In which Harry receives an unwanted visitor and gives Nimi a place to stay.
Chapter Five: Headmaster's Interference
Once the now Prison Warden Azback had been outfitted similarly to Nimi, Harry took on his most difficult challenge yet.
Looking at his mail.
Apparently Fudge had given a press release that there was a new Lord of Azkaban, and there were offers from newspapers and magazines begging for interviews, people vying for citizenship to get away from their governments, and official letters from the Ministries of forty two (A/N: Anyone get that?) nations asking for support in their fights against Voldemort and his minions.
And another letter.
This one was red and gold, with a phoenix printed on the cover. Harry got a sinking feeling in his stomach as he took a breath and opened it.
Inside was a small note, nothing lengthy, and Harry felt his blood begin to boil while he read it.
To the Lord of Caer Azkaban:
My name is Albus Dumbledore. You have, in all likelihood, heard of me. I am the head of an organization that fights Voldemort called the Order of the Phoenix.
I am writing you now to inform you that I shall be coming to Azkaban at two-thirty today to speak with you. As I have citizenship, it should not be a problem. I will see you shortly.
Order of Merlin, First Class
Harry stopped reading to look at the clock. Two fifteen. Damn.
Setting the letter down on his desk, he made sure the hoof of his cloak was fastened before storming back out of the Owlery and into the Hall, where Nimi and Azback were waiting.
"What's wrong?" Nimi asked immediately, standing.
Harry scowled. "Apparently, that bastard Dumbledore somehow has citizenship and is showing up here, without my permission, in fifteen minutes."
Nimi's hand immediately went to her earring. "I can-"
He shook his head. "I thank you for the offer, but I knew I would have to face him sometime... I just didn't think it would be this soon."
There was a knock on the door, and a guard poked his head in. "My Lord?" he asked nervously. "There's a man named Dumbledore here to see you..."
"You tricky bastard," Harry muttered under his breath, "Wanted to catch me off guard." Louder, he told the guard, "He may come in."
The man nodded and ducked back out, and a moment later Dumbledore entered. Harry felt himself tense up with rage, and forced himself to relax. It wouldn't be any good for anyone if he hexed the man now.
"My Lord," Dumbledore said politely with an inclination of his head.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "You may call me Lord Azkaban. And you forgot, in your letter, to include the remainder of my title."
"What?" the man asked, puzzled.
"I am Lord of Caer Azkaban and the Druid Isles," Harry said calmly. "I could take high insult from that." Dumbledore's eyes flashed with worry and he opened his mouth to speak, but Harry beat him to it. "But I won't. I've decided to take high insult from the fact that you did not even bother to ask my permission to come before coming."
"But Lord Azkaban, I am one of your subjects-"
"And my subjects must place a request to speak with me as well. I did not receive your letter when it first arrived, as I was interviewing General Azback, here, who had become my Prison Warden."
Dumbledore swallowed. "I apologize profusely, Lord Azkaban. It was most impolite of me."
"Yes, it was. Now, I have an audience chamber somewhere... Nimi, you've studied the layout, correct?"
Nimi nodded. "Yes. You'll be wanting the Study for this."
Harry smiled. "Thank you. Could you show me?"
She nodded again, and Harry, Dumbledore, and Azback followed her as she set off down the hall. There was silence until they were all seated in the Study, which turned out to be a comfortable place looking much like the Griffindor Common Room.
"Now," Harry said calmly once all were settled, "What was it you wanted to see me about, Mr. Dumbledore?"
Dumbledore's eyes were twinkling. "Well, Azkaban has an extensive militia, and I was hoping that you would consider allying yourself with the Order of the Phoenix."
"No," Harry said simply.
"What?" Dumbledore asked, confused. "Why?"
"Two things," he responded calmly. "Firstly, I will not put my militia under a leader that I cannot trust them with. And the second reason is also the answer to the first reason; I cannot trust you because you put innocents in my prison."
Dumbledore paled. "Sirius Black was a rare case, my Lord. I assure you-"
"I told you to not call me your Lord," Harry said mildly. "I am Lord only to my subjects."
Dumbledore frowned. "But I am-"
Harry shook his head. "No. As of this moment, your citizenship is revoked."
"Why?" he whispered, looking thunderstruck. "I only asked-"
"You only asked me to put my people in danger so that you could uselessly spend their lives in a fight that you cannot win without the correct tactics, you incompetent fool." Harry's voice was cold and icy. "You only asked me to give you more power in a fight that you have already basically surrendered to by locking away your only savior."
"Oh yes," he continued at the look on Dumbledore's face, "I know about the Prophecy. I know much more than you would think, Mr. Dumbledore. Do not underestimate me. You locked an innocent man away in hell, where your savior would later die."
"What?" Dumbledore whispered.
Harry gave a dead sounding laugh. "Yes, he died late last night. From what I understand, the Dementors got to him."
"But..." Dumbledore straightened, no longer looking quite so shocked. "Well, he did betray us, so I suppose there was no real chance anyways."
Harry inclined his head. "If you say so, Mr. Dumbledore."
"You are sure you won't consider my offer? I really think that you must be quite young... Perhaps if you had an adult here..."
Harry stood in a flash. "No, Mr. Dumbledore, I will not consider your 'offer'. You are a fool if you think for one moment that I will. I will fight Voldemort on my own terms, not the terms of an idiot who thinks that he knows everything but really just lives to let people down. If General Azback doesn't mind, he will escort you to the door."
The man nodded, his expression unreadable, and took Dumbledore by the shoulder's leading him out of the room wearing a shell-shocked expression. When the door had closed, Harry sank back down into his seat with a sigh, his head in his hands.
"I shouldn't have lost my temper," he mumbled.
Nimi shrugged and sat down beside him. "Well, at least you didn't yell at him like you did Fudge; though, personally, I think you were scarier this time."
Harry laughed, looking up at her. "Thanks." He paused. "I had a question. Why is it that you don't treat me as though I'm... well, for lack of a better term, the Lord of Azkaban?"
She bit her lip. "I'm sorry, I-"
He shook his head. "No, that's not it at all. It's nice to have someone treat me like a normal person for once."
She frowned slightly. "What do you mean, for once?"
He scowled. "Voldemort."
At her inquiring look, he elaborated. "You know that fifteen years ago, he stopped the attacks?" She nodded. "What no one here seems to know is why. The why is me. My mother died for me, leaving a protection so deep that when Voldemort shot the Killing Curse at me, it rebounded and hit him instead, leaving me with only this scar." He lifted the fringe of hair and showed her. "He was left a soul, if you could call him that, without a body. I was left an orphan, and the Wizarding World rejoiced and hailed me as their savior." The last word was spat out.
Nimi's eyes were wide. "I never knew..."
Harry shrugged. "Not your fault."
She took a breath before asking another question. "What is the Prophecy?"
Harry's expression turned dark. "I can't tell you. Voldemort would give anything to know, and if he gets his hands on you somehow, you can't know it. The only thing I can tell you is that the only reason I'm allowed to know is that it involves me."
Looking rather peeved, she nodded. "So he's back then?"
He started. "Huh?"
"Well, you said that Voldemort might get his hands on me. That would only happen if he was alive."
The Lord of Azkaban sighed. "Yes, he is. In my fourth year, I was forced to compete in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. The Cup was a Portkey, and another student, Cedric Diggory, and I took it at the same time." His heart felt heavy thinking about it, but he strived to keep a light tone. "Voldemort had his Death Eater kill Cedric, and I barely escaped with my life, but not before Wormtail, the Death Eater, had a chance to take my blood and use it to bring Voldemort fully back."
Nimi was pale. "Oh my...."
Harry shrugged, feeling rather uncomfortable. "But my time at Hogwarts is another story for another time," he said, trying to lighten the mood.
She leveled him a look that McGonnagall would be envious of. "Don't think that you'll get out of telling me."
He gulped. "Alright then; I'll make sure to tell you later."
She nodded, a small smile playing on her features. "Good."
There was a knock on the door, and Azback poked his head in. "Harry, if it's all right, I'm going to go home now."
Harry nodded. "Feel free. I'll call you if I need you, and once the rest of the Council is gathered." Azback nodded and left.
Nimi stood. "I s'pose I'd better leave to-" She was avoiding his eyes. There was something she wasn't telling him.
"What is it?" he asked.
She turned. "What's what?"
"It's nothing!" she protested. At his look, she sighed. "Well, my aunt doesn't have any room to put me up, so I've been staying at Militia HQ. This is going to sound really stupid, but I was kind of hoping..."
Harry grinned. "You know, it would be much easier for you to advise me on things if you were in the castle,"
Her eyes lit up. "You mean it?"
He nodded. "Yes." He smiled. "Now, which way to the Living Quarters, oh knowledgeable one?"
She laughed. "It's this way."
The man in the grey mist was sad.
It wasn't an unusual occurrence, but it still bothered him.
He was thinking about the specter again. The boy had been so kind... like a son to him. They could talk about any small thing and have as much fun with it as though it were the Quidditch World Cup. Something, having the boy there had always made things better.
He wondered if the boy missed him. Part of him, the selfish part, hoped that he did, that he had meant as much to the boy as the boy had to him. But the other part, the protective part, prayed that the boy didn't, because he would give anything for the boy to be happy, not to dwell on his arrival in this place.
Another face rose to his mind. He had called her his girl, once. To him she still was. Even all these years after her death, he still loved her, so much.
Which was the other reason he despised the grey place. When he had died, he had wanted to go to the afterlife, to see her again, but instead, the grey place had claimed him it's own, and he had been able to do nothing to stop it.
He still could do nothing to stop it.
He would, in all likelihood, never see the boy or his girl again.