The Heart Bond It was a dreary, rainy day on Privet drive, and the raven-haired boy with

the unusual scar on his forehead was matching it perfectly, laying down on his bed and staring into eternity. He had been like this since he’d returned home to the Dursleys two days ago. . His Aunt and Uncle had taken to ignoring and avoid him since Mad-Eye had had a chat with them about treating Harry correctly. This new tactic didn’t bother Harry at all. In fact, he preferred it. This past week had been the worst he’d ever had in his life. His mind was weighed down with the thoughts of the battle in the Department of Mysteries that had occurred only a week ago. He blamed himself for involving all the people he loved and cared for, for almost getting them killed, and most of all for Sirius getting murdered. Harry had gone down to the Ministry thinking he was going to save him, and instead he fell into a trap and got Sirius killed instead. He slammed his fist into his pillow in frustration. “It just isn’t fair; I was going to live with him. We were going to be a family!” He screamed, forgetting in his anguish that he was still at his Uncle’s house. A moment later an enraged Uncle Vernon burst into Harry’s room. “What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing? It’s 9 o’ clock at night! You’re going to wake the neighbours. They’ll be wondering…” At that moment he stopped after realizing that Harry had been crying. “What are you crying about? What happened, you can’t go back to your school? Did they realize how bad of a person you were? Or did that convict that you call a godfather get caught finally? Well boy…. answer me! Answer!” Vernon screamed, his face turning an ugly puce colour. Harry felt his stomach drop at the mention of his deceased godfather, he didn’t need to hear about him right now. He would have hexed Vernon right where he stood if it wasn’t for the fact that if he did he wouldn’t be able to go back to Hogwarts; Instead Harry stood and said in an icy voice, “Leave me alone.” “Or what? You’ll curse me,” Vernon cried derisively. “I know you can’t do you your thingy out of school, you’ll get expelled.” The large man spat at him. “Leave” Harry said again, this time standing and pointing towards the door. He was furious at his Uncle and the way he had treated him all his life. At that moment a loud crack sounded and Uncle Vernon flew through the door and tumbled down the stairs. Harry thudded down on his bed, dumbstruck; he had just performed wandless magic, he knew that sometimes wizards could perform accidental magic, but he never knew one could do complex magic without a wand. The stunned boy had now completely forgotten about his uncle, piled unceremoniously at the bottom of the staircase. All that mattered now was that he was certainly going to be expelled from Hogwarts for performing underage magic. He turned around when he heard the familiar noise of an owl tapping on his window. The ash grey owl lifted its leg so that Harry could retrieve the letter. It was from the

Ministry addressed to him... “Might as well get this over with.” He muttered to himself. He opened the letter expecting it to be a summons to another disciplinary hearing, but what he found surprised him. It was a letter from Madam Bones. The letter said… Dear Mr. PotterIt has come to our attention that a massive amount of magic was expelled at the residence of #4 Privet Drive. It was concluded that it was underage magic. Under usual circumstances we would be forced to take your wand and potentially expel you from Hogwarts. However, this is not the usual circumstances; Albus Dumbledore has brought to my attention that it is imperative that you and your friends are allowed to use magic over the summer in hopes of preventing another attack. I would have to agree and therefore The Order and I have now officially made you, Mr. and Ms. Weasley, Ms. Granger, Mr. Longbottom and Ms. Lovegood registered wizards. You are now legally adults in our world. I can only urge you to use the utmost care with your new allowances. Sincerely, Head of Auror Division Madam Bones Harry dropped to his bed, still clutching the letter, he could do magic out of school! He couldn’t imagine what his friends would be doing. Ron, Hermione, and Ginny would be ecstatic, and Neville and Luna would just be stunned. The one thing that bothered him about the letter was Madam Bones’ knowledge of the Order of the Phoenix, he mentally reminded himself to tell Dumbledore. Harry just sat there on his bed imagining what he could do know that he was a legal adult wizard; he didn’t even notice Uncle Vernon walk into his room again. “They threw you out didn’t they, that’s what’s in that letter isn’t it?” Uncle Vernon laughed manically. “Nope,” and with that one word Harry raised his wand and shouted, “Expelliarmus!” Uncle Vernon was, for the second time that night, forced out through the door and tumbled down the stairs. Harry used colloportus and a silencing charm on his door, and went to bed smiling for the first time in a week and a half at the thought of his uncle’s startled expression when he had pointed his wand at him. The next day, when Harry woke up he realized that it had been the first night he hadn’t had his usual nightmare of Sirius falling through the veil. He was very grateful for not having to witness it again, and was able to finally sleep soundly. Strangely, he remembered his dream was about him sitting in a green meadow with a beautiful red headed girl, but he couldn’t figure out who it was. It definitely was better than what he used to see so he wasn’t complaining. Harry decided, because it was so early, it would be nice to go for a walk. He now was able to protect himself so he didn’t have to stay cooped up. He grabbed one of Dudley’s used sweaters and his wand and walked out the door.

He wandered around for a while, just thinking to himself, trying to figure out what went wrong at the ministry until he passed the small park that Dudley and his gang terrorised. He spotted the swings and decided to sit down for a while. He walked over, sat down and started to rock back and forth; it had been such a long time since he had actually done this and was enjoying the comforting feel of the rock. He did this awhile, but stopped suddenly as he heard someone walking up from behind. He turned around quickly expecting a death eater or Voldemort, but what he saw was a little girl who couldn’t have been older than 11. She had dark brown hair done in a ponytail, and had hazel eyes. The little girl looked up into the raven-haired boy’s deep green eyes and immediately liked him; she knew there was something unusual about him, and it piqued her interest immediately. “Hiya! I hope I didn’t scare you? I was just coming over to swing. Can I join you?” She said in a light voice. “Umm, sure.” Harry hadn’t dealt with many younger kids besides the ones he passed in the halls on the way to classes, so he was unsure what to do. She jumped on the swing next to him and started to swing. “So what’s that stick you’re holding?” She asked. Harry hadn’t realized he even had pulled it out; it was just a reflex for him now. “Oh this, this is a… gift from my parents.” “Could I see it? It looks pretty.” Harry wasn’t sure what to do, she was just a muggle so she couldn’t do anything with it, but he felt naked without it. He decided to let her hold it just for a little bit. “Sure, just be careful because it’s really important to me.” She took the wand from his hand and began to wave it around, When she did that though, a jet of red and gold sparks shot out of the end, and she dropped it in surprise. “Whoa, that was cool!” She said, grinning again. Harry’s mind was in overdrive, she was a witch and didn’t know it, because muggles couldn’t do anything with a wand. Dudley had stolen his and couldn’t even get it to let out a spit of fire. She had to almost be 11, and if her parents were wizards then they would tell her, so she must be muggle-born. Well, just try and figure out as much stuff about her as you can, he thought to himself. “It’s just a toy, like a magic wand, see,” he lifted his wand off the ground and shot some more sparks out of the end, “It’s just a toy. Oh and by the way, my name’s Harry Potter.” “Mine’s Emmaline Massey. I live just up the street,” she pointed her hand behind her, “Where do you live?” “Oh I live at #4 on Privet drive, but I’m gone most of the time at school in Scotland. Where do you go to school?” This girl was growing on him every second; he could tell

she was very intelligent; she would make a good Ravenclaw. “Oh I go to the public school right up the street. What do your parents do? Mine is lawyer.” “My parents were murdered when I was only a year old; I live with my Aunt and Uncle the Dursleys.” Harry said sadly, remembering he wasn’t going to be able to live with Sirius any more, but somehow being near this girl seemed to take the edge off of the memory of Sirius’ death. “Oh I’m so sorry. My dad died also, he was killed in a car accident.” She looked down at her trainers momentarily then looked up at him again, “You have to live with Dudley? That’s a bummer. He’s too fat.” “Yeah he really is a great pig, isn’t he, but it’s alright. I don’t have to see much of him, thankfully. How old are you?” She seemed to have a very strong personality, one which Harry enjoyed “I’m just about to turn 11, what about you?” “I’m going to turn 16 on July 31.” So that means if she’s going to get the letter it will be soon. Maybe even before this school year starts, McGonagall’s usually pretty good about that stuff. She let out a gasp of excitement, “Oh wow, that’s so cool. I have the same birthday as you!” Emmaline was really starting to like this boy, he sure seems mysterious, but he’s also nice. I wonder if he’ll be my friend, he doesn’t know about the stuff that I can do. She thought to herself. “Do you want to be my friend?” She asked shyly. Harry was taken aback for a moment, but then happily said “Sure I’d love to Emmaline.” “Cool, you can call me Emma.” She had just gotten her first friend; she just hoped she wouldn’t frighten him away. “Ok Emma, you can call me whatever.” “Ok Whatever,” she giggled at her own joke, “I have to go home right now or else mum will be mad, but I’ll meet you here tomorrow ok?” She jumped off her swing, gave him a quick hug, and then ran off to her home. After a little more swinging Harry also got up and headed home smiling, thinking about the little girl who he’d just become friends with.

Harry was sitting at his desk, surrounded by a pile of used parchment. Harry had been so focused on his letters that he forgot to have breakfast, and lunch, for that matter. He was having trouble writing the letters to Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, and Ginny. He couldn’t figure out what to write to these people whom he had carried into a lifethreatening situation. The one he had the most trouble with was the one to Ginny. For

some reason he wanted to make sure it seemed just right. He felt horrible about dragging her into this whole mess, and wanted to make sure she wasn’t upset with him. He struggled for over 3 hours, but finally sent Hedwig off, laden with the five letters. The days were passing much more quickly now; in the morning he would walk, or sometimes jog, up to the park and swing with Emma, talking about their lives. She was interesting to talk to and was very intelligent, almost like a miniature Hermione. She’d grown up a single child and didn’t have many friends because she would make weird things happen when she got angry or scared. This startled Harry because it was so similar to his own childhood. Harry told her not to worry and stay strong, because he would be her friend no matter what happened. After he left the playground he would go back up to his room and work on his defensive spells from books he’d been reading. Harry had been writing down any spells he thought might help him in the fight against Voldemort; the list now had over fifty different hexes, jinxes and other spell he thought he might be able to use. One night Harry woke up from another dream about the Department of Mysteries once again. It was always the same: he would rush to the death chamber to try and save Sirius but right as he got there he fell through it. Then Ron and Hermione, and Ginny, Neville, Luna, Lupin, and… It just kept going until he woke up with his scar twingeing irritably. Harry stumbled out of bed, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and trying to shake out the bad dreams inside his head. He felt around the bedside table for his glasses, knocking over the lamp, which then in turn landed on his foot, in the process. Cursing under his breath Harry shoved his glasses on his face and searched the room for the cause of his waking. Outside the window Hedwig stood on the sill, tapping on the glass; she was carrying a bundle of letters. He untied them, gave Hedwig an owl treat, and then quickly tore open the first one, which turned out to be from Hermione. Harry, I’m so sorry that this had to happen to you. Even though you’re saying you’re alright I know you too well. You aren’t. You’re probably blaming yourself for Sirius’ death. It wasn’t your fault; it’s no one’s but Bellatrix’s and Voldemort’s. Please promise me you’ll forgive yourself. We followed you there; you didn’t force us. You saved all of our lives at least once. Thank you for that, by the way. You are like my brother, and I hope you think that about me. Love, Hermione He set the letter down smiling; he had known that was what she was going to write. He was also pleased that she considered him to be her brother, because he had always considered her as a sister. He picked up the next letter, which was from Ron. Harry,

How are the muggles? I hope they’re feeding you better than last year. If not I’ll go over there and give them a piece of my mind! The Cannons are finally winning again after their 5-year losing streak. They beat Ireland 250-0. Do you know when you can stay with us again? I’ve been asking Dumbledore but he won’t say anything specific, just something like ‘all in due time’ Write me if your troll of a cousin is giving you any trouble, Fred and George have some new products to test. Their store is a huge hit; even Mum thinks it was a great idea to start it up now. See you soon, Ron Harry laughed out loud at the idea of Dudley turning into an octopus or some other weird thing. He would definitely have to have Ron send some things over to him; it would hopefully make his stay a little more enjoyable. He picked up the last letter. This one was from Ginny. He hadn’t really been expecting one from her but welcomed it nonetheless. Dear Harry, I know you don’t know me as well as you do Ron or even Fred and George, I’ve just always been “Ron’s-little-sister-who-had-a-crush-on-you,” but I’ve always wanted to get to know you better; even just as friends. That’s why I asked you to write me on the train ride. I know what it feels like to lose someone close to you. My cousin, who was also my best friend, died from a fever when she was 9. I was so upset I cried for weeks. Let me tell you it’s alright, you need to cry to let out all your emotions. It isn’t healthy to stay bottled up like you do. You’re going to have to forgive yourself. We came with you by choice, and the only person to blame is Voldemort. We’re all worried about you, especially mum. She’s going nutters. I hope you’ll realise I’m not just Ron’s sister but your friend also. I care for you, and don’t want to see anything happen to you. You can write or talk to me any time you want. Love, Ginny Harry was shocked. Ginny, Ron’s sister had just said she cared for him, and that she was worried. He knew that she used to have a crush on him; the way she always used to stutter when she was near him proved that, but he had figured that she had moved on. She was actually dating Dean right now. However, this made Harry second-guess that; this was a sincere letter, she seemed to still have feelings for him. It wasn’t as though he hadn’t thought about Ginny, but he always pushed her out of his thoughts when he remembered how protective Ron was of his sister. She certainly had grown into a pretty young woman; she isn’t shy anymore, but filled with a passion for life. From all the pictures he’d seen of his mom, Ginny looked just like her. But NO! She’s Ron’s sister, he’d pummel me if he thought I fancied her. Remember what he was like when he found out she was dating; I bet it would be a hundred times worse

than that. I can’t think of this right now. He shook his head trying to clear his thoughts. That letter sure had made him rethink his decision. He glanced at the clock and realised that he really had been lost in thought; it was already 8 o’ clock! He got dressed quickly, stole some toast from Dudley’s plate and went down to the playground to meet Emma. When he got to the park Emma was already there, waiting for him on the swing, there was also a woman whom Harry figured had to be her mom. They looked almost identical, with the same brown hair and eyes. When Emma saw Harry she jumped off the swing and ran up to him, “Hey Harry!” She said “Hey yourself! how are you? Is that your mum?” Harry waved at the older woman. “Yeah, she said she wanted to meet you. Come on.” She pulled him over to her mom. “Hi I’m Joy, Emmaline’s mother. She’s talked non-stop about you for the last week so I decided that I should come down and meet the famous Harry Potter.” “Yes, Harry Potter,” he instinctively moved his hair to cover his scar, “It’s nice to meet you, your daughter is really nice.” “Thank you; she says the same about you.” Joy looked at the scrawny young boy, taking in his oversized clothes and unusual scar. “Would you like to have brunch with us? It would be nice to talk to you some more, and I’m sure Emma here would enjoy it.” She hoped that she might be able to feed this boy, even though it appeared his family didn’t. “Yeah! I’d love to,” Harry was glad for any excuse to get away from the Dursley’s and he could do with some food. Emma took Harry’s hand, and the three headed up the street to her house. When Harry entered it he immediately could tell that this was a loving family. There were pictures of Emma and her family on the walls, and everything had a homey feel to it that the Dursleys’ lacked. “Your house is really nice, and it smells really good too.” Harry said to Joy. “Thank you, we try and make it feel nice and cozy; you probably smell the crumble cake that’s baking.” Joy was surprised at how polite and mild-mannered the young boy was, no he isn’t a boy, he’s a man, she corrected herself. His eyes make him look like he’s a hundred years old. Joy’s motherly intuition told her that he was dealing with some large problem, something which had caused him to skip over his childhood. “C’mon Harry! Over here into the kitchen, we have lots of food.” Emma dragged him into the kitchen and sat him down. Joy opened up the oven and pulled out the steaming cake and cut each of them a piece; there was also bacon, eggs, and orange juice on the table. For a while the room was only filled with the sounds of the silverware hitting plates as they ate. “Thank you for having me over Emma, I get really bored over the summer so it’s nice to

do something every once and a while. I can’t wait ‘till school starts again.” Harry said as they cleaned up. Emma laughed, “Silly! Why would you want to go back to school? Summer’s fun!” “Because it’s more of a home to me than anywhere else,” he said quietly. “Do you not do anything with your parents over the summer?” Joy asked. “No, my parents were killed when I was one, I live with my Aunt and Uncle, and they usually don’t like to acknowledge that I even live with them.” He said with a sour laugh. “Oh, I’m sorry; Emma lost her father, Harold , in a car accident. If you don’t mind me asking, how did your parents die?” Joy asked softly. Harry tried to think of a story in his mind which would not reveal him as a wizard yet still explain what happened. In the end though, he decided to just tell part of the truth. “Well, my parent’s were murdered by a man named Tom Riddle. He killed both of them, and tried to kill me. He couldn’t though, but left me with this scar.” He lifted his bangs out of the way so they could see the lightning bolt scar he was so famous for. “Did they ever catch the man who did it?” Emma asked. “No, he ran away after that, no one could find him. Some said he was killed… but he was seen again last year.” Harry stated, satisfied that the story made at least some sense. “Well I’m sorry that happened to you. You said that you live with your Aunt and Uncle now. How are they?” Joy said patting him on the shoulder reassuringly. “They’re….ok…. I guess. I mean they feed me and clothe me. My Aunt never liked her sister, or my dad, so they don’t exactly love me. I’m more like a tenant or something. They’re as happy to see me go off to school as I am to go.” “Oh, well I’m sorry to hear that. Do you like your school though; do you go to the one near here?” Joy asked, she hadn’t seen the boy at Emma’s school and most of the neighborhood kids went there. “Nope, I go to a boarding school even though the Dursleys say I go to St. Brutus’s School for the Incurably Criminal.” “Really? I went to a boarding school too, what’s it called?” Joy asked. Harry hesitated for a moment, but then decided to tell them because they would most likely be figuring out soon enough. “It’s called Hogwarts; it’s in Scotland near a town called Hogsmeade. It’s really cool, the school’s an old castle and there’s a huge lake that you can hang out by. It’s like my real home.” He said nostalgically, but also remembered how horrible the last school year was; everything from Umbridge to learning about the prophecy Dumbledore had been keeping from him. Harry shook his head clearing it of all those memories, it’ll be better this year.

I know it will. “It sounds cool; I wish I could go to a school like that! It would be wicked!” Emma said excitedly. “I’ve never heard of a school by that name, but Emma’s right it does sound wonderful, I could see why you love it so much. Do you have to apply?” Joy asked, it sounded like a great school and she herself had enjoyed boarding school. Maybe Emma would too. “Actually, I just got a note one day saying that I was accepted into it, apparently my mum and dad had me signed up for it. That was one of the happiest days of my life.” Harry said happily, thinking about what a shock it will be to Emma and Joy if they got the letter. “Well I’ll have to look into that, since I enjoyed my boarding school experience and I’m sure Emmaline would too.” Joy glanced at her watch and gasped. “Oh no, I’m sorry I’m going to have to go, but I have a case that I should be working on. Harry you’re more than welcome to stay with Emma if you want. Emma I’ll be at my office. You know the number, and I’ll be home around six alright?” She bent down and kissed her daughter on the forehead. “I think I’ll be going home also, I have some chores I need to do. I’ll see you tomorrow at the swings Emma?” Harry smiled at the little girl. “Sure, same time, same place. See ya Harry!” She hugged him around the waist. That night Harry sat down to write a response to Ginny’s letter, but he’d been thinking about how to reply ever since he got it. He was sure now that he wanted to tell her how he felt, but not in a way that shouted ‘I love you!’ It had taken him two hours and about four feet of parchment but Harry finally managed to get his thoughts down on paper. He re-read it to make sure it said what he wanted it to, signed the bottom and walked over to Hedwig. “Ok girl, this is for Ginny, so take it directly to her room ok?” Hedwig nipped his finger as if in understanding, turned on her perch and flew out of the open window into the night. It’s out of my hands now. I only hope that Ginny likes me in that way, and I wasn’t reading too much into it thinking that she liked me. Harry laid down on his bed, fully clothed, and closed his eyes to another fitful night, full of bad dreams. Ginny was in her pyjamas, combing her hair. She had just taken a shower and was about to go to bed. She’d been worried about how Harry would take the letter she had written him. I hope it wasn’t too vague; I want him to know that I still do like him. But maybe he doesn’t like me. Will he just think that the letter is just from a friend? I could swear that sometimes I see a glimmer of something in his eyes; those deep green eyes. Get a hold of yourself Gin’! If he likes you then he’ll write back, if he doesn’t then he’s just a friend.

Ginny stopped, suddenly hearing a tapping noise on her window; Hedwig was there, holding a letter. Her heart leapt as she raced over to the window. Throwing it open, she let Hedwig in and took the letter from her. Hedwig looked around for a moment and then flew off. Ginny didn’t know why but her hands were shaking out of nervousness. She sat down and tore the envelope open. Ginny, or is it Gin’? Thank you for the letter you sent me, it’s nice to know that there are people out there who care for me. Sorry I didn’t write back sooner I’ve been trying to figure out what to write. First thing, I am glad that you consider me to be a friend, I am sorry that I haven’t ever really noticed you before, I guess it was just me being afraid ofRon’s reaction; I remember how he responded to you and Dean. For some reason I feel that I can talk to you about this, and I hope you don’t see me as weak once you’ve finished this letter. I’ve been having trouble sleeping, every single bloody night I get nightmares. Ones where Ron, Hermione, Lupin and even you, are killed in some way that’s my fault. And if it’s not that dream then I just replay the battle in the Department of Mysteries. I get only a couple of hours of sleep a night… blimey I’m so tired even right now. I remember you saying that you had nightmares after the Chamber of Secrets. Do you still have them? Can you get rid of them? It would be nice if I could get at least a couple more hours of sleep. I know that Ron will always protect you, but maybe he would let up a little bit if he knew I was with you. You really are a good friend, and I’m so sorry that I dragged you into the Department of Mysteries; I should have made you stay. You’re too important to me tolose. I don’t know why I didn’t notice it last year. Anyway, I hope I don’t seem defenceless or weak to you now; I just had to tell someone and you offered to listen to me. Can’t wait to see you all again, hopefully soon. Love, Harry Ginny’s eyes fogged over with tears, she couldn’t believe that he’d actually written back to her, and exposed himself to her so much. It also seemed that Harry was looking at her differently. He said that he was afraid of what Ron would do if he went out with her. I can take care of my brother, and then maybe then he’ll make his move. She looked back down at the letter. He’s having bad dreams? Well, how couldn’t he after everything he’s suffered through, I’m just surprised he hasn’t completely snapped under the weight of everything. The first few months after Ginny had been rescued by Harry from the young Lord Voldemort she had barely been able to close her eyes in fear of being repossessed. It had taken the combined efforts of Madame Pomfrey and Professor Dumbledore to finally allow her to get a decent night’s sleep, and that was with the aid of a dreamless sleep

potion. Why wasn’t Dumbledore giving him that same help she got? Was it because he couldn’t help? Or was it to make sure it did not interfere with Harry’s trespasses into Voldemort’s consciousness? Emotionally exhausted, Ginny crawled into bed and drifted to sleep, thinking of Harry’s continuous plight and how she might help him. It had been a long day for Joy, she had just gotten back from a tedious day at court and now she just wanted to have a nice dinner with Emma and go to bed early. She walked into the kitchen to get dinner started when she saw a large bird standing in the kitchen window frame. That’s not just a bird! That’s an owl! What’s an owl doing at our window? And what’s that in its beak? It looks like a letter. The owl gave a soft hoot as it dropped the envelope on the counter, spread its wings and flew back out the window, leaving a completely bewildered Joy reaching for the envelope tentatively. She first noticed that it was addressed to Emma, more specifically Emmaline Massey of Number Eight Broom Hall Lane, Upper Left Bedroom. Well that’s oddly specific she thought to herself as the she broke the wax seal, which had a very odd looking coat of arms on it with the inscription Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus. She unfolded the letter and began to read: Dear Miss Massey, We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on September 1. We await you owl by no later than July 31. Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress Joy stared at the letter with complete incredulity. What is this? This HAS got to be a joke! There aren’t such things as witchcraft, and I’ve never heard of this school before… hold on, I have heard this name before! Wait... Harry said that’s where he goes to school! Maybe he’s pulling a prank on us, but why? It doesn’t seem like something he’d do. Oh well, I won’t tell Emmaline until I talk to Harry about this. It doesn’t make any sense. Reading the letter over and over again, Joy went about preparing dinner for Emma before she came back from her play date. The next day Joy stayed home from work so she could talk to Harry about the letter she’d gotten. It was just a little after ten when Harry came with Emma to their house. “Hello Mrs. Massey! How are you today?” Harry asked cheerfully. “I’m fine Harry, I was wondering if I might be able to talk to you for a moment, just in

the living room. We’ll only be a moment Emma.” She gestured towards the room off the hallway. Harry gulped nervously, why did she want to talk to him privately? Out of sheer paranoia Harry’s hand travelled to his wand inside his jacket pocket. “Harry, come over here sit down,” she patted the seat next to her then seeing his expression she added, “Oh don’t worry you’re not in trouble I just was wondering if you might be able to help me understand this letter I got from an owl last night.” Joy pulled out the letter, which she had now read many times. Harry saw the parchment and immediately understood what she had wanted to talk to him about; it was Emma’s acceptance letter. He grinned. “Do you know what this is? Is it a joke you’re pulling on Emma?” She asked curiously, seeing that he had seemingly noticed the letter. “Well I know who it’s from. It’s from Hogwarts; you know, my school? I bet you’re wondering if it’s true or not?” Harry asked. “It can’t possibly be true! I mean there aren’t such things, they just exist in fairytale books, don’t they?” She asked uncertainly. Harry just nodded, “Would you like a demonstration? You should bring Emma in here also; does she know?” She shook her head and rushed off to go get her daughter, and a moment later she came in with Emma in tow. “Honey, yesterday you got a letter from someone; actually it was from Harry’s school, Hogwarts. Well, you got accepted into the school, and if you wish to go I’ll be supportive of your decision. Now, there is something that may seem a little, odd… well I can’t exactly explain it. Harry?” She looked over at him pleadingly. “Sure,” he turned towards Emma, “Hogwarts isn’t just a boarding school… it’s a school for a certain group of people, more specifically witches and wizards.” He looked at her expression, in which he saw the same disbelieving look that he had given Hagrid six years before. “Well how ‘bout I just show you what I mean, because seeing is believing, right?” He smiled jokingly, as he pulled out his wand. “Yes Emma. This isn’t a toy from my parents; this is a wand. Ok then, here we go, conflagra!” He said commandingly, pointing his wand at the fireplace. Instantly a roaring fire erupted in what was, moments before, a stone-cold hearth. “WOAH!” Emma yelled. Joy dropped the letter in disbelief and just stared at Harry in amazement. “Yeah that’s what I thought when I figured out, and I couldn’t believe such a thing existed. Are you ok Mrs. Massey? You look a little stunned.” Harry said, grinning slightly.

“Oh, y-y-yes…yes I’m fine, but it’s just a lot to take in all at once. It is hard to believe that such a thing exists. How do people not know about wizards? I mean I’ve never heard anyone talk about them outside of fairytales.” She took a deep breath trying to calm herself. Emma still just stood, staring at Harry, completely gobsmacked. “Hogwarts will teach you everything you need to know, and you’ll no longer be ‘weird’ just because you sometimes let your magic get away from you. Everyone there has done some sort of involuntary magic at some point in their life. Also, you’ll love everyone there. The teachers are great, and they’ll help you learn all about the magical world.” Harry smiled at the ecstatic 11-year-old. He knew exactly how she felt at the moment; excited that she was a witch, but also still somewhat doubtful that this was all actually true. “Mrs. Massey? Would it make you more comfortable to meet the headmaster of Hogwarts? I’m sure I could convince him to come over and talk to you for a while about how everything works. I remember how confused I was. I was brought up by muggles…” then seeing their confused expression, “sorry, non-magic people, so I didn’t know anything either.” “I would like that very much Harry; it would just be nice to know a little more about where I’m sending my daughter before I pack her things.” “So I’m going? I can actually go?” Emma asked her mother excitedly. “Yes dear, of course I want you to go. If this place will make you happy and allows you to fit in, then why not? And I know your father would let you also; right now he’s up in heaven smiling at you.” Emma jumped into her mother’s arms and hugged her tightly; both of them had tears in their eyes. Harry took this as his cue to leave. “Well I think I’ll go. I have a lot of chores to do for my Aunt and Uncle, and I need to see if Dumbledore can meet with you.” Joy and Emma both said goodbye, and Harry let himself out the front door. He strolled down the sidewalk towards the Dursley’s house, trying to work out how he was going to get Dumbledore to come to the Massey’s house. He thought that Dumbledore might not want to talk to him after what Harry had done to his office upon hearing about the prophecy. That, and he did tell me not to have any contact with anyone whom I didn’t know, so he might be mad that I became friends with Emma. Harry was halfway home when he felt the hair on the back of his neck stick up; something told him someone was following him. He pretended not to notice but slowly raised his hand up in the general direction of where he thought the person was. Whoever was watching would have just seen a scrawny teenager waving at thin air, however this wasn’t so. He had really just cast a petrifying spell on whomever it was that was invisible, and then bound them with ropes he’d conjured. Harry approached cautiously, with his wand out now, and pointed in the direction of where the person now lay bound and gagged. His foot hit the invisible lump and he kicked aside the invisibility cloak. Underneath it was a very belligerent Mad-Eye Moody,

whose magical eye was spinning like a top in its socket. Harry waved his wand and murmured “Finite Incantatem.” Moody was released from the ropes and the spell, and sat upright rubbing his head. His eye was still spinning wildly until he hit his head sharply with the palm of his hand. “Good one Potter,” he grumbled, still rubbing the back of his head, “way to have constant vigilance! I only wish you hadn’t dropped me like a sack of potatoes. But seeing as I could have been a Death Eater you had every right.” “Sorry, but why are you here in the first place?” Harry asked, his temper rising slightly. He already knew the answer that Moody was going to give him. “You can’t honestly believe that Dumbledore would let you go wandering around the neighbourhood unguarded, Potter! You’ve had at least one auror guard on you every time you’ve stepped outside. By the way, what do you think you’re doing meeting with random muggle girls in the playground? I thought that even you would have more sense than that!” Moody laughed hoarsely. Harry’s temper flared quickly, his eyes lit with a powerful glow. The dustbins next to them started to quiver ominously, and one or two car alarms went off. He was fed up with Dumbledore regulating everything he did and controlling where and whom he met. After his last meeting with Dumbledore, Harry thought he would have learned his lesson. I can’t believe he will still do this, even after he admitted to being a cause of Sirius’ death! Harry squeezed his eyes shut, hiding his tears and counting to ten at the same time. Best not shoot the messenger, he thought to himself as he turned to once again face a somewhat nervous looking Moody. “Well, you can tell Dumbledore thank you for looking after me, but I can do perfectly well alone, especially without the Order peeking in when I’m in the shower or something. What do you think; Voldemort will bewitch my shower head to drown me! Hah!” Harry laughed incredulously at the thought. “Also, for your information, that ‘girl’ is a witch. She has her letter from Hogwarts if you want to go take a look, in case you don’t trust me enough. Now, before I leave you to your skulking, I need you to tell Albus to meet with this girl and her mom to explain how this will all work out for them, and also to explain the whole ‘Voldemort-is-trying-to-kill-everyone’ scenario.” Harry glared right at Moody’s now completely still magical eye until Moody was forced to blink. He then turned away from the dumbstruck Auror and proceeded up the steps of the Dursley’s house. Inside his room, Harry Potter fumed. He couldn’t understand why he was still being watched like a 3-year-old, even though he had been the only one to survive a duel with Voldemort three times. His anger blocked him from acknowledging that each time he was either extremely lucky, or had someone else to help him. It’s just not fair. I should be able to deal with things the way I think they should be dealt with, not just be one of Dumbledore’s toys. I just wish I could have a normal life. Damn Voldemort, damn his death eaters, and damn SNAPE! If he was dead, I would still have Sirius. He and Dumbledore forced Sirius to stay at his mother’s house and then Snape teased him into insanity about obeying orders. Damn this prophecy too. Why do I have to

follow what it says? Couldn’t I just hide away somewhere? I wish I could talk to someone about this. At that moment something clicked inside his head, I can talk to Ginny. I can tell her about all this, well most of it. Not the prophecy right now, but later. She’ll understand, and she won’t freak out like Ron or ‘Mione would. Harry sat down and tugged a blank piece of parchment out form underneath the large pile of defensive spell books. He sucked on his quill thoughtfully for a while, contemplating where exactly he was going to start. He took a deep breath then started to scribble out his thoughts to Ginny, hoping he was making the right choice in telling her all this. It was almost night by the time Harry finished the final sentence of his confessional to Ginny. He was still angry about what had occurred earlier, but by writing it down if felt as if a large weight was lifted from his shoulders. He rolled the letter up and gave it to Hedwig, who had just returned from hunting. “Okay girl, this letter’s for Ginny again. Don’t wake her if she’s asleep but make sure she gets it, and only her. Peck Ron to death it he tries to take it from you.” The white owl nipped his finger affectionately as if in understanding, then leapt up to the windowsill, spread her wings and took flight. Harry sighed deeply, hoping that Ginny would understand what he was feeling, and maybe could tell him what to do to help get rid of these dreams. As he pulled on his pyjamas and crawled into his bed, he thought despairingly of the unsettling dreams he would soon become prey to once again. At least in real life you could run away from the bad thing, but in dreams you had to sit and watch the event play out, trapped in your own mind. Ginny woke up to a white owl tugging on one of her braids. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and yawned deeply. “Hello Hedwig. What do you have for me?” she asked the owl stroking its head. The owl dropped the tightly rolled parchment, and then hooted softly. “I’ll write back, I promise; I care about him as much as you do.” This seemed to satisfy Hedwig, as she hopped up to the window and took off. I hope he’s okay; Harry usually doesn’t write this often. Two letters in one week sure is a lot for him. Gin, First off, don’t worry. I’m okay. I just wanted to write you again because I feel that I can tell you stuff that I can’t tell Hermione or your brother without having them both go into some form of panic. The last time I got a letter from you was the first night I didn’t have some sort of nightmare, so thank you for writing me. I still can’t get rid of them, but every once and a while I will get a nice dream of me having a picnic on some hill somewhere. It’s really quite nice and quiet.

On another, unrelated topic, what do you know about your brother’s incredible crush on ‘Mione? I was thinking that we might be able to prod them together in some way or another. Maybe seeing them squirm will help me get over these dreams. Anyway, if you happen to come up with an ingenious plan worthy of the twins, write me back and maybe we could put it into action. I can’t wait till I can come back to the Burrow; it’s the closest thing I have to a home. I hope it will be soon, but with Dumbledore and the bloody Order breathing down my neck I might not come back too soon. Maybe you, Hermione, and Ron could work on that for me. Well, Aunt Petunia is yelling at me to go and clean the dishes. I have to go, I guess, even though they’re petrified now that I can do magic whenever I want. I think I might just wash the dishes with magic, just to give my aunt a heart attack. Harry Once again, Ginny had tears in her eyes from reading one of Harry’s letters. He can be a complete moron sometimes, but every once and a while he says the right thing. She looked outside her window at the perfect green hills in the background, the same green hills that were in her dreams, and from what she could tell, Harry’s too. She looked at the letter again and smiled. He’d actually called her Gin’, she hated the name when anyone else used it but for some reason it sounded amazing when he said it, so she had written him back and told him to call her that. So Harry had noticed Ron and Hermione’s little crush? Not that it’s hard to see, I mean a blind cave troll could see that they like each other. I’ll have to ask Fred and George if they have any ideas, I’m sure they’d be more than willing to torture their little brother. Maybe if we can get Ron and Hermione together then maybe Harry will make his move. Well, I guess I’ll have to wait and see. Ginny sighed, mentally reminded herself to write a letter back to Harry that night, and moved away from the window and down the stairs to get breakfast before Ron ate all of it. At the same moment that Ginny was rushing down the stairs to get some bacon, Harry was trying to steal some as well, or at least a scrap of toast. Dudley had been allowed to go off the diet because Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia called it barbarically cruel, and even went so far as to threaten the school with a lawsuit for child abuse. Although the Dursleys avoided Harry like the plague ever since Harry threw his uncle down the stairs, he was still denied food and expected to do his chores. The one upside to all this was that he was never sore anymore from the beatings he used to get from Vernon. The food problem wasn’t too big of a bother for him. He just got up earlier than the rest of the house and wouldslink down the stairs and into the spotless kitchen to steal some bread, or leftovers from last night’s dinner. While he wasn’t starving, Harry’s body still showed the signs of hunger, which, coupled with his grief and a teenager’s growth spurts, gave his face a very wan complexion.

This morning Harry managed to make a few pieces of toast and get a glass of orange juice without alerting the Dursleys, and was now nibbling on them in his bedroom as he studied a defense book labelled Mastering the Minions of the Dark, which mostly taught how to defend against dark creatures or beings. Harry had just finished an interesting chapter on bewitched statues and figures, which unnervingly reminded him of when Dumbledore had bewitched the fountain to protect him in the Department of Mysteries. The only difference was that at that time it wasn’t used for evil, but for good. Harry finished off his toast and swigged the last of the orange juice, closed the book and headed over towards the window. He couldn’t see anyone, but he knew that there was an Auror right outside the front door, waiting to tail him the moment he left. The fact that he was being followed didn’t upset him nearly as much as the fact that Dumbledore was still doing things behind his back, even though they directly concerned him. He thought that after the confrontation in his office only three weeks ago, the headmaster would have opened up a little more. Harry sighed, fogging up the window, as he remembered that if Dumbledore came to talk to the Massey’s he would have to talk to him again, and do so in a cordial manner. He didn’t want to break a window, or catch something on fire because he let his anger get out of hand. That would definitely not set a good example of the wizarding world. Harry’s mind now turned to Ginny, and the letter he’d sent her. He hoped that it wasn’t going to worry her to know that he still had the nightmares, and that he wanted to come back to the Burrow. For some reason, writing her was therapeutic in a way, just as swinging and talking with Emma was. Harry had written to Ginny a few times now, and every time he did so, the weight of the prophecy seemed to lessen. I just wish I could tell them about the prophecy; I want to be able to explain why I’ve almost gotten them all killed multiple times. I want them to know that I don’t have a choice. Harry knew that it was a greedy thought, but just once he’d like to not feel all alone. Ever since Dumbledore had revealed Harry’s fate, his world had shrunk down to just himself. No one could understand what he had to deal with. Over the past few weeks, Harry had seriously contemplated breaking off his friendships with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He didn’t want to put them in harms way, and he knew that by his being their best friend, they were sure to be on the top of Voldemort’s most-hated list. After suffering through Sirius’ death, Harry didn’t know if he had it in him to watch another member of his surrogate family be murdered, let alone know that it was his fault that they were killed. However, for some reason he couldn’t bring himself to cut his ties. Every time he came close to sending the letters of explanation, the idea of never going back the Burrow or spending hours playing chess with Ron and Hermione in front of the commons fire halted this action. He was brought back to the now when a flash of fire and light came out of nowhere by his bed. Harry spun around, wand already drawn and pointed in the direction of the

disruption. His hand relaxed though, after seeing what it was that had appeared. Sitting regally on his bedpost was Fawkes, Dumbledore’s phoenix. Harry smiled at the elegant bird; he felt a great tie to Fawkes, asFawkes had saved his life from basilisk venom in the Chamber of Secrets. “’lo Fawkes,” Harry said softly, holding out his hand and letting him hop up onto it. The phoenix crooned softly, and Harry’s mind became completely at ease abolishing the previous grief and sorrow he’d been wallowing in. He stroked the bird’s head softly several times before noticing it had a tightly rolled piece of parchment in its talons. He pulled the letter from his grasp and set him back on the bedpost so as to allow him to read the letter. Once unfurled, Harry squinted at the small loop-de-do cursive that he knew all too well. HarryI have just received word from Alastor about your confrontation. First off, let me say how sorry I am I have not told you everything. Alas, I am still trying to overcome the secrecy I have built around you for your protection. I promise I will strive to tell you more explicitly of what is going on. Furthermore, I also understand that you have befriended a young girl by the name of Miss. Emmaline Massey. She is indeed a witch, and has just received her letter of acceptance. Alastor told me that you wishfor me to speak to her. I can completely understand and am willing to help. I would be honoured if you went with me to their house this Thursday so we can betterexplain the wizarding world to her together. I also see it as a time when we may be able to sort out a few other problems that may be bothering you. Please respond via Fawkes, for Fudge is still keeping an annoyingly close watch on all owl post coming in and out of Hogwarts. Your humble servant, Albus Dumbledore Harry reread the letter to take in all the information. He then sat down on his bed and once again began petting Fawkes. While the letter certainly helped take the edge off of his resentment towards Dumbledore, he couldn’t help but still feel somewhat bitter towards his headmaster. I just wish I could be told everything. I mean,am I not the one who has to fight Voldemort?So why is everyone keeping secrets from me when I need to know what he’s doing the most? Harry’s scorn rose once again, and the mirror in front of his bed started to shake somewhat. Fawkes called softly once again, nuzzling the side of his head. His anger subsided as the phoenix’s calming effect took hold. “Thank you Fawkes. I guess I should write that reply, shouldn’t I?” Harry stood up, rustled around for a piece of parchment and rapidly penned out his response. Headmaster, I’ll meet you at the Massey’s house at 11 AM on this Thursday; if this is acceptable you

don’t need to reply. Concerning the other topic you mentioned, I’ll be willing to discuss it with you when we meet. Until then, Harry Harry forced himself to be as polite and curt as he could when responding back to the headmaster, although he wanted to write a scathing note worthy of Rita Skeeter. He held himself back knowing it would do no one any good to get in a public fight with Dumbledore. He rolled the note up and placed it in Fawkes’ talons. The phoenix called out once more, and then disappeared in a flash of light and flames. Harry sighed again when he heard Uncle Vernon come marching up the stairs in a huff. In his anger, he seemingly forgot the last time he caught Harry in a bad mood, and stormed in and headed right for the boy. His pudgy hands extended and aimed at Harry’s neck. Harry held up his hand, palm outwards, and just looked at Uncle Vernon with a rueful smile. “Not right now, Uncle Vernon. Actually, it would be best if you never did it again.” Vernon had come to a sudden halt just a foot away from Harry and was now hovering a good foot off the floor, looking at the boy with the utmost incredulity. “Bye-Bye” Harry said as he pointed to the door with his hand and the fat man went sailing through it. Apparently you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, or in this case a fat uncle a lesson, Harry thought to himself with mild amusement. While Madam Bones had warned him about misusing his allowance to do magic, he simply wrote this little incident off to protecting his own neck, literally. The rest of the week went by agonizingly slow as Harry awaited Dumbledore’s meeting with the Masseys. He had informed Joy and Emma that the headmaster would be visiting with them that Thursday, and for the rest of the week, Emma was bouncing off the walls in excitement for her upcoming meeting with another wizard. That didn’t mean that she was bored of Harry in the least,though. In fact, whenever they were alone, Emma would ask him to do some magic. He kept it relatively tame: levitating this or that or catching things spontaneously on fire. Joy was also enthralled by Harry’s abilities; occasionally she would stop what she was doing just to watch Harry show Emma a new little trick. She had never seen anything like what Harry was doing, and she knew now that this wasn’t just some elaborate trick or gag; that raven-haired boy really was a wizard. And from what she’d seen so far, a pretty damned good one too. One morning, Harry had come over, and he’d explained to her about how Emma could have possibly become a witch. One was that she herself was just a squid, or squib; some word Joy had never heard used before, and that her parents never told her. Another possibility was that Emma’s father, Harold, had been a wizard but had never told anyone. The last one,which Joy found easiest to believe, was that Emma was a muddle, muffle, muggle, something-born witch; someone who was just magical for some weird reason. Even if this was the reason for her amazing ability, it still left Joy somewhat anxious.

How in the world would she tell the school, let alone everyone else that Emma just left for a boarding school for Witches and Wizards?No one would believe her if she did, and instead they would probably throw her in the psychiatric ward if she said so. Harry, however, insisted that she tell no one. Apparently the wizarding world was very secretive, which was probably why she had never heard of them before the letter. When Thursday came around, Joy was so nervous awaiting the Headmaster that she started to obsessively cleaning the house just like Aunt Petunia did. She was panicky about meeting the headmaster of the school that her daughter had been let into, and didn’t want to change his mind about accepting Emma. Emma, however, was completely the opposite; Joy had never seen her daughter this happy since her husband had died four years ago. It warmed her heart that her daughter would finally fit in, and have friends. Harry arrived at around 10:30 that day, having come late because his uncle had forced him to wash the car before Harry left. Something about the boy’s relationship with his family seemed odd. Whenever Joy mentioned his aunt or uncle, he would flinch involuntarily. She always wondered about it, but not being a busybody, she didn’t look into it. Joy, Harry, and Emma spent the thirty minutes before the headmaster’s awaited arrival at 11:00 sitting in the living room, chatting mildly about the basics of wizarding etiquette. Harry had told them all about robes, and wands, and even a little bit about owl post. He was now telling them, with quite a lot of enthusiasm, about Quidditch. He had just started into the different players on a Quidditch team when the doorbell rang merrily. Joy jumped as if she’d been electrocuted, and Emma sprinted towards the door to meet her new headmaster. Harry stood up and led Joy to the front door; the mother was obviously nervous and Harry was curious to see how she’d react to Dumbledore’s undoubtedly peculiar fashion sense. Emma opened the door to reveal, standing in his most luridly purple robes, Dumbledore. He smiled genuinely at Emma, and then took on an expression that appeared to be sorrow when he caught sight of Harry. “Hello little miss, you must be Emmaline Massey?” Dumbledore said to the ecstatic little girl, and then turned to Joy and held out his hand, “and you must be Mrs. Joy Massey if I am not mistaken. I am Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” Joy was undoubtedly shaken by his initial appearance, but took the wizard’s hand in hers and shook it with great kindness. Although his clothing appeared to be a bit amiss, this Dumbledore character seemed to be perfectly kind. “While Harry here has undoubtedly told you somewhat about the school that your daughter has been accepted into, I am hoping to clarify things, and to tell you a little more about the current state of things in the wizarding world. Shall we go somewhere a little more comfortable? There is much to tell you, and alas, not all of it is good.” Dumbledore stepped inside curtly and followed Joy and Emma to the living room. Harry walked beside him but did not say a word to the headmaster. Dumbledore noticed the

seemingly icy demeanour Harry had developed, looked over to the boy and smiled sadly. Once everyone was settled in the living room, Dumbledore, much to Emma and Joy’s surprise, conjured tea and biscuits for them all to nibble on. “Now that we are settled, I see no sense in delaying any longer.” Dumbledore smiled, “So Harry, what have you discussed with the Masseys so far?” Harry listed off that he’d explained a bit about secrecy, wands, magic, how Emma might’ve become a witch, what the school was like, and the basics of Quidditch. “Ah, well he seems to have done a fine job of explaining the basics. I’ll try to fill in all the blanks, and then tell you about the wizarding world right now.” Harry flinched at the last part, knowing how mild a euphemism he was using to describe Voldemort’s reign of destruction. Hopefully, the revelation of the wizarding world being in such a state of turmoil would not dampen Emma and Joy’s enthusiasm. Harry crossed his fingers and turned his attention towards Dumbledore, who was explaining the basics of the school. The headmaster spent well over an hour explaining the niceties of the school, even going so far as to describe the “wonderful assortment of hidden pass ways and rooms.” When the topic of the school was finally exhausted, the attention turned to the wizarding world itself and what was currently going on. Harry saw the headmaster visibly straighten as he began. “Now, onto the less pleasant facts of our world, I fear,” Dumbledore smiled softly at the little girl who’d been completely enthralled by the discussion so far. “Now this is not intended to discourage you from sending Miss Massey here to Hogwarts, but currently our world is at war with itself.” This was when Joy piped up, “but didn’t you say that there weren’t that many wizards? I mean it couldn’t be much of a war when only a few hundred are fighting.” Dumbledore sighed, “I wish that were true, but I am afraid it isn’t. There is a very evil wizard by the name of Lord Voldemort, who, with his faithful followers the Death Eaters, has been spreading panic and fear within the wizarding community. Now there have been many dark wizards over the centuries, but this one is especially so. This is the second time he has been terrorizing people.” He said grimly. “What do you mean his second time?” Emma asked nervously. “Well Lord Voldemort was very strong sixteen years ago, and was doing the same things he is doing currently, but he was defeated and his rule was destroyed.” Dumbledore stated, smiling proudly at Harry. “How was he defeated? I mean, how could someone have defeated someone as powerful as you said he was?” Joy asked; her fear had been piqued by the headmaster’s latest revelation. She was wondering if it was the right idea to send her daughter to school during a war.

Dumbledore turned towards Harry his eyes twinkling mischievously. “He was defeated by a young boy, his parents were unfortunately murdered by Voldemort, but somehow this baby vanquished this dark lord. Although Voldemort tried to kill him, his spell backfired and all that happened was that the boy received a lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead. No one is quite sure why, or what happened, but somehow he brought about Voldemort’s end. For well over eleven years Voldemort was thought to be dead, but we were given quite the wakeup call five years ago when Voldemort returned. The same young boy who destroyed him the first time foiled his plans once more, this time at the age of eleven. Over the next four years he continued to fight Voldemort in different settings and ways. He is the youngest person who has ever survived a fight with Voldemort, let alone four different times. He is actually a current sixth year at Hogwarts right now, and is by far one of the best Quidditch seekers I have ever seen pass through the school; better even, some may say, than his father.” Harry’s cheeks glowed fiery red under the headmaster’s embarrassing praise. “What’s his name?” Emma asked quizzically, in complete wonder how a little boy could defeat such an evil person so many times. Dumbledore turned once again towards Harry, looked deep into his eyes, and then proudly said, “His name, if I’m not mistaken is Harry James Potter.” “WHAT!” Joy and Emma both shouted at the same time swirling in their seats to face the embarrassed boy. Harry buried his face in his hands. Well he couldn’t have done that any more subtlety. I sound like some sort of prophet or something. Dumbledore chuckled softly as if he could hear Harry’s thoughts. Harry raised his head out of his hands to look over at Emma and Joy who were both staring at him incredulously. For Harry this was right up there with his most embarrassing moments in his life. He was frustrated at Dumbledore for telling the story in such a way that it made him appear to be something he wasn’t. Right about now he wished he had his invisibility cloak with him so he could disappear forever. “Why didn’t you tell us Harry?” Emma said, sounding a little put out that her best friend had not told her something this important. Harry got up and sat down next to Emma and put an arm around her comfortingly. “I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to scare you or worry you. It’s not exactly normal for a 16 year old to fight the world’s most powerful dark lord. And it’s summer, I just want to be like any other sixteen year old right now, because once I get back to school everyone stares at me for my stupid scar and my over sensationalized stories.” Harry ended in a somewhat defeated voice. Joy placed a comforting hand on the boy’s shoulder and Emma hugged him. “It’s alright Harry, we wouldn’t have cared, I mean if we could handle the sudden fact that Emma is a witch then I’m sure we could have handled your story too. And you’re right; you should have every right to live a normal life not one that’s in the spotlight.” Joy said in a comforting voice.

“I completely agree with Mrs. Massey here, I believe that you should enjoy this summer to its fullest and not worry about what is to come.” Dumbledore put stress on the last words. “You are first and foremost a student and a teenager, not an Auror, and it would do well for you to pursue what other teenagers do. While I cannot stress how important it is for you to stay wary you should also relax for, unfortunately, it may be the only time you have for a long time.” Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled in a way Harry had never seen before; they were not merry but morose. When he stopped to think about it the Hogwarts headmaster had never looked this worn down. Joy sensed that there was a large amount of sorrow between the two wizards in front of her, and decided that they needn’t bring it up again just for their sake. “Well Mr. Dumbledore, thank you so much for meeting Emmaline and I. We cannot tell you how much it means to us that you would take time out of your schedule, especially when there is a war going on. I’ll make sure Harry is acting like a normal teen, but I’ll also make sure that he is safe. I don’t know anything about spells or wands, but I can promise you that I’ll protect him. He means too much to Emma for me to let him get harmed.” Joy stated, smiling happily at the two children. Dumbledore stood up and shook Joy’s hand congenially. “The same goes for you Mrs. Massey, I will have an Auror posted by your house to ensure that you and your daughter will not come into any sort of harm.” Dumbledore smiled at the little girl and then turned to Harry, “Harry? Might we have a word while you go back to your house?” Harry just nodded fearing what new revelation Dumbledore would have for him. “Excellent! Thank you for your hospitality and I will expect to see you, Miss Emmaline, at Hogwarts on September 1st.” Dumbledore stepped out the door after ensuring there weren’t any muggles around, and Harry followed closely waving goodbye to Emma and telling her he’d meet her tomorrow at the park. “Harry, thank you for having me come today. I think it was best that they were told as much as possible here instead of Emmaline learning it all second hand from her peers. This year the entrance rate has actually dropped significantly because parents are too afraid to send their children away from their sight, even if it is safer at Hogwarts.” At this Dumbledore stopped walking and turned to face Harry, “Harry, I meant what I said in there. You really are an amazing person facing adversity most people could never imagine, and overcoming it with a sense of style that I don’t even think I have. I also meant what I said when I told you that you had to have a normal summer, relax. If you’ve noticed there haven’t been any more public disturbances by Tom after the Ministry incident, sadly this is only the calm before the storm.” The headmaster continued walking, speaking in a softer voice, “I really and truly am sorry that I have continued to snub you. I am still teaching myself that I cannot protect you from everything without an explanation. I will strive to tell you more now, although, because you have still not yet mastered occlumency I cannot tell you everything.” Reaching the front step of the Dursley’s house Dumbledore came to a stop and placed his hands on Harry’s shoulders. “Before I leave you let me say two more things. One; it is not your fault; you couldn’t have done anything to prevent your godfather from going to the Ministry that night. And secondly; this is not only your battle, use your friend’s support that is why they are here, they care for you, especially young Miss Weasley, she

has been most distraught over your current situation.” Harry’s mouth was agape. How does he always know everything? “There are more ways than one to overcome grief Harry; you just need to find the one that suits you.” Dumbledore winked over his spectacles, turned, and without saying another word apparated away. The next two weeks for Harry were filled with early morning walks to the swings, intense hours of defensive training, and the now commonly occurring dream of him and a girl having a picnic on a green hill. While Harry didn’t have any particular qualms about these dreams they left him wanting more every time he woke up, for some reason this dream settled his fears and grief better than everything else, besides swinging with Emma and writing to Ginny. While he still couldn’t make out the girls face he noticed that slowly but surely the dream was becoming sharper, more defined. It wasn’t really blurry anymore but still things were a bit indistinct. Something that was bugging him was that he knew the girls laugh from somewhere, he’d spent hours trying to recall where he’d heard it but it eluded him. Sometimes he would wake up from the dream standing up, other times he was hugging his pillow as if it were a person. He also knew these weren’t just normal dreams either, they were too real. He could feel the grass on his legs and hands, and when he ate a strawberry he could actually taste it. He couldn’t make heads or tales of this but he was happy this time the dream didn’t involve long winding hallways or an endless procession of friends and family falling through the veil in the Department of Mysteries. In fact, Harry couldn’t recall a time when he had actually been excited about a dream. Along with Ginny’s now almost daily correspondence, Harry had received a few letters from both Ron and Hermione telling him about the different things that were going on in the wizarding world. The one thing that frightened him however was that neither of them had heard anything about Voldemort or the Death Eaters in the past few weeks. The only thing that was closely related was something Ron had said about Fudge trying to salvage his career by randomly searching houses and arresting suspected ‘threats’. Although the ministry Aurors had apparently arrested over fifty people, not a single one of them had been actually declared a Death Eater. From what Harry could tell Fudge was, politically, on his deathbed. His reputation had taken quite a hit after Voldemort waltzed right into the ministry itself after saying that he was all just a figment of Harry’s imagination. Fudge’s career was poised to topple and Harry would have no ill feelings if it were he himself who gave the last shove. Before Harry knew it, it was July 30th, the day before his birthday. He hadn’t even remembered about it until Errol and Pig came flying in together carrying a very large box filled not only with a chocolate cake from Mrs. Weasley, but a smaller box of sweets from Fred and George. He set the sweets aside and reminded himself only to feed them to Dudley. He also received individual packages from Hermione, Ron, Hagrid, Lupin, and Ginny. Everyone sent him either large amounts of sweets and cakes, or books on defensive, or

white magic. Ginny had sent him a small leather bound book, which held, when he opened it, pictures of Harry with Ron, Hermione, the Weasley’s, Lupin, the Order, and to Harry’s anguish a small picture of him and Sirius grinning stupidly at the camera during Christmas break. Harry’s heart ached as he recalled the best Christmas of his life, when he was with everyone at Grimmauld Place, and there wasn’t a prophecy to worry about. He turned over to the last page of the book to find a short letter to him from Ginny. Harry, I remember you showing me the photo album Hagrid made you of your parents; I noticed that there weren’t many of your friends or your new family, so I decided to make you another. I asked Colin to owl me a bunch of really good photos and I sorted through them and found the best ones. I hope that you think this is a good present; I wasn’t really sure what to get you, seeing as you sure as hell don’t need anymore defense books or broom stuff. You can send it back if you don’t like it. Happy Birthday Ginny Harry was touched that Ginny cared enough about him to go through all this trouble just for a birthday present. The photos in the small book brought a smile to his face, he especially liked the on of all the Weasley’s, and all of the Order of Christmas last year. They looked up at Harry and waved happily, as if there wasn’t a war going on when this was taken. Harry then reeled when he remember a similar picture that Moody had shown him that same Christmas. In it were all the members of the old Order of the Phoenix. Harry looked down once again and closed his eyes, praying that unlike the other photo all of these people would still be alive in a few years. For the rest of the day Harry played with Emma, showing her the photo album, and bringing over some of the tamer prank candy that Fred and George had created. They both laughed when Joy accidentally ate one of the Canary Creams and burst into a giant yellow canary, complete with realistic chirp. Once the charm finally wore off Joy too joined in laughing about the prank. For his Birthday Emma had baked a cake all by herself. She carried it out while singing happy birthday to him, then told him to make a wish and blow out all the candles. I wish this war could be over, and I wish that I could have a family. Harry thought with his eyes squeezed together, and then blew hard at the candles. Emma took the one that went out last and handed it to Harry. “When you go home tonight take this candle and place it under your pillow. If you do it will make your wish come true!” The little girl chimed, thrusting the candle into his hands as he was walking out the front door.

“Okay Em, I do want these wishes to come true. Thanks Mrs. Massey! I had a wonderful birthday,” Harry said to Joy as she hugged him tightly then wished him goodbye. Harry didn’t head directly home, instead he walked around the park once or twice thinking about random, pointless things. His feet carried him without thinking, eventually taking him to the front of the Dursley’s house. He sighed and looked down at his watch. It was only 9:00 at night; he would have to just sit in his room and try and go to bed. He thought of taking another walk, but his better judgment told him nighttime and a dark alley don’t mix too well, not to mention what Moody would do to him if he did indeed decide to go for a walk. So solemnly, he resigned to his fate, and walked up the front path to the door. “Oy! Potter, happy birthday mate!” Someone invisible whispered as a heavy package thudded in front of the door. Harry immediately recognized the voice as that of Tonks, and spun around wildly searching for her and her invisibility cloak. She didn’t appear but whispered once more, “Sorry, can’t take off the cloak, Moody would skin me alive ‘revealing myself to the enemy’, sorry you didn’t have a great birthday. Next year though we’ll throw you a huge party to celebrate your coming of age.” Harry looked in the direction of where the voice was coming and smiled, “Thanks Tonks, it’s nice to know that it’s you keeping watch and not someone like Dawlish.” Harry picked up the poorly wrapped package and tore off the paper revealing a small book titled, 101 Ways to Decorate Your Room by Martha Stewart. Harry was shocked, “Martha Stewart is a witch!” “You bet, how else do you think she figured out about those stocks? She’s not a very good one though, just can make things look pretty. I figured you’re in your room enough that you should at least make it look nice.” Tonks whispered from behind the begonias. Harry smiled again in her direction, “Thanks Tonks, its perfect. You’re right my room could use a little bit of a personal touch. Tell everyone hi for me, and tell them I said thanks for their gifts too.” “Sweet dreams Harry,” Tonks whispered from farther away as he headed inside. Harry smiled, knowing that his dreams were definitely going to be nice, especially when it came to the part of him kissing the girl in the dream. He just wished he could figure out who it was. That night Harry’s dream once again returned, it started as usual, with him walking up and sitting down next to the pretty girl and smiling. They then had a giant picnic together talking and laughing about anything and everything. She was so amazingly beautiful; although he couldn’t see her clearly his mind told him that she was breathtaking. Every time he tried to focus on seeing who it was her image just got blurrier which frustrated Harry to no end, he just wanted to finally see the girl. It was just as infuriating as the

endless halls of the Department of Mysteries, only much more pleasing to experience. He knew the dream was once again ending; they’d finished dessert and were now just looking at each other. Please just let me see her, I want to know who it is I’m dreaming about. The girl leaned forward as if to kiss him, Harry tried to focus his eyes but all they could make out now was a blur of red. She was now just an inch away from his face and slowly getting closer. He’d never actually kissed her, waking just moments before, shaking his head in frustration. This time however he didn’t wake up and his lips connected with hers. That exact moment everything became crystal clear, he looked up and saw her brown eyes and red hair and he pulled back in shock. At the same time he was pulling back he woke up sitting straight up with a rather heavy weight on his legs. He heard a muffled gasp of surprise as he fumbled to get his glasses on the table. His feet were tangled in the bed cover and the weight on top of him wasn’t helping matters, it was right on his stomach and also seemed to be moving. He finally managed to grab his glasses, but in the process knocked over the lamp causing the whole thing to break. He groaned inwardly, this much noise was sure to draw the wrath of Uncle Vernon. Whatever was on top of him slid to the side and came into Harry’s view. He gasped and so did the girl. It was Ginny Weasley, sitting on the edge of the bed in her pajamas looking quite flustered as if just waking suddenly. “Harry!” She managed to stutter out before looking down at what she was wearing and began to blush. “Uh, hi Ginny,” He said awkwardly trying to avert his eyes, although for some reason that seemed to be very difficult. “WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS GOING ON IN THERE BOY!” Uncle Vernon shouted through the door. Thankfully Harry had started to magically lock it so he couldn’t barge in and beat him. “Nothing, just practicing a new spell,” he knew that would shut him up and he was right. Harry stood up, and then realized he was wearing just his briefs, grabbed the blanket and covered himself. Ginny giggled. “I think your uncle said it best, what the bloody hell is going on? One minute I was asleep dreaming and then the next second I wake up on top of you.” She said in complete disbelief, trying to rub the sleep out of her eyes. “That’s what happened to me too, I was asleep and dreaming and right before I woke up I…” Harry stopped, his dream now coming back with amazing clarity. He turned to face Ginny. “What was your dream about Gin?” Her stomach clenched a little at Harry calling her Gin, she wouldn’t let anyone else call her that but for some reason she liked it when Harry called her that. “Well I was dreaming

about a picnic with a boy, except I couldn’t figure out who he was, but right before I woke up I figured out it was…” She stopped too, her dream coming back; she stared at Harry in realization “… It was you.” “That was the same dream that I had, except I couldn’t see the girl, but at the end we were about to kiss I saw her, and it was, you” Harry stood stock still, his blanket slipping down his waste. At that moment there was a loud crack and someone apparated in Harry’s room. Harry spun around, with his wand pointed at the intruder. “Whoa, whoa there Harry! It’s me Remus, calm down.” The man stepped out of the shadows to reveal it really was Lupin with his hands raised high to show he wasn’t holding a wand. “What’s going on Harry, all your wards were tripped every single one. There are still alarms going off at headquarters. We thought that someone had broken through…” Lupin stopped as his eyes landed on Ginny, she smiled and waved feebly. “Er…hello Professor Lupin,” she said in an embarrassed voice. “What is going on, how did you get her Ginny?” Remus turned a humorously suspicious eye at Harry, then back to Ginny just in her pajamas. “Not me,” Harry said throwing his hands up in innocence, “We were wondering the exact the same thing.” “One second we were dreaming, then the next I was sitting on top of Harry in my pajamas. I some how got apparated onto his bed!” She said exasperatedly. Lupin just shook his head in amusement and started to chuckle. “I’m sure your mother will be just ecstatic when she hears the news, you take after James, Harry, redheads.” “Ecstatic about what?” Ginny asked nervously, Lupin’s laugh was setting her on edge. He sat down on the edge of the bed, in front of the two very tired teenagers, then looked up and smiled at them, “Well, I don’t know much about it, but Dumbledore warned us it could happen.” Harry bristled at the mention of Dumbledore and him telling everyone but him about something. “What would happen?” “As I said I don’t really know all about it, I just know that it’s really powerful. Dumbledore told us that once you started to become a man it was possible that something along these lines would occur.” He stopped for a moment, smiling once again. “It’s only been know to happen twice in recorded history. Once with Merlin and Gwendoloena, that’s his wife, and Godric Gryffindor and Rowena Ravenclaw, both times when the wizarding world was in a state of utter turmoil. It helped them win their battles; it made them stronger, both mentally and physically.” He stopped for effect. “Well, what is it called?” Harry asked impatiently, he hoped it wasn’t another prophecy.

Remus looked at them once again, Albus was right, they are a perfect couple, and Harry already looks somewhat healthier. I guess it won’t hurt to tell them, they’ll figure out one way or another. “Well, it’s been called many things, in Latin its Cordis Catena, but its most famous name is the Heartbond.” The two teens just stared at Lupin dumbly. He sighed and tried to think of another way to explain it. I’m not an expert at this, what I’ve told them is everything I know about it right now. They will need to know more about it if they’re going to be bonded for the rest of their lives. Maybe I could take them to headquarters, let Dumbledore explain things. Lupin thought over it for a second then came to his conclusion. “Ok, here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to head over to headquarters really quickly and see if Dumbledore can come over here and explain it. I really am not the one you want to be asking about this whole thing, and there are a lot of details that I’m sure only he knows of.” Ginny spoke up first, finally snapping out of her astonishment and confusion. “Do you promise that he will tell us everything? I mean from what I’ve heard from Harry the headmaster seems to be keeping us in the dark on a lot of things.” Harry was touched that Ginny would stand up for him, but knew it was fruitless; Dumbledore was too used to keeping things a secret. He would never tell them anything more than what was necessary. “It’s okay Gin, it’d just be nice for him to come here and tell us what is going on. I mean you said, Lupin that he knew that this could happen for a long time. So I’m sure he’s had plenty of time to research it.” The sarcasm in his voice seemed to drop the temperature of the bedroom just a little. Lupin just shook his head, he didn’t know exactly what had passed between Harry and Dumbledore after the Department of Mysteries, but it had made a profound effect on the boy’s trust of the headmaster. He’d thought that Dumbledore treated Harry like his own son, trying to take care of him. It wasn’t a secret at Hogwarts that Dumbledore adored the boy. It shocked him to know that a riff had grown between the two. “Well Harry I can’t promise anything, but I’ll leave right now and try to get him to come here and explain things to you two. All I know for certain is that you will make an excellent couple, just like James and Lily.” He smiled softly, patted Harry on the shoulder and made for the door. “Wait, Lupin!” Harry started as he was heading out of his room. “What about the wards, you said that someone broke through them, are you sure they’re still there?” Lupin laughed softly, “Yes I’m quite sure, it took me quite a while to apparate into you room, even with the passes Dumbledore gave me. Now if I can’t get the headmaster to come I’ll be back shortly, meanwhile, you two don’t get into any trouble.” He winked, and then disapperated with a ‘pop’. Harry turned to Ginny, and smiled foolishly. “So, ummm… how has you’re summer been so far?”

Ginny just laughed, “It’s been okay, you know that though silly, remember how you’ve been writing me for the past month and a half?” “Oh yeah, right.” He stuttered embarrassingly, “about that, thank you.” Ginny was about to speak up, but he cut her off, “No really I mean it, I know you didn’t have to do it, but you really helped me through a tough time, I just feel comfortable talking to you.” Ginny now had tears in her eyes, she hadn’t seen Harry for over a month, but it felt as if they had become unbelievably close. She had never felt like this before, she cared for him, she loved him. Harry stepped closer towards her and she stepped closer towards him. Harry was about to say something, but she just stepped closer until she could look right into his emerald green eyes, they seemed to sparkle with the light of the moon coming through the window. Before she knew it, she was kissing him, not passionate, not lustful, just loving. Harry was surprised but happy; he too had felt the draw and had begun to get closer to Ginny as he spoke. He thought he knew what love was like when he and Cho were first going out, but he threw that notion out the window. Something told him Ginny was always there for him. The kiss lasted for what could have been a second, or an hour, both drawing strength from the other. They both had wounds that needed healing from over the past years. Harry had never had anyone to really and truly love him, and now that he did his entire body seemed to relax. The worry of the prophecy, as well as the death of Sirius slipped from his mind for the first time in a very long while. Their kiss was broken abruptly by the noise of a soft crack, and a flash of light. There before them stood Dumbledore smiling amusedly. Harry was so shocked he jumped back from Ginny as if she were on fire, tripped on the blanket which had slipped from his waist onto the floor, and fell back onto the floor. Ginny too jumped at the sudden interruption of their first kiss, but managed to stay upright although she did need to lean on the foot board of the bed for support. Dumbledore just looked at the two teens and chuckled, “I am sorry to interrupt you two, but Remus has told me that there may have been a new development.” Harry groaned as he rubbed his head from the fall, then noticed he was still just in his boxers and struggled to cover himself up once again. Ginny flushed red, feeling as if the headmaster knew what she and Harry had been doing a second before he appeared. “If you call Ginny suddenly apperating on top of me in my sleep a ‘new development’ then yes, I think you are right in saying so.” Harry said as he slumped onto the bed next to Ginny. Dumbledore just laughed and conjured a big leather chair for him to sit in, and three bottles of butterbeer for them to drink. “Well I believe your old professor told you the basics of the Heartbond, he got me in hopes of telling you the intricacies, which I dare say are many. So you already know that both Merlin and Godric Gryffindor had the same

thing. Do you know anything about the bond itself?” “Well Lupin said that it bonded Harry and me, he said we would grow much faster physically and mentally. He also said it would help us win our battles, hopefully we won’t have to have any more battles, one fight with Tom is enough for me.” Harry shifted uncomfortably, and then stared pleadingly at Dumbledore and then at Ginny. The headmaster seemed to understand his predicament. “Harry, while it is your choice in the end, I would be willing to tell her for you.” Ginny looked inquisitively at Harry, raising her eyebrow. “Thank you headmaster, but I think I’ll wait until after you tell us about this Heartbond.” “Very well,” Dumbledore resituated himself in his chair and began again, “now what I am going to tell you is all from my research, there hasn’t been a book or scroll written on the Heartbond, just myths, fables. The Heartbond was first scene in action when it linked Gwendoloena to Merlin, when he was fighting Morgana. It is said that because of this bond that was forged from pure love, Merlin’s powers increased startlingly, allowing him to vanquish the dark witch. In Godric Gryffindor’s case, he was bonded with another one of the other founders of Hogwarts, Rowena Ravenclaw. Again it is said that because of the bond Godric was able to defeat the dark wizard of their time Hlothere. It would now appear that you two have been Heartbonded, and I need not tell you who it is in hopes of defeating. If my research is correct, you two will begin to start growing exceedingly fast, both physically and magically. Apparently Merlin and Godric both ended up being the most powerful wizards of their times because of this bond, the ladies too were strengthened. Now there is a bit of a snag that we will have to overcome. Now that you two are bonded you will have to stay in relatively close relationship to each other in order for you to grow. While I do not know the full extent of that requirement I am quite sure that it will require one of you to stay with the other for the rest of the summer and the school year.” Harry and Ginny shared surprised but excited looks. “Now I do know that this part is true because of your little outing tonight Miss Weasley. The moment Harry turned 16 the bond seemed to go into full power, thus increasing your apparent need for Miss Weasley here. The bond it very strong indeed, it managed to break through my wards, which, excuse my hubris, is quite a feat. Now I know that your mother will not be too pleased with this small turn of events, nor will the Dursley’s most likely. But it is necessary if you wish to survive; it is a very good thing that you two were bonded. A very good thing indeed.” The headmaster said softly, staring into space. It was completely quiet for a moment until Ginny spoke up. “Excuse me sir, but does this mean that Harry and I were always destined for each other?” Ginny asked softly, staring wide-eyed at Harry, who also had a similar expression. “Well I wasn’t positive until now, but ever since the Chamber of Secrets, when Harry here rescued you, literally sacrificing his own life to save yours, I felt that there may be something deeper. Love like that cannot be easily created, just like your love for Ron, Hermione, and now the young lady Miss. Massey. Each of these are strong, but now that

your love is strengthened by the bond you have an even a greater chance. Do you recall what I showed you in my office, ‘he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…’ You may have just found it Harry.” Dumbledore said, with a soft smile, his eyes twinkling. “What is he talking about Harry?” Ginny whispered softly to Harry, who had a face of revelation plastered on his face. “Professor, is that all you know of the Heartbond?” Harry asked. “Yes, that is all I have gathered, it should be interesting to see how it progresses in you two. I feel there may be many surprises this next year.” The Headmaster said, already knowing what Harry was going to ask of him. “Would it be okay to show Ginny now, I mean, we are bonded now.” He laughed emotionlessly, he didn’t want to frighten the girl he loved with thoughts of him dying and Voldemort winning, but he knew she had to see it if she was to help. “I think it is a wise idea Harry, also it would be a good idea to show Ron and Hermione when you get a chance. Would you like me to do it?” Dumbledore asked, pulling his wand out of his robes. Harry just nodded, not looking Ginny in the eyes. “Very well, vocamusincrantantem!” Immediately a small figure of professor Trelawney appeared on the floor of Harry’s bedroom. It began to talk in the harsh voice a huge variance from her usual ethereal voice. The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives … the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies …' The last syllables echoed off the walls, and the image flickered away. The room was left completely silent save Ginny’s quite sobs of anguish. Harry grabbed her in his arms and held her closely, not wanting her to cry anymore, not wanting anything to happen to her. “Is that what the prophecy said? The one that was crushed?” She said between gasps. “Yes, and no one but you, I, and the headmaster know about it. You need to keep it a secret, you can’t even tell your brother or Hermione yet. I will when I get the chance.” Harry said softly, stroking her hair softly. He was surprised at how natural comforting Ginny felt. “And you have to kill him? Or else he’ll…kill you?” She said holding back another cry. Harry nodded softly in approbation. “I’ll help you Harry, I’ll help you kill him if it’s the last thing I do.”

Chapter 13: A New Room Dumbledore smiled at the compassion the young girl showed for Harry. It’s just the thing he needs right now, love. He’s lost so much to this war, probably the most out of everyone, and he needs something to focus his mind and allow him to get through the next years of his life unscathed. After taking a moment to compose herself, Ginny looked up at the headmaster with an expression of determination. “What can we do to stop him?” “Alas, I do not know. I have studied that very problem for over a decade now and I still cannot find a way to defeat Voldemort. It would appear that whatever steps he has taken to protect himself have so far worked; him coming back from the near dead is proof enough. Whatever it is that will be able to destroy Tom is hidden inside Harry. All we can do is support him as much as possible.” Harry grimaced as he once again was reminded of how he was no longer just a person, but a weapon. Ginny noticed this reaction too and grabbed one of his hands firmly as she stared into his eyes. “Harry James Potter, you better listen to me, you aren’t only good for killing this lunatic, you need to stay alive. There are people who love you, like my mum and dad, and my brother, and Hermione….and me.” She said the last part softly, almost whispering it. Harry closed his eyes, fighting off tears, trying not to lose it in front of his headmaster. After giving himself a moment to compose himself he raised his bloodshot eyes to Dumbledore. “Sir, you know how you said that Ginny and I are going to have to stay close together, how are we going to do that? I mean, you said that I would have to stay here for a while so the blood magic still works so I can’t go to headquarters…” “Ah, yes I can see the problem. Well, while I’m not quite sure you mother will be happy with this. As of right now, unless you have any objections Miss Weasley, I have arranged for you and your old professor Lupin, to stay here.” Dumbledore’s smile broadened as the two tired teenager’s faces lit up with excitement. “You mean here, at the Dursley’s! That’s bloody brilliant!” Harry shouted, completely forgetting is current company momentarily, “Oops, er… sorry headmaster, just got a little excited.” Harry said apologetically. “What did you say, you’ll have to speak up, I don’t have the best hearing you know.” He said smiling absently at the book shelf. “Uh, sir, what about clothes and beds and stuff. I mean this bedroom already small as it is. We probably couldn’t fit much more than a house elf right now.” At that Dumbledore stood up and vanished his recliner. “I actually have a solution for that problem too. Even since I learned about Dumbledore’s Army, and where it was located, specifically the Room of Requirement, I went about researching ways to make another such room. I had to go through some particularly nasty books to find the right combination of charms to do it. Once I used the wrong set of charms and turned my

bedroom into a rainforest, complete with lion.” Dumbledore laughed loudly, and Harry and Ginny joined in too, trying to imagine the headmaster in his nightgown trying to find his bed in a rainforest. Whipping out his wand he continued, “Well you’ll be happy to know I found the charm. Now if you’ll just step close to me, this will take just a moment. Don’t worry Harry, I guarantee you that your room will not be turned into a rainforest.” He started to wave his wand in a complicated swooping pattern, causing the air around it to glow, “however I cannot say the same for a swamp.” After another moment’s time the bedroom began to vibrate ever so slightly, then a gold light seemed to seep from every part of the room. Dumbledore, Ginny, and Harry were in one corner, shielding their eyes from the intense light. How the neighbors, let alone the Dursleys, didn’t wake up from what looked liked an entire stadium worth of lights in one little room, completely escaped Harry. Soon there was a loud grinding noise and a pop and the light dissipated slowly leaving the room exactly the same way it was before. “Did it work?” Ginny asked, squinting still because of the now sudden darkness. “Would you like to do the honors Miss Weasley?” The headmaster asked playfully, almost like a child. Ginny closed her eyes once again and thought of something. Just like in the Room of Requirement after she’d said it to herself three times she felt movement around her and opened her eyes, and gasped. There was no longer a bed, nor a table, in fact there wasn’t even a floor anymore instead they were now standing on a grassy hill just like the one in both Ginny and Harry’s dreams. “Well, sure seems like it work, unless this is another dream.” Harry said enthusiastically, “this will certainly make defense practice a little easier, and our housing situation. When will Lupin be coming, I think that I better leave telling my Uncle about these new arrangements to him. I’m just a little small, and I honestly don’t think I know a jinx strong enough to take him down if he gets as mad as I think he might.” “Point taken, I have arranged for him to come tomorrow morning. He is very eager to do this, I daresay it’s the happiest I’ve seen him in a long time.” Dumbledore pulled out a pocket watch and checked the time, “it would seem that it almost is morning anyways. Well I do need at least two hours of sleep a night and I think that you two could do with some also. I will have your mother pack some things for you tomorrow Miss Weasley, and will have Remus take them over with his belongings. If you have any further quandaries concerning this new bond, feel free to owl me anytime, and remember to always be cautious when taking excursions outside of the house. I hope to see you both soon again. Good morning.” With that the old headmaster tipped his head and vanished with a soft pop.

Ginny turned towards the still blanket covered Harry and grinned. “I think we should try and get a little sleep tonight, don’t you?” Harry shifted his blanket nervously, trying to cover up as much of himself as possible, while also noticing Ginny didn’t seem to mind his lack of clothing. “Uh, I guess you’re right.” Harry closed his eyes and the room changed to reveal two identical beds next to each other. “Which one do you want?” Ginny took the one closest to her, and Harry climbed into his, trying to keep his blanket on for as long as possible before slipping under the covers. Soon Harry turned the light out, wished Ginny goodnight. As both of them were started to fall asleep, their minds tried to sort out the complicated mix of emotions that had just recently been stirred up. Both of them had only been asleep for an hour, dreaming of the usual picnic, now seeing each other instead of a blur. The moment they kissed again however Harry woke up to find himself on top of Ginny’s bed kissing her in real life. Ginny’s eyes sprung open wide in shock. Harry pulled away immediately, falling completely off the bed in surprise. “Not again!” He said as he rubbed his head for the second time that night. “Looks like this Heartbond is stronger than we thought it was, seems like we have to be in the same bed for it to be happy.” Ginny said laughing groggily, pulling her covers down and motioning for Harry to get in. ‘What, I can’t sleep in the same bed as you, think what your brother will do.” Harry said, scooting away from the bed in mock horror. “Listen, I know you won’t do anything, and I won’t tell my brother, but I am tired and you look like it too. Now if you want to get some sleep get over here, if you want to keep hitting your head on the floor go to your own.” She said huffily. It didn’t take Harry long to realize what he was actually arguing about and nervously crawled into Ginny’s bed, trying to settle himself as far away from her as possible. But she seemed opposed to the idea and rested her head on his shoulder. “Night Harry,” she whispered as she closed her eyes. “Good night Gin’,” Harry closed his eyes too and drifted off to deep sleep. Chapter 14: A Werewolf’s Visit The next morning the pair woke up surprisingly well rested considering all they had gone through that night. It was a sunny day outside; finally dispelling what seemed like a month of endless fog and rain. Hedwig had come back from her hunt and was resting in the sunlight happily. “Morning sleepy,” Harry said as he got out of bed, and quickly put on a pair of jeans. “Can I just stay in this bed; it’s so comfortable, much better than mine.” She pulled the blankets higher up and puffed up a pillow.

“Come on get up, Lupin’ll be coming soon, and plus we should try and make the room a little better, you two are going to be living here for a while. Finally Ginny go tout of bed and they had a small breakfast, sneaking downstairs and stealing whatever leftovers there were in the kitchen. “Did you know that it’s my birthday today?” Harry asked through mouthful of toast, just after he remembered himself. “Really! I completely forgot that it’s today, I guess last night sorta made me forget.” She said laughing. “So did you get everything you wanted for your birthday?” “I did, everyone sent me cakes and cards. Again, thank you so much for yours, it really was great,” Harry paused embarrassed, then started reaching for the pillow. “I just remembered something that Emma gave me, it should be under this pillow. There it is!” He pulled the small blue birthday candle out from under the pillow and held it up to examine it, now remembering the wish he made that day after blowing out the candles. “No bloody way that’s possible, how…” Harry stammered out staring at the candle in shock. Ginny tensed up thinking something was wrong, “Harry what’s wrong, did something happen?” He shook his head and then just started to laugh out loud; rolling onto the bed clutching his sides. Ginny tried for five minutes in vain to figure out just what he was laughing about and finally just crossed her arms and scowled at the delirious boy. After another moment he finally caught his breath, looking up at Ginny he spoke, “sorry Gin’ it’s just that I remembered what wish I made when I blew out the candle. I wished that I would finally get to see who the girl I was kissing in the dream was. Seems like it came true didn’t it. Maybe whoever’s up there is listening.” Ginny just smiled back at him then leaned forward and kissed him again. “Happy birthday,” She whispered pulling away after what seemed like a long time. He just sat there stunned once again, his brain feeling as if their gears had locked in place. As he stammered for a reply salvation came in the form of a doorbell ringing. “Oh, that must be Lupin, come on we better get down there and head off my Uncle. The two sprinted down the stairs in hopes of beating Uncle Vernon to the door, as luck would have it though, he was already there holding the door open staring at the disheveled shape of Remus Lupin. “Oh hello Harry, Ginny,” Lupin said pleasantly upon catching sight of the out of breath teens. “Uh, hi professor, Uncle Vernon this is Professor Remus Lupin he’s going to be staying here for a while.” Harry said trying to head of his uncle’s anger, unsuccessfully. “He will not stay here! He is a thing, like you are, and I already have enough to deal with

one of them. He will not stay one more bloody….” But that’s when Uncle Vernon stopped talking, he just set his eyes on Ginny and was just staring at the girl in her pajamas, who had she gotten into his house? His face started to turn blood red once again, his tiny eyes sinking farther into his head, giving him the look of a very ugly red toad. “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING BOY? WHO IS THIS GIRL, HOW’D YOU GET HER IN HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE? YOU HAD BETTER NOT HAVE GOTTEN HER PREGNANT OR ELSE I’M GOING…” “…to do absolutely nothing,” Harry said coolly, raising his wand right into the pudgy face of his uncle. “I have every right to have guest, and that’s why Professor Lupin is here, he’s going to watch over Ginny and I.” “I will not let any one else in this house, it is mine and I choose who lives here. She cannot stay, and he will not come in. I will call the police.” He said with steaming rage. Harry just laughed, “Yeah, I’d like to see that. ‘Officer, yes, I’d like to report that there are two wizards attempting to live in my nephew’s room.’ Oh and if they believe that part, they’ll think you’re crazy if you show them my room now. I think you’re forgetting that I can do magic legally now.” The word ‘magic’ seemed to physically hurt the large man, flinching as if it were a knife wound. The boy had called his bluff, of course he wasn’t going to call the police, but he had to do something! “Sir, I guarantee we will not get in your way, we will eat upstairs and I will make sure that there are no outward signs of three wizards living here.” This time it was Lupin talking, stepping through the front door into the entrance. “No, no, no, absolutely not, I will not allow him to come in, and you girl, you better bloody be ready to leave right now.” Vernon pointed viciously at the door. Harry stepped closer towards his uncle, walking right up to his face, and whispering said, “no, she will not leave, and he will come in. Also, that man that you’re saying can’t come in is a werewolf.” Uncle Vernon scoffed at Harry, “no really, I guarantee it. But if you don’t believe me get on his bad side and see for yourself.” Harry’s air of certainty seemed to wilt his Uncle’s resistance to the idea of these two strangers staying with them. He stood there completely silent mulling things over in his mind trying to see the upside to the whole situation. Well the werewolf thingy wont kill me. And the he did say they wouldn’t bother us, maybe his freaks will keep him quiet and not make him do any other stupid things. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity his Uncle sighed and shrugged his shoulders in defeat. “So Uncle Vernon, what do you say, are we going to have to hex you to let them stay?” Harry said, fingering his wand dangerously. “No you won’t. I have decided to let your little weirdo friends stay here. You have to stay

up in your room, and don’t you dare blow anything up or do anything to attract the neighbor’s attention!” Uncle Vernon waggled his finger threateningly at the whole group. “Whatever,” Harry said walking past his Uncle and up to Lupin, who just seemed amused by the whole situation “nice to see you Professor, sorry ‘bout this, do you need help with your luggage?” “No I have it all in my pockets,” he pointed his outer cloak pocket, “Harry, I’m not your professor anymore, actually I haven’t been for some time. Why don’t you call me Remus? That goes for you too Ginny.” “I don’t know, Remus is what the adults call you, couldn’t we call you just Lupin, or… Moony!” Harry said excitedly. The old marauder’s face brightened much more at the name, “of course, that’s perfect. I miss hearing that name anyways. Moony it is. What do you say to getting all settled then having a cup of tea and opening my present for you?” Lupin said as he placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder and started to walk towards the stairs with Ginny. “You got me a birthday present?” Harry asked, shocked that the werewolf had remembered, let alone had the money to get him one. His clothes certainly looked more worn than last time he’d seen him, and it appeared that he hadn’t eaten much too. “Of course I got you a present, marauders don’t forget each other’s birthdays.” Lupin said happily, as the three wizards headed up to their room for the summer. Chapter 14: To Harrods, or is it Harolds? Once the three got into the room they went about changing it for their needs. They added three large beds on one side, along with cupboards to store their clothes and a large bathroom. On the other side of the now very big bedroom was a large red and gold couch, a book shelf with many defensive books, and a small fireplace. It looked just like a dorm from Hogwarts just scaled differently. After they had finished all the moving in, Lupin conjured some drinks and they all sat down to discuss what the rest of the summer was going to be like. “So, it seems like we’re going to have a lot of time to do whatever we want. I suggest we use this free time to practice on some spells.” Lupin said, putting on his teacher tone of voice. “Actually that’s exactly what I was thinking. Because Fudge finally is letting us do some magic I’ve been practicing some spells, mostly small stuff but I can now cast a lot of it silently.” Harry said. “Ah, good, silent casting is a very big step towards wandless magic. Most wizards can barely levitate a teacup, but I have a feeling you might be able to do more than that.” Lupin got up and pulled out a stack of books. “Now, how about we start on these books, just look through them and try and find some helpful items. Then this afternoon we can try them out.”

And that is exactly what they did, for the next week Harry, Ginny, Lupin, and even sometimes Emma, would look through books for what they thought would be good spells and bookmarked them. Then, after a large lunch, due to Lupin’s amazing skill in the kitchen, they would clear the furniture and practice the spells until they could cast them fluently. At nights the group would often go for a short walk, or just sit around the fire chatting about life. While there was plenty of beds to go around that seemed to be the main problem of the entire arrangement. Even though Harry’s bed was right next to Ginny’s, every night they would be woken up by one of them landing on the other. No matter how close they got the beds to each other they would still be transported over to the other bed sometime in the night. By the eighth night everyone was sleep starved and mad with frustration, so when Harry landed on top of Ginny causing her to yelp and kick him in the arm Lupin simply stood up and without a word, vanished Harry’s bed, and pointed angrily to Ginny’s, he then simply turned around and crawled back into his own. Harry couldn’t find the energy to argue the point, and he probably wouldn’t have in the first place, so he shrugged and crawled into bed with Ginny, who immediately feel asleep with her head on his shoulder. About two weeks into Lupin’s stay with Harry the state of Harry and Lupin’s clothes were brought up into discussion. “Harry, I’ve noticed that you don’t seem to have many clothes that actually are in a good state, could I ask why?” Lupin said. Harry just shrugged, “The Dursleys just give me their old junk, and even though I have money I’ve never had a chance to get anything with it, just some school robes. But I wouldn’t be talking Moony, your clothes aren’t exactly the picture of perfection.” He teased. “Well those bloody laws the Umbridge lady managed to pass hasn’t really afforded me any luxuries, it’s tough enough worrying about how to pay for the Wolfsbane potion let alone clothes. But now that you mention it Sirius did leave me a large amount of galleons saying I should spoil myself, I was just thinking about food but maybe he meant clothes too.” He stopped there though, noticing the drawn expression on Harry’s face. It was still painful for him to hear Sirius’ name, but slowly it was growing easier to accept. The part that caught him off guard was the fact that he had a will prepared and he hadn’t been told about it. “Sirius wrote a will?” Harry asked quietly. “Of course he wrote a will, almost every adult wizard has one, I do. It makes sense to have your affairs in order incase something happens, especially during these times. He wasn’t expecting to die, just prepared to. His will actually left most of his possessions to you, including the house, but it’s in Dumbledore’s control until you come of age.” “I don’t care about the house, or the money, I’d give it all back to get him back. He didn’t

have to be ready to die!” Harry moaned as he sunk into Ginny’s arms. “I know he didn’t, and I’d give back everything he gave me to get him back too, but he gave us the things to take care of us, you most importantly. Now you know what, I think that a little outing would be just what would help us. We’ve been pent up in this room for two weeks now, I say we go get you some of your money and get you a whole new outfit, underwear even.” Lupin playfully punched the boys arm. “Right, but you have to promise to get some new clothes also; maybe you’ll finally be able to get Tonks to notice you. And I want to get you some things too Ginny, you know, so you look more like a muggle and all.” Lupin blushed slightly at first but didn’t acknowledge it, “Well that sounds like a plan! I’ll owl the headmaster right now to make sure it’s okay but I don’t see why not. We’ll be in well protected areas, and not even Voldemort would attack Gringotts.” Lupin got up and scribbled a quick note to Dumbledore then attached it to Hedwig who seemed eager to deliver the message quickly. “Well I told him I was hoping to go on the weekend. We can first go to Gringotts and pick up some money, then go to the stores and get clothes.” “What about muggle clothes, I haven’t seen any stores in Diagon Alley that sells that stuff.” Ginny asked. “Harrods,” Harry said, almost questioningly to himself. “Bless you,” Lupin offered. “No, no, Harrods, or Harolds or something like that,” Harry said waving him off, “the Dursley’s go there when they need to buy stuff. They say ‘they’re going shopping at Harrods, don’t break or blow anything up,’ yeah Harrods. I see their ads sometimes in newspapers and on the television. I’m sure they’ll have clothes there it looks huge!” “Cool, my first muggle store, I can’t wait to see what’s in it. I wonder if it’s like Diagon Alley.” Ginny said enthusiastically. “Well that sounds good Harry, I’m sure well probably be able to drop in there. I’ve heard of some people talk about it before, they say it’s massive, but has everything you could possibly need.” Lupin had a bit of a whimsical look on his face, as if he couldn’t believe the stuff his friends had told him. “Well it’s late and I want to get some sleep tonight now that we finally got he whole bed thing figured out.” Ginny said yawing wide as she walked over to her cupboards to get dressed. “Good idea, if we get Dumbledore’s approval tomorrow plan on leaving early we have a lot of things to do. About the bed situation though, I know you won’t tell your mother so I won’t, I just ask for a little discretion when it comes to the kissing.” He said teasingly, smiling as both teens blushed deeply.

In just a little the light was ought and all three were drifting off to dreams imagining what they were going to get at the shops. Chapter 15: Europe’s New Billionaire That morning they were all woken up to Hedwig landing and hooting shrilly in the dawn air. It was still dark out but the alarm clock read 4:45 in the morning. Harry slowly untangled himself from Ginny and the bed covers and took the letter from Hedwig. He unrolled the small piece of parchment to find the usual neat cursive of the headmaster. Remus, I do believe that you three have earned a chance for a day of rest. I also think it is a good idea to let Harry get out of the neighborhood for a while and stretch his legs. If you were going to a less protected area I would suggest taking another Order member with you, but seeing as it is the weekend at Diagon Alley there will already be plenty of protection there. I only ask that you return before sundown and do not venture off to any unprotected areas. Your’s humbly, Albus Dumbledore Harry waved the letter triumphantly. “He’s letting us go, he said we can go, and we don’t need any other protection!” He thrust the letter out towards Lupin for him to read. “Well we should start getting ready then, we want to have enough time to visit everywhere, including Harrods. I know he said no where unsafe, but I don’t think Voldemort will be expecting us there. I’ll make us a quick breakfast while you two get dressed then we’ll use Arabella’s fire to floo to the Leaky Cauldron. Gringotts opens early, five o’ clock every morning.” Lupin was already out of bed and pulling on a new shirt, this trip meant as much as it did to Harry, he hadn’t been truly out in public for a while and was eager to get some new clothes. Although he didn’t want to admit it, Harry and Ginny were correct; he was hoping to impress Tonks. Only thirty minutes later the group was fed and walking down the street to Miss Figg’s house to use her fireplace. When they rang the door bell they could hear her cursing her many cats as she progressed towards the door. She ushered them in grumpily, still wearing her flannel nightgown and curlers merely pointed at the fireplace before going back to her bedroom. They each took a large handful of floo powder and lined up. Lupin went first to check the area then Harry and Ginny stepped in side by side. The ride went a lot better than last time for Harry because he was caught from falling by Ginny. They waved hello to Tom the barman before quickly heading to the back and into Diagon Alley. The roads were almost completely empty, due to the combined effect of Voldemort’s return and the rather early time of day. They hadn’t seen a single other person until they reached Gringotts where there were already dozens of people moving in

and out of the large white marble building. They all entered and Harry walked up to one of the Goblins to get them to take him to his vault. “Hello, I’d like to withdraw some money from my vault.” Harry said, at the same time handing the Goblin his tiny gold key. He took it and examined it then reached under his desk and pulled out an enormous leather bound book and began to thumb trough its pages until he found what he was looking for. “Mr. Potter, it would appear that you have come into your family’s vaults as of two weeks ago. You are 16 are you not?” The goblin asked leaning over his desk to inspect the boy. “Um, yes. But what vaults are you talking about. I already have access to my vault.” “The Potter family vaults. What you had access to was simply your trust fund, that is until you became 16 years old. You now have full and complete access to your family vaults. It also states in our books that you are the sole heir to the Black family assets. Which means you now can access all of their vaults too. We do need you to fill out a few forms just to finalize it and make sure you know of your holdings.” The goblin smiled widely and handed over a small pile of papers and a quill. Harry looked nervously at the stack of papers, unsure what to do, “You said vaults not vault, just how many are there?” “Well the Potter family only has two, one for the gold and the other for heirlooms and storage. The Black family vault is much older and therefore has four vaults. Two weeks ago however, when you came into control we took it upon ourselves to combine a few of them into one larger vault. Therefore now you only have three: one for the gold, one for Potter heirlooms, and one for Black heirlooms. I hope that is ok with you Mr. Potter? Once you sign right here I would be happy to take you down to them.” Harry, Ginny, and Lupin were speechless. None of them had heard of a person having more than one vault, let alone five. The goblin coughed politely reminding Harry that eh still had business to do. Harry quickly scribbled his name on the parchment in the required places, in return he got another larger key. “That is the key to the entrance room for the vault; the actual safes are locked with blood magic. Much more secure. Now if you would please follow me this way I’ll get an attendant to take you down to your vaults.” The goblin hopped off of his stool and led them to the usual entrance where another goblin was waiting to take them to the vault. “If you just follow Griphook here he will get you access to your vault.” “Thank you, I appreciate your help.” Harry said courteously then turning towards Griphook smiled, “How are you? I haven’t seen you for a while.” “A little over five years actually, step onto the cart please,” Griphook said opening the little carts door and ushering them in. As soon as all four of them were in the cart started abruptly and they were sent spiraling down into the labyrinths of the Gringotts vault.

After a few adrenaline pumping minutes the cart slowed to a stop and approached a large metal door. Griphook stepped out and asked for the new key that Harry had been given. After another moment’s time passed the goblin got the door open and the cart began to move once again, this time into a small room with three large gold doors in the rough hewn walls. Harry, Ginny, and Lupin all stepped out and walked up to the first door to examine it. Engraved across its whole front was the Potter Family crest with a large Griffin reared up on its hind legs with a large serpent in its beak. In the background was a phoenix with its wings spread wide. “I never knew that I had a family crest. It’s amazing; I guess it’s sorta obvious why I got into Gryffindor.” Harry said pointing to the gold door. “All ancient families have crests, I think that your family has one even Ginny.” Lupin offered. “Yeah, we have it on some of our fancy plates, I think it’s a lion or something like that with a mountain in the background, and my dad also has a ring he sometimes wears with the seal on it. He only wears it on special events. I like yours a lot though Harry, its very appropriate.” Ginny said, as she ran her hands over the engravings. “So, how exactly do blood charms work? I hope I don’t have to give it any blood, I’m a little nervous around blades ever since the Triwizard tournament.” He shivered involuntarily at the memory of that night. “They don’t need blood, all you have to do Harry is place your hand in the right place. There’s usually a spot where you can put it…”Lupin said as he looked the door up and down, “Ah! Here it is, see the hand shaped indent under the phoenix? Just put your hand there and it should open up.” Harry placed his hand in the spot and the whole door glowed gold momentarily then vanished. All three of them gasped at what lay in front of them. Ginny grabbed hold of Harry’s arm to keep herself standing upright. “Harry, um…just how much gold is this?” Lupin said eyeing the stacks of gold which went from bottom to top. “I…I have no bloody clue. The vault I used to go to was small; it just had a tiny pile of gold.” Harry said, stammering for words, and then he turned to Griphook who was politely standing at the cart. “Griphook, do you know how much there is here?” “I do, we counted your assets when we consolidated all of your vaults. In the vault your are currently in there is a little over a quarter of a billion galleons in gold.” Ginny gave a squeak of excitement, Lupin did a double take, and Harry’s eyes widened to three times their normal size.

“Wh…wha…how much?” Harry stuttered. “There is precisely 280,013,873 galleons in that vault. In the Black family vault there is roughly 650,000,000 galleons; thereby giving you a combined net worth of 910,000,000 galleons. And as of yesterday’s close of bank you are the 7th richest wizard in Europe.” This time it was Harry who had to grab a hold of something just to stay standing. He couldn’t believe his ears, he had never even heard of that much money, let alone stood next to it. He had always been given badly worn second-hand clothes by the Dursleys, now it wouldn’t surprise him if he could by a clothing company. He was still too stunned to speak so Lupin did. “Thank you Griphook, who is his current financial adviser?” “That would be one of the bank assigned CPA’s, however if Mr. Potter has someone else we would gladly work with them.” “He doesn’t yet, but I think it would be a good idea for him to get someone, don’t you Harry?” He asked, gently nudging him to bring him back to reality. “Er, yeah sure…sorry I just sorta spaced out there. I’ve never seen anything like this.” He said sheepishly. “I don’t think any of us have, I’ve barely seen 10 galleons together. Three-hundred million sure is a lot more.” Ginny said quietly, ashamed at her family’s lack of finances. “Well you better get used to it,” Harry said teasingly. Ginny looked at him quizzically. “Well we are Heartbonded aren’t we? That means that we’ll probably be together for a long time. So what I have is yours.” Ginny hugged him tightly, until Harry managed to gasp for her to ease up a little because she was breaking his ribs. When she pulled away she had tears in her eyes but was smiling. “Thank you Harry. You know I don’t care about the money, but the fact that you’re willing to share it with me means the world. Your really are one of a kind.” “I’d have to agree with Ginny on that point Harry, you have a knack for being generous.” Lupin said squeezing Harry on the shoulder. Harry blushed at the praise and just smiled at the two. “Moony, would you like to help… I mean would you help me…would you manage this stuff for me? I’ve never been very good with money or math and with this much of it I’m sure I’d be lost. So like you said I need someone to help and I’d like it to be someone I trust.” Lupin was taken aback by the boy’s kind words and that he would hold him in such high regard, being a werewolf usually didn’t warrant many compliments. “Yes Harry, I would be honored to help you. I want to make sure you have some money to start a family with when you grow older so that means you can’t blow your whole fortune on broomsticks or candy.”

“Great! Thanks Moony. Now what do you say we get some of this money converted to pounds and go to Harrods. We can look at the other vaults later, right now I feel like getting all new clothes, and maybe even some dress robes if we get a chance. Come one guys, lets hurry up we don’t have all day!” Harry said enthusiastically, excited to finally be able to get some clothes that weren’t second hand. The three of them ran into the vault, each stopping by a pile and filling decent sized bags full of galleons. Feeling that they may come in handy later, Harry quietly made an extra stop by a small wooden case he’d found and took out several velvet boxes. Their pockets considerably heavier, and their souls considerably lighter they climbed back into the cart with Griphook and headed up to the ground floor to get the gold exchanged for British pounds for their busy shopping day. Chapter 16: A New Suit and Godfather Once they had plenty of cash in their pockets the three headed back out of the Leaky Cauldron to go to Harrods. Seeing as they were already in London they decided to walk the several blocks to the department store. As they walked they marveled at the wonders of downtown London, the massive buildings, the bustling people and cars, and the thousands of different stores and shops. More than once they stopped to look in a store that caught their attention, one of their favorites being Hamley’s the four story toy store. Lupin and Ginny were spellbound by the toy trains and model airplanes. They had never seen anything like them and couldn’t understand how they worked without magic. Finally they came to Harrods and stopped dead in their tracks. It was huge five stories and there seemed to be hundreds of people buzzing in and out of its doors every second. Not even Lupin had seen anything like this. The largest store in Diagon Alley was Gringotts, and even that was small compared to this. “Harry, this place is huge. I’ve never seen a store like this!” Ginny said completely awestruck. “You took the words right out of my mouth. I haven’t really even been in London ever; I thought it would be a little bigger than Flourish and Blotts, not an entire block!” Harry said. “It looks like you picked the right place for us to get some new clothes, it looks like we could even buy a home if we wanted too,” Lupin said humorously, then pushing Ginny and Harry forward towards the doors he said, “Come on then, last one in is a rotten flobberworm!” And with that the three wizards stepped into, what was to them, a completely unknown land. They were immediately submerged in a deluge of perfumes and noises, then stumbled into the grocery store which was almost the entire floor, filled with fresh breads and pie and cakes, and candies that they hadn’t even seen in Honeyduke’s. Lupin managed to locate a store map and discovered that clothes were on the third level, and through a complex maze of escalators, of which Ginny had never seen and was very entertained by, and people, of which there seemed to be thousands everywhere; they finally reached the

men’s clothing section of Harrods. “Wow, I never knew that shopping could be considered to be exercise. I’m exhausted, there are so many people here and they’re all pushing and shoving like they have to get what they want or else they’ll hex you.” Ginny said exasperatedly. “There’s a desk over there with a lady, maybe she can help us find what we need.” Lupin said pointing out a lady a store uniform who was folding clothes at the counter. Harry led the way up to the woman, “Hello, I was hoping you might be able to help me and my friends. We’re from a small town and are a bit overwhelmed by this whole experience. If you could just point us in the right direction it would be very helpful.” He said as politely as he could, trying to make it seem as if they were unsettled by the huge city, which wasn’t too difficult seeing as they were. The woman smiled falsely turning her, what used to be pleasant appearance, into something a little more garish. “If you just go right down that aisle there you’ll be in the suit section, if you need help picking out a suit I’d be more than happy to help,” she said as she pointed one of her jewelry laden hands at the suit section. They walked over to the wall of suits, there were hundreds in every shade of color and cut. Harry walked up to a dark blue pinstripe one which had immediately caught his attention and made to take it off the rack but the saleslady cut him off by stepping in front of him.“Uh sir, maybe you’d like to look over here, this suit costs more than twothousand dollars. It’s an Armani silk original.” She said with the same false smile ushering him over to the suits on the sales rack. Harry’s temper frayed slightly over the fact that she was judging them by their appearances. His eyes seemed to radiate a little when he looked up at the lady, startling her. “I think I’ll look at this suit over here actually, I can afford it I think. Also I think I’ll get this one too.” He said coolly walking back over to the jackets and pulling out the blue one along with another black suit. The woman was obviously confused over what to do so she just smiled politely once again then asked to be excused for a moment while she went and got her manager. As she hurried off Ginny came up to Harry as he was comparing suits, “You didn’t have to do that, we could have gotten it ourselves. It looked like you really frightened that girl.” “She should be, I was just fed up with being treated poorly based on what we looked like. I know you’ve dealt with it your whole life, so have I, I just thought that now that I can change that I should. I wanted to make you feel better.” He said quietly, now looking at her with a face of compassion. Ginny smiled then grabbed him tight and hugged him, “You really are amazing Potter, did you know that? Do you ever worry about yourself?” “Not any more, because I know I have you to watch my back,” he said kissing her forehead quickly, almost embarrassedly, “here comes the saleswoman looks like she has her manager too.” He said nodding towards the still slightly shaken woman.

“Hello sir, I am the manager of this section, how may I help you?” The older woman said, her smile more genuine than the other’s. “Well we were just…” Lupin started but Harry cut him off, “I have this Moony.” He said then turned back towards the manager, “Your saleslady here thought it would be a good idea for us to shop at the sales rack, not get one of these suits, just because we aren’t exactly dressed like kings. I don’t want to be rude but I would just like to get some things for me and my family.” The manager looked the boy up and down appraisingly then nodded, “Of course, I am sorry that you were treated rudely that is not what we train our representatives to do. I would be more than happy to ensure you get what you need today. We actually have a private room we keep open for when people are completely redoing their wardrobe so they have some more privacy, if you’d just follow me I’ll take you to it then we can get to work on getting you three some clothes.” The manager led the way leaving the befuddled sales lady behind in the sales rack section of the suit aisle. On the way to the private room Lupin caught up with Harry to talk with him, “Harry, why did you call us your family? I don’t believe that made much of a difference with her choosing to help us.” “Moony, I didn’t say it to get help, I said it because it’s true, you are my family even though it might not be through blood. You’re the last Marauder and you’re by far the closest thing I have to a father. As for Ginny, I couldn’t be happier that we’re fated for each other.” Harry said matter-of-factly smiling at his surrogate family. Lupin was left momentarily speechless at the revelation of Harry calling him his father figure, he always believed he would never be able to fill the shoes of Sirius. Hearing that from Harry lifted his heart. “Thank you Harry, you have no idea how much that means to me. It lets me know I haven’t let your mother and father down on the promise Sirius and I made them, to take care of you if something happened,” grabbing him into a one handed hug. “Harry, I’ve actually been thinking this over for a while. I know I can’t replace Sirius, or be him, but I’d really like it if you would let me be your godfather. I’ve worked out my little ‘problem’ with Dumbledore and he’s arranged to have me live in Grimmauld place, there’s a basement with a very big lock for when the full moon comes round, and it does need someone to take care of…” but Lupin’s nervous rambling was cut off by Harry hugging him tightly. “Moony, you can stop blubbering like you got confunded, I was planning on asking you to be my new godfather. Looks like you beat me to the punch though. I would love to have you as my godfather, and I’d like to move into Grimmauld place with you when I get old enough to leave the Dursleys. And don’t worry about the ‘problem’ I’m sure you’ll be fine. Thanks.” Harry said happily as they walked through the door into the private room. The room was a large room with mirrors on one side and several large armchairs along with a T.V. There were already racks of clothes along the sides and there was a man who seemed to be the tailor. Harry, Ginny, and Lupin were stunned by the elegance of the

room and the fact that she had decided to use it on them. The manager turned to face the three and smiled brightly, “Now who wants to go first?” Chapter 17: To Headquarters Many hours later the three completely exhausted wizards walked out of Harrods carrying handfuls of bags each. “I had no idea that shopping could be so much work! I feel like I just played a day long Quidditch game right now, not to mention I’m starving.” Harry said, although his voice was muffled by the stack of clothes boxes in front of his face. “I’m glad that we were able to do that though, I really did need some new clothes and I did what Sirius told me to do. Maybe I’ll ask Tonks on a date sometime now.” Lupin said excitedly. He had bought an entirely new muggle wardrobe, including a very nice watch and several silk ties. “Here why don’t we go down this alley and I’ll shrink all of our stuff so we can fit it in our pockets. We still have a bit of a walk to the Leaky Cauldron.” Lupin piled up all of the bags and boxes and shrunk them neatly into groups small enough to fit into their pant pockets. They made the long walk to the Leaky Cauldron, once again stopping at Hamleys just to look at the toy trains again, then flooed back to Miss. Figg’s house and snuck into the Dursley’s house as quiet as possible seeing as it was well past eleven at night when they got back. They all emptied their pockets and unshrunk the packages so they could change into their new pajamas. Because everyone was so tired they changed as quickly as possible then turned in for the night, all of them falling asleep minutes after the light was put out. The next morning over a late breakfast Lupin received a letter from Fawkes. He read it out-loud to Harry and Ginny. “Remus, I believe that enough time has passed for Harry to be sufficiently protected for the rest of the year. When it is convenient I expect you three, along with the Masseys to head to Grimmauld place to pass what little time remains of the summer. You can also expect Miss Granger and the rest of the Weasleys there. Reply with your date of departure so we can prepare for you. Sincerely, Albus Dumbledore.” Remus finished reading the letter and looked up at the two excited teenagers, “looks like we should start getting packed.” Harry and Ginny both jumped up off the bed excitedly. It was nice having company, but the Dursleys were still horrible people and you could only be cooped up in one place for so long. “Tell him were coming tomorrow, I’ll go over to Emma’s today and explain everything. I’m sure she and Joy will be excited.” Harry said quickly, as he threw on a shirt at the same time causing him to fall over, “Oh, and we’ll need new trunks, we have too much new stuff.” He added poking his head out from his shirt. Ginny and Lupin laughed at his antics, happy to see him in such high spirits. The whole time they’d been here they’d noticed some sort of tension. Lupin put down to a mix of the tension and fear between him and the Dursleys, and the depression over the loss of Sirius.

Although he hadn’t seen any outward signs of abuse by his Aunt or Uncle the way Harry acted around them did not escape his notice. Harry was amazingly mature for his age, yet around his relatives he acted like a very nervous five year old. All Lupin knew was that he was glad to be leaving. “I’ll go to Diagon Alley quickly this afternoon and get some trunks for us to use. Meanwhile, after you talk to Emma, how bout you two try and get as many of your items collected so we can be ready to leave tomorrow.” Lupin said. He dressed quickly, sent off a message with Hedwig, then left to Miss Figg’s house after warning them to be careful and not stray too far when going to Emma’s. A little while later Harry and Ginny headed over to Emma’s house to tell them the good news. On the way there Ginny paused momentarily on the side of the street and looked around. “Are you okay Gin? What’s wrong,” Harry asked immediately noticing the change in her mood. “Yeah I’m fine, it’s just we have a follower. Tonks, is that you?” Ginny asked, pulling out her wand just in case it wasn’t, “Tonks?” Harry pulled out his wand too and started walking towards where Ginny was looking at. He couldn’t see anything but continued walking forward until he hit something invisible and tripped, hitting his head on the curb at the same time as he ripped the invisibility cloak off of a crouching Tonks. “Harry!” Ginny shouted and ran over to where Harry was now sitting on the ground, she rolled him over to reveal a large gash on his forehead which was bleeding badly. He was conscious though and smiled at Ginny, “Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt. Just one of those things that looks worse than it is.” Tonks was now hovering over them, with a worried look on her face, “Oh bugger Harry, I’m sorry, that looked like a pretty nasty fall. Here, let me get rid of that for you.” But she stopped at that gaping at what Harry was doing. He was slowly rubbing his hand around the cut, and somehow this was removing the blood and also looked as if it were healing the cut. “Harry, how what are you doing?” Ginny, who now also had noticed his actions, asked. “Just rubbing my head, I think I’m going to have a pretty bad headache later.” He said shrugging. “No, Harry, your healing yourself! You’re rubbing the cut and it’s completely disappearing.” Tonks said in utter amazement. “What? I thought you couldn’t do wandless healing? At least that’s what Lupin told me.” Harry said confused as he stared at his own hands, which were now completely blood free.

“It is true, no one I know, not even Madame Pomfrey can do wandless healing. It takes up too much energy to perform even a simple healing charm,” Tonks said. “Well he’s doing it, so it can’t be impossible.” “I know, Dumbledore did say that now you two are Heartbonded you both would start to show some…un-common abilities. Maybe this is one of them?” Tonks said with a shrug. “Probably is, hey Gin’ by the way how did you know that there was someone following us?” Harry asked as he stood still rubbing his disappearing cut. She shrugged and shook her head, “I honestly don’t know. I just felt that there was someone near us. It was really weird, I didn’t know who or really where they were but I just felt that we were being watched. It was sorta creepy.” “I think that might be something new too, Dumbledore said we would be getting much more powerful magically. Maybe it’s started already.” Harry said as the three walked up to Emma’s front door. “Remind me to ask him when we get to headquarters tomorrow.” “Harry! Your shirt,” Ginny said right before he rang the doorbell. It was covered in blood from the fall, and to anyone who didn’t know what had happened would look very frightening; especially an eleven year old. “Oh, good catch Gin, you always have my back don’t you?” Harry joked as he vanished the blood with his wand, returning the shirt back to its perfectly new state. “Yes I do, and I always will,” she said, then rang the doorbell. The door opened to reveal Joy in an apron, apparently right out of the kitchen, “Oh hello Harry, Ginny, how are you? Where’s Remus?” “Oh, he’s just getting things in order for tomorrow, this is Nymphadora, but you should probably just call her Tonks, she doesn’t like her first name. She’s an auror, you know, one of the police I told you about.” Harry said, winking at Tonks. “Well any friend of Harry is a friend of ours. Why don’t you come in and I’ll get Emma, she’s upstairs cleaning her room,” Joy said beckoning them inside graciously. Moments later Emma came running down the stairs and grabbed Harry by the waist hugging him. She then hugged Ginny, who she had become good friends with also, always asking her questions about school and the wizarding world. Harry introduced Tonks, and then sat down to tell Emma a Joy the news. “So yesterday we got a note from the headmaster saying that I have spent enough time at my aunt and uncle’s house this summer and that we could go to headquarters. He also said that the invitation was open to you two, we only have a little over a week before school starts and you’d be able to go with us to the train platform and we’d be able to get Emma her things for school. Now I know you have your barrister duties Mrs. Massey, but I would really like it if you and Emma could come. You’d be able to meet a lot of other witches and wizards.” Harry finished, smiling at Emma who was now looking pleadingly at her

mother. “What is ‘headquarters’?” Joy asked, fifteen years as a lawyer had tuned her ability to notice the smallest discrepancies. Harry mentally kicked himself for slipping up like that, he should have known better than that, discussing Order matters in front of non-members; he knew that this secret was the only thing keeping many witches and wizards hidden from Voldemort. Thankfully Tonks popped in and answered the question for him, saying that it was too sensitive to discuss in the open but if they were coming tomorrow that all would be explained by Dumbledore himself. Joy asked for a minute to think it through, all the while Emma was quietly begging her mom to let her go. Finally she made up her mind and spoke up, “well work won’t be a problem. We just finished our case this Friday so I am not busy next week, and I know Emma wants to go. I just am nervous about this whole wizarding world war right now that Harry and the headmaster has told me about. And I’ve been around enough liars to know when I’m not being told the whole truth, you will have to promise to tell me everything you can once it is safe.” “So are we going?” Emma asked excitedly. Joy smiled at her daughter and nodded, “yes dear. We’re going. You should go get packed.” Emma jumped out of her seat, kissed her mom on her cheek and asked for Ginny to help her get packed. The two girls took the stairs two at a time running for her room upstairs. When Lupin got back later that day he too headed for the Massey’s and helped Joy sort out all the smaller details of the trip. They were planning on flooing from Miss Figg’s to headquarters next morning, and then would bring Joy back after she saw Emma off at the train station. They left late at night after a long enjoyable dinner cooked by Joy and Lupin, who actually enjoyed cooking quite a bit, and whose magic allowed for them to cook many more things at once. Everyone shared funny stories and jokes and ate enormous amounts of food and sweets. Lupin had the three trunks up in Harry’s room when they arrived and he showed them the features that he was most excited about; including the shrinkable feature which allowed you to shrink the trunk to fit in your pocket, and the second compartment whish was a lot like Moody’s trunk, which would open if you twisted the second knob. They all packed that night, sticking all of their old and new clothes in the trunks, along with the dozens of spell books and parchment pieces. Finally the room was barren, with only the bookshelves and the furniture remaining they all turned in for bed excited about the next morning’s journey. Lupin woke up Harry and Ginny at six in the morning so they could collect Emma and

Joy before going to Miss Figg’s. They shrunk the trunks down, and removed the requirement spell from the room returning it to its normal proportions. They then headed downstairs, Harry shouted down the hallway to his aunt and uncle that he was leaving for the summer, then headed out the door. But that wasn’t before he and Ginny cast another special spell that they had found. Walking over to the Massey’s Lupin noticed their conspiratorial glances at each other and asked what they had done. At first they refused to answer but finally Harry broke up laughing and told Lupin that they had placed a jinx on the house called conversio cubiculum which, Ginny said, completely inverted the house for a set amount of time. They had found it in one of the spell books Lupin had brought and thought it would be a good parting gift. “Well, you two aren’t doing much for Muggle wizard relations, you could seriously scare them,” Lupin said, trying to hide his smile but eventually failing. “Alright, alright, it was good, I’ll admit that. They’ll have no idea what’s hit them. But you cannot tell your mother I said that, she’d skin me alive if I knew I was encouraging you two.” Lupin said pointing at Ginny jokingly. When they reached Emma’s home the lights were already on and there were two bags sitting on the front step, Emma answered the door excitedly and said she was all ready to go and that she couldn’t wait. Joy gave the three some muffins and tea because they hadn’t had breakfast yet. A little before seven the group reached Miss Figg’s and rang the bell, once again they heard the screeching of cats and the curses from the squib about turning them all into turnips. They all bustled in, apologizing for waking her, then lined up at the fire. Lupin explained to Joy and Emma the basics of floo travel. Harry offered to go with Emma to make sure she wouldn’t go somewhere wrong, and Lupin offered to go with Joy. Ginny went first, throwing her handful of powder into the fire and stepping into the hearth, then shouted “12 Grimmauld Place!” She disappeared and Harry and Emma stepped up next. Harry took a handful threw it in the fire and reassured Emma nothing bad would happen. She then nervously stepped in next to him and gasped as she felt the cold licks of fire on her legs. “It’s okay Em, don’t worry. 12 Grimmauld Place!” Harry shouted and they were spent spinning around catching glimpses of other rooms and buildings as they passed. Usually Harry couldn’t see anything because his glasses kept getting knocked off but this time he’d placed a sticking charm on them so they wouldn’t fall off, and what he saw both shocked and scared him. The last room he saw into before landing at headquarters was that of a small poorly lit room, and although it was poorly lit the face he saw was easily recognizable. It was that of the traitorous friend Peter Pettigrew. Alongside him were several other obvious Death Eaters including one Harry recognized as McNair. The scene flashed by so quickly that he wasn’t completely sure that it really was real or if he were imagining it. But once he landed in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place he was sure

it had to be real. Emma was standing next to him, looking at him curiously, not sure as to why he looked so nervous. Around the kitchen were several members of the Weasley clan along with some other Order members. Before any of them could welcome him back or say anything for that matter, he said in an low voice, “We have a problem.” Chapter 18: Captures and Confessions Harry stood up, dusting off the soot from the fireplace. Nobody in the room said a thing, still waiting for what Harry was going to say. None of them had ever seen him this serious before. “You know how when you are traveling using floo you can see into the random fireplaces as you pass by? Well this time the last place I saw before coming out here was a very dark room with several people in it. At first I thought I was seeing things, or maybe I was just confused, but I realized it had to be real. There wasn’t any other way that I had seen what I had seen, and once I saw his hand I knew that it was.” Harry paused, trying to collect his thoughts. At the same time Lupin and Joy appeared in the fireplace, smiling, completely unaware of what was going on. “Wow, that was by far the oddest feeling I’ve ever had. I could feel the fire on my legs but it wasn’t hot. And the whole fireplace expanded so we could fit in it. Did you like it Emma?” Joy asked, exhilarated by her trip she still hadn’t noticed the tense atmosphere in the room. “Harry what’s wrong, did something happen?” Lupin asked, finally noticing the boy’s now ashen face. “I saw him Moony, just sitting by the fire. I think that they might be spying on us, it was the last place I saw before landing here, that means they’re close right?” Harry asked quickly, almost out of breath. “Slow down there boy, you’ll give yourself a stroke. Breath. Now tell me what happened, who did you see?” Moody said, limping up to the boy, scaring Emma with his magical eye. “I saw Wormtail, well Peter I guess, and some other death eaters. I think I recognized another, McNair, they were all just sitting in the room discussing something. I think they must be close because they were the last room I saw before getting here. Could they be spying on us? Do they know about headquarters?” Harry said glancing at the fireplace behind him nervously, as if he expected them to come bursting out of it. Everyone tensed up immediately, the Aurors in the room drew their wands and out of maternal instinct Molly grabbed Ginny, and even though Joy had no idea what was going on she did the same. “Potter, can you describe the room, what did it look like?” Moody asked, his eye swiveling even more out of control. “I only saw it for a second, but it was just a small dirty looking room. Its curtains were

pulled, and there wasn’t really any light. The wallpaper was peeling off also. But that’s about it, I really barely recognized Peter, but then I saw his hand, the silver one. I wish I’d seen more.” Harry said, shrugging. “That’s better than nothing,” Shaklebolt said, standing up, “Mad-Eye, I think we should head outside and search the surrounding buildings. I don’t know if the room being the last thing he saw means it’s close, but it wouldn’t hurt to be safe.” “I agree with Kingsley,” Tonks said, “Why don’t we let your eye take a little peek at the houses near us. Maybe it can find that filthy little rat.” Moody laughed harshly, “Let’s get going then, Shaklebolt, Tonks, your coming along. Remus?” “Yes, I’ll come too, let me just get my cloak,” He made to head out of the kitchen but Harry stopped him. “Moony, this isn’t about vengeance; I don’t want to loose you too. Just find them and capture them that’s it.” Harry said putting stress on the last words. Lupin smiled and then hugged the boy tightly, “I promise I won’t do anything stupid, but I do want to go try and get him.” He pulled away and walked out of the room to go with the rest of the Aurors who were waiting at the front door. “If we aren’t back by nighttime contact Dumbledore, but we should be back soon. I doubt that even the Death Eaters are stupid enough to hide next door to us,” Moody said letting another harsh laugh out, which in turn woke up Mrs. Black’s portrait. The Aurors went outside and left the others in the hallway with a screaming portrait. “Harry, WHAT THE BLOODY HELL JUST…hold on a minute…” Ron shouted over the din of Mrs. Black’s screeching to no avail. He turned to face the portrait, grabbed its curtains and yanked them shut bringing silence back once again. Turning once again to face Harry he smiled, “Good to see you mate, now will you tell us what just happened?” After getting the customary hug from both Mrs. Weasley and Hermione, and introducing Joy and Emma to everyone he led them back to the kitchen and retold the story exactly. When he finished he leaned back and watched everyone’s different expressions. “And you’re sure it was them? I mean they weren’t just people who looked like them?” Hermione asked. “I’m positive, Wormtail has a silver hand. I’ll never forget it, I saw Voldemort give it to him for bringing him back to life. And McNair was there too that night, you know, the man who was going to kill Buckbeak,” Harry added, noticing the blank expressions. “Um, I know I don’t really know anything about this whole war. But why is it bad if you saw these Death Eaters in the fireplace?” Joy asked, feeling very out of place in this group of wizards. “It’s not just the fact that he saw them in the fireplace, but also that it was the last thing

he saw before arriving here. That means that the place had to be somewhat close to here, and seeing as this place is supposed to be a secret that is not a good thing if they know about it,” Hermione said. “Let’s just hope that they can find them,” Ginny said. “Ginny dear, how was your stay with Harry and Remus? Did you learn a lot, Albus said that you two would be learning a lot more defensive spells. Did the Dursley’s treat you well?” Molly said, snapping at once back into her motherly mode bustling around to prepare Ginny, Harry, Emma, and Joy bowls of porridge for breakfast. “Yeah, the Dursleys were quiet, we rarely saw them,” Ginny said uncertainly, curious why her mom hadn’t asked about the Heartbond yet, “Did Dumbledore tell you what happened to Harry and I?” “Tell me what?” Molly asked, now eyeing her daughter suspiciously. “Well, I’m not sure why he didn’t tell you but the reason I had to stay with Harry was because-he-and-I-have-been-Heartbonded,” She spit out quickly, afraid of her mom’s reaction. At those words, Molly dropped the bowl of porridge she was handing to Harry in shock, “YOUR’E WHAT!” She shouted, but it wasn’t only her, Hermione too had shouted in amazement. “Uh…Heartbonded,” Ginny said feebly, witling under her mother’s gaze. “There’s no way that my daughter can be Heartbonded, I mean that’s a child’s story that parents told their kids. I mean even if it was true the story said only Merlin and Godric Gryffindor have been Heartbonded.” Molly thudded down into a nearby chair, rubbing her temples. Joy jumped up and began cleaning the spilt porridge all over the counter top. “I’m sorry Mrs. Weasley, I don’t know why Dumbledore didn’t tell you, but it is true. That night that she disappeared was on my 16th birthday, apparently when I turned sixteen we became bonded. It was so strong that it broke through the wards at both your house and mine. The bond is very strong, and if what Dumbledore says is right then it will make us both much stronger too.” Harry said, trying to head off Mrs. Weasley’s temper before it got the chance to really manifest. He’d seen her be mad at both the twins and Ron and it wasn’t a pretty even if you were on the sidelines. “Oh Harry dear I’m not mad at you, well maybe a little bit at Albus, but I’m just more confused than anything. I don’t know what to say, did he tell you what was going to happen to you two?” Molly said, composing herself once again. “Well, we’ve already started to be able to do smaller stuff like some wordless or wandless incantations. I can sometimes feel where Harry, or another person is, even if I can’t see them. Oh, and Harry can do some sort of wandless healing on himself,” Ginny said shrugging, “It’s been an interesting few weeks.” “There haven’t been that many changes…well we do have to sle-“ But Harry was cut

short by Ginny stepping on his foot and giving him the, ‘we’ll tell her later’ look, he then tried to cover up his near slip up, “Umm…we do have to get used to the fact that Gin and I are fated for each other. Not in a bad way, but knowing that your soul mates is a little bit too much to digest right away.” “At first when you told me I didn’t believe it at all, I thought your aunt and uncle were feeding you something bad. But now looking at all the things you have done it seems to make sense. You had a crush on him the moment you met him at the train station your first year, even before you learned his name. Then you saved her life once when she was a first year, and probably saved her again last year at the Ministry of Magic. You might not have even known yourself, but before the Quidditch World Cup I could tell you were starting to realize she wasn’t just Ron’s sister anymore.” Molly said smiling at the two teens who were blushing and smiling awkwardly now. The rest of the day went by with Harry, Ginny, Emma, and occasionally Joy, telling about their summer and all of the things they had done. Molly and Hermione were most interested by the trip to Harrods, but the twins were ecstatic when they heard about Hamleys, the four level toy store, saying they were planning on going as soon as possible. The room was not devoid of tension however, everyone would occasionally glance over at the clock, counting down the time until they would call Dumbledore if the Order didn’t return. At around three the fireplace roared up in flames and everyone jumped up expecting Moody, or some other auror, but it was only Mr. Weasley stopping by for a quick late lunch before heading out again. He was pleased to see Harry and Ginny back, and had to sit down for a moment when Mrs. Weasley told him about them being Heartbonded. He rebounded quickly however, and said he was happy for them and he’d be interested to see what other things would happen over the next several months. Molly decided to not tell her husband about the Order’s expedition right at that moment because she felt he was stressed enough. Apparently with the open announcement of Voldemort’s return a lot more, much nastier, muggle traps were being created. Causing Mr. Weasley to have a lot more work, but because of Fudge’s loathing for anything Dumbledore, even friends of his, it had been difficult for him to even get a temporary replacement when his assistant Perkin’s got viciously mauled by a bad tempered pair of fire tongs. Arthur left a little later, and Molly decided to start cooking once again to take her mind off of the Order. The rest of the group were sitting in the dusty couches in the library talking about Hogwarts and other news around the wizarding world. “Did you hear that Malfoy’s dad apparently got out of Azkaban? He was the only one too. Somehow either he, or someone else, managed to stun over a dozen guards and break through the warded gates,” Hermione asked Harry. “That great git, stun 12 guards, I doubt it. I bet he had help from his cronies Crabbe and Goyle Senior,” Ron guffawed. “Or Tom,” Harry said solemnly.

“Who?” Ron asked. “Tom,” Harry said more loudly, then noticing no one knew what he was talking about he continued, “…Marvolo Riddle? Lord Voldemort.” “Maybe, but do you really think he’d risk it just for Malfoy’s dad? I mean he’s nothing special, is he?” Ron asked. “He’s got money, and that seems to be the only thing ‘Tom’ can’t really kill to get. The goblins have it all, almost 87 percent of all galleons, and he’s not exactly friendly with them. He killed a whole colony somewhere in Scotland during the last war and they’ve hated him ever since.” Hermione stated, “I read it…” “in a book!” Ron, Harry, and Ginny all said in unison. Ignoring the incredulous glare from Hermione Harry turned to Ron, “So has your dad heard anything on the inside. I mean from the papers I’ve read it seems like Fudge is having a hard time staying minister right now.” “Yeah, my dad says he’s really mad now, after the whole Department of Mysteries thing. Dad hasn’t seen him after that, says he’s mostly up in his office now, fuming. I think he knows his time’s up and he’s now just trying to buy time to get out of it in a way that makes him look good.” Ron said. Another hour passed until they heard a loud knock on the door and muffled voices. Everyone sprinted down the hallway to get the door and see who it was. When Molly threw the heavy door open a figure dropped in through the door frame. It was Emmeline Vance, and she seemed to be completely covered in blood, so much so that it was impossible to see the actual cuts. “They sent me, they’re coming. Got them…some injured. Cutting hexes…something else. Call doctor,” Emmeline panted, she was suffering from massive blood loss. Molly could mend bruises and cuts but not something this drastic so she ran off to go floo Madam Pomfrey for help. “Harry, try what you did this morning. She doesn’t look too good, and maybe it will help her,” Ginny said. “Good idea, here Ron help me flip her over so I can get a good look at where her cuts are.” Harry and Ron gently turned her on her back. Hermione tried a cleaning charm to remove some of the blood but it didn’t do much. Harry got on his knees and began to look for where the hexes had hit. He saw a large gash around her left calf and upon closer inspection saw the huge cut on her leg. “Looks like they got an artery, she’s loosing a lot of blood. I’m going to try and stop the bleeding. Here Hermione do that cleaning charm over here one more time.” She did it twice more, clearing it a bit so Harry could see the beginning and end of the gash. He placed his thumb on the smaller part of it, closed his eyes, and just began

rubbing the area in circles. He heard a gasp from Hermione, and Ron said some variation of a curse word, so he opened his eyes. The spot where he’d been rubbing had become completely clear of blood and was healed. He quickly went to work on the rest of the cut, slowly working his way across it, stopping the blood flow. He reached the very end and rubbed the edge of the cut until that too disappeared. He smiled and stood up, but swayed a little bit and had to grab a hold of Ron to stop from collapsing. “Whoa, that was weird, that healing must have taken a lot of magic because I’m a little dizzy. Here let me just sit for a second I’ll be alright. Take her to the kitchen and let Madam Pomfrey look at her, I think I hear her.” As Harry was sitting down several more figures appeared in the doorway. They stepped into the house. On the left side was Moody, on the other was Kingsley Shaklebolt, and sandwiched and bound up in-between the two men was Wormtail. “This little bastard tried to choke me with his silver hand on the way back here, almost took my head off in the process,” Moody growled, indicating the large cut on the side of his face. “Get moving rat!” Moody shouted pushing Wormtail further inside. Harry looked at Wormtail with the utmost disgust then noticed he was cradling his right hand, “Mad-Eye, what happened to his hand?” “Oh well I told you, he tried to choke me with it. So I removed it,” He said, with a slight grin on his face, he then pulled the arm out of his cloak pocket and waved it in front of Wormtail’s face teasingly. “Kingsley, where are the others?” Molly asked, bustling out of the kitchen, looking slightly flustered from all the commotion. Joy was back with Emmeline and Madam Pomfrey trying to patch everything up. “They’re on their way Molly, no need to worry. Got a couple more of the scum with ‘em. A few managed to escape but we got four of the six, not too bad. How’s Emmeline, she was our only real injury, couple of us got scrapes or burns but that’s about it.” Kingsley said. Moody pushed Wormtail once again, causing him to fall over, “Get up you rat, and go in there, we’re going to have ourselves a little chat about espionage.” Moody said in his most frightening voice, both his eyes focused intently on the cowering spy. Chapter 20: Bedtime Troubles Moments later the rest of the Order, including Lupin and Tonks, came in; dragging with them three struggling death eaters, one of them being McNair. “These buggers tried to ambush us when we hit one of their detector spells. Got Emmeline mostly, but one of the hexes clipped Remus. We put a befuddlement charm on

them so they can’t remember where they are or how they got here. Where’s Moody?” Tonks asked, keeping her wand aimed directly at McNair’s neck. “He went into the living room with Wormtail. Said he was going to teach him a lesson about traitors,” Ginny said, grimacing as she imagined what it would be like to be one of Moody’s enemies. The Aurors dragged the other three death eaters into the room and closed the door, leaving the rest to ponder what was going on inside that room. “Well, it’s already late, why don’t we have dinner. Joy and I have just finished up, there’s no point in waiting on an empty stomach.” Molly offered helpfully, ushering the hungry group once again into the kitchen, only this time there wasn’t the anxiety there had been when they had first arrived. The rest of the evening passed quickly, everyone chatting or laughing over numerous stories of the twin’s exploits at Hogwarts. Joy and Emma were having a great time among their new friends; Joy had never met such kindhearted, happy people in her life. Although there was a war going on, which she’d gotten a taste of just hours before, this large family had a levity which was infectious. She couldn’t help but laugh at the two red headed twin’s antics. Emma was immediately taken by her new friends, she was amazed that they were all witches and wizards and was excited that she’d be going to school with them in barely a week. She was also excited to go shopping at Diagon Alley, Harry said it was like no place she’d ever seen and promised to buy her an owl so that she could write her mom anytime she wanted to. Well after 11 o’clock that night Moody, Tonks, and Kingsley came out of the living room with tired expressions on their faces. “Well, we questioned them all, asked them all sorts of questions. Didn’t get much just some hints on what could be some plots to attack the Hogwarts Express. So we tied ‘em all together and portkeyed them to the ministry holding cells. They’ll be held there ‘til the Wizengamot can try them. Could’ve just accidentally let my wand slip and that would have saved the court a couple of weeks and a lot of gold.” Moody said shrugging. His comment would usually seem offensive or cruel, but not a single person in the room spoke up this time. “What about where Voldemort is, did they tell you that?” Hermione asked hopefully. Tonks shook her head as she helped herself to some of the leftover dinner, “Nope, not a bloody sentence. Didn’t really expect to though, Voldemort is smarter than that. He has to have it under the fidelius charm; it wouldn’t make sense for him not to.” “At least we caught them, that means there’s four less minions of his running around killing people,” Harry said, looking over worriedly at Lupin who hadn’t said a thing since coming back in. Harry feared that his run in with Peter Pettigrew might have upset him. “Hey Moony could I ask you something? Over here I think I might have found some

more of Sirius’ things.” Harry beckoned him outside the kitchen into the hallway. “What did you find?” Lupin asked, trying to sound like normal but failing miserably. “Moony, are you okay? You’ve looked upset ever since you came back from interrogating Wormtail,” Harry asked. “I’m okay really. It’s just he said some things about your parents, and Sirius that made me upset. He said he couldn’t have cared less for Lily, James, and Sirius,” Lupin’s voice faltered, he was trying to hold back his grief, “he said he would have killed them if he had been given the chance.” Lupin looked up sadly at Harry, who also wore an expression of sorrow. “Why did we let him be the secret keeper? Even if Sirius couldn’t. I could have done it, what about Dumbledore? He could’ve…I gave your parents to Voldemort myself by letting the rat be their secret keeper.” “Moony, come on…Remus!” Harry said, finally getting his new godfather’s attention, “you’re doing the same thing I’ve been doing. You couldn’t have done anything different. No one knew that Peter was going to betray them. It’s not your fault so stop blaming yourself.” Harry said with care in his voice, putting a hand on his shoulder. Lupin looked up at the boy and smiled, “Looks like you’re the adult now. Wasn’t I telling you just that a little while ago?” “I learned from the best, you showed me that it wasn’t really my fault. I just told you the same thing.” He said chuckling at the change in roles. “I know you’ve heard this a million times, but you really are like your parents. You have the comradely of James, and the boundless heart of Lily. I’m sure they’d be very proud of you.” Lupin said, wiping his eyes off and smiling sadly at Harry. “Now come on, I need to get something to eat. I’m starving!” A little later Molly decided that it was time for everyone to go off to bed, and started to shoo them out of the kitchen. Harry and Ginny lagged behind, chatting quietly under their breath. “What are we going to do? This Heartbond is too strong to sleep in separate beds, and we haven’t told your mum yet either? She’d skin me alive if she saw you sharing a bed with me. I can’t even imagine what Ron would do!” Harry said worriedly. “Or the twins,” Ginny asked teasingly. Harry’s face went into shock about forgetting the twins, “Gin’ you’re not helping.” He said rubbing his eyes. “Harry I’m teasing you,” she said, “just go sleep in your room with Ron. I’ll go to my room with Hermione and Emma. When you do transport me there make a big commotion and say that it’s never happened before, that the Bond must be getting stronger. Then my mum will have to be cool with it. Now come on, it’s late and I’d like to spend at least some of this night asleep.” Ginny said grabbing Harry’s hand and leading him upstairs.

It was the same as the nights before his birthday, the dream of him and Ginny on a green hill having a picnic. Then as he leaned forward to kiss her he woke up to find Ginny once again laying on top of him smiling. Harry pretend yelped in surprise causing Ron, who was precariously balanced on the edge of his bed to fall off of it. “Whatdahappenen?” Ron said thickly rubbing his head, then looking up at Harry’s bed he noticed Ginny. “Ginny! What are you doing here? What are you doing with my sister?” Ron said much more menacingly than normal for him, his fists were actually balled up. “Ronald, calm down, he hasn’t done anything. One second I was asleep in my bed, dreaming, the next I was on top of Harry. Dumbledore did say the bond would get stronger and stronger as time passed, maybe its so strong now that it makes us have to be close.” Ginny offered placating to the still fuming Ron. At that moment the twins and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley ran into the room, looking for the cause of the trouble. When their eyes landed on Ginny laying on top of Harry in his bed their faces turned grave. “Harry, how could you…I thought you would…” Molly started up but Ron stopped her. “No mum, he didn’t do anything. It was this Heartbond thing, somehow it managed to transport Ginny from her bed to Harry’s. Ginny said that Dumbledore told them the bond would get stronger, maybe this is just that. I mean look at them, she’s on top of his covers right now.” Ron managed to get out before his mom could say anything more. Molly took a moment to take in the situation then sighed, “I’m sorry dear. It’s just at first glance it looked a little…compromising. If Dumbledore said that this was going to happen then I guess we must take it for the truth. I just don’t know if I want my daughter sleeping in bed with you. No offense but she is my child.” She said. This time Mr. Weasley spoke up, “Molly, they are bonded, that means they are fated for each other. No matter what they will end up sleeping in the same bed at sometime. Plus, I trust Harry with my life, seeing as he has already saved it once. I know he wouldn’t do anything to hurt Ginny. Why not let them share a bed, Ron will be in here too.” He said trying to sort this out so that both sides would be happy. Molly was once again taken aback by her husband’s intelligence, not that she didn’t know he had it, but every once in a while he would say something that seemed fit to come out of Dumbledore’s mouth. She thought it over for several moments then nodded her head, “Fine, you can share a bed, but remember both of you this is just so you two can get a decent night’s sleep. We’ll talk about this more over breakfast when were not all tired.” Mrs. Weasley said as she headed out the door yawning. The twins lagged behind grinning, “Harry just because you survived Voldemort doesn’t mean that you can escape us. You’ve been warned.” They then walked out the door murmuring in hushed tones about what Harry was sure to be some sort of elaborate plan to prank him. Chapter 21: Pranks and Grades (Revised)

The next morning Harry awoke to Ginny trying to crawl out of bed without waking him. “Where are you going Gin’?” “I’ve been trying not to wake you up, you looked tired. Plus it is almost noon,” She said pointing at the alarm clock. “Wow, I must have been tired. I did feel a little weird after healing Emmeline, must’ve taken more work than I thought,” He shrugged and made to crawl out of bed too, only stopping short half way through. His feet wouldn’t move from the footboard of the bed, he tugged and tugged, even tried Finite Incantatem but nothing would get his feet lose. Meanwhile Ginny was trying to stifle her laughter at his predicament. “Gin’, this isn’t funny!” He said exasperatedly, “did you do this?” She shook her head holding back her laughs, “No, the twins did, came in a little later last night. Said it was your initiation into the family, also they thought not being able to get down to breakfast, oh excuse me, lunch, on time would be funny.” “Well would you get one of them up here and make them undo it before I have enough time to think up a really good revenge!” He said pointing at his unmovable feet. “Okay, but first try something wandless, you know, what Lupin taught us. It doesn’t even just have to be a spell, just think hard enough about what you want to happen and they may just un-stick.” “K’, just give me a second,” Harry said closing his eyes. It took several minutes of silence and frustrated grunts but finally his right foot slid off of the footboard. “Whoa! I can’t believe I just did that, I could feel the magic build up and then it just slid off.” “That’s great, try the other one now,” Ginny said encouragingly. This time he only had to close his eyes for several second before his left foot dropped to the bed. “Wow, this is great. I can get out of Fred and George’s traps now. I can’t wait to tell Moony what I can do now? Do you reckon this is from the Bond?” He asked. “Probably,” Ginny said helping Harry up, then looked him up and down, “now that has to be from the Bond, look!” She said standing next to him, “yesterday I was at your nose, now I’m at your neck! You’ve grown four inches in one night!” Harry hurried over to the mirror and examined himself, taking note that he really had gotten taller, he then looked over at Ginny and smiled. “Gin’ I think you’ve grown too, look at your pajama pants. We just got those and they are already up to your ankles.” “You’re right; I must’ve grown a couple inches too! Wow I can’t wait until I’m taller than Ron,” Ginny said admiring her new height. “All this growing has made me hungry, let’s go down and try and get some lunch before your brother eats it all,” Harry said grabbing her hand and pulling her down the stairs.

All the other kids were already in the kitchen sitting down for lunch when Ginny and Harry came in. The group was discussing the events of last night and asking how Emmeline Vance was feeling. Emma saw the two first, waved, and said, “Morning!” “Morning Em’ how’d you sleep? Hey where are all the Order Members, usually they at least have a guard?” Harry asked as he sat down and began to grab some food. “Tonks said they would be back before dinner, she told us they were going to try and round up a couple more Death Eaters that were spotted in Diagon Alley. And mum and Joy went grocery shopping for dinner.” Ron said while at the same time chewing a sandwich. “Miss Weasley said that we’re going diagonally tomorrow!” Emma said enthusiastically. “Huh,” Harry asked, “Oh, Diagon Alley, right. We do need to go there I need to get some new stuff for my classes, and we can visit Fred and George’s shop! Hold on, I don’t know what classes I’m taking yet, I completely forgot about O.W.L.s, have you lot gotten your’s yet?” Harry asked Ron and Hermione. “Nope, not yet,” Ron said shaking his head, Hermione just looked mournful. Harry had forgotten how important these were to Hermione, and could only imagine how stressed she was now. “Dumbledore said they should show up pretty soon, things got a little bollixed with the tests this year. Apparently Umbridge tried to flunk most of her students so they had to go back through and reexamine each test. He said they finally got them fixed though so I expect they’ll be coming soon,” Ron offered, patting Hermione on the shoulder compassionately. “I know Ronald, it’s just I worked so hard on them and I thought they were coming last month, not a week before school starts!” She said crossly, poking at her lunch moodily. “Why do you want owls for tests?” Emma asked confusedly. Harry laughed, just realizing how weird that must sound to someone who didn’t know anything about the wizarding world. “O.W.L.s are test that everyone in their fifth year at Hogwarts has to take. They tell us what we are going to be able to take the next year and what we could be when we graduate.” “What do you want to be?” Emma asked. Harry shrugged, “I don’t really know. I told Professor McGonagall, the head of Gryffindor, that I’d like to try and become an Auror. You know, one of the people that you met last night. I think I would be good at it.” “Cool, like a policeman!” Emma said brightly, then turned to Hermione. “How bout you Hermione? What are you going to be when you grow up?” Hermione paused, and actually had to think it over for a moment. The question had caught her somewhat off guard. She had always thought she knew what she wanted to do

when she got out of Hogwarts, but now faced with the question she couldn’t quite seem to figure it out. “I’m not sure, I really enjoy charms and arithmancy, and it would be really fun to make new spells for the ministry or someone else. Or maybe a healer, a wizard doctor.” Hermione said distantly, her mind still sorting through the eleven-yearold’s probing question. “Me too, I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, I want to be able to save people’s lives. What about you Ronald?” Emma asked. “Dunno’ it’d be cool to be an Auror, but I would really like to try out for a Quidditch spot, I want to be Keeper for the Chudley Cannons!” Ron said proudly, supporting his team despite their dismal record. “I’ve never seen a Quidditch game before, Harry’s told me loads about it though. I want to try out this year, I’ve never played though.” “You better watch out ‘Ronald’ maybe Em will take your spot on the team. By the way, when did you start calling Ron, Ronald, Hermione?” Harry teased. Ron looked over at Hermione and both blushed as they turned away. Hermione regained her composure and with a curt voice said, “I can call Ron whatever I like, and I like Ronald.” Harry just smiled at his two awkward, blushing friends, sharing a knowing glance with Ginny. Maybe getting these two together won’t be as hard as we thought, they like each other they just don’t notice the other one does. At the end of lunch Harry asked Ron about Percy . “Nope, haven’t seen him since last year, the filthy prat hasn’t talked to any of us. Apparently he’s living in a flat somewhere near the Ministry so he can come to Fudge’s aide at a moment’s notice. Doesn’t even acknowledge dad, I think Fred and George pranked him a couple weeks ago because they had a large package and were arguing whether or not Percy’s mail would be searched. Mum’s still a little upset but she seems to have gotten used to it. I don’t really miss him though, rarely saw him anyways.” Ron shrugged. “And none of you have tried to talk...” Harry stopped short when something out the window caught his eye, he grinned. “‘Mione, I think you might wan to open a window up, looks like your wish may be coming true.” He said pointing outside. Hermione squealed and ran to the window throwing it wide so that the three owls that were now very close could land. When they touched down, Hermione untied all three as fast as she could then ran over to the table, looking for hers. In her excitement she tossed Ron and Harry’s on the counter almost throwing them into the sink. She peeled the letter apart and began to scour the letter, her face running a gamut of expressions as she looked her scores over. Harry and Ron did the same thing only at a more leisurely pace. Harry unfolded his piece

of parchment and read the letter enclosed with the grades. Dear Mr. Potter, Enclosed you will find the scores for your Ordinary Wizarding Level tests conducted this May. We apologize for the delay in the scores, we encountered several technical difficulties. Harry next picked up the next page which had the actual grades for his classes. History of Magic: Troll Defense Against the Dark Arts: Outstanding Charms: Outstanding Care of Magical Creatures: Exceeds Expectations Divination: Dreadful Herbology: Exceeds Expectations Transfiguration: Exceeds Expectations Potions: Exceeds Expectations Harry James Potter has received 6 (six) passing O.W.L.s including one of especially high merit in the field of Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry’s eyes widened in shock, he had never thought he was going to do as well has he had, he’d only failed two classes, and they were both ones he didn’t care for much. How the bloody hell did I get a grade of ‘high merit’ in Defense Against the Dark Arts? Umbridge hated me, she was torturing me. And what does a mark of ‘high merit’ even mean? Harry thought to himself. “How’d you do Harry?” Ginny asked craning over his shoulder for a look at his letter. “Er, great, I think. I got six O.W.L.s.” Harry said shrugging, looking over at Hermione whose head had suddenly snapped up. “Wow, you did great. You got an Outstanding in Defense Against the Dark Arts, no surprise, but in Charms too? I didn’t know you were that good?” Ginny commented as she read his grades. “Dunno, I just had a good day, I didn’t really mess up in that test which is good. What’d you get Ron? ‘Mione?” Harry asked looking over at his two friends. “You go first Ronald, I want to hear what you got,” Hermione said still examiner her own. “I got six O.W.L.s too, outstanding in Defense Against the Dark Arts too, looks like we won’t be taking potions though, I got a Exceeds Expectations, Snape only take

Outstanding. Not a loss really, couldn’t stand the class anyway,” Ron said lightly. Harry’s heart sank momentarily as he realized he too wouldn’t be taking potions and that his short lived dream to become an Auror had died. He was most upset about letting down Professor McGonagall after her heated argument with Umbridge about getting him to become an Auror if it ‘was the last thing she did.’ He smiled slightly at the memory of that meeting then came back to the present. “So Hermione, what did you get? Did you get 8 O.W.L.s that were all Outstanding?” Hermione looked a little sheepish, “Well, you were right about one part. I did get all Outstanding, but…oh just look,” she gave up thrusting the letter into Ron’s hands. He, Ginny, and Harry looked at it in astonishment. “But Hermione, how? I mean there has to be a typo or something. How?” Ron asked completely taken aback. “I didn’t want to tell you guys, I thought you might make fun of me, I mean I’m sort of already labeled as Miss-Know-It-All aren’t I?” Hermione said nervously. “Hermione, why would we care? It wouldn’t have made a difference at all, I’m just amazed you pulled it off,” Harry said caringly. Hermione just smiled up at her three friends, got up and grabbed them all in a group hug. On the table next to them lay Hermione’s O.W.L. scores. History of Magic: Outstanding Defense Against the Dark Arts: Outstanding Charms: Outstanding Care of Magical Creatures: Outstanding Divination: Outstanding Herbology: Outstanding Transfiguration: Outstanding Potions: Outstanding Arithmancy: Outstanding Muggle Relations: Outstanding Hermione Jane Granger has received 8 (eight) passing O.W.L.s all of which are Outstanding, thereby placing her in the top 30 test scores of the past century. “I can’t believe you tested in eight different subjects, when did you find the time to study? Harry and I were breaking down with just six!” Ron asked in amazement, “You don’t have another time turner do you?” He said nervously eyeing her.

Hermione laughed, “No, I think we’ve played enough with time already, besides we destroyed most of them in the Department of Mysteries. It wasn’t too difficult, I just asked the headmaster if I could take the Arithmancy and Muggle Relations tests along with my other ones. He was supportive and even lent me a few of his books to read. I didn’t really have to study much for Muggle Relations, and I was already reading a lot of books on Arithmancy anyways.” She shrugged, “It really isn’t that big of a deal, it’s only two more tests.” “Yeah it is a big deal, you got Outstanding on all of them! It says you had one of the best test scores in…” Harry looked at the, “…a century! If that isn’t a big deal I don’t know what is.” “Congratulations Hermione, I bet mum will through you a huge party,” Ginny said hugging her again. Chapter 22: Requests Ginny was right, when Mrs. Weasley and Joy came home Ron immediately told them about the O.W.L.s. Molly was overjoyed that Ron had gotten six O.W.L.s, stating that it was twice that of which Fred or George got, and when he told her about Hermione and Harry’s scores she grabbed them in a hug too. “I think that this calls for a celebration, I’m so proud of all three of you. We do have enough food; would you want to help Joy?” Molly asked, already pulling pots and pans out of their respective cupboards. She and Joy had become close friends just over the two days they’d been together, discussing everything from cooking techniques to raising kids. The two mothers hopped into action, immediately starting to chop, dice, and boil things. Hermione, Emma, and Ginny pitched in too, stirring different things and setting the table. There was an Order meeting that night too so they were planning on having a very large group of people. Along with the roast beefs, and numerous pies the mothers were making, the three girls, along with Tonks worked on making a cake big enough for everyone. Mrs. Weasley declared that on top of the party being for getting such good O.W.L. scores it was also a belated birthday party for Harry and Emma. Harry had never had a true birthday party and was excited for it. Emma was ecstatic when she heard that Fred and George were going to set off some of their new indoor fireworks they’d been working on. “The only problem is that we’ve made them work so well it takes forever to get them to stop,” Fred explained as he heaved a crate onto a table. “We expanded on the idea we used against Umbridge, taking out some of the more boring ones and adding a little more excitement.” George said wickedly, setting the other crate on the table. Each one was labeled with bright red and yellow lettering; DANGER! HIGHLY FLAMMABLE DO NOT EXPOSE TO WATER, FIRE, ACID…JUST DON’T GET NEAR THEM! DON’T SAY WE DIDN’T WARN YOU. “Good labeling guys, that really instills some confidence in your customers,” Hermione said as she kneaded dough for rolls.

“It does,” Fred said enthusiastically. Hermione gave him a doubtful look. “No really, think about it this way,” George said. “If we told you that there was something really cool in a box and then said under no circumstances can you look at it,” Fred said. “95 out of 100 people would look at it,” George added. “So that’s all we’re doing” they both said at the same time. “I didn’t think they had the makings of businessmen either Hermione dear, but they seem to have proved me wrong. They have a certain knack for making the things they create irresistible. Just you wait until you see their shop tomorrow,” Molly said, with a slight hint of pride in her voice. She was upset that her sons had left their education early but was very pleased with what they had done so far. Their shop was certainly the most popular in Diagon Alley, attracting all ages to see their pranks and inventions. The sudden reemergence of Voldemort had sent many people looking for a way to let out their anxiety, and a trip to Weasley Wizarding Wheezes seemed to be the common way to get rid of it. It was nearing supper so everyone who wasn’t cooking or helping was shooed out of the kitchen; this was mostly because of Ron who kept sneaking tastes of everything that came out of the oven. Slowly 12 Grimmauld Place began to fill with people, and accompanying that was the screeches and curses of Mrs. Black’s portrait. Harry and Ron would keep running up to it and wrenching them shut once again, only it seemed that over the past year she had become a little more persistent and would just spring open once again. On their fifth time that night Harry shouted to Ron over the din, “There’s got to be something we can do to make her shut-up! We can’t keep doing this my arms are getting sore from yanking…” but he could tell Ron wasn’t hearing a word he was saying, “SHUT THE BLOODY HELL UP!” Harry shouted at the portrait as loud as he could, even louder than the portrait itself. Surprisingly it did just that, Mrs. Black didn’t stop shouting it was just that there wasn’t any sound anymore. The hallway was completely silent. “Well that was easy,” Harry said shaking his head to try and get rid of the ringing noise in his ears. “Why do you think we can’t hear her? She hasn’t stopped shouting that’s for sure. We’ve tried silencio loads of times on her and no one could get her to shut up. Moody almost went crazy trying to get her off the wall last week,” Ron said a little louder than necessary but he couldn’t tell because of the buzzing in his ears. Harry shrugged, “Dunno, all I can say is that I’m glad she shut up. I know ‘Mione said she didn’t mind her, but I saw her flinch every time she started to shout again.” “Yeah me too, glad we got her to be quite,” Ron said.

“HARRY! RON! Dinner time, hurry up!” Joy’s voice echoed through the hallway. “Come on mate, dinner, can’t miss that! Last one there has to eat the vomit flavored Bertie Bott’s!” Ron said as he started to spring down the hallway, Harry was right behind him. The kitchen was packed with people and food it looked as if someone had done something to the room to expand it somewhat so as to fit another table next to the first one to make enough room for everyone. All the Order members, including Dumbledore, and to both Ron and Harry’s pleasure Charlie Weasley, was there, even, much to Harry’s distaste, Snape. He was smashed right in-between Emma and Lupin, his discomfort was evident but noone seemed to take much notice. Emma was asking him dozens of questions completely oblivious to his cold stare. Once everyone was seated Molly stood up and cleared her throat for everyone’s attention, “Well this massive feast is to congratulate the three students who all got amazing O.W.L. scores, and it is also a belated birthday party for Harry who is now 16, and Emma, who just got into Hogwarts, and is now 11. Now go on eat up, we have plenty of food for everyone, and then before the meeting starts we have cake. Dinner went on for well over two hours, everyone laughing and talking, shouting over to the other side of the table for someone to pass such-and-such. Harry was sitting next to Charlie Weasley and Dumbledore, both of whom were telling him about what was going on under ground in the wizarding world currently. Not a single real piece of news had been printed about Voldemort after the Department of Mysteries. “And that isn’t because Fudge is trying to deny it, there just hasn’t really been anything happing publicly.” Charlie said. “Which is out of character for Tom, he gained power in the first war through terror, and this is the opposite of what I thought he would be doing.” Dumbledore said thoughtfully as he picked at the last morsels of a steak and kidney pie. “Couldn’t he just be gathering people to him, I mean you did hear how Malfoy’s dad got out of Azkaban. Maybe Tom just needs supporters and is biding his time.” Harry said. “Perhaps, perhaps,” Dumbledore said looking over at Harry, “all will become clear in time. Now would you like a piece of this excellent cake, it has a raspberry filling, my personal favorite.” He said pointing over to the lavishly decorated cake which Harry and Emma had just blown the candles out on. “Sure, not a huge one though. Uh sir, I was hoping I might be able to ask you something,” Harry said uncertainly, he’d been mulling it over in his mind for a while but had just decided to actually ask the Headmaster. “Of course Harry, what is it?” Dumbledore asked, although in his eyes it seemed as if he already knew the answers.

“Well sir, I’m 16 now and I was hoping that I might be able to join the Order, you know, I mean I need to know as much as possible if I’m ever going to be able to kill him,” Harry said quietly, still mindful of the secrecy of the prophecy. Dumbledore’s features seemed to soften, almost in sadness, but also in caring, “Harry, I am afraid I am still not going to be able to allow you to join. But before you ask why, let me explain.” He placed a placating hand on Harry’s shoulder, “What I told you in my office last year was all true, everything. Including the bit where I felt as if it were my duty to protect you, I know that Lupin is now your guardian but I still feel compelled to watch after you too. This is not to slight you in any way, but it is for the good of everyone in the Order that you do not attend.” Harry bristled slightly, mentally trying to remember the 10 uses for dragons blood so as to calm himself; he didn’t want to ruin this party because of some argument. He closed his eyes momentarily then opened them again, a new glow to them that wasn’t there before, “Why can’t I attend?” Dumbledore smiled, “You are learning to control your anger, that will help build the power that’s growing inside you, I can see it in your eyes. But, I am digressing, do you remember last Christmas break when you could see Mr. Weasley get attacked?” Harry’s heart sunk, he knew where this was going, and knew it was pointless to argue because it actually made sense. “That connection with Tom’s subconscious, along with what I would call a fiasco of Occlumency lessons, makes me believe it would be a rash decision to allow you to see or hear certain discussions. I am not afraid of you staying here, it’s one of the safest places around, and I just do not want to jeopardize what we have accomplished so far. I hope you understand and will forgive me when I say no.” Dumbledore finished finally, Harry averting his eyes from the Headmaster. He always felt that he could see right into your mind and figure out what you were thinking, and due to his occlumency lessons he wouldn’t be surprised if that were possible. “Yes, I understand, I just wish that I could know more, all last year I was kept in the dark and that caused the whole Ministry problem. I will not ask again for right now as long as you promise to tell me everything you can without endangering anyone. I don’t want anymore people dying on my account.” Harry said. “A very mature decision Harry, the Heartbond truly is an amazing thing, I will instruct Remus to tell you everything that he deems allowable, but please do not go searching for other information. I am working on a way to solve the trespasses into his consciousness, but for the time being try and work on your occlumency.” Dumbledore said with a slight smile. “Thank you sir, I should leave now, looks like the meeting is about to start,” Harry said standing up. “Oh, of course, thank you for understanding, it is yet one more hardship I hope we will be able to overcome in time. Now you should get going, if I’m not mistaken the Weasley

twins have brought some of their fireworks, and I just saw them sneak down the hallway with the others. I wish I could see them, if you recall I wasn’t present for their first use either.” Dumbledore said smiling. “I forgot, it really was brilliant, but I don’t think you’ll have to worry about missing them sir. If the twins did what they said they did, and I’m pretty sure they are capable of it, then they’ll be around for quite some time.” Harry said, then headed out of the kitchen after thanking Molly and Joy, who was becoming an Order member, for dinner. Chapter 23: A Necklace and a Wand The party went well past midnight and was only ended when one of the twins’ fireworks found their way into the Order’s meeting and caught Snape’s robes on fire. Whether or not it was accidental was questionable considering the fact that somehow the firework would not go anywhere else save Snape’s cloak; it took the combined efforts of Moody and Lupin to finally get rid of the persistent firework. As Snape stalked out of the front door Mrs. Weasley called for everyone to go to bed because they were going to Diagon Alley tomorrow to get everyone’s school supplies. Soon the house was once again eerily silent as everyone nodded off to sleep. The next morning everyone was woken very early due to one of the leftover fireworks finding its way to the floo powder jar, which, as it turns out makes a very loud bang when it mixes with a Weasley Wizarding Wheezes firework. Some of the people tried to go back to bed after the explosion but most people had been woken so jarringly that they decided just to go downstairs and have a nice long breakfast. As everyone trickled in downstairs Mrs. Weasley and Tonks reviewed the lists of what everyone needed and went over who was going to be their escorts when they arrived. “Well, I’ll be coming along, and so will Kingsley, there have been some rumors about Death Eaters planning to attack some of the softer targets around Diagon Alley to scare people,” Tonks said. “Are you sure that’s enough, I mean with Harry and all…” Mrs. Weasley said nervously, not finishing her sentence. “Don’t worry two Aurors is enough, anymore would attract too much attention, besides from what I’ve heard from Remus Harry can hold his own.” Kingsley said, nodding at Harry. He’d immediately been taken by the boy’s perseverance, and the fact that he’d overcome so many obstacles, including fame, and come out perfectly normal. “Thanks Kingsley,” Harry said, proud that an Auror like Kingsley would think him capable of defending himself. “Well looks like we best be heading out, we have a lot of places to go, Emma needs to get everything including a wand,” Molly said standing as she examined the grandfather clock. There was a bustle of commotion as everyone grabbed cloaks and wands and lined up in

front of the fire, waiting to get Kingsley’s ok from the Leakey Cauldron. As they were lining up in the hallway waiting for Ron to find his wand Emma gasped. “Harry! Why are you so tall? I used to be up to your elbow, now I’m almost at your hand! Are you wearing different shoes?” Emma asked trying to get taller by standing on her tiptoes. “Oh yeah, guess we forgot to tell you guys, I’m surprised you didn’t notice sooner. Somehow the Bond is making us grow really fast, I got really tall, and so did Gin’ look,” Harry said pointing to Ginny who was next to Tonks. “She used to be shorter than Tonks, now she’s the same size, maybe even taller.” “Blimey Harry, you’re right, she is taller, and you too. This all happened in one night?” Tonks said admiring their new height. “Must’ve, I mean I know I wasn’t this tall the day before, I had to duck today coming down the stairs so I wouldn’t hit my head,” Harry said. “There certainly are a lot of changes going on, I’m still not sure I approve of you sharing beds, but it seems that Dumbledore was right as usual, and that these changes will help you two,” Molly said. Ron too was impressed by Ginny and Harry’s growth spurt, Harry was now the same height as Ron. “Come on everyone, we just got the ok, you first Molly,” Tonks said handing her the pot of floo powder. Once everyone had gone through the fireplace they reassembled in the back room at the entrance into Diagon Alley. They decided first it would be best to go to Gringotts. Mrs. Weasley, Harry, and Hermione all had to withdraw money for their supplies, and Emma and Joy needed to open a new account for themselves As they walked down the cobble stone streets Emma ran, dragging her mother with her, to every store’s window marveling at the many unusual items. She was most taken by the Nimbus 2001 that was floating in the store window. She’d seen Harry’s broom every once and a while but seeing a whole store full of them enthralled her. Her expression was the same as they entered Gringotts’ large marble halls, Ginny had told her that it was run by goblins but she never really comprehended what she said until now. There were dozens of them in the giant room, carrying large diamonds and rubies, or sitting on stools scribbling in tomes. Lupin got Joy started on the paperwork then went with Harry and the others down to the vaults to get some money. They first stopped at the Weasley’s small vault, this time Harry was happy to see that it wasn’t looking as empty as it had been last time; apparently he was getting paid quite a lot of overtime lately. Next up was Harry’s vault and as they approached the entrance Harry suddenly realized

he hadn’t mentioned the new significant increase in wealth to anyone, only Ginny and Lupin had seen it. He mentally kicked himself as he handed the key to the goblin, just imagining Mrs. Weasley and Ron’s looks when they saw the next room. The door swung open to reveal the three large gold doors with the family crests on them. Harry’s assumptions were right, both Molly and Ron gaped in disbelief, but they weren’t the only ones, Kingsley and Hermione were both staring at Harry in astonishment; the only people who didn’t have similar expressions were Ginny and Lupin who’d been with him on the first trip down. “Sorry about that, I sort of forgot to warn you guys,” Harry said halfway smiling at the now stunned expressions of his friends, “I won’t be long, come on, I need help looking through the other vaults. I’ve only been in one.” Harry walked up to the one which held the black family heirlooms and pressed his palm against the cold metal door a moment later it swung open effortlessly revealing the Black heirlooms. The whole room was filled with antiques; from piles of large, dusty books, most of which appeared to be about dark magic, to boxes filled to the brim with gold, platinum, and silver necklaces, rings, and earrings. The vault glimmered in the ethereal light of the lone torch illuminating it. The group just stared wide eyed at the enormous collection of priceless antiques for a while, until Harry spotted something and walked into the vault. He had to climb up several precarious piles of books, including one which tried to eat his foot, but he managed to reach the small, thin, polished box he had spotted. It was covered in a fine dust but the inlay in it was still clear, that was what caught his eye in the first place. In large flowing, gold, inlaid script was the name Sirius Ignatius Orion Black. Harry’s breath hitched as he opened the lid, the inside was covered in blood red velvet. At first Harry didn’t see anything in the box, and then he noticed a thin gold chain which seemed to be the thickness of a human hair. He picked it up carefully then noticed it was attached to something. When he completely pulled the necklace out of the box he saw a deep blood-red stone almost the exact same color of the velvet in the box. The torch’s light flickered off of the stone showing it’s completely smooth surface, as it spun around in circles he saw a small flaw. He squinted under the dim lighting and learned it wasn’t a flaw but a small but beautiful stone which when in the light it sparkled like a prism, throwing a rainbow of colors in every direction. Harry studied the stone from every direction, completely taken by the simple beauty it contained. “Hey Harry! You okay mate? Did you find something,” Ron shouted from across the vault. “I’m fine, I just found something of Sirius’ I’m coming back, we can look in the vaults some other time, we need to go shopping,” Harry said. He was about to put the necklace back in the small box but something stopped him. He instead unclasped the miniscule coupling and secured it around his own neck, the stone laying near his heart. Once he put it on it seemed to radiate with an inner heat that Harry found comforting in some way, he

couldn’t place it exactly, but just wearing something that belonged to his deceased godfather comforted him, he would always have something to remind himself of him with. Harry stood up and navigated his way back down the piles of books and joined the rest of the group who were still just on the outer edge of the vault just admiring some of the objects near them, Hermione was almost drooling over the piles of books that were everywhere. Ginny noticed Harry’s unusually calm demeanor, “Are you okay Harry?” “Yeah I’m great Gin’ I found something of Sirius’ and it just made me happy, there wasn’t much of his stuff around Grimmauld Place so I was glad to find something that belonged to him,” Harry said, not telling them exactly what it was he’d found, for some reason he didn’t want to show them the stone; it was between him and Sirius; thankfully no-one asked to see what he had found. “Okay, let’s close this vault and I’ll just grab some galleons for my new equipment,” Harry said closing the Black vault and opening the gold vault. He once again forgot to tell the group what was in the vault so there were several gasps when it swung wide open. “Oh, yeah, sorry about that again, should have warned you,” Harry said shrugging; feeling somewhat awkward around the Weasley’s flabbergasted expressions at the mountains of gold in front of them. “Harry, how the bloody hell did you get all this,” Ron blurted out, he flinched expecting a condemnation from his mom, but it never came, Molly was still just staring at the pile of gold. “I honestly didn’t know I had it until a couple of weeks ago, turns out that what I used to have was just a trust fund for me, this is also the Black fortune. also,” Harry said trying to get the money he needed as quickly as possible so as to not flaunt his new found wealth. He filled his small leather pouch with galleons and quickly closed the door. Once it sealed shut with a hiss it was if a spell was broken. Everyone stopped staring and began to head towards the cart. “I had no idea you had that much money, you’ve got to be richer than the Malfoys now!” Ron said hopefully. “Lupin says that I’m right behind them for now, but the way they’re dumping money in Voldemort’s projects I bet they’ll be broke soon.” Harry said. “Harry dear, I hope you have someone who knows what to do about all this, you need someone to take care of your finances,” Molly said taking her usual motherly outlook on the situation. “I’ve already found one; Moony’s going to take care of it. I think it’s a good idea that I have someone I can trust to look after it,” Harry said as they stepped out of the cart once again above ground.

They met up with Emma and Joy who had just finished creating their own vault and converted some pounds into galleons for shopping. They headed outside once again squinting in the sunlight. Diagon Alley was still noticeably empty, and the few people they did see were mostly ministry officials rushing back and forth form The Leaky Cauldron on business. The group decided to split up half of them going to Flourish and Blotts to pick up the supplies there, and the other half going to the Apothecary to pick up the required materials then would go to Ollivander’s to get Emma a wand. Harry and Ron decided to go with Kingsley and Emma to get potions supply then the wand, the others headed off to get the necessary spell books. The potions supplies were simple enough, Emma, Ginny, and Hermione, were the only ones who needed them because Ron and Harry were both unable to take Snape’s N.E.W.T. level class. After they arranged for the potions kits to be picked up later in the day they walked past Florean Fortescue’s, to Ollivander’s to get Emma her very first wand. She was jumping up and down as she dragged both Ron and Harry behind her into the shop. It was exactly as Harry remembered it last time, the hundreds of dusty boxes lined up against the wall, the dust motes swirling in the air like golden dust, and the small bell on the front counter. He walked up to it and tapped it. “Coming!” Mr. Ollivander shouted from the back room, a moment later he was bustling into the front room, and when he saw Harry’s face broke out into a wide smile. “Mr. Potter, how nice to see you again, I hope you’re wand is treating you well? Eleven inch holly, Phoenix tail feather if I’m not mistaken? And Auror Shaklebolt, 12 inch hornbeam with a thestral tail hair, correct?” Both Harry and Shaklebolt nodded, astounded by the old wizard’s flawless memory. “And who are your friends?” “Oh sorry, these are my friends Ronald Weasley and Emmaline Massey. We need to get Emma a wand for her first year at Hogwarts.” Harry explained. “Oh-ho very good, very good indeed, well Miss Massey would you please come over here, why don’t we start with this one?” Ollivander said handing her a wand, “Just point it over there and give it a wave.” She waved it as she was told and the back door flew open. She looked over at Harry frightened. “Don’t worry Em, you should have seen what I did to his store,” Harry said bracingly. Ollivander gave her another wand, and she waved it once again, this time splitting the chair near them neatly in half. “And that, is why we point the wand away from everyone,” Ollivander said once again

bustling off to get another wand. He came back with two more, “Well, third time’s the charm, and if it isn’t I have another that might work.” She took the first one and waved it again, curiously it did nothing apparent, not even made a sound. “I thought that would happen, very well try this one,” Ollivander said trading her wands out. She waved the last one and suddenly there was a burst of light. When it had dissipated the chair was nicely repaired and the back door was closed once again. Ollivander clapped his hands together merrily, “Excellent, I thought that would do the trick. Nine inches, wood from a very old and particularly stubborn alder tree, and a Phoenix tail feather. Perfect fit for you. As I say, the wand chooses the wizard.” Emma held her new wand with reverence, she couldn’t believe that just a few months ago wizards and magic were still just fairytales, and now she had her very own wand. “Will that be all? Or does your other friend need a wand too?” Ollivander asked courteously. “No, that’s it. Thank you for helping us,” Harry said as he pulled out the several galleons the wand cost. “Oh no Mr. Potter, you don’t need to pay me, if she is a friend of yours she is a friend of mine, consider it a thank you for what you did in the Ministry this summer.” “Well thank you very much, if there’s anything we can do just ask,” Harry said taken aback by the man’s graciousness. “I do not believe in debts just generosity, and friendship, that is all I ask,” Ollivander said shaking Harry’s hand as he held the door open for them. “Oh, Mr. Potter, if you find you have some free time in the near future I would like to talk to you about something I’ve been working on with Dumbledore, it’s to help fix that little problem you discovered.” He said cryptically. “Oh yeah, sure, I’ll try and come over as soon as I get the chance,” Harry said picking up on the subtle hint Ollivander had dropped about Priori Incantatem. He was curious to just what solution he’d been able to come up with. “Have a good day Mr. Ollivander!” Harry shouted over his shoulder as they walked away from the store to their next destination, Weasley Wizarding Wheezes. Chapter 24: An Empty Alley The ancient streets which wove through Diagon Alley were unnervingly empty, only containing a few passing wizards, and the occasional Auror. As Emma, Ron, and Harry walked, Kingsley would wave to the Aurors and sometimes have a rushed and whispered conversation. From what Harry and Ron could pick up it had something to do with recent rumors of a planned Death Eater attack, either aimed at the Hogwarts Express or Diagon Alley. When Harry questioned Kingsley however he dodged the questions, only saying, “We have more than enough guards here, and Albus is ensuring the safe passage of all of

his students to Hogwarts.” In just a few minutes they arrived at what had to be Fred and George’s store, it was gaudily painted bright gold and purple with the occasional pink or red polka-dot thrown in; and the windows were filled from top to bottom with hundreds of different items, each one’s labeling promising more hysteria than the one next to it. “Looks like we found the right place, and the others are already inside, come on!” Ron said rushing inside. Inside was as brightly painted as the outside, everywhere there were splotches of different colors of paint, and boxes filled to the brim with vividly wrapped items. The seemed to be the one store that any of them had been in that actually had customers currently, there were about a dozen kids, many of them Harry recognized from Hogwarts. “Oy! You better not be planning on stealing that,” said a voice from behind the group. Everyone turned around to see a smiling Fred and George who were both wearing lime green dress robes and were currently manning the cash registers helping other customers. “Good to see you lot,” said George. “We thought you might’ve forgotten about us,” said Fred. “Feel free to take a look around, we need to help these young ladies then we’ll be right there,” said George as he started to tally up one of their customer’s selection. “And Ronald, we don’t give a family discount, so don’t go taking anything without paying,” Fred said half seriously. Harry walked down one aisle labeled Dangerous Devices, which was covered from floor to ceiling in ominously shaking boxes or crates. Some of the items were labeled, like Tongue Tying Tweezers, Instant Hair Remover, or Never Ending Book of Questions; many of them however were simply not labeled at all, leaving Harry and the rest of the group to tentatively pick them up and try to look inside. Emma had picked up a small box covered in blue mesh, on the inside there appeared to be a small metal ball. She carefully cracked the lid trying to get a better look at the mysterious silver ball. “No,no,no I wouldn’t be touching that!” Hermione said as she pulled the box away from Emma, examining the little ball cautiously. Ron gave her a dirty look and muttered something about her being overprotective. “No little brother, in this case she’d be right,” George said taking the little box from Hermione. “It’s a bludgeoning BB, very nasty,” said Fred. “You should have seen the R&D for that; we were both covered in hundreds of tiny bruises after it escaped from its box once,” said George grimacing”

“Absolute nightmare, almost broke out of our test room, would’ve shredded Diagon Alley to bits,” said Fred grinning as if it would have been an adventure. Hermione looked scandalized, “Then why, pray tell, did you geniuses make it!” “Dumbledore, sweet Hermione,” Fred said waving the little box in front of her. “Has been kind enough to give us some financing when it comes to R&D, he is very interested in some of our pranks’ uses in the war,” said George proudly. “We’ve been working on dozens of new pranks, slash weapons, that we’re hoping to use in the war, this one however didn’t work out too well in development so we only made one,” Fred said shrugging. “You mean Dumbledore is just giving you two money to play around with your toys?” Ron asked incredulously. “Not at all, while we do play hard we also work much harder, right now were working with Mr. Ollivander on something that could possibly help change the course of the war. Of course we couldn’t tell you, Dumbledore’s the only one who knows right now. We have just started testing so we hope it’ll be out soon though,” Fred said conspiratorially. The twins continued on their discussion for quite some time, as they did they led the group down the different aisles, pointing out their best sellers. It was a surprisingly large room, and there was even more in the back for production. Harry was happy to see his winnings being put to such great use. They spent nearly an hour in the store, playing with most nearly everything they had to offer. And by the time Molly and Joy said that it was time to start getting ready to leave, each of the children had several different side effects from the wheezes. Ranging from Harry’s polka dotted skin, to Emma’s constantly changing eye colour, which included every colour in the rainbow. So finally Fred and George loaded Harry, their benefactor, with as many different pranks as possible. Just saying, “Just tell people where you got them, you don’t need to pay, you’re already our business partner.” “Oh, that should wear off in another hour or so, if George here mixed it right,” Fred said. “Oy, that last batch wasn’t my fault; the man shouldn’t have put the whole thing in his mouth, and they at least finally erased them by the end of the week,” George said in defense. Harry gulped a bit nervously, hoping that he wouldn’t still have polka dots for skin when he got on the train tomorrow. The whole group stepped outside once again into the desolate streets, waving goodbye to the twins as they went, the colour seemingly melting away as they walked further and further away. The life had gone completely out of Diagon Alley, Harry no longer felt happy here, he’d had some of his best memories, yet now there was just desolation. A harsh wind whipped the streets, blowing the occasional ministry issued Death Eater Safety manual through the streets.

When they finally came to the entrance of the Leaky Cauldron, Harry just shook his head in sorrow, disappointed that Voldemort’s mere existence had somehow sapped this place of life. The Leaky Cauldron was empty as was now usual as the group went up tot the fire and began to go through the fire, quietly whispering, Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, in case someone was listening in. One never could be too careful nowadays. For the rest of the evening the whole house was a bustle with people trying to locate their belongings which had been strewn all over the house. Molly was busy doing the wash, and Joy was cooking a quick dinner for everyone. After dinner they chatted for only a while until Molly decided that it would be a good idea to head to bed early because this time the Ministry cars were picking them up earlier than usual because of the purported security risks of arriving unannounced and without enough security. All the Order members present were busy working on a plan to secure the train platform, there had now been numerous rumors about a impending attack tomorrow on the train. So, just like every year before, Harry fell asleep with a mixed sense of excitement and nervousness over returning to Hogwarts this year. Only this time there was another feeling, something that had come to the surface that day at Diagon Alley, something he hadn’t been able to place until just as he fell asleep, it was the sense of an uneasy calm, just like the one that came before a thunderstorm, one that came before a war. Chapter 25: Attack on Grimmauld Place BANG! A huge shockwave shook the very foundations of 12 Grimmauld Place, waking everyone and everything in the house. BANG! A second shockwave hit, tipping over bookshelves and unsettling everything in the house. Pictures cried out in anger from their tilted frames, and various other items began to move about freed from their holding places. Harry and Ginny jolted out of bed a second after the first bang, Harry jumped so high he hit his head on the backboard and clear off his bed landing hard on the wood floor. Ginny sat straight up knocking over the lamp and the clock on the small bedside table. BANG! A third loud explosion rocked the ancient house. “Harry! Are you okay? What’s going on?” Ginny shouted over the, now considerable, din of everything falling and moving at once. Harry squeezed his eyes shut trying to get rid of the dizziness from his fall, “Yeah, I’m fine. I have no bloody idea what’s going on though. Sound like we’re being attacked! I reckon we should head downstairs and see what’s going on. Come on!” Harry stood up, grabbed Ginny’s hand and his wand, and together they tore down the flights of stairs to see what all the commotion was. On the ground level it was utter chaos, there were people running back and forth some in their pajamas others in auror uniforms. There was smoke and dust everywhere and Harry

was shocked when he saw a pool of blood on the floor near the kitchen. Molly caught sight of the two teens and ran over to them. “Quick you two, get into the kitchen now!” She said in an unusually panicked voice. “What’s going on?” Ginny shouted over the noise. “We’re being attacked; somehow the death eaters managed to find where we are and are now attacking us. Of course Albus’ wards are holding up but better safe than sorry. The Order is cleaning things up as we speak!” Molly said, trying to give a smile but failed and just sort of grimaced weakly. “Oy who has the herd of Hippogriffs running around the house?” Ron said rubbing sleep from his eyes still not aware of the battle going on outside. “It’s not Hippogriffs Ronald, its death eaters! They’re outside right now attacking us.” Hermione said as she comforted a somewhat shell-shocked Emma. “The Order seems to have managed to at least stop the bombardment that was going on.” “Why aren’t we doing anything, we should be out there helping?” Ron said as he held up his wand and made for the hallway. Right at that same moment the front door burst open and Moody came limping in cradling what was left of his left arm. Ron immediately blanched at the sight of the blood covered Mad Eye and went back into the kitchen. Ginny saw the injured Auror and rushed towards him hoping her small experience in medicine might help. “Fucking rats! One of them distracted me while another snuck up from behind and sent a severing charm my way. I saw it just in time or else I would have to have had two coffins. I think I have some of my arm but most ‘f it’s gone.” Moody cursed through clenched teeth, still not taking his hand off the stump that was his left arm. Ginny saw how much blood he was loosing and knew she wouldn’t be able to do much but remembered what Harry had done with himself and Emmeline Vance when she was injured. “Harry! Come over here and help me take care of Moody!” Harry ran over to the couch that Moody was now laying on, still cursing heavily under his breath. “Harry, do you think you can do that healing thing you did for Emmeline. Just so we can stop the bleeding? He said he’s lost his arm so we can’t do much about that.” Ginny said as she tore a towel into pieces to dab at the wound with. “Okay, Moody, this is probably going to hurt some,” Harry said as he slowly moved Mad Eye’s other arm away from the stump. The one upside to the cutting curse he had suffered was that it was quick and clean. There was nothing left just a perfectly smooth cross-cut of his upper arm. Harry gulped and began to slowly massage the severed limb, urging his power to heal the wound just like he’d done the other times. Moody roared in pain as his wound slowly stopped bleeding and was cauterized by the immense magic that Harry was pouring into his wounds. The blood began to disappear

and skin grew back, slowly covering the stump, Moody just stared in disbelief at what Harry was able to do. Other Aurors running by too slowed down and stared at the teenager with his eyes closed slowly massaging a wound closed. It only took a few minutes to close the gap until there wasn’t any sign of blood on what was left of Mad Eye’s arm. Harry sighed and leaned back heavily on the couch never looking over at Moody, just keeping his eyes closed out of exhaustion. “Harry, are you alright? I can sort of feel that you’re tired, does it feel like you did when you helped Emmeline?” Ginny asked brushing back his unruly hair and mopping his sweaty forehead. All Harry could do was mumble, he was exhausted. Healing someone seemed to completely suck the life out of him; he could feel himself grow colder as he poured more magic into the person, as if he were giving part of his own life to save theirs. Moody stood up, his shirt was soaked in blood and he looked worse for wear, especially with the missing arm, but he seemed to be alive enough to grab his wand again and run out the front door to help mop up. Apparently while Harry and Ginny were helping Moody the Order got a leg up on the Death Eaters and managed to stun about half a dozen of them. The others got as far as to try and disapperate, when Dumbledore’s wards came online and knocked them unconscious too. The Order was now just tying the Death Eaters up and readying a portkey to send them directly to the ministry for holding. “Oy! Ginny, is Harry alright. He looks a might peaky, like he’s just got attacked by a dementor,” Tonks asked as she came in through the doorway. “Moody told me about what he did for him, I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen his arm. I’ve never heard of anyone being able to do any sort of healing wandlessly.” “Harry’s just tired, doing that healing is draining. I’ve been wanting to become a healer and in all the books I’ve read I haven’t heard of anybody doing this, ever. “Ginny said proudly as she ran her fingers through his hair. Tonks just smiled at the couple. “Hey Tonks, what are we going to do about getting to Hogwarts. We don’t have enough time to get to the train…”Ginny asked. “We will be flooing there, it is much too dangerous to send you all on the train anyways, the Death Eaters are not only stopping at attacking just us today. I believe it was just a diversion to hopefully delay the Order from protecting the Hogwarts Express.” Dumbledore said, stepping gracefully through the doorframe, his wand still out from the fighting. “Is Mr. Potter alright Miss. Weasley?” He asked upon noticing Harry lying asleep on the couch. “He’s just tired, he helped heal Moody’s arm,” Ginny said once again, “is anyone else hurt?”

“That is the third time he’s done wandless healing. It would appear that the Heartbond is certainly causing both your powers to grow. And no, there were no others injured, certainly a few close calls, but everyone is quite okay,” Dumbledore said softly, still watching the sleeping Harry. Hermione, Emma, Ron, and the twins came into the hallway having been in the kitchen during the whole skirmish helping calm Molly and Joy down. “When will we be going to Hogwarts headmaster, we won’t be able to make the train, it left an hour ago?” Hermione asked, hoping that maybe bringing a little normalcy to the chaotic setting would help calm Emma. Dumbledore smiled, as if he knew what she was thinking, “We will be flooing there shortly Miss Granger. Just as soon as I have ensured that headquarters is secure, and that Mr. Potter and Alastor are okay. Now you best go collect your trunks and try to grab something to eat, I’ll be back shortly.” About thirty minutes after Dumbledore left the group to go ward the house, Harry stirred in his spot in the living room. He had a horrible headache and his eyesight was blurred. Squinting he saw his glasses sitting on the table next to him. He groped for them and put them on and the world came flowing back into clarity. All around him were his friends talking quietly and munching on sandwiches Molly had made. “Had a nice rest mate?” Ron said noticing Harry stir, “I saw what you did for Moody, pretty wicked. I wonder if you’ll be able to re-grow arms soon.” “Mmmhm…does anyone have some water. I feel like I was sleeping in the desert.” Harry croaked out looking around for a glass. “I’ll get you some, hold on!” Emma said running down the hall to get a glass of water from the kitchen. Hermione and Ginny grinned at the little girl’s devotion to Harry. “Getting jealous Gin’?” Harry teased seeing the girls’ expressions. “You’re lucky you got me Potter with your looks, I mean what girl would want a guy with hair he can’t even keep straight with magic or eyes that sparkle?” Ginny countered immediately. “Touché,” Harry said grinning. Emma came running into the room again with a glass of water. Really it was half a glass of water, she’d spilled most of it running back to the room. “Thanks Em, you’re a lifesaver.” He said ruffling the little girl’s hair and drank the whole glass quickly. A few moments later Dumbledore entered the room, “Ah excellent, we’re all here. And it looks like one of you has already started a fire. I would have been here a few moments earlier but I encountered what appeared to be a small lake in the hallway and had to stop myself from sliding into a shelf when I walked in it.” He smiled widely, seeing Emma blush under his stare. “Well then we best get this underway, we don’t want to be late for the feast do we?” He said clapping his hands together. “Ah, Molly and Arthur, would you like to join us for opening dinner tonight?”

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Lupin, and Joy, had all come into the room to say goodbye. “Oh no Headmaster, we have a lot to do. There still are Death Eaters on the loose from this attack, and I must get back to the ministry, another batch of exploding light bulbs has gotten out.” Arthur said graciously. “I understand perfectly, very well, who’s first?” Dumbledore asked moving towards the fireplace and removing the silver urn with the floo powder from the mantel. Ron stepped up and pulled his trunk and Pigwidgeon’s cage with him, he hugged his parents’ goodbye promising to write, grabbed a handful of powder and stepped into the fire, shouting “Hogwarts!” He disappeared in the customary burst of green flame. Next up were Hermione and Emma, who were going as a pair. Emma hugged her mom goodbye, gave her a kiss on the cheek, then grabbed Hermione’s hand and repeated Ron’s steps, both of them disappearing after shouting “Hogwarts!” Then Ginny and Harry stepped up, both hugging both Weasley parents, Lupin, and Joy. They then stepped forward taking their shrunken trunks and Hedwig with them, both grabbed a handful of powder and stepped into the fire. They counted to three then at once shouted “Hogwarts!” Harry was spun around and his glasses knocked off his face, but he managed to stay upright as he held onto Ginny’s hand tightly. An instant later they were both thrust out of the fireplace, along with their trunks, into a room Harry immediately recognized; it was Dumbledore’s office. He took in the familiar surroundings, taking note that all the items he’d previously destroyed earlier that year had been repaired. He noticed Emma was stuck in one place trying to take everything in at once, her face a picture of pure happiness. He saw Fawkes and smiled, the bird crooned in what he thought sounded like a greeting. Ginny could almost physically feel Harry’s spirits rising as he walked around the room. She smiled not having seen his true smile in a very long time. “Well guys,” Harry said as he turned towards the group, grinning, “We’re back.” Chapter 26: the Hat’s New Song The fireplace roared to life once again and out stepped Dumbledore smiling. “Good, good, no one was sent to the wrong place. You can leave your trunks here we’ll make sure they get to their respective rooms. We should be heading to the Great Hall the other students should be arriving soon; Miss Massey here must be sorted.” He escorted them down the spiral staircase and through a hidden door Harry had never seen before which seemed to not follow the basic laws of physics. Somehow by just walking several yards the whole group appeared at another door which opened up to reveal the Great Hall. Emma gasped, having never seen such a room, her eyes swung from the bewitched candles to the gleaming plates, and then fell upon the enchanted ceiling and just stared at the evening sky inside the room. “Wow,” was all she managed to say.

“You should see it during a thunderstorm,” Ron said, “complete with lightning and thunder.” “You five may want to head down to the entrance so it would appear you were on the train but simply no one saw you. It would be in all our best interests if you didn’t disclose that you were at Headquarters or even away from the train. There are people, I am afraid, inside the school, who would be very eager to get that information. I’ll see you shortly at the feast.” The headmaster tipped his head and began to walk away, suddenly he spun around again, “Oh, I almost forgot, Mr. Potter and Miss. Weasley, would you two kindly meet with Professor McGonagall after the feast?” The two teens nodded, unsure to what they were agreeing, and watched the headmaster walk back through the Great Hall and back through the door. It was only a matter of minutes before they heard the dull roar of several hundred students proceeding their way up the front steps from the thestral drawn carriages. The doors flew open and in an instant the entrance was filled with other students, non of which, seemed to notice that there was already a small group of students waiting inside the room. Harry grabbed Ginny’s hand and proceeded to enter the hall with the other students, waving goodbye to Emma who now was waiting with the other first years to be sorted, “Good luck!” He shouted over the rising din. Hermione, Ron, Harry, and Ginny all sat down in their usual spots at the Gryffindor table. Harry spotted Hagrid sitting down at the front table and waved happily at him. Hagrid mouthed something which seemed to be ‘visit me soon.” He also saw Snape who was sitting in his seat, grim as ever, staring at the mass of students he so greatly despised. Ron nudged Harry and pointed over at the Slytherin table, where Malfoy sat with Crabbe and Goyle as usual. Only now Malfoy seemed to have a slightly nervous look on his face, as if at any moment something would jump up and grab him. He also seemed to be a bit more jumpy; when Pansy sat next to him he almost fell off his seat. Harry was brought back to his table when Neville, Seamus, and Katie Bell all sat down around the group. “Where were you lot on the train, we looked all over for you! We thought Malfoy might’ve gotten you,” Neville said. Harry looked around for an explanation; thankfully Hermione was quick as ever. “We were having a meeting with an Auror, about Harry’s protection this year. Like when we go to Hogsmeade.” “Like that’s ever going to happen again,” Dean said glumly. “Now that You-Know-How’s out and about again, I bet we won’t even be able to go visit Hagrid,” Neville added. “Well I guess we’re going to figure out soon,” Ron said motioning to Dumbledore who was standing up. “Welcome back everyone, we will get to the feast soon enough, but first we must sort our new students!” And with that McGonagall came in with the small stool

and the tattered old Sorting Hat. The hall’s doors swung open again and with a little persuasion the nervous group of first years lined up in front of the stool. Everyone in the Great Hall went silent, ready to listen to the hat’s new song. The long tear at its base opened up and it began: Merlin’s champions, His companions. Stand and unite, Prepare to fight. The war is near, But do not fear. My creator’s heir Will rise this year. From my decision Four of five have risen, Tonight the fifth will come, Binding the four to ONE. The voice faded, and unlike previous years, the murmurs and discussion about the song were absent. Instead, the entire room was dead silent, still staring at the hat, not quite sure about what to make of the Sorting Hat’s newest verses. With a kind cough from the Headmaster McGonagall thoughts refocused and she unfurled her scroll of new students. Archer, Lincoln was sorted into Hufflepuff; followed shortly by Brickman, Sarah being sent to Ravenclaw. In-between the bursts of applause when Gryffindor got a new student, Harry and the others were busy talking in hushed voices about the song. “I don’t know, it doesn’t remind me of any of the others, the old ones just said come together or watch out. This one seemed more like it was telling us that it was doing something,” Ron said. “Well at least you listened this time, it was telling us something. And it didn’t even seem like a song to me, more like a prophecy.” Hermione added. “Who was the Sorting Hat’s creator?” Ginny asked Hermione.

“Don’t remember the song two years ago?” Hermione asked, but not receiving any nods simply continued, “it said that Gryffindor had made it. So whoever will rise this year is going to be Gryffindor’s heir. We’ll talk about this later, Emma’s up now.” She said as McGonagall read off “Massey, Emmaline.” She sat down on the stool, looking just as nervous as everyone else, staring blankly out over the sea of waiting faces. Then McGonagall placed the Hat on top of her head, it was too large for her head so it sunk down over her eyebrows. The hat’s mouth was moving as if it were talking, but Harry strained to hear anything. Apparently whatever it was saying was meant only for Emma’s ears. The hat seemed to take an inordinately long time on choosing where to sort her some students were drifting off into conversation or were playing with the silverware. Finally it did come to a decision and shouted out “GRIFFYNDOR!” in a louder voice than usual, surprising some of the students who’d dozed off. The Gryffindor table burst into applause at their new addition, and Emma hopped smartly off the stool and sat down at the front of the table grinning as she met the other first years. Emma looked down the table and waved to Harry and the rest of the group. Harry gave Emma a thumbs up then looked up at Dumbledore to see if he approved. The headmaster was clapping politely and did nod his head, but nothing outward. The only thing that somewhat unsettled Harry was the smile on his face, something about it seemed to make it look like the headmaster was hiding something. Chapter 27: Room and Board After the rest of the first years were sorted Dumbledore stood up once again to make his start of term announcements, the hall went quiet very quickly, most everyone was starving and ready for the feast. “Well now that we have the sorting out of the way let me intrude upon your feast for only a moment more. As usual the Forbidden Forest is just that, forbidden, Professor Umbridge’s little incident should be deterrence enough. Mr. Filch has informed me that he has forgone the usual list of illicit objects and has simply decided to ban anything with the Weasley Wizarding Wheezes logo on it.” At saying this Dumbledore smirked slightly. “Now onto some scheduling changes. Due to Voldemort’s return, yes the Daily Prophet and the Minister were incorrect; we have decided to supplement your learning with several classes the school feels would benefit everyone. First, this year we will not be offering Care of Magical Creatures.” At this many people, mostly Gryffindor, stood up in protest. Dumbledore raised a hand to silence them. “Now, now, it does not reflect on Professor Hagrid’s teaching abilities at all, in-fact one reason we are doing it because he now has to care for the dragon we have patrolling the school. Which, on a side note, is not to be approached under any circumstances. To replace Care of Magical Creatures we are now offering a mandatory class for all years, it is called Offensive Light Magic; this will be taught in conjunction with Defense Against the Dark Arts.”

Harry examined the front table but couldn’t find any teacher who would be filling the thankfully now abandoned position. Maybe Dumbledore couldn’t find anyone? Dumbledore continued to speak, “This class will be taught by trained Aurors, who can’t be here at this moment due to certain circumstances, and you will learn not only how to protect yourself but how to fight back if that is necessary. As for a teacher for Defense Against the Dark Arts, I am afraid the rather high risks involved in the class has scared most potential teachers away, so for the moment I will be teaching the class along with the occasional aide of a former professor.” At that the whole hall burst into applause, no one imagined that Dumbledore himself would teach Defense. Harry and the rest of the group were standing up applauding. “Well I doubt you could find a more experienced teacher for the job!” Ron shouted across the table to Harry who nodded vigorously. “I think that is all, so let the feast begin!” Dumbledore said clapping his hands, making the mountains of food appear from nowhere. The whole Hall was soon filled with the noises of cutlery and laughter as old friends caught up and the first years began to talk amongst each other. As usual the dinner was amazing, the house elves seemingly trying to outdo themselves every year with more extravagant desserts and cakes. Even Hermione thought these were pieces of art and refrained from her usual tirade about enslavement. “So, Neville, what’d you do over summer?” Harry asked. “Oh it was brilliant, I worked with Luna on a special project Professor Sprout gave us, we had so much fun; deriving the hybrids, splicing the root systems, even matriculating the flowers. It was amazing!” Neville said with evident enthusiasm. Harry just nodded, not quite sure what ‘matriculating the flowers’ meant, but was glad to see that he’d found a friend to share his enthusiasm with. “What about you? Did you do anything fun?” He asked Harry, pointing a drumstick at him. “Well I don’t know if you’d call it fun, but I did practice defensive magic with Lupin and Ginny loads,” Harry said not wanting to tell him anything more in fear of being overheard. He gave him an ‘I’ll tell you later’ look and Neville nodded in understanding. “Hey Harry! Is the D.A. going to be around again this year? I know loads of people who want to join now that they don’t think your loony,” Seamus shouted. “Hopefully, except this time I think it would be a good idea to get the Headmaster’s permission this time. People need to learn how to defend themselves though, I think the new class their offering will be good also. I wonder which Aurors are going to be teaching it?” Harry asked. “’Dunno, Moody maybe, he’s a little worse for the wear now, maybe teaching wouldn’t be too bad for him now,” said Ron.

“Don’t you remember what happened to him last time he signed up to be a teacher Ron?” Hermione said, “I was worried about Hagrid at first, but I bet he couldn’t be happier, he has his own dragon to take care of again. Except this time it’s legal!” As the desserts and empty plates disappeared and the noise began to rise in volume Dumbledore stood up once again. “Well then I hope we are all well fed, I see some of you nodding off already. You should all head to your houses, your prefects will supply you with the passwords. And please remember, do not give them out to any strangers, and especially do not leave them written on scraps of paper. As the Navy says, loose lips sink ships!” Dumbledore said merrily, only a few muggle raised students understanding his last line. “Well goodnight, off to bed!” He said clapping his hands. Harry and Ginny made to follow Ron, Hermione, and Emma to the Gryffindor house but Harry then caught sight of McGonagall waving them over. He’d forgotten that Dumbledore had wanted for them to meet with her after dinner. “Hey guys, we’ll catch you later, we need to talk to McGonagall about something. Night guys, congratulations Emma!” Harry said as he and Ginny’s headed to their head of house. Not a few heads turned at the sight of the two holding hands do affectionately. “Mr. Potter, Miss. Weasley, the Headmaster wanted me to arrange for you rather peculiar sleeping arrangements. We decided that it would sat a bad precedent if you two were to share a bed in either of the dorms, therefore we have decided to give you two the extra Head Student room attached to the Gryffindor commons. Follow me please,” McGonagall said as she walked up another set of stairs. Harry and Ginny shared grins and headed up behind her. After taking a rather confusing and most likely forgettable maze of stairs and passageways McGonagall stopped in front of a painting containing a huge tree in the middle complete with squirrels, foxes, and birds. “Natura Vera,” McGonagall spoke clearly towards the painting, and it swung open just like the Fat Lady at the entrance of the Gryffindor tower. She stood aside and motioned for the two to enter. Inside the rather large room was a seemingly exact replica of the Gryffindor common room, complete with fireplace and chess set. The only difference being that there were two other doors in the room. “This is where you are to stay this year. I must stress however this is not a privilege and should not be flaunted; it is a necessity due to the Heartbond. You may have you friends inside but no one else, it is not going to be a hide out, just a bedroom. If I learn of any misconduct,” at that she coughed and Harry and Ginny both blushed, “You will loose this room and will be forced to sleep on the couch in the commons if need be. I most likely need not tell you that you should not go about speaking of your bond, especially around, I am afraid to say, the Slytherins. Do you both understand?” She asked, both simply nodded. It was pretty difficult not to understand what it was she wanted to prevent.

“Good, now then let me show you the rest of your arrangements. This door, to the left of the fireplace is the entrance to the bathroom. This door is the bedroom,” she opened the door and led them inside. It was a huge king-sized bed covered in red and gold sheets and piled with enough pillows to make it look like a small mountain. There was a small desk, a fireplace, and closets for them to hang their clothes. On the side of the room lay their two trunks along with Hedwig and her cage. “Wow, this is great!” Harry said, taken aback by lavishness of the room. He had completely forgotten about how they were going to handle the whole sleeping problem and was surprised that Dumbledore had gone through all this trouble. “We did do a little remodeling, the old room was bare stone and somehow the bed had been tuned into a large swimming pool,” McGonagall said, “this doesn’t give either of you an excuse for coming to class late because you slept in. I do expect it to help give you an edge on Quidditch this year though,” McGonagall smiled, she had always had a small soft spot for her victorious house team. “Thank you for doing this, to tell you the truth I’d completely forgotten about the problem, I’m glad that the Headmaster remembered,” Ginny said stifling a yawn. “Well just remember not to abuse it. Now it is late and I need to assure that all the other students are situated properly, so if you’ll excuse me.” McGonagall said, then headed out the entrance leaving Harry and Ginny alone. “Should we try and find the others to tell them where we are?” Ginny asked.” “No, McGonagall’ll tell them don’t worry. Plus you look tired, let’s just go to bed,” Harry said as he stripped off his robes to his boxers. He no longer bothered putting on pajamas because he figured he was going to be spending the rest of his life with her so one or two years difference wasn’t going to make much difference in the long run. Ginny nodded, and did the same thing staying in only her under garments, and crawled into bed. Harry pulled the window blinds shut and crawled into bed next to Ginny. “Good night Ginny,” he said kissing her on the cheek then turning out the lamp. “Night Potter,” she said softly, cuddling up next to him. Chapter 28: The Department of Mysteries and the DAII The first week of school passed by uneventfully in Harry’s standards. He had already been to at least one of all his classes and was pleased to see he thought he might be able to keep up, even in Snape’s class. Harry’s first N.E.W.T. level potions class went by somewhat bearably, Snape either had been told to back off by Dumbledore, or he was too upset to even speak to Harry; either way he didn’t mind. Defense Against the Dark Arts was now without a doubt his, and almost everyone else, favorite class to date. The N.E.W.T. level class consisted mainly of all old DA members and several Slytherins, all the other students who hadn’t decided to continue with Defense Against the Dark Arts were deeply disappointed with Dumbledore’s

announcement. Dumbledore taught with a gusto which belied his age, and seemed much more animated when he taught. It also appeared that Dumbledore didn’t believe that heavily in homework, his only assignment so far was to practice the new defensive spells with a friend. Harry’s other new favorite class was Offensive Light magic which was being taught by none other than Kingsley Shaklebolt and a still recuperating Mad-Eye. None of the students knew what to expect that first class and were therefore surprised when the walked into the classroom which appeared to be a perfect replica of a place only Harry and a few others knew of; the Department of Mysteries. Once the last student came in the door slammed shut and they were thrown into darkness. The DA members all lit their wands immediately and the others followed suit. Harry’s heart was beating heavily and Ron and Hermione were also mirroring his stress. All three of them still had nightmares of this place and what occurred there only a few months ago. As Harry took the lead with is friends his mind kept flashing back to the memories of his friends and the Order members fighting each other and then Dumbledore and Voldemort’s duel. When they reached the large spinning door the whole room illuminated at once. Out of the door right in front of the group stepped Moody and Kingsley both looking determinedly serious. No one spoke or even seemed to be breathing. The two Aurors were formidable looking; Moody’s new arm was painted flat black and its texture appeared to be that of a rock; it reminded Harry closely of Wormtail’s magical appendage. “This will be your classroom for the first half of the year, you will train, fight, and study with this group. Does anyone know what this place is supposed to be?” Moody asked both his eyes surveying the students. In the back Neville slowly put his hand up. “Mr. Longbottom, I’m sure you know what this place is.” “It’s the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic,” Neville said in a strong voice which Harry had not yet heard from the timid boy. “That’s right, ten points to Gryffindor. This is an almost exact replica of the Department of Mysteries, minus some places that you don’t need to see. Can anyone tell me why we are going to be training here?” Moody asked. This time Hermione’s hand shot into the air, Kingsley nodded at her and she said, “So we can all learn the best ways to use offensive magic in an actual setting, one which has already been battle tested by people.” “I couldn’t have put it better myself, take ten points Miss. Granger,” Kingsley said smiling. “She is correct. As many of you know several of the students in this class were involved in a full on battle with Voldemort’s Death Eaters.” All of the students either focused on Harry, Ron and Hermione, or Neville. Kingsley continued, “The reason we chose this location is because the students performed so admirably, and the setting was so adverse to both sides. This will hopefully teach you all how to think on your feet and

show you which spells are beneficial in which areas of combat.” “This is NOT Defense Against the Dark Arts, this is Offensive Light magic, Offensive. We will be learning spells, jinxes, and hexes which if used correctly will help you win a fight not just protect yourself,” Moody said with an empirical look on his face. “There will not be any homework unless we assign you to find useful spells for the situations we are working on. Your tests will simply be to see how well you fare in the simulations that we hold. Kingsley and I will be magically controlling up to twenty mock fighters and sometimes we may have guest Aurors come any train with you lot.” Harry raised his hand now, Moody just smiled and nodded. “Uh, professor, you said that we’d be training in this for the first half of the year, what about the other half?” “Good catch Potter, well let’s just say we’ll be working in something with a little larger scale. Hopefully it will prepare all of you for the upcoming war. Now if there aren’t any more questions lets start the class.” Kingsley said smiling approvingly. “We’re going to practice entering an insecure location such as this one where you do not know if there are hostiles inside. We’re going to try it once without any hints and see how you do first. Everyone line up, when the lights go out the first person can step through this door and face us, once the light goes on again the next can come in.” Mad Eye growled then he and Kingsley walked into the adjoining room. The rest of the class was passed facing off against different groupings of Death Eaters, all of which appeared to look strikingly like Lucius Malfoy much to Harry and the other’s chagrin. The whole week all the house tables were buzzing with discussion over both Dumbledore and O.L.M. many students were up at the teacher’s table discussing possible course changes with their heads of house so they too could have Dumbledore as a teacher. There were also rumors circulating over who his assistant teacher would be; some even went so far as to claim Harry was going to be. While Harry was confident that he wouldn’t be suddenly asked to become an assistant teacher his mind was still weighted down with the worries of both the D.A. and the Quidditch Captainship which he’d been given just the day before by a very happy McGonagall. The Quidditch Captainship was a small irritation at the moment, both Ron and Katie Bell were constantly asking when tryouts were going to be and if he’d gotten the pitch reserved; although that had lessened slightly after he announced next week would be the tryouts for the empty positions. The D.A. however was not as small a problem. Everyday people were going up to him and asking whether or not they would be holding the club or not, and every time he just told them he wasn’t sure and he’d tell them when he figured out. He finally had had enough and decided to ask his friends that Saturday as they sat in the private bedroom drinking butterbeer Dobby had nicked from the stores. Hermione of course was first to respond. “ I think that we should start it up immediately, we can never have enough training! Plus it’s a great thing for inter-house unity.”

Harry smiled, that’s the prefect in her, always thinking about the school. “Well I agree but I still think it may be a good idea to keep it secret, even from Dumbledore. I have a feeling that it may be useful to keep our actions quiet fro at least right now, first and foremost to keep Malfoy and the others from telling on us to Voldemort. The last thing I want is for more people to get killed because of me.” “Harry, it isn’t your fault people have been getting killed by Voldemort,” Ginny said comfortingly, squeezing his hand. Harry was still getting used to having someone who he could tell everything to but he had been slowly letting loose small bits of his worries. It was amazing how much good it did for him also, he could feel the pain dissolve away as he told her about parts of his abusive childhood. “Ginny’s right Harry, it isn’t. I agree with you on the secrecy thing though, I don’t trust Malfoy an inch, I bet’ll just go tell his dad everything we’re doing.” Ron said supportively as always. “I’m glad you agree, I was hoping you might be able to work out a better system for us; maybe groupings of some sort just so we can figure out who’s who and what each group has study so far. Remember what Moody said about the Auror divisions and how they’re divided into expertise maybe we could do something similar.” Harry said, he’d been thinking the idea over for a while now and had finally gotten enough courage up to tell them about it. “I’ll start working on it right away. ’Mione will you help me look for books in the library tomorrow; we don’t have that much homework so we can probably spend some time on it.” Ron asked, there seemed to be a hidden question under it and both Ginny and Emma noticed Hermione blush. “Anything that would make you want to go to the library is ok in my books, lets do it after lunch. Harry how do you plan on keeping it a secret still if half the school wants to join?” Hermione asked her eyes kept flicking back to Ron who was smiling triumphantly. “Well that’s why I want it in groups so each will meet once a week, and then the group leaders will meet up to keep the groups connected. That way well also keep the information controlled. Only a few people will know how many kids there really are in the DA.” Harry said. Hermione just smiled and nodded, apparently she didn’t have any other questions. “Well then, we’ll first use the coins to set a meeting for the originals and then they can help spread the message. As of now DA II has begun.” Chapter 29: A Crush Revealed The word that the DA had been reinstated spread like wild fire throughout the entire school, a very quite wildfire however. Harry was quite surprised when not a single teacher had yet approached him about the club. It appeared that the student’s one year under Umbridge’s tyrannical rule taught them something about operational security. Inbetween meals and homework Harry and the others would meet in their room and discuss the details of the new divided groups. Ron, much to Hermione’s delight, had taken to

reading piles of Muggle books all about war and strategy. His strategic chess mind allowing him to absorb all the moves just like the one’s he’d learned for the chess board. It appeared to Harry that Ron had finally found his calling, he was spending almost all his free time now either in the library or playing with a little piece of parchment Hermione had charmed for him. It was able to simulate battle sequences that Ron had created so he could see if his strategies would work or not against Voldemort’s. With the other’s help he slowly but surely designed a plan for how the D.A. would be run. Late at night in Harry and Ginny’s room he laid it out for them for the first time. “Okay, well ‘Mione and I have been reading a lot on Muggle warfare. We would’ve used wizard but there isn’t any strategy to it really. It was all just a bunch of spells flying everywhere, even when Dumbledore fought Grindlewald; there just wasn’t a real attack. The only reason Grindlewald’s army was defeated was because they didn’t have a rank system so they just argued about who’d do what. That’s the first thing I think we should do… create a ranking system.” Seeing Harry cringe slightly at the idea of dividing an already divided school Hermione interjected, “It wouldn’t be to show who was better and who is worse, Harry, just so we can have a chain of command so people would know what to do if they need to.” Ron gave her a smile then continued, “Right. So we’d have a general, then commanders, then division groupings. Each commander would be in charge of one of the groups that you talked about Harry. And each group would be divided into divisions; each one of those would have the same training as the rest of the group but would be able to work by itself if it was necessary. Each group would also have a color or a symbol to show who was who and keep it a little more organized. This strategy has been used by almost every Muggle war in the past two-thousand years so I figure it should work for us.” Ron shrugged, his face showing immense confidence in the plan. Harry smiled and patted him on the back. “Brilliant work mate! I knew if I left it up to you you’d come up with something. It sounds like a great idea so we’ll use it, hopefully it’ll keep us safer than if we just did it like last year.” Harry said excitedly. His idea for the new DA was coming together. “Hey Hermione, could we make more of the coins? We’ll probably need a hundred or so from what I’ve heard from different students who want to join. I really don’t want anyone to figure out about what we’re doing. I know that if Malfoy figures out what we’re doing he’ll run and tell his father all about who’s in it and what we’re doing. I think the coins will help keep it secret.” “I’ve already started working on them, only, they’re a little difficult to make. I have only 23 so far. I could definitely use some help making them.” Hermione said. “I’ll help ‘Mione! I’ll help!” Emma said jumping out of her seat excitedly. She had been listening to everything they’d been doing but hadn’t been able to help them with anything so far. Hermione and Emma had grown to be really good friends and she was a little sorry that the little girl hadn’t been able to help them out in anything. She looked over at Harry and Ron, they both just nodded smiling. “Alright Emma, you can help me. I’ll have to teach

you a couple of spells but from what I’ve heard from Professor Flitwick you shouldn’t have any problems.” “Wicked! When can we start? Can we start now? I don’t have any homework; come one ‘Mione!” Emma said tugging at the older witch’s robes. “Well… if you don’t have any work I guess we could start now, we have a lot of coins to make. Let’s go to the library so people won’t see what we’re doing.” Hermione stood up, bid farewell and walked out of the portal with Emma tailing her. Harry and Ginny both noticed Ron’s silly grin as he watched Hermione walked out and gave each other a knowing looking. Harry spoke up first, “So Ronald, when are you going to ask Hermione out on a date?” Ron spun around in chair his face already turning red, “What do you mean? Why would I ask her on a date?” Ginny shook her head, “Ron, you’d have to be blind and deaf not to notice that you fancy her. She fancies you too, did you know that?” Ron’s face lost a little of its red hue, “She’s like my sister; she wouldn’t go out with me.” “Why wouldn’t she Ron? Hermione has asked me a hundred bloody times if you like her. Every time I tell her that you do but she just doesn’t believe me. You both like each other so just do something about it.” Ginny said exasperated. “Or we will…” Harry said teasingly, grinning at his friend. “Well, what should I do? I mean…how should I do it. If you haven’t noticed there aren’t exactly a load of date opportunities here,” Ron asked a little embarrassed. It was the first time he’d admitted his crush to anyone, let alone Harry and his sister. “Not quite sure you want to take advice from me, I’ve only gone on one real date, and that was with Cho. Don’t forget I made her cry within ten minutes of the trip. Ginny and I haven’t really gone on any dates because we didn’t need to, we just sort of hang out.” Harry said shrugging, “You can always use the invisibility cloak to sneak out to Honeyduke’s with her.” Ron smiled, “That’s a good idea, doubt she’d go for it though, her being a Prefect and all. Maybe Dobby can help me work something out.” “He’d probably carve an ice sculpture for her if you asked him,” Harry joked. But Ron didn’t seem to hear him; he was already too wrapped up in thinking for what to do “Well I’m tired, I think I’m going to head up to my bed,” Ron said absently, his mind focused on finding the best way to ask Hermione out. “Night Ronald, have a good night patrolling the hallways with ‘Mione,” Ginny called out over her shoulder. Surprisingly Ron didn’t even respond and just continued out of the room.

Once the portrait close the couple broke into hysterics, both of them laughing until their sides hurt. “I can’t believe that they’ve liked each other for at least three years and all it took us was one question to get the ball rolling.” Harry said sitting up on the floor. “Yeah, I guess Fred and George don’t need to send us any of their Blabbing Bubblegum, shame.” Ginny said. She was always eager to try out any new prank that her brothers made. “We could always use it on Malfoy, I’m sure he’s got some embarrassing secrets he’d tell everyone in the Great Hall.” Harry hinted mischievously. “Wow I like the way you think. My brothers really are starting to rub off on you aren’t they? Let’s wake up early tomorrow, maybe Dobby could help us.” Ginny said as she curled up next to Harry in front of the crackling fire. “If he isn’t too busy carving a life-sized ice sculpture of Hermione,” said Harry, and they both broke into laughter once again. Chapter 30: Nicholas Flamel During breakfast the next day Harry and the others were approached ceaselessly throughout their entire meal. Every person trying to discreetly inquire into when the D.A. would be having its first meeting and where they were going to hold it. At some points during the meal there was a line of people waiting to talk to Harry, Ron or Hermione. “Harry, we need to do something about this, Snape and Dumbledore are starting to look a little suspicious. Why shouldn’t they anyways, we have half of Gryffindor lined up trying to talk to us.” Hermione said in-between a momentary break in the stream of DA members. “I know, I know, but I can’t exactly make an announcement now can I?” Harry said exasperatedly. “Well then lets just leave, we can go to your room, no one will find us there, plus Dobby can sneak us some food,” Ron asked hopefully. “No, we can’t just run away from them Ron, if we just disappear then it looks like we don’t care about the DA anymore. Maybe we can just pass a message somehow, Hermione?” Harry looked at his friend, hoping she might have some idea as to what to do. Hermione just shook her head, “Sorry Harry. All the spells that we could do are either too noticeable or just too complex to perform while we’re just sitting here. Oh, heads up Harry, here comes Colin.” Sure enough the small blonde haired boy walked right up to Harry smiling as usual. “Hiyah, Harry, haven’t seen you around lately. No one seems to know where you’re spending your nights. I’ve been meaning to ask you about the DA, when is the first

meeting?” Colin spit out the whole conversation in one breath and waited anxiously to hear what Harry would say. “Yes Colin, the DA will be starting soon, we’re just getting the last kinks out of our new plan. I promise you’ll know when the first meeting is just as soon as we do. Hermione is working on making more coins like last year so everyone will be able to figure out when to meet. Remember though, keep it secret, we don’t want Malfoy to figure out about it.” Or Dumbledore, I can’t imagine what he’d do if he figured out I was running this thing again. He thought to himself. “Sure thing, Harry. I can’t wait for it to start, is there anything I can do to help out?” The boy asked with his usual alacrity. “No it’s okay, we have everything figured…” Harry paused suddenly thinking of something, “Actually there is something Colin, but it’s really important that you do it right.” “Sure, I’ll do anything to help! You name it I’ll do it.” “Right, well we need you to quietly spread the word around the school just what I told you, we can’t let anyone get suspicious. Make sure they are members of the DA also, there are probably not going to be many Slytherins asking about our next meeting.” Harry said in a whispered voice. Colin nodded seriously, just like a soldier receiving an order from his general, “You can count on me Harry! I’ll start right away, and I promise not to tell people who aren’t in the DA.” “Thanks Colin, that’s a load of help.” Harry said gratefully. Colin could be a pain most of the time but he certainly had faithfulness, Harry wasn’t worried about him spilling their secret. “Well I better go get started, wait till my brother hears about this, a mission for the DA!” Colin said as he ran off presumably to brag to his younger brother. Harry turned to face the others and let out a breath of relief. “Well I’m glad we took care of that. Now I can finally eat my breakfast, I’m starving. Plus we have Double D.A.D.A. with Dumbledore today and we finally get to figure out who is going to be our assistant teacher he keeps talking about.” “Maybe it’s Lupin or Tonks, we haven’t seen them at all.” Ron said through a mouthful of hash browns. “I don’t think so, we all know Lupin wouldn’t hurt anyone but not everyone else knows. I doubt he’s going to be coming back to Hogwarts to teach. And can you honestly see Tonks ordering around students? I mean she’s sometimes a bigger prankster than Fred and George. Remember the time she charmed that jar of potpourri to follow Dung around everywhere? She said it was to cover the smell of his awful pipe but I think she just did it because he hates the smell of anything clean.” Hermione said grinning.

“Well I wonder who’s it going to be then,” Ginny said still not completely awake. She wasn’t much of a morning person and it usually took her a while to completely wake up. “It is Dumbledore we’re talking about, so it could be anyone,” Harry shrugged. “Well we probably should head down there, breakfast is almost over and I want a good seat.” Hermione said as she gathered her books and her bag, the rest soon followed suit bidding Emma and Ginny farewell as they headed out of the Great Hall and to the D.A.D.A. classroom. Unsurprisingly there was already a long line of other students who were just as anxious to learn who their assistant teacher would be for the rest of the year. The crowd waited outside the classroom for about five minutes until the door swung open and Dumbledore called. “Let’s start class everyone, come inside quickly. I can assure you we will want all the time that we are allotted.” Everyone pushed through the entrance and there was a small skirmish over who got the seats closest to the front. Once everyone was settled down Dumbledore raised his hand for silence. “Excellent! Now that we’re all situated I can introduce our new teacher, he will teach whenever I am not available or when there is something that requires a little extra teaching. I daresay he has several hundred years of experience on me.” Dumbledore chuckled, his eye twinkling. Harry hadn’t seen Dumbledore truly smile or laugh in a long time, ever since Voldemort returned that night at the Ministry of Magic. “Would you please give your new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher a warm welcome. Nicholas you can come out now.” Out from the teacher’s quarters strolled an old man who looked as if he were Father Time himself. Innumerable wrinkles covered his entire face yet it did not hide his large smile and piercing dark blue eyes. He seemed to posses a certain sense of calm and knowledge that reminded Harry of what Merlin might have been like. “Nicholas Flamel, Professor Flamel to you students, has been a dear friend of mine for countless of decades; he and I go back many years. You may recognize him from the Chocolate Frog cards that I know you, just like me, collect religiously. He has been kind enough to offer his time to supplement my teaching with some of his own ideas,” the Headmaster smiled, his eyes were distant however, as if he were recounting some past memory. “Perhaps you’d like to say something to your new students Nicholas?” The classroom was obviously bubbling with excitement over the announcement of their new teacher. Almost everyone had heard about Nicholas Flamel, who was most well known for his creation of the Philosopher’s Stone. Hermione, Ron, and Harry shared an uncertain look. They were told by Dumbledore that Nicholas had destroyed the Stone and had only enough elixir to organize his estate. Maybe he’s still putting his affairs in order, I mean he has been alive for six-hundred years. Harry reasoned, but still didn’t completely believe it. Five years sure was a long time for anyone. “Thank you Albus for that flattering introduction, I doubt I will be able to supplement your teaching much however. You seem to have a better knack at it than I do, I daresay I’m more of a tinkerer.” The man let out a laugh that filled the room. His voice seemed to

be both kind yet assertive at the same time, probably born from what Harry knew was 600 years of life. “Your headmaster asked me to help him because he wants to make sure you are all prepared for the next few years which I am sad to say are most likely going to be filled with strife. I owed him a favor and figured it would be nice to return once again to Hogwarts. I hope to be able to help you all learn how to protect yourself and your family. Oh, and one other thing, I’m not much on titles so you can just call me Nicholas or Nick in class. Seeing as I am a teacher now I think that is okay Albus?” Nick smiled at his old friend then laughed. “Of course Nicholas, whatever you see fit. What do you say we start our class then, we have a double period so hopefully we can cover a decent part of the more mundane literature and still have ample time for demonstrations,” Dumbledore waved his wand and a black board appeared along with notes on how to check and set simple wards around a house. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the other students listened for an hour as Nick and Dumbledore covered everything there was on the blackboard. Usually lectures had a soporific effect on students yet everyone in this room was wide awake, scribbling furiously in their notebooks. Having Dumbledore as a teacher was one thing but having both Dumbledore and Nicholas Flamel teaching was an entirely different thing. Harry couldn’t help but compare this class to one of Umbridge’s. Hers involved a completely silent room where the only noise was the occasional turn of the page or a muffled cough. This new class was loud and filled with energetic discussion. Dumbledore and Nick fed off each other each one adding onto the other’s arguments or ideas. If someone had a question they barely had to raise their hand before the question was answered. By the time they had gotten through the whole blackboard Harry realized he probably had learned more in that one hour than all of last year. And when it was time for the practical section of the class almost everyone was able to cast a ward strong enough to repel an intruder if he or she touched it. Harry had never seen Neville cast anything in class that hadn’t taken him at least half –a-dozen tries, yet today he was casting each ward with little difficulty. “Alright everyone, superb job today! I cannot tell you how excited I am to be teaching such an enthusiastic class. Judging by the way things went today we’ll be finished with the scheduled curriculum by mid December.” Nicholas said clapping his hands happily, his smile growing even wider. “Homework for tonight is to review your notes from class and be prepared to be tested on them in this class or Professor Moody and Shaklebolt’s. Be forewarned, anything taught in this class or theirs is fair game on a test. If there aren’t any questions you are dismissed.” Dumbledore said waving his wand making the door swing open. The students filed out the door each stopping to shake Nicholas’ hand and thank both of their teachers. “Harry, do you have a moment?” Dumbledore asked as he was walking towards the door. “Sure, I have lunch next,” Harry stalled as the other students left the room, he told Ron

and Hermione he’d see them for lunch, then approached Dumbledore and Nicholas. “So you’re Harry Potter. The savior of my stone?” Nick said as he shook Harry’s hand. “I didn’t really do anything sir, Professor Dumbledore’s mirror just gave it to me.” Harry said modestly. “Nonsense! Albus told me the whole story, you and your two friends managed to get by the traps and puzzles of every teacher here. I think I owe you a thank you; you prevented Tom from getting his hands on it.” Nicholas said with a kind look on his face. “Er, your welcome, but I couldn’t have done it without my friends.” Harry said blushing slightly under his praise. “Of course, that’s what friends are for! Albus has helped me out countless times when it got a little sticky. I still owe you for getting me out that spot of trouble with the Ministry. You know, the one with the barrel of leeches and a box of that Muggle dynamite?” He nudged Dumbledore, tipping his head in thanks. “How could I forget Nicholas, they were forced to write up a new bill after I used that loophole to get you out of the trouble,” Dumbledore smiled softly. “Harry I noticed your confusion when Nicholas walked in, I assume that is because of my last mention of him a few years ago?” “Umm, yes sir, I mean you said he’d destroyed the stone didn’t you?” “Well I guess you don’t know much about the Philosopher’s Stone, there isn’t much information out there anyhow. Well even if you stop taking the elixir the potion will last in your bloodstream for a certain amount of time. This increases exponentially the longer you consume it, so for Nicholas here he still has it in his blood for…oh, you’ll have to help me Flamel, I don’t have the same mind as you do when it comes to math.” “My wife and I ran out of elixir about two years ago which means I have about a decade left before it is completely out of my system. So I’m afraid I’ll be around for just a bit longer.” Flamel said jovially. “Quite so, and I am really glad that you agreed to teach,” Dumbledore said. “Well I was pleasantly surprised today; you and the others have quite a work ethic!” “You have Harry to thank for that too, last year he started and ran a defense club outside of school when he realized our last teacher wasn’t exactly teaching them what they needed. The club members all scored over outstanding on their O.W.L.s this summer which is quite a feat.” Dumbledore looked proudly at Harry. “Excellent, well I shan’t keep you any longer my dear boy, I just wanted to meet your personally so I could thank you. I know how important lunch is around here, I’m pretty hungry myself right now.” Nick shook Harry’s hand once more and waved him out the door.

As Harry walked up to lunch he smiled as he thought to himself. Maybe this year won’t be too bad. I’m bonded to the person I love, no one thinks I’m a nut, and I’m learning how to fight from some of the best wizards in the world. For the first time in a long while Harry started to hum to himself. Chapter 31: A Dream Intterupted The corridor was obsidian black, even the light coming from the wand seemed to be devoured by the walls. It was well past curfew at Hogwarts and even most of the teachers had turned in for the night. There were some people still out and about however, one of which who was currently running down a corridor trying to make it to the Gryffindor entrance without being caught by Filch or Mrs. Norris. As the person briskly walked down the stony, dark corridor, they failed to notice the dark shadows that were following stealthily. The stalkers were cloaked entirely in black and moved lithely between hiding spots never allowing themselves to be in the wand light for more than a second. As their target rounded a corner both of them acted on some unnoticeable signal. The two hooded assailants jumped the young girl. One grabbed her by the shoulders while the other muttered silencio, effectively muffling her shout of surprise. They then dragged her into the nearby empty classroom and threw her to the floor. As the larger of the two checked the hallway then locked the door the other assailant walked slowly up to the sobbing girl. His wand was the only light source in the entire room, which consequently gave the boys face an even more pallid complexion. His blonde hair and sunken eyes now gave him the appearance of a ghost. He lowered his wand to the little girl’s tear stained face and smiled cruelly; his face was the picture of pure malice. “Tsk, tsk, tsk,” the boy chided using the wand to lift the girl’s chin. “Well now, first years really shouldn’t be wandering around in the dark all alone, it really isn’t safe. You never know who you could run into.” The other hooded person now approached, his face was barely visible in the light, but the girl could recognize it anywhere. “Nott, come over here so we can do it together,” Malfoy said never letting his eyes leave the girl. Nott strode up next to the Slytherin drawing his wand as he did so. “You don’t have Potter here to help you know do you? You’re going to pay mudblood, we’re going to make you an example to the entire school!” The two of them looked at each other and nodded, both then raised their wands simultaneously and shouted CRUCIO! Harry bolted awake at that very moment, his scar was burning and there seemed to be another pain, one he hadn’t felt since that night at the Department of Mysteries. It seemed that Ginny too had woken up at the same time, she looked over at Harry, and even in the dark she could see the fear of realization in his eyes. “Emma,” he whispered in horror then grabbed his glasses, wand, and the Marauder’s Map and ran for the door pulling it open so hard the hinges pulled out of the stone wall.

Ginny jumped out of bed and grabbed her wand and was soon on right behind Harry as he scanned the map with his wand looking for Emma. He was breathing heavily and his eyes were now glowing brightly, his whole body seemed to be radiating energy. If Ginny had looked at herself in a mirror she would have seen a similar thing in her eyes, which were glowing ruby red now. Harry moved with frantic desperation, murmuring to himself as he scoured the map for Emma. Ginny simply tailed behind, her wand ready. Harry finally found the small dot labelled Emmaline Massey it wasn’t moving. Right next to hers were two other dots one labelled Draco Malfoy and the other Theodore Nott. They were in a classroom on the second floor, almost directly above where Harry and Ginny were right then. “Gin, come on!” Harry said, his tone of voice unsettled Ginny, she’d never heard him this angry before. As he grabbed her hand she felt something like a shock of electricity pass through her. They ran the entire way only slowing when they neared the door. Harry’s eyes were burning deep green, he didn’t even raise his wand as he neared the door yet the whole thing ripped off its hinges and hit the wall across the hall. Harry strode into classroom, his wand now drawn already aimed at Malfoy and Nott who had been thrown on their backs by the force of the door being opened. “Potter! How did I know, oh yeah, because you’re the only one who cares about fucking mudbloods!” Malfoy spat kicking the little girl on the floor as he slowly moved his hand towards his own wand. Harry didn’t need anymore encouragement; he pointed his wand at Malfoy’s face and without a word from either of them Malfoy simply fell to the floor unconscious; his eyes rolling up into his head then going completely limp. Harry then turned on his heels fuming to confront Nott only to find him hanging upside down from the ceiling bound up; Ginny was already on the ground next to Emma checking to see if she was okay. Harry’s heart was racing, he looked down at Emma. The little girl wasn’t moving and her entire face seemed to be covered in bruises, she was curled up in the fetal position trying to cover the blows to her face. Ginny turned up to look at Harry the fire in her eyes was now replaced with tears, “Harry, we have to get her to Dumbledore. She’s really hurt, I can’t find a pulse.” While Ginny had done some volunteer work for Madam Pomfrey she’d never learned any spell or charm to restart someone’s heart. “We can’t carry her, not in her condition. Maybe I can run up to his office, it isn’t too far from here. Take care of her while I go get help.” Harry said already making for the door. Ginny just nodded, too afraid to speak. Suddenly there was a burst of fire and out of nowhere appeared Fawkes hovering in the middle of the room. Harry seemed to immediately know what the phoenix was there for; he ran over picked Emma up in his arms and then grabbed hold of one of Fawkes’

feathers. Ginny followed suit grabbing hold of another one of Fawkes’ tail feathers. Immediately she felt the familiar weightlessness and then a burst of light as she Harry and Emma were transported with Fawkes. A moment later they appeared again in what Harry recognized to be the infirmary. The torches were out and the whole ward was deathly, the only light was coming from the corner room which was Madam Pomfrey’s quarters. Ginny ran to rouse Madam Pomfrey while Harry lifted Emma gently and set her down on one of the nearby beds. He hadn’t seen her move or even breath the whole time he’d been there; he remembered learning something in elementary school about helping someone breathe but he all he could recall was that it was called CPR. There was a commotion from inside the room and out came Madam Pomfrey, dressed in her nightgown and a robe, with Ginny close on her heels. She saw the little girl on the bed and sped up nearly knocking Harry over as she reached Emma. “Merlin! What happened to this girl?” She said as she began casting various diagnostic charms over Emma. “How long has she not been breathing? Have you checked her pulse yet?” Harry was first to reply, “Ginny couldn’t find a pulse, and when we got to her she wasn’t breathing. It was Malfoy and Nott, they were using the cruciatus curse on her. Malfoy was kicking her also, I think that might have been what knocked her out.” Madam Pomfrey face showed alarm. She quickly pointed her wand at Emma’s heart and shouted Cardium Renervium! Emma’s whole body spasmed in the bed as she gasped for air then fell back unconscious. Madam Pomfrey checked her pulse then her breathing, seemingly satisfied that the girl was at least alive and breathing now, she stepped back to face Harry and Ginny. “Very well even though she isn’t conscious she’s at least breathing that was the greatest danger. Potter go and get the headmaster, he’ll want to know of this attack. The password is peanut brittle; tell him to have Professor Snape bring his best cruciatus reliever. Hurry now!” Harry was turned and ran down the ward, heading straight for Dumbledore’s office as fast as he could. He only made a few steps however before he ran into something and hit the floor. He grabbed for his glasses and shoved them on, only to see the headmaster in front of him holding out his hand to help him up. “I am already here Poppy, Fawkes was kind enough to alert me to the situation as soon as he returned, Severus should be here momentarily.” Dumbledore helped Harry up then strode quickly to the bedside. “How is she Poppy?” “She wasn’t breathing and her pulse was practically nonexistent headmaster. I actually had to use the revival charm, that’s only the second time I’ve ever had to use it. Whatever these boys did to this little girl was enough to almost kill her.” “Thank you Poppy, Severus should be here momentarily. Harry, Ginevra, if I could talk to you for a moment in private?” Dumbledore asked the two teens.

Harry and Ginny were both reluctant to leave Emma’s side. “Emma is going to be quite alright now that she’s breathing again, we just have to let her get her rest, I’ll call you two over immediately if she awakes.” Madam Pomfrey said trying to reassure them. They both nodded and hesitantly joined Dumbledore. “Now then, I know a little about what occurred, but phoenixes can only tell me so much. I hope you wouldn’t mind filling me in on what just transpired?” Dumbledore asked softly. Harry was holding Ginny in his arms; both of them were obviously still recovering from the shock of seeing the friend in such a state. “I need to know Harry, that way we can take care of Miss Massey as well as possible.” Harry nodded, knowing he would have to tell him. But the adrenaline had worn off now and he suddenly realized how close Emma had come to dying, and how lucky it was that they had found her in time. Harry then did something he hadn’t done since the first few days of summer, he cried. Chapter 32: A Request Harry, Ginny, Hermione, and Ron were sitting in chairs around Emma’s small bed in various states of exhaustion and grief. They hadn’t left the infirmary since last night’s attack and Dumbledore had told them they would be excused from classes the next day so as to not leave Emma alone in the infirmary. After Harry and Ginny had recounted the entire story to the headmaster, including the fact that they both had the same vision at the same time, the group returned to the bed where Emma was laying, still unconscious. Madam Pomfrey had found that along with the effects of the Cruciatus curse, she had three broken ribs and a large bruise on the side of her body. “She’ll have to remain here for at least this week before I will even consider letting her go back to the dorms. Considering what those two boys did to her I’m surprised I didn’t have to send her to St. Mungo’s.” The nurse said in her usual curt voice that morning, talking to Dumbledore at the entrance to the infirmary. “Thank you Poppy, you have done, as always, an excellent job.” Dumbledore said kindly. “Miss Massey’s mother should be arriving shortly, I hope that it is okay with you if she stays with her for the rest of her time here?” “Yes of course, I will make up a bed in the private ward so they can have some privacy.” Madam Pomfrey said and bustled off to work on the room. The room was silent for a moment, all of the just looking at Emma, still too shocked about what happened to her. Harry was still trying to figure out how he and Ginny had seen Emma being attacked last night in their dreams, he knew Voldemort hadn’t been there so it wasn’t like the normal intrusions he had upon the Dark Lord’s mind. Dumbledore was simply standing there, and although Harry still had some resentment towards the headmaster he decided to ask anyway.

“Professor?” Harry asked tentatively, Dumbledore looked at him, his blue eyes seemed to be lacking some of their usual lustre. “Yes Harry?” He responded, his voice revealing his exhaustion. The headmaster had been up all night running in-between the floo, the infirmary, and the tower room where Mr. Malfoy and Nott were being held. Everyday his list of things to do seemingly grew longer and longer as the war grew inevitably closer and closer. “Well, I was wondering about last night. How was Ginny and I able to see what was happening to Emma? I mean I know Voldemort wasn’t there that night, so I couldn’t have been in his mind.” “That is a good question indeed, I might have a possible reason for this, but there is very little information on the specifics of the Heartbond. From what I have read so far of a few ancient papers on Myrddin, you probably know of him as Merlin, he would occasionally refer to his ability to know the whereabouts, and feelings of not only his lover Gwendoloena, but of his apprentice Arturius. While I would usually consider this just being some reference to legilimency, the ancient Coptic language he was using has several translations and one of the meanings for the word he used when describing the connection was that it was like a bond between them. “This now leads me to assume that this bond you and Miss Weasley posses not only link you two together, but connects you to your closest friends. In your dream state your mind is much more open than when you are awake, and when Emmaline found herself to be in peril the bond somehow allowed you to see where she was.” “If we are all bonded why didn’t Ron or I see anything last night? I mean we figured out when Professor McGonagall woke us both up last night.” Hermione interjected, her mind sharp as always. “Quite right Miss Granger. Well, and I’m only hypothesizing now, but I believe that you may have felt something rather than seen anything. How did you feel when you woke up last night?” Dumbledore asked, enjoying Hermione’s keen questioning. “I can’t really remember, there were other things on my mind obviously. Now that I think of it though I did feel a bit nauseous, but I just thought that was from the combination of waking up early and hearing about Emma.” Hermione said slowly, working through the night’s rather hectic events. Dumbledore only nodded then turned to face Ron. He hadn’t said anything yet, but a look of surprise had come across his face as Hermione was talking. “Blimey ‘Mione, I think he’s right. I woke up and was achy and had a headache, I just thought it was either something to do with dinner or I wasn’t coming down with something!” Ron said now looking up at Dumbledore, hoping he would confirm what the two had just said. “It would seem that your friends did have some reaction to the attack through the bond. I believe they were feeling trace effects of both the Cruciatus curse and the kicks Mr.

Malfoy delivered; only they did not notice it because of all the commotion.” Dumbledore said, and then looked out the window to the grounds below. He was silent for a moment, then spoke again, not turning to face them. “This bond continues to surprise even me every day; I believe that as you grow stronger magically the bond will continue to grow with it. We will have to continually monitor to see what new developments occur over this school year, if anything happens please tell me or another Order member what it was. That goes for all of you, if anything changes please te-…” But Dumbledore was cut off by a commotion in the hallway. A second later the doors opened and a stricken Joy Massey came striding in closely followed by McGonagall. Joy saw Emma lying in the cot unconscious and gasped, her eyes filling with tears. She stood there momentarily paralysed, just staring at her daughter then at Harry, then Dumbledore, then at the three other children. Her mouth opened as she tried to say something, but then she closed it again as her gaze returned to her only daughter lying there unconscious. Finally after a moment of complete silence she managed to speak the one question that sprung to mind first, “Is she going to live?” “She is going to be quite alright, Miss Massey, I can assure you. Madam Pomfrey says she will make a full recovery in only a week. Why don’t you have a seat and you can ask any other question you want while we wait for your daughter to wake up.” Dumbledore said consolingly, and at Joy’s stunned nod he conjured two rather comfortable looking chairs and a small side table with a teapot and two cups. “Who…what…did this to her? Why did this happen?” She asked as she stroked her daughter’s hair lovingly. “I am afraid that Lord Voldemort’s followers are even in the school. They blindly obey his commands, and commit acts of violence just for fun or in hopes of being recognized by their master. Tom believes that witches or wizards who are not born from two wizards are ‘impure’ and not worthy to be considered wizards. He feels that it is the pureblood wizards that deserve to have the power. He looks upon anyone who is not a pureblood with utter contempt. His one goal is to rule the wizarding world and have Muggles as his slaves.” Dumbledore finished with sadness in his usually jovial eyes. Although he and Harry had discussed Voldemort with her before they hadn’t really told her what his goals were. “Did you catch them, the people who did this to my little girl?” An intensity entered Joy’s eyes, a maternal instinct Harry knew well from Mrs. Weasley’s ministrations around the house. “Harry and Miss Weasley were able to find Emma and apprehend the perpetrators before long, Emmaline is very lucky that they found her, any later and her situation might have been much graver. Her attackers are currently locked up in a secure room and will be dealt with appropriately.” Dumbledore’s voice had an edge of what seemed to be sorrow when he said the last sentence. His look of anguish was not lost on Harry who thought it odd to be talking about Malfoy and Nott’s capture with sorrow. At the mention of Harry Joy turned to him and without a single word scooped him up in a

giant hug, while not at strong as Mrs Weasley’s, definitely left his ribs aching. She then kissed him on the forehead and whispered, as if speaking louder would cause her to cry, “Thank you Harry.” She then went over to Ginny and did the same thing; Ginny too looked as if she were holding back tears. Once joy finished she turned back to face the headmaster, her face stoic. “Professor Dumbledore, I know that I’m a muggle and I know I’ve only known about wizards for a few months now but I want to join the Order. Before you say anything let me explain. I know about the Order, it was somewhat difficult not to figure out once we were at the house, and I know that they are fighting this Voldemort. I don’t have a wand or any other skills, but I know that I want to do everything I can to stop this if I can. My daughter was hurt by his followers and I want to hurt him now because of it. I’ve already lost my husband, I will not lose my daughter.” Tears were now coming down her face, but her eyes showed only determination. “Mum, please don’t cry. I okay, please don’t cry. I’m not dead.” A feeble sounding voice emanated from behind Joy and the headmaster. The whole group spun around to find Emma sitting somewhat upright in her bed, her bruised face the picture of worry. Joy immediately ran up to Emma a grasped her in a tight hug. It looked as if she were trying to hold her as close as possible, trying to protect the only person she cared about in the world. After a few minutes of hushed sobs and quite pleas from Emma for her mom to stop crying Joy turned to face the headmaster once again. Dumbledore seemed to consider the woman’s request for quite some time, he finally nodded slightly and spoke. “Very well Ms. Massey, your reasons are completely justified. And I do not see why we could discriminate against Muggles; it would simply be doing what Tom does. We have our next meeting at headquarters this Thursday night. I will arrange to have your fireplace attached to the Floo Network and will have Remus Lupin pick you up so he can instruct you on its use. As for what you said about not having any skills I believe we could always use a person knowledgeable in Muggle ways; The lack of a wand may also be able to be taken care of if I know the Weasley twins.” The headmaster smiled slightly at that ad turned to face Ginny, Ron and the other two. “I’m afraid I must beg my pardon as I have many things I must attend to, it would seem my work is never finished. Madam Pomfrey has already seen to it that you have a private ward and a bed so you can stay with your daughter as long as necessary. If you need anything do not be afraid to ask. Now before I leave I must ask to borrow Harry here for just a moment.” Dumbledore nodded at Harry and let him lead the way out of the infirmary. “Professor, what are you going to do about Malfoy and Nott? Are they going to be expelled?” Harry asked, eager to know the answer the moment he’d learned of their captivity. Dumbledore sighed, he knew that this question was coming. “Draco and Theodore are

currently being lectured by Professor Snape and Professor McGonagall. While I would usually ask the Board of Governors to allow any rule breakers to stay in school,” Dumbledore held up his hand asking Harry to hear out his full explanation before he spoke out, “this is quite an unusual and extreme case. Therefore I have decided to turn them over to the Ministry of Magic and the Auror Department. Their court dates have been set for next month and meanwhile they will be sequestered in their current holding place. I never want to abandon a student if at all possible but in this case I am afraid there was no other choice.” “It’s fine with me, them being sent to Azkaban means there’s two less Death Eaters to deal with.” Harry said angrily, his mind still playing back that horrible scene from his dream last night. “Harry, I know you are angry right now, and you very well deserve to be. But do not let it overshadow the good, Emmaline is okay, and you caught those responsible. If we live on anger we only follow the path that Tom took. Never forget that Harry.” Dumbledore patted him on the shoulder in a fatherly way, then turned and walked down the hallway leaving Harry to contemplate his words. Chapter 33: The Division of the DA Emma was released from the infirmary later that week, Madam Pomfrey finally acquiescing to the dozens of pleas from both Emma and the others. Emma’s face was still covered in bruises from Malfoy’s kicks and she was moving visibly slower than her usual hyper level. Occasionally she would have to stop in the halls to take a break during her walks to classes around school. Overall everyone was overjoyed that she had managed to spring back from a life threatening attack. There were some side effects however. Emma had been visibly shaken by the strange way she had become the target of this hate crime. While Harry and Dumbledore had told her about the supposed war that was going on, she hadn’t heard or read anything to make her think that she was in danger. Emma had heard from her dorm mates and other first years that there were people in the school, specifically Slytherins, who hated anyone who wasn’t a pure-blooded wizard. When she had heard that she didn’t really put much thought into it, but now the words Malfoy had called her, mudblood, filthy half-blood, and the likes, were running through her head almost continuously. Emma was currently walking with Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione. Dinner had just been let out and they were now heading up an obscure hallway to the first DA meeting of this year. Harry was holding onto Emma’s hand as he led them up to the Room of Requirement, she had been sticking close to either Harry or one of the others whenever she could. The castle seemed larger and more foreboding than even when she’d entered it for the first time before the Sorting.

On their way up to the meeting place Harry passed several other groups of past-DA members heading up to the room by another direction. He nodded at them and kept on going upwards. He was a more than a little nervous about this meeting because of two things; he hadn’t gotten permission from Dumbledore, in fact he was keeping it a secret, and two, he wasn’t sure if the other members would like the new system Harry and the others had been working on. There was a small crowd gathering in front of where the door usually was. Apparently no one else knew exactly how to operate it so they were waiting on Harry to arrive. As he had done countless times now he stood in front of the door, closed his eyes and thought to himself about what he needed. I need a place that we can study in, a place that we can keep secret but big enough to fit a large group of people and have sparring competitions. Harry opened his eyes, and sure enough there was a large door in front of the used-to-be blank wall. The doors were different from what it looked like last year, although it looked sturdy enough it didn’t have the same bank vault look that it did last time. The doors were made of heavy ancient wood and were at least twelve feet high. Each one had a large brass ring one of which Harry pulled on. The doors swung open easily not making a sound, revealing the space inside. There was a general intake of breath from all the assembled members at the sheer enormity of the room that they were now facing. Harry was the first to enter and as he stepped through the doorway torches ignited all around him, shedding light on the dark room. The room had massively high ceilings, and resembled a miniature version of the Great Hall, with the exception of the enchanted ceiling. There were dozens of chairs around small lamp lit table near the left wall. The whole wall was covered in bookshelves, containing massive tomes, and small rolls of parchment. Hermione gave a small gasp of delight, grabbed Ron’s arm, and ran over to scour the books. On the other side of the room, the other wall was draped in elaborate tapestries that looked ancient even when they were surrounded by the dusty books and old chairs. Each tapestry was depicting a different scene, each one showing different points in what appeared to be a battle. They vaguely reminded Harry of the picture books he’d read in muggle elementary school, pictures depicting great stories and myths of ancient times. Emma tugged on Harry’s robe, “Hey Harry, what’s that thing over there?” she pointed over to the large platform that was in the far back of the massive room. Harry smiled when he saw it, “I thought we could use one of these. It’s a professional duelling pitch; it even has special wards around it to stop stops from hitting spectators. It should be a good way to train for Kingsley and Mad-Eye’s course, and it’ll be a good way to watch our skills improve and see where we can do better.” Harry turned around and saw that there were now at least forty students inside and were listening to Harry’s conversation. Many were smiling, others were nodding in approval. “I guess we should start Harry, it looks like most everyone’s here.” Ginny whispered.

Harry nodded, taking strength from her firm grip of his hand, and then called for everyone’s attention. Once the noise had settled down and everyone was looking at where Harry and the others were standing he started to speak. “Well, I wasn’t expecting this many people. Umm, this is the DA II, short for Dumbledore’s Army, and if you don’t know me I’m Harry Potter.” He stammered, he still wasn’t used to talking in front of such large groups. “Everyone in the world knows who you are!” someone shouted from the group, people laughed. Harry pushed on, “I guess I should introduce the others, this is Ginny Weasley, next to her is Hermione Granger, and next to her is Ron Weasley. We’re going to do our best to help every one of you learn how to protect yourself and fight. Now, one thing before I continue; no matter what Fudge or the paper tells you there is a war going on! Voldemort has returned and he is as strong as ever, trust me on that. We’re here to help you get ready. “Also, I noticed how all of you flinched when I said Voldemort. Let me tell you something about that. His real name is Tom Marvolo Riddle, and he is infact not a pureblood as he says, his dad was actually a muggle. If you let yourself be afraid of a name, just imagine how you’re going to stand up against a Death Eater. So from now on when we’re at meetings you will call him either Voldemort or Tom, not he-who-must-notbe-named. “Now that I got that out of the way, we need you all to sign the piece of parchment that Hermione is passing around before we go any further.” “And yes, before you ask, I did charm it with several new jinxes I’ve wanted to try. If you break this contract you will end wishing you looked like Marietta.” Hermione said, the older students laughed the younger ones looked at each other with hesitancy. “The only reason we’re having people sign this is to protect everyone here. This is still an illegal organisation, Dumbledore does not know about this, nor does any adult for that matter. What we practice and talk about in here will remain secret; no one may discuss what we do outside of this room. You will be informed of further meetings by the coins you already have.” Harry was getting back into the groove of speaking now; people seemed to be hanging on every word that he spoke eager to partake in this illegal organisation. “Tonight’s meeting is only for us to sort out all the logistics of the group. Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and I have been working on a new plan based on a lot of research into muggle combat methods. Now I’m not a battle strategist, and if you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to play chess with Ron you’ll know he is one. So for the next part of this meeting you’ll be listening to Ron. Ron was obviously nervous about speaking in front of a group and his face was flushed his usual red. “Right, well…hmm. Okay then, were going to…uh…” He glanced nervously over to Harry, looking for help.

“You’re going to tell us about how the groups are divided up, and how the meetings will be run.” Harry prompted his friend. “Oh yeah, thanks. Right, well I’ve, I mean we’ve, been studying a lot of books and tactics about how to fight in a real battle and what combat is really like. Surprisingly, there was almost nothing helpful about wizarding combat except for a few rules on duelling. It took us a while but we finally did find a good source, turns out the muggles have this whole fighting thing down to a science. Anyways, we took notes on different battles that muggles fought over the years and one thing that kept popping up, even as early as Merlin’s time; it was the idea of a rank system.” Ron paused, and seemed to gain some strength as he noticed everyone was listening to him. “Well for our first change to the DA we’ve created a rank and group system for everyone. The main reason for this is to streamline the way we communicate. At the Department of Mysteries last year, it was utter chaos because of the lack of communication.” All of the students broke out in excited chatter. Everyone had read or heard about Harry and the other’s involvement in the battle at the ministry, yet no one knew more than what was published in the Daily Prophet. “It was pandemonium down there. No one knew who was good and who the enemy was. So we think it would be a good idea for us to be split up into smaller groups of people who could work separately from the larger whole and still be capable to fighting Death Eaters successfully.” Ron said, his nervousness having now completely vanished, and in its place was confidence. Hermione now spoke up, “this division will not only be for communication but will also help divide up into more specialized groupings. For example, we need a group of healers, or medics as muggles call them, to take care of anyone who is injured in a fight. We will also have “Right, well there are going to be four groups. There will be medics, like Hermione said. Defence, who are a group of fighters that will cast shields and other charms to ensure everyone is safe. There will be a runner, someone who will communicate with the leaders and keep the groups together. The last group will be an offensive magic group, they will be in charge of our actual fighting. “ Ron stopped then looked over at Ginny, jerking his head to tell her to start talking now. “You will train with your group separately once a week in this room. Each group will train individually from the others except for once a month we will all meet for a bigger practice. The final plan is to have one medic, one runner, two defensive, and two offensive fighters in a group. Hopefully each one will be self sufficient and be able to fight by themselves if needed.” Ginny stopped, and looked over at Harry to continue the rest of the speech. The crowd remained completely silent, everyone seemed eager to be involved in the DA, even if it meant they had to fight. “Right, well they couldn’t have said it better. Now for the rest of the meeting we’re first going to split up into the different groups and discuss what our plans are for the rest of the semester. If you want to be a healer go over to the bookshelves over there and wait for

Ginny, she’ll be the leader of that group. If you want to be a runner, go over to Hermione by the fireplace. If you want to be a defensive fighter go over by the tapestries to Ron. Anyone who wants to be an offensive fighter come in closer to me, I’ll be your instructor.” The whole group stood and began to disperse into the different groups. Harry was afraid that the groups would be somewhat uneven but what he saw surprised him. There were almost a dozen people in both the medical and runner groups. Ron’s group had over two dozen and his own was just a little smaller with twenty kids in it, most of them were older students, including Neville, Seamus, and Dean. Harry was pleased to see Emma had joined the medical group and was standing close by Ginny eager to learn. Harry turned to face his own group and pulled out his wand. “Well, this is the offensive fighting group. First let me just say even though I’m called the leader I don’t expect to be treated any differently. I am here to help teach you guys, that’s it. We are all going to have to work together to fight properly. Now, last year we learned just some basic hexes and a few defensive charms as well. Neville and I can tell you that most of those weren’t too helpful when it came to fighting, but it was surprising how few of the Death Eaters bothered to stop a leg locker curse or a stupefy. “While we will be working on those Ginny and I did some research over the summer and found loads of curses that aren’t as bad as the Unforgivables but will certainly do damage. We figured if Death Eaters can use the Killing Curse then we should be able to use something like diffindo or another spell we found ignatus which will light anything on fire, no matter what. I don’t want to kill, and probably couldn’t but I do want to make sure none of our people will get hurt.” Harry’s voice was low but strong, it was difficult for him to discuss the Department of Mysteries with his friends let alone 20 strangers. He wanted to stop people from dying though, and thought it was a small price to pay to save people’s lives. “Well, before I show you the list are there any questions so far?” “Are we going to get to duel?” Dean asked anxiously, there had been talk about duelling in both Light Offensive magic and DADA, but Tonks had said it wouldn't be until second term. “Yes we will be duelling almost every meeting in some form or another. Being able to move quickly is just as important as being able to fire the right spells.” Harry said. A fourth year girl raised girl hand nervously, “is it true? I mean I’ve read it in the Prophet but did you really duel he-who-must…Vold…Vold. Tom?” The boy stuttered several moments trying to figure out what name to use, finally pushing Tom out at the end. Harry sighed, he was expecting at least one question like this, he knew it was inevitable, but it didn’t make that any easier to discuss. “What’s you name?” “Jenn, Jenn Sloan. I’m from Ravenclaw, Mr. Potter.” She stuttered, she was nervous being so close to someone she had been told about in stories by her parents.

“Well Jenn first off, my name is Harry. I’m not a sir or a Mr. or a professor. I’m way too young for that. And yes I did have to fight Voldemort, although not very well, if Dumbledore hadn’t been there I would have been killed, you can ask Neville about that. That’s exactly why I researched more powerful spells to use, I want to be able to survive a fight on my own.” Harry knew none of them knew about the prophecy but that was the true reason behind him and Ginny’s research into more powerful hexes and curses. He knew he was going to have to fight him in the end and he wanted to live now, because of Ginny he now had something to look forward to after Voldemort was gone. Lost in his own thoughts he also noted he hadn’t told Ron and Hermione of his prophesized destiny with Voldemort. He didn’t like keeping secrets from them, especially one this important. But he knew that telling them would only put them in even more danger than they were in currently. It was becoming harder for him to keep it from them every day and he knew he would have to tell them soon. “Harry? Are you alright?” Neville asked, Harry had been silent for almost a minute now. Harry shook those depressing thoughts from his mind and brought himself back into the present. “Sorry, I was just daydreaming there for a moment. Well let’s take a look at the list of spells we have compiled and try and sort out what the rest of the year is going to look like for us.” Harry unrolled a long piece of parchment he, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny had come up with. For the next forty-five minutes of the meeting the groups planned how they were going to turn Dumbledore’s Army into an actual army. Chapter 34: The First Kiss Harry was walking out of the DADA class with Ron and Hermione after a class with Flamel, and were all eagerly talking about the new shield charm he had just taught them, when he a hand grasped him firmly by the shoulder. He turned around and saw the old man smiling at him. In a hushed voice he whispered, “Harry, a word please?” Harry told Hermione and Ron he’d see them at lunch and went back into the classroom, following the professor into his office. Flamel sat down heavily in a large leather chair and motioned for Harry to take the seat across from him. Harry followed suit and sat down in the comfortable chair. “Sir, is there something wrong. Am I in trouble for something?” Harry asked nervously. The DA had now been running for two weeks and had successfully avoided detection by any teacher so far; personally Harry wanted it to stay that way. “No, no Harry you are not in any trouble,” the ancient man laughed heartily. “But there is something wrong, and I think it’s about time I do something about it.” The professor leaned closer in to Harry staring right at him. His eyes were just like Dumbledore’s; they seemed to cut to your very soul. Harry wanted to look away but forced himself to continue to look into the man’s brown eyes. The two stayed that way, staring right at each other for what seemed to be an eternity, finally Flamel blinked and pulled back.

“Well, that hadn’t happened for quite some time, usually the only person who can give me a run for my money when it comes to stare downs is your headmaster!” He waved it off and continued to speak. “As I was saying, you’re not in trouble but I feel that I should be. School has already been in session for over two months now and I haven’t been able to teach you anything at all!” Harry was unsure where this was going but was relieved knowing it wasn’t about the DA. “You’ve taught me loads! I mean just today you taught us that new shield I’d never even heard of! You’re loads better than Umbridge.” The professor laughed again, “well thank you Harry. It is good to know that my teaching skills are above those of Dolores. I know I have been teaching you in class, and you have been doing quite well if I may say so, but I haven’t been able to teach you personally. Albus and I think that it would be a good idea for you to learn some rather specialized branches of magic. Now I’m not exactly sure what you’d like to learn or even what you know so far. So if possible I’d like to have a meeting with you one night and see what we can work on. Do you have any particular night that would work best for you?” Harry thought for a moment, trying to sort out what nights, if any, he had free. Every Tuesday now he met with his group for the DA and would occasionally go help Ginny, Ron, or Hermione when needed. On top of that Moody and Kingsley had given their students the assignment of going through the course they had set up alone and outside of class once a week “Well I’m busy tomorrow, and I have to do the training course sometime this week, but other than that…oh bugger!” Harry cursed as he remembered that he had told his teammates he’d be holding Quidditch tryouts on Friday. “Oh, sorry professor, it’s just I remembered I have Quidditch tryouts on Friday, I almost completely forgot about them.” “It’s quite alright Harry, it sounds as if you still have either Wednesday or Thursday free, and I have a faculty meeting on Thursday, so it seems as if our meeting shall be on Wednesday. One more thing I almost forgot, Albus has recommended, and I quite agree considering the current state of things, that we keep this a secret. Therefore it would be wise for you to tell any inquirers that you have volunteered to help me makes the class plans for the younger students. Now I could never stand it when I missed one of Hogwarts’ famed meals, and I believe I have kept you from your lunch long enough. I’ll see you on Wednesday night right after dinner.” The professor smiled and waved Harry out of his office. As Harry headed down the hallway he decided he didn’t feel like having lunch today, the sudden realization that he had to organize the tryouts for the team made him more than a little queasy. Even though he’d only been back at school for a few weeks the pressure was slowly building everyday, and now on top of everything else he was going to be taking advanced magic lessons from Flamel. And there was the inescapable worry over the prophecy he had to deal with constantly also. Although Ginny usually was able to take care of some of his worries, his quandary over when to tell Ron and Hermione about his fate was unshakeable.

Harry climbed through the portrait hole into his room hoping to maybe get a nap in before double potions began. He walked into the bedroom and tossed down his book bag, and then just flopped down onto the bed. He closed his eyes and tried some of the occlumency lessons Snape had taught him last year to try and clear his mind of all his worries. Every time he tried to clear his mind however his problems seemed to just grow in size. Harry finally just gave up and stared up at the ceiling letting his worries surround him. He laid there for several minutes, just happy to at least have a respite in the constant questions from his fellow class mates. As he was going over how to solve the Quidditch problem for the fifth time he heard the portrait door open and close. A moment later Ginny came into the bedroom. “Hey Harry,” she said softly, sitting down on the other side of the bed. Harry mumbled something incoherent and pulled a pillow over his face. Ginny lightly pried it off and looked right down at him. “Harry, is everything okay? I know something isn’t alright, I feel it.” She put stress on her last words. “This bond just keeps getting stronger Harry; I could tell that you were stressed about something ever since this morning.” “I’m alright Gin’,” Harry muttered, avoiding looking her directly in the eyes. “No, you’re not. I told you I can feel it now.” Ginny leaned in closer, now stroking Harry’s hair out of his eyes. “Do you remember what I told you that night Harry; the night you told me about this prophecy? Well I do, I promised you I would do anything I could to help you beat him; I still mean that Harry.” She said, now struggling to hold back the emotion in her voice and face. Harry now looked right at Ginny, her red eyes were now sparkling with unshed tears, and her face was red from her passionate talk. Something about Ginny struck Harry. He had been bonded with her for over three months now, and although they were sleeping in the same bed, and held hands, it wasn’t what Harry thought of as a usual couple. Their relationship seemed to be more based out of sheer necessity, and although he knew he loved her he hadn’t really seen Ginny in that light since she first showed up on his bed in the summer. But now, the way she was right next to him, every line of her face showing utter compassion and love, he realized he really did love Ginny Weasley. “I love you,” he said quietly, in fact he wasn’t entirely sure she’d heard him. “What?” Ginny asked, either she really hadn’t heard him or she was startled. Harry sat up now, and took her hand in his this time he looked into her eyes and again said, “I love you.” Ginny’s mind stopped for a moment, stunned by Harry’s sudden absolute sincerity. While she had had a crush on him even before she’d met him, and she thought she was the world’s luckiest person for actually being bonded to Harry, she felt that ever since the revelation of the prophecy Harry had come to see the relationship as a formality more

than anything else. Now actually hearing those words from the one of the people she cared more for than anything in the world made her heart skip a beat. Harry opened her mouth to say something but couldn’t seem to find the words; instead she just grabbed him in an embrace and kissed him. Harry was a little shocked by her sudden movement but as the kiss continued all of his earlier worries were erased, he was kissing the person he loved. After what seemed like a lifetime the two broke apart, both of their faces flushed from their first true kiss. Ginny wiped a tear from her face although she was smiling brightly, her eyes now alight with passion. “Am I that bad, why is it whenever I kiss a girl they start crying?” Harry said perturbed, excluding one or two kisses from Ginny over the past months his only other kiss had been from Cho; and Harry tried to forget that moment. Ginny laughed softly, smiling even more widely, “No Harry, you’re not a bad kisser, in fact your quite good; It’s just I’m happy. When you said you loved me I knew you weren’t lying, I knew in my heart that it was true. I’ve had a crush on you ever since I met you and even with the Heartbond I still thought there might be a possibility you didn’t love me, but now I know.” Ginny grinned and before Harry could say anything she kissed him again, savouring the fact that they were really and truly meant to be together. Chapter 35: A New Bond is Wrought Gryffindor Common Room The next morning Harry and Ginny headed over to Gryffindor commons to wait for Ron and Hermione to go down to breakfast. They sat in one of the large couches and held each other’s hands as they talked lightly, laughing every few moments. When Ron and Hermione came down the dorm stairs they looked at the couple sitting closer than usual to each other and talking happily Ron looked at Hermione questioningly but she just shrugged her shoulders and went over to join the two. “Morning Hermione, Ron, you guys ready to go down to breakfast, I’m starving.” Harry said as he and Ginny stood up from the couch. “Careful there Harry, you’re starting to sound like Ron,” Ginny teased him playfully, the two then broke into laughter again. Ron once again gave the two an uneasy stare before replying, “Whatever you two are up to cut it out ‘cause its freaking me out. I just want to get some food; in case you forgot Harry we have double Offensive Magic today. And Moody seemed pretty eager to test out his new charm that shocks us every time we make too much noise.” He led them out the portrait door and down the staircase. Harry smiled back at him, “We’re not doing anything Ron, I’m just happy today. And trust me I didn’t forget about Moody’s class. Maybe you don’t remember but Hermione

was the one who so kindly offered him that new charm.” “Yeah I do, and you better be glad I don’t know the incantation or else you’d be shocked every time you took a step,” Ron said turning to Hermione resentfully. “Moody asked us if we knew any charms and I just told him one I read about the night before,” Hermione said defensively. Ron snorted and shot an argument back at her. Harry looked at his two friends; they would quite frequently bicker about the most pointless things, almost like an old married couple. Even though Ginny and Harry had told Ron that Hermione liked him he still seemingly hadn’t done anything about it. He shared a look with Ginny, and without saying a word agreed on the next plan of action. “So Ron, Hermione? Dumbledore announced the Halloween Ball last night; do you know who you’re going to take?” Harry asked mischievously right as they walked into the Great Hall. Both of them had identical reactions. Their faces went bright red then turned absolutely pale. Both of them were trying to catch glimpses of each other out of the corners of their eyes. Then Ron’s face suddenly went still and he took a deep breath then turned to face Hermione. His hands were visibly shaking and it looked like he might start coughing up slugs if he opened his mouth. “Hermione?” Ron barely whispered. “Yes?” she said, a shimmer of hope appearing in her eyes. “Would you want to ball…would you go to the me…would you go the ball with me?” he finally uttered out in a surprisingly natural voice. The two stood there completely silent, in the Great Hall entrance, with Harry and Ginny behind them. For a moment Hermione didn’t say anything but then a huge grin broke across her face and she wrapped her arms around Ron, causing quite a commotion. “I would love to Ron,” she said her arms still wrapped tightly around him. For his part Ron looked quite pleased to finally have Hermione hugging him instead of lecturing him. Noticing she was hugging him in the middle of the Great Hall she pulled away but gave him a quick peck on the cheek as she did so, then headed for the usual seat at Gryffindor table as if nothing had happened. Ron stood still touching his cheek and probably would have continued to do so if Ginny hadn’t pinched him. On the arm. “Earth to Ronald Weasley, you do know the whole school is watching you look like a complete idiot right now?” Ginny asked as she grabbed his arm and guided him into his seat. The Caucus Mountains, Russia “My Lord, I have excellent news concerning the Order.” A black hooded figured said in a slightly pompous tone, a few strands of long blonde hair were the only thing visible from

the under the hood. The only light in the room came from a blood red candle mounted on a sconce near Voldemort’s chair. “Speak Lucius, and for your sake I do hope it is good news,” the serpentine face of Voldemort showed a smile of pure mirth as his servant began to speak. “Well, you do know that Pettigrew and some of the fresher recruits were sent to spy on my cousin’s old residence, and due to their utter lack of magical ability they were caught by the Order.” the usual pompousness was slowly returning to Lucius’ words as his excitement at delivering good news to his Lord grew. “Yes Lucius, you were the one who informed me of their capture, and you do remember how displeased I was,” his voice dripped with malevolence. “Yes I do my Lord, but it seems it was not all for naught. Lets just say Minister Fudge was more than happy to arrange one of our friend’s early releases. McNair and I just retrieved Pettigrew last night and already he told us some things of great import. It seems that the Order has taken a Muggle into its ranks.” Lucius paused to see his master’s reaction. The thin snakelike lips of Voldemort bent upwards in what could only be a smile. “I knew Dumbledore was growing senile, but to allow a Muggle into the Order is foolishness!” “I agree my Lord, but there is more. My son, Draco, is currently being held against his will in a Hogwarts dungeon due to a spot of questioning he and Nott performed on a mudblood girl. We have been able to communicate however and he told me how this little girl and Potter have quiet a connection, it was Potter who stopped my son from completing his job in the first place. After learning this I looked a little deeper and it seems that this little girl is from the same block that Potter’s relatives live on, and her mother is the one Pettigrew claims is the Order member.” Lucius finished his eyes gleamed with triumph at being able to deliver this information to his Lord. The punishment he received from reporting Pettigrew’s failure still stung, but it was now all forgotten. “You were right about Draco, Lucius, he is quite useful. Perhaps we can arrange him and Nott’s early departure from Hogwarts.” Tom’s eyes were filled with a new light, he had information that he could use against the boy now, and with it he would squeeze every drop of life from him. D.A.D.A. Classroom Harry bid goodbye to Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Emma and Neville after dinner telling them all he had to go help Flamel with some class plans for the younger students. He had only told Ron, Hermione and Ginny why he really was going. Harry walked into the empty classroom and saw the old Professor up front. He was currently leaning back in his chair, his feet resting on the table, and was whistling an odd little tune. Harry was struck by how this 600 year old man acted quite young and jovial.

“Hello Harry, I hope you enjoyed class today. I do know Muggle defenses aren’t terribly exciting but I tried to make it at least engaging.” Flamel smiled and lowered his feet off the desk. “It was great professor, I actually think it’s interesting to see how Muggles protect themselves because I live with them in the summer.” “Good, good. Oh, excuse my manners, would you like a cup of tea, maybe a biscuit?” He waved his wand and a platter appeared with both. Flamel poured two cups of tea and then passed one to Harry. He took a small sip and found it wasn’t the usual English breakfast tea he had. He looked up at the professor. “Oh the tea, yes I’m afraid over the years I got a little tired of the usual tea, a friend of mine from India sends me a crate full of this every Christmas. It’s called Chai, which is essentially India’s Earl Grey, it means ‘tea’ in Hindi.” The professor smiled as he took another sip of it. “It’s good, it reminds me of Christmas.” Harry said as he took a sip too. “Well, now that we are settled in, what do you say I tell you what we shall be doing the rest of this year. And I can tell you it will be much more interesting and difficult than Muggle defenses.” He took another sip then set down his cup and pulled a rather dusty piece of parchment off his desk. “This, Harry, is something I picked up on a trip I took with Albus over thirty years ago. It is from a group of magicians in New Zealand that were destroyed by Grindlewald in 1945, this luckily wasn’t. It seems they were interested in the Heartbond themselves and had studied it intensively. A husband and wife there had been Heartbonded and they studied them and wrote everything down. As you can tell that wasn’t a lot, but what is here is very helpful, and will prove essential to you if you are to survive.” The professor stopped when he saw Harry’s reaction. “What do you mean ‘if I am to survive’?” Harry asked nervously, how did he know about the prophecy, did Dumbledore betray his trust and tell Flamel. “I mean that if you are to survive another battle with Voldemort you need to know more about the powers you now have,” the old man said softly, but the immense wisdom in his eyes carried the weight of what he just said. “How do you know? No one does,” Harry asked nervously. “Do not worry Harry; Albus did not betray your trust, nor anyone else. I knew it the minute I met you, the minute I looked into your eyes I saw the combination of panic, determination, and resignation. You must remember I have had hundreds of years to learn and read people, I don’t always see that as a good thing either. I promise with my life, I will not reveal what I know to anyone, it is far too important.” “That importance is also why you must learn about the other powers this Heartbond has given you and Missus Weasley. This wasn’t an accident that it happened to you Harry; it’s

given you the tools to destroy him. And I hope that I will be able to teach you what you need to know to use these tools effectively, I would like to leave this world knowing that I helped preserve the future, one I will not be able to experience.” Flamel once again leaned back in his chair, his eyes though never left Harry’s. “Now, what do you say we start looking over what you can do with this bond of yours?” Harry left the classroom an hour later exhilarated at learning more about the mysterious Heartbond and heartened knowing that he and the professor had created a bond just as strong as his and Ginny’s. The professor had promised his life to helping Harry destroy Voldemort. Chapter 36: The Twins Come to Visit Quidditch Pitch, Hogwarts The stands were crowded with eager Gryffindors waiting for Harry and the other team members to come out onto the field and start the open tryouts. They needed to find two new chasers, Angelina and Alicia had graduated, and two new beaters seeing how Kirke and Sloper had been told by their parents to focus more on their schoolwork. Harry, Ron, and Katie Bell were the only three remaining players and had agreed as they were getting ready to go on the field to each have an equal say in the selection process. “Well, are you ready Harry? It’s your first duty as the Quidditch captain, you get to sit out there and make sure you pick the right people. I don’t know what McGonagall, let alone the house, would do if you picked a bad team. We’ve gotten used to winning.” Katie teased. Harry smiled, “well with you guys helping out I can’t see why we won’t have a great team. Really though, I do want to say thank you for splitting the load with me, I don’t think I could do D.A. and this combined.” Ron clapped him on the shoulder, “What are friends for? Anyway how could I pass up the chance to be a co-captain of Gryffindor Quidditch? And what if the Chudley Cannons come and scout, it’d be brilliant!” Ron exclaimed then grabbed his broom and helped Katie carry out the chest with the balls in it. Harry followed close behind and soon all three were standing on one side of the massive Quidditch pitch. The amount of people in the stands was impressive, considering they were only going to be watching people go through the same drill over and over again. Harry looked over at Ron and Katie Bell, “guess it’s time to get started, looks like we’ve got a lot of people to go through.” Harry then pointed his wand at his throat and spoke once again, this time his voice was amplified thanks to Dumbledore who taught him the spell. “Morning everyone, I’m glad to see so many people here to tryout. We’re going to be

looking at chasers first so anyone who wants to try out come on down to this side of the pitch and we’ll get started.” Harry’s voice echoed around the stadium and about a dozen Gryffindor’s came down the stands with brooms in hand to try out. When they were all assembled in front of Harry and the others, Katie Bell spoke, “Okay, well this year we’re going to be doing things a little differently. Because Harry is a little busy right now with…other things,” she looked around nervously not sure if everyone was in the D.A., “anyways, if you line up I’ll have each of you do a lap around the pitch then some ball work, okay? Right, let’s see, Weasley and McNeal you’re first.” Ginny grinned at Harry and Ron then jumped on her old Cleansweep 7, which was actually Charlie’s old broom. The 3rd year boy named Lucien McNeal was close to follow and soon the two were shooting around the perimeter of the pitch at lightning pace. Slowly but surely the pairs of seekers went through the same motions as Ginny and Lucien, and in just under twenty minutes they were onto ball work. Katie would play the third chaser and the same pairs would have to work together to score five goals. Ginny was obviously the best of the 8 students trying out, having grown up in a house obsessed with Quidditch, but the third spot for seeker was more difficult to determine. While Lucien flew well he didn’t seem to always be completely in it, then there was a fourth year girl named Simone who could barely make the turns but somehow managed to pull off a trick play even Ron hadn’t seen before. The others were somewhere inbetween Ginny and Lucien skill wise, so Harry decided to not make any decisions about the players until he’d talked to Katie about it. Up next were the beaters, and seeing how they didn’t have any beaters Ron and Harry decided to try out the kids together. “Okay, well next up is beaters; we need two top-notch ones to make sure Slytherin doesn’t beat our arses next month. I figure with Kirke an Sloper gone we need some people who know a little bit about the game first off so they can…” but Ron was cut off mid sentence by a familiar voice from behind the group. “Great, well looks like we have some fresh meat for the grinder,” said the voice. “We don’t mean that literally, or do we I can’t remember after the last time I got hit. Do you Fred?” the characteristic voice of George Weasley chimed in. “How could I? If you don’t remember I got hit so hard Madam Pomfrey had to glue my nose back on, along with turning my head back the right direction!” Fred said as he stepped out from between the crowd of beaters. “Oh quite correct, I guess I must’ve been hit pretty hard also,” George said hitting his head with his hand dramatically as they came to a stop in front of Harry and Ron. Ron was first to respond, “What the bloody hell are you two doing here?” George stepped back in mock offence, “Why how dare you ask such a thing!”

Fred stepped forward, “Aren’t your two bolder and more dashing brothers allowed to check in on their ickle Ronnikins?” Ron had grown more confident, but not enough to turn bright red at his brothers’ teasing. “Alright shut it both of you before I hex you black and blue.” Right at the same time Fred and George both pulled out their wands a red flash came crashing into the twins. Collapsed on the ground with Fred and George was Ginny attempting to hug both of them at the same time. Fred and George both stood up pulling their sister with them, Ginny pulled back smiling at the unexpected but welcome sight of the twin’s faces. “What are you two doing here, is everything alright?” “Yes, yes,” Fred said. “Everything’s fine, we just thinking to ourselves wouldn’t it be great to help our dear friend Harry Potter out?” “Help me out how?” Harry said apprehensively, usually their antics ended up in an explosion or change of figure. “Well we heard that you were having beater tryouts and figured to give you a bit of a hand,” Fred said enthusiastically. “Yeah, who better to scout for new beaters than the best, most modest, Gryffindor has to offer?” George added. “Really? That’s brilliant guys; I can’t tell you how much this is going to help! I mean Ron and I could’ve probably chosen two people but now we have someone who’s played the position to really run them through their paces.” Harry said happily, then paused for a moment, “does Dumbledore know you’re here?” “Are you insinuating we would have broken in here?” George cried. “Preposterous! We flooed right into Albus’ own fireplace, he seemed very happy to see us back.” “Wouldn’t say that about Filch though,” Ron said, smiling now at hearing his brothers’ reason for coming to school again. Fred slung his arm around Harry’s shoulder and smiled at the crowd, “Do you reckon we should start? Looks like we have loads of people to go through.” “Yeah! I guess I’ll just let you two take control of this part, Ron, Katie, and I will watch.” Harry announced the change in the try outs then turned it over to Fred and George. The Caucus Mountains, Russia

“Lucius,” the Dark Lord hissed as his servant stepped inside the dimly lit chamber. Malfoy dropped to one knee bowing his head deeply, “Master, I have prepared everything as you have instructed. We can strike even tonight if you so wish.” “The house is unprotected? I do not want to risk my servants on a task where I will loose them. Not yet at least…we are too few in number.” The Voldemort’s usual malice seemed to be mixed with glee also. “Yes, my lord, the Order does not expect us to know this information. On the issue of servants, McNair and Severus are working on that as we speak. It will not be long until we are at our full strength once again.” Malfoy spoke with the determination only a truly devoted person could have. “Very well Lucius, strike tonight. Do not leave anything alive, and if you loose anyone I will be most displeased.” His burning red eyes grew in intensity as he spoke. Malfoy stood up, bowed and rushed out of the door to prepare the attack. Harry’s Quarters, Hogwarts Ron, Katie, Harry, Fred, and George had been up in Harry and Ginny’s room for the better part of the day after tryouts had been completed. They had been discussing who to choose for the open positions. The twins’ tests had proven to be quite effective, not only showing who wouldn’t work but highlighting the skills of those who were possible candidates; among those was Harry’s old roommate Dean, who flew quite well and was now the topic of discussion. “I don’t know Harry, he can fly but will he be a good match for the other beater? I mean these two players have to work together flawlessly, and I’ve heard that Dean is sometimes a bit…abrasive.” Katie said after a long discussion of his great broom skills. “I know Katie, he can come off that way, but I think that if we give him the responsibility it’ll straighten him up and make him work in a group better.” Harry said as he munched half-mindedly on a biscuit Dobby had brought up earlier. Ron rubbed his temples and laid back in his chair, “So, are we agreed on Dean?” “Yes already!” George said, “and with him we’ll stick Colin. He flew fine and can take orders. I honestly didn’t see anyone better than those two.” “George is right. I think that if you can get through Dean’s rather thick skull that he’s supposed to work as a team he should work out.” Fred added. “I agree,” Ron said. “I second that I guess,” Katie spoke and raised her hand as if to vote. “Well I guess that solves our beater shortage, Dean and Colin it is. I think I’ll out that Lucien kid on as a backup just in case, maybe he’ll get better.” Harry said to Ron who was writing the names down on a piece of parchment to post in the commons. “So Katie,

Chasers…who do you think we should pick?” “Well Ginny is a given, she was by far the best flier,” Katie said matter-of-factly, “but for the other spot I’m having trouble figuring out. I guess it’d have to be either that Simone girl or Dennis Creevey. Although I don’t know if it’d be good to have both Creeveys on the team.” “I agree with Katie about Ginny, but to tell you the truth I think having both of them on the team might make them try harder. You know sibling competition and all?” Harry said. “I don’t want to sound like the brother but I agree with you two on Ginny, she really was the best. And I think Harry’s right, I know when I was playing with you two I always tried hard to impress you. I think it might be a good choice.” Ron said then picked up what had to be his twentieth biscuit and ate it in once bite. “Well I’m glad you’re enjoying those biscuits Ron, so unless you think we really shouldn’t have Dennis on the team I think we’ve found our chasers,” Harry said clapping his hands together. “So now if you’d finish up that list I’ll go down to the commons and put it up. It’s past midnight so I don’t think there’ll be too many people around.” Magnolia Road, Little Whinging, Surrey It was past midnight when the street lamps started to wink out one at a time down the entirety of Magnolia Road. Soon the entire street was swamped in darkness and several loud cracks echoed down the dark street. In the middle of the road stood five dark hooded figures, each one had a white mask covering their faces. The whole group only remained motionless for a moment then moved quickly to a nearby house. Two of the death eaters raised their wands and cast what appeared to be a shimmering blanket over the small two-storied house. The other three cloaked figures walked slowly through the shimmering curtain and approached the door. One of the three raised their wand and slashed it downwards. The door exploded inwards, shards of it going everywhere. There wasn’t any noise however, and the curtain around the house lit up when pieces of the door hit it. The three death eaters ran into the now smoking entrance way and out of sight. Moments later the window in the top right corner of the house lit up deathly green for a moment then slowly faded away. The two death eaters holding up the shield now lowered their wands and waited for the other three to come out of the partly destroyed house. In the top windows flames appeared, lapping at the glass. After all five were outside they simultaneous raised their wands and shouted Moremordre! A serpentine figure appeared in the sky, winding itself around a grinning skull. All above the now blazing house. The middle death eater tore off his mask, his silver hand glinting from the only source of light, the flames.

Wormtail let out a shrill laugh and disapperated, along with the other four death eaters. Gryffindor Commons Room, Hogwarts “Harry! Harry! Come on mate, please wake up! Fred, go get McGonagall, George, Katie help me hold onto him before he hurts himself” Ron shouted as he struggled to hold Harry’s hands down lest he hurt himself with his flailing. A moment earlier he, Harry, Katie and the Twins had been posting the Quidditch picks when Harry all of a sudden grabbed at his forehead and dropped to the floor. Ron knew right away that this wasn’t the normal ache and pain, Harry had never blacked out before. Ron tried to shake him, tried to get him to snap out of his convulsions but nothing seemed to help. Both George and Katie were struggling to hold Harry still, each one was holding onto one of his legs with everything they had. All of a sudden Katie yelped and pulled away, “Ow! He shocked me!” A second later George and Ron had the same reaction, forced to let go because of the sharp stings they received every time they grabbed hold of him. “Bloody hell, his magic’s going haywire!” George cursed once again attempting to grab a hold of Harry. “I don’t thinks it’s going haywire I think it’s trying to protect him because he can’t do it himself.” Ron said. Finally, after trying several more times to grab hold of his friend, Ron saw it wasn’t going to work for them to hold onto him he stood up and pulled out his wand, “Sorry mate, gotta do this for your own good.” Ron then shot a stunner right at his best friend’s chest. Instantly Harry fell limp, his eyes rolling back into their sockets and his legs and arms dropping to the floor. “Harry! Where are you Harry? Ron, where’s Harry? I felt something happened to him, is he okay?” Ginny was shouting, half hysterical as she ran into the commons room. When she saw the limp form of Harry on the ground she broke into tears as she crumpled to the ground. Ron came over and lifted his sister off the ground, whispering to her. “Gin, shhhh, he’s alright, he’s alright. I had to stun him so he wouldn’t hurt himself. He was having a fit. I’ve already sent Fred to go get McGonagall; she should be here any moment.” Ron rubbed his little sister’s back softly, trying to calm her down. A moment later, true to Ron’s word McGonagall came striding into the commons in her nightgown. “Mr. Weasley, where is Potter? Is he alright, what happened,” she then came around the couch and saw the motionless Harry “Merlin! Is he alright, why is he unconscious?” “I had to stun him professor, he was having a rally bad fit and we couldn’t control him, his magic kept shocking us every time we tried to grab onto him. I didn’t know what else to do,” Ron said, his face much paler now that the adrenaline had worn off.

McGonagall looked stunned but nodded and then pulled out her wand and muttered rennervate. Instantly Harry shot straight up, his eyes snapping wide open. “Professor! He…he…she…gone…Massey…Wormtail…fire…where’s Dumbledore… Joy…why?...Voldemort killed…gone…” Harry sputtered randomly his body going limp once again. McGonagall’s face paled considerably a moment after Harry had gone unconscious again, realizing what Harry had just told them. She spun to face Ron, Ginny, Katie, and the twins. Ronald, go get the headmaster, the password’s Runts. Fred, George you tow get a hold of Madam Pomfrey, tell her to hurry, then go immediately find Severus and tell him to got o headquarters and alert the others. Ginevra , Miss Bell, go find both Miss Granger and Miss Massey and bring them down here immediately. McGonagall then turned again to Harry and lifted him up gently brushing the hair away from his eyes and scar. “Professor, what happened? What did Harry mean?” Ron asked nervously, still unsure why Harry’s random sputtering had to do with McGonagall’s intense alarm “I believe Harry has just witnessed Pettigrew murdering Joy Massey,” McGonagall, all colour from her face gone now. Chapter 37: Repercussions of War Magnolia Road, Little Whinging, Surrey The house was little more than a pile of ashes when the Order members finally apparated to the home of Joy Massey. It had only been several minutes since Tonks had received a message from Dumbledore and scrambled the group of members at Grimmauld Place. Tonks, Hestia Jones, and Lupin stood outside the now smoking shell of what used to be the Massey’s house. Above it hovered the Dark Mark, appearing and disappearing as the smoke wreathed around it. Tonks’ eyes filled with tears as she watched the house fall apart with her new found friend in it. Lupin placed a hand on her shoulder and simply watched as the fire continued to surround the house. “We need to tell Albus what happened. He’ll want to figure out how they got through the wards,” Hestia said quietly. They both nodded and a second later all three of them disapperated from the street to the sound of approaching fire engines. Headmasters’s Office, Hogwarts Harry sat completely motionless in the large red chair in front of Dumbledore’s desk. He hadn’t said a word since he had been taken up to the headmaster’s office by McGonagall. The images of what he had just seen flashed through his mind, the fire, the flash of green, Joy falling to the ground, everything. What unsettled him most however was that he hadn’t seen it through Voldemort’s eyes, he had watched the entire murder occur through the eyes of Joy. Harry shook his head violently trying to dislodge this new, horrible experience from his mind.

“If you do that much longer you might really shake everything out,” Dumbledore said softly walking out of an adjacent room Harry had never been in. “I’d rather not have anything in my head instead of this! I see bloody everything, I saw them kill her, I was in her mind! I’ve seen Arthur almost get killed, I’ve seen Sirius get killed, and now this! I can’t do it anymore, I just can’t! Give me a memory charm, obliterate me, here use my wand. You can just say it was an accident” Harry shouted shaking harder, tears now falling down his face. The space around him crackled as if in an electrical storm, blue sparks were jumping from him to the metal objects around the room. The portraits of the old headmasters were shouting various warnings to calm down some even fled their frames. His face showed a mixture of desperation and immense sorrow, tears were streaming down his face as he tried to hand Dumbledore his wand. Although the rest of the room was in chaos now, some of the headmaster’s instruments were now starting to emit loud whistles or glow brightly, Dumbledore himself sat perfectly still in his chair, acting just the same way he had done months ago when he had told Harry of the prophecy. Harry was now completely out of breath, his anger now having died down to gaping sobs. He tossed his wand onto the desk and slumped back into the chair. After another moment of only Harry’s sobs breaking the silence, Dumbledore spoke in his usual calm voice. “I know how hard it must be to live with these memories, every time you have another I see you age; not in appearance, but in your eyes, in your actions. This war is causing you to have to grow up much faster than anyone, especially me, would have liked you to have to; but you cannot forget the past. You must never forget it, from there you will draw your strength, from the people you love and from everything you’ve witnessed in your life.” Dumbledore gave him a sad smile, “you will have to be even stronger now, because you are the only person Emmaline has to look up to now.” At that moment a knock came from the door behind Harry, “Enter.” Dumbledore said, his face showing his grief. “Remember Harry, you must be strong. Your friends rely on you, and you rely on them. If one person falls, so will the others.” The headmaster said quietly as McGonagall entered the room with her hands guiding a shell shocked Emma into the room. Behind them entered a crying Ginny, and behind her Ron came in holding a weeping Hermione. The moment Emma saw Harry sitting in the chair she burst into tears again and ran to him. Harry held his arms out and picked her up holding her tightly. He had never been hugged when he was sad before he and Ginny had been bonded so he was somewhat unsure what to say; instead he just kept hugging her. Slowly Emma’s crying slowed until she was just occasionally weeping. Harry sat her down in the chair and kneeled down so he would be the same height as the little girl. “Is my mom…is she…De…de...dea...dead?” Emma whispered in-between breaths.

Harry had no idea what to say, he knew she deserved the truth but it was so hard to tell someone their only parent was now dead. With a sinking feeling he realized that if the war continued to escalate like it was Emma would be just the first of many children to be told they no longer had a mother or father…or both. He finally just nodded, his muscles at first seemed to refuse to do it but finally he managed. At this simple movement Emma burst into tears again, wrapping her arms around Harry even tighter than before. They sat there for what felt to Harry to be hours, no one said a thing, the only noise was coming from everyone’s sobs. Finally Emma pulled away from Harry. Something had changed in her eyes, there was sorrow, horrible sorrow in them, but there was something else that simmered just below. It was difficult for Harry to place but he could have sworn it reminded him of the same look Ginny had the night she learned of the prophecy. “Emmaline, perhaps you would like to sit down, I know how much this hurts. I have always found crying is one way to sort through one’s problems, Merlin knows I have done it one more than one occasion. What happened to your mother was tragic, this whole war is tragic. I promise you this though, no harm will come to you, I promise.” Dumbledore talked quietly, soothingly, but something about his sentiments struck Harry as apathetic. It seemed, and many times Harry found was true, that the headmaster was more concerned with the war itself than the victims. “Sir, with all due respect, I don’t think that you are the person that should handle this” Harry started, his magic simmering once again. “Let her stay with Ginny and I tonight, she doesn’t have to sort through anything tonight, let her be sad. Just for one night, you never let me do that, you always have placed something else on me when the only thing I needed was some time to sort through things. And this wasn’t tragic, this was a mistake! The wards you placed around Joy’s house should have stood up to any attack they threw at it. I know it’s true also, that’s all I’ve been studying for the past three weeks. Theyshould-never-have-gotten-inside-that-house” The room fell into silence once again, this time it wasn’t from sorrow though, the office had taken on an unsettling tenseness with Harry’s drastic change of mood. McGonagall stood in the corner her jaw slack from Harry’s forceful statement towards the headmaster. For his part Dumbledore remained as stoic as ever, not making the tiniest sign that he had heard Harry’s statement, instead he stared right at Harry, his twinkling blue eyes piercing Harry’s emerald green ones. For a moment it seemed time had stopped, no one moved, no one even breathed. A growing charge could be felt in the room, the torches somehow grew brighter, flaring in their sconces. Hermione yelped when a small spark of magic jumped from Ron’s arm to hers. This seemed to break Harry out of his staring contest with the headmaster. The torches returned to normal and the office lost its charge. Everyone, McGonagall included breathed a sigh of relief. Dumbledore leaned back in his chair, looking visibly tired, as if his age had finally caught up with him. “Very well, Miss Massey you may go with Harry and Miss Weasley and

stay there with them. I am available whenever you are ready to talk.” Emma nodded, her sobs having stopped during Dumbledore and Harry’s argument. Harry took her by the shoulder and led her over to the door. Ginny, Ron, and Hermione followed suite, none of them saying anything while they left. The door clicked shut, leaving McGonagall and Dumbledore alone in the office. McGonagall was the first to talk. “Albus, would you care to fill me in on what just happened? I though you and Potter had fixed things since the summer?” Dumbledore waved his wand and conjured a pot. He poured two cups of tea in silence as McGonagall waited patiently. “I am afraid some cuts run too deeply to be healed. You know he was right about the wards, about how it was my fault. I did something wrong, something that shouldn’t have happened. I can’t understand it was a complex set of wards; nothing should be able to break that, not even Tom. She entrusted her wellbeing to me and I betrayed it. Now Harry witnessed another person become an orphan just like him.” The headmaster spoke all of this in a slow clam tone, staring intently at his cup of tea. McGonagall was stunned, this was the first time she had ever heard Albus say he had made a mistake in her life, it appeared that even he was being worn down by this horrible war. “Albus, he is just a child, it is difficult for him to deal with so much. You do remember the last war, everyone lost so much; including you. Let him be for the moment, he needs friends more than controllers right now.” Dumbledore looked up at McGonagall for the first time since the students had left. “I do remember the last war, I can’t forget it. All I want to do is protect Harry from his future, from his fate…” Dumbledore stopped once again, he had yet to tell McGonagall of the prophecy but it appeared that now would be the moment, “I am afraid I haven’t told you the whole story of why Harry is so troubled right now. You do know how Voldemort went after a prophecy concerning Harry last year?” “Yes, and it was destroyed when Longbottom dropped it.” Dumbledore sighed, then stood up and went over to the chest holding the pensive, “well I am afraid that is where the truth separates from what is common knowledge.” Harry and Ginny’s Dorm, Hogwarts The sitting room was deathly silent, only the crackling of the fire interrupted the late night silence. Harry, Emma, and the others had stumbled into the room fifteen minutes ago and already Ron, Hermione, and Ginny had drifted off to sleep where they lay. Ginny had curled up next to Harry, her head was now nestled gently on his shoulder. Hermione and Ron had fallen asleep on the couch next to him, Ron holding Hermione in a protective embrace. Emma was sitting next to Harry, holding onto his hand with both of hers. They now just

stared into the fire, entranced by the licks of fire, coiling around the wood and up the flue. Harry’s eyes were glazed over; he was going over everything he had just done in the office; from blaming Dumbledore to shocking Hermione. His life was slowly getting more and more complicated, he had come to a startling revelation in his rage though. He had realized that everything relied completely on him; the whole future of the wizarding world was now at his feet. Unlike Voldemort however he did not relish the notion of having the whole world at his mercy. Now Emma was his responsibility, if he hadn’t befriended the little girl Joy wouldn’t be laying dead in a burning house. He looked over to Emma who was toying fretfully with the edge of a blanket, her tears had stopped but Harry could clearly tell that she was still shocked by the loss. He knew exactly how it felt to loose the only person that mattered to him, the one person who was like a father to him, so now he had reached a conclusion that he would do anything in his power to take care of this girl. Emma noticed that Harry was now looking down at her and she let go of the blanket and stared back at him. Harry wrapped his arm around her and pulled her closer, holding her in a one armed hug. “Harry?” “Yeah?” “Can I help?” Emma said cryptically. “Help with what?” Harry looked at Emma’s eyes; the same strange look was there again one that reminded him startlingly of Ginny. “Can I help you kill him? I want to help you kill Voldemort…he killed my mom. I don’t have any family anywhere, I’m an orphan!” Emma said, the first part said with resilience but then breaking down into sobs again. Harry hugged her again, whispering, “Shh…shh…you’re not alone, you’re not an orphan. You have me, and Ginny, and Hermione, and Ron and Lupin, we’re you’re family and we won’t let anything happen to you. I know you want to kill him, I do too, I don’t want anything bad to happen again. I don’t know how to kill him, but when I do I promise I will make sure I stop him. I promise I will stop him from hurting anyone else” he spoke with a certain amount of force, but mainly out of love for his newfound sister, she and Ginny were the two reasons he had not gone crazy this summer. Every time he was on the edge of snapping there was always Emma or Ginny to drag him back down onto a firm footing. Emma looked up at Harry and knew he wasn’t lying, he really meant what he was saying. Without saying another word she nodded, smiled faintly, then rested her head on Harry’s other shoulder closing her eyes. A moment later Harry fell asleep also, his dreams a welcome respite from the horrible world surround them all. The Caucus Mountains, Russia Voldemort cackled with glee, a man dressed in rags was writhing on the floor below him,

his limbs kicking out in agony as Voldemort applied curse after curse on the poor villager. The man, a peasant, had stumbled accidentally onto the Dark Lord’s base and was now paying the price for his ‘luck’. Voldemort, upon unlocking Salazar’s hidden library deep within this castle had found numerous dark books filled with hexes and curses he had never even imagined possiblethis man had become his guinea pig. There was also one spell, a set of spells to be more exact that had sent the Dark Lord into this sadistic laughter, it was the one he and his servants had been searching for ever since he had returned. Voldemort finally delivered the killing curse on the spent corpse of the poor peasant as Lucius walked into the chamber. “Lucius, this news had better be pleasing, I have found some new spells I am quite fond of” the Dark Lord fingered his wand lovingly in his bony hands. Lucius bowed down before him never looking up, “Lord, the attack was successful, the spell performed as you said it would. It was as if nothing was there, I wouldn’t have imagined it possible if I hadn’t seen it.” “Well done Lucius, you please your lord. I now have the power I need to throw that fool Albus off his pedestal. You are excused. Instruct Tippet to come in, I have some new spells I want to show him” as Lucius bowed and exited a smile formed on the Dark Lord’s serpentine face Headmaster’s Office, Hogwarts McGonagall sat down heavily into the chair adjacent to the headmasters. She had just heard the prophecy that she, and everyone else believed to be destroyed. She now realized the immense, crushing burden Albus had placed on Harry. She doubted that even as an adult she would have been able to handle such a prophecy- to kill or be killed. She shuttered as the words rang through her head. “Now you see the immensity of what Harry must deal with, there is a very small group of people who know the prophecy. Myself, Harry, Ginevra, and now you, we have decided it to be wisest to maintain this secrecy for as long as possible. There is another problem though, what you have heard is the entire prophecy. Harry and Ginny have only heard the first part” noting McGonagall’s look of shock he explained, “it was another piece of foolishness on my part, one I am having trouble dealing with. I would have told him tonight, but I did not think it appropriate to have to place even more burden on him than what is already there.” “Albus! You must tell him, he must know everything. How could he trust you if you continue to keep things, things he deserves to know, away from him? If you do not tell him soon I will, I do not like undermining your authority but he is my student also and if our world relies on him then I will do my best to arm him with the knowledge he needs. Tell him Albus, or I will” McGonagall stood up and exited the room without another word, leaving a conflicted Dumbledore to contemplate the tiny floating figure of the young Trelawney reciting the prophecy:

…Power the Dark Lord knows not. – Although he is the bearer he will not be able to wield it alone. Four companions he shall gather; one in love, one in family, one in brotherhood, and one in compassion.-The one in love, their inner fire will guide his passion.-The one in family, their boundless knowledge will rein his instinct.-The one in brotherhood, their grounded faith will steady him.-The one in compassion, their boundless admiration will strengthen his resolve.-Fire, Air, Earth, and Water will blend to one and bring light when the veil of death is raised high once again.-But beware, although as one they are strong, alone each will fail. There is a fifth whose repentance they must accept for if not, the bearer will be overcome. To end the darkness one must be willing to light the torch… Trelawney’s voice cracked and slowly faded as the image once again fell back into the shimmering pool of the Pensive. Chapter 38: Harry’s Admission The Great Hall, Hogwarts The next day in the great hall was unsettling to say the least. The news of Joy’s murder had spread in the usual way around Hogwarts meaning nearly every person in the school knew about the incident by that morning. Emma, Harry and the others had slept in late that day; McGonagall had taken care of alerting all the teachers of their absence. When they did finally come down to the Great Hall they did so with great trepidation. Harry had remembered what it was like when the papers had written something ridiculous about him so he knew to be wary of how people would react to this news; Emma, not to mention himself, was too shaken up to deal with that kind of attention. Because it was nearly noon the tables were empty but everyone knew that lunch would begin in a little under and hour, so if they wanted to avoid a commotion they would have to eat quickly. While Emma appeared to be normal there was something in the way she acted that had changed, mostly to those people who had spent time with her. The cheerful smile she always had plastered on her face was now gone and she moved with a certain amount of lethargy. Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, and Emma all sat down at the Gryffindor table and picked up some of the scraps of food that were still on the large platters sent up by the house elves; it was mostly pieces of toast or some bacon. “Come on Emma, you need something to eat, you’ve been up all night,” Ginny said coaxingly, trying to pass her a plate with some toast on it. Emma just shook her head and looked back down at her lap sullenly. “Emmaline, you need to have something or else you’ll just wither up. You need some food, how else are you going to manage DA lessons?” Hermione added, trying to take her mind off her loss.

Emma once again shook her head, not bother to look up this time. “Just let her be, give her time to think” Harry said, in a seemingly angry tone. “All you want is to be alone for a while, no matter how badly other people say otherwise, trust me on this…” and he left it at that, taking another large bite out of his cold toast. Ginny took Harry’s hand supportively, he had told her many different stories about his first few days at his Aunt and Uncle’s home this summer. Every one of them had to do with him falling to pieces, sometimes laughing manically, other times contemplating suicide. She had learned something profound from his stories; the mind was a fragile thing when it was hurt, and it sometimes just needs to reorganize to deal with the new pains it has. Harry squeezed her hand back, he could feel his heartbeat in his hand, and as usual it was beating at the same time as her own. They had discovered this several days ago after Quidditch match where even though Ginny hadn’t been playing her heart was beating as if she was playing just as hard as Harry was. Everyday they seemed to uncover more odd quirks that the bond had. Today she had awoken only to be enveloped by a throbbing grief that she somehow innately knew was not only hers but Harry’s. “What’s the matter mate? Are you okay?” Ron asked concernedly, he knew how badly Harry had been hurt by Sirius’ death and was nervous that this might have put him over the edge. Harry looked up from his plate and smiled sadly, his eyes showing the same pain that Emma had. “Yeah mate I’m fine, are you okay?” Ron almost had to laugh, the typical Harry, always worrying about everyone but himself “I’m getting by” he replied. Harry smiled again, he knew Ron was just trying to be the faithful friend he always had been. The pain he was dealing with however wasn’t only due to Joy’s death, it was the prophecy. For the past week he had been anguishing over the right way to tell them about the prophecy. He had kept it secret from him friends, his family for too long now. It was beginning to tear him apart from the inside. Dumbledore gave you permission, just do it! I can’t they will become too protective, they’ll treat me differently, I won’t be their friend just “their duty.” What the fuck are you thinking Potter! Of course they’ll be your friends, they’ve been through just as much as you have, wake up and smell the roses, one way or another they’ll eventually figure it out. Just tell them now, it will help you, and it will let them help you. FINE, I’ll do it, happy?...Silence. Harry looked up again from his plate, squeezing Ginny’s hand for reassurance. “Um, guys, I have something I need to tell you. I’ve been keeping it secret for too long and its driving me nuts. Can we go somewhere private, somewhere no one will overhear us?” Harry said finally, as he said it he knew there was no going back now, he was going to tell them about his fate. Ron looked nervously at Hermione and his sister then answered, “Sure Harry, what about the Room of Requirement?”

Harry nodded, saying nothing else. He then stood up and, still holding Ginny’s hand as if it were his last hold to solid ground, took Emma by the shoulder and walked with them out of the Great Hall up to the Room of Requirement. Room of Requirement, Hogwarts The room was small, just big enough to fit all five of them comfortably. There was a large fireplace and a table with some tea and biscuits already on it. When they all got situated Ron talked first, “What’s going on Harry, you’re starting to freak us out. You’re not in trouble are you?” Harry was didn’t saying anything for a little longer, but then he finally spoke after figuring out just how to say it. Ginny was still right next to him, she knew what he was trying to do and wanted nothing more to say it herself, but she also knew that he had to do it himself. “Do you remember who the prophecy that the Death Eaters tried to take this summer was about?” “Of course, it was about you and Voldemort, but Neville dropped it. No one heard it over the fighting either” Hermione said matter-of-factly Harry sighed, gathering his strength for what he was going to tell them, “well that’s right, no one heard it, and that was supposed to be the only place the prophecy was held. But someone else had heard it when Trelawney made the prediction Dumbledore was there in the same room.” Hermione and Ron’s jaws dropped at the same time, just as Harry had guessed they would, he continued on so they wouldn’t say anything. “Well the night we came back from the Ministry Dumbledore told me what the prophecy was. He told me not to tell anyone about it, not even you guys; but I can’t stand it anymore, its been chewing me up inside. If any of you don’t want to see it you can leave, but if you do stay you have promise not tell ANYONE about it, not even talk about to each other; Voldemort would do anything to figure out what the prophecy says. Are you sure you guys want to hear it?” “I promise,” Emma said, the only one who actually said anything, both Ron and Hermione nodded their heads still too shocked by this revelation. Harry pulled his wand out and performed the same spell Dumbledore had done that night with Ginny. The faint image of Trelawney appeared suddenly of the middle and began to talk in her otherworldly voice. The one with the power to… Malfoy Manor, Outskirts of London Draco stepped out of the fireplace and dusted his expensive silken cloaks off. He had just came from the Dark Lord’s castle and had received his new orders, do nothing, wait for my command. That was all Lord Voldemort had told him, to just wait for his signal and be

ready to go. Draco had been freed from his holding pen at the ministry by a raid last night by the death eaters that coincided with the murder of the muggle mother Joy Massey. Draco couldn’t remember a time when he was happier to see the face of the snivelling rat called Wormtail than last night. When he returned home he was greeted by his father and then promptly told to go prepare for a trip to Blauroc Castle for his debriefing by the Dark Lord himself. Draco limped back to his room and tossed his mask onto his bed. He pulled off his robes and then his pants. His right leg had completely turned a dark purple, and there were sores that were oozing dark blood, he winced looking at it in the mirror. It seemed even harsher when compared to the sickly pale colour the rest of his skin was. The Lord had not been pleased to hear of his expulsion, but did seem intrigued to learn that Potter had decided to take a fancy to the filthy bloodtraitors the Weasleys’ only daughter. The rest of his body had been spared abuse due to that piece of information. Give me a chance, I will prove myself Lord, I will kill Potter myself. His proclamation echoed in his own ears, it had amused the Dark Lord, amused him. The Malfoy pride had welled up inside of him, he had to restrain himself from speaking out, it would have meant certain death if he had. “You will be mine Potter, one day…” Malfoy muttered to himself as he limped off to the bathroom to try and staunch the bleeding. The Room of Requirement, Hogwarts Harry straightened as the prophecy died down…Power the Dark Lord knows not. – Although he is… he had never heard those last two words before. He was sure of that because he had played it back over and over in his mind, analyzing everything, trying to find a way it might not be him; but he had never heard those words before. “Why is it stopping, it sounded like there was more,” Ron asked wide eyed, he was rubbing Hermione’s shoulder comfortingly as she cried silently. “There is…” Harry said suddenly with the suddenness only of someone who knows they are being played. The fire glowed brighter as he stood up, and without any explanation he marched out of the room, slamming the door shut so hard it snapped in two. Chapter 39: Shattered Trust Headmaster’s Office, Hogwarts Dumbledore sat at his desk filling out paperwork for the Wizengamot when he was interrupted by one of the portraits near the door. “Albus,” the portrait of a large man with a rather feeble attempt at a beard began, “the Potter boy is coming up the hallway to your office and he doesn’t look happy. Felt like he nearly singed my frame when he walked by. Thought you should know.”

“Thank you Bringsfeld, I am afraid he may have discovered what I was preparing to tell him” Dumbledore stood up from his desk and moved over to retrieve the pensieve from its cupboard. At the same time that the headmaster was doing that Harry had arrived at the two stone gargoyles that marked the office’s entrance. Harry never lost his stride, instead of stopping to give the password the door snapped open with such a force that a crack ran up one of the stone pillars on the side. He took the spiral steps two at a time, having to stop because they did not rise fast enough for his pace, when they finally did reach the top the door, much to his surprise, was already open. Harry continued walking forward; the torches flickered wildly as he walked into the room, Dumbledore’s office crackled with the huge amount of magic Harry was throwing off in his anger. “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THE WHOLE PROPHECY?” Harry shouted as he entered the office; but before he could continue his rant his eyes fell to the now recognizable floating image of the young Trelawney. …Power the Dark Lord knows not. – Although he is the bearer he will not be able to wield it alone. Four companions he shall gather; one in love, one in family, one in brotherhood, and one in compassion.-The one in love, their inner fire will guide his passion.-The one in family, their boundless knowledge will rein his instinct.-The one in brotherhood, their grounded faith will steady him.-The one in compassion, their boundless admiration will strengthen his resolve.-Fire, Air, Earth, and Water will blend to one and bring light when the veil of death is raised high once again.-But beware, although as one they are strong, alone each will fail. There is a fifth whose repentance they must accept for if not, the bearer will be overcome. To end the darkness one must be willing to light the torch… Harry fell silent as he heard the second part of the prophecy echo into the room. It seemed to magnify as it went on, her voice growing louder and louder as Harry heard more of his fate be told by a person whom had predicted his death every several months for years now. Yet he remained silent, everything in him wanted to push the pensieve off the table and storm off but the words somehow stopped him from doing anything. Her voice died out and the pensieve flickered out once again. Harry was speechless, he had come in here to fight Dumbledore but somehow he was now sitting in the chair unable to even look at the man. “Albus, you have been completely dishonest with me, you have put me and my friends in danger numerous times, you have made Emma an orphan, and now you have lost my trust. Even with all the things you had done to me I still trusted you completely, I believed you knew what you were doing. But now, now you have thrown it away, and what for? You just wanted to keep another bleeding part of the prophecy secret from me! I will take classes from you, I will listen to your announcements, but I will not take any more of your advice, all it has done has brought us all grief. Now I’m going to go back down to my room and tell explain to my friends what the prophecy they just heard is all about. Good afternoon Headmaster.” With that Harry stood up, and walked down the staircase.

Harry walked out so quickly he didn’t see the tear run down the headmaster’s face or the look of absolute sadness of his old weathered face. The professor pulled out his wand, touched it to his forehead, and with a quick yank the memory of the conversation dropped into the whirling pool. Offensive Light Magic Classroom, Hogwarts Harry, Ron, and Hermione were lined up outside the door to the training room as they waited their turn to go through the new setting. Moody had changed it from the Department of Mysteries to Diagon Alley due to a recent increase in Death Eater sightings around the area. Hermione and Ron stood together behind Harry who hadn’t said anything all morning. They were all emotionally and physically exhausted from yesterdays events. The day before Harry had told them about the prophecy and then subsequently stormed out of room after some unknown revelation. He came back half an hour later and explained what had just occurred in Dumbledore’s Office. He was still so upset that the room trembled every so slightly, it took the combined efforts of Emma holding his hand and Ginny running her hands through his hair to calm him down. Finally he told them that there turned out to be another part that he hadn’t known about until just now and recounted word for word what it had said. They had passed the rest of the day in the room, discussing what it could mean and what they could do to help him. Hermione had headed straight for the books, scouring everything she could find that mentioned prophecies. Ron meanwhile worked on some new plans he and Harry had discussed earlier about organizing the D.A. during battle. He had started reading several muggle history books Hermione had sent in by her mom and dad, and he was now devising his own strategy to fit the D.A. size and skill. Harry sat on one of the couches with Ginny and Emma asleep around him. He was staring at a piece of parchment on which Hermione had written out the entire prophecy, making sure to charm it to turn into a quill whenever anyone but Harry touched it. His lips moved silently, going over the words relentlessly, probing the depths of its meaning, and trying with all him might to find a way to prove it wasn’t him the prophecy talked about. Yet no matter how hard he tried he knew that it was unavoidable, with the second part of the prophecy it now cemented the fact that it was indeed him. Hermione had been the one who made the revelation of course, after listening to the prophecy only two times she pulled out a piece of parchment and began writing. What she came up with in the end scared them all. Four companions he shall gather; one in love, one in family, one in brotherhood, and one in compassion. Hermione had written the one line of the prophecy in block letters and below it, scratching things out every once and a while, was a list: One in love: Ginny

One in Family: Me One in Brotherhood: Ronald One in Compassion: Emma They all stared at it for a while, then Harry picked it up and threw it in the fireplace. “No one can know, if anyone figured out you were part of the prophecy you’d be in even more danger than you are right now. Please don’t tell anyone, I don’t want to be responsible for anyone else dying.” He begged, his eyes showing the immense load that was weighing his very heart down. Ron stepped up to him and looked him right in the eyes, not blinking as he stared into the deep red of his eyes, “we promise mate. Looks like we’re in it together now, we’ll need to stick together I reckon.” Harry let out an exasperated laugh, no matter how serious the situation, Ron managed to get Harry to smile, even if it was just a quick grin. “I reckon so, but I promise I’ll never let you guys down. You mean too much to me.” “POTTER!” Moody barked from inside the doorway. Harry snapped into reality, looked back at his friends and entered. Waiting on the other side of the door was an exact replica of Diagon Alley, the door he entered from was the morphing brick wall he was all too familiar with. The place was bristling with activity, and Moody and Shacklebolt were nowhere to be seen. Harry drew his wand and began to cautiously walk down the cobblestone street. The usual order of random witches and wizards were all around him, bustling to and fro from all manner of stores. This varied greatly with the last time he’d been to Diagon Alley and there had barely been a single person out in the whole area. He passed by Quality Quidditch Supplies and Flourish and Blotts slightly amazed by the stunning recreation Moody and Shacklebolt had created. He had just finished eying an assortment of Quidditch robes when something in his periphery caught his eye. He turned around to see two black hooded figures marching purposefully down the street, their wands already drawn; they were heading right for him. Harry raised his own now, aiming it right for them, his pulse rising as he caught a glimpse of blonde hair from inside one of the hoods. In a flash the two figures pulled off their hoods to reveal white masks, one of which Harry knew instantly to be Lucius Malfoy. Harry whipped his wand, not uttering a word, only drawing it across in a slashing motion across the two Death Eaters. He followed that with another silent spell, jabbing his wand straight out towards the two now motionless figures, both of which crumpled to the floor in what appeared to be more than one piece. Harry then spun around and jabbed his wand sharply at a man behind him. A massive hole appeared where the person’s stomach would have been, the spell had been so strong it had carried through him and through the door of the store behind the man. As Harry

spun around again spotting the fourth Death Eater the entire simulation froze, and started to flicker slightly. As Harry came out of his adrenaline rush he could feel his heart beating rapidly, and could feel what could best be described as an electric charge coming from all around him. It was as he realized it was coming from him that Moody and Shaklebolt stepped out of a nearby store. “What spells were you using Potter, we didn’t hear any incantations” Moody asked, his real eye looking at him as the other examined the dummies. “I used a stupefy, a reducto, and was going to use a leg locker when you ended the simulation sir” Harry said, he was still breathing heavily from his encounter. “Well it wasn’t us who ended it, it’s frozen, just skipping around because of the magic that you expelled” Kingsley said. “What magic, I mean I did a couple of spells but this didn’t happen to any of the other students” Harry asked. “Well the other students weren’t glowing when they were fighting,” Moody said in a tone that sounded like a mix of awe and confusion. Chapter 40: Turmoil in the Ministry! Quidditch Pitch, Hogwarts A month had passed since Harry’s last encounter with Dumbledore and things had calmed down somewhat with the passage of time. Since Joy’s murder everything had once again gone quiet, it seemed that Voldemort was biding his time in this war, he would not be rushed. At the moment Harry, Ron, and Ginny stood together along with Katie, Dennis, Dean, and Colin. Inside the dressing room the dull roar that was the hundreds of cheering students seeped through the door. It was the first Gryffindor quidditch match of the season and everyone’s nerves were on edge due to the fact that it was against Ravenclaw who had beat Slytherin in their first game of the year. Harry picked up his broom as he heard the announcers, Fred and George, who were going to be there anyways decided to take up the position, call out Gryffindor! The others followed suit, Dennis, Dean, and Colin were all spectacular shades of green, each of them outdoing the next. “Relax guys, you’ll be fine. Just watch out for their new beater, Hanley, he’s a brute.” Ron said helpfully, his pre-game jitters now were only in the form of an upset stomach, “also, don’t get knocked out, that is always bad for the team.” Harry kicked the door open to the roar of the Gryffindor fans, he jumped on his broom and shot of into the middle of the field. Above the roar he could make out the twin’s trademark voices as they discussed the teams.

“The outstanding…” “Amazing…” “Miraculous…” “Gryffindor seeker and team co-captain, that, next year every premiere league team will be trying to recruit.” “HARRRY POTTER!!!” “Next is the Weasley powerhouse, Keeper and co-captain Ickle Ronnie…” “and our favourite chaser Ginny! Behind them come the new kids to the team…” “Colin, the new beater, and Dennis, the chaser…” “And behind them come veteran Katie Bell and another new beater Dean Thomas!” The team flew a lap around the field and formed a half circle next to the Ravenclaw team and Madam Hooch. As usual she went through the rules and made the captains shake hands. Then they split apart and got into formation for the start. As Harry lazily circled around from up high he noticed that there were dozens of Aurors positioned around the stands and the teachers seemed to have dispersed themselves more evenly than usual around the stands. This made sense to Harry. Silence in someway could be more damaging than any action. The lack of news of action for nearly a month by any of Voldemort’s followers had made everyone slightly paranoid, and it was becoming more and more obvious that the ministry was close to snapping. Fudge had been mishandling everything, instituting random laws that seemed to come from mid air. Harry and everyone else seemed to know that it would just be a matter of time before he either resigned or was voted out. Harry looked up and saw Cho Chang on the other side of the field. She had been attending the D.A. meetings and was always kind to him, but for some reason he sensed that there was some resentment for going out with Ginny. She didn’t know about the Heartbond but he assumed it wouldn’t make much of a difference to her. He shrugged it off, his muscles tensing as the box was kicked open and the snitch shot out of it. He managed to follow it for a little until Dennis shouted “behind you!” and he had to duck to avoid a well aimed bludger. For forty minutes the game continued at a pace that seemed to be almost in fast forward. Everyone was playing excellently, both sides gave as good as they got. The most shocking thing was that although they were playing at a fever pitch the score was remarkably low; it was only 40-30 Gryffindor. Ron was catching everything they threw at him and the Ravenclaw keeper, a second year named Erin, was matching his saves. Harry watched as Ginny snatched the ball and Katie, and Dennis flew along side her, covering her sides from bludgers.

“And Ginny has the quiffle!” Fred shouted. “Looks like there might be a chance to get a point here” George added. “and they split apart, Ginny going up, Dennis going down, and Katie going straight.” “I’ve never seen a play like this before, don’t know what they’re planning” Harry watched in guarded enthusiasm as he watched the play that Ron and he had come up with go into action. Just as planned they had split apart, Ginny now atop the other two holding the quiffle, now came the hard part though. Ginny shot up, but as doing so dropped the quiffle. The keeper moved up to block Ginny, then realizing her mistake went down to block Katie who had caught the dropped ball, only to realize to late that she too had dropped the ball and now it was Dennis who had it. He threw it hard to the right goal and it sailed in perfectly. “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!!! Dennis scores his first goal as a chaser for Gryffindor.” “The score is 50-30” Harry resumed searching for the snitch, knowing that this game really depended on him catching it soon or else they might loose the lead. He glanced over to Cho who seemed to have though the same thing and was now looking much more intently. He looked frantically for twenty minutes until he finally saw it hovering right in the middle of the field, practically hovering there. He didn’t care about Cho seeing him, she was further away and she only on a Nimbus 2000. He tucked into his broom, urging it forwards in hopes of catching it right there. In the back of his head he could hear Fred and George’s commentary, “And it looks like Potter has seen the Snitch!” “Look at him fly, he must be going at least 110 miles and hour right now!” “Cho is behind him though, and seems to be keeping up, she’s not out of the running yet!” Harry covered the hundred yards quickly, he stretched his hand out preparing to catch the snitch that was darting back and forth. With one last burst of speed he pushed forwards, and lunged at the gold ball, grabbing its wing and pulling it in towards him. “POTTER CATCHES THE SNITCH!” “GRYFFINDOR WINS, 200-30!” Harry was instantaneously mobbed by the team, Ginny getting there first and kissing him soundly before the rest surrounded him. They were too occupied with celebrating to notice the commotion going on in the commentators box.

“And this is Harry and Ron’s first win as captains” “I’m sure it will not be their….” The voice died out and was replaced with a much deeper voice, one that everybody knew. “Everyone, please go to your house common’s immediately. Do not panic, there is not an attack but we need to ensure that everyone is here. So please head to the common’s and continue your celebrations there.” Dumbledore’s voice echoed throughout the arena, no one said anything for a moment then quickly started to file out of the stands and rush to their dorms. The players followed suit, flying to the main door and hurrying to the dorms. Harry, Ginny, and Ron however flew over to the commentator’s box and landed. “Professor, what is going on?” Harry asked, interrupting his conversation with Moody. “Harry, you and the others should be going to your rooms, it is not safe,” Dumbledore said. “Sir, remember about not having any more secrets. Tell us what is going on, we’ll figure out anyways.” Harry said in a deeper more commanding voice than usual. The headmaster seemed to think it over for a moment then spoke, “From the spotted reports we have been receiving that was a coup-de-tat at the Ministry a few minutes ago. Oh don’t worry it isn’t Tom or the Death Eaters, it appears that some of the members of the Wizengamot were displeased with the way Cornelius Fudge was handling matters and decided to overthrow him.” “More like throw him out” quipped Moody, he seemed quite pleased with the news. “Yes, well either way we decided in this time of political turmoil it would be a good idea to remain in the castle until the dust settles.” Dumbledore said, “Now if you would come with us into the castle I would like to seal the doors for tonight.” Great Hall, Hogwarts The news of the coup had spread everywhere. That was the only thing being discussed the next morning at breakfast. There was little information on what had actually occurred, and what they had heard was distorted horribly due to its constant retelling and elaboration. At one point Harry and the others heard a story depicting a giant flame breathing demon dragging a screaming Fudge out of his office and into the main hall where he was barbequed. Many of the students were also afraid that something might have happened to their parents in the turmoil. A huge amount of people had someone in their close family who worked in the ministry. Needless to say when the owls flew in this morning there was much more commotion

than there usually was. Hermione twiddled her thumbs nervously as she watched the delivery owl glide over to her seat. It landed softly and hooted. Hermione tore the paper out of its grip and stuffed the two knuts into its pouch. In the nearby vicinity everyone crowded around her as she unrolled the paper. The front page was typed all in huge purple capital letters. FUDGE FORCIBLY SACKED! MINISTRY IN TURMOIL WIZENGAMOT ANNOUNCES NEW INTERIM MINISTER HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MAGICAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AMELIA SUSAN BONES Chapter 41: Merlin’s Heroes D.A. Meeting, Hogwarts The room of requirement was bustling with activity as the entire D.A. settled into chairs arranged in the magically enlarged room. This was to be the night where the different groups were split into their command squadrons. Harry and the others had been taking notes as the different groups and last night they had worked out six different squads, each one with two offensive fighters, two defence, a runner, and a medic. Upon Ron and Hermione’s learning of the prophecy they had changed it somewhat due to the new piece of information that was if the D.A. was really going to fight Death Eaters then they would probably be doing it to give Harry enough cover to fight Voldemort uninterrupted. They had fought over the new change in strategy all of last night, Harry not relenting until after Hermione had explained that the D.A. now finally had a purpose, and that they had all willingly signed up to help fight Voldemort. This way they were actually helping to put an end to him once and for all. Harry looked up from his seat at the front of the group, Hermione and Ron were chatting anxiously as they reviewed the squad assignments. Ginny was next to him, she was chatting with Neville about a new healing charm she’d learned from Madam Pomfrey. Harry looked at his small, beaten up watch and stood up deciding it was time to start the meeting. As soon as he started to get out of his chair the room went silent, everyone here was eager to hear their new group assignments. They would be training with the every week now instead of their larger group. “Okay guys this is the big night, we’re going to split up into the squads. Before we do let me say something, and I know it sounds a bit like I’m channelling Moody but bear with me…This is your family, these are the people you’re trusting your life to, you have to learn to work as a group or else you will fail. Dumbledore told me once that Tom’s best weapon was spreading chaos and distrust; he is right. We need to stick together, there really isn’t another way that we’ll be able to do anything to stop Voldemort or his cronies.” Harry surveyed the group then looked over to Ron who had the list.

Ron nodded, then stepped up, “Righto, well all that stuff Harry said is right on, the people we’re about to pair you with will be the people who’ll watch your back out on the battlefield. Now each squad will have a colour that will be their squad sign, each squad will also report to either Hermione or I. Now let’s get started…” Ron unfolded the parchment and began to read off the group assignments. No one said anything; there were no moans of discontent or cheers of happiness. Harry realized for the first time that the people in the D.A. were not kids anymore, they were adults; young people forced to grow up in a world that held innumerable uncertainties. The groups started to form as Ron read off the list and pointed to where they should meet. Soon everyone had been split into their individual squadrons and were talking eagerly amongst themselves. Harry stood up held up his hand for quiet and then started talking, “Great, well these are your squadrons, like I said you will have to learn to trust them, you have to learn to work together.” He looked down at his watch, “Well it looks like we have a little bit of time for some questions or comments. Anyone…?” There was a small amount of commotion in one of the groups, a moment later a young Hufflepuff was pushed up front by the group. He stuttered for a moment trying to find out what to say. “I…well we I guess…we think that we should get a new name for the new D.A. I mean we’ve changed everything else why not the name, also that way we can talk about it without people know what we’re doing.” The group nodded in approval, so did Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione. “I think that’s a brilliant idea, it makes sense also, we’re not just a training club anymore. Does anyone have any good ideas for names? Just shout them out.” “Potter’s partners!” “Tom’s nightmare!” “Harry’s Helpers!” “The Kid Brigade!” “Hogwarts’ defenders!” “Merlin’s army!” Hermione wrote all of them down, and by the end there was a list of about twenty different names. “Well looks like we have a big selection, I’ll read them off again and raise your hands for the one you like the most.” Harry read them off, to his surprise “Harry’s Helpers” received the second most votes with “Merlin’s Heroes” getting the most. “Well it looks like you guys liked Merlin’s Heroes the most. If that’s the one you like then it is official, we will now be known as Merlin’s Heroes.” “Okay well that’s all guys, have a good weekend and we’ll set the meetings for each squad on the coins this Sunday so keep an eye for them.” Ron said dismissing the kids. Harry turned around to face his friends and was grinning.

“What’s going on Potter, why do you have that huge grin on your face like it’s your birthday?” Ginny teased, tickling him on his ribs. “I’m smiling because for the first time since I’ve heard the bloody prophecy I think that we might be able to do something about it.” The Ministry of Magic, London, England To say that the ministry was in chaos would be an understatement. Right now the only thing that had any form of regularity were the random yelling matches that were taking place in the hallways as Madam Bones took control and expelled all of Fudge’s cronies with people she trusted. Half of the offices were completely shut down to these purges and paperwork had now started to simply pile up outside of the closed office doors. There was also an increased Auror presence throughout the ministry that the Wizengamot had ordered as they declared the coup. Everything had been turned upside down, and Madam Bones was having trouble reining things in. Dumbledore walked down the hallway flanked by Lupin. They were heading for a meeting with the new Minister of Magic to meet about the new government and the protection of the Ministry itself. Dumbledore and the others walked up to the Minister’s office, the door was wide-open and huge stacks of papers and scrolls were falling off of the secretary’s tables. From inside the office there could be heard a commotion echoing around the room. “Donald! Where the Merlin are those draft papers? I set them down for just a minute and now they’re gone. I need those damn papers Donald before the headmaster gets here!” Dumbledore smiled and walked into the office, “I am afraid we will have to do without those papers Amelia.” The minister’s frazzled head popped out of the office and smiled, “Oh I hope you did not hear that Headmaster. Please come in, come in. Hello Remus, how are you?” “I’m doing very well Minister, how are you holding up?” Lupin asked kindly. “Well you can tell its not going as smoothly, Fudge left us with little to go on. And please call me Amelia, I am just doing this for the people.” “Thank you, I will Amelia, should we get started now?” They went into the office and Dumbledore conjured two chairs amid the piles of papers. “Well Amelia, first off I would like to thank you for volunteering for this rather loaded job. I know that I can’t stress to you how important that the ministry stay strong in these dire times. I am hoping to find a way that the Order may be able to help you maintain some sembalance of control here at the ministry.” Dumbledore said, at the same time conjuring a pot of tea and three cups.

“Thank you Albus” Amelia said, accepting the cup, “I couldn’t agree more about the importance of protecting the ministry. Although I just don’t know how to do it, even with the Order helping we are still dangerously thin on protection. Vol…Voldemort simply marched in here this summer, and that was with a fully functioning, although inept, government. I simply cannot see how we are to stop him Albus, from the reports we’re receiving he’s gathering a huge amount of supporters…some say more than the first time.” “That is precisely why we must present a strong, unified front, if we cannot manage to bring the ministry back to full force I am afraid that we may not be able to stop him this time. I do have a solution to the security problem however, unfortunately it will mean moving out of your office for several days.” “Of course, of course, I want to ensure the safety of the workers and the government. What are you planning?” “Well I was hoping to use Remus to oversee the fortifications, seeing as I will be needed at the Wizengamot to repeal many of Fudge’s antiquated acts. I’m not sure you know this but Hogwarts has the largest house elf population in England and they possess the perfect skills to help secure this building.” Albus said smiling as Dobby appeared next to him with a flash. Chapter 42: The Archive Nicholas Flamel’s Office, Hogwarts “Again!” He shouted and threw another spell at an exhausted Harry. Harry barely got his head around when he saw the next spell shooting towards him. His wand was laying on the ground several meters away, not enough time he grimaced to himself. Harry panicked and threw his arms up in front of him to try to stop it from hitting his face. He squinted his eyes shut and waited for the impact of Flamel’s spell. None came, all he heard was a crash and the tinkle of broken glass. He lowered his arms cautiously to find Flamel staring at a broken tea kettle next to him. “Very good Harry! Very good!” The old wizard said clapping his hands together. “You almost got me that time, barely managed to bounce the spell away, unfortunately the tea kettle doesn’t appear to have fared as well. Do you know how you conjured that shield without your wand Harry?” Harry shrugged, waving his wand causing the broken teapot to rebuild itself. “I ‘dunno, I guess you caught me off guard. I was pretty desperate, all I thought to do was to throw up my arms so they would take most of the hit.” “Well it worked, your magic reserves seemed to have kicked in when it knew you were in trouble. Professor Moody told me that this has happened with you during some of the more intense training sessions you had?” “Yep, but those were different, it wasn’t a shield, most of the time I either can just cast

really strong spells with my wand, or, well I start glowing.” Harry said as he twiddled his wand in his hands. Over the past weeks Moody and Kingsley had been increasing the difficulty of the courses as Harry became better and better at controlling his new found power. Dumbledore had been told of the development but had stayed away from the young boy, not daring to anger him any further than he already was. He had left Harry’s training in the hands of Nicholas Flamel. “These things are not at all different, in fact they’re all caused by the same thing, the Heartbond. I would not be surprised if your friends started to gain a greater aptitude for certain branches of magic just as you are. I have been fortunate enough to read some the older texts in the Hogwarts vaults that are miles below us right now. In one of these tomes I found a study done by an ancient philosopher about the Heartbond. It took me quite a while to find the proper charm to translate the ancient Gaelic but when I did it filled me in on a lot of things that I think you’d be interested in. I’m afraid the charms placed on the vault wont allow any of the manuscripts to be taken out but if you wanted to we could go down there so I could show you what I’ve found.” He nodded vigorously, “That’d b brilliant! When do you think wed be able to go? I’m free right now.” “Well I have a class a little later but if you really do want to we can head down there right now, let me just grab a cloak, it gets cold down there.” A moment later Harry followed Flamel out of the office and through a confusing maze of stairwells and hidden pathways. Several moments later they were standing in front of a wall in a hallway Harry had never even thought existed. There was something odd about the hallway they were standing in. From what Harry could tell every square inch it was covered in miniscule writing, it was carved deep into the stone yet the letters and words flowed as if it were written in ink. “If you’ll stand right behind me I’ll open up the archives. Oh and Harry, it would be best if people did not know that this place existed, much of what is kept here is believed to have been destroyed. It is one of the few things we have to keep ourselves in the race against Voldemort.” Harry nodded solemnly and Flamel smiled. He waved his wand in a complex motion infront of him the only noise coming from the swishing of the wand. As he continued this motion, gradually speeding up, a light seemed to emanate from the walls. Only as Harry watched more intently did he realize that the light as actually coming from the letters themselves, each one slowly growing brighter and brighter. Soon the whole hallway had turned from poorly lit to overwhelmingly bright. The intensity died down, but the hallway was still covered with the glowing words. When Harry knelt down to inspect what they said he realized that it wasn’t in English, in fact he struggled to find a single word that was recognizable. “This writing’s in Gaelic too, Salazar Slytherin had the Chamber of Secrets, Godric Gryffindor had the Archives. Albus only found it a few decades ago, he stumbled upon it after hearing an ancient portrait babble on about it. Now just take a step back so the door can open,” he said gesturing but never taking his eyes off the wall in front of him. He raised his wand once again and ripped it straight down. The effect was immediate, the

wall snapped open, the two sides of the wall slamming against the adjacent walls with a snap! Nicholas smiled and walked into the hallway, torches burst to life in front of them. Neither of them said a word as they proceeded, the reached a seemingly endless spiral staircase which Flamel motioned to. Harry set his foot down on the stone step and it immediately began to drop, but Flamel was already on behind him so he had no choice but to stay on. The stair did not fall away, it simply started to glide downwards guided around the centre post by and invisible hand; it was a wizard’s version of an escalator. So they began their descent into The Archive. The Ministry of Magic, London, England Hundreds of miles away the ministry was the farthest thing away from the peaceful reverence Harry and Nicholas had just entered into. Under the supervision of Lupin the ministry was undergoing a complete overhaul security wise. The house elf’s had assumed the job of construction workers. There was also the now near constant influx of new prisoners being transported to what was supposed to be the temporary holding pens. Due to the overthrow of Azkaban these were the only secure holding pens that the ministry had the use of. The house elves were working feverishly on constructing a new one but even the best estimates held the completion of it to be a few weeks out. At the moment two Aurors stood guard outside of the main entrance, each one was next to a panic button that would close down the entire area until Dumbledore could come and unlock it. Today the two guards were very tense due to the new prisoners they had just received. Less than 30 minutes ago they had gotten two top priority prisoners, both of which had been captured by the Aurors last night after they had tripped several wards around Gringotts. The holding pens were now completely closed off as an added precaution. The two guards were too absorbed in their own nervous thoughts that they didn’t notice the slight flicker of the torches around them and the black robed figure approaching them with a steady gait. Within moments he was upon them, neither had a chance to say a thing, their windpipes being crushed by and invisible hand. Both dropped to the ground paralyzed. The figure whipped his wand out of his cloak, holding it gently in one of his pale white hands. Using a spell he had just been taught Lucius moved his wand gracefully, practiced, a moment later the metal door simply melted to the ground. He smiled, the Dark Lord always knows. He performed the same spell on two more doors, finally reaching the actual holding pens. There were shouts of glee, clapping, sobs, Lucius ignored them all; time was short. He spun around finally locating the two prisoners he needed, one was a small rat of a human, another a taller lankier figure. “Wormtail, I can’t say I’m surprised you managed to find yourself in prison, this is the fourth time the Dark Lord has had to rescue you?” “Second!” He spat, dusting his tattered robes off with his silver hand, “are you going to

get us out of here or not Lucius.” Malfoy continued as if he hadn’t heard Wormtail’s jibe, instead he stared right at the other figure as he continued, “Mr. Fudge, yet another person I love to see in prison. You were caught with Wormtail I assume, trying to regain the Dark Lord’s trust? Earn some recognition?” He straightened his hair out, then drew his wand on the former prime minister. “I am afraid the Dark Lord no longer requires your service, yet you know too much, that is why he has sent me here, good-bye.” And with that Lucius waved his wand yelling avada kedavra at the same time. The old man slumped to the ground of the prison floor, lifeless. Lucius waved his wand again and the metal bars melted to the floor, “Come Wormtail, let that be a lesson to you to never lose your value.” With that the two Death Eaters marched out of the holding pens and into the main entrance of the Ministry. No one noticed the two dead guards until ten minutes after Lucius and Wormtail had marched out of the building. The Archives, Hogwarts Deep below Hogwarts silence reigned supreme. The entire caver echoed with each of Harry and Flamel’s steps. When they had reached the ground level the entire room illuminated itself. Harry was thunderstruck. In-front of him were millions of books on huge soaring metal frames, each frame was held up by huge metal chains that ascended into the blackness above. The enormity of the archives put the library to shame. “These, Harry, are the great Archives of Godric Gryffindor, collected from all over the wizarding world. No two books are the same; many are thousands of years old. The one I want to show you is over here, it’s on the table so we can actually read it. Harry followed the professor to one of the ancient drafting table that lined the hallways between the shelves. On it was a massive leather bound book, each page was painstakingly written in what appeared to be gold in. Each word glittered in the light of the torches. The first page had Heartbond embossed gaudily on the cover, underneath it was the author’s name, Bruadair Fionnlogh. “From what I can discern it is around three thousand years old, and actually is a firsthand study on the Heartbond and its effects on a couple who it is set upon. So far all I have been able to gather is the last name of the couple: Dubhshlaine. As for why they received the bond I am not sure but it is well documented. From the first few chapters I’ve managed to read it would seem that you and Miss Weasley are in the begging of the middle stages of the bond, you have long passed the necessity for proximity, and from what you have told me you can occasionally feel each other’s emotions. I think that you are in the stage of magical growth, both of you are gaining strength with your spells, some it seems you can even do wandless. As time goes on it should grow.” Flamel turned to the next page to a covered in a diagram of what appeared to be the four elements surrounding a single white point.

“What is that?” Harry asked intrigued by the drawing and its somehow familiar symbology. “Oh that, well lets see, it says The Five Elements.” Flamel scratched his head, “That can’t be right there’s only four…” “Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire, we’ve learned them during potions for balancing potions. I’ve never heard of a fifth,” Harry asked, running his finger over the white spot in the middle. “Wait! It says something, its in silver ink so it’s hard to see. Lumos!” He said moving the wand right to the spot. At first it was difficult to see but it slowly appeared as his eyes adjusted to the intense light. It was a single word, written in beautiful cursive with silver ink. It was a word Harry recognized from the earlier pages. It was Dubhshlaine “I think I found the last name of the couple who was being studied. It is Dubhshlaine right? Any idea what that means?” “I’m afraid I don’t know that much Gaelic but let me try the charm I’ve been using on it.” He pointed his wand at the parchment and gave it a simple flick. The Gaelic handwriting seemed to drip off of the page and was replaced with English. Harry lowered his wand once again to the paper, this time the Name hit home, he felt as if he’d just been hit in the gut. As he stumbled away Nicholas leaned inwards, using the light of Harry’s dropped wand to read. The flowing silver script now read Potter. Chapter 43: Lockdown Hogwarts, England Harry had just gotten out of the Archive and was heading upstairs to show the others the diagram he had gotten when he heard a huge roar from the Offensive Light Magic classroom. “THEY GOT AWAY! THEY WALKED INTO THE MINISTRY? WHO’S DEAD?...BLOODY HELL!” Harry could recognize the distinct yells of Mad Eye Moody all the way down the hall and rushed to the classroom to figure out what had happened. Inside the room it was chaos. Moody and Kingsley were in the middle of what was supposed to be a class. On the far side of the classroom however there was a rather harried looking Auror whose head was poking outside of the fireplace. Moody was now running, or doing the best he could, across the room to get his cloak to go to the ministry. The kids had never seen Moody this angry and were all cowering in the corners. “Professor what’s going on? PROFESSOR!” Harry had to shout over the commotion, still neither of them recognized he was there, “MOODY!” he shouted in a last ditch effort to get Mad Eye to hear him before leaving. It worked and he spun around on his wooden leg. “Professor, what is going on? Who’s dead,” Harry asked as he shoved his way through

the mass of 2nd years. “Can’t talk Potter, I’m needed at the ministry. Talk to the headmaster I’m sure he can tell you.” Moody limped past him to the fireplace. Harry bristled; even now he resented being kept out of the loop when it came to the war, especially when it most concerned him. “Moody, tell me what happened or I’ll just go to the Ministry myself.” Moody turned around and stared at him, both his eyes were focused on him, his jaw was slack. Behind him Harry could hear the children whispering in wonder. Harry, confused at the sudden lull in the commotion looked around until he saw one of the children pointing at him. He looked down at his hand. It was glowing. More precisely, he was glowing. Just like the last time he was radiating a golden glow from his skin. As he stared at his hand his heartbeat and breathing returned to normal, and the glow started to fade away. After another moment of silence Moody regained his composure and turned for the fire. He tossed some floo powder at the fireplace and stepped in, barking “Ministry of Magic!” Harry shouted to stop him but he was gone, Kingsley was standing at the other end of the room getting his cloak to leave too. “Kingsley, do you know what is going on?” Harry asked, slowly inching towards the fireplace. “Sorry Harry, like Moody said, you should ask the Dumbledore if you want to know what’s going on.” Harry shrugged, reaching the hearth of the still burning fireplace, “The headmaster doesn’t tell me anything anymore. I won’t be long, and don’t worry…I know how to handle myself.” With that Harry grabbed a handful of floo powder and threw it in the fire. Kingsley moved to stop him but he was too far away. Harry stepped into the tickling flames and shouted, “MINISTRY OF MAGIC!” Arithmancy Classroom, Hogwarts Hermione had just finished calibrating her calculations and was arranging the final weight on her scale using he wand to levitate it gently into position. “Almost there, come on…” she muttered to herself, her tongue sticking out in concentration. The small platinum weight moved onto the top of the pile and settled, finally calibrating the precise scale. Hermione looked up from her work with a smile, she raised her hand to get Professor Vector’s attention. “Professor I’m do…” The rest of the sentence was drowned out by a loud alarm bursting to life in the classroom. The claxon wailed through the room, bouncing off the walls and building upon itself until it was just a numbing roar coming from the room. Hermione’s perfectly balanced scale fell to the floor, scattering the dozens of small weights all over the floor.

Some of the students tried to run from the room but when they opened the door they found that the usually ornamental suits of armour were now blocking the entrance with their pikes and shields. The students turned to Professor Vector, but she looked just as perplexed by the events. The sirens stopped suddenly and the room returned to its usual silence, a moment later the voice of Dumbledore took its place. “Students and faculty, the alarm that just went off was a ward that was newly placed over the school. It is designed to cordon off the school, making every level and section impossible to breach. By going into lockdown we can stop the movement of potential hostile figures. Do not be alarmed however at its employment right now, it was a false alarm triggered by a floo transport. I apologize deeply for this rather…loud test of our alarm system.” The voice stopped and the suits of armour returned to their usual spots along the wall. “You heard the Headmaster, it was just a test, now let’s get back to the measurements needed for determining the magical properties of the thestral,” Professor Vector said picking up parchment that had fallen off of her desk. Hermione was sitting back down at her table when there was a loud crack to her left. She turned to she what it was and came face to face with a large set of glistening eyes. “Dobby?” Hermione asked, taken aback by his sudden appearance. “Yes Missus Hermione. Dobby is here, was sent by Mister Dumbledores Missus. He wants to see yous up at his offices. He told me that his favourite candies are mint galleons.” Dobby bowed deeply then snapped his fingers before Hermione could ask a single question. She looked over to Vector for permission, she just waved her hand in dismissal. Hermione crammed her books into her bag and rushed out of the classroom. She dashed up the stairways rushing to Dumbledore’s office. She had a bad feeling that the alarm and Dumbledore wanting to meeting with her had something in common. As she spun around one of the corners she nearly ran smack into Ginny. “Ginny! I’m so sorry I almost ran you over, where are you going?” Ginny was completely out of breath, but managed to gasp out “To Dumbledore’s, Dobby told me to go up there.” “Dobby told me too, what do you think happened?” Hermione asked as they kept running higher up to the Headmaster’s office. “I have no bloody idea, but I did feel something weird right before the alarm went off. It felt sort of like I was using a portkey except it wasn’t as strong. Mint Galleons” she said as they finally reached the gargoyles flanking Dumbledore’s office. They bowed ever so slightly and the door slid open and the staircase began to rise. When Ginny and Hermione came to the office they found Dumbledore sitting there

drinking a cup of tea, the door was wide open and when they entered he turned around and smiled softly. “Ah, Miss Weasley, Miss Granger, if you want to sit down I’m sure that Mr. Weasley will be here…” Ron burst up the stairway at the same moment, he clutched at his sides breathing heavily. “Was’a matter?” He managed to get out. “Well the alarm that went off just a few minutes ago was infact the ward that ensures Harry is within Hogwarts boundaries. Kingsley just flooed up to me to explain that Harry followed Professor Moody out of the castle through the floo system to the Ministry of Magic.” “Why would he do that? He knows better than to leave himself out in the open,” Ginny said, touching her stomach slightly as she remembered the uncomfortable feeling right before the alarm went off. “Well there was an incident in the ministry this morning. Actually catastrophe is a better way to describe it. It appears that several Death Eaters marched into the Ministry unopposed and sprung several of their comrades from the detainment cells. There was also a murder…” Dumbledore took another sip of his tea, “two new prisoners were brought in yesterday, one was Pettigrew and the other was Fudge. Today the Death Eaters only freed one prisoner, that was Pettigrew. Minister Fudge was killed. No, not by us Miss Granger, one of the Death Eaters killed him in the cell.” “Why was Fudge there in the first place, I mean no one liked him but was he Death Eater?” Ron asked. “Well he was detained by the Order when during a secret meeting with Wormtail in Knockturn alley. Fudge was carrying several scrolls which contained sensitive security information for the Ministry of Magic. That is the reason why I sent Remus and the house elves to reinforce the ministry. The most troubling part of these events however is how easily they were able to get into the ministry. I had placed the wards on the Ministry just yesterday, some of them were stronger than the ones here at Hogwarts. Yet somehow, they got through them. They weren’t destroyed, they weren’t moved; somehow the Death Eaters just walked through them.” Dumbledore stood up stiffly from his seat and stared out his window. For the first time in their entire time talking with the headmaster he sounded genuinely worried. “I am afraid that we may be fighting a loosing battle.” Chapter 44: Don’t Cry Over Spilled Tea The Ministry of Magic, London Harry walked out of the fireplace dusting off his cloaks with a wave of his wand. He was the only person in the massive main entrance hall, it was illuminated just as brightly as the last time he came here only the whole place seemed to be deserted. He hear the echoes of what seemed to be an argument coming from one of the faraway halls. As he approached it the shouting became discernable. It took him a moment but he recognized it as the voice of Charlie Weasley.

“Yes Minister Bones, gone! We couldn’t fight because we had no damn idea that Death Eaters could get through our wards; they weren’t put up by a two year old you know, Dumbledore himself installed them!” Harry walked into the hallway to find not only Charlie, but Mr. Weasley, the interim minister Madam Bones, Moody, and the most startling of all, Percy. Percy stood separated from the others and had a rather harried, stunned expression on his face. They didn’t notice Harry’s arrival and just continued to talk. “Charlie, you said that they just walked in? There wasn’t an attack, something they used to shatter the ward?” Amelia Bones asked, fiddling her wand in anxiety. “All I know is that only a dozen grunts of Voldemort’s managed to get into the preserve and kill ten of us before we even knew what was going on. I can assure you that by the time you do get permission from the Romanian Prime Minister to send Aurors there they will be long gone, along with the dragons.” Charlie nursed a bleeding head wound with a wet flannel. Moody’s eye had been fixed intently on Charlie as he was talking but now it was back to wandering and soon enough spotted Harry in the corner. “Potter,” he growled jerking his head to the doorway. Everyone swirled to find Harry standing in the doorway. “Er, hi. Are you alright Charlie?” Harry asked awkwardly. “Harry! What are you doing here? The Ministry is not safe right now, you must go back to Hogwarts.” Arthur said, closing the gap between them quickly. “According to what I just heard and what’s been happening for the past few weeks I don’t think that really anywhere’s safe right now. I mean for all we know Tom could just break through Hogwarts’ defences too.” Harry said defiantly. “There is no way for them to get into Hogwarts Harry, you know that. Dumbledore’s only added onto the wards, they are thousands of years old.” Percy said, speaking for the first time. “Yah, well I bet that Dumbledore wasn’t the first wizard to put wards up at the Dragon preserve either, I mean Professor Binns told us that place had been around for hundreds of years.” “I’m surprised that you remember something Binns told you let alone that you listen in that class. Either way Hogwarts is perfectly safe from any attack He-Who-Must-Not-BeNamed throws at it.” Percy shot back. “Potter, you need to leave. Ill lead you back to the fireplace,” Moody said grasping Harry’s right shoulder firmly. Harry shrugged it off and sidled to one side of the hall, “Not yet Professor. Minister Bones, what happened? I heard something about someone being killed, who was it? Was

Voldemort here?” Percy was the only person in the room to flinch at the mention of his name. “Typical,” Harry muttered under his breath, glaring at Percy; Ron’s brother who had caused so much anguish within the family. “Mr. Potter, I know that your life has been affected by Voldemort more than probably anyone else. I also know about your certain penchant for getting into what are best described as life-threatening conflicts in the search for the truth. Therefore I am torn on what to do. If I were to tell you what just occurred here and in Romania would you please return to your school with all due haste?” Harry nodded, he knew when to take a bargain and when to hold out. In this case he decided it was probably the best way to at least figure out what was going on. “Well from what we’ve managed to gather so far just a few hours ago there was a simultaneous attack on both the Ministry holding cells here, and the dragon reserve. Charlie believes close to a dozen Death Eaters killed ten of his colleagues where here two guards were killed along with the former Minister of Magic.” Harry started, “Fudge? Fudge was killed. Why was he in the holding pens?” This time Arthur spoke, “Fudge was brought in with Wormtail earlier yesterday after some Aurors broke up a meeting between the two.” “He was not charged with anything,” Percy said rather feebly. “Shove it Percy,” Charlie said, “well anyway Fudge was captured. And today they came back and got Wormtail but killed Fudge. He probably lived out his worth, I mean he’s too visible to do anything and has lost all his power. Malfoy couldn’t use him anymore so neither could Voldemort. And at the same time another group came and sealed up my research lab, I barely managed to get out before the whole place burst into flames.” “Sounds like Voldemort’s finally putting his plan into action, or at the very least gearing up for a war. The silence is over that’s for sure.” Moody added quietly. “Come on now Potter, time to go before the Headmaster sends out a search party.” This time Harry allowed himself to be led out of the room and towards the fireplace. Moody pulled out a small pouch from his travelling cloak and poured some floo powder into Harry’s hand. “Go head right back to the Headmaster’s office, I’m sure he’ll be wanting to know what you’ve been up to.” He then turned around on his clawed wood leg and limped away. Harry tossed the floo powder into the fire and stepped in. The Caucus Mountains, Russia “Do you have good news Lucius?” Lord Voldermort hissed as his faithful servant walked into his chambers. “I do my Lord, your plan worked flawlessly,” he said, stepping over the sleeping Nagini. “Not only did we walk straight into the Ministry unopposed we managed to kill two birds

with one stone. Once again I have retrieved Wormtail for you, and we ran across another piece of fortune. When we entered the cells Fudge was sitting at the back cowering like a child.” “Did you say goodbye for me?” Voldemort said, his face showing what could possibly be a smile. “Of course my liege,” he bowed low. “I have even more news, the additional attack today was a success also. They should arrive here within the end of this week. Also our next attack will be on the 24th, just in time for a little Christmas cheer.” “Very good my faithful servant, you have pleased your master. What of your son though, where is he on his new mission?” Voldemort asked, reclining into his stone throne by the fire. “I received a report from his just yesterday, it is difficult for to contact him due to the distance and time difference. From what I have heard though Durmstrang is a very different school from Hogwarts. They teach the dark arts, they instruct the students in proper duelling, it is a school worthy of true purebloods. He should have no trouble in gathering fellow students to the cause. He will not fail you my lord.” “He better not Lucius, or else he will not be the only Malfoy paying the price of failure.” Headmaster’s Office, Hogwarts Harry arrived in a heap on the floor of Dumbledore’s office. He stood up quickly, dusting his robes off quickly as he made for the door, not noticing the Headmaster, Ron, Hermione, or even Ginny until he heard a small cough from behind him. He turned quickly, stumbling backwards as he did so but managing to stay upright. “Hello Harry, I was curious to see when you might notice there were others in the room” Dumbledore said with a smile. “Harry are you alright, you look a little shell shocked. Where did you go? I could feel that you had left but I couldn’t figure out where to.” Ginny asked, standing up to offer him her chair. Harry waved her off, “I’m fine Gin’ just a little stirred up. I was at the Ministry with Moody, Professor Moody, sorry. Turns out there was another attack on top of the one at the ministry itself. The dragon preserve that Charlie works at was attacked also…don’t worry he’s perfectly alright except for a little cut on his forehead. Seems that they managed to strip the place of its wards too.” For the first time ever Harry saw what seemed to be surprise on the headmaster’s face. “Why would they want to break into the dragon preserve? I mean dragons are strong but you can’t control them even if you could get them out.” Ron asked. “There have been other things we believed to be near uncontrollable, the giants, the dementors; yet somehow Voldemort has found a way to bring them into his ranks. I believe that he has found a use for these dragons, did Charlie say how many were taken?”

The headmaster asked. “No, apparently he had just arrived at the Ministry the same time I did. They weren’t sure about what was going on.” “Well I will have to look deeper into the actions of today. As for now I just ask you Harry to have a little more restraint next time you think it wise to let your curiosity take you on a field trip. The wards were set off today because of you passing through the floo,” the headmaster saw Harry’s expression darken, “no, no Harry. It was not tracking you at all. The reason the wards were tripped was because of the amount of magic that was going through them. We already have discovered some of your rather unique powers due to your rather large magic reserves and I am sure we have not seen the last of them. Now I believe it is time for lunch, so if you will allow me I shall be going to the Great Hall.” The headmaster stood up and the others followed suit. They followed him down the staircase and into the hallway; there they veered off in the other direction to go to Harry and Ginny’s room to talk. Ron was the last in and as the door clicked shut behind him he burst out, “Harry, what in Merlin’s name is going on right now. For the past months nothing has been going on, and now all of a sudden it seems that Tom has found a hobby in breaking and entering. These things seem too random to make any sense. First Draco escapes, then Joy is killed, then Fudge is killed, and now they break out who knows how many dragons! All Hermione and I have done today is try to find something to explain what he’s doing…” Ron paced back and forth as he rambled on. As Ron continued to talk a thought came to Harry. Maybe there is something in common. Charlie said the Death Eaters walked straight through the wards, so did Moody about the break in at the ministry. The wards failed every single time, they weren’t destroyed they just didn’t work, that has to be it. “Hey guys, I think I found out what all these attacks have in common. Charlie told me today that the Death Eaters were able to just walk through the wards like they didn’t even exist. I think that’s what is going on. I’ll eat my hat if I’m not right that Voldemort has found a way to get through the wards without using brute force.” “But they were put up by Dumbledore himself, I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s doing when it comes to setting up defences,” Hermione chimed in. “But suppose that Tom did find a way, that means that he practically has a key to every locked or warded place. Nothing can stop him from just walking onto campus now and challenging Dumbledore to a duel.” Ron said nervously. “Have you still not read Hogwarts a History? You’re reading every war book I can find but you won’t read about the school itself. It says that there are not only wards around the school that each headmaster is required to add to; there is also much deeper magic at work, it comes from the elements themselves. It protects the school and its occupants even when the other forms of defence are down.” Hermione said, quoting from the book almost word for word. “Well if that’s true then I guess we don’t have to worry as much about the school, but

what about everywhere else. I mean anywhere that is believed to be protected is probably wide open now. Ron I think it might be a good idea to step up the squadrons’ training schedules to twice a week, just to make sure that they’re well trained before we all go away for Christmas break. Ron, you, Ginny and I have just less than two weeks to try and give them as many defensive skills as possible. Meanwhile Hermione could you and Emma look for any information of what could possible even remotely succeed at breaking through wards?” “Sure, but I doubt I’ll find much on it. Good wards are thought to be invincible. Maybe you could talk to Flamel about it. I’m sure that he’s probably heard of something over his lifetime” Hermione said as she stood up to get started. “Yeah I guess I will, I’m meeting with him tonight before Quidditch anyways.” Harry said. “We’ll see you at dinner then,” Ron said then followed Hermione out of the door. After they left Ginny went into the bedroom and sprawled out on the bed, she rubbed her eyes and yawned. “Tired?” Harry asked as he walked into the room too. “Yeah, my whole body is sore from Quidditch and leaning over books for too long. This year is a lot harder than I thought it would be.” Harry sat down on the side of the bed and collapsed next to her. He rolled over sideways so he could look her in the eyes. “Well I promise it’ll get better. Anyways you’ve got me, ‘Mione and your brother to help you out.” He brushed a tangle of red hair out of her face and poked her nose playfully. “Gotcha!” Ginny giggled and poked him back on the nose, “Gotcha back!” Harry laughed as she started to tickle his ribs, causing him to erupt in laughter. After finally begging for mercy Ginny stopped, still laughing at from Ginny’s relentless tickling attack. “I give up please just stop tickling me. You have found my weakness!” Harry said breathlessly. “Fine, I am in a good mood, I will let you go,” Ginny said in a mocking superior tone. Harry sat up on the bed, “I will not go, not until I have defeated you.” “How do you plan on doing that Sir Potter? You do not know my weakness.” Harry smiled wolfishly as he got closer to her, “Oh yes I do. I’ve known about it for a while.” “Well then what is…” Ginny was interrupted as Harry kissed her. As they laid back in the bed and the kiss deepened Ginny knew that he had indeed found her weakness.

The Archives, Hogwarts Harry was once again deep inside the chambers of Godric Gryffindor’s archives. Tonight he and Flamel were researching deeper into the diagram that they had found earlier. So far they had turned up very little except due to the overwhelming size of the archives. Flamel was still trying to find out how the books were indexed so they could find a way to at least guess where a book on a certain topic might be located. Harry returned to their table with another stack of promising documents. He unrolled the first one and started to read. It was about some arcane system for carving stonework from what he could make out from the drawings. He sighed and placed it aside. Opening the next leather bound book he saw an intricate drawing on the front page but using the translation charm he was disappointed to learn that it was a history on some obscure wizard of the 1200’s. Groaning and rubbing his light starved eyes he tossed that book on top of one of the other innumerable stacks. Flamel came out of the adjacent aisle with another stack. He too looked slightly exhausted and sat down heavily in his seat. “How about a cup of tea Harry? I’m starting to get a little overwhelmed by all this reading.” Harry nodded in an agreement, “sounds great, let me try something though.” Harry stood up clearing a spot on the desk. He rolled up his sleeves and ruffled his hair. Closing his eyes he raised his right hand and then closed his fist tightly. He heard a stifled gasp and then a large crash of metal on stone. He opened his eyes and saw Flamel standing up out of his chair trying to whisk several books out of the way of a progressing puddle of hot tea. Harry pulled out his wand and shouted evanesco! The puddle of teas disappeared, but so did the table causing the piles of books to crash to the bottom. “Oh-ho! Well there, looks like we had some tea there for a while. Very well done Harry, I haven’t seen anyone your age be able to perform any semblance of controlled wandless conjuring. This is certainly another one of your newly developing traits. Would you care to try some more of it?” “Sure!” Harry was eager to but was afraid that after the last little fiasco Flamel wouldn’t want him to do anything more. “What do you want me to do? I haven’t tried anything but I’ve been picking some examples of how to do it in these books we’ve been reading.” “It seems that is an added benefit of having to manually search these books. Even I have been finding small bits of information I haven’t even heard of before. Let’s see for starters why don’t you make us a new table?” He stepped back and nodded encouragingly. Harry once again closed his eyes and balled up his fist. This time instead of envisioning a tea kettle he imagined the old table back where it was. He could feel the magic going to his fist and then exiting. He opened his eyes to see the table flicker in and out of existence then completely disappear. His shoulders slumped. “Harry that was spectacular, for you to even bring such a thing into existence, for however long a period shows that your powers are growing. The only thing its lack of

staying powers tells us is that you need to continue to train your magic reserves. That means you will need to start using your magic as often as possible. Just as muggles train for races by doing small bits of exercise over a long time period to build up stamina so do you.” He waved his own wand and a new table appeared and the books settled themselves back into their towers. As Harry was sitting back down he remembered telling Hermione and Ron that he’d ask him about the wards. “Um sir. I know this is a little off topic and all, but today I went to the ministry and heard Mood… Professor Moody and Charlie Weasley talking about how the Death Eaters just walked through the supposedly impervious wards. I was just wondering if you know what could be doing this?” “I won’t lie, I’m surprised you haven’t asked me this earlier. The simple answer is no, there is no possible way that he could be breaking into these wards. But the problem with that statement is that it is inherently wrong. It has become an accepted belief that wards are invincible, meaning nothing it is set to deter can get inside of it, that is not entirely true. What a ward does is use an opposite but equal magic force to repel any opposing magical force, in our case Voldemort. That means that if he pushes against the ward’s magic it will push back just as hard thus resulting in a cancelling effect. Now there is not evidence saying that someone or something can get through a ward, but I do know that there is a division of the Department of Mysteries working on just that. I suppose that there could be a very remote chance that Voldemort has beat them to the punch and has found a way to disrupt the shields’ functionality. If so then he has just stripped us of one of the few defences we have left to use. But come now that is enough dismal talk right now, let’s get back to work on some of that conjuring!” The Room of Requirement, Hogwarts Harry walked into the room last, locking the door behind him. All of Merlin’s Heroes, or just the Heroes, as it was now being affectionately called, were assembled in the room divided by squadron. They had only been training in their individual groups for less than three weeks but their improvement was very noticeable. Tonight’s meeting was about the recent escalation in attacks and what to work on after returning back from the winter break which was in only five days. Ron walked to the front of the group, everyone fell silent. Ron had been growing more and more credibility as the year progressed, he was starting to show quite a keen intellect for military strategy. With Emma acting as his assistant he was starting to amass a huge collection on military books and information. Ron was also starting to teach Emma chess and she was starting to actually play against him, every time coming closer and closer to actually beating him. “Well everyone this is our last meeting before we go off for holiday break. I want to remind you how important it is for everyone to practice. Even if you cannot use your magic keep in shape, recite the spells, try and learn some new ones; but also have fun. There is now a war going on and who knows, this might be one of the last peaceful holidays we have in a while, so enjoy it. Now I think that Harry has a small gift for all of you.” He smiled as Harry came up carrying a large wooden box.

He set it down heavily and reached inside pulling out what appeared to be a necklace. “This is called a bloodstone.” He said holding up the pendant to show off the stone. The necklace was a fine silver chain with a dark blood-red stone affixed in the centre of the mouth of a blue phoenix. The stone seemed to consume the light around it instead of reflect it, an inner radiance possessed it. “This is not just a gift though, there is in fact some useful items to this. Just like your coins these have a protean charm on them to alert you to anything. Hermione, Ginny, Ron and I have the master ones that allow us to set dates or times, but all of them have a panic mode that activates by you tapping it three times with your wand, this will cause all of the pendants to warm and pulse. The figure is a phoenix, and the colour of the phoenix is the colour of your squad. I chose the bloodstone because of its slightly magical properties. While it won’t block a spell it does absorb some of its power, which might actually save your life. Please wear these all the time, if this requires you to put a cloaking charm on it do so, but please wear them. If anything happens just send the panic message and we will try to do something. Now if you want to come up in squadrons I’ll get you yours and then you can all head out early,” Harry started to pull out small piles of small boxes each labelled a certain colour. It took a few minutes to distribute all of the necklaces but when they were finally all handed out Harry went over to Ginny, Ron, Hermione, and Emma who had been waiting patiently on the side as the crowd died down. He carried with him four of the small boxes. “These necklaces are a little more unique, take a look” he handed each of them a box. Each one was a small silver disk with five gems inlaid in it. Around the perimeter was a blue sapphire, a red ruby, a pale grey amethyst, and a blackish cat’s eye, and in the center a white diamond. “Harry these are amazing! Where did you get these, I mean you didn’t tell any of us that you were making these.” Hermione asked as she unclasped hers and handed it to Ron to put on her neck. Harry smiled, “well I’ve been working with Flamel on conjuring stuff and that’s how I made the chains but everything else I had help with from Dobby. He’s pretty amazing at metal work, claims his great grandmother was a goblin or something. Anyways, we’ve been working every night for a little while. Do you recognize the discs from anything?” He asked as he helped Emma put hers on. “It’s from that piece of parchment Flamel gave you.” Ron said. “Yep, I figured that with finding out how we’re actually represented as elements in the prophecy we might as well use it for something.” Ginny smiled and pecked him on the lips, “Thanks Potter.”

“Oy, get a bloody room, or at least stop snogging her in front of me.” Ron said flinching. “Well I would have to say the same after seeing you and ‘Mione yesterday” Ginny shot back. She had encountered them kissing in empty hallway that was the shortcut to their room just yesterday. Ron flushed and stopped saying anything. Hermione just laughed and took ahold of his hand. “Let’s go Ronald we can go have a nice dinner.” “Come on Emma, Gin’, we’ll go down also. I’m starving!” Harry said as he took Ginny and Emma’s hands and walked out of the Room of Requirement. Chapter 45: Doubt… The Great Hall, Hogwarts The Great Hall was filled with happy, chatting students as the room slowly filled up for breakfast. Overnight the school had undergone its customary Christmas makeover and now the hall was filled with massive blue spruces and garland. This year Flitwick had enchanted the ceiling to fall from the ceiling. It would slowly disappear as it reached lower down. Each tree was covered in thousands of icicles that clinked together with the slightest touch filling the room with what sounded like bells. Ginny was resting her head on Harry’s shoulder as they talked quietly and waited for the others to show up. There was only four more days until school let out for winter break and everyone seemed overly eager to go and see their families. After the Prophet ended up writing on the several murders and break-ins, including Fudge’s, there was a certain amount of constant paranoia that all students had adopted. And Harry saw that today was no different when he heard the familiar screech of owls and noticed everyone stop what they were doing to make sure they weren’t getting a letter. Harry however was hoping for just the opposite and was relieved when he saw Hedwig’s telltale white plumage. She circled the Gryffindor table once then landed gracefully on the table. Harry gave her a piece of his toast from his plate and took the envelope from her beak. Just as he hoped it was from Lupin. Harry had realized after running into him at the ministry that they had barely kept in contact over the last three months; feeling guilty for not talking to his godfather he had written him a long letter explaining a lot of what had been going on at Hogwarts. Opening the envelope Harry deflated seeing only a small amount of writing on the parchment. But upon closer inspection he smiled, the text said Messr. Moony to Messr. Potter. He instantly recognized it as a subtle hint to the Marauder’s Map. Harry tapped his finger on the paper murmuring I solemnly swear I am up to no good. Just like the map the ink spread from the small text to fill the page with Lupin’s words. Harry, First off good work on cracking the code, I was a little worried the hint would be a little too vauge.

Secondly let me apologize for not writing to you, just as you said yourself, I have been somewhat busy right now. With the war now going full force I have been forced to work many more operations for our group than last year. I’d like to say that everything is okay out here, I mean outside of Hogwarts, but as your little trip to the Ministry might have showed you, it is not. The ministry is in utter turmoil, and while Minister Bones is doing a great job I am more than a little nervous when it comes time for the election next month. Even with this spell I cant tell you what I’m doing right now in this letter in case it gets intercepted, but needless to say it is of great import to everyone involved in the ministry. I am glad to hear that you and Professor Flamel have been making some progress with the intricacies of the Heartbond. I am even happier that you and Ginny have now grown even closer together and that the bond did not draw you too close too quickly. Now onto holiday break, if you get this the day I send it then tomorrow you’ll be heading home. I will actually not be at Snuffle’s home, in fact no one is there as of now due to the jarring breaks in our defences lately. So, I have already arranged for you and Emmaline to head to the Weasley’s and I will join you there the next day. I have a feeling that you will have no problem going with your Ginny, and you can also get some of your Christmas shopping done. Now I need to send this now before it gets light enough for anyone to see Hedwig take off. Moony Harry smiled and folded up the letter and placed it in his pant’s pocket, and kissed Ginny on the cheek. “What was that for Mr. Potter?” Ginny had never been kissed by him in such a public place, but she was not complaining. “Well it seems that Moony is stuck somewhere working for our friends, but he said that Emma and I were going to go spend the holidays with you guys.” Ginny beamed and kissed him on the cheek back, “Well of course you were. You didn’t think I would let you stay at that house all alone. Plus, my mum would go mad knowing that somewhere there were kids who didn’t get to have some of her food. Plus I think it’s a good idea that Emma has at least a fun Christmas, it’ll be hard enough for her without having to stay in Snuffle’s house.” Ron came up from behind them holding Hermione’s hand. “Thanks for saving us seats mate, I need to fill up before the big snowball fight.” “Do you ever not fill up, Ron?” Hermione asked as she sat in the seat next to Ginny. “Guess what Ron? Lupin just sent Harry a letter telling him that he and Emma are going to go to our house for holiday!”

“Thas-gray-may!” Ron choked out in-between bites of toast. “You should go tell Emma Harry, she probably need a bit of good news,” Hermione urged looking down the table at the group Emma was sitting in. Everyone around her was laughing and joking and it seemed that Emma was laughing too, but occasionally her façade would break and her sorrow would become evident. For the past few weeks they had tried everything to make her a bigger part of the group especially after the discovery of the second part of the prophecy but she had insistently spent much of her time with kids he own age. The had all agreed that if it helped her cope then they would let her be with her friends, but they were always ready to come in and help her if she had am emotional breakdown. For a 12 year old she was dealing with the loss of her only parent amazingly well. Harry approached Emma’s end of the table and tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around with a small smile on her face although it was fairly easy to tell it was really a masquerade. “Hiya Harry, what’s up? I can’t believe the decorations, I hope we get to have ones like this.” “Yeah these ones are brilliant aren’t they? That actually what I wanted to talk to you about. I got a letter from Lupin telling me that we were going to head to” “The Weasley’s house, right?” Emma completed cutting him off mid-sentence. “Uh, yeah, exactly. How did you know that?” Harry asked taken slightly by surprise at her rather quick response. “I’ve been writing Moony every couple ’a weeks. He’s really funny to talk to and his letters are long. It’s nice to have someone to talk to.” Harry was split between two different emotions; one of happiness for Emma that she had found a person to talk to, and one of envy, Lupin was writing her but not him? “Great! Well then make sure to be packed and ready to go tomorrow morning, the train leaves really early.” Harry said lamely, trying to hide some of his disappointment. “I’ve already packed most of my stuff up, I’ve had a lot of free time,” Emma said, her cheerful façade slipped once again and Harry saw a young girl who was absolutely terrified to be alone. But, once again, she recovered and plastered her smile back on. Harry sighed but forced himself to smile, “Great, well we’re gonna’ have a little while to go gift shopping when we get there so try and think of some things to get people.” Emma nodded gave him a big smile and returned to her conversation with the other first years. “Everything okay?” Hermione asked as Harry sat back down. “Yeah, its just Emma is always forcing herself to be happy. I think that if she keeps it up and never releases all that sorrow she might just burst. That’s what happened to me, and I ended up inflating my dear old Aunt. At least she’s been writing to Moony.” “Well that’s something Harry. If she’s writing him, even if it isn’t about her mom, she’s able to talk to someone. That’s why I wrote in my diaries for so long. I probably still

would but Tom sort of scared me a little too much for me to be picking up a diary anytime soon.” Ginny said comfortingly, trying to joke with him a little to get his spirits back up. “I guess it’s helping, I just feel somehow responsible for her. I don’t want to just leave her abandoned like I was.” “Harry Potter! Ginny said sternly, “Joy dying was not your fault! Voldemort, Lucius, Bellatrix and the others are responsible for her death. None of these deaths are your fault Harry, war is horrible I know, we’re in the middle of it, but you don’t need to blame yourself for the whole bloody thing.” Harry looked up at her with his deep green eyes then kissed her very briefly on the cheek, and whispered, “thanks Gin’, I’m so lucky that I have you here to remind me why I’m still fighting.” He then looked over to Ron and Hermione and clapped his hands together. “Well then, who’s ready to go outside then? I want to make sure Slytherin doesn’t beat us in the snowball fight.” Harry grabbed Ginny by the hand and pulled her out of her seat and out to the snowball fight. The Holiday Feast, Hogwarts “’Ello Harry, Merry Christmas!” Hagrid said as he shook the snow off his massive jacket, “How are ya’ Ginny, Ron, Hermione?” “Hagrid! What have you been up to? I haven’t seen you for a week?” Hermione asked, dodging his flapping jacket at the same time. “Ah, well that’s because I’ve not been ‘round, been doin’ some work for the headmaster.” Hagrid bent down and whispered conspiratorially. “But it looks like I made it jus’ in time fer the meal. I need to go talk to the headmaster but I’ll talk to ya afta’ words, I have a present for you all.” He winked then walked up to the teacher’s table. They saw Hagrid go up to Dumbledore and whisper to him, Dumbledore showed a brief smile then patted him on the shoulder. Hagrid took his seat and Dumbledore stood up to begin the feast. “Only four months have passed in this school year and yet so much has passed already. This year has posed us with many different struggles, but it was not unforeseen. This war is now beginning in earnest, and before we sit down to our wonderful holiday meal, I want to urge you to enjoy your break and cherish every moment you have with your families; this is a season for cheer, so please, make the most of it. Now, enjoy your feast and have a splendid holiday break!” He clapped his hands together, snapping some energy back into the room that had been sucked out of it by his speech. A second later the tables were filled with mounds of food; turkey, ham, roast beef, rolls, shepherd’s pie, mince pie, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, and seemingly endless Butter Beer. “Wow, the elves really seem to have outdone themselves this time. Isn’t the holiday feast

just a normal meal and the people staying at school have a big one on Christmas?” Colin Creevey asked from across the table. “Yeah, but I was talking to Flamel and he said that there weren’t going to be any students staying over holiday this year, apparently our parents want to spend as much time with us as possible. I guess Dumbledore just decided to make a big going away dinner because there isn’t going to be a Christmas dinner,” Harry said. “Well stop talking and start eating mate! It’s like we get two Christmas dinners in a month” Ron said enthusiastically as he grabbed the nearest pitcher of Butter Beer. “Yes commander!” Harry saluted jokingly in reference to his position in the D.A. and grabbed the other pitcher. The next hour was filled with jokes, laughter and sounds of cutlery scraping on plates as for just a little while everyone forgot about the war going on all around them. As the night wound down the plates and food disappeared and were soon replaced with cups of hot chocolate for each person. “I’ve always enjoyed a nice cup of hot chocolate before I go to bed on these brisk winter nights. Now enjoy your drinks and finish, or for some I daresay, start, packing for tomorrow’s train ride home. And remember to enjoy your break and spend this time with your family and friends.” Dumbledore said his eyes showing both grief and nostalgia. Some people stayed and chatted quietly while others did indeed go to their houses to pack, Ginny and Harry were about to do the same when Hagrid appeared next to them carrying what would at first glance appear to be a ball of newspaper. “Glad I caught ya before you headed to bed, Merry Christmas ‘Arry” he said thrusting the package at him. Harry took it and by Hagrid’s urges opened it. The ball of paper turned out to be the wrapping on a leather wand holster. “Wow, this is brilliant Hagrid. Thanks!” Harry said genuinely. The leather was deep brown and had intricate designs and runes etched all across the belt. “I was hoping ye’d like it. I have been talkin’ to Alastor, that’s Professor to you guys I s’pose, and he said you’ve takin’ to duelin. I figured it’d be a good gift to get ye seein’ as how you always seem to find yerself some kind of trouble.” “It really is great Hagrid, and you’re right about the trouble, I just hope there isn’t much more waiting for me. You’re going to stop by the Weasley’s for Christmas aren’t you?” Harry asked. “Of course, how could I miss Molly’s cooking. Moody and I have duty in the morning so it will be later in the evenin’” “Great, well I’ll give you my present then, I need to pick it up at Diagon Ally anyways.” “Take care of yer’selves Harry, you too Ginny and you too Ron and ‘Mione. I gotta get going, one of tha unicorns is about to have a foal so I need to make sure it isn’t too cold

for her” Hagrid said cheerfully as he pulled on his giant coat once again and headed into the billowing cold outside. “Well I’m stuffed and tired, I need to pack my stuff though so I think I’m going to head up to my room,” Ron said giving a huge fake yawn and stretching his arms. Hermione smiled at him for a moment then spoke suddenly as if just catching on, “you know what, I have a lot of packing to do also. I have loads of books I need to return to the library also. I think I’ll head up with you” Hermione said taking Ron’s hand, “’night Harry, ‘night Ginny” she added then walked away with Ron up the stairs. Ron looked over his shoulder about midway and then turned back and kissed Hermione on the cheek as they continued upwards. “Harry, did I just see my brother wink at me?” Ginny asked nervously. Harry just smiled, “come on Gin’ I have loads of packing to do, and I need to go to bed.” Ginny laughed at his impression, “well Mr. Potter maybe I can help you then, lets go and see” she said in her most seductive voice and she took Harry by the hand and led down the hallway to their room. Hogwarts Express, Somewhere in Scotland The mass of students on board the train seemed to be much more talkative than ever before, it seemed even busier than the train ride at the start of term. For their part Harry, Emma, Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Neville, and Luna were sharing one of the compartments and were chatting cheerfully about anything and everything. They were all still recovering from the prank that Emma had just pulled on Ron which involved his hair suddenly completely disappearing from everywhere on his body and being replaced with what appeared to be spaghetti. “I would swear you’re a Weasley Emma, you’ve got the trickiness of my brother’s and you can get away with it like my sis, plus you have my good looks,” Ron said, ripping huge chunks of his spaghetti hair off. “You’re right, except for the whole part about your good looks, and I think a cave troll has better manners than you,” Ginny retorted. “Well we’re working on that aren’t we?” Hermione said in a tone that seemed almost maternal. “Is that what were you two working on last night, loads of books right?” Harry asked causing both Ron and Hermione’s faces to burn bright red in embarrassment. Luckily they were saved any more embarrassment by the knock of the old witch who sold snacks. The Caucus Mountains, Russia “Wormtail, Lucius, remove the body and leave me be. I have work to do.”

Hogwarts Express, Somewhere in Scotland Harry stood up to open the door for the lady, stepping over a precariously perched chessboard and the maze of feet. He reached for the door and swung it open right when his legs gave out completely. His momentum still going forwards he crashed into the trolley of sweets and knocked it over. His head hit the edge of it tearing a large gash down the side of his face. The Caucus Mountains, Russia More…Voldemort hissed as he poured all his malice into the connection between him and Harry. Over the months he’d noticed it closing but felt that he owed Harry a little reminder he had not forgotten about him. He focused his mind even more, making his magic a fine needle, poking, jabbing, and prodding. He was dissecting Potter’s mind from the inside. He heard the boy screaming but he also heard something else, another voice, one he remembered from long ago. “Weasley,” he hissed as he recognized the voice. Something was wrong with it though, it was in Harry’s mind too, and it was growing louder. Hogwarts Express, Somewhere in Scotland “Harry!” Ginny screamed and jumped up out of her seat sending both Crookshanks and the chessboard flying. She ran over to the now screaming and writhing Harry and took his hand. “Harry! Come on Harry wake up, come on! Please come back, come on, open your eyes.” She continued to shout to him, half hysterical half pleading. She had never seen one of Voldemort’s attacks personally but she had heard enough about them that she knew that was what was happening now. She never let go of his hand as he continued to squirm on the floor, blood was now flowing freely from the huge gash on his face. “I won’t let you have him Tom, let him go this fucking second. He’s mine Tom you better leave him damn well alone!!!!” She screamed as she gripped his hand even harder. All of a sudden a huge burst of pain came over her, it felt as if she had just been hit a brick wall on her broom. She now heard a voice though… The Caucus Mountains, Russia “It’s hopeless little girl, I WILL KILL HIM and then I WILL KILL YOU and your ENTIRE BLOODTRAITOR FAMILY!” Voldemort now screamed outloud. He had been just as startled when his connection broke into the red head’s mind too. Something was wrong though, it wasn’t getting easier, Potter and the girl’s minds should be worthless by now, but just the opposite was happening, it was getting more difficult to hold the connection; the hole was shrinking ever smaller. Hogwarts Express, Somewhere in Scotland Ron, Emma, Neville, Luna, and Hermione all tried to pry Ginny off of Harry, or at least stop her from shaking. She was now convulsing so badly that her arms were being cut on

the broken glass of the door. “Stop it!!! Stop it!!! No, you can’t kill him you can’t, don’t!” She screamed even louder. Ron pulled out his wand raising his arm to cast a stunning charm to try and stop the connection. Hermione grabbed his arm, “NO! We can’t the connection is all that’s keeping them alive right now, we can’t close it.” Harry was now lying still in a growing puddle of blood, but Ginny’s movements were growing even more chaotic. “Harry, come on HARRY!” She screamed the loudest yet, her body going limp as the scream died. She fell ontop of Harry unconscious. The Caucus Mountains, Russia “HARRY!” Voldemort involuntarily shouted in sync with the girl and was thrown across the room. His head hit the wall his skull cracked hard against a sconce, splitting it open. His mind reeled from the after effects from what had felt like being hit with the cruciatus. Tom lifted a hand to feel the cut, of course there was no blood, but the hole was sizeable. For the first time Lord Voldemort felt something he hadn’t in the past three decades, doubt.

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