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Ginny found her father sitting at the kitchen table with Bill, Ron, and surprisingly, George. They were discussing potential wards for the property, and Bill was trying to explain a particular ward that would only allow invited individuals past its boundaries when they noticed Ginny was in the room.

“If you’re looking for mum or Hermione they went over to Bill’s to help Fleur with som...” Ron started, but stopped when he noticed the look on Ginny’s face.

“Ginny, what’s wrong?” Bill said, jumping up and putting an arm around her, guiding her to a seat.

After the emotions of what she’d just seen, Ginny felt the dam break inside her and she burst into tears and only managed to choke out “Harry” and “Blood”.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down sweetie.” Mr. Weasley said, “Take a deep breath. That’s it, now slowly, what’s happened to Harry?”

Ginny exhaled slowly and whispered, “I think he just tried to commit suicide.”

The variety of reactions at the table was a surprise to Ginny. George went white as a sheet, and started shaking like a leaf. Ron jumped up, knocking over his chair in the process, and started to run up the stairs to his friends aid, but he was stopped by Bill. Ginny was the most surprised by her father and Bill’s reactions.

“Is he ok? Is he alone?” Mr. Weasley asked glancing at Bill who, after getting Ron to sit back down, strode over to the fireplace and tossed in some flu powder and with a shout, disappeared into Kingsley’s office.

“He’s, he’s fine. I found him when I went to check on his leg. I gave him a sleeping draught before I left him.” Ginny said, pressing her palms to the table to keep her hands from shaking.

“Good idea.” Mr. Weasley said, patting his daughters hand to reassure her.

“Hold on, dad, why’d Bill go to Kingsley’s?” Ron asked, in a half shout. “Ginny, what happened?”

Ginny was about to explain when the fire flamed up and in burst Bill, followed quickly by Kingsley and Madame Pomfrey.

“Is he stable?” Madame Pomfrey asked Ginny, who nodded. “Do I need to go have a look?”

“No, I didn’t leave until I’d patched him up and given him a sleeping draught.” Ginny said, her voice returning to normal.

“Well done. Very clear headed of you.” Madame Pomfrey said, coming around the table and giving Ginny a hug.

“Oh Poppy, it was awful! I haven’t seen that much blood since...” Ginny said, and then stopped. “Well, in a while.”

“I know dear, now what happened?” Madame Pomfrey asked.

“Well, I was coming in to take a look at his leg. It was broken, and not quite mended. I knocked on the door and he didn’t answer, but I heard him crying so I let myself in anyway. I found him sitting on the bathroom floor. At that point I thought he’d just cut himself, because he was trying to stop the bleeding.”

Ginny paused, and took a sip of a glass of water that someone had put in front of her. She explained about realizing the cuts were too straight to be an accident, questioning Harry, and him dropping the letter opener. She recounted his pleading eyes when she’d got up to get her kit, and the state she’d found him in when she returned.

“What did he say?” Bill asked. “When you questioned him about the cuts?”

“Um, he said that he wanted a distraction.” Ginny said. “That the pain distracted him. He denied trying to kill himself.”

“And he was trying to stop the bleeding?” Kingsley asked.

“Yes, he’d wrapped a towel around his arm.” Ginny said, mechanically.

There was a pause, no one quite knew what to say, and then Bill spoke up, “Well, it’s better than we’d hoped, if he tried to stop himself.”

“What, you mean you were expecting this?” Ron demanded.

“I thought I recognized the signs in him before you left Hogwarts.” Admitted Madame Pomfrey.

“And you didn’t think to mention it to his best friends?” Ron was shouting now, “We know him better than anyone else, if you’d told us what to look for we could have stopped this from happening!”

“Well, to be honest, I hoped I was wrong.” Madame Pomfrey said calmly, unfazed by Ron’s outburst. “I told your father about my concerns as a precaution.”

“Well thats just great. Everyone talking about Harry behind his back again. That’ll improve his mood.” Ron snapped, as he got up from the table and walked out the door.

Kingsley moved to follow him, but Bill stopped him. “He’s just going to get Hermione. He wants backup.”

“Well we need to talk about this seriously.” Kingsley said. “It’s too soon for the ministry to have any idea how many death eaters are still at large, so I don’t want anyone to know where Harry is or that this has happened. It never leaves this room. Furthermore, I advise getting those wards up soon.”

“I already put up some enchantments.” Came Hermione’s cool voice from the doorway.

“I know you did, but I think something a bit stronger might be advised.” Kingsley said. “Obviously the enchantments you chose are very effective, and your presence here is testament to that, but I think we ought to take it a bit further.”

“With Harry’s permission, of course.” Said Hermione, rather poignantly. “After all this is his land, he’s of age, and if he wants to go stand in front of the ministry building with a sign that says ‘I’m Harry Potter’ hanging around his neck that would be his decision.”

Kingsley sighed and said, “Well, yes but...”

“No.” Hermione cut him off. “What I honestly can’t believe, is that after everything that Dumbledore put Harry and all of us through these past seven years by keeping things from him, you lot can’t even wait a couple of weeks to start doing it again!” Hermione said, in the same cool voice, anger vibrating in her words.

“It ends now.” Ron said, in a harsh tone. “From now on you are all up front with us, and Harry, or we’ll all leave and go somewhere where we’re not being manipulated.”

“I couldn’t have said it better myself,” came Harry’s voice, terrifyingly cold and detached, from the stairs.

Everyone looked up in surprise, not expecting Harry to be awake.

“I’m tired of everyone deciding what’s best for me without the slightest concern for what I might actually want. I’d hoped that was over, but clearly it’s not.” Harry said in a hard voice. “Minister, what are you doing here? Don’t you have a country to repair?” With that, Harry stomped out the door, the expression on his face was rather terrifying.

The tone in which Harry said the word minister conveyed far more than his question, implying that Kingsley was in the same league as Fudge and Scrimgour when it came to meddling in his life.

Kingsley started to follow Harry, but Ron put a rather forceful hand on his arm, pulling him back. “No. We’ll handle Harry, you’ve done enough.”

Kingsley looked at Ron, sizing him up. Gone was the gangly youth with too short robes; in his place stood a man, old beyond his years. “Ron, I think we might need to have a professional sort Harry out.”

“Oh, that’s rich.” Hermione laughed, in a bitter sort of way. “And what professional to you suggest? Is there a specialization in mind healing for dealing with people who’ve been killed to remove a horcrux from their head, come back from the dead, and confronted their parents murderer all in the same night?”

She reached for her coat, “Ron and I will sort out Harry. We’ve been clearing up your messes for seven years, what’s one more. Ginny, are you coming?”

Ginny looked uncertainly from Hermione to Madame Pomfrey. “I think just you two should go, I don’t want to overload him. He’ll listen to you. Bring him back, this lot will be ready to apologize when you get here. Besides, I do need to speak to Poppy about how best to limit the scarring on his arm.”

Ron and Hermione headed out the door in pursuit of Harry.

“Ginny, I thought you said you gave him a sleeping potion!” Arthur exclaimed, rubbing his temples.

“I DID!” Shouted Ginny, “I have no idea how he’s possibly awake? I gave him enough to make him sleep for hours! I watched him drink it! I waited until he was asleep to leave!”

“And you’re positive he was really asleep?” Madame Pomfrey asked.

“Yes.” Ginny said, feeling exasperated. “I checked his eyes and his reflexes. He was dead asleep. Could the potion be faulty?”

“It’s the one I sent with you, right?” Madam Pomfrey asked.

“Yes, I was running low but I still hadn’t brewed any.” Ginny replied.

“I wonder if his body rejected it.” Bill said. “I’ve seen it happen before.”

“Well, that would be a bigger concern than him not sleeping.” Madame Pomfrey said. “That would mean that he’s more powerful than most wizards, by a large degree.”

Hermione and Ron didn’t have to search very long before they found Harry. He hadn’t gone far, just climbed the fence outside the home paddock. He was sitting on a tree trunk, one that had started to grow oddly parallel to the ground. As they approached, they noticed that Harry was transfiguring again, changing a bit of bark into different odd things and back again. No one spoke, Hermione and Ron sat down on either side of Harry.

After a few minutes silence, Harry spoke up, “Thanks for sticking up for me.”

“Harry, we’re your family. What happens to you affects us all, we’re not going to let them play with your life any more.” Hermione said quietly.

“What’s this then?” Ron asked, motioning to the dressing on Harry’s arm.

Harry sighed, “I don’t know. Temporary insanity. I felt like an idiot as soon as I’d done it, but at that point it was out of my control. I was trying to stop the bleeding when Ginny walked in.”

They sat in silence for a few more minutes before Hermione asked, “So you didn’t plan to do it?”

“Merlin, no! Hermione, if I wanted to die I wouldn’t have come back at all. I had the choice to move on.”

“That’s why we were all bit surprised.” Ron admitted.

“I can’t believe Ginny told everyone.” Harry said, angrily. “I explained what happened.”

Hermione braced herself for one of Harry’s explosions, “Harry she’s just concerned about you! She wants to help!”

“And, mate she only told dad, she was asking him what to do. It was Bill that fetched the others.” Ron explained.

“Still, she tried to drug me to keep me knocked out until they could all decide what to do with me!” Harry was furious now. “If they were all waiting for this why didn’t they just lock me up or something!” His hand flew to his forehead, absentmindedly rubbing his scar.

“Harry, I’m impressed.” Hermione said suddenly.

“What?” Harry and Ron asked, both looking confused.

“Well, Harry you used to completely lose your temper when you got mad! You’d run away, break things, jinx things!” Hermione explained,” Look at you now, I know you’re really angry, but you’ve hardly even raised your voice!”

Ron nodded thoughtfully, but then to all of their shock, Harry burst into tears.

Through his sobs he choked out a few words, “Sorry... Horcrux... empty... stupid.”

“Shhhhh, don’t talk just let it out.” Hermione said, hugging Harry.

Ron wrapped an arm around his other side, and they held Harry between them until he’d run out of tears.

Harry’s breathing was still a bit off from sobbing, but he tried to explain again, “Now that Riddles bloody horcrux has gone, I feel like there’s a huge hole inside me! I don’t have the same emotions I did before. It’s not as though I miss it, but I don’t understand who I am without it.”

Harry paused, and took a deep breath. “I don’t know how much of me is me, and how much was Riddle.”

The all sat in silence, Ron and Hermione exchanged a glance. They always knew how to deal with their friend in the past, but this was completely new territory.

Just then, there was a crack of a stick to their left, and they all pulled their wands toward the sound.

Coming through the bush, the sound it turned out, was Carl.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to spook you, but Harry did I hear correctly that you were Riddle’s horcrux?” Carl asked, sounding concerned, “Please don’t think I was eavesdropping, but I think I could help you if that’s the case.”

They all looked at Carl in surprise, and then Hermione spoke up, “What do you mean help him, there’s no record of a human being used as a horcrux. Ever!”

“No record thats written down.” the aboriginal man said, with a smirk.

Hermione gaped at Carl, “You mean this has happened in Australia? Why wasn’t it documented? There should be books on the information!”

“Well, I’ve always been of the belief that there shouldn’t be anything printed about horcruxes. Ever.” Carl said with a shrug. “But that’s just me. My people have had to deal with the problem in the past. There is a solution, if you’re interested.”

Harry looked at Carl for a moment, as though sizing him up, and asked “What’s the solution?”

“Well, I don’t know exactly how it works, but my grandmother does.” Carl replied. “The knowledge is passed down from generation to generation. I could take you to meet her if you’d like.”

“I’ll think about it.” Harry said. “Did you need anything?”

“Oh, right. Ellie sent me too see if you lot would like to come round for tea sometime this week?” Carl said.

“That’d be nice.” Harry said with a smile. “We could use your help with tracking down Hermione’s parents, we can discuss it at dinner!”

Hermione smiled at Harry. Some things about him will never change, she thought, he still puts everyone before himself.

“Brilliant! Say, day after tomorrow?” Carl asked, “That’ll give you time to sort out those wards! And Harry, please think about my offer.”

“I will Carl,” Harry replied, still rubbing his scar, “And tell Ellie thanks for the invitation.”

The trio digested what they’d heard for a few moments before Ron spoke up, “Well, what do you want to do about the crowd back in the kitchen?”

“I don’t know. I know they mean well, but I don’t want half the ministry barging into my kitchen every time I get a toothache.” Harry said, fully aware of his over-exaggeration.

“Well, I suggest you lay down some ground rules Harry, this is your house after all. As much as we’re all family here, we’re still your guests.” Hermione suggested.

“Ok, like what?” Harry asked.

“Oh I don’t know, do you even want the floo open to Kingsley’s office? I know we were going to limit who has access, but wouldn’t it make more sense to hook it up through Andromeda’s house?” Hermione pointed out.

“Yeah, mate, that makes sense. After all, the only one who really needs direct access to you is Teddy.” Ron said. “This way you can visit him, and he can visit you, and anyone else has to go through Mrs. Tonks’.”

“Ok. I like that idea. Mrs. Tonks would keep the traffic down if I asked her too.” Harry said, with a pensive look. “And no calling in the Cavalry without permission from one of us three. I know you two will at least try to talk to me before telling the entire Wizarding Population of Great Britain that I thought it would be a good idea to slice up my arm.”

“What’s a cavalry?” Ron asked.

“It’s a Muggle expression Ron, it means to call for backup. Specifically referring to military units on horseback.” Hermione explained.

“But we don’t have any horses.” Ron pointed out.

Hermione sighed, and rolled her eyes.

“It’s just an old saying.” Harry said. “Although, I think I’d like to change the fact that we don’t have any horses.”

“You want to buy a horse mate?” Ron asked, looking confused.

“Well, I’ve been thinking, this is a great old ranch. It should be working.” Harry said, with a shrug. “I don’t have any clue how to get started, I’d have to hire some kind of foreman or something. But it would give me something to do. I can’t just sit here for the rest of my life.”

“But Harry, what about going home? What about seventh year? Becoming an Auror?” Hermione asked, looking slightly panicked. “You can’t stay in Australia forever!”

“Why not?” Harry asked. “It makes the most sense. Clearly I’m a danger to myself, and others. Especially at home.”

Hermione started to object, but Ron cut her off. “Harry mate, if you want to be a farmer, do it. You’ve earned the right to grow tomatoes if that’s what you want to do.”

“Thanks Ron.” Harry said, with a smile.

“No worries.” Ron said, with a smirk. “Besides, we all know you’ll get bored eventually and dig up some more trouble.”

Harry laughed, and then smiled and said, “No Ron, this time I don’t think I will.”

Back in the kitchen, everyone was trying to figure out what to do about Harry, who was clearly more angry than ever about what he thought was meddling.

“Well, this was a big mistake.” Kingsley said, sitting at the table and leaning his head into his hands. “Harry’s never going to trust me again.”

“There’s nothing for it now.” Said Arthur, “We’ll just have to apologize. We really were just trying to keep him from stressing himself.”

“I’m still concerned about the sleeping potion.” Madame Pomfrey said. “With the dose Ginny gave him, he should have slept until morning. If he burned if off that quickly, he should be tested for power levels!”

“Well, we’ll get to that.” Kingsley said with a sigh. “I’m going to have the connection to my office cut off from Harry’s floo. It’s dangerous to have it in the first place.”

“You’re right.” Bill said, “but we need a floo connection to something, we’re sitting ducks otherwise.”

“Mrs. Tonks’ house.” Ron said, as the group jumped at the unexpected reappearance of the trio.

Bill regained his composure and started to argue, “Ron, I’m not sure...”

“No,” Harry slammed his fist on the table and said, with almost no emotion in his voice. “It’s already been decided. I’m cutting off all floo connections except the one to Andromeda’s house because my Godson is the only one with a right to access my house. For everyone else, except possibly Ron and Hermione, its a privilege.”

Kingsley looked worried, “Harry...”

“No, it’s time for you to listen. All of you.” Harry said, his voice rising, but only slightly. “As Ron and Hermione so helpfully pointed out to me a few minutes ago, this is my house. Now I’m happy to have all of you here, especially if it keeps you safe, but I will not tolerate anyone trying to control me. There will be no summoning of anyone to my house without my permission, or in the event that I’m incapacitated or make another foolish mistake like this afternoon, Ron or Hermione’s. End of discussion.”

There was a pregnant pause at the table, as the rest of the group tried to understand this new deadly calm Harry.

“Now, Bill, what do you recommend for the wards on this place?” Harry asked.

The discussion shifted to wards, pros and cons of each, and it was finally decided that a combination of several charms would be used.

“Basically, there’s a source potion, and only those who have had a signature entered into the source potion can pass the wards.” Bill was explaining. “That would even allow muggles in with no knowledge of the wards if necessary.”

“And what if we needed to remove someones access?” Hermione asked. “A workman or something?”

“You just remove their signature.” Bill explained. “Plus, I would recommend additional enchantments around the source potion as well.”

“And what happens to trespassers?” Harry asked.

“Well, that’s basically up to you. We could set a stunner, a disarming spell, a jinx; we could basically set any spell to be present within the wards dimensions.” Bill said.

“Such as Petrificus Totalis?” Hermione wondered, “Combined with Expelliarmus it would be very effective.”

“Sure.” Bill said, taking notes on a bit of parchment. “And we’d better add an alarm as well.”

“What about Aveda Kedavra?” Harry asked bluntly.

There was an audible intake of breath as everyone looked up at Harry in shock.

“Harry, surely you don’t want to use an Unforgivable?” Molly cut it quietly.

“Not every day, but I want the option.” Harry said coldly. “If the good guys would use stronger curses there might be more of us left to protect.”

After a long pause, Bill cleared his throat, “I’ll set the ward to allow for modifications to the defense. That way you could adjust it if needed.”

“Do it.” Harry said. “What do you need from me?”

“Nothing for the moment, how far out do you want to extend the wards?” Bill asked, gesturing to a map of the property that Kreacher had produced.

“Go right up to the boundary fence. And add a Muggle repelling charm. We don’t want an unfortunate accident.” Harry said.

“Ok, I’ll start with the wards, I’ll need you and Hermione for the potion later.” Bill said, getting up to leave. “Get that looked at.”

Harry looked down at his bandaged arm, which had started to bleed again. Ginny got up to check it, but Harry put up his good hand and stopped her.

“I’d rather Madame Pomfrey looked at it. I know she’s going to tell me what potion I’m drinking.” He said, and walked into the office.

Madame Pomfrey glanced at Ginny who looked as though she’d been slapped, “I’ll try and get him to see logic.” she said following Harry.

Ginny nodded, numbly, and then after a moment, ran out of the house.

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