The Last Battle has been fought, and Harry Potter has won. The price, however, has been high. Nearly every person Harry cared for is dead, maimed, or otherwise injured. The magical culture of ...
Saturday, June 23, 1990
"So it's really possible, Dumbledore?" Moody asked again. No one else said anything, because the small group was too shocked to say anything. Besides the Headmaster and Moody, Aberforth Dumbledore, Remus Lupin and Dedalus Diggle were present at the early morning meeting.
"Well, I am certain of several things," Dumbledore answered. "First, a check of the monitors on the house on Privet Drive did not record anything unusual until a short time after dawn two days ago. There was some sort of burst of magical energy, but it was like an afterglow of a powerful spell. This coincides as best we can tell to the death of Laurel Lovegood. A few moments later, a more conventional spell was cast. The best estimate is, I would say, that it was a wandless summoning spell."
"As if Harry were testing to see if he had his magic?" Remus suggested.
"Exactly." Dumbledore turned to his brother, who was not nearly as powerful as Albus himself, but who had a knack of knowing the few obscure types of magic which his brother did not.
"If anyone could send Potter's mind and magic back eight years, it was Laurel," Aberforth stated. "I don't know how she could have done it, but I am not surprised that it took her sacrifice to do so."
"It's a shame the backlash took the daughter, too," Diggle remarked. "I don't think Lovegood will be the same."
"I don't think the backlash took the girl," Aberforth said. "I think Laurel set up the conditions, and the girl performed the spell in the future."
"She was a child!" Remus objected.
"If the final battle took place when Harry said it will, she was a Sixth year, over the age of seventeen," Aberforth pointed out. "Perhaps we should inform him and see his reaction?"
"Perhaps," Albus agreed.
"Has the boy shown any other magic?" Moody asked. "If so, is he controlling himself?"
"He is controlling himself," Dumbledore answered. His lips quirked. "He did mention that he needed to borrow ten pounds from Mrs. Figg for lunches, because his aunt would only feed him a stale sardine on bad lettuce the next two evenings, which she did."
"How much of this abusive behavior did you know about before this, Dumbledore?" Remus demanded. "No child should live in that type of environment. I'm surprised the Muggle authorities were never called. . . ." Remus was observing Dumbledore closely. He was shocked to realize, ". . . they were called in, weren't they?"
Dumbledore nodded. "They were and we stopped the investigations. On the other hand, there have been six attempts at magical kidnaping since Harry arrived as an infant, the last, I admit, three years ago. If Harry is what he says he now is, we might allow him to live with the two of you. Even though his living conditions were far from normal, let alone ideal, it was better than his death."
"Why me, I wonder," Moody mused.
"Well, if he knows me, he likely knows of my condition," Remus pointed out, only slightly embarrassed. "He would know he couldn't just live with me because of that. His new condition must be kept secret, and the Ministry would not allow me to have formal custody."
"You may be right, but what I wonder is why he even asked for us, since he must be friends with Arthur's children," Diggle said. The group pondered this for a few moments, and then Remus slapped his head.
"What?" Aberforth asked.
"Even if Harry became best friends with the youngest boy. . . ."
"Ronald," Dumbledore provided.
"Yes. And isn't there a daughter about the same age?"
"Ginevra, a year younger," Dumbledore agreed.
"Let's say they even dated in his future. Right now, they are children, and Harry is a young man in a child's body."
"So, perhaps the question should be, why would he want to go to the Weasleys at all at this point?" Moody suggested.
"It doesn't matter," Remus said. "We'll figure it out later. Look, I'm willing to live with Harry. What about you, Moody?"
"Aye, I'm willing, but where would we live? My place isn't that safe."
"We have a small place," Aberforth said. "Only the five of us, and Harry, would know where it is."
"Aberforth will go ahead and prepare it. I shall fetch Harry," Albus said. "We shall put it under the Fidelius, after consulting with Harry over the secret keeper. Aberforth and I cannot disappear with any regularity. Dedalus, you shall be the contact person."
"Honored," Diggle replied.
In the gathering dusk of the late summer's day, Petunia Dursley sat looking out her kitchen window, a small pair of opera glasses surveying one of her neighbors planting a rose bush at the wrong time of year.
A knock on the front door made the opera glasses come down and the frown on her face deepen. "Keep at the dishes, boy," Petunia ordered.
"Yes, Aunt Petunia." Petunia glared at the boy as she passed by her nephew. There was something very different about him these past few days, and she did NOT like the change.
She liked what she saw at the front door even less, and was very glad that the front of the house was in shadows, so that the neighbors could not see.
Dumbledore had taken care in his dress, not because he was worried about the neighbors, for he was disillusioned from their eyes until Petunia opened the front door. He had worn his best Muggle suit to cater to her sensibilities. Unfortunately, it had been purchased in the 1890s and was both of the style of the period and of a pronounced check pattern that had only been in style for country-wear for a few years.
"Mrs. Dursley? I am Albus Dumbledore. You may be pleased to learn that I am here to take Harry away with me a year early."
Petunia was torn. She didn't like the boy, or want him in her home. On the other hand, she felt obligated to try and stop this magic nonsense if she could. "Why?" she prevaricated.
"Because I don't want to stay here unless I can practice my magic," came the small voice behind her.
Petunia twirled around, almost screaming, "You be silent, you fre. . . ." Petunia went mute, and her eyes went wide and her hands flew to her mouth and throat.
"Harry!" Dumbledore scolded. "Stop that!"
Harry's index finger twitched. "I have nothing to take with me," Harry stated. "Did you bring the things I asked for?"
Dumbledore nodded and held out a small package. Harry elbowed past the shocked Petunia and took the package.
"Thank you. Excuse me while I change in my 'room'," Harry spat. He went into the cupboard under the stairs and came out a few minutes later, dressed in what to Petunia looked like a dressing gown but was actually a work robe. "I am ready, Professor," Harry stated. "Where are we apparating to?"
"YOU are not apparating anywhere," Dumbledore reproved. "In any event, it is best we do not mention the location."
Harry shrugged. "Goodbye, Aunt Petunia," Harry said. "Have a wonderful life." He grinned nastily. "I hope, if Dudders ever manages to have kids, they're all witches!"
At that, with a small 'pop', the pair disappeared.
"But what do I tell the neighbors?" Petunia whispered to herself. Then another thought came to her. What would she tell the school, and any authorities the school sent after the Boy?
"This is . . . quaint," Harry said.
"Well," Dumbledore said, looking at the large cottage, "it was quite up to date in 1890."
"No offense, but does it at least have indoor plumbing?"
"It does, and it has five bedrooms. My brother . . . do you know my brother?"
"Not very well," Harry answered. "He rather went into seclusion after your murder."
"Yes, we will talk about that over the next year," Dumbledore said. "My brother and I will be in and out, and we may be using our old rooms. I am uncertain as to what arrangements Alastor and Remus may have made."
"I assume you'll be trying the Fidelius," Harry said.
"Err, yes. Do you have a preference for the secret keeper?"
"Who will be in on this?" Harry asked.
"Myself, my brother, you, Alastor, Remus, and Dedalus Diggle. He. . . ."
"I know him," Harry answered. He smiled. "He ran into me a few times, before Hagrid delivered my Hogwarts letter, and then I met him at the Leaky Cauldron on my eleventh birthday. He also was in on the rescue of me when I left the Dursleys before my Fifth year." The smile faded. "We're going to have to have some hard discussions, Professor. I appreciate that this isn't going to be easy on you."
"Do you have a preference?" Dumbledore again asked.
"Not really, but I expect to be consulted before anyone is added to the group," Harry answered. "I assume Diggle's job will be to act as the liaison between us and you?"
"Yes. Neither my brother nor I can get here often, and I really want at least one person here with you at all times."
"I see," Harry said distrustfully. "How much of the grounds will be covered?"
"Because I want a good broom and the space to fly," Harry answered.
"I see. We'll do what we can."
"You know, if you don't want me to be the secret keeper, I suggest Mad-eye," Harry suggested slyly. He knew that would keep the number of people who knew his location low.
"Very well," Dumbledore agreed, surprised. "We need to do that first. Did you have dinner?"
"I had half a tin of tomato soup," Harry retorted. "I don't really consider that much of a dinner."
"Nor would I," Dumbledore agreed. "Fine. First the Fidelius, then dinner, then we talk."
"Where should we start our talk?" Dumbledore asked after dinner.
"You seem to have something you don't want to tell me," Harry told Dumbledore.
"How can you tell?" Aberforth asked.
"I have six years of experience watching him avoid answering questions," Harry answered.
"Six?" Remus asked. "I thought you went through all seven years at Hogwarts?"
"We can talk about that later. . . ."
"I know the detail you want left out, and I will leave it out . . . for the moment," Harry interrupted. "Still, I should say that the Headmaster was murdered near the very end of term at the end of my Sixth year. That is why I said six years, not seven." Harry turned to Aberforth. "You were killed in an attack on Hogsmeade the December of my Seventh year. You might be pleased to note that your obituary made no mention of goats." Aberforth flushed, and Harry turned to Diggle. "You died in an attack on Diagon Alley a few weeks later." He moved on to Moody. "You were stunned and kept in the trunk of a Death Eater for ten months during my Fourth year, and you were dying from being hexed during the last battle when I was sent back." He turned to Remus. "You were alive the last I knew, but your wife died in the last battle."
"You married in a Muggle registry office right before that last Christmas. I was there. It was a rare happy moment." Harry grimaced. "I probably shouldn't tell you who she is, since you didn't start the relationship until just after the Headmaster's murder, although she'd been after you for over a year."
Remus was stunned. Moody, however, was outraged. "I was kept in a bloody TRUNK!" he finally burst out after failing to contain himself any longer.
"You were. It was a magical multi-compartment trunk, and it was yours I believe." Moody knew which one it was, and vowed to add safeguards to the compartments. "You were supposed to be our Defense teacher that year. You were stunned by two Death Eaters the night before the Autumn term started." Harry again gave the grim smile the group had already seen more than once. It looked very odd on the face of an almost ten-year-old. "I was at the Burrow. Amos Diggory firecalled that morning, asking Mister Weasley to come help get you out of trouble, because your trash cans had made such a racket that the Ministry had been called in."
The group was silent. Harry turned back to Dumbledore. "What do you have to tell me?"
"Laurel Lovegood died, as you seem to have known." Harry nodded. The entire group looked at Harry closely, which clued him that there was bad news coming. "Her daughter died as well."
Harry stood in outrage. "NO! She promised me she would be alright in this life! No!" Harry did not quite collapse, but to the amazement of the group, Harry pulled himself together. The way he did so again reminded the group that Harry was not the just-shy-of-ten he looked, but a prematurely seasoned warrior. "Please excuse me for a few minutes."
"We can do this in the morning. . . ." Remus suggested.
"You won't think so when I'm done," Harry said, and he stepped from the room.
Harry walked out to the front porch and lost a few tears, but not many. "Thank you, Luna," Harry whispered. "I think I could have loved you." He added silently, 'And if I screw this up, I hope that letter of instructions comes to me.'
Harry came back to the parlor ten minutes after he left. "Right. Mister Diggle, if I remember correctly, you are a magical solicitor?"
"I am, my boy, and I have worked with Muggles as well."
"Well, some of the things I'm about to tell you are going to present legal and especially political problems," Harry said. He sat. "First of all, Sirius Black was not my parents' Secret Keeper."
The group sat stunned.
"My father, Sirius, and Pettigrew became illegal. . . ."
"Harry!" Remus protested.
"No secrets," Harry retorted. "They became illegal animagi, so they could help Remus here. My father became a stag, called Prongs. Sirius is a grim-like dog, called Padfoot. Pettigrew is a rat, named Wormtail."
"Pettigrew is dead," Dumbledore stated.
"Pettigrew is at Hogwarts right now," Harry retorted.
"Where?" Remus demanded. "How?"
"Sirius had the stupid idea of a bluff, substituting Wormtail for himself as the secret keeper. Pettigrew had been working for Voldemort for months. Sirius hunted Pettigrew down, but Pettigrew sliced off a finger and sent a hex into a gas line, blowing up the street. Sirius went hysterical and Pettigrew escaped, finding his way to the Ministry. There he was picked up by a five-year-old Percy Weasley, and he's been Percy's pet ever since. His rat Scabbers is at Hogwarts right now. Sirius is innocent. He recognized a photo of Wormtail on Percy's shoulder that was in The Daily Prophet and escaped Azkaban before the start of my Third year. He was able to do this, and stay sane, because he spends most of his time as Padfoot."
Harry turned to Dumbledore. "Your first task is to figure out how to expose Scabbers as Peter Pettigrew and get Sirius freed. You have until Friday, when the students leave Hogwarts. After that, it might be more difficult."
"I must admit, I never expected that!" Remus said. Dumbledore was even more shocked.
"Oh, things have been much more mismanaged than that!" Harry replied, with a dirty look at Dumbledore. He liked and respected the Headmaster, but he was not going to let him off the hook. He turned to Moody. "Pettigrew was one of two supposedly dead Death Eaters to captured you."
"And who was the other?" Moody demanded.
"Barty Crouch Junior."
"WHAT!" all five men shouted.
"His mother begged her husband to save their son," Harry said. "She was dying. They visited their son, bringing along a large supply of Polyjuice. Mother stayed and died looking like Junior. Junior has been held at the Crouch house ever since, looked after by a house elf named Winky. Now getting to HIM will be a lot more difficult than getting to Wormtail."
"To say the least," Aberforth agreed. Barty Crouch was still a power within the Ministry.
"I take it Mrs. Crouch is already dead?" Harry asked.
"Barty Junior was reported dead over eight years ago," Dumbledore agreed. "What else?"
"Your current Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, succumbing to the curse Voldemort put on the position which stops anyone from serving two consecutive years, is about to travel to eastern Europe, correct?"
"Correct," Dumbledore agreed.
"He will run into the disembodied Voldemort and agree to be possessed. You, for some reason, will bring the Philosopher's Stone your friend Nicolas Flamel has to Hogwarts. I will kill Quirrell and drive Voldemort back to Albania for a few years." Harry shook his head. "Well, I suppose, since I'm here and I've told you all that, that might not happen now. And I should also tell you at some point about Lucius Malfoy unleashing an avatar of the sixteen-year-old Voldemort, born Tom Marvolo Riddle, on the school my Second year, who possessed an innocent First year who was made to bring back the monster from the Chamber of Secrets. After all, it was Riddle using the basilisk who was responsible for killing Myrtle, the bathroom ghost, back in 1941, not Hagrid. And, by-the-way, you also invited another ex-Death Eater to bring his students to the Tri-Wizard Tournament my Fourth year; you also appointed Gilderoy Lockhart, who it will turn out gained his reputation by superior use of Memory Spells on those who actually did the things he's written about, as Defense teacher one year and your own murderer to the position in another. . . ."
"Yes, Harry, I think we can put all that off," Dumbledore begged. "We have a lot to think about."
"And think about how much this was your fault," Harry stated. He stood. "Since I still have a child's body, I need my sleep. Good night." Harry left.
"Well, I can see why he didn't tell this to you before we were together," Diggle said.
"We need to think out our approach of Pettigrew very carefully," Dumbledore said. "He will likely claim he fled in fear after Sirius attacked him. Crouch will be appalled that he could have been at fault, and may fight Pettigrew being interrogated under truth potions."
"So we might have to wait and take down Crouch first," Aberforth mused.
"No!" Remus protested. "Sirius has been in Azkaban too long as it is!"
The arguments went on for hours.
In his new bedroom, Harry Potter cried himself to sleep, mourning an odd little girl who would never grow up to be his friend.