Chapter 1 — Prologue: The Graveyard
Harry shut his eyes tight, determined not to watch the disgusting scene in front of him. His arm still throbbed in pain where Wormtail had carved into his arm, and he could not stomach watching his own blood revive his greatest nemesis — not after witnessing Cedric's death. He fought down the urge to retch, when suddenly, he gasped, his whole body overcome with a powerful sensation, a jolting that seemed to reach down into the very depths of his heart.
His eyes jumped open, widening further as he saw his blood being added to the gruesome scene in front of him, and realizing that the raw.../power/ he was feeling could very well be aconsequence of this ritual. He quickly pulled himself away from such thoughts, focusing on just how he was going to escape, when just as quickly as the first time, he felt a flash in the center of his mind, obliterating all his senses for a fraction of second.
It was over as soon as it had begun...but it left a mark that remained much longer. Harry, tied to a gravestone and watching the reptilian figure rising from the cauldron, suddenly had an epiphany.
He was powerful. The figure in front of him may be the most feared Dark Lord of a century, but it was /his /blood that now ran through the creature's veins. Harry's scar began to sting, yet for the first time, he felt no pain. It was...comforting, pleasurable even.
Again, a flash — emotions began to pour into Harry's mind — hatred for the sheep that populated the wizarding world, contempt for those who sought to limit his undeniable power. Arevelation, an awareness of just how much power he contained, how great he could be.
For a brief moment, Harry fought these foreign feelings, but the temptation, the growing desire to not only accept them, but to flourish under their guidance...Harry's mind became a blur, and again with a shocking abruptness, everything was clear. There was no fear, no sympathy for his fallen co-champion. Only the need to escape, to live to fight another day.
Voldemort was addressing him now, and he was untied, forced to stand against this monster that was now his family through blood, a connection that had been forged thirteen years ago now completed. Death Eaters had appeared, presumably summoned while Harry was lost in thought. They were not important, only the one he now faced could be deemed an equal.
Even so, he would have to die. Though perhaps not today.
/Crucio/. Harry's thoughts were halted as every fiber of his being screamed in pain, his scream ringing out in the dark cemetery. Finally, mercifully, the pain ended, and Harry panted for breath. Now was not the time for idle thoughts. Fight or flight, whichever proved easier.
Avada Kedavra. /Expelliarmus./Harry watched in fascination as the two wands met, a cage of raw magic surrounding the two combatants. Strangely, it seemed spirits...ghosts? were appearing, perhaps torn from their rest by this magical phenomenon. Two of the ghosts were his parents, he was certain. Another was Diggory. Again, there was no emotion, simply recognition — they appeared to be on his side. The ghosts seemed to attack his enemy, the wands' magical effect broken between the two.
Harry grabbed Diggory's body, and immediately summoned the port key. He realized he had changed, that he was not the same person who had entered this nightmare. He was not wholly different either. No matter, he had an entire summer, no doubt in isolation to figure everything out.
For now, he would return the body and keep his thoughts to himself. When he had time, he would evaluate his new situation, figure out how best to exploit it. With that final thought, the Cup flew into his outstretched hand, and Harry — with the body, disappeared from the graveyard. Cedric Diggory was dead, and perhaps, so too was Harry Potter.
/"Dementors in Little Whinging?" Madam Bones said in tones of great surprise. "I don't understand -"
"Don't you Amelia?" said Fudge, still smirking. "Let me explain. He's been thinking it through and decided dementors would be a very nice little cover story, very nice indeed. Muggles can't see dementors, can they boy? Highly convenient, highly convenient... so it's just your word and no witnesses…"/
Oh how my blood boils listening to this incompetent twat. As if I would throw a patronus into the air just for shits and grins when it's obvious half the wizarding world is aching to see me taken down a peg or two, the Minister of Magic right in the thick of them. I may only have four years worth of spells, but if I was going to get myself thrown out of school I'd have at least taken Dudley down with a hearty dismemberment jinx, not some sodding patronus.
Dumbledore's still not looking anywhere near me, but it's obvious what his game is. Poor Harry needs the Great Dumbledore to save him from the big bad minister. Not anymore. I've tuned out the rest of Fudge's 'explanation'. He's winding down — time to stir this pot for good.
"I, Harry James Potter, do swear on my life and magic that I was attacked by two dementors near my home in Little Whinging on the 2nd of August, 1995."
Silence…Absolute silence. And then, pandemonium.
"Order!" screamed Fudge, quickly turning a shade of red that could very well challenge Vernon. "Mr. Potter, the magical oath is an extremely important procedure. An underage wizard like yourself…attempting to harness such powers… your sheer arrogance…"
He's spluttering now, and no one in the entire gallery is giving him any notice whatsoever. "Minister Fudge, I am well aware of the requirements and obligations of a magical oath. Magic, unlike bureaucrats, does not discriminate between age."
The whole lot of them are staring at me now…well except Dumbledore. He's tense, I can't see his eyes, but he's obviously against everything I'm currently doing. "Minister" I add in a sickeningly sweet tone. "As my continued existence verifies my defense, might I have your oath that the Dementors are in fact under ministry control?"
Gasps all around. No one, but no one ever demandsan oath, least of all from the Minister of Magic. I'm quickly found to be out of order, but it doesn't matter — no one here is going to find against me now, not today anyway. Rather quickly I'm rushed out of the courtroom, catching mutterings from Fudge about "investigations" and "impossible situations".
To be honest, I'm tempted to take an oath about seeing Voldemort return, but I hold my tongue. Fudge was right about the value of oaths, and it wouldn't do to see me as the boy-who-swore-every time-he-was-right. Could set a dangerous precedent, and I've still got a much greater and certainly much smarter, manipulative old goat on my tail.
Professor Dumbledore was, to say the least, concerned. He had spent the summer reflecting on the previous encounter between Harry and Voldemort. Naturally, he assumed the boy would be upset, but his wariness at the strengthened connection between the boy and the Dark Lord led him to place Harry in isolation. If Voldemort could readily access Harry's mind, then any letters from his friends, however harmless in content, would nonetheless alert Voldemort to those people whom Harry held close to his heart.
However, none of that compared to his current feeling of uneasiness. Gone was the insecure boy he had expected to find. This Harry had stood up to the Minister himself, in front of the Wizengamot no less, and had defended himself more effectively than Dumbledore had hoped to have done. Now, more than ever, it was necessary to keep the boy close — anything less could result in the destruction of the world Dumbledore had been cultivating for close to a century.
"Harry my boy" Dumbledore said in a low tone, daring to meet his eyes if only for a short moment. "I cannot say how pleased I am that you have been cleared of your charges. However, your actions were foolish and rash. You must learn to control your emotions. I am here to help you anyway I can, it is not necessary to lash out at those around you."
"Yes, Headmaster" Harry answered demurely. "I just…after seeing my mother's ghost and thinking of her sacrifice…it hurts so much to see all her hard work mocked. I'll try harder sir."
Ah, so that was the case. Undoubtedly the boy had spent three months internalizing his grief. No matter, Ms. Granger and Mr. Weasly would be helpful in having Harry stable by the semester's start.
"It's no problem Harry. I understand your grief, but we must not let our grief consume us. If you ever need to talk Harry, there are many of us who always have time for you, myself included."
"Thank you sir," Harry muttered, eyes downcast. The two had by this time left the outer wards of the Ministry of Magic, and Dumbledore handed Harry a keychain, stated the keyword "Bubblemint" and as Harry disappeared, lost himself to coming up with a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, they were so very hard to find these days…
One moment Harry was crashing down into the dark kitchen of Grimmauld Place. The next, he was being bombarded by a mass of redheaded faces.
"Harry! What happened -"
"Oh you poor dear, I hope everything -"
"Mate, what's going on?"
"Harry, are you ok?"
Harry winced at the cacophony of these people. Just because they appeared to be a gang of inbred hillbillies surely they could have some semblance of manners? /I bet Malfoy doesn't have to put up with the likes of this/. Harry snorted, imagining Lucius shouting in a high pitched tone while Draco jumped up and down.
"Everything's fine" said Harry in what he hoped was a grateful tone. "I've been cleared of all charges, so I get to go back to school." Deciding not to tell them exactly how he got off — the two Weasly women had done more than enough screeching in the last five minutes, Harry mentioned he was tired from the ordeal and would like to have a quick nap, leaving behind a gang of smiling faces.
After I left that gawping house of monkeys in the kitchen, I headed up the stairs to the room I'm sharing with Ron. I'll have to talk to Sirius about that — I've got things to accomplish before school starts and having some idiot go on about quidditch and chess isn't going to help any. Maybe I could pull the 'how I wish I could live here with you' and wheedle myself into my own room — hell I can even play up the idea of never having my own room, which isn't really a lie at all. My own cupboard maybe, but not my own room.
Speaking of which, where is Sirius, and for that matter, Hermione? Ungrateful lot, I almost get thrown in the clink and Sirius can't be get out of bed to see me home. Hermione's probably got her nose in a book somewhere. Can't really fault her for that anymore — I've been doing the same all summer, trying to learn what I should have known years ago. You'd think three attacks on my life would have made me a quick learner — guess number four was the charm. Even so, the girl could stand to be a little more…compassionate.
I close the door to the bedroom. Part of me wants to lock it, but to be honest I'm not sure how the Fidelus works with Ministry magic detection. My ignorance knows no bounds. Even if I could get away scot-free, the others might find out, and seeing that I was just threatened with expulsion for non-essential magic, probably not a good idea. But then…
Гадалки и экстрасенсы на Astro7Гадалки и экстрасенсы дадут совет по телефону. 1-ый звонок бесплатно!Гадалки и экстрасенсы дадут совет по телефону. 1-ый звонок бесплатно! Бесплатная консультацияАстрологиЭкстрасенсыПерейтиЯндекс.ДиректСкрыть рекламу:Не интересуюсь этой темойТовар куплен или услуга найденаНарушает закон или спамМешает просмотру контента Спасибо, объявление скрыто.
"Kreacher!" I bellow. The disgusting little elf comes into the room with a pop. "Filthy little half-blood, worming into Mistress's house. Nasty Mudbloods reading Mistress's books…" Well I was right about Hermione. "Kreacher" I say a little softer, could you please lock this door for me; I feel we need to talk." The elf stops his murmurings, surprised at my tone, but his eyes glare with hatred, so it's obvious politeness will not win him over. He does as he's told, locking the door and turning towards me. "What does the filthy boy want?"
Time to try another tactic. "You will call me Master Harry; I want the same as you — to restore the noble and most ancient house of Black, and to rid this house of the Mudbloods and blood traitors. I offer you a place under my lordship." His eyes open wide — gullible little shit. "Boy will respect Mistresses wishes?" I nod. "Kreacher accepts Master. What would Master have Kreacher do?"
I grin; I like to think it can be described as 'cold' or 'feral'. "You must continue to act as you have previously done. You are forbidden to acknowledge me as your master in public. You are forbidden to mention any part of our arrangement. But most importantly, you must allow me entry into the Library in the House of Black, and forbid entry to all others." The elf nods. This is far easier than I anticipated.
After Kreacher left, after assuring the young master that no magic could be detected through the wards, Harry unlocked the door and lay down on his bed. He had been upstairs for no longer than ten minutes, and undoubtedly the gangly Weasly idiot and his equally annoying sister were searching for the bookworm to bludgeon Harry with even more useless questions — never mind it was they who had insisted on obeying Dumbledore to the letter and leaving him alone all summer. Sure enough, he soon found himself again tackled by two witches, and another grating round of patented Herwhining.
"Oh Harry, I'm so pleased you're alright. Really, it's dreadful! I've spent all morning looking up the Statute of Secrecy and it's barbaric! Not to mention its obvious prejudice to muggleborns…" Hermione rambled. "Hermione, calm down. I'm fine, just a little tired and all."
"Are you sure? I could get you something if you w-want? Maybe some soup?" Ginny offered. Ron rolled his eyes. "Harry's tired Gin, not sick. Mate, when you're up for it, how about a chess match? It's been bloody awful here really — cleaning every day, without magic.If it wasn't for the muggles, I'd have offered to switch places with you in a heartbeat."
Harry sighed, they really were predictable. "I really appreciate everything — really. But for now, I just want to sleep a bit. But…I want you to know that I'm really thankful. After what I've been through today, it's nice to know I have friends who will stick up for me no matter what."
The three of them seemed to blush a bit, before telling him to call if he needed anything and that they'd let him rest for now.
Harry woke up a few hours later, and trudged downstairs, past the screeching portrait of Mrs. Black. Her uninterrupted ranting led Harry to presume she was still ignorant of his current situation, which was small comfort. Knowing what little he did it was obvious that this painting held complete control over the ugly elf. Heading into the kitchen, Harry plastered an enormous grin on his face, running to Sirius and giving the man a hug.
"Heard you got yourself out of that mess quite nicely Pup — taking after James, eh?" Sirius grinned back at the boy. "Now that you know how it's done, I suppose I'd better let you in on a few pranks we used to play — no underage magic rules back at school are there?" Harry did feel a sincere sense of joy when listening to Sirius, if nothing else seemed to genuinely care about his happiness, and while Harry couldn't say much for the man's backbone (it had been two years since he'd been promised a place in the house, and still nothing from Sirius' end), he did feel that Sirius did have his well being sincerely in his heart.
Molly was far too smothering, as evidenced by her current glare. "Harry, the headmaster mentioned a few things you didn't…we're thrilled you got off, but what you did was by no means -" "What my wife means, Harry", Arthur interrupted with a look of apology and a tinge of fear toward his spouse, "is that the minister, regardless of his attitude, deserves some level of respect, if only for his position."
"Ah, like Snape then" Harry replied innocently. Ron and the twins attempted to stifle their chortling, while Sirius bellowed a deep laugh. "Harry, you really mustn't be so impertinent" Hermione sighed.
With a shrug, Harry began to dig into the dinner laid before him. He ignored Molly's fussing over his being too thin — really the cure was obvious — remove him from the Dursely's. As that seemed to be beyond their aptitude, he didn't bother bringing up anything about it.
After he had finished seconds on everything, and after waiting for Ron to shovel down an extra helping on top of that, Molly shoed the children out of the room, causing Harry to send a questioning look to Ron. Ron simply nodded and jerked his head towards the stairs.
Arriving at the top of the stairwell, Harry turned to the rest of the group. "Right then, what is that lot up to that we had to suddenly leave for?"
"It's called the Order of the Phoenix" Ron put in excitedly. "It's a group to fight back against you-know-who. This is Headquarters — s'why Dumbledore put up the Fidelus Charm."
That was important to remember, Harry thought. Dumbledore had not hidden Sirius's home so he might have someplace to stay. No, he had done it to protect his little club.
"Dumbledore is in charge, naturally" Hermione added. "He started the group in the first war, and now it's being brought back ever since…" Hermione stopped, obviously trying to not think about what had happened during the third task, and obviously failing.
"Anyway", George added, picking the conversation back up,
"Fred and me came up with-"
"Extendable Ears, so we can listen in on what's being said -"
"Unless they put up privacy charms -"
"Which they do from time to time -"
"No idea why -"
"But anyway -"
"We get a good idea of most of what's going on" the two twins finished together.
"So what is going on?" Harry asked, genuinely curious to find out what was being done in the fight against Voldemort.
"Ah well…not much" the twins had the grace to look abashed. "They're still recruiting obviously, but with the Prophet slandering you and Dumbledore and denying everything…well there's only so much they can do."
"But Harry" Hermione broke through the twins' battle of words, "After today, something has to happen, the Ministry knows you were attacked, so either Voldemort is behind it or else someone in the Ministry is attacking you. Either way, it shakes their credibility…"
"Nice to know it takes my death to do that" Harry grumbled.
Hermione frowned. "Harry you know I… that's not what I meant…"
Any potential bickering was thwarted by shushing from the twins as they handed out the flesh colored strings. Watching the others, Harry placed it next to his ear, listening to the hushed voices coming from the kitchen. He couldn't make out the individual voices, they all sounded fuzzy and mechanical, but as the twins had promised, he could gain the gist of the meeting.
"…the brat should be expelled for his impertinence alone!"
"Now Severus, one can hardly blame young Harry after the trauma he has faced."
"Albus…perhaps it would have been wise…at least on his birthday?"
"…Safety must be our first concern."
"Our agent at the Prophet seems to believe that Mr. Potter's outcry will force the ministry to backpedal on its more aggressive stances…about time"
"Albus…Defense Against the Dark Arts?"
"Yes good news…the Minister has backed off from appointing a candidate…no doubt due to young Harry's attack…Professor Slughorn…out of retirement. Professor Snape—"
Suddenly the conversation was cut off, and the group snuck back into the bedroom Ron and Harry currently shared. After the twins locked the door and added privacy charms, /can't have us being given back our own medicine/, they began to discuss what this news meant.
"Reckon this Slug character is out new defense teacher — funny name. Still, I wander what he was going to say about the Greasy Git."
Ron snorted, "Dunno mate, maybe he's being sacked for lack of hygiene"
/Oh, the irony/, thought Harry.
Hermione harrumphed at that but said nothing except, "I imagine the Professor was simply moving the meeting forward again. Really, it's not as though Professor Snape is going to do anything to us that he hasn't already been doing for the last four years."
"Yes, like making life in general a living hell" Harry muttered darkly.
Hermione sighed again, and Ginny finally spoke up again, pointing out that they should probably get to bed if they were going to be woken early to clean the house.
With that, the group said their good-nights and went to bed.
At first I thought leaving the Dursley's would have made for a better summer. Now, I'm not so sure. Dumbledore is watching me, I'm sure of it. He knows I'm up to something. My first morning after the trial, I went to talk with Sirius, asking about maybe having my own room. He agreed, but only after I poured out some sob story about hoping to be a real family. And when I brought up the fact I wanted to spend more time with him instead of cleaning the house for Molly, he started to fidget and said I should help for, and I quote if nothing else but to spend time with your friends. That has Dumbledore all over it.
Not to mention, I know that we can all use magic in this house, but we have to do everything the muggle way. I know how to better than anyone else — thank you very much, Vernon, but it still galls — I'm a servant for a different master.
Ron brought up something to this effect, and Hermione started whining about House Elf Rights. I'm thinking of making my own counter group:
/Magic Users Deploring Biased, Ludicrous and Unfound Dissertations/. I could call it Mudblud for short. Hell on that basis alone I could get a quarter of the school to join, which is about a quarter of the school more than Spew will ever get.
The one success I have had is with Kreacher. Disgusting thing he is, he is very very good at doing what he does — namely, being a sneaky little shit. Nobody is onto our informal alliance, and he has been going through the library, arranging it into a hideaway for me as soon as I get out of open sights for more than half a second. He even found me a few books that he mentioned all "Young Black Masters" are expected to know by heart. Most are rather dry — family law, English wizarding law, pureblood law, etc. but even I can acknowledge their value and begin improving my basic knowledge of wizarding culture.
Far more interesting however, are the two other books. The first is rather small, and very worn. It's titled The Arts, Sciences, and Magiks of the Mind.Turns out that trained wizards can read the minds of the unsuspecting if sharing direct eye contact with the person in question. The fact Dumbledore has been specifically looking away from me makes me suspect something greater is at work here, but regardless, this is undeniably useful.
The other volume is much larger, and is a basic book of black magic. Who would have guessed that even a sadistic bastard like Lucius would have started with such classics as Virtrosso/, the 'Brittle Bone Curse' or the Insomnia Jinx, /Amorphi. I'm tempted to give Ron a quick dash of /Profugus/, my personal favorite (in theory I suppose, as I've yet to see it in action). Still, I like the idea of cursing Ron with a migraine the next time I wake up to the pain of "just my scar".
I've started formulating a plan for next year. It's going to be a pain in the ass to execute, with Dumbledore or one of his gophers being a hop, skip and jump from my arsehole every time I turn around, but something I've read in the pureblood laws has me thinking. Magic attracts magic.
It makes sense, but it's far more profound that the book realizes. The connection between me and Voldemort was strong, even before he took my blood. Hell, even the fact that blood is magic is a giveaway. Basically, I'm beginning to think that Magic is itself a primal force, a semi-sentient being. It searches for an alpha, and clings itself to the greater source. Why else would a group of purebloods grovel before Voldemort in the pathetic state he was in after his resurrection? Why else would so many seem to trust Dumbledore for no reason other than his word? And why am I kept under such close watch?
It's because I have power, power that Dumbledore recognizes, power that Voldemort pointed out to me at the end of first year. Twice now, Voldemort has taken from me but in the process, has given me parts of himself as well. I can feel it thrumming through my blood, through my scar. I am going to prove that I am not weak, but that I have the strength to seize the power that is my gift, my right. And so, next school year — two weeks from today — I am going to begin the creation of my own circle, and destroy the two who oppose me.
Just as the residents of Grimmauld Place sat down for breakfast on the 15th of August, a flock of owls came flocking through, upsetting the jug of milk and generally causing a disturbance to the awaking group. However, all eyes suddenly shot up — well aware that these were the annual Hogwarts letters.
Grabbing his from the small grey barn owl which had landed neatly besides his plate, Harry opened the letter without trepidation. He was not anxious about being a prefect, and so was not at all concerned when his letter contained nothing more than the standard list of required texts and supplies as well as the formal acknowledgment/warning that he was entering his O.W.L. year.
His musing over the texts was interrupted from a shrill shriek next to him.
"I did it! I made prefect!" Hermione screamed, oblivious to the eye rolls around her. "Good on you dear", Molly smiled, and then glared as she caught the twins trying to knick her badge. Looking to his left, Harry noticed that Ron was not any of his usual shades of red — rather he was looking quite ill. "I…I got one too."
The silence gave Harry a shocking sense of déjà vu — but the resulting pandemonium was far more cheerful than that at the ministry.
"Oh, my baby boy — I'm so proud. That's four prefects in this family." Mrs. Weasly beamed with pride. "Yes well, coming from us", Fred (or George) commented, "that's not a compliment befitting a Weasly." Molly glared, but was still too overcome with joy to truly get upset. Ginny muttered jokingly about Ron using his position to encourage pranking as opposed to stopping it, earning an exasperated huff from Hermione.
Harry sat there, grinning and praising his friends, and slightly relieved at how well this worked out. Old goat probably wanted to punish me for the ministry, but in fact he's given me a bit of breathing room. Harry's smile was sincere, but its reason was not what those around him assumed it to be.
After breakfast, Molly mentioned that she would be buying the years supply of texts, as it would be too dangerous for them to leave the protection of headquarters. Harry hid his eye roll, as if Death Eaters are going to pick out the Weasly's out of hundreds of shopping families in the center of wizarding London.However, Harry was ill at ease to part with his Gringott's key, and he was interested in buying a number of…extracurricular reading material.
"Mrs. Weasly…I appreciate the offer, but I thought I'd just order all my supplies through Owl Order this year."
"Now dear, that won't be necessary. It's no trouble for us to pick them up with the others."
Harry hid a scowl — the stubbornness of this woman! "Thank you but…I would rather just get my stuff separately."
Mrs. Weasly frowned but said nothing more, and Harry was thankful when Tonks took that moment to come crashing through the front door, saying Dumbledore had alerted her of today's plans and that she had arrived to escort Mr. and Mrs. Weasly to Diagon Alley.
As soon as they left, Ron turned on Harry. He had been cold ever since Harry had moved out of their room, when Harry reasoned they shared a room all year, and it would be nice to have privacy if only for a little while. The apparent rebuffing of his mother's offer had Ron quick to judge — as such things often did.
"Harry, just what was that about! Mum's offer was reasonable…not like she was gonna steal your key -". "Ron!" Hermione gasped, "I'm sure that's not what Harry meant — is it Harry." Hermione was tiring of having to play the arbiter between the two boys.
"No, of course not…Ron, I'm sorry if you think I've been turning my back on your family what with the room and all. It's just…my clothes. I thought this year I'd buy myself some proper clothes, not just wear my cousin's rags under my robes. And through the catalogue, I can pick everything myself — I've never got to do that before. Even in first and second year I only got what was on the list..."
Ron had the sense to look embarrassed. "Sorry mate, no hard feelings right? How about I turn a blind eye if I catch you snogging in the broom closets?" Harry grinned. "Yeh mate, no hard feelings."
The remaining two weeks before September 1st flew by. Harry was, on the surface, returning to his old self. He talked quidditch with Ron over chess, even going so far as to throw out the opinion that the Cannons might have trouble this year against the favorites — The Pride of Portee. It was ludicrous, the Cannons would finish in last, but it was enjoyable banter none the less.
Hermione talked about their assignments, and was impressed that not only had Harry finished all his summer work long before the final week of holidays, but he had gone the extra mile, reading ahead in potions. She may have disagreed with his reasoning, /that'll show that greasy git/, but it was a positive step in the right direction, even if poorly motivated.
These last two weeks have been a nightmare. I've finished all of Kreacher's selected reading except the dark arts book, which I really can't think of a way to get to school. I've been practicing Occlumency, a skill to protect one from prying minds. Don't know if it really works, as Dumbledore is still avoiding me, but my nightmares are less vivid — though again I don't know if that's due to my end or Voldemort's.
Even so, I've only managed to get done a fraction of what I wanted. I've tried hinting to Sirius that I should be able to do practical magic here, but he hasn't budged from the Dumbledore line. I've reread four years of theory, but it's going to take more than that to accomplish anything.
Kreacher has prepared the library, but I have yet to actually see it, let alone learn anything in there. Again, someone is always watching me, and while I have my own room, I'm nervous to lock it for any real length of time.
Small steps, painfully small steps of progress. Both Hermione and Ron being prefects is a massive boon in my opinion. Not that Ron deserves it, but there you go. Having done all my summer work also had the pleasant result of Hermione getting off my back and onto Ron's, which disturbing images aside was a nice change of pace. I've even made an attempt to get ahead in Potions.
Won't to any good as far as grades go I expect, but buying Basic Laws of Potion Making certainly improved my general knowledge in the field, and will at the very least allow me to give as good as I get in the annual "sabotage-the-other-house-potions" brawl that inevitably breaks out from the word 'go'.
Buying my own supplies also turned out to be like pulling teeth. Honestly, how anyone could make such a big deal over that just proves what a twat Ron really is. I really can't wait to see the look on his face this morning. It's true I wanted to buy some real clothes for once, but it was more so that I had an excuse to buy other, less acceptable items.
My potion kit has a couple of items that one wouldn't find out of place in a junior apprentice's store — powdered thestral hoof for instance. Not to mention the bezoar that I've decided to keep on me at all times, Constant Vigilance and all that. I've also bought a new pair of glasses. They look identical to my previous pair, as I don't want word to get out that I've got them. They're the right prescription though, and are charmed to repel dirt and water, as well as summoning charms. It's a small wonder Malfoy never pulled an "accio glasses" on me, but then I never have accused him of being sharp.
The other reason I needed to do my own shopping is that it's high time I started acting like the pureblood I'm supposed to be. A look at the Potter family tree found in Pureblood Genealogy shows I'm the last Potter of a line that magically dates back to the 1300's — and it's about time I showed it. A healthy supply of nutrition and growth potions should start the process of getting my body into the shape it needs to be in, and my new robes are not the ordinary cut, but woven from Egyptian black cotton, a high quality without being ostentatious.
Personally, I'm making bets on just how long it takes Ron to make a snide comment.
Harry woke up early on the morning of September 1st. He had packed everything last night, not wanting to risk leaving behind any of his more unorthodox purchases. He donned a set of his new clothes, enjoying both the comfort of the fit and the material — pleasures he'd never truly experienced. His robes would have to wait until he arrived on the train, but he had tried them on the night before, and was left wondering why he hadn't made such purchases long ago.
Opening the door, he heard the first of what was sure to be many frantic shouts and mutterings of last minute packing. Harry took his trunk down to the kitchen, where he had asked Tonks to shrink it for him (best to keep the self-shrinking charms a secret if he could). Hedwig had been released the night before, allowed to hunt and fly herself to Hogwarts after spending much of the previous week flying packages to Harry from various merchants in Diagon Alley.
As such, Harry was able to enjoy the rather humorous exhibit of 5 children and an angry mother rush around picking up spare socks and cauldron ladles. The twins secretly confessed to Harry that they were smuggling the first of what promised to be many shipments of Weasly Wizarding Wheezes, culminating in nearly 200 individual packages of 'Flatulence Fudge'.
Leaving the house to King's Cross was a crowd of the six students, Mr. Weasly, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks (under the guise of Mrs. Weasly), and Mad Eye Moody — apparently under the guise of a man in a trench coat and a fedora who just decided to go for a stroll with a group of kids. Inconspicuous indeed, thought Harry.
"You lot stay safe this year, no adventures!" Mr. Weasly said as they prepared to board the Hogwarts Express.
Yes, because I'm always up for a round of 'find the death eater' Harry thought to himself.
"Constant Vigilance! Now more than ever before." Moody bellowed.
Tonks it seemed proved to be the happy medium. "Watcher, Harry. I know how it is. Stay safe but hit first if trouble finds you, yeh?" Harry smiled and with a nod and smile to Remus, followed the others into the train. Entering an empty compartment, Harry sat down in the opposite corner from Ginny, whose eyes seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on him.
Harry had to repress a shudder. The most emotion he could possibly muster for the smallest Weasly was sibling affection, but he feared that that alone may well be enough to make her actively pursue him. As opposed to the passive pursuing she's done thus far…incestuous little hussy. Repressing his second shudder, Harry waited for the opportunity to open to begin phase one of his greater plan. And sure enough…
"Harry, Ron and I…we have to go to the Prefect's carriage. Sorry to leave you but it's the rules and…" Hermione began to babble. "Hermione, its fine — I understand and am happy for the pair of you. I think I'm gonna go find Neville and see what he got up to this summer, walk around a bit. We'll talk later." Ron and Hermione both smiled in relief.
"See you in a bit mate. I bet it's gonna be dreadful, all those rules and stuff…" Chuckling, Harry watched Ron and Hermione leave. Perfect.
I didn't even bother looking back at Ginny when I walked out. I could practically feel her ogling as I left. Again, the fates are smiling, as a blond haired girl enters into the compartment, and she seems to know Ginny. I find an empty compartment and unshrink my trunk. A minute later, and I'm clad in a very classy robe that's a darker burgundy than the average Gryffindor robe. A good thing too — after four years of red and gold it's been getting a bit garish. Not as bad as Hufflepuff true, but miles behind Ravenclaw and dare I say it, Slytherin.
I walk down the train, and actually run into Parkinson and Malfoy heading to the Prefect meeting. Marvelous. They seem shocked to see me dressed as immaculately as them, though they cover well. Instead of the usual quip I just get ignored. Fair enough I suppose.
I stop and peek in the carriage next to me — perfect. My soon to be three favorite Slytherins — they just don't know it yet. Blaise Zabini, Daphne Greengrass, and Tracey Davis, along with three or four younger students I don't know. I step in, trying to look as if I own the place — rather difficult as a Gryffindor in a crowd of snakes.
"What do you want, Potter? Come to grace us with your presence?" Daphne taunts. I take a good look at the girl. I've never had much to do with these three. Well in all fairness, I've never said more than a dozen words to any Slytherin outside of Malfoy, but these three aren't part of the inner death nibblers, I know that much.
All three scream pureblood nobility. Daphne is quite the golden princess. Shoulder length dark blonde hair with high cheekbones and a nose that seems to naturally snub you. It's fitting — from what I've seen of her she's a sadistic bitch.
Tracey is shorter and stockier — though basing that on Daphne isn't really saying a lot. Her hair is the same color as mine, though much better trained.
Blaise is taller than Ron and probably just as gangly, but the look seems to work on him. He's dark skinned, and from what I've heard, his mother is pure-veela. Veela powers don't manifest in male offspring, but his features definitely support what I've heard.
"No" I say slowly, deliberately, after looking around the compartment. I jerk my head towards the younger years. "Greengrass, Davis, Zabini — a word please." The three seem to debate silently, before nodding and wordlessly kicking the younger ones out of the compartment. Seven glares become three, though it's not exactly a comforting thought.
"Right, now out with it Potter, what are you doing away from your pet mudblood and weasels." Blaise asks in an overly polite tone.
"My friends, to use another term, are at the prefect meeting. I've decided to…expand my rather narrow horizons."
Blaise nods, seemingly in thought. I'm sure they want to know why I so casually accepted their insults or what I'm really trying to do. Tracey attempts to rile me up.
"So the Gryffindor Golden Boy lost the prefect position to the weasel. Disappointing."
"Not so much. Seems the headmaster believes they share common traits with Malfoy and Parkinson." That stops them cold. Eyes narrow at me.
"Again Potter, what is it you want." Daphne's tone is deceivingly neutral. Oh how delicious this is going to be.
"Consider this a warning from…a friend. Sides are being drawn — and I imagine being in Slytherin there is already quite a bit of pressure to declare one's allegiances. If one were to side with the Dark Lord, I would have no reservations against killing them."
Their faces flash with indignation and shock before they are wiped clean of all emotions. Finally Blaise speaks. "Thank you Potter for this…warning. We'll be sure to consider it and remind you the inverse is also true." I nod and prepare to walk out, only to be met head on with a tiny scrap of a girl who must be one of this years firsties.
"Mr...MR P-P-Potter!" she squeaks (ah, so not a muggle-born then) "I was told Mr. Zabini was in this carriage." Blaise nods curtly. "A…a professor wants to see both of you in the front car" she runs off blushing furiously. Blaise and I exchange a look before walking in silence to the front.
Ron and Hermione are just coming out the Prefect's carriage, I suppose to begin first rounds, and look at me oddly. "Professor called me up front" I reply. They nod but the confusion is plainly written all over their faces. As we approach the front-most carriage, we are met with Susan Bones and Ernie MacMillan. Upon entering, I see a dozen of my class mates, ranging 4th year to 7th. In the middle of the carriage is an enormously plump bald man with an equally enormous moustache.
"Ah now we're all here!" he replies jovially. "Welcome to what I like to call the first unofficial meeting of the Slug Club. I'm Professor Slughorn, and I can't tell you just how delighted I am to meet you all."
Professor Slughorn had a smile befitting the cat that ate the canary when he realizes just who was among these final four. "Ah, Mr. Potter, so wonderful to finally meet you. Terrible what the Prophet has been spouting. I didn't believe for a minute that the son of Lily Evans could turn out that way, not at all."
All this was said while attempting to subtly direct Harry to take the empty space across from him. Harry managed a polite smile, while sizing up the other occupants of this room. It was obvious that the Professor had brought together students of some of the most influential families in wizarding England. "Ah and Mr. Zabini, I do hope your mother is well. Ms. Bones and you must be Mr. McMillan. How is your father — I always knew he'd do well for himself. Yes, yes — welcome all of you."
Harry spent most of the meeting in silence, listening to what was being said and appraising the potential that sat within this room. He discovered that their first conception had been wrong. Professor Slughorn was the new potions master, and Snape would take on the Defense classes. /Greasy Git must be dancing/, Harry smirked.
The most obvious point Harry learnt was just how connected this Slughorn fellow was. Even if half his stories were true, he had more connections to the higher ups than Lucius Malfoy, and that was saying something. Speaking of which, the younger Malfoy was conspicuously absent from this meeting, much to Harry's delight.
Whatever else happened this year, it was going to be most beneficial to maintain a relationship with this highly excitable character. When the cabin began to empty, Harry made his first move.
"Professor?" Harry asked "You said you knew my mother?" Slughorn grinned. "Horace, please, call me Horace my young friend — may I call you Harry?" Harry nodded.
"Your mother was one of my best students. A wonderful witch and a stunning mind for potions. No doubt you inherited that from her." Harry smiled bashfully. "My potions grades haven't always been the best sir, but I've put in a lot of extra study this summer…" "Course you have my boy, I wouldn't expect less from you!"
"Sir…Horace" Harry tried again, desperately trying to move the conversation forward. "I was wondering if perhaps…throughout the year…I might be able to talk with you privately... about my mother. Everyone else tells me how I resemble my father, but I've never heard anything about her."
Slughorn looked at Harry as if he were a winning lottery ticket. "Harry my boy, no problem, no problem at all. You go back to your friends now, wouldn't do to show favorites", a rather not-so-subtle wink. "but consider yourself possessing an open invitation to come by for a chat whenever you feel the need."
Harry smiled, "Thank you Sir." Harry closed the door to the sound of a hearty chuckle, and made his way back towards his original compartment, wondering what tale he'd have to weave for his so-called friends this time.
Naturally, Harry's arrival caused a small riot within the now crowded compartment. Seeing Harry's new robes clearly for the first time, Ron went into a frenzy about his new "Malfoy look". Combined with Hermione's inquiries as to what exactly he was doing with a Slytherin and heading towards the prefects car inevitably led to Ginny squawking as well. Finally Harry had enough.
"Ron" he stated coldly, "I already told you I was sick of being forced to wear my cousin's hand-me-downs, and I just thought I'd treat myself, God knows I need it the way the last year has been."
In a slightly, slightly friendlier tone, he addressed the girls. "I was just walking through the train when a first year told me a professor wanted to talk to me, Blaise just happened to be there at the time." Not quite the truth, not quite a lie. Deciding to change the subject away from /that/, Harry threw in, "Also, we were wrong. Turns out Professor Slughorn is the new potions professor, and the Great Greasy One is taking over defense."
That very quickly hooked everyone's attention, and brought Ron from a pique of jealousy to a show of camaraderie. "Sorry mate, bet he picks you for all the demonstrations…still, be nice to not have to worry about Malfoy throwing dung bombs into my Sneezing Serum for a change."
Harry grimaced at the notion of Snape firing off concussion hexes at him under the guise of /education/, and idly wondered if he'd be able to counter with a stomach exploding curse in the name of self defense…
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