Disclaimer, I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters and this is not a way for me to criticize the books. It's just how I believe the characters would react if they read JK Rowling's brilliant work.
In this chapter, Hagrid comes and tells Harry he's a wizard, which opens a can of worms as Petunia says everything she felt about Harry's mother that she had originally been holding back. Finally, Harry has a clearer memory of the night his parents died with the new information Hagrid gives him about the wizarding world when Voldemort was in power.
Hagrid came into the staffroom with a loud bang and a large sob. "Yeh can' let Harry go back ter those muggles!"
The Heads of Houses and Dumbledore were currently having a meeting in the staffroom, and all had paused in their talk.
"Hagrid, come in!" Dumbledore said pleasantly as if this was a normal occurrence. "Have a seat please."
"Yeh can' let Harry go back ter those muggles!" he repeated coming farther in the room. "He don' deserve this! Harry is the mos' carin' boy an' he don' deserve this! Those stinkin' muggles!"
"We are in the middle of a meeting." Snape sneered, his lip curled upward slightly. "It said just as much on the door, 'Heads of House Meeting, Staffroom closed'." Hagrid ignored him.
"I'll take Harry, he can live with me!" Hagrid insisted.
Dumbledore pulled out the extra chair that was between him and Sprout, enlarging it slightly, and gestured to it. Hagrid hesitated, and then sat down.
"Should we not," Snape cut in. "Continue with our meeting?"
"I think we've touched on everything, and it's getting late." Sprout said rising. "I have to get back to reading."
"Reading, Pomona?" Flitwick asked.
She simply lifted a very large and thick stack of papers. "I'm grading essays."
McGonagall hummed shortly. "I saw you looking quite horrified at those papers shortly. I take it there was a particularly bad paper in that mix?"
Sprout looked uncomfortable. "It was terrible."
The two women stared at each other for a while, the others watching the interaction. Finally, McGonagall sighed deeply. "It was never my intention to read them."
Sprout sank back into her seat, and pulled out her wand to transfigure the stack of papers back into the first book. "I'm at the end of chapter three.
"I was just starting on chapter four myself." Dumbledore admitted looking quite grave.
"The pages o' the book're all soggy, I jus' couldn' stop cryin'." Hagrid sniffed. "I got all the way ter chapter three when I jus' couldn' take it no more."
"When I first saw the books, I hardly looked at them." McGonagall said. "Put them to the side to forget about, nearly burned them. I had no reason to read anything she gave me. But I'd started hearing things that... that got me curious. I didn't want to believe it, but I had to know for myself."
"'S so sad. Yeh jus' can' let tha' sweet boy go back ter them muggles!" Hagrid said once again.
"I agree something must be done about Harry's living arrangements. I will visit the Dursley's at the start of summer and speak with them. I will make sure Harry is safe there. As for now, would you like some tea?"
McGonagall's head snapped up. "Excuse me?"
"Tea," Dumbledore said again. "Would you like more, Minerva?"
"Potter will not go back to that house, whether accompanied by you or not! I will not have my student anywhere near those muggles! I should have taken him that night, I'd seen with my own eyes how horrible they were!"
"They will not treat Harry poorly again." Dumbledore said with an air of finality.
Snape looked sour. "Are we quite finished?"
"Have you not taken the time to read the books yourself, Severus?" Dumbledore asked.
"I can assure you I have better ways to spend my time." Snape muttered. Truth was, when Weasley had come in yelling nonsense, his curiosity had been peaked. He read it. He got to the end of chapter two, the part Weasley was screaming about no meals, and had to take a breather before going back to it.
Reading left him stuck. He did not mean for it to happen, but he sort of... identified with Potter. The situations weren't exact. The Dursley's mistreatment was mostly neglect, from what he'd read they didn't physically abuse him. But not having a home there, or feeling like he mattered... being told he didn't matter... he identified with that.
"Why don't we take some time to read now. It looks like Pamona will be caught up with the rest of us soon, and I'm sure we can fill in any gaps for you." Dumbledore said pleasantly. Of course he knew Snape had taken the time to read, it didn't matter how well trained he was at Occlumency he still would have somehow knew. Snape glanced around the table. Sprout had her head in her book.
"I'd rather not."
Dumbledore just continued to stare pleasantly.
"But I suppose." Snape muttered. "Since I'm already here."
"Wonderful, why don't we move in front of the fireplace!" said Dumbledore. Hagrid took his handkerchief out, dabbing his eyes while Dumbledore enlarged a seat for him. Snape was making a face as if he'd eaten something bitter as he sat in the seat closest to the fire, away from Dumbledore and the giant. With one flick of his wand, the book fell into his lap and opened to the right page. He opened his mouth but Pamona raised a hand, not looking away from the book.
One more moment, and she nodded, closing her own book to listen to Dumbledore.
"And that is where the chapter ends." Dumbledore said. That chapter was not easy to read, though none of the chapters have been. It was still hard to know that he put Harry in that situation. Very sad to know Harry had such a clear image of what happened the night of his parent's death. Although he couldn't help but wonder how it was that he had this clear memory. There was just no way Harry would remember this much about a traumatizing night when he was only one year old. This did, however, agree with some of the theories Dumbledore had... Theories that seemed more and more likely the more he learned about his student.
"I'd say the best chapter so far!" Flitwick said bouncing in his seat.
"Certainly the most satisfying." McGonagall said referring to Dudley's pig's tail. She glanced at Hagrid and sent him a small smile.
Hagrid, however, did not look the least bit happy. He was staring at Dumbledore, frowning.
"Are you alright, Hagrid?" Dumbledore asked. The high that a few of them were on from Harry finally learning he was a wizard came down as everyone looked at Hagrid's sad face.
"Yeh didn' warn me, Professor Dumbledore," he said. "Yeh didn' tell me he wouldn' know anythin'."
"I did not know myself." Dumbledore said solemnly.
"Are you telling me, Albus, that you didn't check on him at all?" Sprout asked, an eyebrow raised.
"Of course I checked in on him, but I did not know-"
"Then you didn't really do a good job then, did you?" Sprout interrupted, something she would never do, out of respect, if she weren't so upset.
"The important part was that he was safe, I checked in and made sure he was still alive and well. I trusted in his family to provide him a sustainable living environment."
"Well, that was not good enough." Sprout frowned. "Sir."
"I didn't know that he was told nothing." Dumbledore looked legitimately upset when he said this. "I admit I regret not paying more attention, but I truly thought they would tell him the truth. I knew of Petunia's resentment, but I thought she would let that aside for her family. Alas, I was mistaken."
McGonagall was a little bit irritated about Dumbledore's treatment of her student, but it simmered down after she heard this and she sighed. "I think this is something you need to speak to Potter about. He deserves to hear that from you himself."
Dumbledore let out a sigh, would that open doors into other questions he could not yet answer? There was also the fact that he had to stay away from Harry right now for reasons that would only burden the young boy.
"Hagrid, I never knew you were the one to tell Harry the truth." Flitwick brought up after a bit of silence. "Of course I never dreamed his aunt and uncle would keep that from him."
"Well it wasn' a grea' moment fer me. I wasn' prepared ter be the one ter tell'im." Hagrid sighed. "Tha' boy... he had no idea."
Sprout gave a small smile. "The way you told him too, no lead up or anything, it gave me a chuckle."
"Figured he jus' needed ter know." Hagrid scratched his head. "Erm... maybe I should've eased 'im inter it a bit."
"I think you did just as you should have." Dumbledore praised him. Hagrid didn't acknowledge this at all. Dumbledore needn't wonder why. He knew fair well how much he'd been idolized throughout the years, how mystical and brilliant he seemed. Many young witches and wizards were about to find out how human he was. Hagrid was finding out right now, and he was likely very confused about it all.
Snape, meanwhile, was thinking of Petunia's little speech, how she finally let out everything she was feeling about Lily and told Harry about his mother. She's gone through Lily's magical story, but he had to admit to himself that he was insulted that he hadn't come up at all. She told them how she got accepted, married him, and then... well. But there wasn't a mention of himself at all. Although he supposed if he had been mentioned, Potter would have some questions that he would have no interest in answering. Still, Snape felt he was important enough in Lily's life that her sister wouldn't forget about him just as soon as Potter came around. But then again, didn't Lily?
Snape's mouth twisted in distaste just enough for McGonagall to look over at him. "You've been awfully quiet, Severus, any thoughts on Potter not being told the truth about who he was?"
"None." Snape answered said. "I've met Potter's relative's before, I'm well aware of how horrible they are."
"But I'm sure you had no idea he'd been treated like this!" Flitwick asked, gesturing to the book.
"Everyone has a tragic backstory." Snape sneered. "Mine is that I'm forced to hear about Potter's."
Dumbledore made a sound that could have been a cough or a chuckle, either way, it caused Snape to fall silent.
"How long did they think they were going to get away with all of this?" Flitwick asked continued.
"They have had so much power over Harry for so long," Dumbledore said. "And power can create illusions of invincibility."
Meanwhile, Sprout was still talking to Hagrid. "You don't have to answer this if you don't want to, but how did it feel? Speaking to Harry about the first war?"
"Hard. Lost a lotta good people in tha' war. But almos' worse was talkin' abou' the fear tha' came with You-Know-Who." Hagrid shivered. "I remember thinkin' some o' these kids lived their whole lives withou' 'im, an' tha's good, of course. But fer me, it was like it was yesterday. You-Know-Who gettin' followers by the minute, never knowin' who you could trust..."
McGonagall, who had tuned back into this conversation, nodded sadly. "And now it will all start again."
"There's no sign of such a thing." Snape cut in. "All this talk of his return and our biggest threat at the moment is a ministry official."
"Severus," Dumbledore warned.
"I'm not saying he's not back." Snape said, almost regretting anything as he didn't want the attention on him. "Obviously I know he is."
He drew the word 'obviously' out very long. Of course he knew he was back, he was currently putting his ass on the line because of that.
"I'm just saying he hasn't been showing his face." he continued.
"Of course not." McGonagall snapped. "Because he's busy plotting and discrediting Potter! Do not tell me you think when he started coming to the forefront without planning for the first war. You're smarter than that, Severus."
"It's just not the same feelings now as it was when I was young, is my point, because he hasn't confirmed his return." Snape said calmly. "Not everyone knows and believes of his return. There was fear and paranoia when I was younger that isn't around now."
"Yes, and you would know, as you helped cause it!"
"Minerva." Dumbledore calmly tried to stop her but she was not done yet.
"And believe me, Severus, there is still fear. Why do you think everyone is so adamant about denying his return? That is fear, and that's how it starts. The ten death eaters that escaped Azkaban? That's him getting his followers. He's biding his time, strategizing. Then it will be the death of several families and it will just get worse from there. I know the signs! I saw it with my own eyes!"
"That's enough Minerva." Dumbledore said.
McGonagall sat back in her chair with her arms crossed. Wasn't she allowed to act out of instinct as well? She's a Gryffindor afterall.
"I'm sorry Albus," she said. "And to you as well Severus. This chapter has gotten me really wound up. Everything those muggles were saying, how they said they tried to beat Potter's magic out of him. That could have had serious consequences, could it not?"
Dumbledore let out a long breath. "Yes, it could have."
"Oh, the things I would like to do to those muggles." McGonagall growled.
"Minerva, awful may they be, they are muggles" Dumbledore said. "And would have no way of defending themselves against a hex or curse."
"And are you to tell me that some muggles aren't deserving of such a fait?" McGonagall snapped. To her surprise, the headmaster went quiet, and from the distant look in his usually active eyes, he seemed to be thinking of something... or remembering something. "Albus?"
"It all leads you to Azkaban, Minerva" he finally said. "And where would I be without you?"
McGonagall gave Dumbledore a worried look. She was not expecting quite a reaction. But as to not draw anymore attention to it, she responded with, "I'll be sure to not get caught then."
Dumbledore gave her a small smile. "Something will be done about Harry's aunt and uncle, but I must take the blame as well. Though I must admit, I would often get word that Harry had a healthy amount of accidental magic while growing up. It was if he showed no signs of magic ability that I would be worried."
Sprout gave Dumbledore a thoughtful look. "Why is that?"
Dumbledore seemed, once again, to be remembering something but he still answered. "Had Harry known he was magical, he might have tried to suppress his magic. Doing this could not only have ended his family's life, but his life as well."
Snape glanced up at his headmaster. He thought he might have an idea of what Dumbledore was getting at, but he didn't have an extensive knowledge on it. Wasn't it... an obscurial?
"They coul' have killed 'im?" Hagrid repeated. Dumbledore nodded gravely. Hagrid let out a monstrous yell, more of a roar, "I SHOULD'A DONE MORE! I SHOULD'A DONE MORE 'AN WHA' I DID!"
"Hagrid!" McGonagall yelled, eyes wide. His rage was enough for hers to come down enough for her to think sensibly. "Hagrid, if you'd done more than what you did, you likely would have gotten in a lot of trouble. You could likely get in trouble for what you did do."
"I DON' CARE! I DON-"
"Hagrid, remember who is reading these books!" McGonagall said quickly. Hagrid's face drained color, as he realized as soon as Umbridge found out what he did, he'd be in a lot of trouble. Terrified, he wondered if he could go back to Azkaban for this.
Dumbledore spoke up, "I will defend you, Hagrid. Please no this."
Hagrid didn't speak, he was shivering now.
"Hagrid do you need a moment?" Sprout asked.
"I'm alrigh', jus' didn' think 'bout that, s'all." he said softly.
Dumbledore's eyes lingered on his friend. "What you did was not that bad at all. And it was very creative."
"It's not worth Azkaban, is it?" Hagrid asked with a sigh.
"You will not be going to Azkaban Hagrid." Dumbledore said sternly. He looked at McGonagall for a second. "Some muggles are deserving, and this had no lasting effects to my knowledge."
Hagrid gave another shiver.
"I never said thank you for defending me." Dumbledore continued. "I genuinely appreciate it."
Despite his mixed feelings towards the professor, Hagrid still felt Dumbledore was to be respected. Even if Dumbledore may have made mistakes, he was still a great man. "Leas' I could do. Yeh gave me a job, firs' as the gamekeeper, an' then fer teachin' Care o' Magical Creatures."
"My offer still stands, you can go back to school if you wish. I'm sure I can do the necessary paperwork." Dumbledore told Hagrid.
"Tha's alrigh', I'm happy where I am" he answered.
Dumbledore smiled. "Well I think we're done here. Why don't we do this again? We can plan for chapter eight on Sunday night?"
Hagrid got up, knocking his chair back. "Oh, sorry abou' that. I'll be here on Sunday, bu' please professor. Don' send Harry back ter them muggles."
With that, Hagrid picked his chair up and left with a small wave. Dumbledore changed his chair to the correct size. With a yawn, Sprout got up as well. "It's late, I should get going as well."
"As should I, but I'll be here Sunday night!" Flitwick grinned while sliding out of his chair.
Snape began to get up as well, when Dumbledore stopped him. "A word, Severus?"
Annoyed, he sank back into his chair. McGonagall gave Dumbledore a kiss on the cheek. "Goodnight Albus."
She left behind Flitwick and Sprout while Snape looked at Dumbledore expectedly. "Sir?"
"While the books are harmless at the current chapter we are at, we have to do something about the other books."
"What do you mean?" Snape asked.
"The Order, Severus." Dumbledore said. "There are many things in these books that need not be public knowledge."
Snape was so distracted by the appearance of the books themselves, he didn't even think about the trouble he could be in if one of the students went to their parents about his role in the war. Parents that could be close to The Dark Lord. Of course he could play up that he was double crossing them, but it was a risk he didn't want to take.
"We can't keep them from reading them, but perhaps we could keep them from speaking about what they've read." Snape said slowly. "I'll figure out the best way to do this and get back to you."
Dumbledore nodded. "Very well.
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