Truth be Told
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, who I am not, though I doubt you needed me to tell you that. No money is being made off of this and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. It's all in good fun.
A/N: Many thanks to Juli and Derek for being my sounding board. Had this idea and it wouldn't leave me alone, so I decided to use it as a jumping board into a full fledged 6th year fic. Please leave feedback especially if it's constructive. I always respond to all reviewers and unlike many others around here I can take criticism :).
Chapter 1: From Past, With Love.
There was a brilliant sunset hanging over the village of Little Whinging, signaling the end of what should have been a perfectly normal day. Those with jobs had gone off to work trying their best to look important as they stepped into their fancy cars, only to return for supper looking somewhat browbeaten. Those without jobs stayed at home firmly entrenched behind the window with the best view of their neighbor's house, craning their necks for a bit of dirt that they might silently lord over them. On this particular day, the resident of number six was going to feel as though she had just won the lottery. It all began when what appeared to be a riderless motorcycle appeared out of thin air some ten meters off the ground and proceeded to touch down for a perfect landing in the driveway of number four.
For Harry Potter it had also been a normal day. The warning that his friends had given the Dursleys at King's Cross Station had at least made them treat Harry more or less as a human rather than an animal to be caged up, though they still used him as their own personal slave. He had been awoken from his fitful sleep by his Aunt Petunia's yelling, given a list of chores to do as long as his arm, and had his work sabotaged incessantly by Dudley, who thought it funny to walk around the house while crumbling a piece of bread so Harry would have to vacuum again. After a dinner during which no one paid him the slightest bit of mind, Harry had come outside to the front yard to take care of his last chore for the day, watering the flowerbeds in the front yard.
Harry did not see the arrival of the flying motorcycle; his back was to the driveway, but he was quickly alerted to its presence by Aunt Petunia. "Boy!" she yelled as she stormed out of the house, causing Harry to turn quickly with the hosepipe in his hand. The water stream settled directly on top of Petunia's head, drenching her and causing her already red face to grow even more livid. Harry was so stunned he didn't even think to turn the hose away.
"I don't know what you think you're doing, but making a mo-" she stopped suddenly as she noticed someone across the street staring at the two of them. "And turn that bloody hosepipe off!" she roared as she tried to escape the stream of water. Harry quickly dropped the hosepipe, and started to apologize, then realized it wasn't worth it.
"I'm so- What's that?" he asked, seeing the motorcycle for the first time. It looked vaguely familiar to him, though he was sure that he'd never seen it before in his life.
"What's that?" repeated Petunia incredulously, "WHAT'S THAT? YOU BLOODY WELL KNOW WHAT IT IS!" Harry's Aunt risked a glance across the street and seemed to be trying to get control of herself "You mean to tell me that a flying motorcycle mysteriously appears in our driveway and you have absolutely nothing to do with it?" she whispered furiously. This set Harry's mind racing. He'd had dreams of flying motorcycles when he was younger.
"No I don't," Harry replied forcefully. "You were watching me out the window precisely to make sure that I didn't do any ma-"
"Shut up!" cried Petunia desperately, the blood that had begun draining from her face was now back and coloring her cheeks. She remained silent for nearly a minute, her eyes boring into her nephew. When she spoke, it was with a calm voice so forced, Harry thought her head might explode. "Come on, we need to get this..." she shuddered a bit, "this thing hidden or else people will talk." She strode over to Harry, grabbed his arm, and dragged him to where the motorcycle sat in the driveway, little rivers of water continuing to run off of her as she moved.
"You take that side," she ordered, "and we'll roll it into the garage." Harry did as he was told, not really wanting to upset his Aunt more than she already was. He was beginning to wonder if she wasn't mad enough to finally kick him out of the house once and for all despite Dumbledore's wishes.
But try as they might, they could not get the motorcycle to roll forward. It seemed as though it were glued to the spot, and the increasingly furious Petunia was beginning to lose whatever temper she had left. "Maybe it has some sort of brake on it," offered Harry cautiously as she started to kick the wheels as hard as she could while at the same time attempting to remain discreet about the whole operation. She didn't manage to get the motorcycle rolling, but in addition to injuring her foot, an envelope addressed to Harry that neither had noticed was dislodged and landed at his feet.
Wondering what it might be, he picked it up and turned it over to find that the envelope was sealed with a wax seal bearing the words "Astrea Lamont, W.A." Harry was just about to open the envelope when Uncle Vernon and Dudley burst out of the house. "Just what is going on here!" demanded Vernon, the veins in his neck popping out angrily. "Why is there a motorcycle in my driveway?" He looked to his wife for an explanation, but seeing that she was both soaking wet and furious, he immediately jumped to the conclusion that this was Harry's doing. Dudley, meanwhile, was admiring the machine up close, and was looking for all the world like he wanted to sit on it.
"You know, I'd quite like a moto-" he began as he hoisted a muscular leg, but was cut off by Petunia who grabbed him to prevent his sitting down.
"Don't sit on that Diddy, it's... it's... not normal," she whispered to him. Dudley immediately yelped and shrank away from the motorcycle, remembering his previous experiences with magic. Petunia pulled him into her body and gave him a big hug. "Would my little Popkin like a biscuit?" she asked trying to cheer him up. Desperate to get away from the driveway, Dudley allowed himself to be escorted back into the house leaving Vernon and Harry alone.
"Well Boy," growled Uncle Vernon murderously, "what have you got to say for yourself?"
"I had nothing to do with the motorcycle, I was just watering the flowers because you forced me to. That might go into my next report by the way." Harry's comment hit its intended mark, and Vernon went a lighter shade of puce.
"Don't you dare tell those..." he lowered his voice to a whisper, "freak friends of yours that you're being forced to do things or you'll sorely wish you hadn't," he threatened while waggling a stubby finger. Harry hadn't planned on doing any such thing of course, but it was always fun to press his uncle's buttons when he had the chance. Harry glared at Vernon expecting the same in return, but was surprised to see that his uncle was instead looking intently at the envelope Harry was holding. "What is that?" he demanded. "You obviously have something to do with all of this, that's your name on the envelope."
"I don't know," Harry replied, kicking himself for not hiding the letter. "I haven't opened it yet." An interesting cross between a scowl and a grin spread across Uncle Vernon's face.
"And you're not going to either," he said, holding out his hand. "Give it here. There might be instructions for you on how to use this monstrosity and we can't have that." Harry tried to pull the envelope out of his Uncle's reach, but he wasn't fast enough to prevent Vernon from wresting it away.
"AHA!" shouted Vernon triumphantly as he ripped the envelope open and withdrew an official looking piece of parchment. Harry had no choice but to stand there and watch his Uncle's face as he read, trying to discern just how much trouble he was going to be in. He was surprised when his Uncle started to smirk, as that was the last reaction he had expected.
"Give it here," he shouted. "What's so funny?" Vernon finished the letter and with a laugh he crumpled it up into a ball and tossed it at Harry with a laugh. Now Harry was desperate to find out what the letter contained. He unfurled the ruined parchment, and began to read.
Law Offices of Pescecane, Haifisch, Requin and Tiburón
138 Diagon Alley, London.
Dear Mr. Potter,
I am sorry to have to contact you under the present conditions, but I'm afraid that the death of Mr. Sirius Black has left some business that must be attended to. Upon Mr. Black's passing the last will and testament that he signed in January of this year came into effect and you were named as a benefactor in that document. As executor of his will we are now attempting to distribute his assets according to his wishes. As his godson he hoped for you to inherit half of his estate, the other half to go to Mr. Remus Lupin. However, given the nature of his life, the Ministry of Magic has confiscated a large number of Mr. Black's possessions both as evidence against him, and to pay off the debt they feel they are owed. One of the few items that did escape this fate is the motorcycle now before you. It is not precisely legal, and we can not condone your use of it, but we have followed the wishes of Mr. Black and delivered it to you. As it is yours and yours alone, only you will be able to get it started the first time. Simply tap it with your wand and it will be free to do with as you please.
Sorry for your loss.
Astrea Lamont, W.A.
Harry couldn't believe it. He clenched the piece of parchment tightly in his hand, tearing it slightly and stared at the motorcycle. This had belonged to Sirius, and now Sirius was dead. And no matter what anyone told him, he knew that it was his fault. He had been the one to fall for the trap, no one else. If he'd only been willing to practice his Occlumency a bit more...
Uncle Vernon had continued to laugh at the stricken look on Harry's face, and it stirred Harry from his guilt trip. "Looks like the world is free from one more serious freak," he managed to get out while gasping for breath. Apparently he thought himself quite a riot. Harry didn't find him so funny.
"How dare you speak that way about my godfather? He was a far better person than you'll ever be!" Harry could feel the anger rising within him, could feel the need to lash out at his uncle for dishonoring Sirius's memory.
"Oh honestly Boy," began Vernon, still wheezing, "a convicted mass murderer with nothing left in the world but some effin' motorbike is a better person than me? He got what was coming to him if you ask me. I hope his death was particularly painful." The sneer that had played at the corners of his mouth quickly disappeared as Vernon suddenly found Harry charging at him. Taken by surprise, he was to slow to react, and found himself stumbling backwards onto the grass of his own front yard.
"You take that back" Harry breathed, doubled over at the waist. Hitting something as heavy as Uncle Vernon with everything he had had been quite painful. He had felt angry enough to fight Dumbledore, the man whom he most respected in all the world only a few short weeks ago. Faced now with similar anger towards a man he held no respect for, he found he couldn't hold himself back.
"You will regret that Potter." All trace of joviality was gone from Vernon's face and little beads of sweat were forming on his forehead as though he were a teakettle about to burst. And burst he did. With a movement faster than Harry would have thought possible of such a large man, Vernon regained his balance, lunged at Harry, and somehow managed to hoist him over his shoulder in one fluid movement. Harry struggled against his captor, but there was nothing he could do. "Think you can fight me do you? Not in this lifetime you insolent brat." Vernon started towards the front door.
"Put me down or I'll... I'll yell and alert the neighbors!" cried Harry, a last ditch effort to save himself. Vernon glanced around at the already staring neighbors and gave them all a wave.
"Wish we could keep this one at St. Brutus's all year round," he quipped in a highly affected voice. "Terrible liar, just like his dead godfather the mass murderer. Honestly I don't know what happened to that side of the family. All cheats, liars, and murderers." Vernon closed the front door behind him and immediately made for the stairs. Harry assumed he was going to be locked back into his room as he always was in such circumstances. But his uncle didn't go up the stairs, rather he stopped and shoved him into the little cupboard beneath the stairs; a place Harry had sincerely hoped he had seen the last of.
"You can't keep me in here!" shouted Harry through the little grate that was his only opening to the outside world. "There's hardly enough room to lie down in here!" It was true, the cupboard seemed a whole lot smaller than the last time he had been in it.
"I think you'll find enough room," blustered Vernon, still witheringly upset. "You'll certainly have enough time to find it." And Harry heard the heavy footsteps of his uncle retreat into the living room where he watched television and cursed loudly for the rest of the night.
Ms. Number Six was already on the telephone and spreading rumors.
Harry struggled with his anger and his confinement well into the night, never really able to get comfortable. He couldn't stretch his legs all the way out without banging his head on the ceiling, and he was starting to cramp up. To take his mind off of the pain (and the rather insistent signal that his bladder was sending him) his mind was coming up with creative ways to get revenge on Vernon for the awful things he had said about Sirius. Rampaging acromantulas, a flatulance potion, and the kiss of a dementor were all intriguing options.
Harry knew better than to fall asleep without first emptying his mind, but he hadn't had a proper occlumency lesson in months and what little he had learned from Snape was either forgotten or simply ignored due to his current predicament. Why couldn't he have just lived with a normal family like the Weasleys? He knew the answer of course, the protection was greater here, but that was hardly comforting. Uncle Vernon was every bit a monster in his own right. The unpleasant thoughts came in fast and thick until Harry finally managed to fall asleep.
The dreams started off innocently enough. The flying motorcycle was present, and Harry was riding it while playing Quidditch. Ron was playing goal and singing Weasley is our king very loudly as he dangled from his broom using a sloth-grip roll. Ron promptly morphed into Hagrid, who lost his grip on the broom only to be caught by Grawp. Harry flew down to where the two were now standing and they all had rock cakes with Fang.
The dream changed suddenly.
He was pleased, but he didn't particularly like being pleased, so he was angry even at this. He'd had good news about the situation at Azkaban. He was staring down into a pool of clear liquid that had hundreds, possibly thousands, of swirling silver strands in it. He followed one of the strands carefully with his eyes, a sense of morbid curiosity welling up within him. In and out it fluttered, up and down; very difficult to keep track of. There was something elusive about it, and he had to know more. He withdrew his wand from his black cloak with his long sinewy fingers. He twirled it expertly a bit and pondered whether or not this was going to help. He realized that he didn't care, either way he'd get to revel in the glory of their deaths again, and that was enough. He tapped the wand to the surface of the liquid and the silver strands began to move faster and faster, becoming a blur, until the surface was completely clear. Looking through it he could just make out the spot where the accursed house was going to be in a few minutes time. He leaned down and fell through.
He found himself standing in a small patch of woods on a very dark night, the moon was new, and there was a small pudgy rat of a man hunkered down behind a large bush off to his left. The man was clearly nervous, and he was muttering under his breath. That was certainly interesting, perhaps he should find out what he was saying... it might provide a clue. He sauntered over to the crouching figure and bent down beside him.
"What have you got on your feeble mind Wormtail?" he asked no one in particular. The man, unable to hear him, went right on with his muttering.
"Merlin forgive me... Merlin forgive me... Merlin forgive me..." the man repeated time and again as he peered into the adjacent clearing.
"A traitor with a conscience I see. I never figured you had one of those you filthy coward. Now stand up, I'm approaching." As if on cue, the short balding man stood only to fall to his knees again as a tall dark hooded figure swept into view.
But he already knew what happened here. He knew full well what had happened in his presence that night, it was what had happened outside of it that interested him. There had to be some sort of a clue as to what went wrong, something that he had missed. He walked out of the forest and into the clearing. It was far too squared off and well groomed. Indeed, as he walked forward a cozy, bright, and thoroughly disgusting house appeared in a brilliant flash of light. Even now the sight of the house made him ill. A feeling of hatred built within his stomach and tried to hammer its way out through his chest. These people had nearly killed him. He was glad that he'd had the chance to return the favor.
The occupants of the house had no idea what was coming. Even now they were happily playing with that dreadful baby. He could see them through an open window. He could only faintly hear their voices, his memory was not so strong here. He was still back with Wormtail rewarding him for a job well done. But he needed to hear them as well. He needed to hear what, if any, protections were being placed. And so he walked through the front door. He didn't bother to open it, he couldn't be bothered with such trivial formalities as closed doors.
"Do you think we've done the right thing, Lil?" The two adults were sitting on the sofa in front of the fire while the mudblood held the snivelling little baby.
"We have, Sweetie." The blood traitor shook his head unconvinced.
"I just can't shake this feeling that little Harry's going to regret having us as parents if he ever finds out that we did this for him." Ah... so there was something that they'd done. He listened closer and silently urged them forward with the conversation. He hoped it would bear fruit before he came storming in to kill these two.
"Don't be silly, you love Harry with all your heart don't you? You want him to live a good life?" An emphatic nod. "Then there's nothing else we can do. If we want him to live we need to protect him. And there's only one way to do that. Dumbledore knows what he's talking about." He snarled at the mention of the older wizard's name. He knew that geezer had to have been pulling the strings.
"I know he does, I just wish there was some other way to grant Harry this protection. I want to see him grow up, I want to be able to watch him play his first Quidditch match, struggle with his first love... I want to be there for him Lily."
"He'll always be able to draw strength from you. You're his father. He'll always be proud of you." This was sickening. How two people could prattle on about such things as emotion and pride for this long he'd never understood. To him there was only power, and he was about to demonstrate his.
The fire suddenly turned green and the head of that accursed rat popped into it. "Right then, it's done." There appeared to be tears in his eyes. What was all of this? The anger that had built upon seeing the house now rose to a fever pitch. He had been betrayed?
"Thanks Peter, you're a true friend. Remember, no one must ever know." The head in the fire nodded then disappeared with a pop. The two stared at each other and then kissed, the baby caught in between them. It was only interrupted by the front door being blown off its hinges. He'd just missed it. If he had been a few seconds earlier, he would have known something was awry and not to attack the pitiful baby. He was going to murder Wormtail.
"Lily, take Harry and go! It's him! Go! Run! I'll hold him off!" But it was already too late for James Potter.
Harry's head exploded in pain, and he could hear himself screaming at his dad to run away. With a start he sat upright, only to earn himself a rather nasty bump on the head. He felt a trickle of blood run from his forehead down his cheek and didn't know whether it was from his scar or from a new wound.
His parents had known.
Track This Story: