to this and felt a lot better about going near it with someone else there with him.

Ten minutes later Remus stood a few metres away from the Fat Lady’s portrait with Harry stood next to him. He could clearly see that there was a piece of paper stuck to the wall with the knife that Harry had said and to Harry’s immense discomfort it was in exactly the same place and exactly the same knife that it had been in his dream. Remus looked at it cautiously and decided that it wouldn’t be a portkey and if it was then chances are it would have disappeared long before now.

He looked at it and saw only blurred writing but he recognised the charm that was on it and presumably Voldemort knew that he would. Which also meant that he knew that Harry wouldn’t be here alone, and who else was Harry always with but himself? He bit his lip slightly before reaching out to it and pulling out the knife. It felt icy cold in his hand and he let it fall to the floor, where, to both their surprise, it shattered into a thousand pieces. Once the knife had been removed the paper glided slowly to the ground but Remus caught it in the air.

Now that it was in his hand he could read it perfectly, although he knew Harry could not, seeing as it was not in his hand. Harry looked at it with confusion and then at Remus who appeared to be reading it.

Harry,

Not like you to be so cautious is it? Although, as well as hardly being separated from that wolf’s side, after various hidden portkeys over the years I knew you wouldn’t so much as touch something left by myself. By the time you are reading this I will have organised my armies from the disarray you saw them in and they will be already plotting to get into Hogwarts, I should not doubt that you will be seeing some of them soon. You will be back in Death on a more permanent basis before you make it to seventeen, that I assure you.

Goodbye for now.


Remus felt his stomach twist as he read through it again. How could it be possible for someone to be in the school and leave that there? Hogwarts was the most protected place in the world! He handed it to Harry who read it as they walked back down to his office and he had to keep steering him in the right direction and levitating him down stairs to prevent him from falling as he read the letter.

When they stepped into his office, Harry put the letter down on his desk and both of them were quiet as they contemplated what the letter had said.

“How big was his army?” Remus asked him. Harry quickly summoned Remus’ pensieve and put the memory of his dream into it. Remus entered the pensieve and felt a sinking sensation as he saw the size of his army – it was huge, but some sense of hope remained; they could possibly get enough to beat an army like that, especially since many of their number consisted of Dementors who could be easily driven back with a good Patronus charm. He returned from the sieve to see Harry awaiting his verdict. “It’s big, but not unbeatable.” He said to the boy who smiled slightly at him.

“I suppose that’s something then.” Harry said, but he could see that he was far from filled with hope at his statement. “Come on, let’s get down to breakfast before everyone wonders whether or not the Slytherins have you.”

They walked quite quickly down to the hall on account of both of them being rather hungry. They talked of the letter and the knife as they walked down to the hall but when they came close to the large doors which would lead into the great hall Remus told Harry not to dwell on the letter and his dream but to concentrate on his lessons and not to let the Slytherins get him. Harry smiled at him and assured him that he wouldn’t, although both of them knew that he probably would.


***


“Alright everyone, settle down!” Tonks shouted over the crowd as they sat down in charms that morning. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville and Dean were all sat at the front waiting for the lesson to start. Malfoy had unsettlingly chosen a seat right behind Harry and Tonks kept her eye on them as much as she could without directly looking at them constantly.

Harry enjoyed charms with Tonks but it wasn’t the same as having Professor Flitwick. The Ravenclaws were making sure that just because Dumbledore had died at the same time their head of house wouldn’t be forgotten. Unfortunately for those students in the lesson, Tonks was giving them a test that lesson to see how many of them would be needing to attend extra lessons before the end of the year to make sure that they caught up with the rest before their final and most important year began. Harry wasn’t too bothered about the test or the classes he would have to take should he fail the test or the endless snide comments from Malfoy about the pointless lessons he would have to take because of the test he failed. He didn’t care too much about lessons like charms anymore, nor was he particularly interested in potions or transfiguration now that he had seen Voldemort’s army. He knew that they would eventually overpower them and he would die in battle, end of story. He knew that he shouldn’t take this attitude and that he should keep his hope and his faith in his previous escapes from Voldemort if only because it was not only his life that rested on his shoulders but thousands of others, maybe even millions. Millions? That was probably going too far, Harry decided and glanced at Neville who was looking pointedly at him and then up at Tonks who had evidently asked him something.

“Well Harry?” She asked him again.

“Sorry, what did you say, Professor?” He asked her quietly. She sighed and grudgingly took five points from Gryffindor due to his lack of attention before repeating the question.

“Just checking you’re here, Harry.” She said and marked him down on the register. She touched a pile of papers on the desk with her wand and they all flew out to individual students and landed on their desks. “You have one hour, you may begin.” She said and they got to work.

What is the name of the charm that can hide a place or a person from any other and state how it can be used in practice. The question asked and Harry started scribbling down everything he knew about the Fidelius charm. The lesson ended quickly and Harry had been disappointed by its usual activity which came from having Tonks as the teacher but he supposed that it couldn’t be helped. Their next lesson would be defence against the dark arts in which they had been doing about duelling which tied in well with the duelling club which was still being held most of the weeks but mostly with the D.A. on each Monday and Wednesday.

They left the lesson which was the last one before dinner and headed down the stairs. Harry walked at the back of a group which consisted of Dean, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Luke, Magadi, Andrew and Luna. They all chatted idly about the upcoming match on Saturday and Magadi was trying to convince Luke that constantly aiming for Malfoy with the bludgers during the match would be a good thing.

“No, but once we’ve knocked Malfoy off then we’ve basically won!” Magadi said.

“It’s not like we’d be accused of cheating or anything, don’t get that idea!” Luke scowled.

Harry, being at the back of the group decided to disappear for a bit without his many body guards who were doing a poor job considering they were walking infront of him. He wanted to get away from everything for a while and decided that he would go down to the Hospital Wing and chat to Neville for a while who had been hit with a bludger that Malfoy tried to hit at him down a corridor the other day and unfortunately for Neville, his aim was way out. He slipped away to the left and into a passageway that would take him right away from the main staircases which they were currently walking towards and to the backstairs which weren’t used that often especially by the Slytherins, which he saw as an added bonus.

“Hey Harry.” Neville said and smiled when he saw him walk into the hospital wing.

“Hey Neville, how are you?” Harry asked him as he sat down by the side of his bed. He noticed that his head was very swollen to one side and wondered about the best way to get revenge on Malfoy for it.

“Better.” He said quite cheerfully, “Madam Pomfrey says I can leave the wing in another day or two once the swelling goes down on its own.” He gestured at his rather swollen head and Harry scowled.

“Malfoy’s not getting away with this,” Harry said. Suddenly Parvati ran into the hospital wing and saw Harry sat there and made her way to him. “What’s up?” He asked her seeing her so flustered and red from running.

“Malfoy… Quidditch team… Hermione… Luna…” She gasped and Harry’s eyes widened.

“Where?!” He asked her and she managed to tell him that they were in the entrance hall before she ran over to Madam Pomfrey telling her what had happened and Harry said a hurried goodbye to Neville and ran out to find out what had happened.

He ran down the back stairs owing to the immense crowds that were on the main stairways and raced along until he made it into the entrance hall. He pushed through a large crowd of people until he saw Hermione, Ron, Dean, Luke, Magadi, Andrew, Ginny and Luna all unconscious on the floor. He stared in horror at his friends who lay there.

“What happened?!” He asked Terry Boot who stood next to him with Padma.

“Malfoy set up a tripping charm at the top of the stairs.” Terry explained.

“But it was a few feet away from the stairs and when they waited for the stairs to move they walked closer and fell.” Padma said.

“What? So there were no stairs there when they fell?!” Harry asked.

“Yeah, they fell right from the fifth floor.” Terry said quietly.

“I cannot believe this!” Harry muttered and to the side of the entrance hall he could see Malfoy bragging and laughing about something to his Slytherin friends. He felt anger bubbling inside him but kept calm until he saw him pretending to fall from a great height – that was when anger overpowered him and he marched straight at him.

“Not now, Harry.” Remus said as he marched past Malfoy quickly in his direction and grabbed hold of Harry, spinning him round before pulling him away from the amused Slytherins. “The last thing you need right now is to get cursed by half of Slytherin house. Worry about your friends first and revenge later.” He strode past Harry and cut easily through the crowd who moved when he arrived. Minerva, Tonks and Mad Eye arrived very soon after and all five of the teachers present levitated two students onto stretchers each and down the corridor to the hospital wing, followed by Harry whilst the rest of the school stood watching with interest.

“Mr Potter, return to dinner. You may visit the hospital wing later.” Minerva said to him as he tried to walk after them all into the hospital wing. He scowled at her and muttered something incomprehensible as he turned and walked away.

He couldn’t believe that Malfoy had done something like that. He would get his revenge on him and hopefully take out a lot of the Slytherin Quidditch team at the same time. He realised unhappily that they didn’t have a team at all except for himself and they didn’t have any players who were near as good as their currently injured team. He walked into the dinner hall and sat down at the Gryffindor table alone. He got himself a small sandwich but didn’t eat much of it and spent much time just picking at it unhappily whilst he plotted his latest way to get Malfoy back for almost killing all his friends.

“Hello Harry.” Hannah greeted him as she and Ernie came and sat down next to him. Although they were both in Hufflepuff house the upper years had become a lot more lax about the tables that they sat on for dinner or the common rooms that they frequented. It was for this reason that no one batted an eyelid at the two people who came and joined the lone sixth year.

“We heard about what happened.” Ernie said to him, “I can’t believe Malfoy would go that far.”

“I know,” Harry said dully, “But he’s not getting away with it.”

“They can’t do anything about it either, the staff I mean.” Hannah said.

“What?! Why not?!” Harry asked her, astonished that the staff could do nothing about it.

“Because Malfoy made sure that it was Crabbe that put the tripping spell there. If anyone gets expelled for it then it will be Crabbe, not Malfoy.” Ernie explained and Harry scowled darkly over at the Slytherin table.


Chapter 47: Forty-Seven
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Forty Seven

Harry walked along to the great hall and found most of the D.A. inside that hadn’t been injured earlier that day. In the hall stood Remus, Mad Eye, Tonks, Minerva, Severus, Pomona and Sabina Sinistra, awaiting the last of the students to arrive. There were only fourteen of them at the duelling club that day which conveniently worked out to two students to each teacher.

Harry ended up with Michael Corner and Mad Eye which was something new, owing to the fact that he had never battled with Mad Eye and he knew that, being the eccentric auror that he was, it should be an interesting session. Near by Hannah was looking fearfully at Remus who smiled at her and tried to calm her slightly before they began. Ernie, who was working with them, challenged Michael to a duel whilst they waited for their teachers to finish.

“Good luck, Potter.” Mad Eye said to him, a lopsided smile touching his face, “You’ll need it.” Harry couldn’t help but smile, knowing that he really would need it to beat him. Mad Eye carefully drew a large circle around the area that they were in on the floor with his wand and the outline was a bright white. He bent down and touched it with his wand and immediately a translucent dome covered the area that they stood in. Mad Eye explained that this was to make sure that none of their spells could hit anyone else, should they miss their target. Harry felt a foreboding about the upcoming duel with the old auror; if he was going to such lengths to make sure that no one else would get hurt then things really weren’t good for him.

They bowed slightly to one another, but keeping their eyes up. The duel began. Mad Eye was a lot quicker than Harry would have thought a man with a wooden leg could be as he dodged quite a few of his attacks.

Reducto” Harry cursed.

Protegium!” Mad Eye said and sent the curse flying back at him. Harry used the same blocking spell to absorb the power into his shield and Mad Eye nodded approvingly before sending the same diagonal purple strike that one of the Death Eaters had used on Hermione during the battle in the department of mysteries. Harry looked at it astonished and leapt out of its path, owing to his not knowing whether or not his shield would be able to block it and what it would do to him should his blocking fail. Harry struck back with a quick attack of ice and then followed by flames which easily destroyed the ice that Mad Eye had sent back at him. His one good eye opened in surprise as the flames engulfed him. Harry stared at Mad Eye who seemed to be encased in a cylinder of fire until with a sudden burst of power it all shot straight back out at him. There was nothing that Harry could do to avoid the six foot high flames that shot out in all directions… or was there?

Wingardium Leviosa!” Harry said quickly and with a swish and a flick he levitated himself over the top of the flames that shot in his direction before quickly dropping to the ground as the flames hit the shield, causing it to glow bright red.

It was time to stop messing about; he needed to end this (if he could) on his own terms and he knew that he hadn’t used the snake summoning charm in quite some time. Mad Eye may have anticipated this but he had to try it anyway, he could easily control a snake that was sent at him but he doubted that Mad Eye could without resorting to the Imperious curse which would take a lot of effort out of him.

Serpensortia.” Harry said quickly and a giant snake shot out of the end of his wand and at Mad Eye who burnt it to a crisp in a second. Harry lost no time as he had predicted that he wouldn’t give Harry the chance to allow his snake to attack.

Reducto!” They both cried at the same time and two bolts of red light shot out of their wands at each other and two streaks of red shot at each other across the dome they were encased in. They clashed in the middle and as they forced against each other the point at which they met began to widen until both of them were pouring all their energy into a red swirling disc of power at the centre of the dome. Harry felt Mad Eye forcing it in his direction and saw it move closer to him, forcing his magic back. He scowled and pushed back against him as hard as he could and unexpectedly the disc moved very quickly towards Mad Eye. Harry’s energy was draining very quickly and he found that he no longer had the power to keep up his half of the disc, let alone push it towards his opponent. As the last of his energy vanished Mad Eye pushed back against him and everyone who had been watching (this was almost everyone owing to the fact that the teachers were prone not to hold back too much against Harry, making the battles more interesting and exciting. The students loved to watch because they truly believed that at one point Harry may actually beat one of their mentors) gasped as the disc of red threw Harry backwards and through the shield. Everyone but Mad Eye was surprised at this, since they had thought the shield would be solid, not only a protection against spells. Minerva and Remus quickly caught Harry using magic and lowered him to the ground. Mad Eye got rid of the dome with a wave of his wand and walked quickly over to the unconscious student.

“You might have gone a bit far, Mad Eye.” Minerva said to him as she conjured a stretcher for him.

“I didn’t intend for that to happen, it’s rare for two spells to be cast at the exact same time with the same power at the same place.” Mad Eye said apologetically.

“Remus, if you would be so kind as to take Harry to the hospital wing.” She said and Harry’s guardian nodded as he turned away from the small groups of people in the hall and levitated Harry through the castle.

“Good lord!” Poppy exclaimed as Remus levitated Harry into the hospital wing some time later on a stretcher. “Not another one.” Remus glanced around the ward and saw everyone who Malfoy had tripped down the stairs earlier, or more precisely everyone he had tripped where there were meant to be stairs earlier. She laid him down on top of a spare bed near the door and conducted a quick medical of him which revealed that he was simply exhausted mentally and physically.

“So he’s alright then?” Remus asked her and she nodded.

“I suggest you take him upstairs to his dorm and let him get some sleep in the peace and quiet. He may sleep up to twenty hours considering his exhaustion.” Poppy said to him, “Leave him to sleep through tomorrow. With all these students in bed I doubt he will be bothered by anyone.” Remus nodded to her and levitated Harry carefully back onto a stretcher before taking him up to his dorm.

He carefully pulled back the duvet on his bed before picking Harry up and placing him gently into his bed. He was still frightfully thin and weighed barely anything but his robes covered up his figure and his forced cheerfulness covered up that he barely ate anything. Remus bit his lip and watched the boy sleeping for a few moments before murmuring a good night and leaving the room.


***


“How is he?” Mad Eye asked Remus when he saw him later on.

“I’m not sure, to my knowledge he is sleeping soundly in his dorm.” Remus replied, “You just exhausted him, that’s all. Poppy says he’ll sleep for most of tomorrow and then he’ll be fine.” Mad Eye looked relieved to hear this as he leant back on his chair in the staffroom. Minerva was there which was a rare occurrence these days as she became more and more consumed with vast amounts of work she was having to due to her roles of both the transfiguration teacher and the headmistress of the school. Mad Eye and Remus had spent some time earlier marking a lot of her transfiguration essays she had set and she was pleasantly surprised when she found out what they had done.

“So anything new?” Minerva asked them; she seemed to miss out on a lot with all her work keeping her from socialising.

“As a matter of fact, there is.” Remus said quietly and produced the letter that he and Harry had found in the wall earlier that day. Minerva, Tonks, Severus and Mad Eye all looked over the letter and stared at Remus.

“Explain…” Tonks said to Remus and having the full attention of his colleagues Remus launched into the tale of what had happened, beginning with Harry’s coming to him early in the morning and ending with his going into the pensieve and seeing the magnitude of the army.

“So you think we would have a chance against this army then?” Minerva asked him quietly and he nodded to her.

“That’s if such an army exists.” Mad Eye said, “Voldemort could easily have made that up to make everyone believe that he was going to invade the school.”

“So that we would higher our defences, therefore making it more difficult for him to gain access to us in the future?” Remus asked him, “Not likely.”

“I hate to say it but I agree with Lupin.” Snape said and everyone was surprised to say the least; none of them could remember the last time that they had agreed. “The Dark Lord would not bother to make such trivial things up if only to worry us. I similarly think that his threats of people getting into the school are great ones, we cannot afford to have people gaining access to us or the students.”

“But how would they get into the school?” Tonks asked no one in particular.

“Death.” Remus said quietly. The staff raised their eyebrows slightly but allowed him to continue. “They said that there was a gateway into Death somewhere else, if Voldemort has found it then his minions can easily get to Hogwarts and then come out through the gateway into life.”

“That could be the case; there are no weaknesses in our defences anywhere else.” Minerva said quietly. “This means that we have to find the way into Death both in school and out of it as quickly as possible.” The staff nodded mutely at her.

“I hope they find it soon,” Filius said to James, Lily, Sirius and Dumbledore who stood in the room.

“I hope they do too.” Lily said. “The faster they do then the faster they can stop Voldemort’s people. They are coming through the school but no one has seen them when they do.”

“Do you know where the one somewhere else in life was?” James asked Dumbledore who nodded slightly.

“If there is one thing I regret, it is not telling people enough about things I knew.” Dumbledore said sadly.

“I don’t doubt that they’ll figure everything out.” Sirius said.

“I hope so.” Lily said quietly.

“If anyone figures things out I believe it will be Harry, I only hope that Remus is vague enough with the details to interest him.” Dumbledore said and his companions looked at him oddly. “Well you could not have missed how adept your son is when it comes to solving mysteries and finding out about things that have nothing to do with him. I am sure he has enough intelligence to figure things out.”



***


Harry opened his eyes. He was lying in his own bed in the dormitory. Sun streamed through the gap in the curtains which was very slight and he realised that it must be quite late on in the day. Glancing at his clock at the side of his bed he realised that it was already two o’ clock in the afternoon. His eyes widened in surprise and wondered how long he had been there and who had put him there. He remembered the duelling club and he remembered Mad Eye’s look of horror as the red disc had come flying towards him but that was all.

He felt quite refreshed from his long sleep and rose from his bed. He ached quite a lot but that was nothing too terrible. He robed himself quickly and decided that he was going to go down to the kitchens to get something to eat.

Some time later he left the kitchens, feeling much better for having had something to eat and seeing Dobby cheerfully cooking a pair of trousers. He knew that everyone would be in lessons, everyone except those that Malfoy had injured he remembered and made his way along to the hospital wing where his friends greeted him warmly from their beds. They all looked quite battered from their long fall but their happiness at seeing him made him forget that.

“So what are you going to do now? The match is the day after tomorrow and McGonagall says that she can’t postpone the match because we’re injured.” Ron said unhappily to him.

“I really don’t know what I’m going to do.” Harry said dully. “We don’t have a chance of winning without all you on the team.”

“Well bring the old team back.” Hermione suggested, “If Malfoy can have Flint back then surely you can have a whole team considering that it was Malfoy that injured them all in the first place.” Harry’s eyes lit up for a moment and he realised that that was it.

“Brilliant idea!” Harry said to her and bid them all a quick goodbye before running from the room to find Remus. He ran up to his office and found him sat there looking over some essays that they had written about duelling some time back. Remus looked up at him and smiled at seeing him.

“Good to see you awake again,” Remus said to him, “So how are you?”

“Fine thanks.” Harry grinned at him, “Anyway I came here to ask you something…” Remus regarded him with interest.

“Alright then, what is it?” Remus asked him. Harry spoke very quickly and explained everything although Remus knew most of it all anyway before asking him whether or not he could bring back his old team.

“Well you’re the head of house so I assumed I’d have to ask you if I could bring them all back and we need them to beat the Slytherins and if we do beat them then we’ve practically got the house cup guaranteed!” Harry said speedily and Remus stayed quiet for a moment after Harry had finished to allow the words to filter into his head at a slower speed to allow him to comprehend what Harry had said.

“You have my permission, although I would suggest that you ask Professor McGonagall first.” Remus said and Harry nodded. “Was that all?”

“Well yeah, but I thought I’d stick around for a chat anyway, unless you’re too busy…?” Harry said and Remus smiled at him and put his quill down.

“I’m never too busy.” He said.

“So has anything interesting been happening since last night?” Harry asked.

“Nope, the most interesting thing that happened was your being blown across the room by Mad Eye.” Remus informed him, “And I told Minerva, Severus, Mad Eye and Tonks about what happened with the letter and your dream.” Harry looked at him slightly apprehensively; he didn’t want Snape thinking he was pathetic and got so unsettled by a dream or two.

“So what did they say about that?” Harry asked him.

“Nothing much concerning yourself.” Remus said, “They believe that Voldemort knows where the entrance into Death is somewhere else and that his people are getting into Hogwarts via Death.”

“Fabulous.” Harry muttered, “So what are they doing about it?”

“Very little.” Remus admitted to him, “They’re trying to figure out how to get into Death from the school but no one has any ideas so far.”

“Do you think that it was a flaw on my part which let Voldemort into my head?” Harry asked him suddenly.

“I’m not sure.” Remus replied, “You haven’t done much occulumency recently which leads me to believe that you will be doing soon.”

“So I can look forward to Snape mentally attacking me during the middle of the Gryffindor and Slytherin match the day after tomorrow then?” Harry asked sourly and Remus smiled.

“I doubt that, Minerva won’t give Snape that kind of power over you again, especially since she’s so desperate for Gryffindor to win.” He replied.

“Anyway I suppose I should go and see if I can convince everyone to come back and beat Slytherin.” Harry said as the clock truck three and he realised that he had already been up an hour. Remus nodded to him and turned unwillingly back to his work where five miniature people and a small dragon were sat on his notes, trying to prevent him from working. He rolled his eyes and flicked them all off where they laughed (or blew a jet of bubbles) on a pile of books to the side. He couldn’t help but feel cheered by them, they had been an excellent idea for a present from Harry and he was still amazed by his skill in charms. Slowly his mind drifted from Harry and the miniature people back on to work.

One floor down, Harry spoke the password into the Headmistresses office and entered past the gargoyles before stepping onto the odd escalator to her room

“Good afternoon, Harry.” She greeted him from across her desk, which had once belonged to Dumbledore. It had taken her quite some getting used to but she could now work in Dumbledore’s… no her office… without getting too distracted. “What can I do for you?”

He explained everything that he had said to Remus and then told her that Remus had suggested that he ask permission from her first and she considered him for a moment.

“I would have liked to beat the Slytherins without having to resort to this.” She said, “but the Slytherins have given us no choice in the matter and if we would win then we will have to bring back the players you mention.”

“So I can get them to come back then?!” He asked, a grin touching his lips.

“Yes, I suggest you contact them as soon as possible.” She said to him before he left the room. “Oh and Harry?” He turned around to look at his old head of house and his new headmistress. She looked more tired and worn than she had done before but she still taught in the strict but effective way she had done before and she still scowled at Professor Trelawney when she passed her in corridors. “Good luck in the match.” He smiled and nodded to her before he left the room.

He couldn’t believe his good luck as he ran through the portrait hole to the Gryffindor tower some time later. He ran over to the fireplace and caught his breath before summoning the floo powder to him which was in their dorm.

“93 Diagon Alley.” He said clearly and stepped into the fireplace. A second later he appeared in the Weasley Twins’ joke shop. The two redheads were stood behind the counter and a few people browsed around the shop, with it being the middle of the week Harry wasn’t too surprised at their lack of custom.

“Harry!” George said, spotting him near the cockroach clusters, “What can we do for you?”

“Perhaps some dungbombs?” Fred asked.

“No thanks,” Harry said, “I was actually here for something else…”

He quickly explained what he wanted from the twins who eagerly agreed to be back on the Gryffindor team for the match in two days time.

“We’ll make things easy for you, Harry.” Fred said, “We’ll round up the others to save you the time since we know where they all are and we’ll meet you for training tonight at 7.”

“Don’t worry about the Slytherins; we’ll make sure they don’t come near the pitch.” George said. “I’m sure we can provide enough entertainment to keep them in their common room for the evening.” Harry raised an eyebrow but decided not to ask as he walked back through the fireplace and into the Gryffindor common room.


Chapter 48: Forty-Eight
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Forty Eight

“We’re not going to lose to Slytherin.” Oliver said as they entered the Quidditch pitch for their training session later on that evening. “To get us all warmed up then we’ll go for a quickly fly around the rooftops.” He quickly marked out a route around the tops of the roofs and the towers that they all had to follow and Fred and George decided to make it a race between them all since they all owned firebolts now, putting them on even footing with Harry.

They all kicked off hard and soared up into the air, Harry raced across the nearest roof, followed by everyone else and then went around McGonagall’s tower and she smiled at them all as they stopped to hover outside her window for a moment before flying on. Oliver took over Harry and took them around a long winding path which took them around almost every tower there was.

“What tower’s that?” Harry heard Katie ask Angelina as he over took them.

“Oh, I don’t know.” Angelina said, sounding slightly puzzled over the mystery tower. Harry glanced at it and flew over to it and then around it looking for a window inside but seeing none he flew off after the twins who were now in the lead and were going back to the pitch. Somehow Katie managed to finish first followed by Harry, the twins, Oliver, Angelina and Alicia.


“There’s no way we can lose this.” Oliver said to the other six people that stood next to him on the Quidditch field when the session was over.

“Don’t say that, if we lose now it will be your fault.” Alicia said.

“But we won’t lose.” Angelina said, “Not to Malfoy’s team.”

“So how did you stop the Slytherins coming out then?” Harry asked the twins who grinned at him and shook their heads.

“It was you that sealed the Slytherins in their common room and filled it with water!” Katie said suddenly and as the twins started to laugh everyone else did the same. They had all just had a brilliant training session lead mostly by Oliver, despite Harry being the team captain but no one was bothered by this. They noticed that they had been watched by many people, a lot of them teachers checking on their wellbeing, from the windows.

“So shall we go see which Slytherins can’t swim then?” George asked them all mischievously and all seven off them flew off to the main building before leaping off their brooms in the entrance hall.

As they walked down into the dungeons things seemed to get a little more wet than they had previously been and Harry couldn’t suppress a smile at the idea of Malfoy standing in the Slytherin common room up to his chest in murky waters.

The twins lead them along a twisted route which eventually lead to the common room, the doorway into which was hidden in a blank wall which opened by password. The twins somehow knew the password already and as the wall opened a huge wave of water gushed out along with several of the smaller Slytherins. Mrs Norris appeared at the end of the corridor but was swept away. Not deciding to stick around to find out what had happened to the Slytherin Quidditch team, the Gryffindors turned and ran straight into Filch who didn’t look too pleased and they realised that they were all too easily identifiable for their bright red robes. Harry knew that he could easily see to it that they had to forfeit the match for attempting to sabotage the Slytherins and he took his chances and cast a weak memory charm on him.

Obliviate.” He said but without much force. A strange look stole over Filch’s face and Harry was pretty certain it worked. He grinned and turned down the passageway to his left after his team that he quickly caught up with.

“That was brilliant Harry!” Angelina said to him.

“Yeah, providing he can still remember who he is!” Fred grinned as they made their way back up to the common room.


***


“The Dark Lord wishes it to be known that you will be seeing him soon.” The Death Eater said to Tonks who stared at him for a moment before killing him. The school was no longer safe; this was not the first Death Eater that had made it into the school to give a similar message. He was the third which had those that knew about it (the staff and Harry due to Remus’ tendency to talk about everything with him) in a state of worry. There didn’t seem to be any way to locate the entrance into Death and yet they knew that they had to. For the sake of the students and for the school they had to find out how to stop the Death Eaters.

“One more and I will have to close the school.” Minerva said softly to those who stood in the room with her, willing to give her their counsel should she want or need it.

“But the students will be no safer anywhere else than here.” Severus said.

“That is clearly not the case.” Tonks said.

“No one is safe here anymore.” Remus said quietly.

“Then we will have to close the school, we have no choice.” Mad Eye said.

“We always have a choice.” Remus said to him.

“What are we going to do about Potter?” Snape asked and the staff looked at him questioningly.

“What do you mean?” Tonks asked.

“I mean that if Death Eaters are walking in then Voldemort could do the same any day. You say he is not ready for the final battle yet and yet you leave him somewhere the Dark Lord has direct access to him!” Snape almost shouted. This outburst was startling to everyone, since it was coming from Snape.

“If Voldemort comes here Harry will be forced to battle but I do not know if he is ready or not.” Minerva said.

“If you do not think he is ready then you must close the school and he will have to go into hiding.” Snape said.

“That would not be a good idea.” Remus said, “If he went into hiding he could hide for a very long time and wouldn’t dare to come out to face his own death.”

“Then he will have to stay at the school, whether he is ready or not.” Mad Eye said.

“Have you ever considered that he might be…?” Tonks asked them all, glancing over to the side of the room where a small cabinet was kept with various things which once belonged to Dumbledore inside.

“Yes, there are several ways to know for certain.” Minerva replied, “But I would rather not know.”

“I similarly wouldn’t like to know, had I the choice.” Remus said.

“I would, it would give me some comfort to know that he would have a much larger chance.” Severus said before hastily adding, “After all, if he loses then we all lose.” Just in case anyone thought he was worried for Harry’s wellbeing and not his own.

“I think things are coming to an end.” Remus said warily.

“I think they are too.” Tonks said.

“I only hope Potter is strong enough to survive the Dark Lord.” Snape said before they tried to turn the talk to lighter matters but no matter how hard they tried the same thoughts of their coming end kept coming back to haunt them.


***


The night passed quickly and soon the staff all found themselves sat down in the staffroom during their morning break. The weather was dismal as rain lashed against the windows and the occasional flash of lightning was discernible in the dark, followed by a clash of thunder, sometimes loud enough to make the more timid students jump.

“Sybil!” Minerva croaked at her with her sore throat. She had had a few unpleasant lessons with the Slytherins recently causing her to shout and then only yesterday she had been screaming at Malfoy for accusing students who had been out playing Quidditch with filling the Slytherin common room with water. “For the last time I do not care whether or not cats are meant to have nine lives, it means nothing!”

“You are not enlightened enough to understand the true value of my words.” Sybil sniffed.

“No, we are all too enlightened and understood their value long ago.” Severus said coldly.

“You have a poor inner eye.” Sybil commented.

“I would suggest a contact lens for it then, Severus.” Remus said to him mildly as his eyes skimmed over the text on the front page of the Prophet.

“Werewolves rarely have any inner eye to speak of at all.” She said to him, earning herself a cold look from almost all members of the staff for that particular comment.

“Oh do shut up Sybil.” Mad Eye growled at her. For a moment she looked as if she was going to say something back to him but then when he fixed her with both his eyes and tapped his wooden leg angrily on the floor she decided it would be pointless to waste her wisdom on her colleagues.

There was silence throughout the staffroom as everyone was occupied in doing something. Remus read the paper, Minerva, Mad Eye and Tonks all marked Transfiguration papers whilst Severus had his mind on the entrance into Death. Suddenly Sybil sat up a lot straighter in her seat and her gaze became distant.

“It will happen soon.” She said in a deep voice. The staff stared at her; partly sceptical, partly convinced that for once she really was predicting something. “The Boy Who Lived will travel through Death, perhaps for the last time as he comes into contact with the Dark Lord for one last battle which will decide once and for all on a victor between darkness and light. The outcome will be unexpected but it will no longer be a battle between Potter and Riddle but between Gryffindor and Slytherin. It will happen soon…” The staff stared at her waiting to see if there was more but no more came. Her eyes closed and she appeared to be asleep.

“So he is the heir of Gryffindor then.” Tonks said quietly as she thought back to the sword that was in the cabinet in Dumbledore’s office that she had eyed earlier.

“That’s not proven yet.” Minerva said quietly. “I want to see proof that he is the heir before I believe anything.”

“But she just said…” Tonks said.

“I’m not spending thirty years of my life disbelieving her only to turn at the last minute when she ‘predicts’ something that could be true.” Minerva said coldly; she was not one to let old grudges die young. Remus couldn’t help but smile at her diehard attitude to Sybil.

“There is one way that will tell us once and for all whether or not he is… you do know that.” Mad Eye said to them. “We can find out at any time.”

“I know, it’s the whole sword in the stone thing all over again.” Minerva said, “Without fail, each Gryffindor that has found out about that sword has tried to pull it from its sheath and so far I’ve never seen anyone manage.”

“Well let’s just hope that Harry is the exception to the rule then.” Severus said.


***


“So, what’s on your mind?” Harry asked Remus after they had both been sat together in silence for a considerable amount of time in his office. Remus was sat on the sofa staring into the fire where as Harry had been watching the people milling about outside in the grounds. Harry finally came out of his trancelike state and asked what was wrong as he walked across the room and sat down next to Remus who looked troubled.

“What’s on yours?” Remus asked him.

“You can’t answer a question with a question.” Harry told him and watched Remus intently to see whether or not he was going to give anything away in his face. As always Remus kept a perfect expression of troubled thoughts, losing none of his thought in his expression or his eyes. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

“It’s not wrong as such…” Remus said before taking a deep breath and deciding to tell Harry about the prophecy that Sybil had spoken earlier. “Do you think it was genuine then? Minerva was very sceptical.”

“I’m not surprised considering it was Trelawney.” Harry said, “But it sounds just the same as when she made a prediction in my third year.”

“I was afraid of that.” Remus said before adding softly, more to himself than to Harry: “The heir of Gryffindor… crikey.” Harry smiled slightly but he felt unhappy inside himself; he never really believed that this would happen; he had never thought that he would end up battling Voldemort once and for all. Now hearing the prophecy declare that he was the heir of Gryffindor (or coming very close to declaring that) he felt all his hopes of just waking up and finding it was a dream disappearing. This was real. This was his life or, quite possibly, the end of it. “Are you alright?” Harry glanced up at Remus whom he was leaning against.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” He replied, knowing that his expression betrayed the lie.

“You liar.” Remus said softly as he wrapped his arms around him and Harry curled up against him. He didn’t know when he would be doing this again, it could easily be the last time that he was with his guardian alone, curled up on the sofa talking to one another. Remus knew this and held him tighter. He felt helpless in everything, he seemed to be there only to watch Harry wonder through his unhappy life and now it seemed that everything was drawing to a close. “So what was it that was on your mind?”

“Oh nothing really, I was just thinking about Quidditch and stuff… now I have something a little more… interesting to think about.” Harry replied. He felt his eyes close as he leant into Remus’ embrace. They could have stayed there forever, just holding each other tightly infront of the fire, feeling comfortable, warm, safe and loved but all good things had to end. There was a knock at the door and Remus sighed and went to answer it.

“Professor McGonagall wants to see Harry in her office.” Tonks said to him in the doorway.

“Why?” Remus asked her.

“Something about the heir of Gryffindor thing.” Tonks said, “You should come too.”

“Alright, down in a minute.” Remus said and she shut the door as she left the doorway.

“Let’s get this over with then.” Harry said as he crossed the room and reached out to the door handle. He pulled open the door and held it open for Remus and himself to pass through before shutting it. He realised as they walked down the main staircase that Remus’ hand was resting on his shoulder, something that he rarely, if ever, did whilst walking around the school in such public circumstances. He tried to avoid it should he be seen by the Slytherins and accused of favouritism, something that would be bad for both Harry and Remus, since Remus’ position at the school was not a particularly stable one owing to his condition and Harry’s marks from him had always been very high.

“Hello Harry, Remus.” Minerva said as they both walked into the room and Harry noticed to his unease that Tonks, Mad Eye and Snape were also in the room with her. “I do not doubt that by now Remus has related to you Sybil’s prophecy.” Harry nodded and she went on, “We need to see whether there is any truth in this matter.”

Tonks handed her a sheathed sword which she lay down on the table. Harry recognised it instantly as the one which he had drawn from the sorting hat in his second year. He kept quiet and waited to see what would happen next.

“You will have heard the tale of ‘the sword in the stone’” She said to him, “This is the same in that the true heir of Gryffindor and only the true heir will be able to pull the sword from this sheath. No one else can.”

“And believe me, we’ve tried.” Tonks said and gave it another experimental tug before handing the sword to Harry, just to see if she could get it out. She had no luck and a moment later the sword was in Harry’s hand. He took hold of the handle and easily drew the sword. Mad Eye watched him speculatively, Tonks gasped, Minerva’s eyes widened slightly, Snape pulled a face as if to scowl that Harry had even more claim to fame than before and to the side of him Remus smiled slightly.

“Then we have more hope than we thought.” Minerva said quietly. Harry gave the sword an experimental twirl and found that it moved easily in his hand and Mad Eye watched him with interest.

“Let’s see if you can wield that then, Potter.” Mad Eye said to him and conjured a sword of his own. Harry looked slightly apprehensive of this but moved automatically to parry as Mad Eye shot his sword at his heart. After parrying he reversed it with no little skill and much speed so that his own sword tip was at Mad Eye’s throat. Everyone smiled this time, even Snape.

“And our hope increases once more.” Minerva said.


Chapter 49: Forty-Nine
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Forty Nine

Harry ran as fast as he could but it was no use… Voldemort was gaining on him with those slow strides as he sprinted through Death. There was no escape this time. An awful smile touched his lips and Harry stumbled and fell. He managed to scramble back to his feet as he ran up onto the seventh floor and through the veil back into life. He found himself in a circular room with no windows and no door. There was no way out. Voldemort stepped through the veil…

Harry’s eyes snapped open as he realised it had all been a dream, a terrible dream. He wondered whether Voldemort had planted that in his head but he didn’t care. Glancing at his watch he saw it was seven in the morning and it was Saturday – the day of the Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin. He groaned and pulled himself up and out of bed before clothing himself and exiting for the common room.

No one else was up yet, with it being Saturday everyone was sleeping in for as long as they could. He walked over to the large window on the side of the school and pulled the curtains back, allowing the sunlight to stream into the empty room. His eyes travelled over the grounds and then over the turrets and towers that he could see of the main building and then his eyes stopped and he stared at the tower he had flown around the day before yesterday and he couldn’t move.

He had found the way into Death.


***


“Remus!” Harry said as he shook his guardian awake.

“Harry, it’s Saturday morning.” Remus groaned as he rolled over, “What do you want?”

“I know how to get into Death.” Harry said and this was all that was needed for Remus to sit up and look something close to awake.

“What…? How…? Where…?” He said and Harry quickly told him about his dream and about Quidditch.

“That’s no proof.” Remus said.

“I know but it’s very likely.” Harry said and Remus sighed.

“Alright. I’ll talk to Minerva about it later today but for now would you let me go back to sleep?!” Remus asked almost pleadingly.

“Sure.” Harry smiled and turned and left his room.


***


“The fact is that Death Eaters can’t just be portkeying around the school.” Severus said.

“Very true, only Dumbledore had the kind of power to portkey around Hogwarts.” Mad Eye said, “Which means that there has to be a way out of that room that no one saw.”

“Which means there has to be a way in.” Remus said unhappily, knowing that they were going to have a search around the school to find the way into the tower.

“It won’t just be under the tower either, that would be too obvious.” Tonks said as she wondered about how they could possibly find a secret passage up to a mysterious tower on seven floors of magical building.


***


“It’s the long awaited Slytherin Vs. Gryffindor match.” Neville shouted over the crowds, “No one needs reminding that if Gryffindor can win this they practically have the house cup but if Slytherin wins then there is still all to play for!”

“And the teams are walking out onto the pitch.” Anthony said, “The Gryffindor team were all injured except for the team captain, Potter, two days ago by the Slytherins in an attempt to sabotage their team.”

“But they’ve managed to bring back the team of two years ago to beat the Slytherins with.” Neville said, “And here come Malfoy’s team.”

“Team captains shake hands.” Madam Hooch said to them all on the ground and Malfoy and Harry quickly shook hands. “Mount your brooms.” Fourteen people mounted their brooms and Madam Hooch blew her whistle as all fifteen of them kicked off into the air.

“And Spinnet takes the quaffle…” Neville said.

“Nasty tackle by Flint there.” Anthony commented, “And Madam Hooch is giving Gryffindor a penalty for it!” There was a lot of booing from the Slytherin end for this which was drowned out quickly by everyone else. Alicia took the penalty and scored easily past the Slytherin keeper, putting Gryffindor in an early lead.

“The Slytherins are going for a nasty offensive attack on Wood.” Neville said and as he did so the three Gryffindor chasers shot down to the other end of the pitch and broke their attack up easily, regaining the quaffle as they did so.

“And Malfoy’s got the quaffle!” Anthony shouted over the confusion of the crowd. Sure enough Malfoy had the quaffle and was racing to the other end of the pitch with it as fast as he could. Madam Hooch let this happen, saying that there was no rule against it. Malfoy grinned and Harry dropped down to flying around the Gryffindor hoops with Oliver.

“Don’t you do that.” Oliver said to him. “If you see the Snitch whilst he has the Quaffle then we’ve practically won!” Malfoy sped towards them both with the Quaffle and Harry played as Keeper with Wood for a moment, knocking the Quaffle back to Katie who laughed and sped back towards the Slytherins.

“Well if Malfoy can play as a Chaser then Harry can be a Keeper!” Neville said over the crowd and Malfoy glared at him up in the stands before going back to chasing after the quaffle.

The crowd cheered as Malfoy took hold of the Quaffle and went straight after Wood. He briefly wondered where Harry was as he scored against them and then a roar from the crowd made him glance down to see Harry racing after the Snitch thirty feet below. He yelled out in a rage and dropped the Quaffle, which was caught by Angelina who scored a moment later as Malfoy sped after Harry but there was no way he could catch him, they all knew that.

One final scream from the crowd confirmed that Harry had the Snitch and Malfoy furiously sent a stunner his way. It bounced off a shield he had around him and flew straight back at him.

“Argh!” Malfoy cried as his own stunner hit him hard in the chest and he fell off his broom to a roar of cheering from everyone but the Slytherins.

“That showed the Slytherins!” Wood said as he flew over to Harry with the twins.

“We won! We won!” The chanted before being crushed into Oliver and Harry by Katie, Angelina and Alicia who forced them all into a bizarre kind of group hug.

“I can’t believe how stupid Malfoy was!” Angelina laughed as they all collapsed onto the ground in a tangle of people and brooms. The Slytherins landed on the other side of the pitch and all of them were shouting at Malfoy.

“Oh no, looks like you’re out of the running now, Snape.” Remus said to the angry looking man sat beside him up in the teachers’ stand.

“You only won because you had to bring back an entire team.” Snape said.

“Yeah, because your team knocked the real team down about five floors.” Remus said as he got up and left the stands, leaving Snape glaring at Malfoy down on the pitch. “An excellent match!” He said to the team who were managing to pick themselves up from the floor.

“Thanks Professor!” Katie said as she steadied herself from falling over George who was laughing on the floor.


***


Severus walked quickly down the corridor on the third floor after Malfoy. He had made an odd excuse about having someone to see just after lunch and had disappeared very quickly. Snape didn’t like the look of this in a potential Death Eater so he followed him silently and stealthily through the winding path that he chose to take around the school.

Malfoy glanced around him and Severus leapt behind a pillar, hoping that he wouldn’t be given away as he hid himself, his heart racing. Malfoy, satisfied that he wasn’t being followed pressed his fingers to the glass of a mirror before him.

“Into Death I shall pass.” He said quietly and Snape’s eyes widened considerably as he saw Malfoy glance around one last time as the mirror swung open and he stepped inside the corridor. For a moment Snape considered following him further but he knew that it could be very bad for him if he walked into a small passageway and Malfoy turned round to see him with nowhere to hide. No, it would be better for him to return later on, accompanied. He turned and walked quickly down to the staff room.


***


“I’ll beat you one day, you just wait and see.” Harry smiled at Remus who stood before him with his wand out. They had cleared everything in the room to one side to give them some room to duel in. It had begun with Harry sending a quick spark at him and almost singing some of his hair. Remus hadn’t taken well to this and had scowled at him before sending a strong Incendio spell at him which Harry had blocked.

“Of course you will.” Remus said patronisingly causing Harry to pull a face at him and increase his determination. They bowed slightly before Remus shot a freezing spell at him. Harry leapt out of the way and sent Devil’s Snare at him. Remus raised an eyebrow and quickly burnt them away.

Impedimenta!” Harry said quickly as Remus was burning away his Devil’s Snare. Remus inwardly slapped himself for falling for Harry’s diversion. Now he was much slower and his chances of winning had lessened slightly. He sent a full body bind at Harry but he blocked it and absorbed the power from it. He had blocked and absorbed a lot of his spells recently, meaning that he was a lot more powerful than he had been at the start of the battle.

They duelled faster and faster as the Impediment jinx began to wear off Remus. Harry managed to get a few hits into him but nothing which completely disabled him. Remus hit Harry a number of times but somehow he always managed to dodge the spells that would have finished the duel. He was waiting for him to use the snake summoning spell, he knew that he would but he didn’t really know when or what he was going to do about it when he did.

Serpensortia!” Harry said and a huge snake shot out of the end of his wand and went for Remus who thought quickly and reduced it to a pile of smouldering ashes a moment later. Harry took his chance and hit him with a hard leg locking jinx which knocked him over. “Expelliarmus.” He said and Remus’ wand flew into his hand. On the floor his guardian laughed as he struggled against the leg locking jinx that Harry had put on him but it was no use, he couldn’t get up.

“Brilliant, Harry!” He said as Harry took the jinx off him and helped him to his feet. “So that’s around 30 – 1 to me.” Harry rolled his eyes as he went and threw himself down on the sofa by the fire and was joined a moment later by Remus.

“Well I’ve beaten you once I can beat you again.” Harry smiled at him, “Soon it will be 31 – 30 to me.”

“Hah, you wish.” Remus said to him and rose from the sofa as someone knocked on the door. “Enter.”

“Lupin.” Snape said as he walked inside, “We’re having a meeting in half an hour. Minerva’s office. Be there, both of you.” With that he was gone. Remus raised an eyebrow before joining Harry infront of the fire. Of late they had come to treasure the time they spent together and alone. Now that the Slytherins had lost the Quidditch match they would make sure that Harry’s life became a misery and he was constantly watching his back. Because of this he was still being followed around by everyone, leaving him little time for himself still. There seemed to be staff meetings almost everyday now and they always had the same theme: Death Eaters, Voldemort and how best to get into Death. Remus couldn’t help but hope that they had found some way to get into Death but the sooner they did then the sooner Harry would end up confronting Voldemort, he knew that their final battle would be in Death and if they couldn’t get in then there could be no final battle.

Soon Harry found himself in Professor McGonagall’s office with her, Remus, Snape, Mad Eye and Tonks. It was the usual group of people who generally ended up discussing Order matters around the school and the fact that Harry was there with them signified that something had probably happened.

“I know how to get into the tower, or so I think.” Snape said before relating his tale of how he had followed Malfoy to the fourth floor and what the password had been.

“Bit of a giveaway password, it could have been a trick to make you think that he was going into Death.” Mad Eye said.

“I doubt it, from what he said it doesn’t sound like Malfoy knew he was there and we all know that Malfoy cannot act.” Remus said.

“It looks like the final battle will be soon then.” Tonks said and her eyes automatically flickered to Harry who hid behind a calm expression.

“Not if we all stay in life it won’t be.” Mad Eye said.

“But we’re not going to, are we?” Minerva said, “Not now that we know where the entrance to Death is.”

“So what do we do now?” Severus asked her calmly.

“We have an Order meeting tomorrow and decide when we’re going to go into Death. Here at eight p.m. tomorrow.” She said, “I want everyone here and I want everyone prompt, you are included, Harry.” Harry nodded numbly to her. Things were happening so fast. The end was coming and there was nothing he could do about it!

“If that’s all then I’ll see you tomorrow.” Remus said to her and she nodded as everyone left the room. Harry walked back up to Remus’ office with him, feeling quite shocked at how soon he would die… no that wasn’t right, how soon he would fight Voldemort, he was not just going to die after making it through sixteen years. If he was going to die then Voldemort was going to die too.

“Are you alright? You’re very quiet.” Remus said to him as they walked along the corridor to his office. Remus gave his shoulder a gentle squeeze as they walked inside his room.

“I’m fine.” He lied. Again his expression betrayed the unhappiness that he felt.

“No you’re not. Talk to me, Harry.” He said as they walked through his office and into his living quarters.

“I don’t want to do this, Remus,” He said softly as Remus sat down on his bed and Harry lay down next to him. “I don’t think that I can. We’re going into Death soon, really soon and the prophecy said that I mightn’t come back…”

“Prophecies can’t be too straight forward.” Remus said, “But you’ll do fine in this, no matter what the outcome, if you do your best and you still end up dead then at least you’ll have nothing else to worry about.”

“Yeah, I suppose so…” Harry said as he stared up at the ceiling. “I just realised… the battle won’t be fought in Death.” Remus looked at him oddly.

“But Sybil…” Remus started.

“‘The Boy Who Lived will travel through Death…’ I’m going to have to go through Death and out at the other side to face him.” He said and Remus considered this for a moment before agreeing unhappily with him. If he wasn’t in Death then he wouldn’t have half as many people there with him and Dumbledore wouldn’t be there. They would need Dumbledore for the battle but if it was in life there was no way that he could be there.

“I don’t want him to be the heir of Gryffindor.” Lily said softly as she watched her son lying next to Remus who ran his fingers through his soft hair. She envied him being living and being with her son but the way that things were going she wouldn’t be envying him for long.

“He has a much better chance of winning if he is,” James reasoned with her.

“But if he wasn’t then he wouldn’t be fighting anyway!” She said as she leant back against Remus’ bed.

“Very true.” Sirius said.

“He got it from your side of the family, you know.” She said to him with a scowl and James rolled his eyes.

“You can’t possibly think it’s my fault that he’s the heir!” He said in disbelief but she didn’t respond. “Lils, that is unbelievably ridiculous, even by your standards!” He knew as soon as he had said it that it was the wrong thing to say, she was worried enough about Harry as it was, she didn’t need him to start arguing with her. “I’m sorry.” He said as he pulled her into a hug and she leant against him.

“I hate this. I wish… I wish Peter had never been born!” She said suddenly.

“That wouldn’t help; you might have been betrayed by someone else who was like Peter but not Peter.” Sirius said unhelpfully.

“Then I wish that Trelawney had never been born to predict all this.” She said, changing her mind.

“But if she didn’t then someone would.” James reasoned.

“Then I wish that Voldemort had never been born.” She said softly.

“If he hadn’t been then someone else would be attempting to take over the world instead.” Sirius said. “It doesn’t matter what you wish, it won’t change anything.” He watched Remus and Harry talking unhappily together and wondered if he had stayed alive how much of a difference it would have made.



***


“So how are you both then?” Harry asked Ron and Hermione who were the only two awake in the hospital wing. They had been overjoyed to see Harry and pleased to hear that the Slytherins had lost and been drowned a couple of days before.

“We’re not too bad now.” Ron replied, “I think we’re getting out of here in a day or two but Madam Pomfrey’s insanely protective and won’t hear of any of us leaving without someone else.”

“Yeah, so will you come round on Monday or Tuesday so that we can get out of here?” Hermione asked him.

“Err… well if I’m still alive I will.” He said to them.

“What do you mean?!” Hermione asked and Ron looked at him uncertainly.

“Trelawney made another prediction.” Harry said and went on to tell them it and how he was the heir of Gryffindor and how Snape had found the way into Death.

“For once Trelawney might be right about you dying.” Ron said miserably. “So when are you going into Death?”

“I don’t know. They’re having an Order meeting tomorrow night to decide and I have to be there.” Harry told them quietly. “Glad to see you have confidence in me.”

“It’s not that Harry, you know we do.” Hermione said. “We just don’t want anything to happen to you. You’re our friend and we love you, isn’t that right, Ron?”

“Yeah, you’re our mate and we don’t want anything to happen to you and…” Ron replied but decided not to finish his sentence which could have ended in the same way that Hermione’s did. “Just take care.” He said as Harry left them some time later.

“I will, I’ll see you soon.” Harry replied as he left the hospital wing.

“We’re going with him, right?” Hermione asked, “We can’t just let him go to Death on his own.”

“He won’t be on his own!” Ron argued, “He’ll have Lupin and McGonagall and Mad Eye and Tonks and then when he gets there he’ll have his mum and his dad and Sirius and Dumbledore… he doesn’t need us there.”

“But he’s going to die!” Hermione said and burst into tears.

“He’s not!” Ron almost shouted before lowering his voice. “He’s going to win; if he wasn’t then he would have been killed years ago! Trust me, if we go then we’ll only end up getting killed ourselves.”

“I suppose so.” Hermione said quietly as she tried to dry her eyes. They didn’t know what they would do if anything happened to Harry, so many terrible things happened to him sometimes it seemed like it would be a mercy if he died and yet they wanted to cling to him in life and not let him leave them. They hadn’t been involved in his ‘adventures’ so to speak this year, it had been Remus who he had ended up in the forbidden forest with and Remus whom he showed the letter to. After the events of last year he had tried his best to keep them out of anything that could be potentially dangerous and he had done very well, although he had almost alienated them at the same time. They hadn’t been there for him in the forest, they hadn’t been there for him to listen when he had terrifying dreams featuring Voldemort but they would be there when he faced him for the last time, no matter what.



Chapter Fifty

Harry stared round at the army infront of him. He didn’t know where he was for certain but the gateway into Death was behind him. Before him stood Voldemort.

“Impressive isn’t it.” He said as he looked out over a few hundred Death Eaters. They seemed to have diminished in number since the last time they had been there but there were still an amazing number of them. “It will not be long Harry, a few days at most until you meet your end. I will see you soon.”


Harry opened his eyes and stared up at the ceiling which he wished he had enchanted earlier in the year. He seemed to wake up staring at if after so many dreams involving Voldemort that there seemed like it should have something written on it like ‘don’t worry, it was just a dream!’ in large letters. A few days until they met… that wasn’t long. The Order would meet today to decide when they would go into Death. It could be anytime but it would be soon; they wouldn’t want to wait to let his forces grow, they would want to get it over with as soon as they could.

He dressed quickly and walked down to the kitchens for something to eat before breakfast, which would not be for an hour and a half. He thanked Dobby when he had eaten and then turned to walk back up to the common room but Snape stopped him on the way.

“Potter. You’re to go to Professor McGonagall’s office at 9a.m. for the Order meeting. Try to be on time.” He said coolly before turning and marching away from him into the dungeons. Harry watched him leave before turning to walk away himself. It was only half past six in the morning, why was Snape up at this time? He shrugged it off as he wandered back up to the common room.

He spent the spare hour and twenty minutes that he had doing homework that he had left until late although he didn’t know why he bothered, it wasn’t like he was going to live to hand it in. When it finally came to eight in the morning he walked down into the great hall with everyone else and tried to eat some breakfast but failed. The staff seemed quite tense that day and all of them were quiet and their eyes kept wandering over the students, occasionally meeting Harry’s before looking away. Soon breakfast came and went and 9 o’clock drifted around. Soon Harry found himself sat around a very large table with Minerva, Mad Eye, Tonks, Snape, Remus, Arabella, Aberforth, Mundungus, Dedalus Diggle, Molly, Arthur, Fred, George, Bill and Charlie.
“We’re going into Death to consult with Dumbledore.” Minerva said to everyone gathered. “If you would kindly lead the way, Severus.” Snape rose from the end of the table and everyone walked after him out of the room. It appeared to Harry that no one else had been told that they were going into Death since they were all talking about the matter between them.

“Did you know we were going into Death?” Harry asked Remus, who walked beside him.

“No, but I considered that they might, now that they know the way in.” He replied, “It seems like the sensible thing: to consult with Dumbledore.”

“I suppose so.” Harry said and wondered how they all looked, a large group of teachers with most of the Weasley family and Harry, walking through the corridors and onto the fourth floor. He bet the Slytherins were probably making up malicious reasons as to why the Weasleys were all there but right then he didn’t really care.

Snape reached the fourth floor and touched the mirror, speaking the password into Death. The mirror swung open revealing a dark passage which seemed to go straight ahead. Snape conjured a light and walked down the passageway which twisted and turned until it came to a dead end. He looked around him in confusion until his eyes rested on some rungs before him and he realised unhappily that he was going to have to climb. He reached out and began to climb upwards into the tower, quickly although a little reluctantly. Everyone else followed him silently, except for a few complaints when someone above them kicked them in the head.

After what seemed like forever Snape reached a trapdoor, which his head found first. He cursed quietly before reaching up with one of his hands and pushing it open. He clambered inside quickly and found himself opposite the gateway into Death, which he was pleased about. He doubted that everyone would be particularly understanding if they found themselves in a secret hide out of Draco Malfoy’s. Soon everyone was inside and they all began to walk forwards into Death, Minerva first, followed by Remus and Harry and then everyone else.

“Minerva! Welcome back.” Dumbledore said to her as she walked into Death. Those that hadn’t been there before looked utterly astounded but chose not to comment. “Do come this way, all of you.” He led the way through the seventh floor until they came to the room of requirements. Dumbledore stepped inside to see one large table, which already had Frank and Alice Longbottom sat at it and a few other people whom Harry didn’t recognise.

“Take a seat, everyone.” Dumbledore said and everyone did so. Harry found himself somewhere near the middle of the table between Remus and Alice and opposite Snape. A moment after they were all seated Lily, James and Sirius entered the room, accompanied by about four other people that Harry had never met. “We are here today to discuss a grave business: once more Sybil Trelawney has made a prophecy concerning the last battle and it appears it is to be very soon. Sources show that Voldemort’s army is already very large and whether or not he has been bluffing to cause us to believe it is smaller than it really is we just do not know. The time at which we battle the Death Eaters is our choosing, although it appears that most of the battle will be taking place in life.”

“I wonder why Voldemort chooses not to fight in Death.” Bill said.

“Probably because of all the people he killed.” Arthur said quietly.

“So when do we go? We have around two hundred, maybe three hundred people that we can convince to fight with us…” Mad Eye said. Harry glanced at him, quite amazed that they had so many people, he would never have dreamed that they had that many.

“As soon as possible so that he cannot build up his army further.” James said.

“No, he already has built it up.” Severus said, “He would not have started sending Potter visions of the armies if he was not yet ready.” They thought about his words and grudgingly admitted that Snape was right.

“Then we will wait until we have as many people as we can and hopefully the backing of the ministry.” Molly said.

“The ministry won’t back us.” Minerva said, “They never backed Dumbledore so they definitely won’t back us now.”

“Then we should go soon and get all this over and done with once and for all.” Tonks said.

“How soon is soon?” Remus asked her.

“A week or two?” She suggested.

“Two weeks and they’ll storm the school.” Lily said to her.

“We should do this no later than one week.” Severus said, “The longer we wait the longer the Dark Lord has to plan alternate schemes.”

“Well when is the soonest we can go?” Charlie asked the assembled group.

“I’d say tomorrow.” Mad Eye said.

“Tomorrow?!” Molly cried, “That’s ridiculous!”

“We couldn’t organise everyone by tomorrow.” Remus said.

“I agree, the day after tomorrow would be the very earliest.” Arthur said.

“We have to consider that a lot of Death Eaters are probably going to come into Death and anyone here is going to have to fight.” Dumbledore said quietly and all those that were already dead nodded that they would indeed fight.

“It is sorted then, we will go to battle the day after tomorrow.” Minerva said and everyone nodded. “Between now and then everyone will be at work contacting as many people as they can to come to our aid.”

“I can contact the vampires.” Aberforth said and Dumbledore nodded to him.

“An excellent idea.” Dumbledore said to his brother. “I have a list of everyone who may aid us. There are a total of more than three hundred people in life and two hundred in Death, although many of those may not help us.”

“So if there are fifteen of us in life then each of those takes twenty names and contacts them as soon as they can.” Minerva said, “When you are done you will come into Death.”

“We will all meet here on Tuesday at midday with everyone who has agreed to help. We will go into battle then.” Dumbledore said quietly. “Anyone not contacting people may stay in Death for the next two days. If there are no further questions…” There were none, “Then this meeting is adjourned.” Everyone rose from their seats and there was a babble of talking.

“So are you staying in Death then?” Remus asked Harry quietly.

“No, I thought I’d come back and keep you company.” Harry said.

“That’s very nice of you but I’m going to be spending my day writing letters and flooing people.” Remus smiled, “I won’t be very good company for you.”

“Would you rather I stayed here then and keep out of your way?” Harry asked him.

“I never said I’d rather you stayed.” Remus said quietly as Lily, James and Sirius walked over to them.

“Greetings children,” Sirius said and Remus rolled his eyes.

“Hello Harry,” Lily smiled and hugged her son.

“So are you staying in Death with us then?” Sirius asked Harry hopefully.

“No, I’m going back with Remus.” Harry said and Sirius tried the puppy dog eyes on Harry, and it failed. “I’ll come back when he does.” More puppy dog eyes.

“We won’t be that long, Sirius.” Remus said, “It won’t take me longer than a few hours to contact everyone I don’t think.” Sirius scowled at him before trying to convince Harry to stay there with them. Needless to say he failed again. After ten minutes of idle chatter between Remus, James and Lily whom Harry listened to and Sirius spent glaring at Remus and looking pleadingly at Harry, Minerva came over to Remus and handed him a list of fifteen names. Dumbledore did the same a moment later but to James and Sirius.

“The sooner we leave the sooner we’ll be back.” Remus said to Sirius who would only scowl at him now. “See you soon.” He said to James and Lily before he and Harry left for the portal back to life.



***


“You’re going to get very bored you know.” Remus said to Harry as the latter curled up on the sofa and the former took the list of names and glanced through them. He knew quite a few of them and decided to contact those first by floo. He threw a handful of green powder into the fire and after speaking the address he wanted he put his head inside the flames. Harry occupied himself with the little people that he had charmed for Remus, listening to their inane chatter and watching them climb about the furniture which, to them, was giant.

On the outside Harry was managing to keep his cool and look relatively calm but inside his stomach was twisting unpleasantly; once he went into Death he knew that would be it, he would probably never see Ron or Hermione again… He hated that the world had thrust it’s problems on him, problems which he knew he was going to be killed by. He glanced at Remus who was watching him carefully to try and discern what the matter with him was. He hid it well. One way or another, things were all going to be over soon, that was the only comfort he had.


***


Harry curled up in the corner of the sofa in Death. They were in the Gryffindor common room and Harry was feeling reasonably nauseated by thoughts of what was going to happen to him whilst he only half listened to the conversation between his parents, Sirius and Remus who sat with him.

“Well we still have two days until we go into battle.” Sirius was saying to them all as Harry stared vacantly into the fire.

“That’s probably enough time to get wizards enough to hold off the Death Eaters.” James said as he span his wand idly between his fingers, “After all, it’s not like that’s what this battle’s about…” He glanced at Harry who was still watching the fires, his mind a million miles away. He looked very troubled, but then, considering the circumstances, who could blame him?

“It doesn’t really matter what it’s about…” Lily said quietly, “Either Harry wins and saves the world or he dies and is with us again… I see no bad in it.” Sirius opened his mouth to argue against this point but remembering that Harry was in his presence he decided not to, after all he could only undermine his confidence by doing so. He couldn’t stand it… his godson who he had tried so hard to protect was going to be killed, almost certainly, by a maniac desperate to take over the world. He had never had a life; he had always had some form of misery hanging over his head: the Dursleys, fame, chamber of secrets, innocent godfathers, killer tournaments, death… it just never seemed to get any better for him. Ultimately it hadn’t mattered that James, Lily and himself had all given their lives for him, he was going to die anyway and in only two day’s time.



Chapter 51: Fifty-One
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Fifty One

Harry stood at the front of the gathering in the grounds. He stood in Death between his parents whilst Sirius and Remus stood opposite them, talking about something but he wasn’t listening to them. He felt sick and dizzy… It was the morning before the battle, the last battle. His stomach felt as if it was writhing and twisting inside him from the nausea he felt. He had already spent more than half an hour in the toilet this morning vomiting from the intense fear he felt of his impending mortality. Everyone had tried to reassure him that he was going to be okay and each reassurance he met with a slight smile of thanks but there was little point, it was doing him no good to be told that he would do okay; he knew inside him that he would not. Dumbledore had spent the morning wandering around the school, seemingly everywhere at once, talking to anyone and everyone who was in Death at that particular time.

The last two days of his life (which he had spent in Death) had passed all too quickly, despite their lack of action or much interest. He had spent much of the time listening to arguments between his father and Sirius who seemed forever at each other’s throats, with his mum and Remus giving their opinion on the matter at hand every now and again. There had been talk that a Death Eater had come into Death with a message for Dumbledore but he didn’t know whether or not that was true, or whether or not he even cared. As much as he had wanted time to stop still a few days before he had to go to his own death things has raced by and now he found himself stood with around four hundred people in total not listening to his guardians talking amongst themselves whilst Dumbledore walked around them all, chatting with whoever he met. Just over half the people there were still living and would be walking through the gateway into life with him. Amongst these was Snape who looked almost as ill as Harry felt. He hadn’t attended one of the Death Eater meetings previously and a messenger from Voldemort had informed him that the Dark Lord took delight in killing traitors personally. Since then Snape had been a lot quieter and James and Sirius had been something close to civil to him when they saw him. Snape hadn’t said anything to them at all and upon sitting next to Harry during breakfast this morning he had been as unable to eat as he was. Harry felt pity for him, knowing that Voldemort would have a very nasty death in store for him and unable to do anything about it. Sirius had been rather confused when he had said this earlier in the day and had been utterly stunned that he could pity Snape, who was in a better position than himself.

“So what are we looking at?” Sirius asked him, moving behind Harry and staring over his shoulder at the floor, which Harry was doing. “Floor’s very interesting today…” Harry smiled slightly but didn’t say anything in reply. He felt as if he would be sick if he opened his mouth and as a result of that and having nothing to say he had spoken very little to anyone all day. Sirius put his arm around his shoulders and Harry leant against him slightly and glanced up to see all his guardians watching him unhappily. He dropped his eyes again but not quickly enough so that he hadn’t registered the fear and anxiety on all their faces. Remus was biting his lip as he ran his eyes over Harry’s face, noting how thin and unhappy he was and wondering when the last time he had felt happy had been. James kept fiddling with his wand and watched the floor as Harry did. Lily bit her nails every now and again, whilst she glanced over the expressions and the reactions of the three men and her son to the suspense they were in. Sirius was watching everyone else around them and staring off into the distance every now and again.

Harry looked at Sirius who had a very odd expression on his face as he stared past Lily who moved her head from side to side in confusion. Harry grinned as he looked at his godfather who was oblivious to the amusement he had stirred. It was only when Harry moved slightly that he snapped out of it and looked around his friends with a puzzled expression on his face.

“What’s so funny?” Sirius demanded of them all. James resisted the urge to laugh outright at his friend’s panicky response to being stared at. He looked to Lily who pretended that she hadn’t been laughing at him and then to Remus who instantly avoided the subject by starting up an argument with James.

“I can’t believe you lost at Quidditch to Harry.” Remus said to James who instantly started to argue back. Lily groaned at his bringing up the subject that she had finally managed to convince him to drop. Harry grinned and felt slightly more at ease with the humorous argument which ensued whilst Sirius watched them all; trying to figure out what had been so funny.

“What the hell was that snow globe thing?!” Sirius suddenly asked Harry who smiled and refused to tell him. “Remus… what was the snow globe thing?” He asked his friend after Harry hadn’t told him anything about it.

“Don’t tell him.” Harry said to Remus who smiled and consented to Harry’s wishes.

“Oh this just isn’t fair…” Sirius complained whilst in the background Lily was trying desperately to make James shut up about how he was the best at Quidditch.

“I am better…” James said sullenly as he glanced at Harry who smiled at him as if to say “yeah, you wish.”

“If you don’t live through this then we’re going to play Quidditch until I win,” James said to him.

“Another reason for you not to lose.” Sirius grinned at Harry. “I wouldn’t challenge him to that, Prongs.”

“You could be playing for years, or until Harry lets you win.” Lily said mockingly and James scowled darkly at her. “There is no way that he’s better than me!”

“I beat you twice…” Harry said as he twirled his wand idly between his fingers.

“And how many times have you beaten him, James?” Remus asked. “Oh that’s right… you haven’t.” James opened his mouth to retort but at that moment Dumbledore came wandering over with a slight smile on his face at seeing them all in very good spirits considering their situation. “Hello, Albus.”

“Good morning to you all.” He said to the five of them and each of them silently wondered what was so good about it and each of them chose not to voice this opinion. “Good to see that you’re not all completely under the weather.”

“Yes, why would we have reason to be under the weather…?” Sirius growled darkly, receiving a glance from Dumbledore who then carried on speaking to them. He said very little of importance and spoke only of general things which Remus and Lily answered whilst Harry’s mind was diverted back onto the matter at hand, something he didn’t want to think about if at all possible. James was listening to Dumbledore but not actually responding to him as he kept his eye on Sirius in the hopes to attempt to stop him from saying anything he might regret whilst Sirius himself scowled at the floor and didn’t listen to Dumbledore anymore; as far as he was concerned he had manipulated Harry exactly how he needed him to be a hero and save the world, well he wasn’t going to put up with it… except that it was a little late now to rebel against him, now that Harry had already been committed to his death.

Sirius walked along with the rest of the crowd that followed Dumbledore to a group of objects on the floor. Everyone took hold of one of the portkeys and Sirius glanced around at his three friends and his godson, all of whom looked rather ill. Harry was a lot paler than usual but he could see the determination there, to do what was required of him and then…? Sirius sighed inwardly; he knew what Harry would do if he won. He felt the tug behind his navel and a moment later he moved slightly as if to catch Harry from the portkey, but this time he didn’t fall. He felt his stomach flutter for Harry as he disappeared into the crowd and came out by the gateway and Dumbledore, glancing around for Remus he realised that he had done the same, although he didn’t recall him doing so. Lily and James stood next to him and he could tell instinctively that they felt as ill as he did, although he marvelled at the fact that they felt ill, after all they didn’t even have the organs to feel ill with anymore…

“Are you ready Harry?” Dumbledore asked the boy at the front of the crowd.

“Not really.” Harry said coolly to the old man who observed him for a moment. “Let’s get this over with then…” He said quietly and looked around at the Death Eaters who stood less than 100 metres away from them in life, with Voldemort at their head. It would appear that they were ready for their attack. Dumbledore instructed Harry on what was going to happen, whilst Remus stood behind him, his shaky hand holding onto his shoulder, afraid that it would be the last time he saw him alive. Remus felt as green as he looked, if it were possible to feel green that is… His stomach was doing somersaults and he was working hard and keeping his breath calm and his heart rate low but it was no good, he couldn’t deny the terror that was filling him at the idea of hundreds of Death Eaters out there, ready to kill them and Voldemort preparing to fight Harry. He was only a child! Why did he have to pick Harry? Anyone but Harry… He found wizards and witches walking around him into life whilst he stood in the middle with Harry and Dumbledore. The front line walked to their certain Death and a moment later there were shouts and curses from life as the slaughter began. He wondered briefly whether Harry’s shoulder hurt from his hold but the thought was wiped away as he and Harry began to walk forwards besides Snape and Tonks, leaving Dumbledore stood behind them. He felt as if he were in a dream as his feet carried him forwards and his mind screamed out in protest. Once they were on the other side he instantly lost sight of Harry and of Snape and Tonks. He found himself duelling with an unidentified Death Eater, dodging the killing curse and trying to focus his mind on the matter at hand instead of glancing around for Harry every few seconds. You’ll know what happens to him… His mind told him and he knew it to be right; when one of them triumphed everyone would know about it, there would be nothing he could do for Harry now.

“So Harry, this is it.” Voldemort said silkily as Harry joined him. They stood in a semicircle of space whilst everyone else around them was oblivious, joined in their own duels or waiting for a partner for the danse macabre. “The last battle.” He said before he glanced down at his wand arm which felt an odd sensation running through it and Harry did the same with his own. They watched, amazed, as their wands turned into swords and with a lurch Harry recognised the sword of Godric Gryffindor in his hand. Voldemort had a sword too, but his was black encrusted with jewels along the hilt and a silver snake along the blade. He no longer felt anxiety in him but only determination – he wasn’t doing this for himself, he never had been. This was for the world and for everyone who would die should Voldemort triumph. He could not lose. He would not lose. A smile curled his lips slightly and Voldemort couldn’t contain a smile at the boy who was determined to beat him.

“You will not triumph Harry Potter.” Voldemort said quietly, “I will see to that.”


***


Lily watched, transfixed, as her son stood before Voldemort and even managed to smile. In his wand was no longer a wand but a sword that glistened in the morning sunlight. She couldn’t take her eyes from him as Voldemort made the first move and he automatically moved to parry it. She felt the utmost fury at Dumbledore for ever allowing this to happen to her son. She knew it was not his fault that he had lead the life he had but it seemed to her that he should have done something for him to ease the misery he spent his life in. A shout from behind her alerted Lily that she couldn’t stand watching her son forever – there was a battle going on. Death Eaters ran through the gateway into Death, expecting perhaps a few of the dead that had stopped to see what happened and instead they met a group of more than a hundred ready to fight. Lily was immediately taken into battle by Bellatrix Lestrange, a woman who had heightened the bar of hatred she had ever felt for any human being.

“My dear Lily, we meet again.” Bellatrix smiled her ghastly smile and dodged the redactor curse which Lily had sent at her face. “Tut tut, you are out of practice.” They duelled quickly and with much power whilst behind them James and Sirius were pulled into battles with Malfoy and Goyle. James hit Goyle with the killing curse and he fell to the ground, just as Bellatrix shot the same curse at Lily. He gasped in horror and without a moments hesitation he leapt at her, sending them both flying onto the ground but the curse passed overhead and went through the barrier into life where it struck a Death Eater. Bellatrix marched over towards them, her wand pointed squarely at James’ chest. A moment later there was a flash of green and she crumpled to the floor.

“Sorry about that, my dear cousin.” Sirius said as he and James helped Lily to her feet. They glanced around them to see that the dead were easily overcoming the living who didn’t seem to realise that if they were killed in Death they would go straight through into the actual Death. Sirius watched, quite amazed as Bellatrix’s body became transparent by degrees until she had vanished completely.

“Having fun, are we?” Frank asked them, breathless as he was knocked into their midst by a strong curse from a Death Eater.

“Oh yes, after all what could be construed as anything but fun when you’re in the middle of a battle and your son is fighting against the forces of evil?” James replied before he, Frank, Sirius and Lily were surrounded by Death Eaters. There was a collective cry of “Avada Kedavra” and all four of them threw themselves down onto the ground, allowing half a dozen killing curses to miss them and kill a separate Death Eater. James laughed as he leapt to his feet and threw himself into battle with another foolish Death Eater who had dared to wander into the realms of Death.

There was a clash of metal from behind her and Lily span round to see her son through the masses of people, living and dead, fighting Voldemort with the sword of Gryffindor. She smiled confidently before spinning round to Mulciber who didn’t look too pleased to be in Death, let alone on the losing team. He shot the killing curse at her and growled as she leapt out of the way. A moment later a strong curse from Dumbledore knocked him down and ended his life. Dumbledore walked through the crowds of the dead to discover Harry and Voldemort duelling with much vigour.


***


“You cannot beat me, Harry.” Voldemort said to him, “You may as well give up now.” He swung the sword at Harry’s neck and he easily knocked it aside before beginning his own attack.

“How likely is it that I’m going to just drop my sword and let you kill me?” Harry asked him as Voldemort parried his strike and then drove his sword forwards towards Harry’s heart.


***


Severus Snape wasn’t pleased. He had been quickly surrounded by Death Eaters from the moment he had entered into the battle and to be perfectly honest it was a miracle he hadn’t yet died. He had been forced to take on many of Voldemort’s finest and he had only just escaped Lucius Malfoy by knocking him back with the redactor curse and sprinting through the crowds of duelling witches and wizards around him, owing to the fact that he hadn’t enough time to cast the killing curse. He seemed to be spending most of his time sprinting through the crowds of people, trying in vain to avoid the many Death Eaters coming his way, unfortunately his problem had been that he didn’t have the speed necessary to cast the killing curse, bizarrely enough he was just too nice. He needed to convince himself that it was either a matter of life or death or that he just had to do it, whilst forcing the idea of what it would feel like to be killed himself from his mind. So at the moment the only practical solution seemed to be knocking people unconscious and running like wildfire through the battle, the only problem was that occasionally he’d run into someone he’d knocked out earlier…


***


Remus felt his breath catch in his throat as he saw the sword flung forwards at Harry’s heart and released it with a wave of relief as Harry blocked it, just. A millisecond later and he would have been impaled. With a shudder he forced his mind away from the vision of Harry impaled to a more constructive thought of how best to get himself out of the situation where he had been forced to duel two wizards at once. Luckily one of them was Crabbe and couldn’t cast the killing spell if… well, if his life depended on it, and right then it did. Remus felt no guilt at killing the man who had been trying and failing to kill him repeatedly. He flicked his wand at him and uttered the curse which ended his life before a flash of green to his left alerted him that he had probably made the biggest mistake of his life.


***


Harry was being forced backwards by the strength of Voldemort’s attack and soon found himself near to the gateway into Death. Not knowing what conditions he was likely to find on the other side he pushed back against the attack and moved slightly so that the gateway was on his right instead of behind him as it had been before and then there was a sudden blast from the side of Voldemort and himself. Someone went flying into the both of them and they were flung through the gateway and into Death.


***


Bill span round to see Severus racing through the crowds of people, desperately fighting for their lives. He was running from a Death Eater that he had left unconscious on the floor some places back and as he span round to check that he hadn’t been followed he ran right into a Death Eater, who didn’t look too pleased to see him. Severus staggered back a few places before beginning to duel with him. Bill could see that he clearly didn’t have a chance of winning the duel and he took her chance when he and Severus were the furthest apart.

Avada Kedavra!” Bill cried and the Death Eater fell to the floor in an instant, quickly he turned his back on Severus and disappeared into the crowd so that he wouldn’t know it had been him. Glancing back he saw Severus look around for who had just killed his opponent and he noted with some amusement that he looked partly puzzled and partly annoyed as he disappeared in the opposite direction and leapt out of the way as one of Mad Eye’s curses came his way.

“Watch it Mad Eye!” Snape shouted at him as he narrowly escaped being hit by the killing curse. Mad Eye yelled an apology back at him before knocking an unknown Death Eater down and swiftly ending his life before scanning the area with his magical eye. Remus he thought and instantly moved through the duels to the man who had been attacked by two Death Eaters at once.


***


Dumbledore blew four foolish Death Eaters back who dared to assault him in the midst of the battle and for a moment he felt young again, dodging the curses as they were shot at him and easily overcoming his enemies. Glancing around him he saw the killing curse shot at Remus and moved to try and help him before remembering that he was in Death and Remus was in life. There was no way that he could help him now. A smile touched the old man’s face as he saw Mad Eye leap out from behind a Death Eater and knock Remus out of its path with a quick hex before finishing off the Death Eater who had tried to kill Remus in the first place. He felt quite irritated to see that it was Nott, who had once been a student at Hogwarts. But then so many of the Death Eaters were, and so was Voldemort. How could a student so talented have gone so terribly wrong in life? He looked around to see Sirius and Alice racing through Death from a gang of Death Eaters that had surrounded them, Sirius turned and shot the killing curse at one of them, knocking them down and the others allowed them to leave as they slowed and caught their breath. Charlie and Arthur sprinted through the crowd towards Mundungus who had managed to find trouble with a group of Death Eaters and launched themselves into battle. Oh yes, this was what being young was all about – the excitement, the bravery and the overcoming evil of course…


***


Remus dragged himself to his feet as quickly as he could and thanked Mad Eye who nodded and turned away from him to face another Death Eater. He had come so close to being killed, it had frightened him immensely to realise that his time had almost been up. Looking around he saw Harry and Voldemort nearing the gateway into Death. Near them was Tonks who had become outnumbered by three Death Eaters who had taken her on. He ran forwards into the battle with her and knocked one of the Death Eaters away from her, quickly ducking under the killing curse from another one of them as he ended up on the other side of Tonks, facing a Death Eater. He knocked him backwards with much force and he flew into Severus, who in turn flew into Voldemort and Harry, causing all three of them to go flying into Death.


***


Sirius grabbed hold of Alice’s arm and pulled her away from the gateway as Harry and Voldemort fell through it with Severus Snape. Severus managed to stay on his feet and became immediately engaged in battle with a Death Eater who began to push him away from the gateway and towards James Potter who was fighting three Death Eaters at once, and winning. Harry and Voldemort landed on the floor before slashing at each other with their swords as they scrambled back to their feet.

“Strange, seeing the most powerful super villain in a long time scrambling from the floor and hacking at a young boy with his sword.” Sirius said to Alice who laughed at Voldemort who glared at her before easily blocking a swung from Harry’s sword. Sirius tore his gaze away from Harry, who was smiling mockingly at Voldemort when he parried all of his attempts at skewering him on the end of his sword, and allowed himself to be pulled into the thick of the battle by Alice. She glanced around and saw Frank overwhelmed by Death Eaters and ran towards him with her wand drawn, passing Mad Eye on the way who was knocking down Death Eater after Death Eater and making quite a pile of people around him.

Avada Kedavra!” Someone screamed and Alice stared in horror at Mad Eye who was about to be struck by the killing curse.


***


Harry duelled faster and faster, hoping to finish this if he could. Now that he was in Death he realised how much he wanted to get back into life; if he died then he would not come back into Death, he would go straight through into the afterworld. Voldemort sensed this and pushed him further away from the gateway, swinging at him with a display of frightening speed and skill but moving automatically, Harry blocked each of his strikes until he swung around for his neck and realised too late that he had been too slow. His sword dropped slightly as he felt the searing pain in his arm. Looking down he could see blood streaming through his robes, drenching them. There was a look of triumph in Voldemort’s eyes but he dismissed it and fought back as hard as he could.


***


Mad Eye ran his magical eye over the crowd and saw Remus duelling near to him and Severus dodging opponents nearby. He couldn’t see into Death with his magical eye, which seemed to be one of the few things that it couldn’t do, along with things such as mark essays by moronic first years. Remus’ eyes widened at something behind him as he knocked down another Death Eater and Severus shot a curse at someone behind him. In an instant he span round to see a flash of green light. It was the last thing that he saw before falling to the ground.


***


Lumos Extremus!” James cried before shielding his eyes from the dazzlingly bright light which stunned all within a five metre radius of him before grabbing hold of Lily’s wrist and pulling her away from the gathering of Death Eaters around her. Many more Death Eaters had entered Death now and it was becoming more difficult to hold them off. Dumbledore had ordered all those capable of fighting into one line infront of the gateway, ready to stop anyone who was a Death Eater from passing into Death. Of course this wouldn’t stop those that were already in Death which was why many of them were still moving around the battlefield in Death killing Death Eaters that remained. Unfortunately there were too few of them after those that remained and Lily had become weighed down by more than half a dozen of them.

Lily allowed herself to be pulled away from the immediate danger by James as they ran a little way further from the gateway towards where Sirius, Alice and Frank fought a group of Death Eaters.

Reducto!” Sirius cried at a Death Eater who lunged for Frank in a desperate attack. Everyone looked away quickly so as to not see the effects that the curse had on the unfortunate man. There was a cry of agony and the offending Death Eater staggered backwards to a bloody death.

“Come on, we should stay closer to the gateway.” Alice said and she, Frank and Sirius turned to see Lily and James halt next to them.

“What? I just ran from there!” James complained as he and Lily turned and ran back to the gateway with the other three.


***


Mad Eye felt a thud and he opened his eyes to see himself lying next to him. He jumped slightly and cried out as he scrambled away from his own corpse. He felt a light hand on his shoulder and turned to see Filius standing next to him, a slight smile on his face as he helped him to his feet.

“Behind you.” Mad Eye had enough time to warn him, giving him the necessary time to leap out of the way. As he moved Mad Eye cursed the man behind him, who fell to the floor in a moment. “Looks like you’re not much better off here than in life.” He commented as he glanced around to see the line of people opposing those who walked into Death from life. He grabbed hold of Filius’ sleeve and dragged him a few feet to their left as there was a clash of metal and a curse from Voldemort as he and Harry came past, edging their way closer to the gateway to life.


***


Hermione walked calmly out of the hospital wing with Ron at her side. They had just been dismissed from the hospital wing by Madam Pomfrey who had said they were well enough to leave, which was a change of tune from earlier on but for some unknown reason wizards and witches whom she had never seen before were being brought into the wing suffering from some very odd effects.

“Yes, well we can only hope that Harry triumphs…” She head professor McGonagall say quietly to an old woman.

“Don’t worry; I’m sure that everything will be alright. Are you going to Death now?” The old woman asked her.

“Yes, from what I hear there are more Death Eaters than they first thought.” Professor McGonagall replied, “Thank you for offering to help Poppy in the hospital wing, Arabella.”

“Oh, no problem.” The woman replied, “Where my help is needed, and especially at a time like this, I am more than happy to be of assistance.” Minerva smiled at her in reply before bidding her goodbye and turning away from her and walking towards the passageway to Death, unaware that two students were following her.


***


There was a mighty cry from those in Death as the living Death Eaters made an assault upon them and charged into Death, but suddenly changed their minds upon seeing the masses of the dead before them, and for some reason they didn’t look to pleased.

“Charge!” Dumbledore cried over the crowd as he and the other members of the dead broke ranks and ran at the enemy who cried out in fear and tried to get back into life. Many of them died upon the first wave of killing curses that were shot at them but many of them died from the second, after being blinded by the green flashes coming their way. Whichever way they died, there were forty Death Eaters who were slowly disappearing on the floor.


***


Voldemort narrowed his eyes in irritation as he watched a large number of his forces run into Death in an attempt to kill those on the other side, only to be massacred once they got there. Fools, don’t they know that Dumbledore is on that side?! He thought angrily as he began another attack upon Harry, who to his great annoyance, didn’t seem to be tiring. Despite the protest from his muscles each time he moved, he knew that he had no choice but to go on… The boy was so close to his death now, there was no way that he was going to get away alive, he would see to that.

One day the world would be his, and that day would be sooner rather than later. He had no choice but to beat the boy now. Once he was beaten then the world had no hope left, once he was beaten the world was his for the taking.


***


Portus” Minerva said quietly and as she touched the small cup on the floor she was jostled to one side but before she had chance to see who it was the portkey came into effect.

She staggered slightly as her feet touched the ground in Death and she looked down in horror at the youngest Weasley boy and Granger, both of whom lay on the floor at her feet, looking rather sheepish.

“What do you think you are doing?!” She shouted at them. “Do you even know where you are?!”

“Death?” Ron suggested.

“No, Mr Weasley.” She scowled at him, “You are in a very dangerous area.” Hermione and Ron looked around but saw no danger; they looked back to her wearing puzzled looks.

Avada Kedavra!” Someone screamed from nearby and there was a flash of green from behind a group of trees. The curse wasn’t aimed anywhere near them but Ron and Hermione flinched all the same. The wind changed direction and suddenly the sound of shouting, screaming and cursing met their ears as well as an odd clash of metal.

“Do you understand where you are now?!” Minerva demanded of them, irritated at their nerve to come here with her. The Weasley boy looked completely nonplussed but Granger realised the answer, as always.

“The last battle…” She said quietly. She recalled Harry’s conversation some time back and he had mentioned that he was going to be forced into battling Voldemort soon, but neither of them had ever considered that it might be so close at hand.

“That’s right.” Minerva said and held out the cup as if to charm it back into a portkey but Ron knocked it out of her hands.

“If you think we’re going back now, you’re sadly mistaken.” He said defiantly to her.

“Do you hear that, Mr Weasley?” She asked him calmly. He listened for a moment and the same sounds met his ears. “That is the sound of hundreds of people battling, killing and dying. You will return to Hogwarts and you will return now. I will not permit you to enter such a dangerous area.”

“No!” Ron argued against her, “Harry’s there, I’m not leaving here until he does!”

“Mr Potter’s business here today is of no concern to you. You will leave, Mr Weasley, and you will leave now.” She said in a quiet voice. She turned to see someone running in their direction with a stretcher.

“Morning, Minerva.” The young man said to her as he trotted past her with the stretcher following after him. Glancing down at the figure on the stretcher they saw Dedalus Diggle lying there, bloodied and groaning as he wandered in and out of consciousness. Hermione gasped and staggered backwards as Minerva cast her a cool look. The man cast a quick charm over the area and in an instant a small group of objects became visible. They seemed like all sorts of bizarre things and it hit Ron what they must be for when he lifted one up and then cast the Portus Charm on it.

“Wait.” Minerva said to the man who reached out to the portkey. She signalled something to him quickly and he nodded.

Imperio.” He said at the same time as Minerva and suddenly Ron and Hermione had lost control of their limbs. They walked jerkily towards the man and reached out to the portkey in his hand. “Good luck.” The man said to her before disappearing with two young people and a stretcher.

Minerva took a deep breath before drawing her wand and striding quickly across the clearing and through the trees.


***


“Minerva, so good to see you.” Dumbledore said to her as she walked through into the battle scene in Death. She looked around and saw the lines of people waiting infront of the gateway, ready to attack any Death Eaters who dared to walk through it. Her eyes flickered to the back of the group where James, Sirius, Lily, Frank and Alice were turned around, watching two people duelling at speed with swords. Her stomach lurched unpleasantly as she realised who they were.

“Come on Harry.” Lily murmured softly as she watched her son blocking and attacking Voldemort. They were moving slowly towards the gateway back into life.

“What happens if you try to kill Voldemort now?” Minerva asked Dumbledore at her side.

“Then you run the risk of killing Harry.” Filius replied to the left of her.

“No risk, I’m an excellent shot.” Mad Eye growled from behind them.

“Mad Eye, no!” Minerva said but it was of no use. Mad Eye pointed his wand carefully at Voldemort.

Avada Kedavra!” He uttered and there was a green flash of light.


***


“Come on, there’s not many more left now!” Tonks said to Severus and Remus who stood beside her.

“There aren’t many of us left either!” Remus shouted to her over the din of continuous curses. Snape grabbed hold of his shoulder and dragged him backwards, almost pulling him over but it was just as well he did. A Death Eater had shot a curse at him and it would have easily killed him had Snape not done what he did.

“Consider yourself in my debt.” Snape growled at him before all three of them were forced into battle with Death Eaters who were quickly surrounding them.


***


Hermione cried out in frustration at finding herself in the hospital wing again, next to Ron and the man with the stretcher. Madam Pomfrey came bustling over to them and quickly inspected Dedalus who was laid on the stretcher and in bad shape. She muttered something under her breath about dangerous battles before taking hold of the stretcher and levitating him into bed. The man who had accompanied them nodded to her before disappearing back, presumably to the battle, by means of a portkey in his pocket.

“What are you two doing here?!” Madam Pomfrey almost shouted at them. She was reaching the end of her tether with things at the moment. She had Arabella Figg helping her out but for all the people that were constantly being brought into the wing she just didn’t have the staff she needed.

“We were brought back from Death by…” Ron said and looked around for the man with the stretcher who had been too busy glancing around the ward to notice that the man had already disappeared back to Death.

“Do you want any help?” Hermione asked her quickly before she could start shouting at them and to their surprise she said yes. Soon Hermione and Ron found themselves laden with potions they were to administer to people. They forgot about Harry in the battle as their work consumed them.


***


“Are you trying to kill me?!” Harry shouted at Mad Eye as he ducked underneath the curse he had sent at him.

“Even your own side are trying to kill you now, Harry.” Voldemort sneered, “That must be encouraging.”

“I wasn’t aiming for him, Voldie.” Mad Eye shouted and there was something close to laughter from those who heard it. Voldemort glared at him before Harry started up a strong attack which forced him to move backwards. He felt an odd sensation as he realised that he had just passed through the barrier into life. He felt very irritated at the boy but it was too late now, he would just have to murder him in life.


***


Tonks, Severus and Remus leapt out of the way as Harry and Voldemort came through the gateway and back into life. Remus stared at him in amazement as they duelled quicker and quicker, both of them wanting to get it over with. He had almost forgotten that Harry was duelling with Voldemort with all his preoccupation with the many people who had assaulted them over the time they had been there. Now he thought about it he realised that he didn’t know how long it had been since they had been in the battle. He watched, almost hypnotised at the blades that flashed in the morning light until Tonks hit him, hard. He span round to say something to her but he found that they had been surrounded yet again and he fought hard to get his way out of the circle of Death Eaters along with Severus and Tonks. By the time they had made it back out he couldn’t see Harry and Voldemort anymore, he could only here the clash of swords some distance away from him.


***


Harry was beginning to feel the strain on his muscles as he swung round with his sword and parried the shot that Voldemort had sent at him. He couldn’t go on for much longer, maybe it would be easier just to give up now… No! You’ve not come this far for nothing! His mind shouted at him and he fought back with all the vigour he could muster as he drove Voldemort back through the Death Eaters and those that opposed them.


***


Dumbledore watched Harry and Voldemort with much interest as they fought more intensely than before. It was coming to a close and all those in Death seemed to realise this. The Death Eaters had long since stopped coming into Death, after realising that none of their comrades seemed to come back. Now there were only the dead who were left watching the action.

There was a slight gasp from those in Death as Voldemort swung at Harry’s neck and barely missed as Harry had jumped backwards at the very last second.

Avada Kedavra!” Tonks screamed at Voldemort after seeing him almost take out Harry’s throat with his last shot. There was a flash of green light and the curse shot towards him but skimmed past him easily. Voldemort span round to glare at whoever had shot the curse at him. Harry saw his chance, his only chance. He swung around with his blade and Voldemort’s neck, who realised what he was doing all too late as he made to attack the boy at the same time.


***


Remus froze as he watched Harry and Voldemort. He, Snape and Tonks had finally overcome everyone who was near them, although it had taken much effort, and now they had a clear view over at Voldemort and Harry. Tonks had shot the killing curse at Voldemort out of frustration but it had gone past him easily. Voldemort had spun round to see who had sent the curse at him and at the same time Harry had flung his sword round at Voldemort’s neck. Unfortunately for Harry, Voldemort was no fool and at the same moment that Harry’s sword slammed into the side of his neck, Voldemort’s sword plunged into Harry’s chest.

An eerie silence filled the area, except for a dull thud and Remus looked away from the head that rolled towards him. The head that had just been severed from the shoulders of Voldemort.


***


Harry made a choking sound as he felt the sword plunge into his chest and cold silver stayed inside him as he fell to the ground. His world was naught but agony now. He was dimly aware that Voldemort’s headless self lay next to him, but he was also aware that his life’s blood was pumping out of him and saturating his robes. There was silence all around him and as he looked about himself he realised that he could faintly see the outlines of his parents, running towards him. But that wasn’t right, he wasn’t dead yet… He groaned slightly as Severus Snape carefully took the sword from his chest and stood back from Remus who was on his knees next to him. His eyes had filled with tears as he stared down at the boy covered in his own blood. Harry stared up into Remus’ eyes and smiled sadly.

“I said you could do it…” Remus murmured to him as he felt two tears fall from his eyes and landed on Harry.

“I know, and I never believed you.” Harry said softly. Everything began to slide out of focus and he was only slightly aware of the pain in his chest. His breathing was shallow now and slower than before. His head ached and he only wanted to close his eyes to escape the dizziness he felt as the world slid in and out of focus. His eyes ran over Severus who stood behind Remus, and then on Tonks, who was holding back tears. Bill, Charlie and Arthur had appeared next to him and Professor McGonagall stood to the side, watching him, tears shining in her eyes as they all looked down to him. His eyes fixed on Remus once more, whose hand he held onto.

“Good bye, Harry.” Remus said softly. Everything slipped out of focus again and this time it didn’t come back.


Chapter 52: Fifty-Two
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Fifty Two

“So, how is he?” Minerva asked as she sat down in a chair in the staffroom. It was early morning and Severus and Tonks sat opposite her.

“As well as can be expected, although I do not believe he is fit to teach,” Severus said quietly. It had been he who had helped Remus shakily to his feet when Harry’s eyes had closed for the last time and it had been he that had been forced to escort him back to the hospital wing where Madam Pomfrey had put him to bed with a very strong sleeping drought. He, Severus, hadn’t been too pleased about this and couldn’t help but wonder whether or not the sleeping drought was enough to kill him, considering his weak state. It hadn’t however and three days later Remus had woken up. That had been yesterday. Since then Remus had been allowed out of the hospital wing and had spent much of his time alone in his quarters.

“I can’t imagine how he must feel… Harry was the last thing he had left to hold onto.” Tonks said as her mind wandered back to the battle of only a few days ago. She could still hear the screams, the shouts and the curses. The green flashes appeared in her vision and then there was the silence. The silence that knelled out as Harry and Voldemort had both fallen. That had been the worst thing of all.

“I don’t think he will ever recover from this, Minerva.” He said quietly as he looked at her, judging her reaction. His mind inadvertently wandered back to the scene after both Potter’s and Voldemort’s deaths – Tonks and Minerva had both sprinted into Death to see what happened and whether they would both materialise there whilst he, Severus, had been left with Lupin. It was all for nothing anyway, later on he found that Voldemort had never gone into Death, owing to the fact that he couldn’t exist even there with no head. Potter had materialised there however and had been taken to the hospital ward to recover from the exhaustion and shock he was under.

“I don’t think he will either.” She replied.

“He is going to commit suicide, one way or another…” Severus said, “The least we could do is to make it a painless one for him.” Tonks gasped as he said this and Minerva’s expression hardened slightly.

“No! You cannot assist him to his death!” Tonks shouted at him.

“But it is what he desires more than anything else.” Severus said quietly, “As I have said, he will kill himself, with or without our aid.”

“Be that as it may, Remus still has a long life ahead of him, we should not take it from him.” Minerva said, “After Lily and James died he was exactly the same and then he was much happier afterwards.”

“Yes, with their son and when he discovered that Black wasn’t their killer!” Severus argued against her, “Both of them have gone and he has no one else. He will not last longer than a week.”

“Then it is our duty to prevent him from ending his own life.” Minerva said softly.

“You cannot watch him twenty four hours a day, Minerva.” He said. “As bizarre as it may seem, I want what’s best for him. His life has been hard enough without unnecessarily prolonging it!”

Not wanting to hear anymore Severus got up from his seat and left the room. There were no lessons that week, partly because the school couldn’t run with only the Minerva, Severus, Tonks, Hagrid, Madam Pomfrey, Sybil, Pomona Sprout and Sabina Sinistra. They were to have more staff from those that had survived the battle next week and the line that the teachers had given the students was that it was a mark of respect to those who had died to close the school for the week.

He walked sullenly down to the dungeons, past a gang of sixth year Slytherins on the way.

“Well Potter got no more than he deserved…” The drawl of Draco Malfoy announced over the large group who sniggered.

“200 points from Slytherins.” Snape said, spinning round on his heel and marching towards Malfoy who cowered back slightly from him. Since the battle it was well known that Snape had fought in it and had done a good thing for the Wizarding world, dispelling all rumours that he had been a Death Eater. “And detention for the week with Mr Filch.”

“What! Professor… You can’t!” Malfoy shouted at him as he turned as if to walk away.

“I can do what ever I want!” Snape shouted at him as he turned his back on the only existing male Malfoy. He felt slightly irritated at his outburst since Slytherin were now down by 200 points, but did points really matter? He shook his head in disbelief as he entered his office. Firstly he had practically defended Potter’s memory against Malfoy, and then he had taken 200 house points for it, from his own house! This was not like him, not like him at all. He could only presume that the battle had hurt his head. Severely.

He sighed as he collapsed into his chair behind his desk. Lupin needed to die. He didn’t mean it in the malicious way that Tonks no doubt thought he meant against him. He couldn’t teach, he couldn’t think, he couldn’t eat, he couldn’t converse, he couldn’t do anything anymore… That boy had been his life. How awful to have your entire life on Potter… of all people! He thought and then scowled at his own thoughts before glancing over the potions an his wall. His eyes met the one that was a deep black in colour and he knew already what it was: Sopor Dormium – the strongest sleeping potion known to wizarding kind. Well when he said it was a sleeping potion, it would put a Hungarian Horntail to sleep with one drop, and it would kill a human with ten. Administer that to Lupin and he would never wake again, and it would be a death which had no pain attached… he would simply fall asleep.

No, it was not his decision to make. He would ask Lupin himself later on that evening whether or not he would take it, and if he would...? Then he would hand him the potion, with no remorse and no guilt. He rubbed his temples and groaned slightly, the last week had brought enough headaches for a lifetime.


***


Remus opened his eyes and stared up at the ceiling. For one moment, one blissful moment he had forgotten everything. Then it all hit him and thoughts of Harry raced into his head. He stared at the foot of the bed and he could almost see him jumping around him trying to make him wake up before they went into Death.

“I’ll hex you if you don’t get up!” Harry told him in his mind. He felt tears spring to his eyes not for the first time in the last twenty four hours. He could hear his laughter, see his face and feel the hurt which came with his loss. He curled up under the duvet and buried his head in the pillow. He knew that in death Harry was there, and there was little he would have to do to join him. A million ways of ending his life entered his mind, pushing away the laughing boy that had filled it before. Glancing at his bedside table he saw the miniature version of Harry sat there, watching him with interest. His own small self sat next to him joking and laughing with him. He couldn’t take this. He needed to escape his life and be with the people who he cared about more than anything. Remus’ mind ran back to the battle and he couldn’t help but wish more than anything that his life had been taken that day. It almost had been on a number of occasions but something had always prevented that. He sighed softly; he was going to have to get up soon. Even though there was still half a week of nothing due to their lack of lessons until Monday, he knew that people wouldn’t tolerate his staying in bed for the whole day.

Unhappily he rose from his bed and entered his bathroom to prepare himself for the day. He emerged afterwards wearing a clean set of robes and a very slight smile which it felt like it would take the world to keep up. How had Harry ever managed it?

“Do you know how difficult it is to try and force a smile for 24 hours a day because you’re never, ever alone?!” Harry demanded of him with a raised voice in his head. It was going to be a long day, if the morning so far was anything to go by. Everything he did seemed to bring some thought of Harry back into his mind and he didn’t know how long he could take this. But he had overcome grief before… Harry was not the first person he had lost in his life, by no means and yet this was so much worse. He had overcome all that grief before and he had finally thought that he could be happy, until it had all been snatched away from him again. But things could get better, now that Voldemort was gone. Then again what use was Voldemort being gone when everyone he cared about had gone before him or with him? He left the confines of his rooms hidden behind his office and entered his room of work. He was glad to be out there in his office, away from all the little people that Harry had charmed for him. Little had Harry known at the time how much they would torment Remus after his death, although at the time he very much doubted that his death had entered his thoughts.

He sat down on the windowsill and stared outside onto the grounds where people walked about, talking and smiling every now and again. No one laughed though. There had been very little laughter in the castle since the battle, especially not from the Gryffindors. Ron and Hermione had been distraught; he knew that from what he heard in the hospital wing, whilst he was conscious. Both of them had been sedated several times when they both became wound up into hysterics. He was not the only one suffering, but he was the only one suffering this badly.

He stared out over the Quidditch pitch and his eyes saw Harry flying about on his broom, racing after the Snitch. He felt misery tug inside of him and he tore his eyes away from the window, but even when he did he saw Harry opposite him on the windowsill, telling him everything about the dream he had had about Voldemort. He wrapped his arms around his knees as he shook the thoughts from his mind and went back to staring out of the window. He had never felt this lonely in his life. A slight noise behind him caught his attention and someone walked into the room. His first instinct was to turn around but he didn’t.
Maybe if I’m lucky it’s a Death Eater… He thought. Remus glanced around to see Severus standing behind him, looking reasonably calm, although there was a vague sense of unease about him.

“Hello Severus.” He said quietly, wondering what the man could want with him. All malicious feelings against him had evaporated when the sword had found Harry’s heart. So had all feeling in general. Now all he felt was a strange emptiness and absence of feeling, there was no happiness, sadness, anger or hate. Just nothing, with a slight hint of loneliness and misery.

“Good morning, Remus.” He said.

“What’s so good about it?” Sirius said in his mind but he pushed it away. Snape had gone to the effort to use his first name: he couldn’t remember him ever having done that before.

“What do you desire more than anything?” Severus asked him quietly.

“Death.” Remus replied, not thinking about his answer at all; it wasn’t necessary.

“I can offer you that.” Severus said, “Sopor Dormium - the strongest sleeping potion known. It will kill you painlessly and quickly.” Remus knew that was what he wanted, but why was Snape offering him death? Did Minerva know he was doing this? The part of him that generally told him to run as fast as he could when he encountered any trouble told him to hold on to his life and that everything would be okay. The rest of him told him that it wouldn’t be… it could never be okay again. “Will you take it?”

“I don’t know.” Remus murmured in reply. He had never looked at Severus; it would only make this more difficult between them. There was a small clunk as Severus put a bottle down on his table.

“I will leave it with you. Three drops of this is generally enough to kill a human, although I would suggest a little more.” Severus said to him before turning away from him and moving towards the door.

“Thank you.” Remus said, barely above a whisper but he knew that Severus had heard it. He wondered whether the potion on his desk would kill him or not. It would be something so very like Snape to fill it with coloured water to discover whether or not he was suicidal. No, not even he would try something like that on him so soon after… He turned and looked at his desk, sure enough a small bottle with a black fluid in the bottom sat there, willing him to drink it.

“Don’t you dare!” Harry’s voice scolded in his head, as he remembered him when they were alone in the woods, minutes before the full moon. But it wasn’t that Harry had been against his suicide, it had been his leaving him alone in life. He sighed softly as he left his seat at the windowsill and walked over to the bottle.


***


“YOU DID WHAT?!” Minerva screamed at the top of her voice. Snape stood before her, his expression calm and at the side of them Tonks looked slightly horrified at the idea that Snape had given Remus the means to end his own life.

“At least he has the choice…” Severus said.

“CHOICE!? HE IS SUICIDAL… THERE IS NO CHOICE FOR HIM!” She yelled in reply and Severus flinched at the noise such an old woman could make. She sat down in her seat, leaving Snape stood infront of her looking slightly afraid and uncertain of himself. She hoped that Remus would not drink it, although her heart told her that he would. He couldn’t bear to be parted from Harry like that, in such a brutal way and with no one else left in his life. Snape had always loathed him and he had finally killed him. Or had he…? She could only hope and pray that he had not.

Tonks watched them both, Snape looking afraid of Minerva and Minerva looking exhausted and miserable. She had been one of the only ones who had not accepted a potion to aid her recovery from the battle those few days ago, she had been the one to organise the school and the staff and the order so that they were functioning again. She had worked so hard to get things back on track but Snape may have just messed everything up by offering Remus a way out of it all.

After what seemed like an age, Minerva rose to her feet after recollecting her wits. Snape and Tonks looked up to her, expectantly, waiting to see what she would do, or have them do.

“Right… follow me.” She said and they all left the room, deserted except for a few lone chairs and cups of coffee.

She felt her heart racing as she ascended the stairs up onto the second floor. She stopped outside Remus’ office and knocked on the door. There was no answer. Severus had said that Remus had been in his office and his not replying was not a good sign. She tried the door but it was locked from the inside. The feeling of unease and fear grew inside her as she pulled out her wand.

Alohomora.” She said, doubting that Remus would have locked the door in a way that would enable such a simple spell to open it. To her surprise the latch inside the door clicked and the door moved open a crack. There was silence on both sides of the door.

“Remus?” Tonks said quietly as the three of them walked inside. Leaning against the windowsill was Remus. Next to him was a half empty bottle, filled with death. The three of them froze, staring at him. There was still some potion left but then there had been no guarantee of what Snape had given him to start with. Snape sighed softly and walked over to the windowsill, to Remus. He put his fingers against his neck and felt nothing. He raised his fingers infront of his nose and mouth, partly hoping to feel his breath against his hand, but again: nothing.

It was all too much for Tonks who began to cry and turned, running from the room.

“Severus, what have you done?” Minerva asked, saddened.

“I have spared him from a lifetime of misery.” Severus replied as he looked down at the man leant against the window.


***


Remus heard Harry’s voice but he didn’t open his eyes. He was afraid to find out it wasn’t real, that it never had been. A gentle touch on his arm caused him to open his eyes. He took in a sharp breath when he found himself staring into Harry’s beautiful green eyes. Behind him stood Lily, James and Sirius, all watching him. He reached out to Harry, afraid that his fingers would simply travel straight through him but they did not, and a moment later he hugged Harry tightly, letting out a shaky breath as he did so. He didn’t want to let go of him, now that he had him in his arms again but reluctantly he pulled away, finding those eyes fixed upon him again. His eyes travelled over him and he noted the lack of his scar on his forehead. Harry smiled slightly before getting up and taking his hand, he brought Remus to his feet too.

“So what happens now?” Remus asked them.

“We go die.” Sirius said bluntly and Lily rolled her eyes. It felt so good to be with his friends again, knowing that everything was over now, all their troubles and hardships of life had finished, and they had only the mysteries of Death to face together.

“I cannot believe you took that potion from Snape though.” James said as they made their way out onto the grounds, “It could have been Veritaserum or anything!”

“Snape wasn’t going to give him Veritaserum right after Harry had died…” Lily scowled at him.

“So, since dying what have you done?” Remus asked Harry, who walked alongside him, over to the gateway into the real Death.

“I’ve been waiting for you to die mostly, and I’ve beaten Dad at Quidditch, of course.” He smiled and James scowled.

“That was a fluke.” James insisted.

“Fluke? You both went into the most insane dive ever and you got smashed by a Bludger, which Harry dodged. You’re telling me that your stupidity was Harry’s fluke?!” Sirius demanded of him and they laughed, even Lily, who Remus guessed had heard enough talk of Quidditch over the last few days to last her a lifetime.

They all stopped still. Infront of them was a stone gateway with a black veil fluttering in the breeze. They looked at each other and then back at the veil, suddenly feeling quite a lot colder. They all huddled together in a small group with Harry at the front of it.

“Last one to die has to do the hand jive with Snape!” Sirius said before walking forwards into Death, followed a moment later by Lily, who groaned at her husband’s constant Quidditch complaints.

“But it was a fluke, don’t you think honey?” He asked her as she stepped through the veil and he followed her a moment later. Remus looked at Harry and smiled.

“I really missed you these last few days.” Remus said softly to him.

“I know you did, and I missed you too.” Harry said, hugging him briefly before pulling away and walking forwards to his death. Harry felt the veil brush over his face slightly and beside him Remus took a deep breath before taking another step forwards, through the veil and away from their lives.

The End



http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com