Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Escape2 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, sixt-year story, mild changes to ending of OotP, A...
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or anything related.
A/N: Many thanks to LunaMoon224 for looking over this for me.
What he saw almost brought him out of his trance.
It was as if he was both inside himself and outside. He saw the frown of concentration on his face, the attentive look of the Keeper, the soft, reddish glow of the fireplace. Slowly, more glows appeared everywhere. Everything had its own glow, made of different colors, overlapping and mixing, writhing, seeming to make the objects they shaped. He got the distinct feeling that if he could change a color, or the way it was set, he would change things. However, the moment he tried to move, he was snapped out of his trance.
The transition was so abrupt that it gave him a blinding headache. He blinked and pressed a hand against his temple.
"You have seen the colors, yes?" the Keeper enquired, his tone hinting at excitement.
Harry nodded silently. The worst of the headache seemed to have gone, and now he was looking curiously at the things around him. In the corner of his eyes, he fancied that he could still see the vague, writhing colors.
"The colors you saw are the magic that makes the world around us. Affecting an object's inherent magic will change the object. For example, if I was to change the colors, or add a new color to the fireplace, the flames might brighten. Or they would dim, or the fireplace would explode." He accentuated his last words. "There is no way to know, or predict how the magic will react to your interference. Some people," he nodded towards Harry, "can influence the colors with great concentration. I do not advise it. You are dealing with pure magic, and nothing can contain, or predict, magic."
The Keeper was silent after that, and Harry fidgeted for a few minutes. Finally, he couldn't wait any longer and asked, "But how does that help me? If I can't do anything to the colors, why even know they're there?"
Calmly, the Keeper lifted an arm and snapped his fingers, creating a small ball that hovered between them.
"You cannot safely modify the existent colors, Young Master. But you can make your own."
"I -" Harry's question was cut short by the ball, which hit him square in the forehead, bouncing away. Before Harry could do anything, the ball came at him again. He dove out of its way.
"Concentrate on the colors that make the ball. Once you see them clearly, create an obstacle that can stop it," the Keeper said.
Harry dodged the ball again, muttering a curse. For a second, he contemplated drawing his wand and hexing the ball to pieces. He gave up on the idea immediately. This was not wand magic... perhaps it wasn't even magic. He could do this. As the ball flew past him once again, he turned and watched it, narrowing his eyes.
At first only vague traces of the colors were visible, but they slowly faded into view. Reds and yellows made up most of the base f the ball, while the upper half was lighter in colors, ending with a pure white tip.
Harry visualized a large gray square in front of the box. A second later, the ball hit him in the forehead.
His second and third attempts were much similar. Before trying the fourth time, he slapped the ball as it flew past him, increasing its momentum, and giving him more time to work on his obstacle. It was getting harder to see the colors.
This time, he watched the ball and focused on creating an opposite. He didn't think of a shape or color, so he was very surprised when another ball appeared. He noticed that this one was made of just the colors, not having a space in the physical world. It was the same size as the other ball, but it was blue and green, with a darkening tone towards the top, ending in an inky black tip. The new ball swooped in the path of the other one, and they seemed to merge for a second, before vanishing. A regular tennis ball fell on the floor, bouncing a few times before stopping.
Harry grinned happily. He had done it!
"Well done," the Keeper said. He hadn't left his seat next to the fireplace while Harry was running and jumping around the room. He stood now and walked towards the door. "Go to sleep now. Tomorrow, you will have two balls." With that, the door closed behind him.
Harry groaned and opened the door to his room, heading directly for the shower. Hot water eased the pain in his limbs. There was a large bruise forming on his forehead, and he vowed to himself not to let the balls hit him again.
Once he was in his bed, sleep failed to claim him. His scar was tingling faintly, and he hoped that Voldemort wasn't doing anything major. He turned and twisted for a few minutes before sitting up, accepting that he wasn't going to sleep in a hurry.
Staring at the door of his room, he wondered what Ron and Hermione were up to. Had Dumbledore done something to them too? What were the Weasleys doing? Were they missing him? He knew that he missed them, their loud gatherings and light bantering. When around the large red-headed family, he felt at home, in a way. Their affection for him was genuine, he was sure of it, and in all his memory, they were the only people who had shown him unconditioned love, liking him for who he was, not for The-Boy-Who-Lived, or James Potter.
Pondering his friends and his adopted family, he finally fell asleep. Bare minutes after closing his eyes, he could see again, but it was tinged with red. For a moment, Harry had no idea what was happening. Suddenly, a voice hissed, sounding so close that the started.
"Welcome, Harry. I'm glad you accepted my invitation," Voldemort said. The voice was coming from a few feet away in the complete darkness that surrounded him. However, despite the source of the voice remaining still, Harry felt another consciousness moving towards him. Instinctively, he tried to return to his own mind, to wake up, but he was trapped.
He tried to create a shield, but it was blasted apart. He kept making shields, but Voldemort just kept coming, almost absent-absentmindedly destroying his defenses.
"You can't win here, Harry. In my head, I am the winner. Always."
The contemptuous tone used by the snake-like figure made Harry redouble his efforts. The place they were in suddenly turned into an arena, with him on one side and Voldemort on the other. Only Voldemort wasn't the figure that reminded Harry so much of Nagini. He was a tall, handsome young man that reminded Harry of the memory-riddle from the diary.
The spectator stands of the arena were empty. The sky above them was read, with clouds that dripped large, red drops on the sodden ground. Harry's shoes were covered in the dark red mud, and it made a sickening squelching noise when Harry took a few steps forward.
With surprise, Harry saw that he, too, had been changed. He was trapped in his eleven-year old body, with his too small hands and skinny build. Looking back at Voldemort, he wondered if that was the way the evil man was thinking of him. A frightened first year, facing a powerful, handsome young man.
"Do you like my little playground?" Voldemort sneered. "Some of the Best Occlumentists in the world have found their end here. Soon, you will be gone as well, and your body will remain a mindless husk, ready to obey my every command."
With that, he launched his attack. Soon, Harry learned that this battle was similar to the one they've had before, with the exception of the added visual element.
Hastily summoning a brittle wall before him, Harry cursed himself for forgetting his Occlumency practice. He was hopeless in such a battle.
Hiding behind another shield, he was amazed to see a vague trace of the magical colors. His shield was shattered and he squinted, concentrating with all his might. He ignored the colors writhing all around the arena, focusing on the sickly green one connecting him to Voldemort. There was a red strand as well and he focused on cutting it.
He felt, more than saw, Voldemort's attack. Before the magic could reach him, the red strand was cut, and he vanished, leaving behind a very angry Voldemort.
He opened his eyes and gasped at the pain in his scar. He was back in his room. The Keeper was at the edge of his bed, with a hand on his forehead. The old man shushed Harry before the boy could ask anything.
"You needed help. We shall speak of this no more."
After those few words, the Keeper left, leaving Harry with a thousand questions and no answers.
Harry yawned and rolled over. He had never been so thankful it was his birthday before. Laughingly, Dudley had said that as a present, Harry was excused from training that day. Harry had laughed gratefully, despite detecting the sadness in Dudley's voice. Harry knew that Dudley wanted to give him a better present, but he didn't have any money, and no way of making something. He thought about what he could do for Dudley. The boy had completely changed in the time they had spent on the island, and it was a good change, as far as Harry was concerned. He yawned again, deciding that he knew what to do. But first he was going to spend more time in his bed. Sleeping in was great, he decided. It was not to be, however.
Loud knocks on the door preceded Tonks in his room. Paying no heed to his muttered "G' 'way", she grabbed his foot and proceeded to drag him off the bed.
"C'mon, birthday boy, this day is meant for fun, not sleep!" Tonks yelled, just as he reached the edge of the bed.
Five minutes and many swearwords later, a much more awake Harry and a grinning Tonks made their way to breakfast. The Keeper was there as well, holding a small package.
"Happy birthday, Young Master," the old man said, holding out the package the moment Harry sat down at the table.
"Thank you," Harry said, accepting the square, paper-wrapped box.
After a filling breakfast, Harry leaned back in his chair. They were all still at the table, enjoying a moment of relaxation. The past weeks had been tiring. Exhausting, if Harry was to be believed. He spent his entire day training. Learning. In the morning, physical training with Dudley and Tonks. First just exercise, then trying to avoid being hit by Tonks' spells. After a quick, light lunch it was time for spell training, and this time Dudley was only a spectator, and sometimes a victim of the more harmless spells.
When Tonks declared that Harry had learned enough for the day, the Keeper would teach him more about the colors and magical plane. Harry still needed to fall into a trance before being able to see the colors of the magical plane, but it was a shorter time every time he tried it. After exiting the trance, the effects lasted for about half an hour, allowing him to dodge the Keeper's attacks and learn more about the functions of the colors. At night, he barely had time to do his Occlumency exercises before falling asleep.
"Keeper, would it be alright for us to visit Diagon alley today?" Harry asked. At the man's inquiring gaze, he went on. "We need some more equipment for the physical training, and it wouldn't hurt to get some books. That way, Dudley and Tonks would have something to do while you and I train."
"Uhm... Harry, that's alright, I don't need to study, or anything," Tonks said, grinning at him. Harry had often expressed his displeasure that they got to laze around in the evening while he was doing his best to remain in one piece. "I agree with Harry, Keeper. There are things I can't teach him, and from what Dudley has told me, the equipment is essential."
Dudley nodded, keeping his mouth shut. He had been unusually quiet this morning, saying nothing past wishing Harry a happy birthday. Harry wondered if something was wrong, but didn't have the time to ask.
He took the gift from the Keeper in his room and left it on his bed. He'd open it later, after they got back. After he exited his room, the three who were going to leave the island talked about the details, agreeing from the start which shops they needed to visit and why. The Keeper suggested a visit to some of their friends, or at least a letter, and Dudley reminded Harry to buy Hedwig some owl treats.
The owl had followed them to the island, and was happily spending her days out in the open. Dudley spent his free time outside, just enjoying the free air and all the animals. He and Hedwig were getting along just fine, to Harry's amusement.
Finally, they were ready to leave. They assembled in front of the fireplace and Tonks took the bag of Floo powder from the Keeper.
"Travel safe!" the old man called as they vanished one after the other.
Diagon Alley had changed since Harry had last been there. Gone were the large crowds and noisy shopkeepers. The few shopped kept to themselves or traveled in groups, moving quickly and speaking quietly.
Harry pulled his hood so his face was covered better and made his way towards the Owl Emporium. Tonks and Dudley shared a glance, after which Tonks dashed off, only Dudley following Harry.
After a few minutes of Dudley looking at every owl in the place, comparing them to Hedwig, Tonks joined them. Harry ignored her lateness, acting as if it hadn't happened. He trusted the young Auror to not betray him, and he was fairly certain she had bought him a gift.
Before leaving Diagon Alley (they had to drag Dudley away from the entrance to the Magical Menagerie), Tonks made a quick entry to Knockturn Alley, returning with a small stack of books and a bag with something that clinked as she shifted it in her hands.
"Okay, do we need to get anything else from here?" she asked the two teens.
"I could do with a refill for my broom kit, but it can wait until school starts," Harry said while Dudley merely shook his head.
"Okay, birthday boy," Tonks replied grinning at him, her face an eerie reflection of his. "Lead the way out of here, we're going to Muggle London and you'll be our guide."
Harry headed towards the Leaky Cauldron, smiling slightly at the hushed conversation he could hear behind him. He quickened his steps, entering through the arch. He stopped before entering the Cauldron, waiting for his friends.
Together, the three entered and were almost to the exit before a voice stopped them.
Harry considered the thought of running, but he was loath to leave the speakers like that. They had never hurt him in any way. He nodded resignedly at Tonks and the three made their way to the table from which they had been hailed.
"Hello, Remus, Fred, George," he said in a blank tone while Tonks was more enthusiast about her greeting and Dudley was just looking at the twins in fear. To his credit, his hands were firmly on the table.
"Hello, Harry," Remus said slowly.
Harry nodded at the man. "Hello, Remus." His tone was cold, distant, and Remus flinched while Tonks half-glared at Harry.
"How are you, Harry?" Remus asked.
"I'm-" Harry started to say fine but the look on Remus' face showed him that he wouldn't be believed. "- angry."
"An unhealthy emotion," one of the twins replied while the other cast a few privacy charms around them.
Remus sighed. "I'm can't say how sorry I am, Harry. Since being kicked from the Order-"
"You were kicked from the Order?!" both Harry and Tonks exclaimed.
Remus nodded. "Two weeks ago, we were searching for you, Harry, when I got into an argument with Molly about you and Sirius. I was very angry, and did something that I shouldn't have. Two days later, Dumbledore asked for my resignation from the Order."
"And we got one of the best pranking minds as our consultant," Fred said, giving Remus a friendly pat on the back.
"You've been fired too," George told Tonks, far more cheerful than he should have been. "Dumbledore sent you a Howler about it, but it came back," he explained, grinning.
"So Harry, where've you been?" George asked, taking a large gulp from his Butterbeer bottle.
After a few moments to think about his answer, Harry decided that he could trust Remus. He wasn't certain about the twins, though.
"Here and there," he said vaguely.
"There is a nice place, or so I've heard," Fred said, nodding wisely.
"Everybody's been looking for you like crazy," Remus said, throwing Fred an exasperated look.
"I didn't want to be found," Harry replied coolly. "I still don't want to be found," he said in a low tone.
George raised his arms to placate him. "Don't worry, Harry, we're not gonna go tell anybody anything. Were on the same side, after all."
"Yeah, and who would we talk to?"
"Mum doesn't speak to us-"
"Ginny has threatened to castrate us-"
"Ron wants to punch us-"
"Dumbledore wants us to feed you sweets-"
"And we didn't even do anything!" George finished.
"I think that's the whole point, brother mine," Fred said, pretending to whisper. George just grinned back.
Remus looked at the twins fondly. "I think I should do the explaining."
At Harry's nod and Tonks' bright smile, he ran a hand through his graying hair and cleared his throat. "After you vanished, Dumbledore ordered an Order meeting. He sent us all to search for you two. Up until now, I had no idea Dudley was with you," he said, nodding at Dudley. "Molly was one of the most persistent searchers, assisted by Ron and Ginny. Bill is on an assignment for Gringotts in Egypt and Charlie is still in Romania.
"Anyway, the two carrot-headed pranksters here said they had better things to do than search for somebody who obviously didn't want to be found. The rest of the Weasleys and Dumbledore weren't pleased."
"They weren't pleased to see the special Order rates we now have at the shop," Fred put in.
"As I was saying, Molly wasn't pleased. She berated them for a few minutes, until Fred said something that I didn't understand," he finished with a questioning look towards Fred.
Fred exchanged a look with his twin before nodding grimly.
"Harry, what I am about to tell you will seem hard to believe. I am willing to answer this same questions under the effects of Veritaserum."
Harry looked at the twins in confusion. What could be so serious?
"Harry... I- we don't know how to tell you..."
"How about you start from the beginning?" Tonks snapped.
Fred blinked and nodded. "What I told Mum the day we had that row was, 'No true Weasley would do what you are doing, thief'. It shut her up," he explained.
"Thief? Why would you call Mrs. Weasley a thief?" Harry asked, confused. "And why would it shut her up?"
The twins winced at Harry's tone. It was not going to be pretty. "Harry, she's been stealing from our potions ingredients ever since you first visited the Burrow. She is a good potion maker, and with Ginny's help, they make several potions-"
"That they feed to you, in the food," Fred finished.
Harry rocked back in his chair, stunned. It wasn't true! Mrs. Weasley loved him, she wouldn't do that to him!
"Do you know why she was so eager to find you, Harry?"
"The dose you've had needs to be replenished today."
"Ginny and Ron - know?" Harry stammered his question, certain that he didn't want to know the answer.
With sad faces, the twins nodded. "Once they realized that we know, they threatened us to keep silent about it. We decided that it was too sensitive to put in a letter, and have been brewing antidotes to give you first time we got a chance."
"We don't know. She might now, she might not know. I doubt she'd agree, since the loyalty potion is illegal, but you can never tell."
"She... might have done something to him, too. But we don't know what. All I know that when somebody disagrees with Mum, or goes against her, Dumbledore takes her side-"
"And drastic action."
Harry sighed. Why did everything have to happen to him? And why would kind Mrs. Weasley do something like that? Money? He'd give them all the money in his vault if they asked for it. A relationship with Ginny? He shook his head. Ginny was a great girl, and had been a great friend the past year, but she was more of a sister than a girlfriend. Fame?
"Control," Remus said suddenly, apparently guessing Harry's thoughts. "They wanted to control you, Harry. Make you do what they wanted..."
"And Mum is an ambitious woman," George said grimly, emptying his bottle.
Their trip to Muggle London wasn't as fun as they expected it to be. They got what they wanted and Floo-ed back to Griffin Island, emotionally and physically exhausted. That night, Harry tossed and turned in his sleep, dreaming of a pretty, loving, faces turning around to reveal monsters with tentacles spread everywhere, trying to grab him, to twist him.
A/N: Well, this chapter has had some interesting revelations. I hope you guys aren't too angry about what I did/didn't do :) As always, reviews are appreciated.
Chris, who is off to work on the next chapter.