Harry suffers a mental breakdown while being convicted to Azkaban. He serves his time and rebuilds his life away from the magical world.
Harry's reunion with the Weasley twins was surprisingly relaxing. While most people would consider the twins stressful, the time Harry spent with them had always been more like what he would expect it would be like with family. They had quickly accepted him back, no questions asked. He could see the glances at each other, and knew they were itching to know what had happened to him but were quite simply happy he had returned. Both Fred and George knew that Harry would open up to them when he wanted to. If they pressured him, he would clam up and possibly disappear all over again.
Over the next hour, Harry, George and Fred talked about old times and what everyone was doing. Harry mentioned knowing about Ginny's marriage, and meeting Bill several days before. As he sat there laughing with the jokesters, Harry's chest started to loosen. The apprehension he had felt about seeing his friends again was melting away. He actually felt happy.
"Guys, I want you to keep this quiet. I don't really want to announce my return just yet. As far as anyone knows, my name is James Black. Iwork at Ollivander's as his journeyman wand maker. I'll stop by once a week to visit, but don't send me any owls, ok?"
Fred and George nodded with enthusiasm. This was a prank to put all other to shame. So be it!
"Harry, we have a little surprise for you."
George unlocked a desk drawer and carefully unwrapped asmall item that had been swathed in cloth. He handed Harry a small wooden box. It was the size of a cigar humidor, and had an elaborate silver hinge and clasp. On the top was an inlaid sterling plate with the image of a Stag, Wolf and Dog all playing, surrounded by a wreath made from lilies.
"Sirius had us running around doing things for him since he couldn't leave headquarters to do it himself. To tell you the truth, we don't really know what's inside either. We just delivered sealed letters to various people and then this showed up by owl delivery a few days after you.... well... disappeared. The note with it was from Sirius. He wanted us to give this to you on your birthday, from him."
Harry sat dumbstruck. His eyes filled and tears were flowing freely down his cheeks. Fred and George squatted down and enveloped him in aWeasley hug. After a few moments they leaned back. Harry could see the unshed tears in the brother's eyes. Small sad grins were all that anyone could muster.
Harry knuckled his eyes. With a snort, he craned his head around to try to check his back. With a grin he said, "Always have to be careful around you two." That was enough to set all three of them laughing again.
Harry glanced at the clock on the wall, and realized he had been in the shop all afternoon. With a start, he jumped up and started towards the door to the front of the shop.
"I have to get back and help close up the shop! I'll be back next week, maybe a little earlier. You guys... Thanks. You're one of the few things in my life that I know I can depend on." With a quick grin, he closed the door behind him.
George and Fred sat down on their chairs. After about ten seconds of looking at each other and trying to stifle the grins they burst out laughing.
"How long do you think before he realizes the seat of his pants is invisible?"
"I give it about ten minutes. Maybe fifteen! Mr. Ollivander can be a real hoot sometimes. You know those wands that turn into rubber chickens? He's the one who suggested it to me!"
In the front, the salesman and counter attendant both rushed to close the shop. When the twins laughed like that, it was always a good thing to be out of sight.
Lucius Malfoy had been summoned to the Dark Lord. Voldemort had been quiet of late, many of his commands coming through Bella. Malfoy's face turned up into a sneer. He would show them, they would all cry out in pain as he crucio'd them after he brought Potter to the Dark Lord. Now if he could just find him!
He approached the inner sanctum. Pausing for a moment to collect his thoughts, he mentally prepared for the meeting. A slight twitch brought his clothes into perfect alignment. He strode into the chamber wearing his haughtiness like a mantle.
A fully robed figure, with the cowl pulled up sat in the throne. The Dark Lord's face was hidden in the shadow of his robes. Lucius dropped to his knees in front of the figure. Keeping his eyes down, he spoke.
"I come as you summoned. What does my lord wish of me?"
"Lucius... I want you to use your ministry connections and investigate an incident that happened at Gringotts a while ago. Get all the information you can. Specifically who was involved, and where they are now. Also, send young Draco to take care of the wandmaker. He's been a thorn in my side for too long."
"As you wish, My Lord." Malfoy stood and had begun to back away from the Dark Lord.
"And Lucius... Find where the mudblood Granger has been hiding. She's left Hogwarts and is no longer protected by the wards. We have some unfinished business. Now go. And be quick about your tasks!"
Lucius strode from the hall, his mind whirling as he tried to discover a way to manipulate this new turn to his advantage.
Bill Weasley sat at his parent's table with his head in his hands. Molly had started into him as soon as he had shown up. As a testament to how upset she truly was, Molly Weasley had burned supper for the first time in her life. She was hurriedly putting together something to replace the charcoal bricks that used to be chicken legs as she shouted.
"Honestly! I don't know what we did wrong in raising you, but you should have called us as soon as you heard from Harry! Arthur only just found out when he got home, and I'm afraid what Ginny will do when she finds out! And why can't we go and get poor Harry?! From what I can tell in his letter, he needs someone who loves him now, not to soak in his own misery!"
Bill sighed and allowed his mother to reach the crescendo of her tirade. His father sat at the end of the table, his eyes alight and a small grin playing across his face as he watched Molly dash from stove to table. Bill glared and mouthed, "Help me!" at his father.
"Now Molly. Bill was doing what Harry asked. As hard as it is to get it through our heads, Harry is no longer a boy. He's a man, and has the right to privacy. If you want to write him, wait until Hedwig comes again. Bill said Harry will write again soon. Use your persuasiveness to get him to come to the Burrow."
Molly stopped her headlong rush around the kitchen and frowned in thought. Her face lit in sudden inspiration.
"Bill... you and Fleur will come to the Burrow for your birthday supper. When we send Harry an invitation, I doubt he will refuse. Just to make sure..... Yes. Hermione also!"
Bill just sighed and furiously thought how he was going to break it to his wife that they would not be going to The Blakes Restaurant. Gringotts had managed to get him reservations as part of his reward for the good review he had. Normally it was a six month wait. Maybe he could trade them for a favor from a co-worker...
Harry sighed as he took off his coat. The weather had been holding, but it looked like the light snow would soon turn to sleet, and fill the streets with slush. He examined his shoes and made a resolution to find some winter galoshes soon.
After he had warmed up a bit, and fed Hedwig, Harry sat at his small desk. The box that the twins had given him had been like a ten ton weight in his pocket. His mind had been running through what could be in it since he had left WWW. He sat staring at the etching on the lid for several minutes. Rubbing his eyes, he sighed.
The box had been made from cherry, and seemed to be all one piece, as there were no joins at the corners. The silver hinge and clasp had no keyhole. Harry knew he would have to figure out the keyword or wand movement to open it. Sitting back, he thought. Sirius would have used something that was easy to remember, but hard to guess.
"I solemnly swear I am up to no good!"
Harry sat blinking at the inanimate box for several seconds. With a snort he started to laugh. Sirius was always a prankster. Even to the last. Harry sat back and fell into deep thought. As he looked at the top of the box, he saw something he had failed to notice before. A hippogriff etched into each of the corners of the Lily wreath, as if to be holding it aloft. On the back of the hippogriffs were two riders, a boy and girl. Harry smiled in remembrance of that wild ride.
Hermione had screamed the entire way, while Harry had felt invigorated. When Sirius had left, Harry had stood there waving until the speck disappeared into the sky. Harry wiped an errant tear from his cheek, and sat forward.
The etching on the silver plate seemed to flow for a moment, and the picture came to life. With a small click, the latch popped open. Harry lifted the lid and looked in the box. There were several things, as the inside of the box was quite a bit larger than would appear. On the top was a small envelope that had only his name written on the front. Harry opened it and started to read.
Happy Birthday, pup! I can't believe you're growing up so fast. It's a good thing we had the "Little Wizards" talk a few months ago, isn't it? All kidding aside, you've grown into a young man that your parents would be proud of. I know I am.
Now, on to the good stuff! Presents! This box contains afew of the things that I believe you will need over the next few years. Your father and I discussed many times what we would have liked to have when we first moved away on our own. In accordance to his wishes (and a reluctant Lilly!), here they are:
- A set of dress robes with a built in sizing and cooling charms. One can never know when one will have to sit through some stuffy job interview, or need to look slick for the ladies. I also added a lifetime guarantee cleaning charm.
- The Marauder's Manual. James, Remus and I put this together over the years at Hogwarts. Some of it is diary, some spellbook, and the rest ideas for pranks. It's your legacy, use it wisely!
- The Compleat Booke of Householde Spells. Chock full of domestic cantrips and charms to make life as a bachelor comfortable! Lilly almost hexed us into oblivion when we suggested getting the adult version. Uh... you may want to check out page 235 before you have any witches over to your place. Just asuggestion.
- A onetime use, return portkey to the most romantic place on earth. James took Lilly here for their honeymoon. Even I don't know where it is, because Lilly wouldn't tell me!
I've added two more things to the box. The first one is aBlack family relic: A feather from a Thunderbird. As they have been extinct since the time of Merlin, it is without value. It's said to have special powers, but all I've ever been able to do with it is hold it and hear thunder rolling like it does through the clouds. Maybe you can do something more with it.
The second thing I've added is a Gringotts' key for aspecial vault. It's a purser's vault, so don't lose the key! Anyone who has the key can access and withdraw anything in the vault. It's the only kind I could open for you without actually going down to the bank in person. I suggest you lose your Order tail, and check out the vault when you can.
Harry, you are the only thing in my life that is good. You're the last link to the best friend I've ever had, and the son I wish Ihad. I am proud of you and who you've become. I know you would have made both James and Lilly so proud they would burst. I can almost hear James yelling,"That's my boy!" even now.
Harry pulled out the items and looked at each one. The robes were simple, yet classy. The dark material had an almost shiny texture to them. He carefully folded them and placed them to the side. The Marauder's manual was a sheaf of papers and notes, all held together with some twine. The spine was broken, and small doodles and Snape caricatures graced the front and back cover.
The other book was so new that when Harry opened it, he could hear the spine cracking. He set it aside and looked into the bottom of the box. Three items rested inside of it still. A small gold and silver Gringotts key, a small bronze ring, and a metallic looking feather. Harry could feel the power rolling off the feather as he picked it up. Twirling it in his fingers, he could feel the rumble of thunder in his mind.
Harry carefully packed all of the items back into the box, except the feather. There was something that he half remembered, but couldn't quite get the thought to form. Trying to dredge the thought from his memory, he relaxed and visualized the magic flows around the feather.
The Thunderbird feather was surrounded by a glowing nimbus of power. There was no cord trailing up to the ley lines above Diagon Alley. It was almost as if it was a source of magic all on its own! Harry pulled down Ollivander's book, /Wood, Wands, Wisdom and You/, and flipped to the chapter on cores. He had read through the chapter a few times trying to understand some of the arithmancy. After about a third, it had gotten to be too in-depth for him to understand. He had hoped to get Hermione to decipher some of it for him next time they visited.
He found the small footnote he had been looking for near the end of the core material chapter.
Some core material will not fall within these equations. The beasts that they are harvested from provide a link directly to magic on their own. Few wizards can use these types of cores, as they need to have astrong will, and a deep magical strength to provide the guiding channels for the magic to flow along. Basilisk Tooth, Phoenix feather, Snorkack Hair, and Thunderbird feathers are the only ones known. As three of the four beasts are extinct, and phoenixes rarely donate a feather for this purpose, it is considered a wandmaker's masterwork to work with any of these materials. Successfully manipulating the core into a functioning wand takes skill and focus that often only come after years of practice.
Harry knew immediately that he was going to put aThunderbird feather core into his bloodwood wand. The wood had been difficult to split. Ollivander had merely nodded sagely and warned him bloodwood was extremely hard to work with due to its density, and inherent magical qualities. Harry had taken it as a challenge. The grain had been incredibly dense, complex, and didn't seem to like the feel of the cold steel from the chisel. The only time it had had any magical life to it at all had been during the late season thunderstorm that had raged through London a few months back. The wood had come alive and almost seemed to vibrate in the vise. Harry had finally spilt the dowel that night. When he had mentioned it to Ollivander, the old shopkeeper had looked at him with a grin on his face, and nodded.
"I've been trying to shape that particular piece of wood for years. In my youth, I found the tree that I pulled that piece of wood from. Iwas travelling through Mexico, and had stopped in a nearby jungle to help put out a fire. It had been hit by lightning the night before, and laid on the jungle floor. The tree had been king of that patch of jungle until that night. It had known power, and power brought it down. Nature demands we close the circle. In order to keep the magic strong, it would have to be remade with power. To this day, I haven't found a core that would do it justice, so I left it alone. Who knows... maybe you will do great things with it, Mr. Black?"
Molly looked up from the bread she was kneading at the tapping sound coming from the kitchen window. She opened the window with a wave of her wand and Hedwig flew in to land on the table.
"Hedwig! You look well! And how is Harry? Are you taking care of him?"
The snowy owl huffed and grumbled in reply then stuck her leg out to allow Molly to remove the letter that was attached.
I would be honored to attend Bill's birthday. I am looking forward to seeing you all again. I have to say my mouth is absolutely watering at the thought of one of your home made meals! I must decline your offer to stay at the Burrow, as I have a job that I must attend the next morning.
I need to ask you one favor, please. I am still dealing with some things that happened while I was gone. I may or may not be able to speak about them. Please do not press me for anymore than I can give.
I look forward to seeing you all again!
"Please wait for a few moments. I have a reply I want to send back with you." Molly hurried over to the fireplace mantle and quickly prepared the roll of parchment that contained letters from her family to Harry. With a wand flick, the roll shrank and attached to Hedwig's leg. "There we go, love. Make sure Harry reads them right away!" With a bob of her head, Hedwig launched herself through the window and rose into the air.
Molly smiled at the majestic sight. Hedwig and Harry were meant for each other. Everything they did was graceful and filled with thought. Molly looked back at the counter and rushed to prevent the rolling pin from picking a fight with the carving knife again.
Harry was sitting in the Leaky Cauldron having some lunch. He usually ate there once a week. He would have come more often, but his budget only allowed for one meal a week. Today's special was Sheppard's Pie, a heel of fresh bread, and a glass of butterbeer. Harry was about halfway through the meal when a commotion near the entrance to the Alley caught his attention.
"Fire! Death Eaters are starting fires along the alley!"
Harry dropped his glass and scrambled towards the Alley entrance. He tried to push his way through the stream of witches and wizards that were scrambling to get away from the attack. The fleeing people were elbowing and kicking him as he pressed through. Several times, he thought he was going to fall beneath the tide of humanity, but just managed to hold on. He had to get to the shop and make sure the fire suppression charms were armed. The wood in the wands would shortly become a raging magical inferno if he wasn't there to feed power into the wards!
Ezekial was riding just below the surface. He had felt the fear surge up in Harry and was calmly monitoring the situation. Harry's response to the danger was a beginning. Up until a short time ago, he would have retreated within his mental shell. Ezekial spread out magical feelers to"taste" the spells that were being thrown around the Alley. Most of them seemed to be of some sort of destructive nature or another. He could sense something that was familiar... They were cold, and had a vague draining sensation to them...Dementors!Fury boiled up through Ezekial and flushed into Harry's chest.
Harry felt the cold aura of a dementor. His breath fogged in front of his face. The flood of people from the Alley had stopped as everyone froze in their tracks and cowered on the floor. The dementor's aura was debilitating. All Harry could feel was a raging fire burning in his chest. The heat of the righteous anger warmed him so that the drain from the dementors could barely be felt.
Harry burst from the entrance to the Alley. He could see several people hiding in the corners of shop entrances. They were trembling in paralyzed fear of the Death Eaters and dementors farther down the Alley. Several shops had the orange glow of a growing fire in their windows. Harry ran down the alley towards the wand shop. As he turned a corner, he skidded to astop. In front of him was a pair of Death Eaters in full costume, tormenting ayoung witch with her beaux. The wizard had been spelled with a Petrificus Totalus, and was being forced to watch as his girlfriend was being put under Crucio. A dementor hovered nearby, waiting for the two to finish so that it could dine on the witless woman.
Ezekial's and Harry's rage howled together like two werewolves closing in on their prey. The whirlwind of anger that flowed through their two consciousnesses snapped everything into a bright focus. As Harry passed the reins of his magic to Ezekial, he dropped into a deep concentration. A phrase that he had read several days before in Ollivander's book suddenly sprang to his mind.
Magic has always been referred to as a living thing. Many wizards and witches make lip service to this, but do not truly believe it. Wands choose the wielder. An animagus turns into the animal that matches his inner beast. The patronus represents the embodiment of the positive thoughts of a caster. Call it God, or Gaia, but magic will follow its own path, and we as magic users are ultimately at its beck and call. The lucky, or unlucky as the case may be, caster to be called upon to be the channel for magic can expect extraordinary things to happen, for good or evil.
Ezekial snapped shunts to the ley lines above filling Harry's magical core in moments. After anchoring a grounding shunt to the earth, he gathered some power and held it in Harry's eyes, ready for use. Harry took two bounding steps towards the two masked and coweled people before him. With a primordial scream that carried all of his rage and fear, he struck the man holding the Crucio spell on the young witch. The second turned and saw what appeared to be an avenging angel descending upon him, its blazing eyes full of the fury of the heavens.
The dementor surged forward to snatch the morsel that had just entered the fray. The power that was pouring off of the wizard would satiate the creature for days once it had given him the kiss. Ezekial pulled control for moments from Harry to yell out, "Expecto Patronum!"
Silver mist flowed from his body, almost like sweat boiling away to form into an intense silver aura. Flaring out, looking almost like wings framing his shoulder and head, an incandescent silver stag seemed to leap from above Harry. The solid form of the spell reared and struck at the dementor with its hooves. With a shriek, the dementor heaved away. The stag thrust its antlers into the body of the beast and raised it above its head to gore the unholy creature.
Harry's arms and legs moved from one position to the next in a deadly dance. As he struck the two death eaters, pulses of magic intensified the strikes with bone breaking hexes and blasting curses. The magical ley lines that connected the wizards to their wands were flowing with spells that they tried to cast. Ezekial countered them or turned them aside; manipulating the ley lines like a spider would its web. Within moments, the two Death Eaters had been broken and beaten to unconsciousness. Harry's breathing was slow and deep.
A voice rang down the Alley, "And what do we have here?"
Harry turned towards the familiar voice. His eyes had to be deceiving him. Malfoy? Draco had been the furthest thing from his mind for the past 10 years, and now he was here, dressed in a death eater robe, his mask in his hand.
"You've made a mistake, whoever you are. Once I take you to the Dark Lord, you will know only pain! Imperio!"
Harry felt a cotton veil settle over his mind. As he gathered his will to break free he felt the dark presence of Ezekial with him. A slight calming tendril encircled him. "Let the stuck up prig dance his victory dance. Striking while he is unaware will make the task easier. Keep your guard up, but wait until my signal to attack." Harry sent an assent and relaxed slightly.
Draco Malfoy looked at the wizard in front of him. He had seen the dementors fleeing from a silvery patronus, but the spell had faded enough that he had been unable to identify the animal shape it had taken. It had been many years since someone had fought back against the death eaters, and he had to teach this one a lesson. He glanced at the two death eater recruits that lay on the ground. It was quite obvious they would need several days in amedical ward to be of use again.
"I'm sure my Lord Voldemort will appreciate your screams as he tortures the answers he will want out of you. Follow me. I have one last stop to make before we leave." With that, Draco turned on his heel and strode down the alley.
Harry watched as they progressed down the alley. Several shops had some charring on their fronts, but nothing that a few well placed spells and a bit of new wood wouldn't fix. They approached the bank. Shimmering shields were in place to prevent anyone from entering or exiting the goblin stronghold. Draco swung towards the wand shop. He entered the door, causing the small bell to ring as he opened the door. Ollivander strode out from the back of his shop brushing wood dust from his clothes. As he looked up he stopped in mid step. Draco's wand was pointed at the old shopkeeper.
"Ah. Hawthorne, ten inches. Unicorn hair core. Mister Malfoy, what can I do for you?"
"Unflappable as always, Ollivander. But this time I think you should be a little more worried. You were warned to stop providing wands to mudbloods. The aurors will not be coming to save you or your shop. I have you at wand point, and there is nothing that will save you from death."
Ezekial urged Harry to break the imperio spell holding him prisoner. He shuffled a bit to position himself into Ollivander's view. Harry threw a wink at the shopkeeper.
Ollivander smiled at Draco. "I am afraid, young Malfoy, that you are at a disadvantage. From what I have heard, you've been disadvantaged since birth. Sadly, there's nothing a lowly wandmaker like myself can do to fix that."
Draco's face lost all color as his anger built. He drew in abreath and started a spell.
Ezekial struck suddenly and without thought. The sickly green spell threads were pulled into a power shunt to the ground as they formed. Weaving the energy around the old shopkeeper without allowing it to come in contact with him was almost too much for both Harry and Ezekial to control. An eerie green atmosphere snaked around Ollivander as they struggled to control the flows. The backlash of power flowed back up the line and into Malfoy's wand. As fast as a candle can be blown out, the energy shattered the core and encasing wood. Draco's hand was blown off at the elbow in the resulting discharge. His eyes wide, he sat back on the ground staring at his arm as the blood pooled beneath him. His eyes rolled up into his head and he passed out.
Ollivander pulled his wand out and cauterized the wound to stop the bleeding. He pulled open the drawer in the front desk and lifted out aroll of ribbon. Cutting off a piece, he tied it around Draco's arm above the injury. He finished the knot and tapped it with his wand. Draco disappeared as the portkey pulled him off to wherever its destination was.
Harry was gob smacked! "Where did he go?! Why did you do that?"
"James. I am a wandmaker. Not a healer. He is at St. Mungo's getting his stump treated. As to why, if I were to allow the aurors to arrest him and put him into Azkaban, it would only be a few short hours before his father had sent him home and he was back to try again. This way he will be wary of returning. He doesn't know how I defeated him. His master will no doubt continue to be cowed by my apparent power."
Harry sputtered for a few moments. His mouth opened and closed as he tried to form a coherent thought. All he could hear from Ezekial was a deep laugh. As his thoughts calmed, Ollivander sat calmly watching him. Finally, Ezekial spoke to Harry.
"I like him. He has the heart of a Slytherin, the bravery of a Gryffindor, smart like a Ravenclaw, and honest like a Hufflepuff! Malfoy won't come near this store for a long time to come. He's pretty much guaranteed this as a safe zone."
Harry sighed and wiped his forehead. "What's with the ribbon, anyway?"
Ollivander grimaced. "Let's just say I had some troubles matching people to their correct wands when I first started. Some had.... A bad reaction."
Ollivander gave him a shove. "Now, get up! We have work to do! Shops to repair! People to help! Wands to repair! Let's go! I don't pay you to sit!"
I realize it's been a long, long time since my last update. Summer is filled with home renovations, and other outside stuff that is hard to do at -40 degrees. I've been busy with that kind of stuff. Just so you know. I will not abandon this story, or any others I make. I may be slow.. or missing for a while, but I will always come back!
Thank you for all the reviews so far! Please, keep them coming!