Okay, so, here's chapter 2. I was going to make it longer, but I decided you guys have waited long enough, so I cut it off a bit so that it ends at a good-enough spot and am now posting it as it is. Please be aware that the entirety of this was written about 3-4 months ago, and I haven't looked at it in detail for a while, so there could be some mistakes.
Anyway, I hope you like it :-)
The next morning, Ron awoke to find a snowy white owl fluttering at the window.
He opened the window, and the owl flew inside. Ron untied the parchment from her leg before she left out the window.
Quietly, Ron got out of bed and went to Hermione's room, taking the letter with him. He knocked on the door.
"Come in," came her voice, far too chipper for 6 o'clock in the morning.
"I got a letter from Harry."
"Really? What did it say?"
"I don't know. I haven't read it yet."
"Let's see then."
Hermione snatched the paper from Ron's hands and read it eagerly.
"Well?" Ron asked
Hermione frowned, but passed the paper over to him. Ron read it over.
Dear Ron and Hermione
You are invited to come to #11 Grimmauld Place anytime you want. This parchment will act as a portkey if you prefer not to be seen leaving.
"Number 11?" Ron asked, "Does that mean he's next door?"
"I'm not sure," Hermione replied, "Let's get dressed and then we can go over."
They got changed quickly before reconvening in Hermione's room. Hermione tapped her wand to the parchment before they were whisked away.
Harry was sitting in the kitchen eating breakfast when he heard a loud thump in the hallway, followed by a string of curses that could only be spoken by Ron. Smirking, he reapplied his glamour before stepping out to greet them.
He found them getting to their feet.
"Morning," he greeted, grinning, "I see you got my message."
"Harry!" Hermione cried, barreling into him, "Where have you been?!"
"Oh, here and there," Harry shrugged.
"You have the Order looking for you," Ron said.
"Oh, I know. That's why we're here."
"Uh, where is 'here', exactly?"
"Next door to Headquarters. My parents bought this place a few years ago, and they left it to me. I thought I'd move in."
"So, you've been here for the past 2 days?"
"No," Harry replied, "I only got here last night."
"So, where've you been then?"
Harry smirked, "Gringotts."
"Gringotts?!" Ron exclaimed, "You've been at the bank for two days?"
"Well, yes," Harry admitted, "Why don't we discuss it over breakfast?"
They went through into the kitchen and sat down at the table.
"So?" Hermione said, "Tell us."
"I went to the bank to draw some money," Harry explained, "but before I got to a teller, I was accosted by a goblin who told me the director wanted to see me. I followed him to the director's office, where the director himself, Ragnok, told me that he had been trying to contact me. I told him that I hadn't received any letters from Gringotts and we realised that Dumbledore's been redirecting my mail."
"Harry!" Hermione exclaimed, aghast, "That's highly illegal!"
"I know, I know," Harry said, "And I'll talk to him about it, but just let me continue, okay?"
"So, then Ragnok tells me that he's been wanting to talk to me for a while about my inheritance. We went through some documents, and I found out that I've got a whole stack of properties and even more money."
"How much money?" Ron cut in.
Harry swallowed, wary of Ron's jealous temper, "Upwards of 1 billion Galleons."
"1 billion Galleons?" Ron exclaimed, standing up, "Bloody hell, mate, you have all the luck don't you? You have the money, the fame, what else could you need?"
"Ron!" Hermione exclaimed.
Harry stood up, glaring at Ron, his temper flaring, his magic responding in a red aura around him, filling the air with the scent of ozone.
"Luck?!" he exclaimed, in disbelief, "You think I'm lucky? Really Ron, you're so naive! Don't you realise that the only reason I have the money in the first place is because my family is dead?! I would trade with you in a second if I could! And I never told you this, but James Potter wasn't my biological father. When I found out, I thought I might have a chance - a chance for a family to call my own, but no, that could never happen, because I'm Harry Potter - so fate hates me - and my father is bloody Voldemort!"
His statement hung in the air, heavy and revealing. Harry was panting, bowing his head and turning away from his friends.
"You just asked me where I'd gone," he said, "when I disappeared. I didn't give you the full answer, but I'll give it to you now."
He turned around, looking them squarely in the eyes, head held high.
"This summer," he continued, "I had my world turned upside down. Do you know what it's like, to wake up one morning, to find yourself several inches taller than you were the night before? Even with magic, that isn't normal."
He turned and began to pace up and down, "If that isn't enough, your face begins to change. By the end of the month, you look like a completely different person, so you learn wandless magic and cast a glamour charm on yourself. And, to top it all off, you have no idea why, and you aren't receiving letters from anyone, hence you have no one to contact about it. So, you strike out on your own. You go to Diagon Alley, where your first stop is Gringotts. As soon as you get there, you're shown to the Director's office, who asks why you haven't responded to any of their summonses. You reply that you've never received any, and work out that 'ole Dumbledore's been redirecting and going through your mail. Then, you take an inheritance test, and read a letter from your mother that tells you that the man you've believed all your life to be your father isn't, and find out that, instead, your mortal enemy is. How terribly ironic. You then discover that someone placed blocks on your abilities and magical core, and that the aforementioned enemy placed a piece of his soul in your oh-so-famous scar. The goblins remove the blocks and the soul piece, and you become Lord of four bereft houses and heir to another two. All while the whole bloody world is worried the Death Eaters got you." Harry turned back to them, "So, if you're wondering, yes, something did happen over the summer, and, no, I'm not sorry I didn't burden you with it."
With that, Harry stomped off past them, furious tears collecting in the corners of his eyes.
Ron and Hermione looked on after him, stunned and shocked into silence, unsure of what to do.
Eventually, Ron found his voice.
"Bloody hell," he breathed.
Hermione had tears in her eyes, "We've got to go after him."
Together, they left the room to find their wayward friend.
Harry, meanwhile, had fled to his safe space - the rooftop terrace.
He had always been most comfortable up high. For what reason, he didn't know, but whenever he felt emotional, it was his comfort .
He leaned over the railings, breathing deeply and looking down over the London streets. He hadn't intended to reveal his deepest, darkest secret to Ron and Hermione, but now that he had, he felt almost lighter for it, as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.
He just hoped that they would still want to be friends with him.
That had been his greatest fear - that once they found out, they wouldn't want to associate with him anymore.
Sighing, he silently removed the glamour with a wave of his hand, and waited for the inevitable to happen
Ron and Hermione found him about half an hour later, still in the same place, with his back towards them.
He turned sharply to face them. Hermione and Ron both had to withhold a gasp as they took in his changed appearance.
The first thing Hermione noticed was that he was taller. He had gained over a foot, surpassing Ron by about an inch. The next thing was his hair. It was longer, reaching just below his ears, and tamer, not so unruly. His face was thinner, with high cheekbones, an aristocratic nose and tanned skin, but it was his eyes that really stood out - bright emerald - and very much the same as they had been before. She had once read somewhere that a person's eyes were the window to their soul, and she found that true in that instance. No matter how different he may look - he was still Harry.
"So," he said, coldly, head held high, "come to cut ties, have you?"
Harry spoke confidently, but his eyes betrayed an inner worry - the fear of loneliness.
'That,' Hermione thought, 'is why he's a Gryffindor.'
"What?" Ron spluttered, "What do you mean?"
"Well, you can't associate yourself with the bastard son of the Dark Lord now, can you?"
"Harry!" Hermione exclaimed, astounded, "How can you say such a thing?!"
"Well it's true, isn't it? Who'd want to be seen with me?"
"Harry, mate, your father could be the bloody Queen of Sheeba for all I care. You could've murdered a million people, and it wouldn't matter. It wouldn't matter because you're my best mate, and we'll always be there for each other, no matter what."
"Ron's right, Harry," Hermione agreed, stepping closer, "You can't let who your parents are define you. Just think of Sirius. His family was one of the darkest ones out there, but he rebelled against them and became a prominent fighter for the light. So, just because Voldemort's your father doesn't mean you have to be like him. You've already proved that you're not - so many times now. You're your own person, Harry. No one can take that away from you."
She stood right in front of him, gazing up into his eyes, "We're not cutting ties with you, Harry. You can't get rid of us that easily."
She smiled at him, and wrapped him in a hug. Harry stiffened for a moment, before melting and hugging her back.
"Thanks, Hermione," he whispered.
They broke apart to find Ron gaping at them.
"What is it?" Hermione asked, tilting her head in amusement.
"You just admitted that I'm right."
Harry laughed. Ron was right. He really was lucky after all.
Later that afternoon, Harry, with his glamour reapplied, and the other two members of the recently dubbed- after a long discussion - 'New Marauders' stood on the doorstep of Number 12 as he opened the door. They stepped inside to find the place in absolute chaos, with everyone running around like headless chickens. Harry decided to do something about it.
"Hey! What's going on here?"
Everyone stopped at once.
"Harry!" Mrs Weasley cried, giving him one of her famous hugs, "Thank heavens you're alright!"
Her expression changed abruptly, "Where have you been?! You've had the Order looking everywhere for you!"
"I know," Harry replied, calmly, "But I'm fine. Nothing happened."
He noticed Dumbledore looking him over carefully, studying him.
"I think we should call a meeting," the headmaster announced, his eyes not moving from Harry, "Let everyone know that Harry's been found."
Half an hour later, the rest of the Order members arrived. Everyone attempted to fuss over Harry, but he shooed them off irritably. It's not like he wasn't grateful, he was just tired of being treated like a child.
Once everyone had been assured that Harry was indeed alright, he was allowed to sit in on the order meeting to hear what had happened while he had been 'out of the loop', so to speak, and also tell them where he had been. He promised to tell Ron and Hermione what had happened afterwards.
Harry smirked when Tonks stood up to report on the 'Unknown Man' who had appeared on his Aunt's doorstep.
"What did he look like?" McGonagall asked.
Tonks described him pretty accurately, in Harry's opinion. After she had finished, it was his turn.
He explained his trip to Gringotts, leaving out the more delicate information, but hinting clearly at the fact that 'someone' had been messing with his mail.
When the meeting was over, he asked to speak with Dumbledore alone. The man looked puzzled, but agreed.
Once inside a secluded room with the door closed, Harry got straight to the point.
"I know you're the one redirecting my mail, sir." he said, bitterly, his whole demeanour changing from what it had been only a minute previously.
"My boy, I don't know what you mean-"
"Don't lie to me. Gringotts told me that only someone powerful, and who knew where I lived could put up those wards, and apart from both myself and Voldemort, you're the only option."
Dumbledore was at a loss for words, so Harry took the opportunity to continue.
"You've been lying to me for years, claiming that it was for 'the Greater Good', but what is that really? Is there really good and bad, black and white, or is it your own little scheme to gain control and power over the wizarding world from behind the scenes? If you had told the truth from the beginning, many people who died would still be here! Cedric, Sirius, my parents. How far are you going to go? Are you going to sacrifice everyone before you realise there's nothing left for you to rule over?"
He was breathing heavily, glaring at Dumbledore with fire burning in his eyes.
"I know, about the Horcruxes, I know there was one in my scar, and I know you had some elaborate plan to have me killed and it destroyed. But I won't let it happen. My horcrux is gone, thanks to the goblins, and I know how to find more. You can't manipulate me anymore, I have my Lordships, I'm emancipated - you have no control over me. But I'd like to know - just how many lives are you going to ruin, before you realise that the world is nothing but grey?"
With that, he turned dramatically and left, leaving a stunned Albus Dumbledore gaping at him.
What did you think?
Honestly, at the time I wrote this, I was so proud of myself for two of the scenes - the one where Harry reveals the truth to Ron and Hermione and the one where he confronts Dumbledore. Now, looking back, I can see that they're not the greatest, but I'd like to know what you think of them, so please leave a comment with your thoughts.
Have a great week!