AU, Post OotP summer story: Summer at the Dursleys has always meant Harry is overworked, underfed and lonely. All Harry wanted was a normal summer, what he gets is anything but normal. repost
Disclaimer: Rowling owns Harry Potter and is rich, I'm not.
The book lists finally came the next morning and Harry and Neville decided to invite Hermione and Hannah to go shopping the next day. Neville commented that Hannah would bring Susan Bones and Harry hoped Ron could join them as well.
Harry was very nervous when he Apparated into the Weasley's yard. He'd been reassured by Mr. Weasley but now he had to face Mrs. Weasley.
He knocked on the door and Ron opened it grinning broadly.
"Hey Harry, good to see you, come in," said Ron.
"Ron, I wasn't sure if you'd be angry-" said Harry.
Ron reached out and dragged Harry into the kitchen and threw a long arm around his shoulder.
"No I'm not going to be a jealous prat this time. I'm not sure I'd want to be a Lord, anyway. Beside Dad said it's better that you didn't come here when you left those muggles, what with Ginny going barmy and Dumbledore trying to find you."
Before Harry could ask about that Molly Weasley come into the room and Harry braced himself. He wasn't disappointed, though, as she swept him up into a warm hug, pushing Ron out of the way.
"I always knew Harry was your favorite," proclaimed Ron with a whine.
Harry pulled back to look at Ron in shock and found him smirking at his Mum.
"Ronald," started Mrs. Weasley.
"Don't mind him, Mum Weasley," said Harry, "I'm much better behaved."
She hugged him some more and then shooed both of them into the lounge so she could finish dinner.
Ginny was there with Arthur. Harry hesitated and then straightened his shoulder.
"Hi, Ginny, how are you?" he said.
She glanced at her father and said, "I'm doing better, Harry. I so sorry I embarrassed you," she looked at the floor, "I promise I won't bother you again."
Harry glanced at Mr. Weasley hoping for a clue of what to say.
"Ginny, you're like a sister to me and I'd like it if we were still friends."
"Thank you, Harry," she said with a small smile.
The twins thundered down the stairs then and drew Harry's attention.
Dinner was loud and boisterous, as well a delicious. Bill was there, along with the twins, and Harry enjoyed himself greatly, though Ginny was very quiet.
After Dinner he offered to help clean up but was pushed into the lounge again with the 'men' by Mrs. Weasley, who had Ginny help her.
"Mr. Weasley, er, Arthur, may I ask you something?" asked Harry
"Of course Harry, you may ask me anything," said Arthur.
"You said in your letter that Dumbledore didn't tell you that Ginny should have had treatment?" he asked hesitantly.
The twins snorted, Bill scowled and Harry began to reconsider asking.
"When we took Ginny to St Mungos they requested her medical records from Hogwarts, there is a copy of Madam Pomfrey's report to the Headmaster that further treatment was recommended. When I asked Dumbledore, he said that he didn't see the need for us to have to spend the money on treatment if there were no problems," said Arthur.
Harry frowned and asked, "Shouldn't the school have had to pay for the treatment?"
The boys made sounds of derision.
"Yes, I feel the Headmaster should have offered for the school to pay for further treatment. However Dumbledore was having trouble with the board that year and I believe that he didn't want the expenditure on his yearly report."
"Uhm, what about after the Ministry? Ron?" asked Harry.
Ron blushed and mumbled, "I'm fine."
"Molly spoke to Madam Pomfrey after we found out about Ginny, and we took Ron in to be looked at. He is fine and Ginny's ankle healed nicely. Nothing to worry about," said Arthur.
"That's good. I don't want to offend you, but do you need some money to help with Ginny's treatment?" asked Harry nervously. All four of the Weasley boys went quiet waiting for Arthur to speak.
"Thank you for the offer Harry, it means more to me than you can imagine, but we are doing all right. Bill and the twins have helped some," said Arthur.
"I see," said Harry in a subdued tone.
Ron scowled and asked, "What are you thinking Harry?"
"Oh it's not important really, I just thought that you might think of me as family," he said softly.
"Harry, you are family," Arthur assured him.
Harry titled his head and replied, "If I really am family then you'd let me help, like Bill or the twins. If Ron was left a legacy you'd let him help, wouldn't you?"
The twins grinned at Harry and the corners of Bill's mouth twitched up.
Ron frowned at his father and said, "Give it up Dad, Harry has you checkmated, I think."
Arthur sighed and gave in, "Very well, Harry."
A smile spread across Harry's face and he said, "I'll make a deposit to your vault tomorrow while I'm in the Alley."
"Not too much now, Harry," warned Arthur.
Harry merely smiled in reply.
Harry Apparated into the courtyard behind the Leaky Cauldron to meet the others, who would be coming by floo. He refused to floo if he didn't have to. He waited only a moment before Neville came through the door grumbling about greasy gits.
"What's that, Neville?" asked Harry as he tapped the bricks to let the group through the wall.
"Snape's in there skulking in the shadows, sneering at people coming through the floo," complained Neville.
"He was there when I came through," said Ron.
"Come on, I need to change some money," said Hermione. "I can't wait to get the rest of my books; I can't believe they waited this late to send out the list."
The others laughed but obediently followed her down the street towards Gringotts, as most of them needed to withdraw galleons for their books.
Harry didn't need any cash but wanted to arrange the transfer of 5,000 galleons to the Weasley's vault.
In a short time they gathered together again in the lobby of Gringotts and made their way to Flourish and Blotts bookstore.
Harry was browsing through the Defense section when someone behind him cleared his throat. He turned to find Terry Boot beckoning him away from the shelf to an open space with a table and chairs.
"Excuse me, Harry, I was wondering if you would be resuming the DA club this year?" said the Ravenclaw.
"I was thinking about it but wasn't sure anyone would be interested if we have a decent DADA teacher," confessed Harry.
"I'm definitely interested," said Terry, "Is there a book or two we should pick up for the club?"
Harry blinked in surprise and said, "Well, the defense book this year is pretty good and I don't think we'll do too much on theory just practical work."
"That's great but I'd like to do some reading on what you might teach us as well," said Terry.
"I think that might be nice, Harry," said Hermione who came up behind him.
"Ok, well, Shields, Counters and Wards: Keeping Life and Limb Intact was a great book and Dueling for Fun and Profit, while it went into detail about standard dueling, also had a lot of useful spells that could be cast quickly. I really liked Wandless, not Defenseless too."
"Most people can't use wandless magic though," complained Terry.
"That's what I thought too, but the book is more about alternate forms of defense than wandless magic. It's a way of thinking see, if you automatically think 'because I don't have a wand I can't defend myself' then you've lost before you start," said Harry.
He noticed that several more of his classmates had gathered and that Hermione was looking past him. Harry turned to find Mr. Flourish standing behind him holding the three books he'd just named.
"Are there any others you'd recommend Mr. Potter, I'd like to make a display of the titles if you don't mind. Lot's of people are coming in lately asking for recommendations. I could point these out and tell them that they're your picks," said the bookstore owner.
Harry flushed and asked; "You think people would read them on my say so?"
"I plan to myself and, if it's any indication, your peers want to, also, I will take orders with free owl delivery for any student wanting copies of any books you recommend."
"I see, well Defensive Capabilities in Transfiguration is excellent as is Charms and Hexes for Protection but people should play to their strengths," he said and took a quick look around.
"I'd also recommend Hiding in Plain Sight and Evading Your Enemies as it offers quite a bit on getting away or avoiding a fight, which of course is a sound defensive move, and Basic First Aide for Non Healers because it's stupid to win but die of blood loss before help arrives."
"Excellent, please let me know if you think of any additional titles, Mr. Potter, and thank you," said Mr. Flourish flicking his wand at the shelves and summoning the books Harry had mentioned as he walked away.
Harry turned back to Terry, "Anything else?"
Terry grinned and strode off to see if there was still copies of the books Harry recommended while others did the same. Harry hoped there wouldn't be violence over books. Hermione shot an anxious glance between the shelves and Harry and Harry laughed.
"Relax you can borrow my copies if you like, Hermione."
She nodded in relief and moved toward him.
"You know, Harry, Mr. Flourish will make bundle off of your recommendations," she said.
"I don't care; if even one person reads those books and uses the information to save themselves or others from Death Eaters, then it's worth letting him use my name," he replied.
"Maybe you should write a book Harry," said Luna from behind him.
"Hi there, Luna, how are you?" asked Harry.
"I'm good, you could call it Harry's Defense Guide for Non Death Eaters so they would know not to buy it," said Luna airily.
Harry laughed and said, "That a good idea, maybe I'll do that."
Ron said, "You could do a book signing like Lockhart."
Hermione scowled at the laughter of the two boys
"And just what would you do when Voldemort showed up to get his copy autographed?" she demanded.
Harry and Ron looked at each other and then at Hermione.
"That's a good idea, Harry could duel him and show how good his technique is. It would be excellent publicity," said Luna staring over Hermione's left shoulder.
Harry and Ron collapsed in gales of laughter and Hermione stormed off.
"I'm so glad you're feeling better Harry," said Luna who then walked away.
A few minutes later as Ron and Harry were picking themselves up off the floor, Neville walked up his arms full of books and asked, "Why are you so red in the face, what did I miss?"
Ron began to laugh again and Harry just waved him away, shaking his head.
Harry's group which has started out that morning with him, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Hannah and Susan had grown by the time they got to Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor to include Luna, Dean Thomas, Lavender Brown, and several other DA members.
Fortescue didn't seem to mind the invasion and smiled happily while serving the hungry teens and agreeably allowing them to shove several tables together.
The teens chattered happily, exchanging gossip and news while Harry sat back and enjoyed his ice cream and the chaos around him.
The party atmosphere was disrupted when two people approached the table.
"Mr. Potter," said the woman sharply.
Harry looked up and smiled.
"Hello, Ms. Jones, it's nice to see you, how have you been?" Harry greeted her politely.
She looked surprised but continued on, "I need you to come with me Mr. Potter, the Headmaster wishes to speak with you."
Harry shifted slightly in his chair and the conversations around him died.
"I'm sorry, I'm a little busy right now. If you'd be so kind as to tell him to owl me for an appointment, I'd be happy to speak to him then," said Harry calmly.
"I don't think you understand, boy, you will come with us now or I will stun you and you'll still come," said the man Harry didn't recognize.
"Here now, you can't threaten my customers," said Fortescue from behind the man.
The man turned and flashed a badge at the ice cream vender, "Auror business, sir, please go back to your counter."
When he turned back to Harry there were at least half a dozen wands trained on him.
"I don't know you, so I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. But I don't believe that Dumbledore runs the Aurors and you aren't in uniform: so I'd guess that this isn't official. Go back to the old man and tell him to make an appointment. I'm not going anywhere with you," said Harry.
"What going on here? Bryant, what do you think you're doing?" asked a uniformed Auror coming in the door followed by a young Gryffindor that Harry recognized but couldn't name.
Bryant turned toward the older man and swallowed, "Sir, this boy is a runaway; Headmaster Dumbledore asked my help to return him to his relatives. They are worried to death about him."
The uniformed Auror turned to the group of teens who all had their wands out.
"Which boy, Bryant?"
"He means me, Sir," said Harry to the Auror, "Everyone put your wands away."
The Auror watched as the teens put away wands and eyed Harry for a moment then turned to the younger man.
"You were speaking about Lord Potter, Bryant?" he asked in a hard tone.
Bryant straightened his already straight spine and answered, "Yes sir, Harry Potter, the Headmaster-" The older man held up a hand.
Then looked around to where his partner had prevented Hestia Jones from leaving the building.
"Don't let her go anywhere until I get to the bottom of this," he ordered then he turned back to Harry. "Lord Potter, I am Senior Auror Gibbs, do you have any idea why the Headmaster of Hogwarts might try to have someone kidnap you?"
The young Auror opened his mouth to protest then thought better of the idea and closed it again.
"Headmaster Dumbledore seems to think that he has the right to control my every move. Ms Jones there said that he wanted to meet with me, I told her to tell Dumbledore to owl me and set an appointment. I don't think that I should have to interrupt my day out with friends on his say so. I certainly don't like someone threatening to stun me," said Harry.
"I see," he said. He crooked a finger at Hestia Jones, "What were you're instructions?"
"The Headmaster is concerned for his safety. Harry left his relatives with out telling any one where he was going or when he'd be back," said Hestia.
"So you were to kidnap him?"
"I wasn't trying to kidnap him, only take him to see Dumbledore so he could be convinced to return to his relatives for his own safety," proclaimed Hestia.
"I see, well you are both going to have to come to headquarters, I'm sure that Director Bones will want to speak with you," he said. He gave a significant look at the young Auror.
He motioned to two other Aurors who had now arrived.
"Search them then take them to headquarters, tell Bones I'll be back to report shortly. Lock them both up till I get there," he ordered.
"On it, Boss," they replied in stereo.
He turned back to Harry and asked, "May we speak privately?"
Harry started to rise but several of the teens moved restlessly.
"It's all right," Gibbs assured them, "We'll sit right over there, where you can still see us."
Harry and Gibbs moved across the room to another table. Gibbs placed a silencing spell around them.
"I don't think I've seen that one before," said Harry gesturing at the spell.
"It's Auror level, kid, you probably wouldn't have," he paused for a moment and eyed Harry, "pardon, Lord Potter."
Harry grinned, "Call me Harry, sir, what can I do for you?"
"Do you want to press charges against that idiot? You have every right to, though with Dumbledore in his corner I doubt it will go very far except to lose him his job."
"No, I don't think it's his fault but he needs to be told not to listen to Dumbledore. I would bet he just joined The Order of Phoenix. Dumbledore wants to control me. He sees me as a tool both against Voldemort and in the political arena," said Harry.
"Why against Vold-him?" asked Gibbs surprised.
"Voldemort has to finish me off in order to ever get back his reputation. When I'm around, you always know his next target," said Harry with a laugh.
"I see, and the stuff about your relatives not knowing where you are?" he asked
"Well as I'm legally an adult they don't have to okay my comings and goings but wait a minute." Harry pulled out his phone and dialed a number.
Hello, Aunt Petunia, if you have a minute I need you to tell a policeman that you know where I'm staying and that it's all right with you," said Harry. "No, I'm not in any trouble. On the phone is fine, hang on."
He handed the phone to Gibbs.
"Ma'am this is Senior Auror Gibbs," pause, "yes Ma'am," pause, "no Ma'am he's not hurt nor is he in any trouble," pause, "I understand Ma'am," pause, "Yes Ma'am, Thank you Ma'am"
He handed the phone back to Harry.
"Aunt Petunia? Thank you, yes I'll have it at school. Good bye."
He shut off the phone and eyed the Auror, "Is there anything else, Sir?"
"If I could have your number in case we need to contact you, I think that covers it. Thank you for your time," said Gibbs.
Harry gave him the number and told him that Madam Bones was also aware of where he was staying and that owls had no problems finding him.
Gibbs pulled down his spell and waved at all the teens. Spoke to his partner and they left.
The mood had been considerably dampened and the group separated to return to their homes and ready themselves for the trip to Hogwarts in a week and a half.
That evening Amelia Bones showed up at Longbottom Hall to see Harry.
"Lord Potter, I wanted to make sure that you were all right," she told him over tea.
"I'm fine and please, call me Harry," he said.
"You may call me Amelia then, Harry," said Bones with a smile. "Now I have scheduled a meeting with Headmaster Dumbledore tomorrow afternoon at 2pm, to find out just what he was thinking. Would you like to attend?"
Harry sat thinking for a moment and then answered, "I think I would actually. I haven't been looking forward to the guilt trip he's going to try to lay on me."
"Why do you think he'll try to make you feel guilty?" she asked.
Harry sighed, "I didn't tell him I was leaving the Dursleys, I didn't contact him when I knew he was looking for me, I am his weapon against Voldemort, and I'm out of his control and might be learning things he doesn't want me to. I endangered my friends and every one around me by being in a public place where I could have been attacked by Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix. I'm endangering Neville and his Gran by being here, where his people can't spy on me when he wants them to."
"Harry, I understand that you are a target for You-Know-Who, but I don't understand how you could be considered a weapon. Can you tell me about that?" she asked concerned.
"The prophecy that Voldemort wanted at the Ministry was about the two of us. I have to kill him or be killed by him. Dumbledore has known since before I was born," said Harry with a sigh.
"I'm sorry this burden has been placed on you Harry," she paused for a moment, "have you heard the prophecy, are you completely sure of the interpretation?"
Harry looked up from studying his hands and looked at her thoughtfully. Then he rose and rang the little bell on the mantel. When an elf appeared he asked her to bring the pensieve from his trunk to him and she popped away.
Once he had the pensieve he pulled the memory of that evening out of his head and placed it in the bowl.
"Dumbledore portkeyed me away from the Ministry to his office where I was locked in until he came," he said. Then he stepped back and gesture her into the pensieve. He didn't particularly want to see the evening again.
After several long minutes Madam Bones came back to herself.
"I am sorry Harry, the DMLE will do everything we can to help you with this task. It was very wrong of Dumbledore not to have told you sooner," she said, "I can understand why you are angry at him. I would be too. You have no reason to feel guilty over your actions this summer."
"Thank you, that means a lot to me."
"We will have to have a long talk over how I can help you, Harry."
They chatted for a while longer and then after telling Harry to come to her office at 1:30 she left.
Harry Apparated in to the Ministry dressed in the black formal robes that Mr. Mann had given him and wearing both Family rings. His stomach was tied in knots but he refused to give in to the sick feeling. He had no reason to feel guilty and he refused to let Dumbledore make him.
He attracted stares as he marched through the atrium and up to Madam Bones' office. By ignoring the stares he missed the photographer taking his picture and didn't quite realize the impact his appearance had. Gone was the ragged little boy in too big muggle clothes with ugly glasses and messy hair. In his place was a young man in formal Family robes with blazing eyes that reeked of power and it showed in the picture that would grace the next days Prophet. That picture would mark the turning point in the media's assault on the reputation of Harry Potter and he would once again become the Wizarding World's Golden Boy.
Harry was seated in Amelia's office with tea when her secretary announced Dumbledore.
"Come in, Headmaster Dumbledore," said Amelia.
Dumbledore walked into the office affable smile in place until he saw Harry sitting there waiting with Amelia. The smile disappeared and he hesitated for a moment before taking the indicated chair.
"Harry, my boy, how good to see you, I was quite worried when you disappeared," he said with a hint of disapproval in his voice.
Amelia cleared her throat and said, "Dumbledore, I would like to know what you were thinking by sending people to kidnap Lord Potter."
Dumbledore's gaze snapped to Amelia and he frowned.
"I don't believe kidnap is an accurate word Amelia, young Harry has been rather irresponsible and I only wanted to speak to him about his choices."
"Lord Potter has claimed his place as Head of the Potter Family and as such is considered an adult and responsible for his own actions," she said firmly.
"I don't see how that is possible as Harry is not yet seventeen, he cannot have claimed his estate," said Dumbledore mildly. Amelia gaped at him.
Harry placed his right hand on the desk clearly showing the Family Rings on his hand.
"I am the last Potter; I could have claimed my Family at eleven," said Harry.
"That is much too young Harry. You didn't need that kind of responsibility," stated Dumbledore.
"You were just afraid I'd leave the Dursley's, that's why you didn't tell me."
"The wards at the Dursley are very important, Harry that is why you must return there until school start to strengthen them as much as possible."
"They are at full strength as you'd know if you inspected them yourself or bothered to listen to Moody, as I know he did look at them," said Harry with a sneer.
"That is impossible, they have been slowly failing as you've gotten older. But you need the protection more," said Dumbledore dismissively.
"They were failing because I didn't want to be there and didn't consider it my home. Once Aunt Petunia and I came to an understanding this summer and she showed me the ward monitor and your letter, I could renew the wards. You said no more secrets yet this summer I've learned so many and uncovered so many lies. Then you have the gall to try to kidnap me."
"I'm sure it was just a misunderstanding Harry, I only asked Hestia and Kevin to ask you to meet with me," Dumbledore said placatingly.
Harry snorted and asked, "Then why did that idiot threaten to stun me?"
Dumbledore eyed Amelia who was sitting quietly listening and said, "I'm sure you're exaggerating Harry. Kevin would never have threatened you."
"He did, in front of multiple witnesses, Albus. I have statements and Auror Bryant is on administrative leave," stated Amelia coldly. "I questioned my Auror under Veritaserum and he said that you told him to bring Harry Potter to you by what ever means necessary."
"I did not mean-" started Dumbledore, but she held up her hand. "I can't charge you because Lord Potter has declined to press charges against Auror Bryant and Ms. Jones, however I have made duplicate copies of the file for both my personal files and Lord Potter's."
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled at Harry and he said, "Well, thank you, my boy,"
"I'm not your /boy/," said Harry in a deadly tone. "I did it to save that man's job, which you obviously don't care about. You, I don't trust; you are neither my guardian nor my chosen advisor. You will keep your nose out of my business from now on."
"Now Harry, I only want what is best for you. You still have much to learn about our world and your place in it. I have made arrangements for special tutoring for you when you return to school," said Dumbledore. "That is why is wished to see you."
"Then why didn't you send an owl? As for special tutoring, I decline. I've already sent in my class list to Professor McGonagall and see no need to alter it."
"Harry you need Occlumency training and I thought to teach you politics myself," said Dumbledore.
Harry snorted and replied, "There is no way in hell that I will ever have any classes with Snape ever again and, as for politics, I already have a tutor. I am capable of arranging any extra training for myself. I don't need or want your help."
"Why do you hate me so much Harry? I've apologized for my actions."
Harry let a bitter laugh escape him and said, "Give it a rest, old man. You are either completely incompetent or as evil and manipulative as Voldemort."
Dumbledore paled and his mouth dropped open. Amelia's monocle fell out of her eye.
"Really, you look so surprised that I might think that. What do you expect? In my first year you moved the stone to the school before it started. You set up that maze of traps with the last one hiding the stone in the mirror; then why was the mirror in an unused classroom right where I'd find it after you gave me the cloak? How could Voldemort be on the back of Quirrell's head and you not know?"
"How could a dark artifact like the diary be brought in to the school and you not know?
You are the head of the Wizengamot and have been for years, why didn't you push for a trial for Sirius? Even the Lestrange's got a trial while Sirius got nothing. Why did you let the dementors stay after they came on to the grounds the first time? Why didn't you tell me that pensieve memories are tamper proof and can be used as testimony? Instead, you encouraged Hermione and me to break the law and use her time turner."
Amelia started and her eyes narrowed at Dumbledore.
"You could have pushed for a trial then, but you didn't. You made me participate in the tournament because it was a magical binding contract, but it wasn't binding on me, I didn't put my name in. You were testing me. How could you not know that Moody was being impersonated? You use Legilimency the way most people breath, but Crouch taught for a year."
"You insisted on Snape giving me Occlumency lessons but did you ever once consider monitoring what he was doing? I know you can be invisible; you could have sat in on a lesson, but no you just went you merry way and let him torture me. How many students did you let Umbridge torture with that bloody quill? How could you not know what she was doing? You act like you know everything that goes on the school so why did you let it happen?"
"So which are you? Stupid or malevolent?"
Dumbledore was shaking his head and sputtering denials.
"Harry, I have questions for you about what you just said," said Amelia softly.
"I'll answer anything you like and give you any pensieve memories you want for verification," said Harry tiredly never taking his eyes off of Dumbledore.
Dumbledore however appeared lost in thought but finally came to himself.
"Harry, I don't believe that I can justify my actions. I too have questions of some of the things you have accused me of. Never the less, we are at war with Voldemort and I still believe that I am the most capable of leading it. We must put this behind us and work together-"
Harry cut him off. "I don't believe you. Did you even listen? Just stay away from me!"
Harry rose to his feet and turned to Amelia, "You know where I'll be," and left the room staying as far from Dumbledore as possible.
Harry hovered on his broom at the uppermost point of the wards around Longbottom Hall. Those wards were like a globe encircling the property and he could feel them tingling against his skin.
He and Neville had spent one afternoon with Gran adding to the wardings over the property, he'd gotten a burst of pleasure when she'd asked him to contribute to the wards. The work he'd done on Privet Drive with Stonefist had intrigued him; the work with Gran at the Hall simply fascinated him. He could hardly wait to feel Hogwarts wards now that he had the idea of how they should feel.
He wanted to ask Mr. Weasley if he would allow him to add his own to the Burrow's wards as well. Gran had pointed out how adding layers to wards multiplied their effectiveness. Gran was rather fanatical about the wards on the Hall though Harry thought he understood why.
Harry was so busy trying not to think he nearly missed the spell coming at him. At the last minute he evaded the garish purple spell and drew his own wand, then noticed Neville on the ground, with Amelia Bones, trying to attract his attention.
The day came flooding back and Harry cringed slightly. He didn't want to talk about it but it would appear that he had no choice.
He flipped over into a dive and powered down pulling out at the last second and dismounting with a flip. Neville stood calmly waiting but Amelia Bones had her hand to her chest and was pale when he stepped up to greet her.
She regained her composure and they went into the lounge. Neville rang for tea and then made to leave but Harry stopped him.
"Do you mind if Neville stays, Madam Bones?" asked Harry.
"Not at all, Harry, and I thought you were going to call me Amelia?" she asked.
"Well I'm not sure if I'm in some sort of trouble or not. I was rather rude in your office and may have confessed to something I shouldn't have," said Harry with a shrug.
"I assure you that you are not in any trouble, I believe you kept you temper far better than many other people might have done. I see you have your pensieve, I'd like to ask you about several things you said to the Headmaster and perhaps see your memory," she said.
"Of course, what would you like to know?"
"Let's begin with Madam Umbridge and her quill," said Amelia sternly, after setting out parchment and dictation quill.
As he told the story of his years at Hogwarts to Amelia and Neville, he felt something in his chest ease. Like when he'd told Mr. Mann about Sirius, talking about all the things that had happened made him feel better and gave him a new perspective.
By the end of the evening Harry was exhausted.
"You've given me quite a lot to think about Harry," said Amelia. "I promise I will be investigating the actions of Umbridge. I believe these accusations can bring down Fudge's government. I will keep you informed." She gathered the notes and testimony parchment and made copies for Harry to keep.
"But what about Dumbledore?" demanded Neville.
"Legally he's done nothing wrong. However your Grandmother is on the board, she may be able to get him removed," she said.
Harry sighed, "As angry as I am, I'm not sure it's a good idea, though,"
"What? Why not?" asked Neville.
"Because he can fight Voldemort, because he's politically powerful, and because I don't want to fight him at the same time. If he'll leave me alone, I'm willing to leave him alone," said Harry. He grimaced and added, "I don't really think he's evil just-" he waved his hands in the air unable to express his feelings.
"That's quite mature, Harry," said Amelia.
Harry turned up his nose, "Yes, well, I suppose if I want to be treated like an adult I have to act like one; not that I want to, mind you."
Amelia laughed and bid Harry good night and let Neville show her out.
Just after lunch the next day Harry's phone rang, he was surprised to find Moody on the other end.
"Potter, what the hell did you do to Dumbledore yesterday?" asked the old Auror.
"I didn't do anything to him, why?" asked a puzzled Harry.
"Remus is with me, talk to him," growled Moody.
"Hello Harry," said the new voice.
"Remus, what's going on? Is something the matter?" asked Harry.
"Well, Moody and I had an interesting night and I wanted to discuss it with you. May I bring Moody with me?"
"Yeah, give me a few minutes and I'll get Neville to let you both through the floo."
A short time later both men took seats in the lounge with Harry and Neville.
"So what's the big deal?" asked Harry. Remus snickered and nodded at Moody.
"I don't know how you did it lad, but I owe you one," said Moody.
Harry turned his attention to Moody and bit out, "What!"
"You know Aberforth, Dumbledore's brother that runs the Hogs Head don'cha lad?" asked Moody. Harry nodded. "Well, he called me last night, told me Albus had taken to drink in his pub and would I come get him and take him back to Hogwarts. I gathered up Remus for back up and we went to Hogsmeade. Found him drunk as a lord and crying in his beard."
Remus snickered again and Harry and Neville both stared at Moody.
"He sat there mumbling your name, saying he'd failed you, and that he was a stupid old man. Wanted to buy me a drink not that he needed any more. We got him on feet for the walk back to the school, just out side town he puked up his guts so I hit him with a sobering charm. He was drunk enough that it didn't have much affect other than to start him talking. 'Bout you again, then he asked me if I thought he was worse than Voldemort and that you said he was."
"We hit him with another sobering charm and managed to get him back to the school. But we'd like to know what you did?" said Remus chuckling again.
"Serves him right," said Neville.
Remus stopped chuckling and sat up straighter.
"What do you mean, boy," asked Moody.
"I told him off in Bones' office yesterday. Neville knows everything that's happened to me and why I'm angry with him. I guess he listened and now he feels guilty," said Harry with a shrug.
Both of Moody's eyes focused on Harry, "All well and good lad, I'm glad you got it off your chest. Maybe the old man will start thinking things through. Say, Potter, he asked me to be available to help you learn to fight. Did you ask for me or is it another of his secret plans?"
"He mentioned tutors, yesterday. I turned him down and told him I could find my own."
"Ok, I'm available if you want to pick my brain. I'd like a chance to see what you can do, sometime. Just between us if you like," said Moody.
Harry smiled and asked, "Would you? How about now, we could go up to the training room and have a little duel."
Remus's eyebrows rose at the tone. He'd heard that exact tone when he was in school and just knew nothing good could come of it.
Moody however quickly agreed and the four of them went up to wreak havoc on the training room.
Much later the four of them sat exhausted in the room and Moody agreed to teach fighting and tactics to any student that Harry recommended and to tell Dumbledore he was tutoring Harry. Moody had been very impressed with Neville and the teamwork between the two.
Harry was very surprised the next morning to receive an owl from Dumbledore. He contemplated not reading it, but curiosity overcame him.
I can only hope that you will read this missive. I have been thinking on your words to me at our last meeting. I couldn't believe that things had gotten so bad between us that you would compare me to Voldemort. I returned to my office to review your words and to prove to myself that you were wrong about me; that you were just expressing childish imaginings. I reviewed several memories and became most distressed at what I discovered.
You're accusations were quite correct. I find that I have wronged you greatly; that I am in fact a stupid man. The indications were there and in each case I failed to see or ignored them because they did not fit into my carefully crafted plans.
I did not set out to hurt you but I find to my dismay that I have done so. My apologies are meaningless and I fear you would not believe me anyway. I will attempt to make amends; I will cease to interfere in your life, to try to mold you. I realize that you must battle Voldemort in your own way as I did Grindelwald. I realize that you must find your own allies that you can trust. To that end if you wish to continue your Defense organization, I will make it a legitimate club under your complete control.
As the Head of a Noble Family attending Hogwarts, several of the rules are relaxed for you, including curfew and absences from the school.
If you have any questions I will do my best to answer them truthfully and completely.
Harry wasn't sure what to make of the letter; it seemed that Dumbledore had finally listened but Harry wasn't going to count too much on this new attitude. After all, Dumbledore needed him but he wasn't so sure he needed Dumbledore.
Harry hovered on his broom; everything was packed for the trip to school in the morning. He remembered thinking on the way to Privet Drive at the beginning of summer that all he really wanted was a normal summer. What he got was an emotional, informative, and all around odd summer. He'd found an ally in his Aunt, a mentor in Mr. Mann, and a very good friend in Neville. All in all it had been a good summer, but not normal in any way, shape, or form. Maybe, he thought, normal is overrated.
He released the practice snitch from his hand and raced after it on this his last day of summer freedom.
AN: First I want to thank Evan for the beautiful beta job. Second thank you all for reading and reviewing. I do intend to write a sequel, hopefully in the next three months but I must finish some of my other projects first.