Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Escape4 Reviews
Harry comes back from his fifth year to a changed household. What happened to Dudley, and why is he so desperate to make Harry go away? Post-OotP, mild changes to ending of OotP, AU, rating just to...
Disclaimer: I don't own it, and if you think I do, see a therapist. Or better yet, I have some swampland...
A/N: Thanks to Ham for looking over this for me :)
Harry frowned at Dudley's entrance, and shot a look at Tonks. She was looking alert, but the pain was visible in her eyes. He really needed to talk to her about Dumbledore and the recent events. 'First chance we get, we'll have a really long conversation about Dumbledore and the way he's fighting this war,' he thought while arranging some chairs to have some protection. Dudley was behind them both, shaking in fear.
"Dudley, what happened?" Harry asked sharply, when after two minutes nothing came through the door.
Whatever Dudley was about to say was interrupted by a voice from the doorway. "I am afraid I frightened you, child. Please, accept my apologies."
An old man was standing there. His back was bent, and he used a staff to support himself. He was dressed in a plain grey robe. He had long white hair, the same color as his staff. His face was wrinkled, dark eyes peering from under bushy eyebrows. He had a kind smile on his face as he looked at them. He walked towards them slowly, stopping a few yards from their impromptu barricade.
Still shaking, Dudley nodded. "S-Sure," he stuttered.
The man smiled gratefully at him. "Thank you. I did not intend to frighten you, but it has been a long time since mortals last stepped on this island. My manners have eroded during the ages."
Harry stared at him in stunned surprise. Mortals? Ages? How old was this man?
"I am forgetting my manners," the man said. He mumbled something and the small gem set at the top of his staff glowed briefly. Harry suddenly found that his elbows were no longer hurting. A glance at Tonks proved that she too had been healed. The chairs were moved back to the table. Leaning heavily on his staff, the man sat in one of the chairs, motioning for them to take a seat. Stunned to silence, the three took seats facing the man, with Harry in the middle.
"I shall explain as we eat," the old man said, and suddenly the table was filled with food.
Harry eyed the food with suspicion, but Sirius' words came back to him. He was safe on this island. He was also hungry. He started eating, noticing that Dudley and Tonks followed his lead.
Several minutes into the meal Harry broke the silence. "Who are you?" he asked.
The old man took a sip of his goblet of wine, and sighed in satisfaction before replying. "I am the Story Keeper." Seeing their confusion at the title, he elaborated. "This world is made of stories. Everything has its own tale. Everybody has their own tale to spin. I know all the tales, I keep them. At times, I tell my own tales."
This explanation didn't make much sense to Harry, but he thought he got the gist of it.
"Why are you here?", 'And what are you going to do with us?' he asked, keeping the second half of the question to himself.
"Your tale tells of great peril, Young Master," the Story Keeper said. "I am here to teach you how to spin your tale. There are great obstacles ahead, for destiny is not easily crossed. But if tales are to be told again, it has to be done."
"Whoa," Tonks said. "Destiny? You mean the prophecy? But that doesn't say anything certain..." she trailed off at Harry's look. "Dumbledore told us after the fight at the Department of Mysteries," she explained meekly. Hanging her head.
Harry nodded, keeping his anger in check. He and Tonks would have a really long talk first chance they got. What was Dumbledore up to?
"So, you will train me?" he asked the Keeper. At the nod he received, he went on, "Train me in what? Like Tonks said, the prophecy doesn't say anything certain, just that it has to be me or him. I don't understand how that is going against destiny. And how exactly am I going to do that? I'm just a kid."
"Young Master, is it not said /neither can live while the other survives/?" he asked. "Life means flying when you want to. Life means doing what you want to. Life is not a fight. You, Young Master, have fought all your life. That is not the way a tale should be spun. I will teach you how to spin a tale of life." He finished in a determined tone.
Harry nodded slowly. They didn't say much after that, focusing on the great meal before them. When they were all done, the Keeper pointed to the doors on the walls. "Through those doors you will find rooms. Choose a room. It is where you will live during your time here. Tomorrow morning we shall discuss a program for us to train in. Feel free to explore the island. The creatures will not harm you unless you provoke or harm them. There are dangerous plants here, so don't eat anything you don't recognize. We will speak in the morning."
With that, he left them.
After a brief discussion they chose rooms, although Tonks was reluctant to do so. She had a job; she couldn't just remain here until the Keeper saw fit to let her leave. But she didn't have a choice. Her wand has disappeared during the Floo trip, and she couldn't cast the communication charm with any other wand. She couldn't Apparate, and she didn't know how to make Portkeys.
The rooms were identical. They were square, with a bed, a closet for clothing and a desk with a chair. Each room had its own bathroom. Harry and Dudley didn't unpack, they were too curious to see the island.
Joined by Tonks, who had chosen the room between Harry's and Dudley's, they made their way outside, where they just sat and stared. They were on the highest point on the island. The path turned left after a few yards, and descended in a gentle slope the near sea-level. Straight ahead of them there was a huge drop to the sea. The view was magnificent, and they spend almost an hour there, watching the shadows of the sparse clouds chase each other on the water.
There was life all around them. Sea birds flew beneath them, and Tonks said that they had nests in the cliff face. A throng of insects eliminated any trace of silence. They saw a rabbit running full tilt down the slope, chased by a fox. They didn't see any animals larger than that, or any magical animals. Harry identified a few magical plants but he had no idea what to do with them.
Eventually they made their way down, taking in the sights. The island wasn't large, and it was dominated by the crag where their rooms were. Other than that, it was flat and grassy. On one side there was a forest, and a stream that came from it, crossing the island to join the sea.
Once they reached the river they stopped. They would have more time for exploration later. Dudley was excited by a place where he would be safe and kept fidgeting until Tonks snapped at him. He set off to explore more of the island. Tonks and Harry sat in an awkward silence for a few minutes, staring at the slow stream.
"I'm sorry," Harry said eventually.
Tonks looked at him in confusion. "Sorry? For what?"
"Because of me you're trapped on this island. Because of me you were hurt," he explained. He knew that she was just doing his job, but he still felt guilty about it.
Tonks stared at the water for a few minutes, thinking about the recent events. What did she have to lose? Back in England, she would become the black sheep of the order again, looked down upon, and sent on the missions where she wouldn't be able to do any damage. Here, she had a chance to train in something new, and she was doing her mission. She smiled evilly at that thought. Her mission had been to guard Harry Potter. She was doing that.
She couldn't wait to see Dumbledore's face when she told him that. The man had changed in the past two years. From the benevolent leader of the light he had turned into a ruthless man, who used people like they were nothing more than pawns.
She knew that Dumbledore meant well, and that he was coping with the situation as well as he could. She had eavesdropped on Minerva McGonagall and Snape once when they were discussing the headmaster. In their opinion, he was losing it. She had heard the phrase "win, no matter what," and it had scared her. She decided that the island was better than the Order or her Auror job.
"Harry, I'm not mad at you for getting me here. I was just doing my job, which is to protect you. If this place offers better protection than the Dursley home then I will be more than happy to keep doing my job here. I will have to see what protection you have here myself, but for now I see no problems about you staying here."
Harry nodded, thankful that she didn't blame him. "I... have one request, Tonks."
She looked at him, waiting for him to elaborate.
"Do not tell Dumbledore or anybody from the Order where we are unless I tell you to. I found out some disturbing things these past few weeks, and I'm not sure who I trust right now."
She nodded. "I have no intention of telling Dumbledore," she said. "And I have no way of telling him. The communication charm only works with my wand, and I lost it." She had a sad expression as she said that. Her wand had become a part of her, and it hurt to lose it.
Harry apologized for her loss and they spent the next few hours discussing the recent events. Harry told her about his inheritance, about Sirius' will and about the things Dumbledore had put him through. Since she knew the prophecy she could see Dumbledore's machinations had started in the night of the death of Lily and James Potter.
As Harry told her of his adventures over the years she drew to a sickening conclusion; it was even more plausible, in the light of Dumbledore's recent behaviour. By the looks of it, Harry had reached the same conclusion.
"He's been shaping me into a one-use weapon," Harry whispered bitterly. "I'm supposed to take down Voldemort and die. Repeat what happened first time, but with no survivors this time." He hugged his knees to his chest, obviously struggling not to cry.
Tonks felt her heart break for the young man in front of her. He was so young, but he'd never been allowed to be a child. She edged closer to him and put her arms around him. He stiffened when he felt her arms, but soon relaxed.
She held him as he cried, vowing to do anything in her power to help him win this war. He deserved to live.
As the young woman comforted Harry, a figure watching from afar smiled. The Young Master had a long tale to spin, and it had already begun.