Sixth Year!PostOOtp Its Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts and he has to make some hard decisions in order to survive. But will these decisions help him or make him weaker? Martial arts, dueling, anima...
Author name: Ham
Summary: Harry is back in Privet Drive just a few days after the happenings in the Department of Mysteries. He is struggling to cope with his loss and the immense burden placed on him. He suddenly finds it very hard to go on - To find a reason to live. Will his task break his spirit? After all he is just a sixteen year old...
He knows that he must fight. Knows that he has to win at all costs. But he knows that if he even is to have a slim chance of defeating Voldemort he will need to make some hard decisions. Decisions that would hurt him and those close to him.
But will Harry be able to take the hard road back when he finally realizes that his decisions only made him weaker? That they took away his only reason to live. His only reason to fight.
DISCLAIMER: Harry belongs to J.K. Rowling as do all the Canon characters. Sean, Jack and Alan belong to me. Sigh! I wish it was the other way around.
A Day Full of Surprises
Harry walked into his room, sweaty and tired from his morning run and took off his wet t-shirt, which was sticking uncomfortably to his body. He distractedly used it to mop his dripping face before realizing what he was doing. He threw away the t-shirt in disgust and grabbed a towel.
As he was mopping his face he saw a bedraggled owl lying unconscious on his desk.
"Oh my God, Errol!" Harry said rushing over and picking the exhausted Owl up. He carried Errol to Hedwig's cage and gently put him down in it. Then dipping his fingers into the water dish he sprinkled a few drops of water on the unconscious bird.
Errol opened his eyes slowly and moving his head forward took a deep gulp of water from the water dish that Harry had pushed forward.
"I reckon you had better rest a while before you attempt to fly back," Harry said looking worriedly at the bedraggled Owl. Why was he even delivering anything anymore? It was certainly obvious that he was past his prime.
Errol hooted thankfully at Harry and closed his eyes, promptly falling asleep.
Harry noticed that Errol was carrying a letter tied to his legs. He gently untied it trying not to wake the tired Owl up.
As he saw the handwriting on the envelope he stiffened. It was Ginny's beautiful, flowing handwriting. He didn't particularly want to read another of her letters if the contents were anything like the Howler.
He sighed and opened the letter. Might as well get it over with.
I am so, so sorry. I can't believe I went and did that. I hope your relatives didn't give you too hard a time. I always manage to do stupid things like that when I am angry. I guess Mum is right about my temper being out of control.
I am also sorry for the other things I said. Of course I don't think that fame has gone to your head. I was just upset and said that to needle you.
Look, Harry, I know that you are having a hard time. I also know that it was the worst possible time to pull the stunt that I did. But you have to understand that it is very hard for us to sit here and not know how you are doing.
We care for you a great deal and when you don't tell us what is going on we assume the worst. I can't tell you the amount of time we spend worrying about you.
It is so frustrating to know that you are all alone at a time like this and there is no way we can be there for you and share your pain. No one should be alone at a time like this. We try to write to you and when you don't reply it just gets so frustrating. I just lost it and sent you the Howler to try and get you to respond. Anything would be better than the silence from your side.
We had thought that at the very least you would be over here with us soon enough and then the horrible tension around the house would be over. When you wrote to say you couldn't come it was just too much.
Not much is going on around here except for the occasional Order meetings. Some good news is that Bill has asked to be transferred back home so that he can help out with the Order a bit more. But so far nothing has come of it.
Percy... well, what do I say about, Percy? The git hasn't apologized to Mum and Dad yet. I catch Mum crying because of him every now and then. Dad just goes awfully quiet when he hears his name. I sometimes wonder what went so wrong? What happened to him to change him so much?
Well, anyway, Amelia Bones - our new Minister - was really tired of him when he started following her around like he did Fudge. She was all for chucking him out of the Ministry. But I reckon Dad asked her not to. She agreed to keep him but wouldn't have him in any important position. So now he's cooling his heels in Centaur Liaisons. Serves the git right.
Fred and George are busy with their shop but according to them business is slow. They say they expect it to pick up before start of school. They are at the shop most of the time so we hardly see them around either.
Mum has me, Ron and Hermione cleaning the bloody house again. She is on a cooking spree. Mum always does that when she is upset or worried - she cooks. Order members are in and out of the house but we aren't being told much. We tried to use the Extendable ears to snoop in on a meeting but Mum caught us.
My ears are still hurting from the yelling she gave us for that.
That's all the news for now I guess. Now you know as much as we do.
Take care of yourself Harry. And do try to write longer letters. 'I'm fine' doesn't mean a whole lot.
Harry grinned as he finished her letter, his bad mood with her evaporating completely.
His opinions on Ginny were rapidly changing. She had a good sense of humor, was clever, brave, had a fiery temper, and he knew that unlike others, she would pull no punches with him if she felt he was doing something wrong.
He respected that about her. Ron and Hermione let him get away with a lot of things when he was angry. He supposed that was because they cared so much for him that they were willing to bear his anger at times.
Last year he had really been very unfair to them, taking out all his anger on them and they had never said a word to him about it. But it was also good to have somebody who could give him a whack on the head at those times.
He was sad that Mrs. Weasley was still shedding tears over that moron Percy. He really didn't deserve to have her worry about him so much and he didn't deserve to still be loved by his parents.
Harry sighed. On one hand there was him, who craved even a single moment with his parents and who would do anything for it and yet he could never have it. On the other hand there was Percy, whose parents and family loved him so much and yet he behaved like such an ass.
Life just wasn't fair!
He was glad that Bill was trying to transfer back here. It might take Mrs. Weasley's mind off that stupid git for a while.
He wondered whether there was something somebody could do to hasten his transfer. Maybe Dumbledore could request it of the bank managers. But it was doubtful if Dumbledore would do so.
Then it suddenly struck him. Maybe there was something /HE /could do.
He had never tried to use his fame to get favors or special treatment for himself. It was just too distasteful. But if using it meant that he could help Bill and the Order, it couldn't hurt to try. And he also knew that he was a very big customer of Gringotts, especially since he had been declared the Black and Potter heir.
He sat down at his desk and pulled a piece of parchment and a quill over to him and started thinking how to go about it. Letter writing was not one of his talents and so it took several tries for him to compose the letter to his satisfaction.
He finally ran critical eyes over the final draft.
To the Manager, Gringotts Bank.
I have recently come into possession of my full inheritance which makes me the heir of the Potter and Black fortunes. The investments, shares and properties are very vast and a lot of work will be needed to sort out the huge mess that they are in right now.
I was hoping that you could help me find someone to take care of it. I will, of course, be willing to pay the costs for such a service.
Also, once everything is sorted out, I would need someone to help me invest the money and handle the properties and shares. I would again be very happy to pay handsomely for such services.
It is a pity that Bill Weasley is in Egypt at the moment, as he would have been perfect for such a task. He has a sound mind and is someone I could have trusted implicitly with my affairs.
It is, of course, difficult to trust just anyone when so much money is at stake. I hope that in his absence you will be able to suggest to me someone who is nearly as good and dependable.
I hope to hear from you at the soonest. Everyday that passes is another lost opportunity for me as the money is just sitting there doing nothing. As they rightly say, 'Time is Money.'
With best regards,
Harry James Potter.
He sighed. It looked good enough, and he didn't have any more time to try and write further drafts.
"Hedwig, are you there girl?" Harry called softly.
There was a flutter of wings and Hedwig landed on his shoulder. He felt her nip his ear playfully.
"Can you make a delivery for me?" Harry asked as he tied the envelope to her leg.
Hedwig hooted happily.
"Take it to the Head of Gringotts for me, will you?" Harry said stroking her feathers gently.
After Hedwig had left he sat back in his chair, well satisfied with himself. He had done what he could now it was left to see if his gambit worked. Goblins were known to be greedy and if they felt that there was a commission to be earned they just might transfer Bill.
"Ok, Harry, now remember go slow and concentrate on the movements," Sean said nervously.
They were both standing facing each other on the mat and in each of their hands was a long wooden staff. It was called the 'Jo staff' and was one of the first weapons that Harry was to train in.
"Don't worry so much, Sean," Harry snapped. "Your worrying makes me nervous and then I lose concentration."
"Ok, ok, don't get your knickers in a twist," Sean said good naturedly. "All right, I'm ready when you are."
Harry moved forward to strike his opponent and Sean brought up his staff to deflect it. Harry again moved his staff executing a perfect sweeping move that aimed for Sean's legs.
Again Sean brought his staff down in perfect time to deflect the blow.
It went on like this, Harry attacking and Sean defending. Their moves looked like an elaborate prearranged dance. It was as if Harry was leading and Sean was following his moves. It was true in a sense, for when practicing Aikido the concept of Yin and Yang was used. It was a combination of two forces, one aggressive (male) and the other receptive (female), both combing to make a perfect whole.
"Ok, lets try and move the pace up a bit. By now you must have got the hang of it," Sean said nodding approvingly at Harry.
They started again, gradually increasing the speed of their moves. But it couldn't last long and soon Harry was going off his rhythm. Sean caught his staff hurriedly before it could hit his chin.
"Careful with that thing, Harry," Sean said breathlessly. "What's the matter? Your timing was a bit off."
"Dunno," Harry said disappointedly. "I made a mistake with executing the move I guess. It gets difficult when you increase the speed."
"Let's try again," Sean said consolingly. "You'll get it in time."
They started again their staffs moving through the air and clashing against each other in a flawless perfection. Harry's body moved smoothly and gracefully in the practiced technique. But when the pace was increased a bit of a tragedy befell.
"Owww!" Sean yelled as Harry's staff connected with his knee. HARD.
"Oh my God! I'm so sorry Sean," Harry apologized. "I knew that the pace was too fast. I couldn't control the moves."
Sean knew that it would be bad for Harry's confidence if he yelled at him right now, like he very badly wanted to do. So he settled on muttering some very choice curses under his breath that would have made even Hagrid cringe.
"Again," Sean said weakly, looking like he wanted to do /anything /but practice it again.
They began again and this time Harry set the pace and didn't let it go beyond a certain point. He was concentrating so hard that his moves started becoming stiffer and mechanical and began to lose their grace.
Roger was walking by at the moment and he stopped to watch them.
"No, Harry, you are doing it wrong. Your body is too stiff and you are concentrating too much on not making a mistake and it is affecting your form."
Harry ran a hand through his hair in frustration. Something or the other had to go wrong it seemed.
"Look, Harry," Roger said gently. "Don't think about the pace and stop thinking so much about whether you are doing it right. Your body knows the moves by now. Let yourself flow with your body and you'll do fine."
Roger took the staff from Sean and nodded. "All right, let's try it one more time," he said facing Harry.
They began slowly and Roger let Harry feel his way and build his rhythm.
"You set the pace, Harry. But remember, let your body dictate the pace and not your mind," Roger said as he effortlessly blocked Harry's staff.
Harry slowly built up the pace letting his body take over by instinct. He was unaware of his surroundings and unaware of anybody watching. He only was aware of the sound of wood on wood as the staffs collided.
Sean watched the scene in awe. Harry was looking very confident and his moves flowed like water and were flawless in precision. Maybe all he had needed was a boost in confidence.
"Good going, Harry. You seem to have got the hang of it," Roger said approvingly when they had finished. "You will only get better from here onwards."
"Thank you, Sensei," Harry said as he bowed from the waist to Roger.
Roger nodded and left Sean and Harry to continue their practice, which went without a hitch from there.
Harry was in his room pulling on a pair of jeans when a whistle from behind him made him jump.
"I never knew you had such a cute bum, Harry."
Harry whirled around and his jeans fell to his ankles as he reached for his wand which was lying nearby.
"Tonks! What the hell are you doing here?" Harry growled, as he saw who it was.
Tonks grinned at him. She was dressed in a pair of skintight, faded jeans, which were ripped at several places, showing tantalizing glimpses of her creamy, tanned skin. Over that she wore a tight purple t-shirt which advertised the 'Howling Hags.' Her hair today, was styled in a short and spiky look and was forest green in colour.
"Wotcher, Harry. Didn't Dumbledore tell you I would be picking you up today for your dueling training?"
"Y-y-yes, b-but.... But I didn't expect you for another five minutes," Harry stammered in embarrassment.
Tonks put on a hurt look. "Do you mean you aren't glad to see me?"
"Um... well... that is... I am... but I'm getting..." Harry suddenly realized that his jeans were around his ankles and he was flashing Tonks his boxers and that he had no shirt on. He was practically naked!
"Tonks! Turn around right now," Harry yelled.
"What, and miss the show?" Tonks smirked, waggling her eyebrows suggestively.
"If you don't... I will... I'm going to... Just turn around for Merlin's sake, Tonks," Harry shouted, going beet red.
"Oh, all right. I never thought you were such a prude," Tonks grumbled as she turned around.
"I am not a prude," Harry said indignantly.
"Are too," Tonks sing songed.
"No, I'm not. How would you feel if I appeared in your bedroom to find you half naked?" Harry said angrily, as he pulled up his jeans and quickly fastened them.
Tonks turned around and cocked an eyebrow. "Getting ideas are we?" She purred suggestively.
It was nearly impossible for Harry to blush any more, but he did. At the moment his face looked like a ripe tomato. His mouth was wide open and he was spluttering incoherently.
Tonks took pity on him. "Relax, Harry, I was just joking."
Harry glared at her and quickly pulled on a sweatshirt over his jeans. He put on his watch and grabbed his wand.
"Ok, you can turn around now, I'm ready," Harry mumbled.
Tonks turned around and looked at him appreciatively. "Niiiiice, a few good clothes do make a lot of difference. And I notice that you have been working out? Hmm?"
"Yeah, sort of," Harry said offhandedly. He was still irritated at being such an easy target for Tonks. He resolved to get his revenge on her for it.
"And what's this? Facial hair? Ickle Harrykins is growing up," Tonks said with a grin, her eyes crinkling up with mirth.
"Ok, Nymphadora," Harry snarled. "Where are we going? And how are we getting there?"
Tonks glared at Harry.
"What?" Harry asked innocently. "That's your name isn't it? Nymphadora Tonks. Surely you aren't ashamed of it?"
"Yes, I do believe it is," Tonks said sweetly. "But the last person who called me by that name found himself on the receiving end of a particularly nasty hex that caused boils to erupt all around his privates and backside. Poor guy couldn't find the counter curse for two days."
Harry gulped. "S-s-so Tonks, where are we going and how are we getting there?"
"We are taking a Portkey to get there. As to where we are going you'll see in a moment," Tonks said holding out a small wooden stick for Harry to touch.
She hid a grin. Harry was too easy to tease and it would be fun to needle him. And maybe it would take his mind of Sirius and You-Know-Who for a little while.
She looked to make sure that Harry had a grip on the stick and softly said. "Activate."
Harry felt a jerk behind his navel and felt himself pulled forward, flying through the air. The next moment he landed awkwardly on his feet. He looked over at Tonks and found her lying flat on the ground, having fallen over when they landed.
Harry looked up to find a large, handsome black man standing before him. His head was shaved and there was a large gold hoop in his ear.
"Welcome, Harry, to Auror Headquarters," Kingsley Shacklebolt said warmly as he shook Harry's hand.
"TONKS!!! How you became an Auror is beyond me. Every time you take a Portkey or floo you fall over. What if Death Eaters were around?" a voice roared angrily from behind Kingsley.
Harry looked around to find Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody limping towards them.
"Hiya, Mad-Eye," Tonks said cheerfully as she scrambled to her feet. "Death Eaters would hardly be here at Auror Headquarters now, would they?"
"That's not the point," Moody growled. "You are clumsy all the time, not just now, and someday it is going to get you killed."
Kingsley laughed. "If I know her she'll probably trip over her shoelaces just as a Killing curse is thrown at her. Her luck and clumsiness go hand in hand."
While this was going on Harry was looking around fascinatedly.
The room they were standing in was huge. There was a gigantic fireplace towards the right from which a constant stream of people were flooing in and out.
The wall in front of him had a huge map of England on it. Red, Blue and Green dots were flashing on the map and Aurors were looking at the map before apparating out to their destinations.
There were innumerable charts, memos and notices hanging from the walls in a highly disorganized mess. On the wall behind him was a large board on which hundreds of photographs were pinned. The photographs had small notes stuck to each one of them, giving the name, aliases and last known address of the person whose photo it was.
Harry realized that this was a wanted board and all the photographs were of criminals.
Large couches and comfortable armchairs were strewn all around the room and many Aurors were relaxing or catching a nap on them.
In a corner of the room, large shelves were built running the length of the wall. The shelves were stocked with sets of Dragon hide armor, wand holsters, weapons and spare wands, ready to be used by the Aurors in a moments notice in case they were called out to battle.
Near the racks stood a gigantic brass coffee urn to dispense coffee to the busy Aurors. The Aurors had to work long hours and were all addicted to coffee.
The whole place was a beehive of activity as Aurors bustled about doing their jobs and Harry felt a bit out of place in the crowd.
"So, Harry, what do you think of Headquarters?" Tonks asked turning to him.
Harry turned to look at her. "Wow! You mean I'm going to be training here with you?"
"Oh, you are going to be training here all right, laddie," Moody growled. "But Tonks isn't the only one going to be teaching you. Heaven help you if she was."
"What he means, Harry," Kingsley said, taking pity at Harry's puzzled expression. "Is that most Aurors can be called on duty anytime so you will be training with whoever is free at that moment. Also, Mad-Eye and me will be working with you when we have the time."
Harry grinned. "Cool, I'm going to be training with actual Aurors!"
Kingsley smiled at his enthusiasm. "Tonks, why don't you take Harry over and introduce him to some of the people who are going to be working with him."
Tonks nodded. "Sure, come on, stud. Let's go mingle with the working folk."
Tonks led a very nervous Harry over to where the Aurors were seated.
"Hey guys, I want you to meet Harry Potter," Tonks said stopping in front of a young man and woman of about Tonks age. They both had dark brown hair and light blue eyes and their facial features were very similar.
"Harry, these are Michael and Michelle Adams, they're twins."
"Hello, Harry, we've heard so much about you. It's a pleasure to finally meet you," Michelle said pleasantly.
Harry shyly shook both their hands. "Thank you. It's very nice to meet you too."
They moved on and Tonks whispered confidentially to Harry. "They are very close to each other and have always done everything together... well not everything... But you know what I mean. They were in the same house, took similar classes, and went to the Auror academy together, and now they are partners, hell they even go on their dates together sometimes."
Harry nodded wondering what he was supposed to say.
Next they stopped in front of two men sitting together deep in discussion. One of them was tall and slim, with curly blond hair and the second was of medium height and stockier build. "These two are Joseph Rosenbaum and Henry Kirkner." She said pointing at the blond and his partner as she said their names. "Joseph, Henry, meet Harry Potter."
The two of them sat up straight at hearing Harry's name.
"Hello," Joseph said shaking his hand. "Please, call me Joe."
Harry greeted the two Aurors and they moved on.
"Both of them are partners and are quite nice people. But Joe considers himself somewhat of a ladies man and can be a nuisance at times," Tonks whispered.
Next Tonks introduced him to Edna Andrews and Julian Wilkins. They too were partners.
"They are dating each other but both pretend that they're just friends," Tonks whispered as they walked on. "Don't know why they bother, as everyone knows otherwise anyway."
Tonks introduced him to most of the people who were present in the room and after each introduction there was that bit of extra information about them. Harry realized that Tonks was a bit of a gossip and she didn't actually expect him to say anything to her comments.
When they had done the rounds of the room Tonks led him through a large set of doors that led them into the training center of the Aurors.
A whole corner of the large room was set aside as a gym, where treadmills, exercise bikes and rowing machines were set up. Alongside them were several weight training machines and dumbbells and barbells.
Apparently the Aurors took their physical fitness very seriously.
A huge raised platform ran throughout the rest of the room and several people were dueling on it.
Tonks introduced Harry to the Aurors practicing dueling and they greeted him enthusiastically.
"Come on, Harry, let's see what you are made of," Tonks said leading Harry over to a corner.
"You mean you want to duel me?" Harry asked in amazement.
"Only way to learn," Tonks shrugged as she drew her wand and faced him.
Harry nodded and drew his own wand. As he bowed to Tonks he had the feeling of several eyes stopping to watch them. They were all interested to see how the famous Harry Potter would hold up against Tonks.
Tonks started the offensive and sent a quick stunner at Harry.
It would have hit him had it not been for his reflexes honed by years of Quidditch and the D.A meetings. Also, the Aikido training had helped him immensely.
He managed to dodge the stunner and pointing his wand at Tonks yelled 'Expelliarmus.'
Tonks dodged it easily and sent another stunner at Harry.
Harry saw it come at him and quickly shouted 'Protego.' The shield came up just in time and deflected the stunner back at Tonks.
Suddenly, Harry lost his nervousness and forgot the people watching him. This was something he could do. Something he was good at. Didn't he lead the D. A. for an entire year? Hadn't he dueled with Death Eaters?
The duel went on and curses flew thick and fast between the two of them. Harry wasn't on the defensive anymore and he was giving as good as he got. He began to use some of the more powerful curses he had learnt from Flitwick and Tonks looked like she was having difficulty blocking some of them.
But it couldn't last forever. Tonks was an Auror, and had trained under the best and she was very good. Years of training had honed her reactions and she knew far more spells and hexes than Harry.
Harry finally fell to a well aimed Body Bind curse after ten minutes of furious dueling.
Tonks walked over to perform the counter curse and helped him up to his feet.
As Harry got up he was stunned to hear loud clapping. He turned around to see the room chock full with Aurors all of whom were clapping at his performance.
He noticed both Kingsley and Mad-Eye standing by the door watching him. Kingsley had a broad smile on his face but Mad-Eye's face was unreadable.
"That was very good, Harry," Kingsley said walking forward. "Tonks, for all her clumsiness, is an excellent dueler, and that you could last so long against her is very impressive."
Harry bowed his head shyly at Kingsley's words. But he couldn't help but feel a little pleased at the praise.
Tonks slapped him on the back. "That's right, stud. I didn't know you were so good. Who taught you how to duel?"
Harry shrugged. "I learnt on my own. We practiced a lot last year in the D. A. meetings and I guess I picked up a few things."
"Looks like you picked up more than a few things, lad," Moody growled. "But it isn't enough. You need to be better, far better. Because when you duel Death Eaters they will be using killing curses and if that hits you you'll not just be stunned or petrified."
"Oh, come on, Mad-Eye," Tonks said angrily. "He'll learn with time. There's no need to be so morbid."
"No, you're right, Prof. Moody," Harry said slowly. "I do need to learn, and I need to learn now. Voldemort isn't going to sit back and give me my own sweet time to get ready."
As Harry said the Dark Lord's name there were soft gasps throughout the room and Harry's heart sank as he heard them. 'The Aurors are afraid to even say his name. How can we ever hope to defeat him?'
The rest of the afternoon was spent with the Aurors who taught him how to duel and corrected the flaws in his technique. They also taught him a few advanced hexes and gave him small tips that would be useful to him while dueling.
Harry was a quick learner and by the end of two hours he found that dueling was coming much more naturally to him.
Tonks and he dueled again towards the end, with the same result. But he managed to last a bit longer and she had a bit of a close shave when Harry sent a tripping hex at her feet and she fell down hard. But she managed to get back on her feet very quickly and finally stunned him.
As Harry was helped up by Tonks he looked at her gratefully. "Hey Tonks, I want to thank you guys for all your help. I really appreciate the effort and if there is anything I can do to show my appreciation please let me know."
Tonks looked at him for a second and he got the feeling that she wanted to say something but was stopping herself.
"What is it?" Harry asked her.
"It's nothing, Harry, just forget it. You don't need to do anything for us. We are glad to help out," Tonks said smiling at him.
"It is something. Look, just tell me, OK? If it is something I can't do, I'll tell you," Harry said impatiently.
Tonks hesitated. "Look, Harry, a lot of the Aurors know that one of them might have to fight You-Know-Who sooner or later. But they are afraid as no one here has ever faced him. Do you know that there is only one Auror that has ever fought him and escaped alive? And that was during the last war. It was Mad-Eye. He lost his leg in the encounter and barely made it out alive."
Harry nodded. "Yes, but what does it have to do with me?"
"Harry, you have managed to face him four times and live to tell about it. That is almost legendary. You are the only one who has faced him since he came back, except Dumbledore, of course. We were wondering if you could share your experience with us in a Penseive so that we could see what it was like. We felt that maybe... maybe if we were to see it once it would make it easier on us if one of us were to actually face him," Tonks explained.
Harry was quiet as Tonks finished speaking. She had asked something of him that he had never wanted to share with anyone. What she had asked of him was what had plagued him for so long in his nightmares.
"Look, as I said, forget it. I should never have asked. I know you hardly want to remember all that stuff again. I'm really sorry I brought it up. Now let's go and grab a bite to eat," Tonks said apologetically.
"Tonks, wait," Harry said hoarsely.
Tonks turned and looked at him. "I'll do it. But just this once and we do it immediately. If I think about it too much I won't be able to go through with it."
"Are you sure, Harry? I mean you don't have to do this just because I asked you. You don't owe us anything for training you," Tonks said anxiously.
Harry nodded. "Yeah, I'm sure. Let's do it."
Ten minutes later Harry sat in an armchair and in front of him was a large Penseive, the size of a kitchen sink. It had been made especially for the Aurors so that a large number of them could look at memories at once. It was really useful to show duels and strategies of previous battles so that the Aurors could learn from them.
Standing around Harry were about fifty Aurors all of them waiting for Harry to put his memories inside.
"Are you sure about this, Harry?" Kingsley asked. "If you are uncomfortable with it, don't do it."
"Its fine, Kingsley," Harry said as he concentrated on putting his memories inside the penseive. "Tonks is right, you do need to see this. Right now many of you can't even say his name. Voldemort thrives on fear and you won't last a heartbeat if he senses that you are afraid of him."
Kingsley nodded. "We appreciate it, Harry."
"Ok, it's all in. Let's do it," Harry said as he finished transferring the last silver strand inside the Pensieve.
Fifty wands entered the Pensieve, and moments later, the Aurors and Harry were falling into Harry's past.
They found themselves standing at the end of a very long, dimly lit chamber. Towering stone pillars entwined with carved serpents rose to support a ceiling lost in darkness, casting long black shadows through the odd, greenish gloom that filled the place. **
"The Chamber of Secrets," Harry said softly. "I met a memory of Voldemort as a sixteen year old here. I always find it easier to think of him like this. It seems that he has some human left in him and not the complete monster that he has become."
The Aurors shivered as they followed the memory of a twelve year old Harry as he rushed towards the fallen body of Ginny Weasley.
"Was there really a Basilisk in here, Harry?" Tonks asked with a shudder.
"Yes, there was. But don't worry it can't harm you in here," Harry said calmly.
The Aurors watched as Riddle mocked Harry and then revealed his identity by tracing his name through the air. Most of them were in awe of Harry's total lack of fear as he told Riddle that Dumbledore, and not he, was the greatest wizard in the world.
The Aurors couldn't help move back in fear as Riddle called forth the Basilisk. The monster was the stuff of nightmares and it couldn't seem possible that a twelve year old boy, who was wandless, could defeat the king of serpents.
Yet they watched in amazement as Harry drove the sword of Gryffindor up the roof of the Basilisks mouth, killing it.
Most of them knew that they couldn't have done what Harry had done. They would have been petrified with fear.
Harry watched the memory impassively. Somehow it didn't affect him as much as it would have a few years ago. He supposed that he had seen it so many times in his nightmares that he was immune to it by now.
He watched as the memory of him killed Riddle by driving the Basilisk fang deep into the accursed Diary.
The memory changed and the Aurors found themselves standing in the center of a large maze. Right in the centre was a large Golden cup - The Triwizard cup.
A gigantic spider lay motionless on the ground and they saw two people arguing furiously amongst themselves.
"Take it, then,' the memory of Harry panted to Cedric Diggory. "Go on, take it. You're there."
"You take it. You should win. That's twice you've saved my neck in here," Cedric replied. *
The two boys argued amongst themselves neither willing to touch the cup. Finally they decided to take it together. As they touched the cup the Aurors and Harry felt themselves flying through the air and the scene changed and they landed unsteadily in a small overgrown graveyard.
Harry moved forward to catch Tonks who was about to fall down.
They watched in horror as a minute later Cedric was killed by the killing curse and Harry was captured and tied to the gravestone.
What followed was to give the fully grown Aurors nightmares for several weeks. They watched as Pettigrew prepared the potion to revive Voldemort and throw in the ugly form of the Dark Lord into the cauldron. Many of them were thinking of the same thing as Harry had that night.
Please let the thing drown. Please let it fail.
Harry gritted his teeth in anger as he watched Wormtail approach the restrained fourteen year old Harry to take his blood for the potion. He should have let Sirius and Remus kill the bastard. None of this would have happened then.
The steam cleared slowly from the large cauldron and when the Dark Lord was finally seen several Aurors screamed and a few stumbled backwards and fell over in fear. None of them had ever seen a more horrific looking man. No, he wasn't a man. No man looked like that. He was a monster... a demon.
Harry closed his eyes. The following bit still gave him nightmares and he didn't particularly want to watch it. He forced himself to watch as the Death Eaters appeared in the Graveyard and surrounded his fourteen year old self.
As Voldemort was addressing the Death eaters Harry's ears suddenly perked up. Something Voldemort just said seemed very strange. He couldn't exactly put his finger on it but he knew that he was missing something very important. He screwed up his forehead deep in thought trying to think of what it could be.
His thoughts were interrupted as he heard his fourteen year old scream under the Cruciatus Curse.
Harry shuddered. He could almost feel the pain of the curse.
It was still very unbelievable to him that he had survived that night. He had been incredibly lucky. In normal circumstances he should have died in the graveyard. The odds had been stacked mightily against him.
The Aurors watched in amazement as Harry's disarming spell and Voldemort's killing curse met in mid air and the golden cage formed around them whisking them up in the air. They watched the spirits come out of The Dark Lord's wand and the mad dash Harry made to the Triwizard cup.
Harry almost sighed in relief when he saw his fourteen year old self dive for Cedric's body. He didn't think he could take much more.
A minute later, Harry and the stunned Aurors found themselves back in Auror Headquarters and Harry sank back down in the chair drained.
He had hardly sat down when he suddenly found himself lifted out of the chair and hugged tightly by a sobbing Tonks. "Oh, Harry! I'm so s-s-sorry. It must have been terrible for you to relive all of that."
Harry was very uncomfortable being hugged by Tonks in front of half of the Auror Division. But he knew that it would be very rude to push her away.
He awkwardly patted her on the back. "It's all right, Tonks. Seriously, I'm fine."
Harry saw Kingsley and Moody whispering to each other behind Tonk's back.
Kingsley looked a little shaken but Moody looked to be in control of himself. He looked up at Harry and there was respect in his eyes.
Tonks was still crying and she was mentally kicking and berating herself for ever having suggested the idea to Harry.
"Tonks," Harry said gently. "It's fine, really. Now come on, I could use a bite to eat and then I need to get back home."
Tonks nodded and led him through the crowd of Aurors surrounding them towards the kitchen.
The last thing Harry heard before he left the room was the stunned whispers of the Aurors. They had never really known what it was to be Harry Potter.
Many had felt that a lot of the stories surrounding him were rumors. Most had felt that he had just been extremely lucky. After today they would never think that again.
Harry Potter had been lucky, no doubt about that. But it had been more than just luck that saved him in those encounters. He had showed courage beyond anything they had seen and had kept his head throughout.
It wasn't luck that drove that sword up the Basilisk and thrust the fang into the diary. It had not been luck that had driven the golden beads into Voldemort's wand. And it had certainly not been luck that had summoned the cup to Harry so that he could escape with Cedric's body.
Things could have gone very differently if Harry had panicked or lost his head at any time during those two encounters.
All of them had developed a great respect for the young fifteen year old today. He had faced and survived what many of them would never be able to.
Harry was sitting quietly in a chair in Jack's bedroom. He had not wanted to come here today after going through all of that at Auror Headquarters, but Jack and Sean had refused to listen to reason and shot down all his protests.
So he was here sitting and listening to Jack, Sean and Alan talking, adding the occasional comment in now and then.
Jack had tentatively asked him whether anything was wrong and Harry had waved the comment away saying he was perfectly fine. After that the three friends had not asked him any more questions.
Suddenly, the door bell rang and Jack jumped to his feet. "That will be Pat," he said over his shoulder as he ran downstairs.
Harry watched the door nervously and shifted his position subtly so as to not bring himself into focus. He wondered what 'Pat,' who he had heard so much about, was like.
A minute later he found out, as the door opened and Jack led in a tall girl into the room. She seemed to be the same age as Harry and had a very shapely figure. Her proud face was framed by waist length black hair.
"Hi guys," she said enthusiastically as she hugged Sean and Alan. "I missed you a lot."
Yeah, right!" Sean snorted. "You were probably too busy having a ball in Australia and you must not have even thought about us."
"You wound me," Pat pouted.
"So, how was Australia? What did you do?" Alan asked eagerly.
"Well, it was great fun. I have so much to tell you... Oh, hello," She said noticing Harry sitting quietly in a corner.
"Oh, I forgot," Sean said slapping his forehead. "Harry meet Patricia Marchbanks. Pat meet Harry Potter."
Pat's eyes went wide as she heard his name and her eyebrows rose in shock. But she quickly covered it and Harry doubted that anybody else had even noticed her reaction.
"Hello, Harry," she said extending her hand. "How nice to meet you."
Harry took her hand and shook it and as he did he noticed her eyes flicker to his scar for a moment before they moved on.
"We met Harry at Aikido practice," Sean said. "I'm partnering him for now."
Pat dropped Harry's hand and grinned mischievously. "I feel so sorry for you, Harry."
"Hey!" Sean said in annoyance. "I'm teaching him properly. Aren't I, Harry?"
"Um... I guess," Harry offered.
"Oh, I'm just kidding, Sean," Pat said punching him on his arm. "I see you are still pretty touchy about some things."
"Oww!" Sean said rubbing his arm. "I'm not touchy. I was just saying..."
"Yeah, yeah, stow it you two," Alan said impatiently. "I want to know what Pat was up to in Australia."
So Pat started telling them about her holiday. How she had spent a lot of time at the beach, learnt to surf, and even visited a few aboriginal tribes.
Harry was content to listen, but he noticed that every now and then she shot him very unnerving looks. She looked like she knew something about him. Some deep dark secret of his. What could she possibly know?
Was it the bloody St Brutus' rumor? No, it couldn't be as trivial as that. Maybe she knew about magic. But how could a muggle know? Or was she a muggle? But he was sure that he had never seen her at Hogwarts. And if she was a witch surely she wouldn't hang around with Muggles. And Sean had said that she attended Stonewall High with them.
Harry caught her looking at him again when she thought he wasn't aware. He felt very uneasy at being the recipient of the looks and he got up abruptly. "Hey Jack, can you direct me to the bathroom, please?"
"Sure, Harry, just take the first door to the right."
Harry nodded and gratefully exited the room. He went inside the bathroom and gratefully splashed some cold water on his face.
Patricia Marchbanks bothered him. He knew that she wasn't what she appeared to be. Something was seriously wrong.
Suddenly he heard the door open quietly. Too quietly for someone not knowing that someone was inside.
He drew his wand and whirled around to face the intruder.
Pat's eyes widened as Harry's wand pointed right between her eyes.
"Put the wand away," she hissed. "I'm not going to attack you."
Harry grabbed her hand and pulled her inside the bathroom. He closed the door with one hand, making sure to keep her covered with his wand as he did so.
"You better start talking or you are going to be in serious trouble," Harry said in a dangerous whisper as he brought his face close to hers, invading her private space. He noticed that her eyes were a very unusual violet colour and it threw him for a second.
"Harry, I told you I'm not going to attack you," Pat said calmly.
"Yeah? Well forgive me for not believing you. You seem to know an awful lot for a muggle. This makes me think that something very wrong is going on here."
"I'm not a Muggle," Pat hissed.
"Really?" Harry cocked an eyebrow. "I must have missed seeing you in Hogwarts then. Or perhaps you go to another school? Which leads to the interesting question of what the hell you are doing hanging out with Muggles."
"I am not a muggle and I don't attend any magical school," Pat said angrily.
Harry cocked an eyebrow questioningly.
Pat suddenly looked away, but Harry caught a glimpse of deep sorrow in her eyes before she could do so. "I am a squib," she mumbled softly.
Harry's brow furrowed and he lowered his wand. "A squib?"
"Yes, a squib. That's how I know who you are. After all, who doesn't in the magical world?"
Suddenly something clicked. "Are you by any chance related to Madam Marchbanks?"
Pat nodded slowly. "She's my Great Grandmother."
Harry nodded. "Look, I'm sorry. I assumed the worst and attacked you. You must think I'm a big prat."
Pat shook her head, smiling weakly. "No, I understand. It would have been suspicious to you and I know that for you it is better to be safe than sorry."
Harry sighed. "You have no idea. Look, let's go back or else they'll suspect something. We'll talk later."
"All right, I just came to let you know you don't have to be suspicious of me. I saw that you were worried about whether I was to be trusted or not," Pat explained.
"Thank you," Harry whispered. "You better go first and I'll follow."
Pat nodded and exited the bathroom leaving behind a very surprised Harry. Things were certainly happening in Privet Drive all of a sudden.
** Taken directly from Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
* Taken from The Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling