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Even with Sirius moping around Grimmuald Place after Harry was cleared of all charges during his hearing, Harry couldn’t help but feel a weight lifted off of his shoulders. Then again, he was now bearing the burden of having something else evil, something that was potentially worse than a dementor being sent after him. He found himself becoming increasingly more worried at the thought. How could anything be more dangerous or more fearsome than fear itself?

It was a few days after the hearing. Harry hadn’t been outdoors since then, and was stuck inside with the Weasley’s, Hermione, and Sirius, attempting to clean the decrepit house. Years of filth and muck covered almost every inch of their bodies, and each nursed bumps and bruises from close encounters with doxies, pixies, and other such pests. The same amount of people came in and out of the house- Lupin, Tonks, and once to Harry’s horrid surprise, Snape, who practically dashed out of the house after seeing Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the twins come walking down the stairs- but the house had been uncharacteristically slow with company. Then the door slammed open.

Lupin, Tonks, Snape, Kingsley, Mad-Eye Moody, and Mundungus Fletcher burst into the downstairs, causing the disgusting portrait of Mrs. Black to spring to life to wail furiously.

Mrs. Weasley hurried out from the kitchen. “Remus,” she began. “What-?”

Lupin appeared to be out of breath and looked slightly anxious. Harry noticed that they all looked at least slightly put out. “Dumbledore sent us. He says the hunters are on their way here.”

Mrs. Black continued to scream in the background. “FILTH! BLOOD-TRAITORS! TAINTED HALF-BREEDS-!”

Mrs. Weasley suddenly mirrored his worried expression. “Oh,” she gasped. “He sent all of you? Is Dumbledore coming?”

Tonks ruffled her bubble-gum pink hair thoughtfully. “Nobody’s sure. Maybe he wanted all of us to be here to meet them, in case the hunter’s are-”

“Just in case.” Remus butted in pointedly, noticing Harry, Ron, and Hermione peeking around the corner of the stairs.

“-ABOMINATIONS! BEFOULING THE HOUSE OF MY PUREBLOOD ANCESTORS!”

Sirius pounded down the stairs. “What in Merlin’s name is going on?” he exclaimed, slamming his mother’s portraits’ curtains’ closed with great effort. Silence fell upon them all. “What are you lot doing here?” he asked the large group that had suddenly congregated at his doorstep.

Mad-Eyed Moody briskly closed the door quietly behind him. “This is no place to talk about top-secret Order of the Phoenix information.” He growled to them all in his gruff voice, and limped forward. “Let’s take this into the kitchen.”

Harry’s curiosity was overwhelming. “Why?” he asked quickly, following them all. “Why does this have to be so secret? Why can’t I know what’s after me-?”

Moody turned both his normal eye and his magical eye on him “Dumbledore’s orders, boy.”

Harry felt a stab of betrayal at the mention of Dumbledore. Why couldn’t Dumbledore trust Harry anymore? Was he that untrustworthy? He shook the thought off and continued. “If something besides Voldemort and a couple of dementors are after me, don’t you think I should know what it is, so that I at least have a fighting chance?”

Tonks, Kingsley, Lupin, and even Mundungus, looked torn as to whether or not they should actually tell him. But Mrs. Weasley wasn’t going to allow that.

She turned to him. “Harry, you are just a child.” She spoke as she would to a three year old. “You shouldn’t be troubled with things like this-”

“But I am troubled with this!” he yelled. Mrs. Weasley looked tremendously surprised- Harry never yelled at her. He knew she meant well, but he deserved to know the truth. “These things keep happening to me! They are about me! I have every right to know what-”

“No you don’t!” She interrupted. “You don’t have the right to know any information. You’re not in the Order!”

It was Sirius’ turn to round on Mrs. Weasley. “Then let him join!” he exclaimed. This had to be the one hundredth time the two of them had had this argument. “Harry should know about the hunters and the d-”

“SIRIUS BLACK DON’T YOU DARE SAY ANOTHER WORD!” Mrs. Weasley shrieked, sounding as loud and frightening as Mrs. Black’s portrait.

Sirius took a step backward, his handsome face shocked and dumbstruck, as though her order had physically struck him. He quickly composed himself and looked ready to retort, when the doorbell rang.

The entire group fell silent again and stared at the door. They were all thinking the same thing; everyone involved in the Order knew not to ring the doorbell. The hunters had to be here.
************************************************************************

To Sam’s surprise, Dean got on the plane. It was apparently a surprise to Dean himself, because the older Winchester brother got on the plane, almost calmly. But as soon as the plane started taking off, Dean began to shake uncontrollably, gripping the armrests so tight that their paint began to peel off, and turned an impossible shade of green.

As the trip progressed, Dean hurried back and forth, to and from the airplane bathroom. The stewardesses finally steered clear from the three Winchester men when they realized that nothing was going to soothe Dean’s flight. He was one unhappy flyer.

The next couple of hours were highly uneventful, especially for the Winchesters. The three men had grown accustomed to constant action and surprises, so they were suspicious at first when the ride was so calm- besides Dean’s violent vomiting. But when they realized that no one on the plane was going to try to kill them or suck their blood, they each were able to catch up on some sleep.

They arrived in London a few hours later and Sam had never seen Dean so happy to be on solid ground. Sam knew that if Dean wasn’t around so many people, he would’ve knelt down and kissed the ground.

“How’re you feeling?” Sam asked his brother.

Dean, though happier, was still a sick grey color, and only grunted in response.

Sam tried not to smile. “Well if it’s any consolation, you look and smell like death.” he said.

Dean gave him the one-fingered-salute in response.

“Quit messing around you two, we’ve got places to be.” John Winchester barked from baggage claim, where he shouldered only a few bags.

It was impossible to bring their weapons, charms, and knives through airport security, so Sam knew his father was even more frustrated and irritable than usual. They’d have to buy all new supplies to go on this international hunt. All they had packed was a few pairs of t-shirts, jeans, boots, salt, a couple of Latin Exorcism books, an EMF reader, and some holy water. The tree Winchesters would much rather have access to the full arsenal in the Impalas trunk; but of course they had been forced to leave her behind.

John hated crowds, so the boys were out of the airport and into the streets of London in a matter of minutes.

Outside was humid and stormy, like it was ready to rain, but Sam was in awe of the scenery and buildings around him. However Dean and John were less impressed. They were in England for business, so Sam reluctantly forced himself after his father and brother, and toward wherever this job would take them.

…………………..

They were in a rental car parked outside apartment buildings eleven and thirteen. Number Twelve Grimmuald Place did not exist. Dean came to the sad conclusion that all the years of hunting had finally gotten to his father; John Winchester had lost his mind.

“Wizards, Dad?” Dean asked calmly, staring at his father. “And witches? Good witches?”

His father sighed. “Yes, Dean. Good witches and wizards. That’s who we’re here to help.”

On the way to the apartment buildings, John Winchester had gone on a rant about their job here in London. It was the same story as before- a friend calling Dad up needing help with potential Yellow-Eyed Demon activity, but the story began to evolve half-way there. John explained that his friend was a wizard. A powerful wizard that was a professor of other young magical children which was all part of a secret underground wizarding society. And according to John their job went further than all that: they were in England to protect a boy wizard prophesized to defeat an evil wizard. Dean was pretty sure John had said the evil wizard’s name was Lord Boldybort. That’s where he drew the crazy-line.

Dean did not take his eyes off John’s. “You’re sure you’re feeling alright? Did you maybe catch what I had on the plane? Sammy, get Dad some aspirin from my duffle…”

“This is why I didn’t tell you before we got here.” John explained, shoving his younger son’s hand away that held the medicine. “I knew you’d react this way. Hell, I’d probably react this way if I were you-”

“No kidding?” Dean answered under his breath.

“But it’s the truth.” John stated. “Now we’re going in there and you’ll do exactly as I say when I say to do it. Understand?”

“No, Dad, we don’t understand. Wanna know why? Because Number Twelve Grimmuald Place doesn’t exist!” Sam complained from the backseat.

John opened his door and stepped out. “Fine then. Humor me. If it doesn’t exist we’ll go straight back to the US and you can throw me in the first straight-jacket you can find.” He slammed his door shut.

Dean turned around in his front seat to face Sam.

“Dean, Dad’s lost his mind.” Sam said softly, his brown eyes as round as quarters.

“I know man. Believe me I know. But let’s flank him just in case…” The two brothers quickly got out of the rental and walked toward their father who waited for them.

“Glad you decided to join me.” John scoffed. He shoved a crumpled piece of paper at Dean’s chest. “Here memorize this.”

Dean glanced down at the paper. It said, The Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix may be found at number twelve, Grimmuald Place, London.

“Listen, Dad,” Dean began, glancing nervously around him. “Someone’s gonna call the cops on us for trespassing, let’s just go-”

John snatched the paper from Dean and gave it to Sam, who read it as well.

“Dad!” Dean growled. “Are you even listening to me? Number Twelve Grimmuald Place does not exist! You’re acting crazy! Just-”

“Dean!” Sam cut in with a gasp. “Look!”

Dean whirled around, and his mouth fell open. An entire building, grimy and old, had somehow pushed itself between buildings eleven and thirteen. It had not been there seconds before. It was real, not an illusion, and Dean was at a complete loss for words.

John smirked. “I’m crazy, huh?” John grabbed hold of the silver serpent door knocker and banged hard on the door three times. He raised his graying eyebrows. “You two might want to compose yourselves, you look ridiculous.”

Sam and Dean glanced at each other, still gaping, and still in utter shock, but obeyed. Dean couldn’t help but hope that maybe their father was a little crazy. He really wasn’t in the mood to hang around with witches and wizards…

************************************************************************

Harry looked around at the members of the Order around him to Fred, George, Ginny, Hermione and Ron, crouched on the stairs. The lot of them was still standing, watching the now silent door. Finally he could take the suspense no longer. He started to walk forward, seeing as nobody else was, but was knocked back by the scarred hands of Alastor Moody.

“Are you mad, boy?” the grizzled man hissed. “We’re trying to keep you safe, and there you go trying to open a door when you don’t even know who’s behind it. What are they teaching you kids in school these days-?”

“Well seeing as you can see behind and through doors, why don’t you enlighten us, Mad-Eye?” said Kingsley in his deep voice, speaking up for the first time.

Moody’s bright blue eye swiveled to the door and stared hard. “Lemme see the photo of the hunters again.” He demanded, taking a picture from Lupin.

Harry peered over the Auror’s shoulder. He didn’t get a good glimpse of the hunters, but he did see it long enough to notice that the photographed men were not moving like in the enchanted pictures used in the wizarding world.

“It definitely looks like them,” Moody growled. “But everyone keep their wands at the ready. Remember- elementary wand safety everyone. They may look like our hunters but that doesn’t mean they aren’t Dark Wizards using Polyjuice Potion to fool us.” He motioned Lupin toward the door. “If one of us dies, the rest of us must continue to fight; understood?”

“Yes, yes,” Tonks sighed. Harry knew she was used to his constant suspicion of Death Eaters and Dark Wizards, but Hermione and Ron both blanched from their position in the back.

Lupin was at the door and he slowly opened it. The room was immediately bathed in a sudden bright light that had emerged from behind the stormy clouds outside. Three huge silhouettes cast long shadows on the group gathered near the door. The silhouettes were clearly three men. Harry could not see their faces, but was already largely intimidated by their size.

The man in the middle seemed to stare around at them all, but Harry wasn’t sure due to the shadow obscuring his face. “Is Dumbledore here?” the man asked. He had an American accent and his voice was low, husky, and commanding, like a more confident and charming version of Moody’s.

Moody and Tonks walked up behind Lupin. “No,” Lupin said briskly. “He’s not.”

The man in the middle nodded. “Then which one of you is Remus Lupin?”

“We’ll be asking the questions,” Moody barked back, his wand out in front of him, poised and ready like a saber. “Who are you?”

“John Winchester.” the man in the middle said. “And these are my boys, Sam and Dean.” John Winchester pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket, and handed it to Lupin. “We’re your hunters. But of course you already knew that.”

“Are you?” Moody answered coldly. “Well I’ll be the judge of that. I think we should start off with a little interrogation, then maybe a little Veritaserum, for questioning, just to be sure-”

“Now, Alastor,” a familiar British voice scolded, from somewhere behind the Winchester men. “This is no way to treat company…”

Dumbledore! thought Harry, excitedly. Maybe the old professor hadn’t abandoned him after all…

The silhouettes of the Winchester boys disappeared as they moved aside for the taller, thinner frame of Albus Dumbledore. “John,” Dumbledore greeted, shaking hands with the hunter. “It’s been far too long…”

“Sure has, Albus,” John answered, and Harry could almost hear the smile in his voice. “What’s it been: nine, ten years?”

“Ten years this December.” Dumbledore answered, softly. “But this is no place for reintroductions; perhaps we can all get better acquainted and re-acquainted in the kitchen?”

John simply nodded in response, and allowed Dumbledore to lead him and his two boys inside. Harry and the others parted to make room for the four of them, and before Harry could come to his senses, Dumbledore had disappeared into the kitchen with the Winchester men. Molly, Sirius, Lupin, Moody, Tonks, Mundungus, and Kingsley all rushed in after them. “Professor Dumbledore, sir! Professor Dumbledore!” Harry called, but the kitchen door was swiftly closed and magically locked in his face.

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