Categories > Books > Harry Potter > The Darkest Hour

Trouble in the Park

by Ham 0 Reviews

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...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Dumbledore, Ginny, Harry, Hermione, Neville, Ron, Voldemort - Warnings: [!] [V] - Published: 2007/04/15 - Updated: 2007/04/15 - 6837 words

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Title: The Darkest Hour (11)

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: If you truly believe that I own Harry Potter and that I'm making money out of this, just imagine in what other ways I can con you. (Rubs hands in glee)

Sharon, thank you yet again for the wonderful job you are doing.

Tricia... I need a thesaurus to tell you just how brilliant you are and how much of a help you are to me. Thank you.

Rachel, thank you for the rush beta jobs and your support. I really appreciate it.







~~~*~

Chapter 11 - Trouble in the Park

~~~*~



It was a lazy Sunday morning and Harry Potter sat in front of his desk, a pile of books open before him. He was writing rapidly on a long roll of parchment and stopping every few minutes to read from one of the books before resuming writing.

He was working on his Arithmancy. The subject had begun to fascinate him and he knew that there was a lot of potential in it. Ever since he had started breaking down the spells to study them he had understood them much better. His stunners and disarming spells had become much more powerful because of this.

He knew that he had three years of work to catch up on before he was up to the level of the sixth years and so he had begun to spend a lot of time catching up and reading the earlier course material. To his immense surprise he found that he was able to grasp the concepts pretty well. He had always been good at math in school and that helped immensely. Most magical children never studied math on the level it was taught at Muggle schools and so Harry was much better at it than most of the purebloods. Although he understood the basics quite well, the subject was still very tricky. The smallest mistake could mean the difference between success and failure. There was no middle ground, either you got it right or you got it wrong.

Harry found himself frustrated several times when he found several hours of his work had gone down the drain because of one miniscule mistake he had made somewhere in his work. But at the same time it was very satisfying to finally get it right.

Ancient runes, too, was a fascinating subject. The wizarding world dated back thousands of years. The founding of Hogwarts could be considered quite a recent happening if you compared it to the early era of magic, back when Elves and Dwarves lived amongst the humans, literally thousands of years ago.

The earliest runes were those introduced by the fair Elves. Through the centuries, and the many civilizations, new runes were introduced. Those of Atlantis, from the Egyptian era, the Greek Runes, and the ones from the Dark Ages and the Founders Era.

Runes were words of great power and when combined in the correct order could bring about astonishing results. The most powerful runes were still those of the Elves but relatively little was known about them and those few books that were written on the subject were extremely rare and almost impossible to find.

Runes could be used in shields to strengthen them but it made it very tricky to cast. Also it was a massive drain on one's power to keep them up for any great length of time.

Harry had been very interested to find a solution to this. There had to be a way to create a shield that would overcome all these problems. He had realized in his duels against Mad-eye that it would be invaluable to have a strong, easy to maintain shield in his repertoire.

The Protego shield, while it was quite strong, and had the other advantage of reflecting back spells at the caster, was very draining to cast and only a very powerful wizard could cast it repeatedly. In a long and drawn out duel it wasn't a very good idea to use it.

Harry was very interested to see if he couldn't create his own shield that overcame all these difficulties. But he knew that to even think about that he would have to put in a lot of work in Arithmancy and Ancient Runes.

He was so involved in his work that he was unaware of the doorbell ringing.

A few minutes later, though, he startled to hear his Aunt's voice screeching. "Boy, get down here."

'What now?' Harry thought irritatedly.

He got up slowly and made his way down and saw his Aunt's horsy face contorted in annoyance.

"Is there anything you wanted, Aunt Petunia," Harry said as politely as he could manage, which wasn't very polite.

Petunia Dursley's eyes narrowed at his tone. "Those three boys and that freak girl are here for you," she said jerking her head to the door.

Harry's eyes hardened. "You can call me whatever you want, but if I ever hear you badmouthing her, or any of my friends, I swear I will make you regret it."

Petunia Dursley bristled and opened her mouth to put her nephew in his place. She immediately closed it when she looked into his eyes. They were ice cold and held a dangerous look in them that made her shiver.

They were the eyes of the boy who had seen and faced such evil that it would break the bravest of men. They were not the eyes of a sixteen year old. They were too knowing, too hard, and absolutely fearless. A coward like Petunia Dursley could never meet them without flinching.

Harry turned around and walked to the door and slowly opened it.

"Hi mate," Jack said cheerfully. "Listen, Independence Day just released this Friday and we just have to go catch it. Get ready fast."

"Erm guys..." Harry started in an apologetic tone.

"Harry," Pat interrupted firmly. "You have been brooding long enough. If you aren't ready in five minutes we are going to break into your room and drag you to the movie as you are."

"You wouldn't!" Harry said in alarm.

"Oh yes, we would and /we will,/" Sean said warningly. Alan nodded, backing up his statement.

Harry sighed in frustration. "Oh, all right. I'll go get changed."

Harry pulled on a pair of jeans and t-shirt and strapped on a wand holster to his wrist. The full sleeved sweatshirt covered it up well. He had taken to wearing the Dragon hide vest everywhere. It was supposed to be worn under the clothes, as close to the skin as possible. At first it had been uncomfortable but he had slowly got used to it. He had decided that he might as well wear it if it was meant to protect him.

He pulled on a pair of sneakers and rushed downstairs, Just in time it seemed because as soon as he was out of the door Jack commented:

"You cut it really fine. We were just about to come in."

"You guys are impossible!" Harry said shaking his head.

"Aren't we?" Sean said cheerfully. "Now get in. We don't want to be late for the film."

Harry rolled his eyes and got into the back seat of the car with Pat and Alan.

They reached the theater just in time and managed to get tickets. While Sean was buying the tickets, Jack and Alan brought the Popcorn and Coke's.

They rushed in the theater just as the opening credits were rolling in.

Harry found himself enjoying the experience. It was great fun watching the movie on a widescreen and eating hot buttered popcorn. The movie was fun, if a bit unbelievable, and Harry found it easy to lose himself in the story.

One irritating factor for Harry was Sean, who was seated between him and Pat. He insisted on making comments loudly about every scene in the movie.

"These Americans have an obsession with saving the world, what mate?" he snorted, elbowing Harry and making him spill some of his coke on himself.

Finally Harry and Pat both lost it when he started guffawing in the middle of the President's speech during the climax of the movie. They both whacked him on the back of his head and glared at him fiercely, telling him to shut up.

"Owww!!" Sean howled. "You guys are no fun at times."

The rest of the movie passed quietly and there were no more comments from Sean. But from time to time there were small grumbling noises coming from him which Harry found just as irritating as the comments.

He resolved never to sit next to him next time. He had a suspicion that Jack and Alan knew about Sean's habit and purposely took seats away from him.

"So did you enjoy yourself?" Pat quietly asked when they were returning home.

"Yeah, thanks a lot," Harry said shyly.

"Harry... maybe I shouldn't be asking you this and you don't have to answer, but what happened? Why the hermit act over the past two weeks?" Alan asked.

Harry sighed and wondered what to tell them. On one hand he was tempted to lie and avoid the issue and on the other hand he knew he owed it to them to atleast explain himself. They were friends of his and they had been more than understanding so far. But he couldn't just keep them hanging like that.

"A close friend of mine got murdered. It happened in front of my eyes... I was unable to do anything," Harry whispered softly.

Harry knew that Hagrid had not actually died in front of him but he had no clue how to explain his scar link to Voldemort to them. And to him it had felt that Hagrid had died right before his eyes.

All of them gasped. Pat, ofcourse, knew about it, but she hadn't known that Harry had seen the actual murder with his own eyes.

"Was it the same guy that is after you?" Jack asked slowly.

Harry's eyes filled with hate. "Yeah, it was him," he spat.

"Harry, mate, I still think you should go to the Police. You can't wait like a sitting duck for him to find you," Sean said quietly.

Harry waved it aside. "Forget it. There are just some things you won't understand. I can't go to the Police."

"Then make us understand, Harry. We are your friends. We don't want you to get hurt or killed by some maniac," Jack said frustratedly.

Harry sighed. He knew that their patience would have a limit and someday they would want answers. But the problem was that he couldn't give them the answers they wanted. The Ministry had very strict laws about revealing secrets to Muggles.

"Drop it guys, he'll talk when he's ready," Pat said firmly.

No more was said on the topic, though the boys wanted to say plenty.

"Hey guys, lets go hang out at the park for a bit," Sean said suddenly, trying to lighten the mood again. "It's a lovely day and we shouldn't be spending it indoors. And plus I've been hearing some bad things about that cousin of yours pounding on the youngsters. I think its time we taught him a lesson. Yesterday I saw a nine year old beaten up by him. Poor kid was too terrified to say anything against that fat bastard or his gang."

Harry nodded. Ever since Dudley had found out about him being able to use magic he had started spending nearly every waking minute outside the house with his gang. Apparently he was taking his frustrations out on kids younger than him.


The park was nearly deserted and Harry guessed it was because it was where Dudley's gang usually hung out. Most of the kids were too afraid of being around where they might run into him and his cronies.

He looked around and smiled. The grass was looking cool and inviting and there was a good bit of shade beneath the trees. It would be nice to relax there for a bit. Maybe he might be able to even have a nap. Yes, a nap sounded really good to him.

He was following Alan out of the car when a jet of light flew inches over his head. He immediately ducked, pulling Sean and Alan down with him.

Pat had caught on immediately and she too grabbed Jack and pulled him down on the other side.

"What the..." Sean yelped.

Harry looked up to see six to seven black robed figures advancing on them.

Death Eaters! How the hell did they get here?

He knew that if he was alone he could have easily apparated out. But he had his friends to worry about and they were in grave danger. They would not be able to defend themselves against magic.

How the hell did he manage to get himself into this mess?

He motioned for Sean and Alan to follow him to the other side of the car and the three of them scrambled quickly to take shelter behind the car.

"What the hell's the matter, Harry? Who are those guys and what in the blazes are they shooting at us?" Jack asked angrily.

Before Harry could say a word a cold voice came to their ears. "Come out, Potter. It's useless to run."

"Look, guys, I don't have too much time, so just do as I say at the moment, all right?" Harry said urgently.

"But...but..." Sean stuttered.

"Sean, I promise I'll tell you more later but if we don't act now we are all going to die," Harry said sharply. "Look, guys, just trust me for now. Please."

He turned around and peeked over the car. The Death Eaters were coming closer and closer.

"What do you plan on doing?" Alan asked.

Harry didn't answer. He just tapped all of them with his wand and a moment later they felt a curious sensation. It was as if someone had broken an egg on their head. They were stunned speechless a moment later when all of them disappeared from sight.

"What did you do to us, Harry?" Alan asked fearfully.

"I just disillusioned you. Now you will take on the appearance of whatever surrounding you are in, making you invisible to others," Harry explained.

"Riiiight!" said Alan, to whom the explanation made no sense.

"Ok, I want you guys to make your way to my house. You'll be safe there," Harry said quickly. He turned to Pat. "Once you get there tell Dobby to get Dumbledore and tell him that there are Death Eaters in the Park. Now go and hurry."

"What about you, Harry?" Sean asked.

"I'll take a different route. If we all go together we'll never make it. We have to split up," Harry explained.

"Harry, if you think for one second that we are running away and leaving you behind to face the music you are crazy," Pat said angrily.

"I am doing no such thing. Listen, I can apparate out of here right now if I want. But that means they will come after you. I am just going to distract them for a little while and give you guys enough time to get out of here. Then I am going to get my arse out of here faster than you can say 'Cockroach Clusters.' The sooner you guys leave the sooner I can get away."

"What do you mean Apparate?" Jack asked. He had a shocked and confused look on his face as he tried to make sense of the strange mess he was trapped in. He was invisible! And some people dressed in strange black attire were throwing jets of light at them and trying to kill them. He felt he was in La-la land.

"Later, Jack," Harry said sneaking yet another look at the Death Eaters. They were nearly upon them.

"And how exactly are you going to 'distract' them?" Pat asked with her eyebrow raised.

"Pat, there is a time for discussions, but this is not it. Please just trust me," Harry said nervously as he saw the Death eaters get closer still.

"Shame on you, Potter, hiding like a coward. Dumbledore would be ashamed of you. Now are you going to come out or do we have to hurt your friends?"

Pat gritted her teeth. She still wasn't convinced about leaving Harry but she realized that they couldn't waste any more time sitting here.

"All right, Harry, but promise me you won't try any stunts," Pat pleaded.

Harry nodded. "Now go, and don't stop until you reach my house."

The three boys and Pat moved off and Harry allowed himself to groan. He knew that he couldn't apparate away right now. He had to keep the Death Eaters busy for a while to give his friends plenty of time to get away.


~~~*~



Pat and the boys were running hard towards a bunch of trees, deciding that the sooner they could get to Harry's house, the sooner they could get him help. The boys still didn't understand what the hell was going on, and running away leaving Harry alone was going against their grain. But they also didn't want to be responsible for any harm coming to Harry. What was happening was completely over their heads.

"Stop, guys," Pat called in a low voice.

Everybody stopped running and stopped to hear what she had to say.

"Are all of you there?" Pat gasped. Three grunts answered her as the boys too caught their breath.

"Ok, we can't leave him like that and go. They'll kill him," Pat said quickly.

"But you heard what Harry said. We have to get to his house and get to Donny... whoever he is," Sean gasped.

"It's Dobby. And yes we need to get to him. But all three of us needn't go. Jack, you run to Harry's house and go up to his room. If his relatives stop you just push them aside. When you get to his room you call for Dobby and he will appear. Tell him to get Dumbledore and come down to the park. Tell him Death Eaters have attacked."

Jack gazed at where Pat was standing and listened to her with a frown. "Ok, run to his house. Go up to his room and call for Dobby. What do you mean he'll appear?"

"Jack, you'll see when you get there," Pat said impatiently. "Now go, and hurry."

"Oh, all right," Jack sighed. "But when all this is over you and Harry are in deep shit."

Saying that he hurried off at a sprint towards Number 4 Privet Drive.

Pat turned to where she though Sean and Alan were standing. "Ok, guys, we need to make out way back to Harry. If any jet of light is thrown in your direction make sure it doesn't hit you. Got it?"

"Don't let any jet of light hit you... got it," Sean muttered. "Any good asking what it will do if it does hit us?"

"If it hits you it's a good chance it will kill you," Pat hissed.

"Oh, right, we should make sure it doesn't hit us then," Sean squeaked.


~~~*~



Harry's mind worked furiously. He had counted seven Death Eaters and he realized that if he wanted to survive he would have to take out at least three to four of them in his first assault. Also he would have to be the aggressor. He wouldn't have a chance defending himself against them. They would be sure to use powerful dark curses and the Unforgivables.

Stunners and Disarming Curses were out of the question. Once hit they had to stay down or he would be strumming on a harp before the hour was up.

He pushed a tiny silver button on his watch and felt the disillusioning charm working on him. When he was completely invisible he quickly got up and moved away from the car.

The Death Eaters had nearly reached the car and were looking around carefully for any sign of him.

"I thought Gryffindors were brave, Potter," one of them sneered. "But yet you are hiding like a mouse. Perhaps we need to persuade you a bit more. Flint, Higgs, get his friends."

Two of the Death Eaters advanced and peeked on the other side of the car.

"They aren't here," Flint called out.

"Aren't there? Ofcourse they're there you fools. Where would they go?" said the leader of the group as he hurried to the other side of the car.

He was looking around bewildered wondering what could have happened. Then his eyes widened. "Potter, it seems like you have been busy since we last met."

As the words left his mouth a blue jet of light streamed towards one of the Death eaters standing on the other side of the car. It caught him unaware and he fell down screaming in agony. His entire right arm and shoulder was shattered.

Another jet of light, this time sickly green, headed towards the Death Eaters and again one of their number was caught by it. As the spell hit him it formed a liquid that drenched him and began to eat into his robes and skin. He fell down screaming, clawing at his body in agony.

"Watch out you fools, he is under the Disillusionment spell," the lead Death Eater roared.

The remaining number immediately became more aware and they started spraying a white powder all around them as Moody had done.

Harry tried to dodge the powder but there was too much of it and he was caught by some of it. He sent out a powerful Reducto curse at one of the Death Eaters. The Death Eater put up a shield but the spell blasted the shield apart and hit him anyway. But a lot of the power had been negated by the shield. Nevertheless, he was hit pretty hard and he flew back and crashed ten feet away, a bloody mess. He was out of the fight.

Harry knew that it was still four trained Death eaters against him and he had little to no chance. He would have to get out of here soon. By now his friends should have got away.

He dove desperately as four jets of light headed his way and they just missed him by a hairsbreadth.

He kept rolling and sent back a Bludgeoning Curse at them. It was blocked easily by the Death Eater and he sent a nasty looking curse back at Harry.

The next few minutes it was all Harry could do to stay alive. He had got injured though. One of the Death Eaters had sent a Combusting hex at him and even though it hadn't hit him it had burst nearby and he had been hit by a lot of residue and his left side had been set aflame. He quickly took care of the fire but not before he got burned pretty badly.

He was getting ready to create a diversion and Apparate out of there when there was a loud pop and Harry saw Bill Weasley appear nearby.

Before Bill could even get a look at his surroundings four jets of light rushed towards him. One missed him, and he managed to avoid the second. However he was hit by the other two and he went down screaming in pain. His left leg and wand arm both had been shattered and he lay on the ground, unable to move.

Before Harry could do anything The Death Eaters had rushed towards Bill and had him surrounded.

"Throw your wand down and walk over slowly or else the Weasley Boy dies," one of the Death Eaters hissed.

Harry looked at Bill in panic.

Even though Bill was in a great deal of pain he managed to croak out. "Harry, you apparate the hell out now. If you even think of surrendering to these bastards I will kick your arse thoroughly."

'Crucio.'

As the spell hit Bill he started screaming in agony. As he thrashed around he screamed even louder as his shattered appendages scraped the ground.

"All right you Bastards, I'll give up. Don't touch him," Harry yelled furiously.

"No, Harry, you can't do this," Bill yelled hoarsely. "I won't let you do this." He made a heroic effort to get to his feet only to utter another scream and fall back down as the pain overwhelmed him.

"Throw your wand down like a good boy, Potter," the lead Death Eater said softly. He took his white mask off to smirk at him as Harry silently complied. Harry's hate filled eyes met those of Rodolphus Lestrange.

"Good, my master will be pleased. He will finally get his hands on the boy who has been such an irritating thorn to him. I daresay Bella will be pleased to see you too. She has many plans for you. She was punished severely because of you and your friends."

"Yeah... bunch of idiots you guys were. Big bad Death Eaters couldn't get the better of a few fifth year Hogwarts students," Harry sneered.

'Crucio.'

Harry screamed as the pain hit him. It was all over and he was overwhelmed by it. Every pore of his body felt inflamed by the pain. His blood felt like it was on fire, his bones felt like someone was crushing them slowly with a hammer and he felt like millions of knives were stabbing his body. And this was just part of the feeling.

"You must learn to hold your tongue, Potter. If you don't you will soon find yourself subjected to a great deal of pain," Rodolphus Lestrange hissed angrily.

"But that's only a taste of what he is going to get, brother," Rabastan Lestrange said from beside him. "He has a lot to pay for. Many will be only too happy to have a chance to even the scores with him."

'Crucio.'

Harry started screaming as the pain hit him again. His throat felt as if it was going to burst, so loud were his screams. He thrashed around helplessly on the ground praying for it to end.

"That's enough, Rabastan. Our Master will be most displeased if he loses his mind before he has a chance to talk to him," Rodolphus said lifting his brother's wand up and breaking the curse.


~~~*~


Jack rang the doorbell to Number 4 frantically. Just as he was about to try to break open the door, it opened.

"Who's the idiot who's ringing the bell?" Petunia Dursley snarled. "If it's a salesman you are going..."

She was not able to finish her sentence as Jack roughly pushed her aside and ran up the steps.

"Who's that? Who are you?" Petunia Dursley screamed, when she was unable to see who had pushed her aside. "Vernon! Come quickly..."

Jack reached the top of the stairs and looked at the different doors wondering which one was Harry's. He spotted a door with numerous locks and a cat flap attached to it and realized that it must be the one.

He quickly opened the door and went in. He looked around and saw nobody. 'What was he supposed to do now? Pat had said to call for Dobby. But where was he?'

He quickly bent down to peer under the bed and opened the closet to see if Dobby could be in there. Where the hell was he? Wait... Pat had said to call for him...

"Er... Dobby... Dobby..."Jack yelled loudly, feeling like a prize fool. He looked around and didn't find anybody. He wondered if he had heard Pat right. Or maybe this was the wrong room. Yes, that was probably it.

He was about to go when a small creature appeared before him with a crack.

"Who are you? And what is you wanting with Dobby?"

Jacks eyes nearly popped out of their sockets as he took in the House-Elf's appearance. 'Did Sean slip something into my coke?' he wondered in shock.

He shook himself mentally and tried to remember the message. "Harry told me to tell you to go to Dumpledort and tell him that Death Eaters have attacked him at the park."

Dobby's eyes went wide and he disappeared with a loud crack.

Jack sank down on the bed and put his face in his hands. 'Nobody would ever believe him if he told them about this.'


~~~*~


Harry was lying weakly on the ground. He knew it was all over. Dumbledore would never be able to get here soon enough. Once he got to wherever Voldemort was he was as good as dead. He was glad that at least his friends got away. Thinking of friends he was reminded of Ron, Hermione and Ginny. What would happen to them if he died? They wouldn't be safe from Voldemort for long. He shuddered at the thought of them falling into the Dark Lord's hands.

He sighed and couldn't help thinking that he might have got away had Bill not been there. The Death Eaters were unaware that he could apparate and had not put down any anti-apparation wards. But he knew that Bill had come to his rescue. He couldn't fault him for trying to save him.

And now he too was captured. All due to his fault.

"Come on, Potter, time to go," Rodolphus Lestrange smirked, grabbing hold of Harry's collar and rummaging around for a Portkey.

"You've got me. Let him go," Harry said weakly, pointing towards Bill.

"You are in no position to make demands, Potter," Rodolphus sneered. "Besides, I'm sure Lucius will be only too pleased to get some revenge on a Weasley."

Suddenly his hold on Harry's shoulder broke off and he was sent crashing to the ground as someone tackled him from behind.

Higgs and Flint too, were tackled by unseen assailants who were attacking them furiously.

The three Death Eaters were in all sorts of trouble as they were quickly taken care of with deadly efficiency.

Harry saw the confusion and scrambled to reach his wand. Before he had moved more than a couple of steps a strong hand reached around his neck grabbing him in a headlock and a wand was pressed to his temple.

"Stop it, all of you, or your friend dies," Rabastan Lestrange said coldly.

Pat, Sean and Alan immediately stepped away.

"Don't listen to him, he can't harm me," Harry yelled.

"Shut up, Potter," Rabastan hissed angrily.

'Crucio.'

Harry began to scream and jerk, but Rabastan had a firm grip on him and held him up, not allowing him the luxury to fall down to the ground and thrash around in his agony.

Rodolphus, Higgs and Flint had got up quickly and within a few minutes Pat, Sean and Alan were held at wand point by them.

"Very good, Potter. It couldn't have gone any better even if we had tried. It will be very enjoyable to torture your filthy Muggle friends. And the girl... such a beauty... No doubt she will be a great source of entertainment for us," Rodolphus said maliciously.

Pat shivered in distaste as he ran a hand down her body and tried to pull away only to be pulled back violently by Rodolphus by her hair.


~~~*~


Albus Dumbledore was busy going through a few reports from the Order when a frantic House-Elf appeared in his office.

A second later Dobby was clutching his legs tightly and screaming. "Harry Potter is in danger. Death Eaters are attacking him in the park near his house. You must save Harry Potter."

Dumbledore immediately jumped up and seconds later he was standing near Fawkes who was hovering near his head.

"Dobby, go to Auror Headquarters and send them there quickly. Go now."

Then grabbing Fawkes' tail Dumbledore disappeared in a flash of fire followed by a loud crack as Dobby disappeared to Auror Headquarters.


~~~*~


The four teenagers and Bill were shoved roughly together in a circle and Rodolphus ordered Rabastan, Higgs, and Flint to go get the fallen Death Eaters over to them so they could be taken along with the Portkey while he stood guard over the prisoners.

He suddenly heard a roar of fire and he swirled around. Before he could even lift his wand a jet of light had hit him with tremendous force and he was sent flying back.

Dumbledore strode forward angrily, his magic crackling around him like lightening.

He turned around to see three jets of green light rushing towards him. With a flick of his wand a nearby tree uprooted itself and quicker then the eye could see jumped in the way of the three killing curses. The tree exploded into tiny pieces and most of them flew at Dumbledore.

Before they could reach him he had flicked his wand again and they stopped in midair before rushing back at the three Death Eaters and hitting them with tremendous force. They were swept off their feet and battered mercilessly by the missiles.

The Death Eaters looked up to hear multiple pops coming from all around as the Aurors arrived and immediately surrounded them.

Rodolphus looked up at Dumbledore with a fearful expression on his face. He shoved his hand in his pocket, and grabbing the Portkey, quickly activated it and disappeared, leaving the others behind.


~~~*~


Harry was sitting gingerly on his bed at Number 4 and listening with one ear to Pat explaining to Sean, Jack and Alan all about magic. They were listening to her in disbelief.

If they hadn't seen the display with their own eyes then they would have never believed her.

"So... you're a hero... to the Magical world?" Jack asked him in amazement.

Harry looked up tiredly. "Not really. It was all mostly luck. I assure you I did no heroic things."

"Harry, there's a line between modesty and plain lying, and you are way over the lying part of the line," Tonks said with a proud smile as she ruffled his hair gently.

Bill had been taken to St Mungo's to be healed after the Aurors arrived.

After Bill had been taken away Harry had taken Dumbledore aside and requested that the old mage make sure that his friends were protected from Death Eaters. Dumbledore was off taking care of that. He had left behind Tonks who was there to escort Harry to Headquarters after he had finished talking with his friends. Madam Pomfrey had been notified and she was already on her way to Headquarters to wait for Harry.

"Actually, he is a hero for the non-magical world, too," Pat said with a small smile. "Lord Voldemort hates non-magical people and when he was at the peak of his power he used to make regular attacks on Muggles. All that stopped when Harry managed to defeat him."

Harry glared at Pat who just grinned at him.

"Muggle? What's a muggle?" Sean asked curiously.

"Non magical people are called Muggles in the wizarding world," Harry explained.

"So I'm a Muggle?" Sean said slowly. "Bit rude of you guys, calling us something like that."

Harry smirked. "It wasn't me that coined the phrase."

He suddenly noticed Dobby hurrying around packing his trunk and called to him. "Dobby, will you come here for a second?"

Dobby immediately ran over. "Is Harry Potter wanting anything?"

"Yes, Dobby, I want to thank you for your help. If you hadn't got Dumbledore there in time we would have surely died."

Dobby blushed and the red tinge looked really out of place on his green skin. "Harry Potter doesn't need to be thanking Dobby."

"Yes, he does," Harry said firmly. "Now there was one thing I wanted to ask of you..."

Dobby looked up at Harry curiously wondering what the great Harry Potter wanted to ask him.

"Will you come work for me, Dobby?" Harry asked with a smile.

Dobby's ears perked up and his eyes shone with the brightness of a star. He yelped and jumped on Harry's legs hugging them fiercely. "Yes, Harry Potter, yes. Dobby will be happy to work for Harry Potter. Never has Dobby been so honoured in his life."

Harry gently extricated his legs from Dobby's grip and put his hands on the tiny creature's shoulders. "It is me who is honoured. Now about your salary... will twenty galleons and Sundays off do for you?"

Dobby looked at Harry in horror. "Dobby could never take payment from Harry Potter. It would be the greatest shame Dobby could bring upon himself."

"All right then," Harry said sadly. "I guess you can't work for me in that case."

Dobby's ears drooped.

"Those who work for me must get paid. And since you will be working for me I expect you to be well dressed. You will need the money to buy clothes and socks for yourself," Harry said sternly.

Dobby looked as if he was being sent to the gallows. "All right, Harry Potter, if that is what you wishes then Dobby will accept. But Dobby has a favour to ask of Harry Potter, sir."

"Another thing... you call me 'sir' and you will be fired on the spot. And what is the favour?"

"Well, Dobby is wondering whether Harry Potter would allow Winky to come work for him too," the House elf asked shuffling his feet nervously.

"All right, Dobby, if she is willing, offer her the same terms," Harry said with a grin. He was wondering whether there was something going on between Dobby and Winky but decided it was none of his business.

"Oh, no, sir. She will never accept payment," Dobby said in horror.

"Dobby, tell her the same thing I told you. And please also tell her that it is more for my sake than hers. If Hermione ever found out that I have an unpaid House Elf in my service I wouldn't live past the night."

Dobby nodded and again leapt on Harry's legs, hugging him fiercely. "Harry Potter is the greatest wizard in the whole world."

Then he let go and resumed packing Harry's things into his trunk.

Tonks and Harry's friends had watched all of this with a great deal of amusement. The boys were just laughing at Dobby's antics and Harry's embarrassment, but Pat and Tonks were very touched to see the relationship between Harry and Dobby.

"Er... sorry about that... he tends to be a bit emotional at times," Harry said awkwardly.

All he got as an answer were wide grins.

"Hey, guys... I want to thank you..."

"Shut it, Harry," Pat said warningly. "Don't you dare thank us. And don't think we have forgotten your self sacrificing antics. You told us you were going to get out of there."

"Well, I was," Harry mumbled. "And wait a minute... you guys are one to talk. You were supposed to go right here. Why the hell did you stick around?"

"Well, it was good that we were there mate. You were going to be toast if we hadn't arrived in time," Sean said somberly.

"Yeah," Harry mumbled. "Look, guys... I'm really sorry I had to go and drag you all into this mess. I should have known better."

"Harry... I speak for all of us when I say that not one of us regrets meeting you, or any of this," Alan said softly.

"Yeah... I mean how many people can say that they are mates with the 'greatest wizard in the world,'" Jack crowed.

Harry rolled his eyes. "I suppose I should tell him to stop saying that as well."

"That is one thing I doubt even you will be able to get him to stop saying, pup," Tonks said with a grin.

Harry sighed, conceding the point. "Hey, guys, Pat will tell you all about magic, whatever you want to know. Professor Dumbledore is off talking to your parents and arranging protections for all of you. I'll arrange for you guys to come stay with me in a couple of days, we'll talk then. Right now I really need to see a Healer."

"Ok, Harry."

"Take care, mate."

Harry nodded to Tonks and grabbed the Portkey she handed him and activating it, disappeared to Headquarters.


~~~*~
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