Harry Potter and
The Tomb of Hogwarts
The Reading of the Will
Harry dusted himself off and tried to get to his feet. He had never gotten used to travelling by Floo and he was always a bit dizzy afterward. Slowly he got to his feet and looked around. He was in the living room.
Five people were sitting around the coffee table; Professor McGonagall, his Transfiguration teacher and Hogwarts Deputy Headmistress, Remus Lupin, Harry's old Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Nymphadora Tonks, one of the youngest members of the Order, Mad-Eye Moody, another ex-DADA teacher, and Molly Weasley, Ron's mum and a bit of a mother figure to Harry as well. She was the first to get to her feet as Harry stood.
"Harry dear," She said, coming around the table. "How are you?"
Before she gave him a chance to answer, she had already taken him into a hearty hug. She held on for a few moments before finally pulling back, holding him out at arms length, a broad smile covering her face.
The others stood and took turns saying hello. First was Moody, giving him a solid handshake and a quick slap to his shoulder with a bit more enthusiasm than Harry would have liked.
Next, Professor McGonagall said hello with her typical half-smile and handshake. It still surprised him how firm a grip his head of house had. Even Moody's grip felt gentle when compared to the vice like grip of Professor McGonagall.
Tonks quickly approached him to say hello and nearly tripped over the coffee table, steadying herself on McGonagall's shoulder. She recovered quickly, smiled brightly, and said hello with an exorbitant amount of energy. Harry couldn't help but smile back, as it was all he could do not to laugh.
Lupin was last to say hello. He had offered Harry a handshake, but it somehow turned into the longest hug of all. Harry was a bit surprised by this unusual display of affection, but before he had a chance to point this out, Tonks's voice had interrupted his thought.
"Is everything going well at home?" she asked. "Are those Muggles treating you well?"
"Uh, yea, great, everything's fine," he responded lamely. He tried to recover, "How are you?"
"Great! I'm still running about for the Order, under cover work and all," she said, winking at Harry. Harry had remembered that Tonks was a Metamorphmagus and could alter her appearance at will. It was no wonder she was doing undercover work.
"And how is everything at The Burrow?" he asked, turning to Mrs. Weasley.
"Oh, everything is just great, dear. Arthur is going to be along in a few minutes, and Ron and Ginny should be along by Monday, so you should be able to see them then."
"Excuse me Molly," came Dumbledore's voice from behind Harry, "but I believe we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves."
"Monday?" Harry asked. "But I thought I was only going to be here for one day."
"Indeed," said Dumbledore with a pleasant smile. "Please, Harry, let us take our seats, and I will explain."
They all went back and took seats in the living room. Harry noticed that he hadn't seen Mrs. Figg since he arrived, but he figured she had probably gone into the kitchen for tea.
It didn't seem like there was going to be enough space for everyone, and sure enough, Dumbledore was left without a place to sit. Harry was about to offer Dumbledore his own seat when Dumbledore pulled out his wand. He gave Harry a wink, smiled, and waved his wand, producing a large chair behind him, and sat down.
"Well, Harry, as I assume you've surmised by now, we are here on behalf of your godfather, Sirius. I, as executor of Sirius's will, have the responsibility of presenting Sirius's final wishes. He had only 3 provisions in his will, which I will read for you now."
Dumbledore pulled out a parchment from his cloak, unrolled it, and began to read.
"I, Sirius Black, being of clear mind, do willingly and voluntarily make known my final wishes as follows." Dumbledore paused briefly and looked up at Harry over his glasses before continuing. "My first wish is that my duties as Godfather be forthwith taken on by my good friend, Remus Lupin."
Dumbledore stopped talking and looked over concernedly at Harry, who was staring blindly back at him, wide-eyed and open mouthed, gaping at him in an obvious look of surprise and confusion.
Slowly, his gaze moved from Dumbledore to Lupin. Lupin was looking back at him with both an uncomfortable and pleading smile. It was the look of a defendant looking at a jury, awaiting a life or death verdict. Harry was unsure of what he should do. It was Lupin who finally broke the silence.
"Harry?" he asked softly. "Are you okay with that? I'll understand completely if there is someone else you would rather..."
"NO!" Harry cried out suddenly, much louder than he had intended. Everyone else seemed to move a few inches from Harry at this outburst. "Of course I'd want you to be my godfather. I just..." Harry's throat seemed to swell. Before he knew it, all of the emotions that had been building up over the past two weeks had finally overwhelmed him and tears began to flow from his eyes. It lasted only a moment before he recovered, wiping the tears from his face.
"Harry," Lupin said in a soothing voice, tears threatening to escape his own eyes.
Both Lupin and Harry stood at the same time, slowly walked towards each other, and paused for a moment before collapsing into each other's arms. They held each other for what seemed like an hour before they finally pulled away from each other, the tears replaced by broad smiles. Regaining their composure, Lupin was first to speak.
"Harry, I just want you to know how flattered I was that Sirius asked me to be your surrogate godfather if anything were to happen to him. I can’t hope to replace him, but I'll do my best to be here fore you for whatever you might need."
Harry started to say something, paused, then quickly dove in for a second hug. He couldn't think of any other way of telling Lupin how much he appreciated his being there for him. He'd felt a connection with Lupin ever since he was a teacher at Hogwarts during Harry's third year. He really couldn't think of anyone else he might bond with as well as he had with Sirius.
After a few moments, Harry finally pulled back and looked up at Lupin. He had a huge smile spread wide across his face, and Harry realized that he too was smiling broadly. Finally, he spoke up.
"Professor, I can't think of anyone better for the job," he said with a smile.
"Please, Harry, call me Remus. I'm not your professor anymore, and anyway, if Sirius and James could call me Remus, I don't see any reason why you can’t do the same."
"Um…" he stammered. "Okay, Remus," Harry finally stammered out, smiling meekly back up at him. He gave Lupin a quick pat on the shoulder, and sat down, switching places with Mrs. Weasley so that he was between her and Lupin. He looked back up at Dumbledore expectantly and nodded. Dumbledore nodded back, cleared his throat, and continued.
"Second, to my Godson, Harry Potter, I leave all my worldly possessions, including my home at Grimmauld Place, all of my personal belongings, and any money I may possess."
Harry looked at Dumbledore in disbelief. The world began spinning out of control. Had he heard Dumbledore that right? Had Sirius really left him everything he owned? He began to ask, but Dumbledore had begun to speak again.
"Finally, I have requested that one of my possessions stay in Albus's care, along with several letters addressed to my dearest friends which will be given to them after my passing. As to the one gift I left with Dumbledore, I ask only that he keep it in his possession until a time that he sees fit to give it to Harry. I would also ask Harry to please continue to live with the Dursleys during the summer holidays until he completes his seventh year at Hogwarts."
"And finally, on a personal note, I would like to tell Harry how very sorry I am not to be able to see you grow into the strong young man I know you will become. Please remember to live life to its fullest, as did your father. I am sure that Remus will be a good mentor to you, and I wish you all the best. Signed by Sirius Black, Witnessed by Minerva McGonagall, assigned executor Albus Dumbledore."
Dumbledore rolled the parchment back up and handed it to Harry. "This is all yours now, Harry," he said. "Everything inside this house now belongs to you, as well as the house itself. I have also taken it upon myself to have all of Sirius's money transferred into your own vault. And Harry, I would ask that you do fully consider Sirius's request for you to stay with the Dursleys, as that is still the best place for you to call home."
Dumbledore was looking very stern over his spectacles at Harry, making sure he had made his point.
"Yes professor," Harry replied.
"However,” Dumbledore said with a smile, “as Molly had mentioned earlier, we do not think it necessary to keep you from your new house. Therefore, I spoke with your Aunt while you were getting your things and she has graciously agreed to allow you to come here during the weekdays."
Graciously agreed? More like she celebrated her good fortune. Harry thought. He couldn't think of anything the Dursleys might like more than the opportunity to get Harry out of the house during the holidays, even if it was for only 5 days as week.
"Ron and Hermione will be joining you here on Monday," Dumbledore continued. "And though the Order is no longer meeting here, you can expect to have some members drop by from time to time." Dumbledore smiled as he nodded at Tonks and Moody, who spoke up for the first time since greeting him.
"Indeed," said Moody. "We want to make sure that there are no problems like the ones of last year. Things have been very quiet lately, but we can't drop our guard. Thanks to the events that happened back at the Department of Mysteries, Voldemort's return has been revealed. He has no more reasons to conceal himself. You must be careful, Harry. Constant vigilance!"
Harry heard a noise come from Mrs. Weasley that Harry was sure was a stifled laugh. He had to grin himself. Mad-eye Moody was famous in the wizarding community as being one of the most paranoid wizards in the wizarding world. He was also famous for shouting "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" whenever possible. Harry grinned at Mrs. Weasley.
"There is one more thing I need to cover with you, Harry, and it's the issue of Kreacher. I was last to see Kreacher before going to the Department of Mysteries. Since returning, none of us has seen Kreacher. When Remus went downstairs to check on him, most of his sleeping area was empty and many of the things he had been collecting have gone as well. It is my belief that he has gone to live with Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy.”
Harry's eyes went wide. A moment later, he burst into a fit of laugher. After a few moments, Lupin spoke up.
"What's so funny?" he asked.
"Kreacher!" Harry cried, laughing even harder. "He's living with the Malfoys!"
Dumbledore began to grin, but everyone else wore looks of utter bewilderment. It was Tonks who finally said, "I don't get it. Am I the only one who doesn't get it?"
"It's just... Kreacher... and Dobby... Malfoy... the sock." At that, he lost all control and started pounding his fist on the armrest.
Nobody seemed to have an idea on the cause of Harry's laughter, and finally it was Dumbledore who enlightened them.
"I believe I have an explanation as to Harry's amusement. You see, during Harry's second year at Hogwarts, Harry had freed a house-elf named Dobby from the Malfoy family by tricking Lucius Malfoy into giving Dobby as sock which Harry had hidden in a Diary. Now, because Harry has taken possession of this house, Kreacher has moved in with Narcissa Malfoy, as she is the closest Black still alive. So as it stands, Dobby has been freed and Kreacher is bound to Malfoys, leaving the Malfoy family worse for the wear in both cases and Harry all the better for it."
Dumbledore's grin had now grown to a full smile, and a moment later, Lupin began to laugh, and a small giggle has escaped from Tonks.
It was a few minutes before Harry had calmed down. He was sure that it hadn't even been that funny and he couldn't quite figure why he had laughed so hard, but it had just seemed so darn funny just then. Now that he felt sobered up, he composed himself and looked around. As he recomposed himself, he noticed that the room had cleared.
Mrs. Weasley and Tonks were talking to each other at the other end of the room, openly mocking him and Lupin. Dumbledore and Moody had walked into the kitchen, and only Professor McGonagall remained. She was sitting upright in her chair, hands folded in her lap, staring straight-faced at Harry. She had given him the same stare a few months ago when she had sworn to aid Harry in becoming an Auror.
He moved over to a seat closer to her and waited. After a few moments passed, he spoke up.
"Okay," he said, "what did I do wrong this time?"
"You've done nothing wrong, Harry," she replied. "I simply have a few things that we need to discuss."
"What do you mean? I thought Dumbledore read the entire will."
"He did. However, Professor Dumbledore is a very busy wizard and has some matters he must discuss with the other Order members. But he knows there are still some things you do not know, and you are going to have many questions, so I am here to fill you in."
"But, what else is there?" he asked.
"Well, for starters, we have to talk about who is to be the next Secret Keeper for the house. Because of the Secret Keeper charm, Kreacher cannot bring anyone here to the house. However, he is still able to come and go at will and the Malfoys are likely to use that to spy on the goings on in this house."
Harry's face had taken a look of horror, and McGonagall had quickly noticed, as his next words were those of reassurance.
"Of course, we have taken every precaution to safeguard the most important information. For instance, when Dumbledore spoke with Kreacher two weeks ago, we have some specific charms in place to prevent Kreacher from repeating anything said that night. Dumbledore also placed some additional charms on Kreacher to prevent him from repeating anything else he had learned during the past year."
Harry's face relaxed a bit, but it was obvious that something was still bothering him, but McGonagall didn't give him the chance to say what was so upsetting before she spoke up and put his mind at ease.
"However,” she continued, “we still have to prevent Kreacher from being able to come and go freely and the best way to prevent that is to have you to choose a new Secret Keeper for the house."
"But why me?" Harry asked, mystified. "Why would you want me to choose? Surely you'd know of a better candidate for than me."
"But it is not my house to care for. The house now belongs to you, Harry. Only the owner of a house can appoint a Secret Keeper for that house."
Harry nodded in understanding.
"Bare in mind, Harry," continued McGonagall, "that you should pick someone who is not likely to be linked to you. I would suggest not choosing a member of the Weasley family as they would be an obvious choice, as would Mrs. Granger. Lupin's being your new godfather would eliminate him, and my being your head of house would eliminate me. Moreover, I wouldn't recommend any of the Hogwarts Professors as a smart choice to begin with. The walls have ears there, as I am sure you are aware."
Harry nodded. "All right, so who do I choose for Secret Keeper?"
"Well, you should choose someone you know, someone you trust, but not someone who you have a strong relationship with. Try to think of someone you would entrust your life to, but someone whom you have had little personal contact with."
Harry thought for a moment before replying, "Well, what about Moody? He was my Professor in fourth year, but it wasn't really him. It was Crouch, and Voldemort knows it. I've never really gotten too to Moody, and even if I had, Voldemort wouldn't suspect anything because of what happened with Crouch. Plus, most people think he's a bit odd as it is, so nobody would think of him."
A broad smile crossed McGonagall's lips. "That's very good Potter. I'm glad to see that you are taking things seriously. And as for Moody, well, he's not the worst person I could think of. Besides, his training as an Auror would ensure that he would keep the secret safe. I am impressed. You might make a fair Auror after all."
"Ok," Harry said smugly, "that was easy. What else have you got?"
"Well," McGonagall continued, ignoring Harry's behaviour, "I understand that Professor Dumbledore told you about the prophecy?"
"Yes," he replied.
"Well, then you understand that what is supposed to happen. If the prophecy holds true, only one you supposed to survive."
Harry nodded. He had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. This was the first time he had put any real thought into what Dumbledore had said about the prophecy, and it all came flowing back to him. He had to kill Voldemort, or be killed himself. The thought made him sick to his stomach. Of course, the idea of killing anyone, even Voldemort, seemed like a terrible thing to do. It was surreal. But he didn't have much of a choice. It was already in the prophecy, and even if it weren't, it didn't seem like Voldemort had any purpose in life but to get his body back and to figure out how to kill him. He had already tried to kill him five times.
But this time wasn't going to be like the others. He didn't need to just survive. He was supposed to kill the most powerful wizard alive, with the exception of Dumbledore. And just surviving wouldn't save him. All that would do is make Voldemort wait until a later time to kill him. So he needed to kill Voldemort first. But he couldn't kill anyone, even if it was Voldemort. And did he really have it in him to kill him? Couldn't there be another way to stop him?
And what if he did end up killing him? Would he end up going to Azkaban for it? It would make sense for everyone would be keen on him for killing Voldemort, but the Ministry of Magic didn't exactly have a good track record when it came to logical and justified in its laws. Three and a half years ago, the Ministry thought that Hagrid might have had something to do with the chamber of secrets being opened. There was no evidence to prove it, but they put Hagrid in Azkaban for three months and would have kept him there forever if Harry hadn't proven that it had been Ginny Weasley, controlled by a diary of Voldemort, who had opened the Chamber of Secrets.
If they could do that to an innocent Hagrid without any proof, what would they do to Harry if he really did kill Voldemort? Before he could stop himself, He'd already asked, "If I kill Voldemort, won’t I go to Azkaban?"
The look on McGonagall's face told him that he had caught her completely by surprise.
"My," she said a bit startled, "I see you have been briefed, haven't you. Well, to answer your question, Dumbledore has made an appointment with the Minister for tomorrow morning where some special arrangements will be made for you. We will be taking care of several problems at that time. That, however, is one thing that Dumbledore would like to speak about with you himself."
He nodded courteously to his headmistress, but something just didn't feel right about all this. They were doing nothing more than plotting Voldemort’s death, and they wanted Harry to do it. All he could think about was that there had to be another way to deal with Voldemort without killing him. Harry knew what he would have to do. When Hermione got there on Monday, he would have to ask to her about it.
His thoughts were interrupted just then as McGonagall had just cleared her throat. When he looked back up at her, she straightened her spectacles and pulled out a parchment, checked it over for a moment, and replaced it into her robes before continuing.
"Another thing we need to discuss is the subject of your Occlumency training."
McGonagall looked over her glasses at Harry and he knew immediately that he was in trouble. He had not practiced Occlumency since he was at Hogwarts, or more accurately, since Snape had kicked him out of his office over three months ago.
"I know that Professor Snape is not your favourite Professor, but you will need to put your differences aside for the time being. Those lessons may some day save your life. Now we understand that things between you and Professor Snape have gotten increasingly hostile, and Dumbledore has made plans for a different Professor to instruct you upon your return to Hogwarts. However, until then, Professor Snape will be giving you lessons here twice a week."
"But why does he..." Harry started.
"I don't want to hear it Potter. And I don't want to hear that you are giving him trouble either. I may not be able to take house points from you or give you detention, but don't try my patience." She gave Harry a stern look and he knew she meant what she said.
"So when is Snape coming..." he began.
"Professor Snape," McGonagall corrected.
"Right. When is Professor Snape coming?" Harry asked, saying the word professor as though it were a four-letter word.
"Professor Snape will be arriving on Wednesday for your first lesson. Following that, he will be here for lessons every Tuesday and Friday evening. Remember, Harry, that it is very important that you learn to block your mind from Voldemort. We can't afford for him to invade your mind any more than he has." There was a slight note of panic in her voice as she said this.
"Ok, ok. I understand," Harry said quickly. "I need to do the Occlumency lessons with Professor Snape. I get it. What else?"
"Don't take that tone with me, Potter," said McGonagall in a very stern voice. "You need to learn Occlumency, and not only for yourself, but for those closest to you. I hat to admit it, but for once I agree with Moody. You must be careful. Times are more dangerous than ever and we cannot afford to let our defences down, even at school."
"At Hogwarts? What's happening at Hogwarts?"
"Well, I shouldn't be telling you this Harry, but some of our informants have told us that there are Hogwarts students under observation during the summer holidays. It's possible that some of them may be recruited as Death Eaters before the start of school."
"Malfoy," said Harry, his voice full of disgust. "I'll bet those two goons Crabbe and Goyle are signing up too. Stupid gits. Sorry Professor."
"I'm sorry, what did you say?" McGonagall said with another quick smirk. "Never mind. Just remember to always be on the alert and everything should work out just fine.”
Harry nodded again. He had the feeling that McGonagall was not telling him everything, but it was obvious that she was not going to say any more about it now, as she was about to change subjects.
"Now, there is something else that Dumbledore has asked me to discuss with you. Being that there are many different types of dangers out there, we want to afford you every advantage possible. It is for that very reason that Professor Dumbledore has requested that I give you Animagus lessons, assuming you’re up for it."
Harry's jaw hit the floor. "Excuse me?" he blurted.
"You heard me Potter. Professor Dumbledore has asked me to give you Animagus training. We will not begin until you return to school, but if you want to learn, I would hope to begin by the second week of term. Are you interested?"
"But..." he stuttered. "Of course I'd want to... Is this for real?"
"It is very real. With what's to come, we need to have every advantage we can get. Becoming an Animagus may be that extra advantage that could save your life. Just remember what it did for Peter Pettigrew. Of course, I suggest you think very hard about what form you take. Now I don't expect an answer today, but you should have something in mind by the start of term."
Harry's mind was all over the place. He was going to become an Animagus just like his dad and Sirius. He was so excited about the prospect of Animagus training that he hadn't heard what McGonagall was saying until he heard her mention Hermione and Ron.
"Sorry Professor," he said apologetically, "but what was that last bit?"
"I was saying how Professor Dumbledore will be talking with both Mrs. Granger and Mr. Weasley about the Animagus training. He seems to think that since they tend to get into the same trouble as you, they might as well be suitably prepared. However, he feels it best that he be the one to tell them when they arrive here on Monday, and I agree. But you needn't worry; we'll be keeping you plenty busy until then."
She stood then, brushed and straightened her robes. Then she turned back to Harry and said, "Come, Harry, lunch should be ready soon, and we still have one visitor who wishes to say hello."
Harry stood and followed her into the dining room. He was in a daze and hadn't really noticed that a much larger table had replaced the small table that had been there last year. Dumbledore, Lupin, Tonks, and Moody were all sitting at the table while Mrs. Weasley was running around the kitchen getting the food together. Mrs. Figg was still nowhere to be seen, so Harry guessed that she had taken the kitchen fireplace back home.
Harry began to pull out a chair to sit when something had grabbed his leg. He knew who it was before he even had to look.
"Harry Potter sir!" cried a high-pitched voice from his leg. He looked down to see Dobby the house-elf hugging his leg and smiling brightly up at him.
"Hello Dobby," Harry said. "How have you been?"
"Oh, Dobby is doing very well, sir. Dobby is on a vacation day. Dobby is coming to help Harry Potter today."
"That's great Dobby. I'm glad you could come." He was a bit surprised, but he truly was happy to see Dobby just then. It was nice to see a friendly face that wouldn't flip his world upside down which gave him and idea.
"Professor Dumbledore, do you think Dobby could come and work here for a while? I could sure use the help around the house."
Dumbledore, mocking a deep thought for a moment, smiled broadly and said, "Why, I don't see why not. Of course, Dobby would have to agree to it, and I think it might be best if he came back to Hogwarts when term begins, but I can't think of any reason why he couldn't be here during the holiday."
"Well, what do you say Dobby?" Harry asked, turning to Dobby. "Would you like to stay here for the holidays?"
"Oh yes, Harry Potter. Dobby would like that very much."
Dobby was bouncing and jumping around, making Dobby's bat-like ears flap so much Harry began to wonder whether Dobby might just fly away.
"That's good Dobby. I'll be happy to have you here."
Dobby wrapped his little arms around Harry's waist and gave him a long hug. Amused, Harry patted Dobby on the back of his head, just between his ears, and Dobby finally broke away, eyes glazing over with tears. Harry smiled down at Dobby and continued patting him lightly on the shoulder.
"Thank you so much, Harry Potter. Dobby is very pleased to be of service." And with that, Dobby turned around and went on to help Mrs. Weasley make and serve lunch.
After lunch, Dumbledore brought Harry and Moody into the living room again and performed the Secret Keeper charm on Moody. Harry was expecting a quick spell. He was therefore more than a little surprised when it turned out to be more of ritual than a spell.
Dumbledore had asked both Harry and Moody to repeat the name of the home that was to be charmed. So they both repeated "Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, London" three times in unison. At the same time, Dumbledore was repeating "Secretus Silencencio" while tapping each of them on the forehead with his wand. First Harry, then Moody, three times he tapped them in unison with the chant.
What amazed Harry most about the spell was how drained he felt afterwards. Each time he was tapped with his wand he felt some energy drain out of him. By the third tap, Harry felt as if he had just finished a ten-hour Quidditch practice. When they finished, Dumbledore had taken a large piece of chocolate out of his robe and broken it into two pieces. He gave one to Harry and the other to Moody.
After Dumbledore had placed the Secret Keeper charm on Moody, he prepared to leave. But before leaving, he pulled Harry aside for a quick talk.
"Harry, I don't want you to worry about tomorrow. Everything is going to be just fine. I will explain everything to you tomorrow. Just make sure you get a good nights sleep, and I should be back around nine tomorrow morning."
Dumbledore's eyes sparkled, and for the first time since Harry's fourth year, Harry had felt complete confidence in what Dumbledore had said. He smiled up at him and nodded.
"Yes Professor," he said. "I don't think I'll be awake long enough to worry anyway. I'm already getting tired from that spell."
"Indeed," he replied. "Well, have a good day, and I'll see you first thing tomorrow morning."
"See you tomorrow Professor," Harry called with a quick wave.
Dumbledore stepped into the fireplace, dropped some Floo powder from his hand, became engulfed in green flames, and was gone.
"I am afraid we too must take our leave, Harry," came McGonagall's voice. "We still have a great deal to do today. I will be back with Dumbledore tomorrow. Moody and Tonks are off to update the Order members on the change of Secret Keeper.”
"Otherwise we might end up having Order members running around not knowing where they are going," Moody added.
"Well, it was nice seeing you again, Harry," said Tonks. She shook Harry's hand, stepped into the fire, and disappeared.
"Take care, Harry," said Moody. "Don't forget to keep an eye out for danger."
Harry noticed that Moody's magic eye fixed directly on him, and a sudden chill ran through Harry's body. He never could get over the way Moody's eye made him feel. It was as though Moody was looking straight into his soul.
Moody smiled, ducked into the fireplace, and soon he was gone too.
"Well, Harry, let's get things cleaned up around here. I'm afraid I can only stay for a few hours. Ron and Ginny are coming back with the twins for dinner, and I have to be there when they get home. God only knows what those twins will do to the house with those silly contraptions they're making at that joke shop of theirs."
Her voice was filled with annoyance when she spoke, and Harry had a feeling he knew why. It was just last year that both of the twins had dropped out of school to open a joke shop in Diagon Alley. Mrs. Weasley had never approved of the boys planning to open a joke shop, but she went completely crazy when the twins had dropped out of school, even if it was because of Professor Umbridge running the school like a military prison.
Ron had sent a letter telling Harry about his trip to their joke shop the day after school got out. According to Ron, the place was busy all day, and that it seemed like they were making a fortune of galleons. It had been only three months ago when they had dropped out of school and opened the shop, and it was already getting a lot of business. Harry was sure that when Mrs. Weasley found out how well the twins were doing, she would get used to Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes.
"That's okay Molly. I'll be here to keep Harry company."
It was Lupin. He had just come back into the kitchen.
"If it's okay with you, Harry, I was hoping to stick around for a while. I'd like to help you clean up the place, now that it's no longer being used for the Order. Besides, it's about time you and I got to know each other a bit better. Besides, if I'm going to be your new godfather, we might want to stop calling each other Professor and Potter."
Lupin smiled at Harry, and they both began to laugh.
"Well," Mrs. Weasley chimed in, "if you're going to stick around to help, you can start in the drawing room. We've had an infestation of four-legged spiders ever since Mundungus stored those stupid Flying Rugs in there. How he could sit there with a straight face and tell me they weren't stolen when it was all over the Prophet for nearly a week..." Mrs. Weasley's face turned a bright red, and it looked like she just might explode.
Harry looked over at Lupin with his eyebrow raised. The moment their eyes met, smiles spread across their faces and they headed out the door before bursting with laughter.
The rest of the day went by pretty fast. Harry and Lupin had spent most of the day cleaning up the house and while Lupin regaled Harry with stories about Padfoot, Moony, and Prongs. They also reminisced about the Patronus training and talked about what animal Harry might decide to become. Of course, Lupin didn't know too much about the actual training as he was already a werewolf, but he had heard enough stories from Sirius and James to give Harry small bits of advice.
They laughed and talked all through dinner. Mrs. Weasley left around four after cooking Harry and Lupin some ham and biscuits, potatoes, and a pumpkin and apple pie respectively. She had also left them a half gallon of pumpkin juice. Of course, Dobby had been running around helping her out as much as possible, and this alone was good for half an hour of laughs for Harry and Lupin.
After she left, Dobby ran around cleaning up the dishes while checking on the Harry and Lupin every few minutes to see if there was anything left that he could do for them. Harry had tried to give Dobby a hand, but Dobby would hear nothing of it.
Lupin and Harry continued to talk for a good two hours after dinner before he finally felt ready for bed. It had only been eight o'clock, but the Secret Keeper spell had taken a lot out of him.
"Well, I think it's time for me to turn in. Professor Dumbledore told me to get a good night's sleep, and I really am exhausted. But I want to tell you how much I really appreciate you staying here with me. I know it can't be easy staying here, being as close as you were to Sirius."
"Don't mention it, Harry," Lupin said with a smile. "It's my pleasure, and I can’t think of a place I’d rather be."
"Thanks," Harry replied with a smile and a nod. "I’ll see you tomorrow."
"Goodnight, Harry," Lupin said.
Harry headed upstairs and went straight to the same room he slept in when he was here last year. He changed quickly and got into bed. He thought about what had happened already today. Then he considered just what Dumbledore might have in store for him tomorrow.
Harry smiled to himself, closed his eyes, and was asleep within seconds.
Harry woke with a start. His heart was racing, his chest felt heavy, and he was completely covered in sweat. He had had the same nightmare.
The Death Eaters had once again trapped him at the bottom of the same receded room. The Order members came in, and then Dumbledore, and in an instant, it was down to Sirius and Bellatrix.
But this time, just as Sirius began to taunt Bellatrix, everything began to change. It was no longer Bellatrix that was duelling with Sirius, it was Harry.
Sirius had goaded him into attacking. He could actually feel an unbelievable anger boil through his veins and he fired a spell straight at Sirius’s head, but sent it off somewhere over his shoulder instead. Sirius laughed and taunted him some more. Harry took aim again and shot another stream of red light straight at Sirius’s heart. This time, he was dead on.
It replayed in his head over and over. Sirius’s face stuck in his head. He just stared back at Harry with a look of terror and betrayal.
Sirius had not talked to Harry this time, but instead let out a terrible scream that filled the room. It was an ear-piercing scream such that it shook the very insides of Harry’s brain. It was a blood-curdling scream of pain like none Harry had heard before.
And the, just as his ears felt as though they would explode, the screaming became a high pitched laughter, and Harry’s scare began to burn. The pain was searing straight through his scull and into his brain.
And even after he woke, the laughing echoed in his mind. He was sweating, his covers soaked. He tried to sit up, but his chest still felt heavy. Then he realized that something was holding him down. His mind was still swirling until finally he heard a familiar voice.
“Harry Potter, sir?” came a voice. “Is Harry Potter okay? Dobby heard Harry Potter screaming and came to help him?”
Harry breathed a sigh of relief, and the world stopped spinning.
“Hello Dobby,” he said.
He tried to push himself up a bit, but Dobby was still standing on his chest. He looked up at Dobby with a weak smile and asked, “Dobby, do you think you might get off me please?”
“Oh!” Dobby cried, “Dobby is sorry, Harry Potter, sir. Dobby did not mean to hurt Harry Potter. Dobby is only meaning to help Harry Potter, sir.”
“It’s okay, Dobby. Just get off my chest.”
“Dobby is so sorry, Harry Potter.” Dobby quickly jumped off Harry’s chest and landed on the floor next to the bed.
Harry sat up and stretched. He dropped his legs over the side of the bed and looked over at Dobby.
”What time is it?” Harry asked, still quite tired.
“It’s one o’clock in the morning, Harry Potter, sir,” said Dobby.
“One o’clock?” Harry groaned, puzzled. “Bloody hell. I have to be up in five hours.”
Dumbledore was coming at nine o’clock to take Harry to the Ministry and he would not keep Dumbledore waiting. Then, something occurred to him.
“Wait a minute,” Harry said, coming to a sudden realization, “what are you doing in my room?”
“Dobby came to help Harry Potter sir. Harry Potter was calling out in his sleep. How can Dobby do to help Harry Potter?”
“Don’t worry, Dobby.” Harry replied. “I’m okay, I think.”
Harry took a couple more deep breaths to calm himself down. Boy did he need to start working on those Occlumency exercises, he thought. He looked back down at Dobby.
“It’s okay Dobby,” Harry said, patting a spot on the bed next to him. “You can come back up on the bed now.”
Dobby jumped up on to the bed. Harry gave a small laugh. Even though Harry was sitting on the bed while Dobby was standing on it, he was no more than 2 shorter than Dobby was. It was then that he noticed how Dobby was wearing much more normal clothes.
“Wow Dobby,” he commented, “you’re looking pretty spiffy these days. Are those new clothes?”
“Yes, Harry Potter. Dobby is getting them last month on his day off. Dobby is getting many new clothes on my day off. Madam Malkin is helping Dobby to get new shirts, pants, hats, and lots of new socks. She is even making the clothes fit Dobby.” Dobby smiled even more broadly.
“You look very nice Dobby,” Harry replied. Today he was wearing shorts, a small T-shirt, and two mix-matched socks. He actually looked somewhat normal, considering he was a house elf.
“Thank you Harry Potter,” Dobby replied. “Dobby is a free house-elf. Dobby is wanting to look free.”
“You look great, dobby,” Harry said.
Harry was truly happy that Dobby had been there just then. He had helped him to forget about his nightmare for a bit. He talked to Dobby for a little while longer before saying goodnight with a yawn, and laid back in his bed.
He tried to think back and remember his Occlumency lessons. He hadn’t worked on them more than three months.
He went to back to the basics. He had to erase any emotion from his mind. The way he found easiest to clear his head was to close his eyes and imagine the night sky. He would imagine all of those stars keeping the sky so bright, and then he would count backwards from a hundred. Each time he counted down a number, one of the stars would disappear. So he closed his eyes and began to count.
One hundred, Ninety-nine, Ninety-eight, Ninety-seven, Ninety-six, Ninety-five, Ninety-four, Ninety-three, Ninety-two…
And soon, all was quiet and peaceful again.
Lupin, Dumbledore, Fudge
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