Harry finds out a few things and Voldemort gets a headache.
Disclaimer: I own nothing of the Harry Potter Universe and I make no money from writing about J.K.R.'s characters. Pity, that...
/ Parseltongue /
Thoughts & Mindspeech
AN: Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed this story. I really appreciate your feedback!
"...But seduction isn't making someone do what they don't want to do. Seduction is enticing someone into doing what they secretly want to do already."
- Waiter Rant
July 5th, # 4 Privet Drive,
Calming from his fit of temper, the only human magical resident of # 4 Privet Drive shot a resentful look at the pile of parchment that now served as much as a reminder of Dumbledore's many betrayals as it served to remind him of how little he knew of his parents. Harry pulled the Gringotts satchel towards him and reached in to find the correspondence Dobby had mentioned to him the previous evening. Instead of parchment, his hand encountered a soft cloth bag that felt like it was full of sticks.
Pulling out a plain brown pouch, Harry opened it and looked at its contents with wide eyes. Wands? His mind questioned. How did I get...oh.
"Yous is calling, Master Harry?"
"Yeah. Where did the wands come from? Please tell me you didn't take them from Ollivanders or some..."
"Oh, no, Master Harry! Dobby finds them in a junk shop and bought them so the Great Harry Potter would have a wand. It is not being safe, yous wand being gone."
Visibly relieved, Harry relaxed a bit and nodded his acceptance.
"I did say I needed a wand," he murmured quietly. "Thanks Dobby. I just had to be sure. Um, you didn't get them from a place like Borgin and Burkes, did you? That crate has enough dark stuff in it for me to go through..."
"The junk shop is way down off Knockturn Alley, Master. A little man with slanted eyes and funny accent sold them to me."
Amused by the idea that Dobby thought the clerk of the shop had a funny accent given his own eccentric way of speaking, Harry chuckled and nodded.
"Sounds fairly safe then, I guess."
"Is there anything else Dobby can be doing for yous?"
"N-Yes, there is something." A slightly vindictive, more than a little angry glint sparked to life in the young man's green, green eyes.
"Find my old wand and my invisibility cloak, but do not retrieve them. I don't want Dumbledore or whoever Obliviated me to know I remember what happened that day. I just want to know who has my things and where they're being kept."
The elf vanished with a sharp nod of understanding.
Alone yet again, Harry cautiously poured the wands out onto his bed and looked them over for obvious damage. One looked like someone had given it to a baby or small animal as a chew toy and another had a spiral fracture that ran from the base to the tip. He winced, but figured he'd give them a careful wave at least, just to make sure it wasn't a complete loss.
"Might as well do it the Ollivander way," he muttered and picked up the chewed one to give it a wave. The wand felt dead in his hand and he dropped it back in the bag. The next couple of wands were just as bad and he began to worry that he would have to send Dobby out to another shop to find some more wands. He had been very difficult to match at eleven, so why should he have any more luck now?
"Beautiful," he whispered, eyes and hands drawn to one wand in particular, it's glossy red surface and intricate gold and silver inlay a breath taking sight only to be rivalled or surpassed by the reaction his magic had when he picked it up.
"Merlin!" His gasp was punctuated by a shower of red, gold, green and silver sparks, his arm jerking from the nearly painful, burning surge of magic. "Oh, that's bloody perfect," he whispered and his new wand seemed to agree as his magic settled into place and waited patiently for him to call it forth.
Wanting to be certain that he had not overlooked an equally good match, Harry tried the last few wands, but none gave him any more of a reaction than the calm sense of warmth he had come to associate with his original holly and phoenix feather wand.
Putting the bag of wands away in his new trunk, he devoted himself to a brief study of the unusually shaped, red lacquered wand - instead of being round or even a bit more squared off, it was hexagonal, like a quartz crystal. He admired the gold and silver inlay for a moment and tucked the wand away from prying eyes. He had correspondence to tackle.
July 5th, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Focusing in on his master's original wand, Dobby popped in and felt the item nearby. He looked at the desk drawer where he knew the item in question sat before looking up as Albus Dumbledore looked down at him with a frown. Immediately shifting gears, the elf smiled cheerfully and bounced merrily.
"Would yous be liking some tea and treacle tart, Head Master Dumbleydore?"
Surprised by the mad little elf's sudden appearance, Albus frowned and studied the seemingly zoned out creature. He relented when the creature returned to its normal behaviour and offered him a snack.
"I think that would be delightful, Dobby. That's exactly what I need."
Vanishing to fetch the treat for the elderly wizard, Dobby forced himself to not gnash his teeth around one of the bad wizards who hurt his Master. If it would help his Master, he could wait to punish Dumbleydore. Delivering the tray to the Head Master with a happy bounce, he moved on to finding Harry's invisibility cloak.
Savouring the sweetness of his tart, Dumbledore looked over at the ornate perch near his desk and wondered where Fawkes was off to. It was surprising that he had not returned to at least visit since his Master's return from the Ministry. Shrugging it off as unimportant for the time being, he settled in to read the legislation he would be required to vote on at the next Wizengamot session.
Unnoticed from his position, the charred but recognizable remains of his letter to the Dursleys lay in the ash basin of his phoenix's perch.
July 5th, Somewhere in Knockturn Alley
Homing in on the invisibility cloak proved to be a bit more of a challenge than Dobby had originally anticipated. The target location kept changing right about the time that the little elf would get enough of a fix to be able to pop in. Finally, after a rather frustrating and stimulating hours long chase, Dobby managed to pop in behind the individual who was carrying Harry's cloak.
Senior Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt paused in a dark alcove to survey a section of Knockturn Alley where he had just been sent to investigate for Death Eater activity. After having to apparate all over London to do follow-up reports on the junior aurors under his command, he was truly grateful to actually be working.
He frowned and looked around, his well trained combat sense telling him he was being watched. Seeing nothing because he failed to look down, the auror simply shook the feeling off and went back to the business of looking out for Death Eaters.
Recognizing the tall, black auror even before he turned around, Dobby vanished. This was very disturbing news and he was not looking forward to sharing it with his Master. He hated to see the kind young wizard upset and this was going to do just that.
July 5th, # 4 Privet Drive
After managing to fish his mail out of the seemingly bottomless satchel, Harry moved himself to his desk where he had writing materials available in case he needed to compose a reply. Opening the first letter, he settled in and began to read.
Mr. Harry James Potter,
Having been recently notified of your inability to receive owl post, we at Gringotts must inquire as to the last date you were able to receive unimpeded correspondence so that any pertinent reports or requests can be forwarded to you via your Gringotts Mail Pouch.
Please reply at your earliest convenience so that I can begin processing your mail.
Potter Estate Account Manager,
Contemplating that short but direct letter, the young wizard decided to be just as direct. Searching his memory, he found no recollections of having received any mail from Gringotts. He wasn't sure if he was supposed to have received any prior to these letters, so he decided to play it safe in his reply.
Thank you for the offer to update me on any missed Gringotts correspondence. Unfortunately, as your letters are the first correspondence I have ever received from the Goblins, I am uncertain where you would need to start.
I assume that my account statement covers the important points, but if there is more I need to be aware of, please send it to me when it is convenient to do so.
Still in your debt,
Harry James Potter
Harry opened the next letter from Gringotts and had tears running down his face when he contemplated the fact that the reading of Sirius' will made it real - it meant he wasn't coming back.
...We offer our sincere condolences for the loss of your Godfather and guardian, Sirius Orion Black...
The goblins wouldn't allow the will to be read if they weren't somehow completely certain that he was beyond reach. He would really have to be dead for them to send him this letter. Wouldn't he?
Your presence is requested for a private reading of the Black will within two weeks after your sixteenth birthday...
Harry slowly composed himself before writing his reply.
I hope that this question doesn't offend you, but how do you know Sirius is dead? He fell through the Veil and there was nothing wrong with him. They never retrieved the body...how do you know he's really gone?
Putting his quill down, Harry buried his face in his hands and took deep, calming breaths. He hadn't realized how much hope he'd placed in the thought that Sirius might make it back somehow. He escaped from the supposedly inescapable Azkaban, so why not the Veil? Scrubbing his face free of tears, he returned to his letter and forced himself to finish it.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will arrive at Gringotts on Saturday, August 3rd at 10 in the morning for the private reading of my Godfather's will. If a different date and time would be more convenient, then please notify me so I can make plans for the change.
As I have never had the chance to read my parent's will, would it be possible for me to view that as well? I don't even know if they had one, but I think it might help me to put some things behind me.
Harry James Potter
Addressing both letters to Griphook as his Account Manager, Harry placed his replies in the mail pouch and flopped down on his bed, fingers toying with his replacement wand. The slick lacquer felt oddly reassuring as he traced the gold and silver designs with his fingertips. After much lazy contemplation, he recognized the stylized bird as a phoenix and soon decided that the serpentine silver inlay was a Basilisk since he wasn't sure what type of serpent it was meant to depict. Clutching the wand to his chest like a lifeline, he let his thoughts roam.
"What's everyone else up to today?" he mused aloud. So far, their letters had been full of the usual teenaged summer fun that he knew existed at the Burrow and he knew it was meant to reassure him, but in fact, he envied them bitterly. They had freedom, however limited it might be. They had never been trapped like this, caged like Dumbledore had done to him for years and Sirius before him.
So, are you going to lie there and feel sorry for yourself, or are you going to make use of that lovely new wand? The voice he'd come to associate with his Slytherin side chose that moment to speak up, startling him into an undignified 'Ahh!' Boy, are you jumpy.
What the bloody hell?! Who are you?
Your Slytherin side, of course. Had you forgotten me already? The voice actually sounded hurt.
How could I possibly forget that I hear voices in my head? Was the sarcastic reply. Is that you, Tom? 'Mione was right. It is bad to hear voices in your head. This proves it. He considered the conversation so far and came to the solid conclusion that he knew the person he was speaking with. Your voice sounds awfully familiar...
Why would this 'Tom' individual take the time to talk to you? Maybe the voice is familiar because it's your own voice...
Frowning while he considered that unlikely possibility, Harry reached for the place in his mind where a metaphysical doorway connected his mind to Voldemort's. Locating it, he checked to see if it was open or closed and found it to be slightly ajar.
That is possible, he admitted. But I’ll just check this pesky door first, if that's okay with you, Tom. If I close this, are you going to be trapped over here with me? He put pressure on the door as if he were going to push it closed.
Now, my Little Serpent, there is no need to be hasty or rude. I'm not even hurting you.Voldemort exerted some pressure of his own to keep the door open for the time being. He hadn't expected the brat to catch on to his game this quickly, but that just added to the excitement of the game.
Why do you call me that? Harry hesitated mostly because what Tom said was true - his scar was tingling a bit, but it definitely did not hurt. And why are you in my head?
You are a parseltongue and there is so much in you that Salazar would have been proud to welcome into his House, so you are my Little Serpent. Tom sighed and tried to think of a suitable reason for being in the boy's head since he wasn't really sure himself. He decided a non-answer might be the safest path to take for the moment.
Fighting unprepared children is such a boring prospect for someone like me, for someone like you. No, I much prefer to face off against fully prepared witches and wizards. They tend to be so much more gratifying in the challenge they present, don't you think?
Riiight. Harry snorted gracelessly and wondered where Tom pulled things like that up from.
Such sarcasm, Little Serpent. Surely you gained far more fulfilment from duelling my dear Bella to a standstill than you have ever gained from your juvenile scuffles with the Malfoy heir. Tom felt the jolt of that comment hitting home and practically purred his satisfaction. Oh, yes, there was hope for his Little Serpent, after all.
That statement silenced Harry for a long moment. How could he deny the truth of those damning words when he had, indeed, felt more powerful and full of life during that duel than at almost any other time of his life. Alright, I concede your point, Tom. Now, why exactly are you here, talking to me in my head?
Your wand is surely unregistered, my Little Serpent. Now you can study properly. Please do study, Harry. Learn everything you can and finish destroying all of those annoying blocks on your magic. I am waiting for you, Little Serpent. I am so eagerly waiting...
That just sounds sick and obsessed, as usual, Tom! If you’re going to drop in to talk or 'encourage' me to get ready for our future duels, then have something specific in mind to talk about. If you're just here to taunt me, then get out, you crazy bastard.
Harry shoved at the intruder with a sharp burst of power and felt him leave with a cackle of high pitched, cold laughter that was abruptly cut off when the door slammed shut between them. He stared at the offending portal, the door that either of them could open and contemplated trying to block it over or lock it up.
Though he hated to admit it, Tom had never lied to him or manipulated him in ways that he wasn't capable of seeing if he looked for it. Tom manipulated him into duels, into untenable situations, because that was what a Dark Lord did to his rival. He sighed and tried to ignore the part of his mind and soul that looked forward to the day when he would face the older wizard as an equal. That part of him would never allow the door to be locked.
July 5th, Unplottable Location
Eyes opening as his consciousness was abruptly shoved back into his own mind, Voldemort winced and rubbed his forehead, mental eye still focused with baleful intensity on the door that led to the mind of his fiercest rival.
Bold, cheeky and insolent brat. It's my job to cause headaches, not his, he muttered to himself even as a ghost of a smile curved his thin lips. He didn't say don't come back. He just said have a purpose when I do return. Know thine enemy, my little Serpent.
Contemplating the growing strength, and therefore, the growing threat posed by The Boy Who Bloody Won't Die, he relaxed into his executive style desk chair and propped his booted feet up on the desktop.
Did he feel something for the brat besides rivalry and hate? Was that why the boy had changed from the Potter brat to his little serpent? What did that mean in the greater scope of his plans? He sighed restlessly and shook his head. He didn't know for sure how he felt about the whole situation, but one thing was certain - if the boy refused to side with him, then his life would be forfeit. For now, he would focus on seducing the powerful child away from the Light and on other, more pressing issues like the retrieval of his Inner Circle from Azkaban.
I'll give him truth and I'll give him knowledge and the Light's own Saviour will sow more chaos than I could ever hope to do alone. He knows the bitter stench of betrayal...he has been fed on the meagre fare of lies...Let the seduction begin.
July 5th, Gringotts Bank
A chime sounded in his small office and Griphook turned his attention to his In Box. Finding two letters waiting, he picked them up and opened the first. Reading it, he growled under his breath and planned another visit to Ragnok. It was a direct violation of several treaty amendments, not to mention the client's rights, to deny them their official banking correspondence. Making notes to him self on his desk organizer, the goblin carefully re-folded the letter and set it to the side.
There are new developments with the Chosen One's
situation and this Oc Dager feels the need for your wisdom in dealing with the situation. Please let me know when it is convenient to meet with you.
Potter Estate Account Manager,
Oc Dager Griphook
Dropping the short note into his Out Box, where it promptly vanished, Griphook proceeded on to the next letter. He made note of the date and time the boy stated he would arrive so he could confirm it if need be, then froze. If he had thought the issue of misdirected mail was bad, the issue regarding the Potter will was worse. If the boy had been denied the right to see or even know of the existence of his parent's will, then what else was wrong? He would respond to the boy's concerns about the proof they had regarding his Godfather's death at a later time. A summons to Ragnok's office appeared and he scurried out, letters in hand.
"What new issues have come up, Griphook?"
Bowing slightly to his chieftain, Griphook gathered his thoughts and responded.
"The Chosen One has received no correspondence from Gringotts, Sheklac. None at all before the two letters I sent to him via his house elf. Then I find out through his second letter that he has never seen his parents will. He doesn't even know for sure that they have one." He handed the two short letters to the goblin chieftain.
"The Potter will was executed shortly after their death, or it should have been. Begin a full investigation into the matter and alert Mr. Potter of what we are doing and why. Get to the bottom of this, Griphook. We cannot afford mistakes of any kind with an account of this magnitude. I am authorizing you to perform a full audit on the Potter and Dumbledore accounts, and make sure to closely investigate the Potter will."
July 5th, # 4 Privet Drive
Returning to the smallest bedroom at #4 Privet Drive with lunch for his young master, Dobby conjured a small table and placed the meal before him. He waited, fidgeting nervously, for the questions he knew were to come.
Still a bit preoccupied after his recent encounter with Tom, Harry frowned at the elf's unusual behaviour, tilted his head to one side and tried to figure out what had him so upset. He quickly gave up.
"What's wrong, Dobby?"
"Dobby is finding yous old wand and cloak..."
"Well, that's good news. They haven't snapped my wand, have they?"
"Oh, no, Master Harry! Yous wand feels whole and is in Dumbleydore's desk."
"And my cloak?" The whereabouts of his wand came as absolutely no surprise, and was barely enough to spark his anger at this point. He had expected it.
"Mister Shacklebolt is having it..."
"Kingsley?" Harry's eyes narrowed as he thought about the scenario that had led to his 'capture' and return to Privet Drive newly Obliviated and short his wand and cloak. "A senior auror would be more than capable of taking me down fast enough that I wouldn't know who had done it...that does sound about right." His lips twisted into an almost feral smirk. "Kingsley and I will have to discuss this one on one in the near future."
Monday, July 8th, St. Mungo's, Office of Master Mind Healer Octavius Monroe
Beckoning Ron into his office, Healer Monroe returned his gaze to the file that lay open on his desk. Further movement seen out of the corner of his eye made him blink and jerk his head up with a startled sound, the sight of five very intense looking young people facing his desk enough to remind him of how foolish he had been to let his guard down. Regaining his composure, he thanked Merlin that they weren't there out for his blood.
"The Ministry Five, since your leader is missing," he mused and nodded to acknowledge them before conjuring sufficient seating for the unexpected arrivals. "I admit that I was expecting Mr. Weasley and Mr. Longbottom, but the rest of you are a bit of a surprise. What brings you to my office?"
"We need to know if we have spells cast on us," Ginny stated, brown eyes full of worry. "There are things we've all seen that are important. Have any of us been Obliviated or worse?"
"All of us need to know," Ron explained, tone earnest. "Just knowing that something might be missing...it just doesn't feel right."
"We are all that Harry has at the moment," Luna stated, her gaze unusually clear and direct. "That will change in the near future, but for now, we're it. So, will you help us, or do we leave now and claim this was all a big prank to get you going?"
Momentarily nonplussed, Octavius studied Luna as intently as she was studying him. Nodding to himself, he smiled a little and made mental note to read the young woman's file again.
"I will do what I can, Miss Lovegood." He then studied each one of the teens for a long moment before speaking again. "I will need to perform a revealing spell before I can do anything else. All it does is let me know if there are any lingering or long term spell castings on your person. I will be checking for Obliviation, blocks, compulsions...the whole bag. Do any of you object to that?"
"That's a lot to check for. Do you have to do this often?" Hermione was clearly intrigued by the scope of the spell in question, as well as its implied necessity.
"It's fairly standard practice for anyone who has had prolonged contact with the enemy," the Mind Healer replied. "That includes all aurors who have been around the Death Eaters for more than direct duelling and anyone who was captured, regardless of how long they were missing. In your cases, you spent a lot of time in contact with Inner Circle Death Eaters, not all of it centred on duelling. Although I am fairly sure you don't think they had anything to do with your issues, that one fact gives me the necessary reasoning that I would need for my superiors to understand and approve of your treatment alongside Mr. Weasley."
Seeing no other questions or concerns for the moment, Octavius cast with a complex series of wand motions and directed his wand at each one of them before stabbing it sharply at a stack of parchments on his desk.
"Acclaro obliviosus iugum obligatio oppressos!"
Leaving the parchments undisturbed for the moment, Healer Monroe shrugged nonchalantly.
"Now we let the spell do its work. This will also give me a decent copy of the magical signature of the person who cast the spells if there are, indeed any on you."
"So, it doesn't tell you who did it, but if you have a suspect, it will help you prove it?" Ginny sat forward eagerly.
"Indeed, that is the idea, Miss Weasley. Obviously, we already know the identity of the idiot who cast the obliviate on Mr. Longbottom, so that is a moot point. However, if what Mr. Weasley told me of your friend's dream is true and that signature is the same for any and all spells, then we have a much more impressive case. Octavius sighed.
"I will, however, burst your bubble now in case this turns out to be a worst case scenario. If the caster was strong enough or knowledgeable enough to properly cover their tracks, we may not be able to identify them this way."
"Especially if they're both of the above," Neville muttered unhappily. "Thanks for being up front about it, Healer Monroe."
"That is the least I can do, Mr. Longbottom. Alright. These seem to have settled down, so give me a moment to look them over before we discuss them." Scanning through the small stack of parchments, Healer Monroe growled softly, hazel eyes sparking angrily before he was able to recover his composure completely.
"You found something," Ron stated quietly. He shifted nervously in the face of the usually calm healer's loss of composure. "How bad is it?"
"Well, either Miss Lovegood sloughs spells like water off a duck's back or none have been cast on her to date, so either way, that is a good bit of news," Octavius pronounced.
"I only recently joined the group and no one takes me seriously, anyway," Luna mused in her standard dreamy tone. "But then, they don't take the Crumple-horned Snorkack seriously either, so I'm not terribly surprised."
Hermione grinned knowingly when the healer's face went blank to cover his amusement.
"What about the rest of us?"
"Mr. Weasley has a compulsion charm on him that appears to be designed to prevent him from discussing several events, but that seems to be all." Flipping to the next page, Octavius focused on Ginny.
"Miss Weasley has a very strong compulsion focused on a period of time instead of just a particular event, which makes me very curious as to what was going on. There is also the residue of a failed obliviation and an aborted bonding spell of some kind."
Ginny paled and slumped in her seat a little bit, her brown eyes growing shiny as tears threatened to fall. Her mouth worked but the words refused to come out, until a supreme effort that resulted in visible pain allowed her to say one word.
Hermione shifted over to kneel before the younger girl and gathered her into a fierce hug. Rocking her gently, Hermione nodded at the healer to continue.
"Shhhh, Ginny, just cry. It's okay to cry about it. It must have been awful..."
"I take it this is a serious event that most of you are aware of, yes?"
"It's about The Chamber of Secrets, I think," Luna mused quietly. "I wasn't involved but it was an awful year for everyone at Hogwarts. Ginny and Harry had it worse than anyone, though."
"I'll keep that in mind for later discussion, perhaps." Octavius sighed heavily and looked to the next parchment. Looking it over again in an effort to focus his own thoughts, he finally looked up and directed his gaze to Neville.
"You also have a mild compulsion charm on you to prevent discussion of at least a few events beyond the obvious reason I had hoped to see you here. That does, however appear to be all that was cast on you."
"Well, that's good, at least." Neville reached over to awkwardly pat Ginny on the shoulder. "It'll be okay, Ginny. We won't let you down."
Ginny just nodded and slowly sat back from Hermione's sheltering embrace, her hands rising to swipe the tears from her face. Sniffling quietly, the fiery red head took a deep breath and slowly let it out.
"Well, that was interesting. Who's next?"
Hermione laughed a little and returned to her seat.
"I'm the last one. Hit me with your best shot, Doc."
Eyeing the bushy haired witch with a quizzical expression, Healer Monroe finally gave in and asked since he wasn't sure what she meant by that statement.
"Excuse me, Miss Granger? I'm to do what?"
Giggling merrily over the look on the older wizard's face, Hermione shook her head and catalogued it for future reference.
"It's a muggle saying that means 'say what you need to say', among other things."
"Oh. Alright, then." Octavius picked up Hermione's parchment and sighed. "You have the expected compulsion regarding quite a few events, like Mr. Weasley, but yours is far stronger than I might have expected. You are also under the effects of deteriorating loyalty and trust compulsions. I'm not sure what is causing them to break down, but they are doing so, which makes them that much easier to remove."
"Harry is going to blow up his house over this one," Ginny muttered just loud enough for everyone present to hear her. "I just wish I could be there to see the looks on the...those muggles faces when it happens."
"That or he'll freeze everyone out. Either way, it would be entertaining as long as it isn't us he's freezing out," Hermione pointed out. "Can you teach us the detection spell, or is there a less complex one that will focus on compulsions and obliviation since that seems to be the biggest problem between the lot of us?"
"I can teach you the full spell if you like, but it is easier and less costly on your magic to narrow the types of spells it searches for. The incantation is simple enough, the short version being Acclaro obliviosus iugum. Ready for the wand movement?" At Hermione, Ginny and Neville's nod, he demonstrated and spent several minutes correcting their execution before smiling his satisfaction.
"That should give you some sense of security and an early warning system of sorts. Now, how much longer do you think the bunch of you can stay today? The removal of the compulsion charms could take a while and I'd rather avoid being interrupted."
"Hermione is staying with us at the Burrow for the summer and Mum knows we're all here, so she should be fine with however long it takes. How about you two?" Ron directed his question at Neville and Luna.
"I told Gran I was coming up here to visit Mom and Dad and that I would probably be talking to a Mind Healer, so she expects to see me when I get home as long as it's before dark," Neville replied with a little grin. "No hurry with me, either."
"Dad knows where I am and why. Take your time," Luna pronounced with a quirky little grin.
Octavius started with Ginny because the charms were the most complex and had the highest amount of power put into them. Using several interesting looking crystal devices and a great deal of complex spell work, the next half hour passed in a blur for the Mind Healer.
Finally, he felt the spells unravelling and attacked them with renewed vigour, his triumphant cry eliciting a round of laughter from the fascinated and stressed teens. Slumping in his seat, he threw mock glares at them for their laughter.
"You should try getting through these spells before you laugh. Merlin's beard, whoever cast those spells meant you to never think about these events again, let alone talk about them to anyone." He sighed explosively and took a small sip of a pepper-up potion.
"How do you feel, Miss Weasley?"
"I would very much like to go hide somewhere and cry for a month, but I'll be okay until I get home," Ginny whispered, tears already tracking down her pretty face despite her brave statement. "Just get these things off of my friends so we can talk about what we’ve all been through together."
Octavius nodded solemnly and refocused on the remaining four teens. Centring himself, he went to work on each compulsion in turn, pausing only to take the occasional sip of restorative potion. It was important for these young people to be able to share their experiences with each other and he'd be damned if he as going to let anything get in the way of that healing process - a healing that was obviously too long denied already.
"Done with that," he croaked out after another hour plus of steady spell work. Clearing his throat, he sighed and wiped sweat from his forehead. "Damn, I need a drink..."
"Thank you for everything you've done, Healer Monroe." Neville nodded his acknowledgement.
"You are quite welcome, Mr. Longbottom. Now, on to something that should be very important to all of you." Octavius shifted to sit up straight in his chair despite his exhaustion. "All of you have suffered at least one severe emotional trauma in recent time and have been given no help in dealing with the problems that can arise as a result. Have any of you spoken to someone about the events at the Ministry, besides Ronald of course?"
Seeing only negative answers, he sighed and shook his head.
"All of you could have died and several of you experienced losing Mr. Black through the Veil, so it is understandable that you have not spoken of it. A combat situation like what you experienced at the Ministry is one example where aurors would be required to visit a mind healer." Healer Monroe smiled. "It may take several visits for all of you to work through how these events have affected you and I do need to spend some time working with Neville, as well, so why don't we keep this simple."
"Simple, sir?" Ron asked cautiously.
"Yes," Octavius replied with a wink. "Simple. All of you should have been sent to me, anyway, and I recommend group sessions to speed your recovery. As tightly knit as you are, it might not work any other way."
"Of course," Hermione whispered. "Post-traumatic stress...we should have had counselling like this in first year and second year..."
"Try every year," Ginny joked half-heartedly. "It will be good to get it out in the open."
"Excellent." Filing away the other references the teens had made for future sessions, Octavius made a mental note to definitely update some notes in their files. "When are the best days for the lot of you to come in together?"
"Any days seem to be good right now," Ron mused. "Can we keep my usual days? Mondays and Wednesdays?"
"I'll mark it down on my calendar and see you all again on Wednesday, then. Please let your erstwhile leader know that I am available to him if he needs a Mind healer to speak with or if he needs help with problems like your own."
July 8th, # 4 Privet Drive
"Yous Granger is calling. Dobby will be right back, Master Harry. Is there anything yous needs while Dobby is out?"
"No, I think I'm okay for now, Dobby. I'll probably start in on those goblin books that Griphook sent over in the satchel. Go find out what Hermione wants." True to his word, Harry dragged out the first of the large tomes and examined the heavy leather cover.
"Goblins: From the Outside Looking In by Ambrosius Reginald Evans. I wonder..." His musings were temporarily cut of as his eyes continued to read through an inscription just below the author's name. Recognizing it as a spell just as he finished reading it to himself, Harry felt a tingle rush across his skin. Cursing his possible stupidity, he blinked - the inscription was gone. Now he was wary of the books, but since he didn't feel ill or hurt, so he decided to be more careful with the rest of the books and opened the cover.
"So much for Constant Vigilance, eh? Oh well, I won't find anything out if I don't take a chance..."
Dobby returned to find his young master deeply engrossed in a large book. Marvelling at how much faster than usual he seemed to be reading, the little elf just watched for a few minutes before attempting to get Harry's attention.
"Master Harry, sir?"
"Dobby has a letter for you from yous Granger and yous friends. It is on the bed beside you. Dinner will be ready a little later." The little elf cocked his head to one side when Harry raised his head to look at him with intensely focused green eyes. "Is you well, Master Harry?"
"I feel fine, Dobby. Just let me know when you arrive with dinner if I'm still reading. Thank you for picking up the letter from the gang." Reluctantly putting the book on goblin culture aside, Harry picked up the letter from his friends and began to read.
It's Thursday the 4th and I've done some research on mind control spells. I am simply horrified at the sheer number of spells...Luna says its the nature of humans to control the world around them, including their fellow man and I know she's right, but it still upsets me.
I couldn't have found every single spell of this type, even with Bill finding books for me. I just don't want to believe it's that long of a list. Yes, I know Bill is an Order member, but please don't get upset about my asking him for help. I told him I was doing an extra credit report for Advanced Charms and that I had gotten the idea from Professor Moody's demonstrations in fourth year Defence Class. He didn't ask any more questions and seemed to think it was a good subject since the Ministry needs talented Obliviators.
Harry chuckled over that. Who would question the idea of Hermione doing extra credit work, no matter how unusual the subject matter might seem? He didn't like that she had involved Bill, but she seemed to have needed his help, so he supposed it was okay. He'd bring it up once he had the chance to talk to her face to face.
Ron spoke with Healer Monroe about you dream as a hypothetical situation and found out that it is fairly common for a focused mind, like that found in a practitioner of Occulemency, to have such a representation of the wizard's inner core and mind. It sounds like Voldemort told you the truth and that worries me more than the other things he's done. What does he gain by helping you?
I hear you, 'Mione. It's scary because Dumbledore should be the one telling me the truth, but he isn't. It's my mortal enemy who tells me the truth. It's my enemy who encourages me to do better... He sighed his frustration and shrugged it off for now. I guess the work I did do on Occulemency did some good after all.
The bricked up area in the floor is most likely your access to your magical core, so it's imperative that you get that unblocked! Windows and other openings like doors tend to lead to memories and gifts, magical abilities if you will. To have them blocked with bars and chains and things like that made the healer think of memory and heritage suppression charms as well obliviation. I really hope you can get a book on the subject to help you work through everything.
Healer Monroe also commented on the fact that many magical families, especially the older ones have special things they are very good at, talents and abilities that are known to belong to that bloodline and as an example, Parseltongue is a very rare and selective Blood Trait. Only one bloodline is known to manifest it reliably and I'll give you three guesses which line that is, but the first two guesses don't count.
Yeah, only one bloodline - Slytherin's. Except, I'm not blood related to Slytherin, so I must be the exception to yet another so called rule. Harry groaned and continued reading.
Okay that's all for now. I'll finish this once we've all gone to visit with the mind Healer. Ron trusts him and I am hoping he can shed some light on a few subjects.
Okay, it's Monday the 8th and we've all just gotten back from talking with the healer. I'm only going to put my comments down because the rest want to add notes, too.
I was under a compulsion to not talk about events that happened in our various adventures and also had a trust and loyalty charm placed on me. Healer Monroe isn't sure why, but those charms were deteriorating for some reason. He removed them and I can't express with words how much better it feels to be able to discuss the things we've been through. Oh! He also has us coming back as a group for trauma and stress counselling. I wish you could be there with us, Harry. Hey...!
It's Ron, if you hadn't guessed. 'Mione didn't want to give up the quill, but I promised to give it back in a while. The spells to keep us quiet are gone and Healer Monroe has us all coming in to work through the 'trauma'. I suppose it can't hurt.
/He said to tell you he's available if you need to talk to a Mind Healer or if you need help with those spells that are on you still. Ginny wants the quill, so I'll write more later on./
Making mental note of the healer's name, Harry filed the offer away for future consideration. After everything he'd been through, it probably wouldn't hurt to go talk to a healer at some point.
It's so weird, Harry! I couldn't even think about Tom and the Chamber before this afternoon...and now it's all there, fresh and brand new practically. If...when we see each other next, can we...can we sit down and talk. About the Chamber and Tom, I mean...No one else can understand what happened like you can. You and I are the only ones who have lived through something like this.
/Try not to blow up about all this, Harry. We'll get whoever did it, even if it is Dumbledore, and we'll do it TOGETHER./
I hope you're doing okay, as okay as you can be around those people. Write back soon!
Stunned, the teenager just sat there and reread that small paragraph a few times before the words finally began to sink in. As much as he wanted to focus on the events of the Chamber, it was still difficult and not very clear.
"That's one I really need to work on," he muttered to himself. How could I have not noticed that I didn't think about those things unless I had no choice?
Hi Harry, Neville here. Healer Monroe says he may be able to lessen some of the effects of Lockhart's obliviation but he refuses to let me get my hopes up until he manages some progress , so I think I can live with that.
/How are you doing? Keep your spirits up. Luna swears you'll Awaken this birthday and that's a really big deal for us wizards, so I hope it happens. If you need any information on what to expect from your Maturity, send Dobby and I'll lend you a book about it. Later./
Neville's right, Harry. Your aura was turning all sorts of pretty colours by the time school let out and it was getting brighter every day. You should have a powerful maturity, so make sure you read up on it and Twisted Claw Niblumpers, too.
Laughing harder than he'd laughed in weeks, Harry shook his head at Luna's well meant warning about a strange creature that only she was aware of. He sighed and decided to take Neville up on the offered book loan. He had at least one book on the subject stashed in his new trunk, but Neville's might have different information in it.
He knew that Luna tended to be an odd girl, but she saw the world through different eyes. If she said he was going to have his magical maturity on his birthday, then he’d take her word for it until nothing happened.
"Good old Luna..."
Sweet Merlin, Harry! I didn't think I was ever going to get my quill back! I thought a group letter would be practical since we're all here, but my goodness...let us know if there is something we can do to help or if you need anything. I know our reach is limited, but we'll do what we can. It's not like we're doing anything besides homework and de-gnoming the yard anyway.
Stay healthy and as safe as you can!
Reading back through the letter again, Harry smiled to himself and felt a little bad about his resentful thoughts a few days prior. It wasn't their fault he was stuck where he was. Debating on how to reply, he vacillated between short, individual letters and one mass reply. Seeing as they had written him one big letter, he figured that should work for a reply, too.
A group letter gets big, long little bits to everyone reply! Thanks for finding out what you did about the room from my dream. As disturbing as it is to know that Tom is telling me the truth about things like that, I am still glad to know about it. Hermione would be the first to tell me that knowledge is power and knowledge is the only way to survive this war we're stuck in.
I have managed to clear out a lot of the spells on the walls in the room, but it was your letter that let me focus on some of the more resistant spells. I had no idea that I couldn't talk about second year...I still can't talk about several things, but I'm working on getting through the mess. I have my core opened up about halfway, and I pick away at it every day.
Yes, Ginny, I would like to sit down and talk about what happened with Tom and all of that. It would probably help both of us a lot and it might help everyone else understand if they know what happened.
Dobby mentioned that I was going to be growing into my power soon, so I think Luna may be right about whatever this Awakening is. I have a book on Magical Maturity, but I will be sending Dobby by to borrow that book, if you don't mind, Nev. I'd rather have too much information than not enough. Tell Luna I'll keep an eye out for the Twisted Claw Niblumpers, too.
Please send my thanks to Healer Monroe, both for what he is doing for you guys, and for his offer to help me. Once I get the chance to move around more freely, I intend to drop in for a chat. It certainly couldn't hurt anymore than trying to work through things on my own.
I don't know what you guys have access to, but it might be helpful to know more about Fudge and what he's up to. We all know he's going to come after me, or even all of us, so it would be nice to be able to shoot back for once. Also think about what you might want to learn in the DA. Our luck with DADA teachers is so wretched that I doubt this year will be much better than last, so we might as well keep ourselves ready. Thanks again for everything.
Rolling up his reply, Harry tied it closed and set it aside for Dobby to deliver whenever he return with dinner. Picking up the book on goblin culture once again, he smiled and began to read. The style was easy to follow and intensely engaging, making him wonder how the author came to know so much about the goblins.
"Why couldn't Binns have used a book like this for the section on goblin culture? This, I'd have stayed awake for." Laughing a little, he was soon engrossed in the tome and lost sense of everything but the subject at hand. One passage caught his attention and he filed it away in case he ever landed in a similar situation.
...Goblins are fiercely devoted to their mates and it is considered very bad form for a non-goblin male to address a married female in any way beyond a silent nod or possibly a slight bow. On one visit to the lower caverns, I was accompanied by a companion who did not heed my repeated warnings on this subject. He insisted upon trying to speak to the wife of the elder who was our guide and after being warned away, made the gravest error in trying to touch her to get her attention. His carcass is still adorning a pike somewhere in the common square, of this I am certain.
Whistling quietly to himself, Harry shook his head and read on, only to find himself at the end of the first book. Grinning his triumph, small though it might be, he set it down on the bed and stretched in the waning light.
Have I been reading that long? Dobby should be here soon...
No sooner had he thought the little elf's name did Dobby appear with a tray loaded with his favourite foods and a small pitcher of pumpkin juice.
"Hi, Dobby. I didn't think I'd read that long. Dinner smells good."
"Yous is welcome, Master Harry. Was it being a good book?" Dobby asked as he set the tray up on the small table he used for meals. The young wizard seemed to be in better spirits today and that observation made the little elf smile.
"Yeah, it was very good. A lot of things the goblins do make more sense now, and I'm hoping the rest of the books are this easy to read. They were written by an Evans and I kind of wonder if he might have been some distant relation to my mum's family."
"It is good that they is helping you understand the goblins. Maybe you should be asking Mister Griphook about this Mister Evans. Maybe hims would know," the elf suggested. "You read yous goblin mail today?"
"I read it and put my replies in the mail pouch."
"Eat yous dinner then, and Dobby will check to see if you has any more goblin mail."
Harry started in on his meal with teenage enthusiasm, though he doubted he'd be able to finish the large meal his elfin friend had prepared for him. He frowned when Dobby simply opened the mail pouch and pulled out a couple pieces of folded parchment.
"They send and receive mail just with the pouch? I thought it was just an extra secure way for you to carry Gringotts mail."
"This way is being better than owl post and safer, too. No wizard can stops you from getting important mail this way. See, yous has goblin mail." Dobby toddled over and handed Harry the letter, then caught sight of the new roll of parchment bearing Hermione's name.
"Would yous like Dobby to deliver this to yous Granger when Dobby leaves for the evening?"
"That would be great. Looks like I'll be reading more Gringotts mail today. It's been a busy week for it." Harry laughed a little. "Okay, it's been a busy week for me. I'm not used to getting this much mail in a month, let alone a week."
"Yous will get used to it, Master Harry."
Pulling the little stand that he used as a nightstand over to him, Harry opened the first of his latest letters from Gringotts with no small amount of trepidation. Every time he opened one of these notes, he found out something else he’d been lied to about or read something he figured he could have done without knowing.
Mr. Harry James Potter,
Due to the information provided by you in your most recent correspondence, President Ragnok has ordered a full audit of the Potter Will and Estate. In conjunction with the audit of your accounts, we at Gringotts will also be auditing the accounts of your magical guardian, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
The purpose of these audits is to ensure the security of your accounts and to bring to light any further misconduct on the part of your magical guardian that exceeds the denial to you of your mail and knowledge of your heritage and financial status.
It is also my duty as the Potter Estate Manager to inform you that Head Master Dumbledore's information and access rights in regards to your accounts have been suspended due to gross breach of conduct as a guardian. Because of the nature of the infractions and to protect your interests, Head Master Dumbledore will only be notified of the audit on his accounts unless you, as the wronged party, deem it appropriate to pursue further due process.
Please forward any questions or concerns you may have on this matter to my attention so that I may address them immediately.
Potter Estate Account Manager,
Dumbfounded by the contents of the parchment in front of him, Harry sat and stared at the letter as if willing it to sink into his mind. Shaking himself after several minutes of silence, he read the letter again and began to smile.
He had honestly had no idea how much personal benefit he would gain from approaching the goblins for assistance, and even though he had only just begun to read about their culture, Harry had a much better comprehension of just how far the goblins would go to ensure the safety and security of his accounts.
The second letter was more of a note and the subject made his chest tight. He hadn't expected a response to his questions about the truth of Sirius' death - he had simply needed to vent off the grief and frustration he was feeling at the time. Apparently Griphook had taken the questions in the serious bent that all goblins seemed to take on when discussing death or combat.
Your concerns regarding your Godfather's will are perfectly understandable and I have in no way taken offence to your inquiry. This loss is difficult for you to accept, and is made more so through the lack of physical proof that you would have had under 'normal' circumstances.
All wills written at Gringotts are charmed with a connection to the life signature of the subject of said document. Until such time as the person dies, the will cannot be accessed by anyone other than the subject who requisitioned it. When the connection between the spirit and the physical body is broken, the will appears to the appropriate Account Manager for execution.
I offer my condolences yet again and hope that this information helps you in your time of grieving.
Potter Estate Account Manager,
"So you're really gone, huh, Padfoot? Really gone..." Shaking his head as if to clear it, Harry scrubbed at his eyes, but he had no more tears to rub away. The confirmation that his Godfather was indeed gone was the closure, the confirmation, that he had been craving. Now he could stop looking out the window every time he heard a familiar sounding bark or a knock at the door. He could move on.
"Enough goblin stuff for one day," he mused. "Let's find something different for a change. If I look at any more school books in the next day or so, I think I'm going to Incendio them, too."
Eyeballing his old school trunk, he opened it and lifted his shrunken trunk out before fingering the wand he had chosen as his own.
"Might as well give it a shot," he mused into the air. "What's the worst they can do? Expel me? I'm thinking that might not be so bad." Performing the appropriate wand movements, Harry quietly called out the incantation to enlarge the trunk. "Engorgio!"
The trunk returned to its original size so quickly that Harry wasn't sure what to think. That spell had always seemed to have an effect that was visible - you could watch the trunk get bigger. The amount of magic he had felt answering his quiet call had been many times more than what he was accustomed to as well. As a point in fact, he couldn't recall ever feeling his magic before acquiring this wand.
"That's some wand," he whispered and actually looked at the trunk. Grinning in his usual lopsided manner, he nodded appreciatively. Dobby had picked a trunk that very closely resembled a school trunk, even down to its scuffed exterior. He opened it to the first compartment and blinked. This wasn't a compartment. This was a small library complete with bookshelves. Shifting to drop in, he was startled by the appearance of a simple set of stairs.
Descending cautiously down the narrow stairs, he immediately focused on the curiosity inspiring crate that Dobby had filched from Borgin and Burkes. Forcing himself to ignore it for now, he went to the full bookshelves and looked through what he had available to study beyond his five years worth of school books. Until he received his O.W.L. scores, he wouldn't know what to expect from the coming year. He pulled '/Occulemency: Fortress of the Mind/' off the shelf and crossed the small room to lay it by the stairs.
Taking a deep breath, he then allowed his focus to return to that ever so tempting crate. Unsure if it was the fact that he knew it contained dark books and objects or if it was simply something he had been told time and again that he shouldn't have, he took a large measure of guilty pleasure in opening the crate back up and pulling its contents out for inspection.
"The seductive caress of twilight," the teen whispered, then shivered at the overly appropriate tone of the statement. He had unloaded and shelved twenty large, very old looking tomes before he came to five that quite literally took his breath away.
Covered in what appeared to be a dark green hide of some sort, the large volumes were decorated with ornate silver trim and locked with what appeared to be silver serpents. The large, calligraphy S on the front cover gave him the final hint prior to the disgruntled hissing that issued forth from the serpent lock.
/Unhand me or I will bite you, fool!/ the indignant hissing paused. /Oh, why bother...can’t understand me anyway.../
/You're beautiful,/ Harry hissed back. /if you truly want me to put you down, I will./
/A Speaker! A polite one, too! It has been so long since I was able to speak to someone other than my brothers./ The silver snake studied Harry with an unnerving intensity before relenting. /Little Salazar...you look like my Master, except as he might have as a boy...you wish to read my Master’s journals, yesss?/
/I would be honoured to have the chance to read them,/ Harry agreed.
/Then I will key the journals to you. To do this I have to bite you./ The serpent struck without further ado, holding on only long enough to sample the young wizard's blood before hissing it's satisfaction. All five journals glowed briefly before returning to their original state. The lock clicked open quietly on the journal that Harry held in his hands.
"Okayyy..." The simple act of being keyed in to the journals reminded Harry of just how utterly clueless he still was about the magical world. Beyond the concept of Constant Vigilance, he simply had no idea what was truly safe for him to do. He had a pretty good grasp on what was dangerous, but even that was limited. "Oh well, I guess that settles that. I am the proud owner of five of Salazar Slytherin's journals."
Opening the journal to see what sort of information he might find, Harry frowned at the page full of squiggles that seemed to writhe for a moment before resolving themselves into something his mind understood as English.
/Parseltongue writing! Brilliant!/
Shaking himself out of his daze, he quickly shelved the journals and closed the crate. He didn't know how much longer he had before Mad-Eye arrived and he didn't dare allow himself to be seen emerging from the trunk. Grabbing his book on Occulemency, he climbed out, deposited his wand inside and closed it up.
Muttering the shrinking charm, he replaced the new trunk inside his old one and glanced over at the time. The guard would change in a half hour, so he had time to relax before anyone like Mad-Eye was around to snoop on him. He relaxed visibly when a quick look around the room showed no letters from the Improper Use of Magic Office.
Dropping onto his bed to read for a while, Harry smiled to himself. This being able to do magic thing could really grow on me, he decided.
Coming on duty as the last sunlight faded from the sky, Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody did a thorough scan of the Dursley residence, his magical eye focusing on the Potter boy for a long moment before moving on once he saw that there was no wand on his person. He didn't care for Albus' idea of disarming the boy for the summer, but he didn't see much point in arguing. All he ever seemed to do was read and work on his homework, anyway.
A slightly malicious grin curved his lips and twisted his scarred face. Wandless or not, maybe he would test the boy out when he was in the garden, see if he was as quick as Shacklebolt had claimed. That would mean getting himself moved to the day shift, but it might just be worth it.
"If you're going to be getting away from aurors, then you'll be doing it right," he whispered. "No more getting caught once I'm done with your skinny self, humph."
Oc Dager - Goblin for Young Warrior
Sheklac - Goblin for Chieftain
Acclaro obliviosus iugum obligatio oppressos - Reveal obliviation, bindings, bonds and oppression of will