- Rough Draft
- Work in Progress
- Discussion - Child Abuse
- No Beta
- Challenge Response
- Time Travel
The shocked silence in the room only lasted a minute before Helga sighed. “That was not well done at all, Salazar.” She smiled out of her picture at them before clarifying. “Yes, you had to be an heir to break the spell on the portraits, that was definitely part of it, but being an heir doesn’t automatically make you the acknowledged heirs of the Founders.”
“I have a feeling this isn’t going to be a quick conversation,” Blaise interjected. “Why don’t we pull over a couple of those couches so we can at least be physically comfortable?”
That was quickly accomplished and they were soon settled in front of the line of paintings.
“I think we all agree that being an heir doesn’t equate to being the heir of a Founder,” Draco said. “The question then becomes how do we figure out who they actually are?”
“There are a number of ways to figure that out, most of which are overly complicated and really not worth dealing with,” Rowena explained. “Of them the only two I’d actually suggest are going to the Goblins for an inheritance ritual or come to us for direct confirmation.”
“And that’s how we ended up in this mess to begin with,” Godric grumbled. “And heir did come to us to see if they could be acknowledged. When we told them that wasn’t possible they got rather angry.”
“Unfortunately,” Salazar broke in, “he was also the current headmaster. He was aware that there were other potentials currently attending the school and was afraid that one of them would think to ask about it and be accepted, causing him to lose much of his power in the school.”
Godric shot Salazar the evil eye before taking over again. “Just being an heir in the castle bestows some abilities and that, combined with what headmasters were capable of at the time, allowed him to lock us in our frames and then seal the door to this hall.”
“But he wasn’t aware of the ritual we’d created, which left a loophole in things. We were still locked away, but, during the ritual, the room itself was only hidden. Not sealed.” Salazar smirked at Godric.
“Boys,” Rowena mumbled, sharing a look with Helga. “The ritual wasn’t set up only for heirs, it was always meant for anyone of the correct age who needed assistance, but heirs and those closest to them have always been the most likely to find it when they need to. Unfortunately none of them over the years figured out the heir connection, let alone that we were stuck in here.”
“Fortunately by freeing us here, the spell will be of no difficulty for you to remove once you’re back in your time’s version of the castle.” Helga said reassuringly.
“That’s a relief then,” Susan said. “I have the feeling that we’re going to have a list of things to deal with once we’re back and any of them that can be made easier will be appreciated.”
“But to get back to our original question,” Draco asked, appearing to be restraining his frustration for the most part. “How can we identify the official heirs? We’re finding a lot of issues that we think they will need to deal with, and knowing who they are would be helpful.”
“Not very smart, your heir, eh Rowena?” Godric smirked.
“I think my heir is wonderful and being incredibly patient, considering the situation.” She glared at him before turning her attention to Draco who was looking a bit offended. “I’d ask you to forgive him, but unfortunately you’d spend all your time doing so as he’s often quite annoying.
“If you’d like to see our family trees, you can do that by touching the bottom right corner of our frames. Go on, you can try it out.” She pointed down at the corner of her frame and gave Draco a smile and a nod as he stood to touch it.
There appeared to be the now familiar jolt and flash of green around the frame before the picture went blue and began to grow. The other portraits were moved to the side as the frame expanded an, once it stopped, they could see what looked almost like spider webs begin to trace down the face of the painting. Once it got close enough they could see it was actually writing, names and dates with lines connecting the various lines of her family tree.
It finally stopped updating and they could see the most recent batch of names in the current generation. Draco’s name was in gold and it appeared that the Malfoys were the line that the inheritance descended from. He could see the names of relatives he was aware of in other countries, and many other names he had no idea he was even distantly aware of.
“Why is my name in gold when the rest of the names aren’t?” He reached out tentatively and touched his name. He startled back when his name suddenly came into focus and grew larger, allowing him to more easily read the details under his name. There was his date of birth, as expected, but below it now was a listing for Heir of Malfoy and Heir Presumptive of Ravenclaw.
“What?” He looked at the other Founders in shock, ignoring the smirks on Salazar and Godric’s faces to focus on Helga’s.
“You’ve bled many times for us since coming here and so taking our measure of you was easy. If you could return Rowena’s portrait back to normal now?”
Draco slowly reached out to touch the corner again and the painting began to shrink and slowly changed back to the image of Lady Ravenclaw.
She smiled at him fondly and he blushed a bit in reaction. “You are currently showing as Heir Presumptive because, as you’re well aware, you’re still recovering from blocks placed on your and spells that have affected your mind and emotions. Once you are clear of them, you can be confirmed as my heir.”
She looked around at the others sitting in silence in front of them, watching the drama unfold, and nodded at Harry, Susan and Neville. “The same goes for the three of you as well. Once Madam Currie has verified you’ve been completely healed, you too can be confirmed.
Harry suddenly felt like he couldn’t breathe. He wasn’t sure he was ready to be told that he was likely to become Lord Slytherin and part ruler of both Hogwarts and, in a way, magical Britain. His heart was beating fast and he was having trouble filling his lungs. He felt an arm go around his shoulders, pulling him against their chest, and could hear Seamus’ voice in his ear telling him to breathe.
“In and out, Harry, there you go. Slow breath in… then let it out again. Good.”
Slowly he got himself back under control and could feel himself blush at losing control like that in front of everyone, though especially the Founders. ‘They’re going to be rethinking me as their heir,’ he thought a bit bitterly to himself, but when he looked up and caught Salazar’s eye, there was none of the scorn or disappointment that he had expected to see.
“So,” he coughed a bit and cleared his throat, sitting up a bit but not trying to dislodge Seamus’ arm or move away. “Will the Goblins already be aware of our ‘presumptive’ status? We’ve requested information from them on the heirs, the school charter and the wards for the castle, but aren’t sure if they’ll be willing to provide it unless they know of our heir status.”
“Those are interesting things to be looking into,” Godric’s expression looked concerned. “Can I ask why?”
“The wards because there have been quite a few things going on during the years we’ve been attending Hogwarts that we feel that really should’ve been impossible if the wards were working correctly,” Harry began, taking a deep breath. “We had a possessed teacher in the school first year and he let a troll into the school. The headmaster allowed another troll, a Cerberus and various other traps that could hurt the students into the 3rd floor corridor.
“Second year we had a possessed student and a dark artifact roaming the school letting somebody’s,” he glared a bit at his ancestor, “basilisk loose in the school to thankfully only petrify a number of students. Fifty years before it actually killed a student so I guess there’s some small silver lining, but Justin there,” he pointed to the silent boy sharing a couch with Susan, “he spent most of the year petrified in the infirmary while the headmaster did nothing to handle the situation.
“Third year,” he choked up briefly, “the school was surrounded by Dementors hunting for an escapee from Azkaban. I was nearly kissed at least twice that year. We had a werewolf for a teacher, not that I have anything against Professor Lupin; he’s one of the best DADA teachers we’ve had, but he did get loose on the grounds near the end of the year.
“Fourth year was that stupid TriWizard Tournament which I was entered into against my will. While the tasks themselves were dangerous, as they were school sponsored I can’t complain too much, but I and another student were kidnapped from school grounds, through the wards, via an unknown portkey and he was murdered. We also had a Polyjuiced Death Eater teaching DADA all year; he’s the one that set up the portkey. Sadly enough, he was also one of our best teachers in that position.
“Fifth year we got a Ministry flunky in to teach DADA and she liked to torture students in detention with writing lines with a Blood Quill. I had detention from her so often last year that the words ‘I must not tell lies’ was almost permanently carved into my hand.” He looked down at the back of his hand at the clear skin, thankful that it had been one of the early easy fixes from Madam Currie.
“Then there are the more minor things that go on, the fighting between students, both physically and magically. The discrimination various teachers have against those in some of the houses. The fact we have a ghost teaching history and a drunk teaching Divination and predicting the death of students during class. So many things that it seems the wards should not allow or should at least be reported in some way so the Headmaster can do something about them. Yet, nothing like that ever happens.
“So we were hoping to figure out how the wards were set up and controlled to see if things can be fixed and we wanted to read the charter to see how things are supposed to work. What classes are supposed to be taught, how are teachers supposed to behave, who has the right to make changes and why?”
Harry stopped speaking, a little shocked at the load of information he’d just spewed out there.
Neville took pity on him and took up the explanation at that point. “There’s also pretty good support for the fact that some sort of spells have been added to the Hogwarts Express and various areas of the school, we think probably the Common Rooms, though maybe the Great Hall as well, that have an insidious effect on the minds and emotions of the students who spend a lot of time within them. Once again, it seems like things like that should be against the wards of the castle, but we’re pretty sure it’s been done and most likely by the headmaster.”
“Then there’s also the fact that the Avatar of Hogwarts we’ve dealt with here appears to have some issues as well. She couldn’t answer questions about the wards or the charter, though she is full of information and very helpful about just about everything else we’ve asked about.” Lavender was gripping her hands together so tightly the skin under her fingers was white. She took a deep breath and visually tried to relax, unclasping her hands and flexing them a bit.
“That is… actually quite disturbing,” Godric commented, brow furrowed in thought. “While we allowed for some adjustments to the wards after we were gone, nothing to the point that would allow even a small portion of what you’re describing. And nothing should’ve effected the avatar. Anyone you interact with here can learn from being connected to the ley lines, but their general personality should not be possible to change.”
“Well, Madam Currie seems fine. She’s been great and has been telling us about things we couldn’t figure out ourselves or get a straight answer on from Hogwarts,” Susan broke in. “She doesn’t seem to have the same problems, and the house elves have been great as well. They’re the only people we’ve seen so far, though there’s to be a Goblin healing specialist coming soon.”
“If things were done to corrupt the running of the castle, it’s possible that would affect the Hogwarts avatar but have no effect on the other constructs they’d meet here,” Rowena suggested, looking at her fellow founders.
“True, only people going through the ritual know they exist at all and while they’re connected to Hogwarts because of the ritual, they’re not connected to the castle in the same way. But to affect the avatar… that has to be something serious that has changed the way the castle works. The magic invested in Hogwarts has been changed somehow.” Salazar looked quite angry at that thought and the others didn’t look much happier.
“I honestly didn’t think it would be possible to corrupt the wards like that. Do you think it’s possible that someone found the wardstone and damaged it in some way?” Helga and the others almost seemed to have forgotten they were there as they began to discuss how the damage could’ve been accomplished.
“Possibly, but they’d have to be an heir to even get close, though a headmaster might be able to do it if there had been previous changes weakening the original wards.”
“But how many changes would have to be made before it built up enough to allow entrance?”
“I don’t know, Godric,” Rowena sighed, “but the fact that none of the previous headmasters made note of the problem and appear to have tried to get it fixed is also worrisome. Have we really had that many… despicable people in the role that they wouldn’t be concerned when students were being hurt in the castle?”
“Not to disturb your brainstorming or anything,” Blaise interrupted, “but can it be fixed? Is there a way to reset the wards to what you originally did or at least find out what all the issues are? And can it be done here, in this version of the castle or can it only be done in the ‘real’ version?”
“It’s hard to say at this point,” Salazar said, focusing his attention on him, causing him to stiffen and sit even taller as the originator of his house stared down at him. “If it was just a matter of the wards being tweaked over the years in such a way that things are no longer working as they should, then yes, they could simply be reset. Unfortunately from what you’re describing it sounds like the wardstone holding the wards itself has been damaged and if that’s the case, there is no easy fix and would need to be done by someone out there,” he said, waving his hand towards the main door to the castle.
“Luckily the Goblins can do the work, and would likely need to, so once we know what needs to be done they can handle it.”
“I doubt the headmaster would be willing to let them into the castle and I don’t actually remember any Goblins coming by last year,” Neville said as he considered the problem.
“True, if the current headmaster has played a part in the ward’s corruption, he wouldn’t want them fixed, but he also won’t be around much longer, assuming we can get them fixed during this time.” Helga’s smile could almost be described as evil, which was quite disturbing considering how sweet and unassuming she’d looked most of the time.
“We’ll need to call in a Goblin team of warders to inspect the school. They can come in now and do the inspection and then confirm and fix issues in the outside. Even with the wards in the condition they’re in now, the Founders’ heirs can make sure that they can come in without being noticed and get the work done that they need to do.”
“Will we need to be official to do that?”
“No, the agreement the Goblin Nation has with Hogwarts means they’d do it on our say so alone, we just haven’t been able to give it until now. Having the presumptive heirs, yourselves, to back up our orders and help out with the project just makes things easier to get done,” Salazar said confidently. “I’ll send a message off to the Goblins now and they should be able to have a team together by the time your healer was coming.”
“How does that… really, how does that work? We’re moving backwards in time, according to Hogwarts. How can you ask now for someone, or a team, to show up a couple of days before the request actually arrived?” Justin hadn’t spoken the entire time, but he finally had to say something.
“There are ways around that for normal requests, the house elves know how to do it, by holding the letter until the appropriate date later to send it so it can be replied to by the time you sent it. But,” Godric smiled at him kindly, “as soon as the first of you began the ritual, the Goblins knew and began preparations. Each time another joined, they had more information and expanded what they were doing.
“I’m sure that Hogwarts explained that there is an area in the bank that links with us to allow more interaction during your time here. Well, that area is actually quite large and they will have put together a team of just about everything they could think of that might be needed during this time. They also would’ve planned for things that they didn’t expect you guys to need, so they probably have a team of warders already waiting, hoping to be able to get in here.”
Rowena took up the explanation at that point. “As soon as the ritual started for you, it also started for them. They too are living in the same time line as you are, which makes them better able to help out. While requests for things like books or clothes or normal things like that will go to the Goblins through the house elves, the requests for a healer specialist or the warders will go to the team they’ve put together and made available for our use.”
“Don’t worry that they’re being inconvenienced by this,” Helga said at the look of concern on Susan’s face. “There will be a number of Goblins participating that don’t expect to be needed, but are there to take advantage of the year plus of time they have to work on personal projects, or learn new skills or simply relax for a while. They were probably quite excited by the prospect and argued hard to be included.” She gave them a serious look, making sure to make eye contact with them all. “While they enjoy the break, that doesn’t mean that they’d be averse to passing along some of their skills to the eight of you, so once the first group of Goblins arrive, you might consider seeing what other skills are available to be taught especially as the healing and recovery will be long, but not really enough to keep you busy.”
“Do they have people who can help us with our normal studies as well?” Neville asked. “With the blocks on our magic and to affect our ability to study, I at least need a refresher.”
“Yes, they can,” Rowena confirmed, “That’s something they’d plan to do automatically and they’ll expect you to perform to their standards, which are higher than even ours were when we set up the school. So be prepared.” She laughed at the groans she got at that.
“We suspect that classes that you once required have been removed from the curriculum over the years. We’d hoped to get that information from the Charter so we could see what was being ignored now. If we do wind up with the ability to fix the school, it would be wonderful to make sure that we are actually providing the education the school was originally designed to provide for the wizarding world.”
“Part of the oaths taken by every incoming Headmaster is to uphold the charter of the school. If that has indeed been broken, then the Goblins will be aware, as they hold the original Charter, and can explain any infractions. If the current Headmaster has also played a role in that, it will just be additional evidence in our favor for having him removed.”
Harry shivered a bit at the glee in Salazar’s voice at that. “So, what’s our next step? What do you need us to be doing?”
“We need you to heal.” Rowena said firmly. “You need to be able to be confirmed as our acknowledged heirs by the halfway point of the ritual so that we will have the second half to set things right in preparation for returning you to the beginning of your sixth year. Of course we expect you to be well beyond the sixth year curriculum by that point to support you taking over control of the school. So you also should be preparing to start your schooling as soon as you’re able. Once the Healer has an understanding of what the issues are and how to fix them, they’ll work with the others to decide how to structure your classes.
“If the magical blocks need to wait, then you’ll do more theory work in the beginning. If the blocks come off first, but the memory issues will be later, they’ll do more retraining to control your new magical levels first, then start on the refresher work and new classes. You just need to be prepared to work hard and do your best.”
“I understand why these four are important to your plans,” Seamus said a bit tentatively, gesturing at Susan, Draco and Neville sitting to the left of he and Harry, “but… what about the rest of us? They’re your heirs, but we’re just… normal students. Why are you spending so much time on us?”
“First off, all our students are important and even if none of you were heirs we’d still do everything in our power to help you get where you need to be. That’s the whole purpose of the ritual you performed.”
“Exactly, so you are just as important. The fact is, is that Magic wants you here. You chose to do the ritual because of something wrong or lacking in your life whether you know what it is or not. Magic helped direct you to the ritual so you can get this help, but also because you’re needed to set things right. Now for these four,” Helga pointed at the four heirs, “maybe they’re here because of being heirs and being needed to set right Hogwarts, but you four are here for just as import a reason. I’m guessing you’ve already been helping out with the work you’ve all been doing, which is greatly appreciated, but Magic has more in store for you. I guarantee it and in the end, we are all servants of the Lady.”
“Everyone who has ever participated in the Ritual of Hogwarts has played an important role in our world. It may not have been an obvious role, Minister of Magic or a famous potion developer, but maybe,” Rowena paused a moment to think, “they set up a sanctuary for magical beings, or became a teacher, or helped protect someone doing something dangerous. That’s all rather vague, but believe me, you’re all important and Magic brought you all here together for a reason that I’m sure you’ll eventually understand.”
“Okay, I just don’t like to feel like we’re the afterthoughts with all this.”
“Have you been treated by any of them as an afterthought?” Godric asked. “Have they asked for your advice and impute? Have they leaned on you when they’ve been upset? Have they asked you to help them in what they’ve been working on or asked to help you? Have they laughed and smiled and enjoyed your presence their lives since you all got here? No one thinks you’re any less important.”
Harry leaned into Seamus again, offering a bit of silent support, horrified that he would ever think that Harry or any of them would be less than thrilled that he was there to go through this with them. He’d spent so much time with Seamus since they’d all arrived, naturally gravitating to his company when there were things to do or when he was having a rough day. He was looking forward to remembering the friendship they’d previously had and couldn’t understand why Dumbledore would’ve felt the need to keep them from spending time together, other than to force him into only having Ron and Hermione to go to with things.
He also couldn’t see Justin, Blaise or Lavender being thought of like that. It was obvious that Justin and Susan were close. If not dating before they arrived, they certainly were by now and were incredibly happy together.
Lavender and Draco had bonded over the research they’d been doing and could often be found in their Common Room arguing amiably over what they’d been reading and curled up together on the couch sharing notes.
When Neville wasn’t hanging out with him and Seamus, he was often to be found in the greenhouses on their roof garden where his most frequent companion was Blaise. The two would spend hours up there talking about all sorts of things and tending the plants. Harry had never realized that the rather quiet Slytherin was that interested in Herbology, though maybe it was more he was interested in Neville, now that he considered it.
The realization that in a way they’d all paired up had him giving Salazar a rather heated glare. He just gave him a bit of a smirk back.
~Figured it out, did you?~ he hissed.
Harry ignored the looks of shock from the others, ~Please tell me they’re not just here as our… dates, or something ridiculous like that. They deserve more than that.~
~Of course that’s not the only reason they’re here~ Salazar replied, rolling his eyes. ~We were quite honest in the fact that Magic brought them here because they too have an important role to play in things and they deserved our help as well. Just because they are also your other halves is a bonus for you all.~
~No. Harry, those Magic gifts she also expects much from. I have a feeling that all of you will be very powerful once you’re well and because of that, Magic will expect great things from you. I’m sure you will all do her proud. But it can be a lonely path to travel alone, so Magic also blesses her chosen with someone perfectly suited for them. They can help and support each other, and be there for each other. You may not believe it yet, and that’s fine. Just don’t pull away because you think… just don’t pull away from him. He needs your support as much as you need his and soon I think you will all understand.~
Salazar held his gaze for a while before Harry finally nodded and looked away to see the others staring at him curiously.
“I’m sorry, that was probably quite rude of us. Please excuse our random personal conversation in a language most of you can’t understand.”
He laughed when Seamus cuffed him upside the back of his head.
The next couple weeks went quickly. They spent their remaining time before the major healing began reviewing their previous course work. They camped out in either the Common Room or around the fire pit on the roof, depending on the weather, and quizzed each other.
Once Grabthar and the Goblin warding team arrived, things changed drastically. They’d gotten used to things being rather quiet, as it was really only them generally running around the castle. Once the Goblins arrived, things got much louder.
There was a team of four warders for the first couple of days though they didn’t see much of them as they spent much of their time sequestered with Madam Currie and Grabthar reviewing their test results and having new and different ones run on them. Harry got his eyes fixed and a couple others had minor ailments treated, though nothing major happened on the big issues.
Then they got a note asking them to meet in the Founders’ room the afternoon at the end of the first week with their new guests and were told that the castle was a complete mess. That not only was the wardstone damaged, but the wards themselves had been corrupted so badly that it was shocking that they protected the castle from anything at all. On top of that, there were numerous spells on various parts of the school and dark or evil objects everywhere.
In fact a ‘mess’ might be mild for what they found, but the Goblin giving the review had devolved into Gobbledegook after a while and Harry was no longer able to understand the report. Other than things were bad.
The Founders had given approval to start fixing things. They figured out a way to do things in the ritual world that would become real with the fixing of the wardstone once time reverted again. They also decided that they needed at least another team so by the second week there were eight Goblin warders and curse breakers roaming the castle.
They decided to start at the top of the various towers and work their way down the floors of the castle. They started in Myrddin Tower, since that was the only one with actual residents currently, but nothing was found… there.
The other towers weren’t so lucky and over the weeks they built up quite the list of spells and charms and runes they had fixed in parts of the castle, not to mention the random assortment of dark objects hidden around. The ones that could be fixed were separated out from those that just needed to be destroyed.
Harry and the others were told that once they were given the okay from the healers that they would be using them as teaching aids.
They were already being picked up during their free time to see what they were finding as far as the spells and such on the castle. They were kept out of anything too dangerous and weren’t doing any of the work themselves, but they were brought in to do some analysis of the spell effects, what effect they would have and offer suggestions on how to fix them. It was difficult, but fascinating. Harry had always preferred practical lessons over pure theory.
During all of this, they were also getting lessons in Gobbledegook and the real history of the Goblin Nation from whatever group of Goblins they were around that day. They were getting general healing lessons from Grabthar and Madam Currie, who felt that you should always be able to take care of any minor injuries you or your friends and family got. They said that anyone who showed a real talent they’d give more in depth lessons to later.
Grabthar spent much of his time the first couple weeks he was there looking into Harry’s scar. Eventually he figured out that it was a form of tether between him and Voldemort and that having that magical connection was probably not good for either one of them. As it wasn’t a common problem, more research needed to be done on how to safely severe it without it causing a backlash on Harry.
Having never known that the scar could be dealt with, he was surprisingly impatient about it once he knew something could probably be done. Thankfully he was being kept busy all day every day while he waited for a solution to be found which at least helped the time pass. The lot of them would often collapse in the evening in the Common Room and discuss, or maybe more truthfully complain, about what they’d been up to that day. Though they all admitted they were learning a lot.
They’d gravitated towards different members of the various teams over the weeks as everyone had their own specialties. Harry was most often to be found with the Curse Breakers, having been fascinated since hearing what Ron’s oldest brother did. At least half of his time was spent working with them as they analyzed the types of magic they were finding and deciding how to handle it.
He also spent a quarter of his time in the Infirmary learning various healing techniques. Though it was too soon to know, Madam Currie felt he might have a gift at it, which he found completely ironic based on how much time he’d spent being injured over the years.
The remainder of the time was spent floating between the Goblin Warders and his own review of the history of the school. Some of that time was spent reading the books and journals of the time, but he also spent time talking to the Founders themselves about why they did things the way they did and made the choices they had while building the castle and setting up the school. He was often joined by the others for those conversations, if they were also free, and they’d all curl up in the more comfortable seating they’d arranged once they figured out how much time they’d be spending in that room.
Unlike the figures in most other magical paintings, they weren’t able to leave their frames and travel around, so anyone wanting to speak with them had to go to them. They did mention that there were more ‘normal’ paintings of them that should be somewhere in the castle. These could be linked up so that the Founders could travel the school and visit via other frames. So far they had no idea where those paintings were, but there was hope that the Goblin teams would discover them at some point.
In preparation for that optimistic event, they’d hunted down some landscapes they all agreed on to go up in the Common Room for visitors to inhabit and Harry found a seascape to hang near his door for visits when he was home. The others had followed suit, once they were all taught spells for making sure no one could show up in their personal space when they weren’t wanted. Or spy on them for that matter.
“So, Mr. Potter, are you ready for us to remove the link you have to Voldemort?”
Harry had to believe that Grabthar was well aware of just how much he wanted that. Maybe this was just a healer thing, rhetorical questions? Or maybe just a Grabthar thing? Either way, Harry was happy to confirm that he was okay with proceeding.
“Yes, Healer Grabthar, I am quite ready to have this removed. Do you think the scar will fade once it’s gone?”
“I won’t know until it’s gone. You’ve had the scar many years, it may not be possible to heal completely even after the cause of it is removed.”
Harry nodded. Getting rid of the scar would be wonderful; he hated the constant reminder of his parents’ death. But he’d been told it should at least fade, which would still be a plus.
He settled as comfortably as possible on the bed he’d been pointed to in a far corner of the infirmary. He was the only one in there today as Madam Currie wanted to be available to help however was needed during the procedure. The others had been asked to stay away from the infirmary and its vicinity until they were told it was safe to visit as they didn’t want any outside magic influencing the healing.
The warding team had diverted from their regular plan to do a thorough check of the infirmary to be sure there were no complications. They’d found a few minor things, but nothing that wasn’t quickly dealt with. Madam Currie’s rage over the incident lasted much longer.
Harry watched Madam Currie and Grabthar consult in low voices before they joined him.
“As I previously explained, the plan is to put you to sleep during the procedure. We considered leaving you awake for it, but I expect this won’t be a painless process and we can’t be sure that normal pain potions will be effective enough. Hopefully you’ll sleep through everything and not notice any pain involved until you wake and we can treat you for it. Because once we start, we won’t be able to stop until we’re done and that means any damage you physically take you’ll have until the end. Do you understand?”
Harry figured that he had a pretty good pain tolerance, but this was a Goblin telling him this was going to likely hurt quite a bit, if he was reading between the lines correctly. Still, he was willing to get the results, so he simply nodded. “Yes, I understand.”
Grabthar nodded once then turned to pick up three potion vials from a tray Madam Currie was holding. He handed the first one to Harry. “Pain potion. Just because we don’t think it’ll be strong enough, doesn’t mean it’s not worth taking.”
Harry agreed and quickly gulped down the potion and placed the empty vial on the table beside him.
Grabthar handed over the next one. “This is a numbing potion. In combination with the sleeping potion, it should put you in a mild form of paralysis that should help keep you still during the procedure. Otherwise, if you move too much, we will have to bind you and that will likely lead to additional damage to heal later.”
Harry grimaced, but quickly swallowed that one down as well before disposing of the vial.
“Finally,” Grabthar said, handing him the last potion, “the sleeping draught. It’s a bit more potent than usual and we’re not sure how quickly it will take effect, so it’s good you’re already lying down.”
He wasn’t kidding about it being fast acting as Harry could already feel his arm getting heavy as he was reaching to deposit the vial on the table. He wasn’t actually sure he was successful before everything went black.
Waking was the most painful thing he’d ever experienced, though he didn’t want to test that in the future. He would be happy to call this the winner and never again aspire to these levels of pain.
It felt like fire was running through his veins and his head had already exploded, but might be trying to regenerate to do it again. One test on opening his eyes convinced him that was also a Really Bad Idea, so he contended himself with trying to lie as still as possible in the hopes that not moving would hurt less.
It wasn’t working all that well, but he took hope when he heard footsteps approach.
A cool cloth was laid across his forehead and he was surprised not to hear steaming as the liquid evaporated from the heat. Instead, he felt a bit of the coolness seep into him and dampen the fire a bit. When the cooling effect lessened, the cloth was removed and sounded like it was dipped into something liquid and wrung out before being replaced.
Slowly, the pain in his head receded and instead of putting the cloth on his forehead, they began to use it to gently wipe down his body. By the time the pain in his upper body had become bearable, he was able to force his eyes open a bit to see Grabthar sitting by his bedside.
Seeming to know exactly when he opened his eyes, despite being seemingly intent on what he was doing, Grabthar looked up at him.
“Welcome back, Mr. Potter. You have led us on a most challenging chase these last couple days.”
“… couple… days…” Harry managed to force out.
“Hold still. When I’m done, I’ll get you something to drink. There’s only been so much we could give you while you were out, so you’ve been mainly living on nutritional potions spelled into your body. As that’s not a pleasant experience, be happy you were unconscious.”
He continued working on Harry’s body and he was too sore and exhausted to be concerned over that or on wondering just how and when he got naked.
Finally Grabthar finished and Harry was amazed at how much better he was feeling. He was still sore, and his head still ached some, but the fire he could feel in his veins was finally gone. He opened his mouth to ask a question, but was immediately hushed again.
The healer got up, taking the bowl and cloth with him, only pausing to draw the covers back over him, and headed back towards Madam Currie’s workroom. He thought he could hear the faint rumble of voices, Grabthar’s rough grumble interspersed with the lighter sound of Madam Currie.
Before too long Madam Currie emerged carrying a tray with a bowl and a glass. She smiled at seeing him awake, though still unmoving upon the bed.
“Ah, Mr. Potter, you don’t how relieved I am to see you awake.” She settled the tray on the table beside the bed and used her wand to do a complicated check over him. Whatever she saw must have been good news because her smile got even wider and she smoothly stowed her wand away.
“Things are looking very good. If you’ll give me a couple minutes I’ll get you resettled so you can have a bit to eat and drink and I’ll give you the run down on how you’ve made life exciting for us while not even conscious.”
She did something at the head of the bed and a bit of the pressure he’d felt was released. He experimentally tried to raise his arm and she gently pushed it back down before doing something else to raise the head of the bed into a more comfortable seated position. He still was aching, but it was no longer too painful and once she was finished fiddling with his pillows and covers he was quite willing to give eating and drinking a shot.
His body wasn’t quite as enthused though and his arms were weak enough that she had to help him drink both the broth and the water she’d provided. Eventually he’d consumed as much as he could and the remains were placed to the side and she summoned a chair and took a seat.
“Feeling a bit better now?”
Harry coughed a bit and cleared his throat before nodding, “Yes. I’m not… on fire… anymore.”
“Always a good thing,” she said seriously. “Well then, let me tell you what’s been going on since you showed up to have the tether removed.
“First off, that was a little over a week ago.” She simply nodded at his gasp of shock. “Yes, that not really simple procedure that we thought would take no more than a couple hours wound up being much more complicated than we’d originally believed.
“Detaching the tether itself actually wasn’t the difficult part of the process, as it turns out. The difficulty came in once we realized that the tether was incorporated into a number of the bigger spells that had been placed upon you over the years. At first we thought it was accidental; that they all just became entangled because they were inside of you. It’s been known to happen with other spells. Upon further work to separate things out though, we discovered that it was all quite on purpose.
“That tether was placed in you deliberately. It was not something that accidently occurred the night your parents died, no matter what anyone has told you previously. It was inserted. And not by Voldemort. The tether was to him though, we weren’t wrong about that, but it was set in such a way that if one of you died, the other would go with them. The other spells were incorporated into it so that if you tried to remove them, it would cut the tether and kill you both.”
It was the most horrific thing Harry thought he’d ever been told. “But you were able to get it out of me, right? I mean I’m still alive. In pain, but alive. Who could…” He couldn’t even bring himself to ask the question.
She side stepped his uncompleted question of who had done this. “Obviously you’re still alive, though it came closer than I’d like to admit a time or two. We had to call in a couple of the curse breakers to help out and between the four of us we untangled things from your core.”
She paused to take a deep breath. “We’d been pacing your, all of your, healing sessions to give your bodies time to recover between sessions. It can be amazingly stressful to have so many changes occurring so close together. Because of how this happened, we had to remove a number of different blocks at the same time as the tether. The magic being set free in your body is what caused most of the issues.
“Your core and your magical channels can only handle so much at once. If you’d developed into this naturally, as you should have, things would be fine. But having your almost adult ability shoved through channels more suited for a first year…”
“Fire?” he suggested.
“Fire indeed, Mr. Potter. I was afraid there for a while that if you didn’t die outright that you’d be completely burnt out by the backlash, but you did quite well, though it took us a week to get you sorted out enough to wake up. We were sure by mid-week that you’d retained your magic, but it was still rampaging through your body at that point so we kept you asleep and treated the symptoms as much as possible.
“Your friends have been by daily since we started allowing you visitors. That’s only been within the past two days though since we had to keep ambient magic away as much as possible until then. We did our best to keep them informed of how things were going, but they’ve been quite concerned about you. I figure they’ll be by here within the hour as we were hoping you’d wake today and they’ve been coming by after their lessons.
“I’ll have the house elves bring you some pajamas so you won’t be naked when they get here,” she laughed a bit at his blush and nod.
“Thank you, Madam Currie, for everything. Please pass my very deep gratitude along to Healer Grabthar and the curse breakers who helped as well. I can’t imagine how difficult this whole situation was for all of you.”
“It was no picnic for you either, Mr. Potter.”
“I know, but I was at least unconscious for it all and unaware of the problems I was causing.” He smiled as she popped him lightly on the head before picking up the tray and turning to go again, reiterating that she’d be sending him a house elf to help him get presentable. His response of, “Good luck with that!” was just met with laughter.
Devan was quick to appear with clean clothes and he was soon clean and dressed, both of which made him feel much better. He was still too weak to get out of bed and he currently had nothing to do which wasn’t going to work well for long, but for now he wasn’t sure what he could actually manage. He figured sleeping a lot was in his future as there wasn’t much else to do when stuck in the infirmary. And there was no way he was getting out of here anytime soon.
He was dozing a bit when voices woke him.
“I thought Madam Currie said he woke up?”
“Doesn’t mean he might not have gone back to sleep, Seamus. He’s still got a ways to go before he’s fully recovered.” Lavender whispered back.
Harry slowly opened his eyes and let his head fall to the side so he could see the seven people clustered to the side of his bed. Behind them he could see Madam Currie, but she simply nodded to him and returned to her office.
He smiled weakly at them. “Hi, guys. Apparently I’ve been causing trouble again. Totally not my fault though.”
There was a lot of laughter at that and a couple eyes that were a little wetter than normal, but they all ignored it. Draco and Blaise pulled over chairs for everyone and they were soon settled down around the bed so he could see everyone.
“So… how are you feeling?” Neville was the first to break the silence.
“Better now than when I woke. That was probably the most pain I’ve ever been in and I’ve had the Cruciatus cast on me repeatedly. It was like fire flowing through my veins. If that was what things were like at the end once I was mostly better, I’m happy to have missed out on the earlier stages.” He wasn’t having to pause for breath as much now as he had been earlier, but his voice was still fairly soft and they were all leaning in a bit to hear him.
“Did they tell you what happened?”
“Yes, did they tell you? I’m not sure about the whole doctor patient privacy thing in the magical world. I don’t care if they told you though.”
“Madam Currie gave us the basic info about the tether being entwined with some of the magic blocks, but that’s about it as far as information,” Neville said.
Harry nodded and explained what Madam Currie had told him about the procedure and about the fact that she said that the tether had been deliberate, not accidental, and not done by Voldemort. “I couldn’t quite ask her who she thought had cast the tether, but if we suspect that Dumbledore did at least some of the blocks then it would seem that he must have played a part in the tether as well as they’re all so well incorporated.” He thought for a minute while the others pondered that then continued.
“At the end of last year, just after my Godfather had been murdered, Dumbledore took me aside to tell me that there was a prophesy around Voldemort and me. I can tell you the whole thing later, but part of it was ‘and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives’. Now, at the time I was furious at him for keeping information from me again, but I didn’t think that the prophesy was fake. I trusted him. Now though I’m wondering if there really is a prophesy and, if so, what it really says.”
“There was something in the Hall of Prophesy with your name, Harry,” Neville said, thinking back. “It was broken, but if it was a true prophesy you should still be able to get a copy from the shelf. It’s not really that easy to destroy the prophesy spheres.”
“True,” Draco agree, “I don’t know how to check it right now as you’d have to be able to get to the Hall and that’s not going to be possible for a while. The Unspeakables can also access them, but we have even less access to them right now.”
“I think we’ll all agree that Dumbledore isn’t the most trustworthy person right now,” Seamus put in from his seat beside the head of Harry’s bed. “I suggest you not worry about it for now. Maybe write down what he told you it said so we all know, but let’s assume that it was a lie to make you think you had to do something he wanted. Based on what you said about the tether, it sounded like he wanted you to become a martyr for his cause, though I don’t know otherwise what benefit your death would be to him.” He shrugged and grinned apologetically at Harry’s snort.
“Gee, thanks, Seamus.”
At that point they all appeared to agree to drop the subject and Harry began to question them about what they’d been up to while he’d been unconscious. Apparently they’d been given assessment tests for all sorts of things they could even place, but somehow based on the results, lesson plans had been drafted up and lessons begun for them. Harry was told that as soon as Grabthar felt he was up to it, they’d be in testing him as well then he could join them.
The lessons weren’t like the ones they’d had so far at Hogwarts with everyone taking the same thing at the same time. All the Goblin lessons were one on one and geared specifically for the person taking them. If they grasped something quickly, they’d move on, but if not they could take the time needed to make sure they understood everything.
They were also much more geared for practical lessons which Harry was looking forward to. Lavender mourned lecture classes a bit, but admitted that her lessons were more along those lines than the others as that was how she learned best. She liked taking notes; writing things down makes it stick better for her.
They agreed to pass along a request to someone for something he could be working on when he was able while stuck here. The Gryffindors at least were well aware that a bored Harry was one that attracted trouble even more than normal. None of them wanted to see what that would look like.
“If nothing else, Lav, do you have any of those catalogs that you and Parvati would read in the Common Room last year? I really need some new clothes and if you guys are right and I actually do have money out there, I’d love to do something about that. I have no idea what I need or what I’d like though so seeing options would be great.”
“Sure, Harry, I have a couple. They’re obviously going to be geared more for women’s clothing, but most have men’s styles as well. I’ll either bring them next time I come up or I’ll send them with Marie.”
“I have some as well, Harry,” Blaise volunteered, “I’ll bring them next time as well. They’re more focused on men’s styles so you can get a better idea of the variety. Most anything you’re interested can be purchased direct via the catalog, but you can also get things custom made with various spells incorporated.” He elaborated at the confused look from Harry, “Things like built in warming or cooling spells, spells to allow the clothes to expand as you grow, spells to make them more resistant to wear or tearing, color charms to allow them to match your outfit – though that’s mainly for shoes. There are a number of options.”
“Wow, I had no idea. I look forward to learning more about the world of fashion.” He laughed as Seamus reached over and gently noogied him.
They visited for a while longer before Madam Currie shoo’ed them off so Harry could take some medicine and get some sleep. As he was starting to feel really tired again, Harry didn’t put up too much of a fight about it.
After she’d escorted them out, she returned with another tray of broth and water.
“Tomorrow we’ll try you on slightly more solid foods, but for now, this is best. Not exciting, but shouldn’t hurt your system and will still give you what you need. Though I do also have a couple potions for you to have for dessert.”
“Yumm, my favorite!” Harry grimaced.
She just smirked at him and continued to help him get his dinner down. She produced three vials. “One for nutrition,” she handed him the first one and watched him toss it back. “One to continue the healing process.” He quickly gulped that one down as well. The last one she showed him, then placed it beside him on the table. “This one is to help you sleep. Yes, I know you’re exhausted, but the magic still running rather wildly through your body won’t actually let you sleep deeply for as long as you need to. So, I’m going to have Devan come help you get ready for bed then you,” she pointed at him with a serious expression, “will take that and immediately go to sleep. If you ‘accidently’ forget to take it, I’m sure Devan will be happy to remind you. Understand? Good. Any last questions before I leave you?”
“You know I’m going to be totally bored anytime I’m actually able to stay awake, right?”
She laughed a bit. “I’ve been warned. Don’t worry, we’ve already made plans to help you stay out of trouble during your recovery.” She patted his hand gently and left. Devan showed up a minute later and helped him take care of any nightly rituals he felt up to handling then stared at him intently until he chuckled and took the final potion vial. As his eyes slid shut, he felt the blankets be tucked in around him snuggly. He smiled and drifted off.
The next day started with some slightly more solid foods and a battery of tests that Grabthar and Madam Currie put him through. He wouldn’t say he thought he’d passed with flying colors, but it seemed that he’d done pretty good by their expressions.
Based on that, one of the Goblin teachers, Bartock, stopped by and proceeded to test Harry on absolutely everything. While they had to stay away from actual casting for the moment, Bartock quizzed him on all the subjects covered at Hogwarts plus dozens of others that weren’t. He couldn’t tell how well he was doing as the Goblin’s expression never changed, but at the end he’d said that he wasn’t completely hopeless and that he’d be back that afternoon to begin his lessons.
Madam Currie laughed at him after the Goblin left as he’d collapsed down in a heap, completely wrung out by the whole experience.
“Seriously, Madam Currie, I feel like I just took my NEWTs and I can’t tell if I passed or not.” Harry didn’t feel like he was whining, but admitted that others might be fooled into thinking so.
“Mr. Potter, once you finish training with the Goblins, the NEWTs will be like a pop quiz for you all. I fully believe every one of you will be able to pass the International NEWTs in every subject they offer by the time they’re done and will be NEWT level or beyond in a dozen things they don’t even think to test in any more. You’re all in for a very busy year.”
“You don’t have to sound so pleased about it,” he grumbled.
“I am pleased about it, though not because I know it will be a lot of work for you. I’m happy about it because you all deserve this opportunity. You all deserve to know just what you’re capable of doing. I’m happy because once you leave here you will be fully qualified to take ownership of this castle and the school and return it what it should’ve always been. Magic herself will back you in that and it will be glorious to see. Founders heirs have always been a force for change in the magical world, though on occasion is has been warped in ways that weren’t positive. The eight of you will have the power and the knowledge to restore the balance, though just like the lessons you’re about to begin, I don’t doubt that it’ll be a long painful process. Worth it in the end though.”
Harry could only nod in agreement, rather touched by her belief in them.
She smiled. “Okay, now that we’ve dealt with that, I want you to take a bit of a nap before lunch. While you’ll progressively get less tired as the days go, you’ll still be taking a nap or two a day for a while. I’ll wake you for lunch then we’ll get you settled for when Bartock returns. If you need anything from your room, Devan can retrieve it for you or you can call for one of the elves assigned to your tower.”
She helped him lower the bed into a better position for sleeping then left him to sleep.
He hadn’t felt sleepy when he laid down, but the next thing he knew, Madam Currie was waking him up to eat. The usual broth was now approaching chicken noodle soup, though he was still drinking water. Devan stopped by after lunch again and he gave him a list of things to bring from his room.
He returned a little later with Harry’s book bag, some additional pens and notebooks and a couple books that Harry was hoping he’d have the energy to read, assuming he had any free time from now on. Devan set them down on the table, moving it a bit to make it easier for Harry to reach things, then produced a lap desk so Harry could actually take notes while staying comfortably in bed.
“Thanks, Devan, this is great. I appreciate all the help.”
“Not a problem, Mr. Potter. Call me if you need anything.” He gave a bit of a bow then disappeared.
Harry grabbed his bag and pulled out the notebook he’d been using as a journal. He quickly jotted down information on what had happened as far as the tether removal went and the theories they had as to what the cause was. He wanted to get things down before he forgot the details and knew he could add additional details later when he had time.
Just before Bartock was due to return, Madam Currie appeared with a tea tray. There was a smell of peppermint in the air, though Harry couldn’t figure out where it was coming from.
“Peppermint tea for you. I can’t give you a Pepper Up potion for now, but peppermint is a stimulant and is good for healing, so we’ll try this today and see how it goes.”
She poured him a cup and pointed him towards the honey to sweeten it before leaving. He doctored it a bit and tasted it. Not bad.
He’d only had a couple of sips before the doors at the far end of the room opened and Bartock entered. He quickly crossed the room, raising a hand in greeting as he passed Madam Currie’s office, and took the seat which was now left for visitors next to his bed.
He stared intently at Harry, who returned his gaze steadily, before breaking into a rather scary looking grin. “Aw, Potter, we’re going to have fun with this.”
Harry felt a shiver run down his spine and tried to smile back, which only made Bartock grin wider.
“Relax, Potter, I don’t bite and while I will hurt you, I won’t until you’re healed up and it’ll only be enough so the lesson sticks. Now, are you ready to begin?”
Harry nodded, excited in spite of himself. He may be Slytherin’s heir, but he was still a Gryffindor with a bit of the habit of rushing in where angels fear to tread. This could be fun.
By the end of the first afternoon, he still felt it could be fun, but was also rather happy he was only cleared for theory based lessons for now. He’d been writing fairly constantly for hours, stopping only to answer questions and ask some in return. Bartock was surprisingly patient. Harry couldn’t decide what exactly they’d covered for the day as far as a class description went. It was sort of a combination between History, Charms, Magical Theory and Spell Development. Absolutely fascinating actually.
Harry shook his hand a bit, trying to get rid of the soreness left from all the writing, and finished off the last bit of tea in his cup. This was actually the remains of his second pot of tea and he was certainly going to tell Madam Currie it was a success.
This evening Seamus and Neville stopped by when they were done, Blaise hanging back near the door. Harry rolled his eyes a bit and gestured at him to come over too and he gave a quick smile and hurried over to join the three of them.
“I told you he wouldn’t mind,” Neville said with a bit of a sigh and a smile.
They grabbed chairs and Devan popped in with tray tables then came back with dinner for them all. Harry had graduated to a creamy rice dish, full of cheese and mushrooms and a few other things. As it wasn’t soup, he was thrilled. That it also tasted good was just icing on the cake.
“So, how are lessons going for you guys? I had my first one this afternoon and I think I might die once I get the full brunt of it.”
“They’re pretty intense, aren’t they,” Neville said. “I was really afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but they mix things up so well that about the time you’re about to reach your fill of the current topic, they’ll say, ‘Hey, let’s go do some running outside’ or ‘I think it’s time to try some actual dueling’. Then, when you’re so sore you’re about to collapse, it’s ‘Let’s discuss the Mermaid Accords of 1482’ and you get to sit down for a while and recover. It’s pretty exhausting, but fascinating too.”
“Wow, is that what it’s been like for you guys too?” Harry asked looking at Blaise and Seamus.
“Basically,” Seamus agreed. “The makeup of the lessons differs from person to person from what we can tell, like Nev’s way further along in Dueling than most of the rest of us, though the DA training we did last year helped a lot. We’re all going to be doing physical training, so they’re building us up to that. They are really big believers in how a healthy body helps keep your magic working well and it also helps in duels if you can actually move and dodge and roll safely if you fall…”
“I think I’ve been the worst at that,” Blaise said blushing a bit. “I’ve never played Quidditch and my pastimes have always been more sedentary in nature. My gardening is on a smaller scale than Neville’s has, so even that didn’t prepare me much. It’s been a shock to the system for me, but the others have been very supportive.”
“It’s good that they’re working with you on that, Blaise. I’m not looking forward to starting that back once I get out of here because I’ll be completely out of condition by then. My Aunt and Uncle have had me working hard since I was four or so, so I’m generally used to it, but with the healing and all I’m going to be a mess.
“So, do your teachers jump around all the time on topics or stick to one thing at a time? I couldn’t tell you officially what we covered today as it doesn’t fit into a specific class that I’m aware of.”
“They cater them to the student. Like with Lavender liking to take notes on things to learn them, they try to present things in a way that suits the students. Lav’s lessons are much more regulated because she likes to be able to categorize things though they do stress how things intertwine. Me,” Neville said, “I like to know why things work the way they do – why some plants work well in one environment but not another, what to feed or when to water based on the species, which plants can be combined and when you do what you’ll get in result. Because of that I get a lot of discussions around why things happened and what the outcome was and how it rippled out and affected other things as well.”
“I basically ask questions,” Seamus said unapologetically. “He starts on the topic of the day or whatever, gives me some information and lets me ask questions. When I run out of questions he either asks some of his own or moves on to something else. We get off on some odd tangents at times, but it’s fun.”
“And that would drive me insane,” Blaise said emphatically to their laughter. “I’m not quite as bad as Lavender, but I do prefer more structure in my lessons. I enjoy knowing how things relate to other topics though, so we do a lot of investigating the relationships between things.”
Harry suddenly remembered something they’d said earlier. “Wait a minute, did you say they had you guys dueling? I thought we weren’t supposed to be doing much magic until they finished removing the blocks and we could all retrain?”
“Grabthar said that doing minor spell work would be okay, but nothing major and we still shouldn’t do anything really outside of the supervised lessons. A lot of the dueling is running and dodging and the more physical side of things and not full out, spell casting duels.” Neville looked a little nervous as he continued, “We’ve been told that they’re going to see about starting the block removals next week for the rest of us. You should be mostly healed by then and they can safely devote time to continuing on with their schedule.”
“That way not all of us will be re-training at once, or,” Seamus grinned, “at least we won’t all be at the very beginning of being re-trained together. They say that should all be done by mid-April and then they’ll see about the memory blocks and anything else that remains or shows up as other things are taken care of. Madam Currie things the memory blocks will start to break down on their own once our magic is freed, but that might not be able to clear them completely. It should make the process easier though and less disturbing for us.”
“Yes, Harry, now that your blocks are gone, you may start seeing memories mixed into your dreams. That’s how they start trying to reincorporate themselves, so we’re supposed to pay attention to what we’re seeing, keep a dream journal of sorts.”
“Interesting, thanks, Blaise. I’m on a potion regime for now that puts me into a deep sleep each night, but if I start having vivid dreams while I’m napping or after I come off the potions I’ll keep that in mind.”
They chatted for a bit longer while they finished eating then Harry cheered on the other three for a while as they played a game of exploding snap before Madam Currie shoo’ed the others off with reminders of needing to prep for tomorrow’s lessons.
The others took their leave after wishing Harry goodnight. Blaise slipping a stack of catalogs on Harry’s table with a wink as he left. Harry grinned at him and mouthed ‘Thank you’.
While he didn’t have homework really, he did have some reading he wanted to do and to look over some of his notes again, so he settled down with them for the rest of the evening before Madam Currie returned with his potions and the message that it was time for all good little sick wizards to go to bed.
Harry really worried about her sometimes.
Harry spent the next week alternating his time between Bartock for lessons and Madam Currie and Grabthar for checkups and healing sessions. Around dinner time Seamus and some selection of the other six would stop by and join him for dinner and spend an hour or so afterwards just hanging out. Madam Currie would eventually come and run everyone off so Harry could rest and prepare for the next day.
His relationship with Bartock was developing well. Bartock seemed to find him greatly amusing for no real reason Harry could understand, but having his primary teacher appear to like him was a benefit he wasn’t going to argue against.
As Harry began getting stronger, they started taking walks in the halls around the infirmary. He still wasn’t allowed to return to his official rooms, but they were allowing him to start getting out a bit. He was surprised at how weak he still felt, especially when he often felt really energized. Madam Currie told him it was the magic flowing through him and that once it was done he would often feel that way. That’s the way he should feel when everything was working as it should.
He was looking forward to it.
Occasionally they’d join one of the other pairs and they’d have a joint session. Most of those seemed to turn into debates, which Harry enjoyed more than he thought he would. While they could get heated, no one took it personally and most of the time Harry took the opposite point of view just to instigate things. Probably why Bartock thought he was hilarious.
Finally Madam Currie gave him the all clear to return to the tower.
“But if you start to feel really tired again, or weak, you come straight back. Bartock will be starting you on re-training your magic and if you take things too quickly you could hurt yourself and your recovery. So listen to what he says! We’ll be bringing in the next group to work on their blocks and I don’t really want to be having to worry about you as well.”
“No, I agree, I don’t want to have a relapse and I don’t want your focus to be split. The others need your undivided attention during this.”
“But if you have an issue, You Will Come See Me immediately,” she said emphatically.
He held his hands up in front of him in a warding manner and laughed. “Despite what people seem to think, I don’t really have a death wish. If I don’t feel good, I will come see you. If I get hurt, I will come see you. If I haven’t been in the infirmary for more than two weeks, I’ll miss you and come see you.”
Madam Currie rolled her eyes at that, grabbed the bundle of belongings he’d acquired while in there, pushed them into his arms and propelled him, laughing, out of the infirmary.
Harry laughed softly as he slowly made his way back to the tower. He still had a ways to go before he got his conditioning back, but he was doing better and if he took his time he was no longer getting completely out of breath on stairs – of which the castle had plenty.
Myrddin turned as he approached the door to the tower. “Mr. Potter, welcome back. Have you fully recovered?”
“Not quite, but well enough that Madam Currie let me escape.” Harry put his hand up to the frame and felt the slight jolt as his magic was tested again, now that the blocks were gone. This time the green light that ran around the frame was brighter, deeper and with hints of silver in it.
Myrddin’s eyebrow rose at that and he smirked a bit before releasing the door so that Harry could enter.
“Harry!” Lavender called as he walked in. He was getting hugs, backslaps and handshakes all around.
“It’s not like you guys haven’t seen me this entire time,” Harry teased.
“Yes, but now you’re well,” Seamus grinned.
“Well, close enough,” Harry agreed. He made his way over to the couches to take a seat, the walk back being the most he’d done in a while.
Thankfully they still had some free time on the weekends, though they were still expected to have some lessons as the Goblins felt they were far enough behind that they’d need all the time they could get to make sure the students achieved the levels they felt were needed. So they’d all met with their teachers in the morning, but were now free for the afternoon.
Justin, Lavender, Seamus and Neville were probably especially going to enjoy the free afternoon as they were due in the infirmary in the morning to have their magical blocks removed.
“So, do you guys have plans for the afternoon,” Harry asked as the rest took seats as well.
“We figured you might want to get settled for a bit, but thought maybe we could spend the afternoon outside and maybe have a picnic for dinner since the weather’s so nice.” Susan gave him a questioning look and he was quick to nod in agreement.
“I’d love to get outside for a while. Let me take my stuff upstairs and rest for a bit. Come get me in about an hour if I haven’t come down and we’ll do that.” He took a deep breath and stood up, grabbed his belongings and headed for the stairs to his room. Happy again that his was the first one.
He placed his hand beside the door and watched the now expected glow before the door opened. He couldn’t stop the wide smile that spread across his face as he walked into his home for the first time in almost a month. He dropped his school books in the office and headed towards his bedroom to lie down for a while. He was still going to need a bit of a nap for a while.
He felt like he’d just laid down when he heard a bell ring through the room. Harry was confused about the noise until he remembered he was home and that sound meant someone was at the door.
He stumbled to his feet, rubbing the sleep from his eyes as he made his way to the door. He opened it and really wasn’t surprised to see Seamus standing there, looking a bit uncertain.
“Hey, Seamus, come in.” He covered a yawn as he waved him in.
“You said to come get you in an hour, but are you sure you don’t need longer? We can go later, or you could join us after you’ve slept.”
“It’s fine. I can rest outside and I’d really like to be outside for a while.” Harry went to put on shoes and to grab a book. He thought about getting his broom then thought of the absolute fit Madam Currie would throw when she found out and resigned himself to not riding his broom for a while longer.
“Do I need to bring anything?” He asked, looking around the room.
“No, the house elves are giving us blankets and pillows. There was talk of an umbrella for shade, though I don’t know if that was serious. I think Draco and Blaise were talking about finding a ball or something to play with. As long as you’re comfortable and you have something to read if you’d like, you should be fine. The elves are planning to bring out refreshments once we get there and dinner later.”
“Good, I think I’m set then,” he said tucking his book into a pocket.
They headed down to the Common Room which was empty.
“They went ahead to scout out a location. There’s a flat area down near the lake that Susan and Lavender thought would be perfect. If we’re lucky,” he grinned, “they’ll have set everything up by the time we get there.”
“That works for me. Let’s go.”
They slowly made their way through the castle and down to the Entry Hall. Harry insisted on sticking his head in to say ‘Hi’ to the Founders, whom he hadn’t spoken to since he’d been in the infirmary. They didn’t stay long and were soon outside in the afternoon sunshine.
The others were where they said they’d be and there were a number of blankets layered on the grass with a huge pile of pillows scattered over it. A sort of tent had been strung up at one end to give them a bit of shade. Lavender and Susan were under it huddled together with drinks and giggling over something. Harry made a note to stay away until they were done.
Neville was wading along the edge of the lake looking at something in the water, most likely a plant of some sort that Harry figured would eventually find a home in their roof garden. They shockingly didn’t have a water garden up there. Yet.
Blaise and Draco were tossing a ball back and forth while Justin was kicking another one around on the ground.
Harry found a comfortable spot on the blankets with his own pile of pillows and waved Seamus off to go do whatever. Seamus decided to join Justin and they were soon playing a bit of one on one football.
Harry pulled out his book, but didn’t open it yet. He was happy to be outside and closed his eyes, tilting his head back to feel the sun on his face. He could hear the girls giggling off behind him, the splash from the lake when Seamus or Justin got a bit enthusiastic and kicked the ball into the water and Neville’s yell of surprise when he got splashed. Draco and Blaise trash talking each other and laughing. Harry wasn’t sure he’d ever felt as much a part of a group as he did at this moment. Even considering that he was off by himself, he was still included and a part of the group.
There was a pop by his side and he opened his eyes to see one of the castle house elves beside him with a drink. Harry smiled and thanked him and he bobbed his head before leaving. Taking a cautious sip, he was pleased to taste lemonade and he settled back into his pillows to watch the various ball games and laugh at their antics.
Eventually the girls left the tent and Lavender settled down beside Harry while Susan took off her shoes and went to wade with Neville.
“How are you doing, Harry?”
“I’m good, Lav. It’ll take me a bit of time to get back to full strength, but I’m actually feeling really great. I know you’re probably nervous about tomorrow considering how things went for me, but you have to consider that if it can go wrong, it will when it comes to me.” He smiled at her and she smiled back reluctantly.
“Seriously, once the blocks are removed and your magic is flowing the way it should, you will be amazed at how well you feel. The only reason my recovery took this long was the damage from the tether, NOT having the blocks removed.”
“You’d be crazy not to be, but I have the utmost faith in the abilities of Madam Currie and Healer Grabthar. They wouldn’t be bringing in the four of you at once, if they had any doubts about things going smoothly.”
“I know, I just… This has to work, Harry. I need to figure out a way to make sure my parents can’t tie me to someone I don’t want and until I’m considered an adult they have too much power over my life. I’ve been talking to Ofedal about my options and she’s suggested a few things, but nothing can really be done until my magic is working correctly and Magic agrees that I’m an adult.”
“How does Magic agree you’re an adult? I’ve never heard anything about that.”
“Apparently there used to be a magical tradition where, as wizards and witches reached a certain age, there was a ceremony they went through where Magic would judge them and if they pass Magic considers them an adult. As Magic considers you an adult, so do the Goblins and all other magical races, which means my parents couldn’t create a marriage contract on my behalf. The Goblins aren’t sure why magical people stopped going through the ceremony, but feel all of us should do it. It would be one more thing to support us with Hogwarts.”
“If that would keep you safe, then I have no problem with it. So, get your magic working well again, let Ofedal help you learn to control it and then you can pass this test and we’ll make sure your parents can’t marry you off without your approval.” He frowned at her. “You’re sure they haven’t already set something up already, right? Would this ceremony work if there’s something already signed in your name?”
“Yes, because I didn’t sign it myself and I was an adult before it was enacted. Also, if I did the ceremony but the person who signed the contract hadn’t, my will trumps theirs.”
“Wow, then I’m all for it and I want to definitely do it too. I have no idea what people might have tried to do in my name and I want to be able to counter things. So, I’ll help you if you help me. Deal?”
He stuck his hand out at Lavender who smiled widely and took it to shake firmly. “Absolutely. Deal.” They grinned at each other a while longer before Lavender pulled back and began taking off her shoes. “Come on, let’s go save Neville from Susan.”
“Save Neville from Susan, isn’t it usually the other way around when it comes to plants?” Harry protested, though he did start pulling off his shoes.
“No, in this case, it’s definitely Neville from Susan. She had some questions about Blaise.” She winked at Harry who groaned, but gamely got to his feet and headed down to the water where Susan was quizzing Neville about his ‘relationship’ with Blaise. He didn’t want to consider what adding him and the prospect of Seamus questions would do to this interrogation.
‘The things I do for my friends,’ he sighed.
Saving Neville was just as painful as he’d suspected it would be, but Neville’s look of total gratitude helped make up for being questioned thoroughly about what the status of his relationship with Seamus was – technically they were just friends. Was he happy with that – for now, yes, there was no rush. Was he against dating Seamus or a guy in general – he couldn’t honestly say dating had ever crossed his mind before, either a male or female, other than when he’d needed a date for the Yule Ball. So, did he actually like Seamus – Harry figured he was blushing pretty bad by that point, but did admit that he’d been considering it.
At that point he called a stop to all the questions and insisted that they head back up to the blankets for a while, unless they wanted to join any of the others playing ball. Susan mock glared at him for a moment before smiling and running off to steal the ball from Draco. Lavender just smiled and went to grab her shoes so she could go convince Justin and Seamus to teach her how to play football.
“Thanks, Harry. Susan was… well, I’m just glad you guys decided to come down when you did.”
“Lavender seemed to know that we needed to rescue you, though I had hoped it wouldn’t be by throwing myself on the sword instead.” He shrugged and led the way back towards where he’d been sitting earlier.
He flopped back down on his pillows and watched as Neville gathered his own pile and settled down beside him. They sat there in silence for a while, Harry relaxing back with his eyes closed again soaking in the late afternoon sun.
Finally he leaned his head to the side and opened one eye a bit so he could see Neville relaxed beside him. “You know,” he started as Neville looked over at him, “I really want to ask…” He grinned as Neville blushed, but he could tell he was fighting a smile as well.
“We’re not dating. It’s come up though, but we’re waiting until everything has been removed or fixed or whatever so we know if we decide to try, it’s because we want to, not because we’re being thrown together so much during the process.”
“That makes sense to me. I can’t help but be nervous of what we’ve all forgotten about our interactions with other people. I’d be uncomfortable too.”
“Is that why you and Seamus…” Neville trailed off.
“Shockingly, we’ve never had a conversation about it. I wouldn’t want to get into a relationship with someone just because everyone else was pairing up around us. Not that I think that would be the case, but I know my head’s a mess. I don’t even remember the extent of my friendship with you or Seamus, or that I was friends with Luna since our 4th year. What else might I have forgotten that could affect something like that? I need to get myself in order before I inflict myself on someone else like that, but I enjoy spending time with him and I’ve looked forward to seeing him in the evenings when he’d join me for dinner.
“Does that mean I want to date him though? I have no idea. What does a relationship like that even involve? And is a male / male relationship even accepted in the Wizarding world? If we’re taking over lordships or some sort, can we have a male partner? Can you have legitimate children or heirs like that? There’s so much I don’t know, Nev. It makes me hesitant to get involved with anyone, let alone a friend I happen to care about a lot.”
Neville gave him a semi-shocked look. “I forget just how much you don’t know about our world sometimes, Harry.” He shook his head. “Same sex relationship are generally accepted in our society, though I wouldn’t say they’re widespread. Very few families actively refuse to accept relationships like that for their heirs or the Head of the family and I can’t imagine Potter, Black or even Slytherin doing so.
“As far as heirs, obviously we can’t bear them ourselves, but there are ways to use magic to confirm that children born via a surrogate are the biological and magical child of the two fathers. There are some very stringent magical vows taken by any woman who agrees to carry a child for a same sex couple, and even more so if they’re lords of a family. So, yes, you can have children that will qualify as an heir.”
“So is this all just information your Gran covered with you previously or have you looked into this before yourself?”
“A bit of both. She covered everything to an extent, but I looked into things more deeply on my own. I’ve always sort of suspected that my interests might lie in that direction, and wanted to know what my options would be if it turned out to be the case.”
“Wow, so have you dated anyone at Hogwarts.”
Neville did blush at that. “No, it’s only been in the past year when I would’ve been comfortable enough to consider it myself and before then most people just didn’t really see me unless something horrible was happening to me. Not the best way to make an impression.”
“Well, I have to say that you do seem to have caught Blaise’s attention, pretty much from the moment we got here he was at least partly focused on you.”
“I know. He mentioned that he’d wanted to talk to me before, but the relationship between Gryffindor and Slytherin meant that he didn’t think it would be a good idea. Even if I had agreed, our housemates would’ve made us miserable or we would’ve had to hide it from most everyone. Not the best way to build a relationship.”
“At least that’s not an issue here and we’re working to make that house rivalry issue a lot better when we get back. Besides, apparently I’ll eventually be Lord Slytherin, and I don’t have a problem with Lord Gryffindor seeing one of my Slytherins.” Harry smirked and Neville laughed after a moment of shock.
Neville’s laughter caught the attention of the others and they started making their way back to the blankets.
Once everyone had gotten settled and caught their breath from the various games they’d been playing, someone suggested that they should have dinner.
Lavender called for a house elf and told the one that arrived that they were ready for dinner whenever it was convenient to be delivered.
About ten minutes later the elf returned with two other elves and their dinner. Two were carrying large baskets while the third had two large jugs, one with water and the other with lemonade, and a stack of plates, cups and utensils that looked precarious, but still managed to stay upright. Once the jugs were settled they passed out the plates and all the elves popped back to the castle.
The baskets were opened and numerous containers of food were removed and set around them on the blankets. They were quick to open everything and start serving themselves and soon they were all eating.
This was one of Harry’s first ‘real’ meals, so he had a little serving of a number of things, making sure everything settled okay before trying to eat anything more. It was all tasty, but he found that he was already pretty full so just settled back to listen to the conversation around him until the others were also ready for dessert. The sun was just beginning to set beyond the lake; they’d obviously been out here longer than he’d thought.
They finally broke out dessert, a large plate of chocolate chip biscuits. Full or not, Harry helped do his part to finish them off. Once everyone was finished eating they sat back and watched the sun set, Harry trying to muffle a yawn.
That got everyone moving and they repacked the baskets, stacked up the plates and cups and then called the house elves to pick up everything and take it back to the castle.
Seamus offered Harry a hand up and steadied him when he staggered a bit when he got upright. When Harry still seemed a bit unsteady, Seamus wrapped his arm around his shoulders and walked him back to the castle.
While normally they’d all hang out in the Common Room for a while before heading up for the evening, it was late enough that they just all headed up to their own rooms.
Seamus stopped at Harry’s door. “You okay from here?”
“Yes, thanks, Seamus. I guess I’m still weaker than I thought.” He hesitated briefly, “Do you want to meet for breakfast before you’re due in the infirmary? Unless you’ve already got plans, or maybe you’re not supposed to eat before it? I know for things like surgery they want you to fast beforehand, but I didn’t think magic…”
Seamus was laughing so hard he had to lean against the wall to keep himself from falling over. “Harry… Harry! Stop babbling. Breakfast sounds fine. I can come down around… 8?”
Harry nodded and opened the door to his room. “Great, I’ll see you at 8 then.”
Seamus grinned and gave a bit of a wave before heading back for the stairs.
Harry shut the door behind him then went to write a note for the house elves about breakfast. Once that was taken care of he got ready for bed, planning to read for a bit before sleep, but he was so exhausted that he was asleep pretty much as soon as he laid down.
Seamus was on time for breakfast and a bit obviously nervous about the upcoming procedure. He was bouncing around Harry’s living room and office, chatting about random topics, not really leaving Harry an opening to respond.
When the food showed up, Harry went to collect him, wrapping an arm around Seamus’ shoulders, like he’d often done to Harry, and gently led him over to a seat at the table. He helped him into the chair and scooted him in before placing his hands on Seamus’ shoulder and just holding him firmly until he stopped vibrating.
“It will be fine,” is all he said, then took his own seat.
Seamus took a deep breath, let it out and smiled. “Okay. Let’s eat.”
Harry kept the conversation light while they ate. Anytime it seemed that Seamus was getting worked up again he’d stop, tell him to take a deep breath and that everything would be just fine.
They were relaxing a bit after eating when there was a knock on Harry’s door. Seamus startled a bit.
“That’s probably Neville. I asked him to get me on his way down.”
Seamus’ nerves were back and Harry sighed, but went around the table and pulled him out of his chair and into a hug.
“It. Will. Be. Fine. Madam Currie and Healer Grabthar will take good care of you. This isn’t going to be a big deal and you’re going to hit yourself when it’s over with how much you’re stressing over this.” He continued to hold him tightly against him until he could feel Seamus’ body relax and the arms around him tighten in response. He then pulled back enough to see Seamus’ face and smiled at him. “Ready?”
He nodded and Harry slowly dropped his arms and moved back, heading to the door to let Neville in.
“Hey, Nev. Good to see you. You taking ownership of Seamus for me?”
“I am, I promise to take good care of him and bring him back in as good a condition, if not even better.”
Harry and Neville laughed and Seamus huffed, batting Harry lightly on the shoulder as he pushed past him.
“You guys take care and I’ll be by to check in as soon as Madam Currie will let us, okay?”
They nodded and waved as they headed down to the Common Room.
Harry closed the door behind them and slowly let out a deep breath, trying to calm the nerves he had over what would be happening today. While he totally felt the procedure would be fine and would go smoothly, these were two people he was very close to having work done on their body and magic and he would admit, if only to himself, that he too would be concerned until he knew everything had gone smoothly.
Thankfully though, he had a session with Bartock starting in about thirty minutes, so he would at least be kept busy for a while and hopefully not with much time to obsess over how things were going.
“Good,” Bartock grumbled. “Do it again.”
Harry could feel a trickle of sweat slide down the side of his face as he tried to get more comfortable in his position on the floor. He closed his eyes and once again visualized his magic flowing through him and out through his hand via his wand. He could feel it rushing through him, but unfortunately casting spells with that much power was rather dangerous. He’d already over powered two lumos spells already and really couldn’t afford to keep doing that if he didn’t want to make Madam Currie very angry with him.
He considered how he could better control the amount of power he was using and the rushing feeling of his magic brought to mind the image of water flowing through pipes. It was currently flowing like he had the tap turned on full blast, but what he really needed was more of a trickle.
Keeping that thought in mind, he took a deep breath and tried to cast lumos with just a trickle of magic.
While it was still brighter than it used to be, the light produced wasn’t blinding this time and Harry grinned happily.
“Much better, can you do it one more time at that level or slightly lower?”
“I think so,” Harry focused on how it had felt that time to cast that time compared to the previous tries. He tried cutting the flow back a bit more then cast again.
“Perfect,” Bartock said. “Now, can you use that same amount of power and make the light as bright as the last time?”
That was a bit confusing, Harry thought that the amount of magic pushed into the spell was what caused how bright the light was.
“Don’t over think it, Harry. You now know how much power, magic, you need to cast the spell successfully. Now you just want to make the light a bit brighter when you do so. It doesn’t take any additional power to do that, as I’m not asking you to produce anything like your first two tries. Magic does what you want it to do, when you are properly in control of it. You’re redeveloping the control, now you just need to understand what you can do with it.
“Many wizards and witches believe there are limits to what they can do. What there actually are, are limits to what they think they can do. Limits that they either imposed on themselves, or that those that taught them told them existed and they believed. There are things you shouldn’t do with magic, things that would be considered an abuse of your gifts and that Magic may punish you for doing. There are things you can do but would work best with a specific framework around it – runes and wards are examples of that. But otherwise there are no limits to what a trained and in control wizard or witch can do.
“Once your control with a wand is firm, we’ll move to wandless magic. We still have a ways to go before that happens, but it’s more because you have to believe that it’s possible for you and less your actual control. You do need a bit more finesse with wandless, but magic is also much more responsive to what you want to do when it’s not forced to squeeze its way through a wand.” He grimaced at that in disgust.
Considering what Bartock had said about control and will when it came to magic, he focused on the trickle of magic he wanted to use and the level of light he wanted in return and cast. He was incredibly pleased when it worked.
“Well done. We’re done casting for now. Much more and your healers will be very displeased with both of us and that is never a safe position to be in. Now,” he rubbed his hands in glee as he got to his feet, “as we’ve been sitting for a while now, I think we need to move around a bit. One of the curse breaking teams was due to be working on something interesting this afternoon, so we’re going to head to the top floor and work or way down the floors until we find them. I’m sure we can have an interesting conversation about… personal finance, I think, while we look.”
Harry groaned a bit as he struggled to his feet, despite being happy to be moving. If they were starting at the top, that meant that Bartock was pretty sure they would be on one of the lower floors. He carefully stowed away his wand and returned the cushion he’d been sitting on to where he’d found it and followed his teacher out of the room.
The questions started as soon as they reached the stairs, about income and interested rates, and magical versus muggle investments, setting budgets and reviewing the books for his accounts. They weren’t new topics, they’d all been discussed before, but each time they came up the conversation was more in depth and less theory. While Harry would have an account manager at Gringotts to run things, that didn’t mean that he shouldn’t know what was going on and participate to the extent that he wanted to be involved.
They’d been doing spell work on the fifth floor that day and the area of the castle they were in had nine floors. The curse breakers weren’t too be found until they reached the third floor and Harry mentally rolled his eyes at the confirmation that going down would’ve been greatly quicker.
Bartock greeted the team in rapid Gobbledegook that Harry could only follow one in about five words of. If he’d been talking slower it might have worked better, but the point was to understand them when they were speaking normally, so he often had to infer what the conversation was about when he wasn’t having actual lessons.
Thankfully the curse breaker who was going to show him one of the things they were working on wasn’t going to be speaking in Gobbledegook, so he had a chance of keeping up with the explanation. They were throwing in more of it though, the better they were getting with their language lessons. The Goblin language had many more words to differentiate between things when it came to curses, spells and wards.
Today they were in what looked to be a store room, possibly used as an old DADA class. At least Harry hoped so based on some of the gruesome looking things being pulled out of it. The item they were looking at was a cursed object, part of a set apparently.
The three of them moved to a corner of the room and settled down to examine the spells and charms covering it. There were a number of curses intertwined that they were trying to untangle and remove, without triggering any of them. Harry only watched the removal, but they talked through the entire process, even finding a variation in this one that they mentioned to the others to check for as well. It took them a couple hours to finish the process, though Harry was sure it would’ve gone much quicker if they weren’t explaining it to him.
Finally they were done with the day’s lessons and Harry headed back to the tower.
He had a note from Madam Currie that things had gone well, but that all four would be asleep for the rest of the evening, so not to come by until after lessons tomorrow. While he would’ve preferred to go by and see things for himself, he obeyed the implied order and decided to stay put.
He spent the evening in his room, looking through the catalogs Blaise had lent him and made note of what he found interesting. He couldn’t really go shopping right now, but Bartock had said that the Goblins could make clothes and that the house elves might be willing and able to help as well. So, he made notes that he could later review with the others to get their opinions on, as he was well aware that he had no idea of styles.
The next day was more of the same and he tried to focus on the lessons so he wouldn’t worry about his visit to the infirmary later. Time actually passed fairly quickly and soon he was released for the day and he headed to visit his friends.
By the time he got there, the others had also arrived and it was a rather boisterous group considering the location. The four patients were sitting up in bed, seemingly wide awake and in good spirits. Harry made his way over, stopping to say ‘hi’ to Justin and Lavender before greeting Neville with a grin and a quick hug. After that he headed over to Seamus’ bed to give him a hug as well.
“I told you things would be fine,” he whispered in his ear before pulling back and taking the seat that had obviously been left for him beside Seamus’ bed.
They all talked until the house elves delivered dinner then visited a bit longer until Madam Currie tossed them out for the night. They were told that they would likely be free to go the next day, but she was keeping them for one more night of observation, just to be safe.
The other four gathered their things then said their goodbyes before heading home.
This evening Harry hung out in the Common Room when they got back. He wasn’t really up to being alone and decided to quiz Blaise and Draco about clothing styles. They’d talked through the items and styles he’d noted that he liked and got their approval on some and explanations on why they were against them on the others. Harry still felt some of it was arbitrary, but he was okay with the more modern classic styles that he’d picked that were on the approved side of things.
He made a list of things to discuss with the goblins and elves then wished everyone a good night before heading up.
The Gryffindors and Justin were already back in the Tower by the time Harry was back from lessons. They were suffering from the same jittery, full of energy feeling while being really tired thing he’d had afterwards too, though thankfully not as bad. They were under orders to take it easy for a couple days, but then they too would be working on retraining their magical control. The last three were due in the beginning of the following week for the last of the block removals.
After that Harry guessed they’d be mainly waiting on the memories to either come back on their own or be manually fixed by Grabthar. He wasn’t sure which he’d prefer, he just wanted it done as worrying about what was missing was more stressful than actually know would. At least he hoped so.
They had dinner on the roof garden though Blaise had to convince Neville that he didn’t need to do any gardening, or at least that he shouldn’t. It wasn’t too hard to do as Neville was looking a bit tired and was willing to take Blaise’s assurances that he’d been checking on things while Neville had been in the infirmary.
The others were much more willing to relax and let themselves be waited on a bit.
When they were done, Harry walked Seamus back to his room, supporting him with an arm around his waist as he was a bit shaky.
“Thanks for that, Harry. It’s odd to feel like I want to be running around all over the place but not actually have the strength to do it.”
“I completely understand,” he said with a smile. “Luckily it should pass fairly quickly for you and once you start retraining, the jittery part goes away completely. Are you having lessons at all tomorrow?”
“Half day. Madam Currie wants us to sleep in and relax for the morning, but we’re supposed to be able to resume studying in the afternoon, thank goodness. And isn’t it odd for me to even consider saying that?” He laughed.
“Me too,” Harry agreed, “but these classes are fun. This is the sort of thing we need to be trying to replicate with Hogwarts as a whole, without being able to assign everyone their own person teacher. Besides, I don’t think the Goblins would be willing to play personal tutor for all the magical children of Britain.”
Seamus nodded in agreement, a slight smile on his face. Suddenly he yawned.
“Sorry, I guess I’m more tired than I thought. I should get to sleep. See you in the morning?”
“Morning it is,” Harry agreed before giving him a hug. He grinned slightly at the part happy part embarrassed grin on Seamus’ face before heading down to his own room. He had a bit of prep to do before lessons.
The next couple of weeks went by quickly. The remaining three students had their magical blocks removed and they were all re-trained on how to control their magical abilities with their new power levels.
There was a bit of excitement when it was discovered that Seamus had an elemental fire affinity that had him setting things on fire accidently for a while until he figured out how to control it. Justin’s divination skills had been much more low key in development, though he’d been warned that once away from the ritual’s influence, he may find them to be a bit more powerful. Hopefully the training he was getting now would be enough, though the Goblins had already said that they’d help out after if it wasn’t.
Now that everyone’s magic was working the way it should, practical lessons began to take precedence over the mostly theory they had been doing. Dueling was big, but there was also spell creation, ward construction, curse analysis not to mention more intense arithmancy, transfiguration and general spell casting.
While they were all getting a solid base on everything the Goblins felt was important for them to have, they were also starting to be able to specialize a bit more on things they were interested in. The Goblins had promised a truly horrible series of tests by the Solstice when the really advanced classes would begin. Something they were all looking forward to. Really.
While the memory blocks had started to crumble for a number of them. Memories slowing beginning to show up in their dreams only to be incorporated into the reality of what had happened. Minor things to begin with, conversations that showed relations between the houses wasn’t always argumentative. Memories of conversations about topics that apparently the Headmaster hadn’t wanted them to remember having, a number of them about the school and how things were going there.
Various things, but none of it appeared to be working for Harry. In fact, since the ritual began, he couldn’t remember dreaming at all. Granted, in the beginning he’d just been happy to no longer be having all the nightmares, but now he was wondering why he didn’t seem to be dreaming at all.
It wasn’t normal and he’d talked to Madam Currie and Healer Grabthar about it and they’d run a series of tests to see if there was something physically keeping him from dreaming, but they found nothing. Bartock took him through some guided meditation to see if he just wasn’t remembering his dreams upon waking, but other than being really freaked out by the darkness where the dreams should be, they hadn’t had much luck.
That had led to a discussion on Occlumency and Legilimency and an additional area of study for Harry. He hadn’t had much luck when Snape was ‘teaching’ him, but knowing now more about what it was and how useful it could be, he did want to learn it. When the others heard about the benefits, how it allows you to defend your mind from external intrusions and influence, both things they’d all been subject to, they’d been willing to take on more lessons.
An added benefit of the lessons was how it helped you organize your mind in such a way that learning became even easier. Of course their teachers took that as an excuse to ramp things up even more.
Since Harry wasn’t getting his memories back on their own, plans were made for him to check into the infirmary again for a visit. He was sure that Madam Currie was just missing him.
Through his Occlumency lessons he could almost see where things were missing, but couldn’t figure out how to get them back. Bartock had used Legilimency, with Harry’s permission, to take a look and he agreed that there seemed to be some serious locks on a few of them and those locks were blocking even the ones that hadn’t been hidden away as thoroughly.
“So, exactly how are we supposed to be… releasing my memories? Is this going to be like trying to reverse an Obliviate or more like curse breaking?”
“This will be more on the curse breaking side. Obliviate can’t really be reversed, but generally it doesn’t actually remove the memory, it just removes your links to it so it can no longer be accessed. If your mind is strong enough, you can actually build new links to those memories and reincorporate them. That’s what we were hoping would happen. In this case, not only were the links removed, but blocks were put in too, in a way cauterizing the wounds left behind, which is keeping your mind from healing on its own.”
“If it can’t heal on its own then, what, you have to find them all manually and heal them?”
“Basically,” Grabthar agreed. “Once again, we’re hoping that if we get the main ones, then your mind will be able to do the rest by itself. It’s healthy enough to do so, once the blocks are removed.”
“Is this going to hurt?”
There was a pause before Grabthar tried to answer.
“Well, that’s not a good sign at all. So it’s going to hurt a lot, is it?” Considering the amount of pain he’d been in after his last extended stay, when they hadn’t thought things would be that bad, this could be a problem.
“I’m not hesitating because I don’t want to tell you it’ll hurt. I’m hesitating because we simply don’t know. This isn’t something we’ve seen much of, which seems to happen too often when it comes to you. Feel free to stop exerting your right to be different at any time here, Mr. Potter.”
“It’s not like I do it on purpose, Healer. At least in this case I doubt I did, but considering the situation, I could be wrong. I don’t know.” He smirked.
“In this specific case, I will forgive you if it turns out you lied to me.”
“And I’ll forgive you if it hurts me to get this set to rights.”
“Well, now that we’ve agreed, shall we get on with this?” Harry nodded, so he continued. “We will be putting you into a type of trance. You won’t be completely asleep, but it will feel very similar. I’ll be starting with the most recent blocked memory, removing the shell that is keeping new links from forming. Assuming that goes smoothly, I’ll help the link along a bit before moving to the next.
“I believe we discovered a total of three – one from about a year ago, a second from four to five years ago and another from probably the night of the attack on your family. Once those have been fixed and the links begun, I believe the other minor Obliviates will take care of themselves rather quickly.”
Grabthar looked over at Madam Currie, who’d been sitting there silently while they’d been discussing the process. She wasn’t able to help with the mind healing Grabthar was doing, but would be monitoring both of their physical conditions during it and helping out how she could. She sighed a bit at his look then focused on Harry.
“Mr. Potter… Harry, are you prepared for what you might be remembering? It is highly likely that what you remember may be more emotionally painful than the process is physically painful. It’s quite likely these events surrounded things that you would consider betrayals by people you’ve trusted.”
“I think I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m going to be getting proof of at least the Headmaster’s betrayal. Though I don’t know the scope of what that might be at this point, based on what I do know he’s kept from me, I think it’ll be big. As for everyone else… I think having my fears finally confirmed or set at ease will be a relief no matter what. I’ve already, hopefully, imagined the worst.”
“Okay, but if you find that you’re having problems coming to terms with what you remember, let me know and we’ll find a way to help you through it.”
Harry nodded, but couldn’t think of anything to say. He had no idea what was coming or how it would affect him. He may be resigned to seeing betrayals from people he’d trusted, but until he did, he had no idea how he’d react.
“Well then, Mr. Potter, let’s get started.”
Harry got comfortable on the bed and closed his eyes. Instead of a potion, Grabthar would be using a Goblin spell to put him into the trance. He could feel it lightly settle over him, a feeling of lethargy that weighed him down, pressing him into the mattress beneath him.
Between one breath and the next he was in his mindscape. He’d become familiar with it over the weeks he’d been learning Occlumency. While mindscapes could take any form that worked for the person whose mind it was, Harry’s had evolved into a grand version of the Hogwarts library.
It was both larger and brighter than the real one, many stories tall with hidden areas everywhere protecting what Harry deemed important. The books on the shelves were filled with things he’d learned, memories of people, things he’d done. Some books would scream if you tried to remove them to read, like those in the Restricted section. Others would appear to be in Parseltongue which most could not read. Those truly important couldn’t be found at all. Harry would have to unlock the hidden areas and deactivate the traps guarding them.
He focused on the blank areas, the largest of which was the most recent and the one he knew Grabthar would be working on first. It was in an alcove, somewhere that Harry knew would normally hold something important, and big. This was covering more than one memory, though the locked one was the key.
He could feel hammering against his mind, and seemed to know it was Grabthar. He lowered his defenses to let him in and a bright light hit the black shell covering the alcove. The light pulsed, pushing at the blackness. Harry couldn’t tell how long it had been going on, ages it seemed, before he thought he could see cracks forming. They were tiny, but spreading. He could feel a bit of pain now, but ignored it, willing the cracks to get bigger. To shatter and release what they were hiding.
Finally, he felt a shooting pain and a large crack bisected the shell. He barely had time to wonder if he could be knocked unconscious while in his mindscape when a final pulse of light shattered the shell, sending shards of it into him and knocking him out with the pain.
He woke, but not to full consciousness. He wasn’t quite in his mindscape, but not really dreaming either. Images flashed around him, too quickly to make out clearly. He tried to grab at one, but only managed a quick look at something that reminded him of fourth year’s TriWizard Tournament before the pain forced him to let go again. When the pain had receded, he tried again, dropping it in shock at a glimpse of himself kissing someone. He’d been pretty sure the disaster with Cho fifth year had been his first kiss, but apparently not.
He grabbed at another one. Huddled in the Library with Neville, Seamus and Luna. He dropped it before the pain began and grabbed at another. Letters over the summer. Then an argument with Ron. Next a conversation in Dumbledore’s office. There was another view of him and Seamus by the lake. A phone conversation while at the Dursleys.
More and more images, slowly joining up into complete memories, trying to slot themselves into where they’d originally fit in time. Most were around fourth year. The argument with Ron had been even worse than he remembered it and not something easily forgiven, if ever. Hermione had still stuck by him, but a bit more distantly, obviously a bit more swayed by Ron’s rants than he’d believed. Harry spending more time with his other roommates, mainly Neville and Seamus as Dean was a bit convinced that Ron was right about Harry.
There was no Ron apologizing after the first task, though there was a conversation in Dumbledore’s office that convinced him there had been. Despite that, he’d continued spending more time with Neville and Seamus, later joined by Luna who they’d found hiding in a corner of the library from her dorm mates. They’d formed an unlikely study group, helping Harry with the tasks while helping each other with their homework.
Harry had still taken Parvati to the Yule Ball. Neville had taken Ginny, as Luna hadn’t wanted to go. Seamus took Lavender and Harry spent the night being unaccountably annoyed at that. He’d stalked out into the rose garden for a while, hoping the cold temperatures would help him get his temperature under control, only to have Seamus come after him. He still couldn’t remember the conversation, but the kiss he’d given Seamus seemed to sum things up pretty well.
From there an actual relationship appeared to have developed, though hidden from all but Neville and Luna. Dumbledore kept ‘convincing’ him to give Ron another chance, but it wasn’t sticking all that well. Hermione was a bit more overbearing than he remembered, spending a lot of time questioning him about what he was doing when he wasn’t with her and Ron. He could honestly tell her that he was studying in the Library as that’s where the four of them mostly stayed.
And lots of kissing.
After the third task and the confrontation with the fake Moody, he’d retreated to Seamus and Neville had protected them from discovery. After he’d been sent back to the Dursleys’, they’d all written constantly, Seamus even managing to call a couple times after things had been especially rough for Harry and the Dursleys were away.
Harry could see himself remember about his books, though apparently not enough to wonder why he never got into them at Hogwarts. He’d snuck out with Neville’s help and got to Diagon Alley at least once to do a bit of shopping before the Dementors messed up the rest of his summer.
It had been harder to write while he was at Grimmauld Place. He’d had to involve Dobby in collecting his letters from them and he’d deliver them when Harry was alone. Ron was still being an arse, though in public at least he was pretending to be supportive. The twins seemed just as they always had been and Ginny was downright creepy, always trying to get him alone somewhere. He’d dodged her as much as possible, trying to always keep Remus or Sirius with him, or one of the older Order members. He’d even had Sirius ward his bedroom from anyone other than himself or Ron after he found her curled up on his bed one evening.
The beginning of fifth year had come as a relief. He’d enjoyed the time with Sirius and Remus, but was completely frustrated with Hermione, Ron and Ginny. He also missed Seamus and Neville and Luna’s quirkiness. The relationship had continued in person when they returned to school, but it was apparent now that Dumbledore had found out somehow and had called him to his office.
“Harry, I’ve heard something that disturbs me greatly. It’s come to my attention that you’ve been keeping secrets. Secrets from me. Secrets from your friends. Would you like to tell me anything, anything new about yourself?”
Harry honestly couldn’t think of anything that he’d been keeping to himself that was of any concern to the Headmaster. While his friends might feel they had the right to know everything about his life, he figured he was still allowed a private life. And none of that had any relevance to the Headmaster of his school, so was nothing he felt needed to be ‘confessed’ like he was doing something wrong.
“No, Headmaster, I can’t think of anything that would be of interest to you.”
The look that came over the Headmaster’s face actually made him draw back in his seat. In that moment the headmaster looked furious and completely focused on Harry.
“So you’re not going to tell me how you’ve taken up with that disgusting half-blood fool in your dorm? About how you’ve been sneaking around the school to spend time with him? Just how long has this been going on, Harry?” He practically spit Harry’s name out and the look in his eyes was chilling.
Harry tried to get up from his seat, but wasn’t able to move and Dumbledore grinned evilly as he watched his struggles.
“So eager to leave, Harry? But we haven’t finished our conversation yet. I want to know how long you’ve been involved with him and who all knows about it.” He got to his feet and came around the side of his desk, the chair Harry was sitting in turning to face him and tilting back so the headmaster had a clear view of his face.
“Well, if you don’t care to tell me voluntarily, I guess I’ll just have to figure it out for myself.” His wand was suddenly pointed at Harry’s head and he began what Harry now knew was a Legilimency attack on Harry’s mind.
Harry was untrained at that point, but still managed to hide some things behind strong enough barriers that Dumbledore didn’t appear to notice them. He could hide his closeness with Neville and his friendship with Luna, but as Seamus was the target, there wasn’t much he could hide there. He tucked their friendship down as deep as he could, trying to protect the most important thing to him, but when Dumbledore was done, the past year was remembered very differently.
The resulting headache had the headmaster solicitously conducting him to the infirmary for Madam Pomfrey to give him a pain potion and let him sleep for a while.
Harry had no idea when the headmaster had gotten to Seamus, as he obviously did, but his meddling couldn’t completely remove the friendship and caring between them and even the manufactured argument between them didn’t erase it for long.
There had also had to have been some wide range memory spell to remove anyone remembering seeing the two of them together and, at least for the Gryffindors, remembering the major fight they had at the beginning of fifth year.
Harry found himself back in his mindscape, the formerly walled off area of his memories now open completely. Once the memories settled and finished incorporating, he knew he’d need to spend time better filing and organizing them. As well as fully protecting his memories of his first relationship with Seamus.
He made his way over to the next area they knew had issues. This one he knew was older, which meant that it might be more difficult to remove, but it also wasn’t as large. It linked though, to various memories scattered around the mindscape. Taking this one down should release them as well.
Once again a beam of light shown down on the dark shell, pulsing at it to get it to begin cracking. It seemed to take longer this time before the first tiny cracks appeared, but the pain was very similar to before. Once again he felt himself lose consciousness when it finally shattered.
Images were swirling around him from first year. He’d been so tiny. The focus of things appeared to be his conversation with the Headmaster after his confrontation with Quirrell, but he couldn’t hear what had been said.
He was back in the room with the mirror and Quirrell, but everything was fuzzy. He could still see the overlay of what he remembered happening, but could tell something else lay beneath it. Traveling back from then Harry could see he and Hermione in the Potion room, and the troll. But the chess game was very different as there was no Ron. He and Hermione had played the board and made it across by themselves. The key room was missing Ron as well. There was suddenly an extra room between the plant and the keys and something had happened in that room to cause a horrible argument between Harry and Ron that had Ron deserting them to continue without him.
Now that he remembered that, little bits and pieces from other times over the year suddenly became clear where Ron had been insulting to him or angry about Harry’s fame. The Headmaster must have spent ages getting Harry to forget Ron’s actions enough to continue calling him a friend.
And it wasn’t just first year, there were annoying conversation every year where it was now obvious that Ron really didn’t particularly like Harry, but just wanted to cash in on the notoriety of being his ‘best mate’. Hermione seemed to spend a lot of time trying to keep Ron under control while also trying to reign in Harry when he wanted to spend time alone or with other people. It was actually a bit of a relief, though he kept it well hidden at the time, when Hermione was petrified as it gave him some peace from being constantly hounded about things.
There was also something odd about the Chamber of Secrets, but nothing he could yet see and he found his focus quickly moving on to third year and what changes he could find. He’d still spent the summer on Diagon Alley, exploring everything he could find and buying and reading a ton of books. He’d talked to a number of people about things that he was sure the Headmaster was not pleased about, but still managed to forget once school started back. He’d continued to ditch Ron and Hermione once they showed up at the Leaky Cauldron, somehow knowing that he didn’t want to let them know what he was up to.
Mrs. Weasley had tried to get him to share a room with Ron, either to save them some money by having Harry pay for it or maybe to have Ron there to keep an eye on him, but luckily Harry’s room was too small and there was nowhere else to move him so they could share. Harry having his own room was another annoyance for Ron and proof again that Harry was shoving his money and fame around to get what he wanted.
Little things like that over the next couple of years kept flitting through his mind. Images of just how loyal Ron really wasn’t and doubts over Hermione’s reasons for sticking around him. Harry could tell he was being made to accept the two of them in his life for some reason, but he didn’t know why or for what purpose. He’d love to know if they were doing it voluntarily though, or if the headmaster had some sort of control over them as well.
He woke from the second block’s removal very sad. He might have begun to suspect that there would be bad news concerning those he’d considered his closest friends, but the reality was surprisingly painful to see. Thankfully he could see nothing different around the actions of Mr. Weasley or the twins or even surprisingly Percy. He didn’t have as much exposure to the older brothers, but Bill and Charlie still appeared to be exactly as they’d always been. It helped, a bit.
Harry wished he could put off the final block, but knew that Grabthar wouldn’t stop now. It was best to get them all done at once unless a problem developed. Harry having a headache from the removal and being depressed at some of the things he was finding out wasn’t going to be considered a problem in those circumstances.
Unfortunately this was the one that they believed had been done with the memories from around the death of his parents and there was nothing about that situation that he felt wouldn’t be painful. But to maybe finally be able to remember his parents… maybe the pain would be worth it.
He slowly made his way into the heart of the Library, so where his earliest memories were. There, in a dark corner was the final shell covering an innocent looking niche. He could still feel things happening in other areas of his mindscape as the released memories continued integrating themselves. It was distracting, but he tried to stay focused and ignore the stray feelings and thoughts that were pounding at him.
He’d been distracted, so the beam of light hitting the shell came as a shock. As this one had been in place the longest, they’d hypothesized that it would be the most difficult to remove. Something they’d done with the earlier blocks though had apparently caused a fault in this one, weakening the shell enough that instead of the normal small cracks that eventually fractured, this one simply exploded suddenly.
The shock of it knocked Harry out before the pain hit.
He was very small and crawling on a thick rug. Looking up he could see a tall man with dark hair and glasses sitting on a couch while a pretty woman with red hair walked into the room. She said something to the man before smiling and sitting down near him on the floor. He pulled himself to his feet and toddled over to her, collapsing gracelessly into her lap as she laughed.
There was a pounding on the door and they all startled. The woman, his mother, quickly picked him up and retreated to the stairs, while the man, his father, carefully went to check the door. Harry could hear loud voices and some flashes of light that made his mother’s grip tighten around him as she slowly edged up the stairs.
His father ran back into the room, a flash of green light following behind him to hit the wall. “Lily, run! Take Harry and run!”
Lily gave a strangled sob as she gave up on quiet and tucked Harry close to her, protecting him as much as possible with her body before racing up the stairs. She headed straight for the nursery, closed and locked the door behind her and placing Harry inside his crib. She used her wand to do something and a glow sprung up around the room. She picked up something that older Harry knew to be a phone and tried to call out, but nothing seemed to work. She went to the window and looked out as something started hammering against the nursery door.
The door was holding, but cracks were beginning to show. She pushed open the window and tossed something out then came back to get Harry. They were almost to the window again when the door finally shattered and they turned to see a tall, bearded man standing in the doorway.
‘Dumbledore’, Harry’s mind screamed even as his younger self cried at the noise and the pain of being hit by splinters of the door.
“No,” Lily said turning her body and Harry away from the man in the doorway. “Not Harry! Please… have mercy… not my son! I’ll do anything, please!” She was slowly backing up, edging closer to the open window as she spoke. The glow around the room finally died as they got there and she threw a leg over the ledge and stepped onto a rung of the ladder hanging there.
“Not so fast, my dear Lily. I have plans that you will not be allowed to destroy. I’ve planned for this too long. Accio Harry!”
Harry felt the tug as Dumbledore’s spell tugged him from his mother’s grip, his screaming even louder as he was roughly caught by Dumbledore. With another flick of his wand, Lily was hit by another spell and, unbalanced as she was in the open window, the blasting curse pushed her over and she fell heavily to the ground below.
“Now that the annoyances have been taken care of…” Dumbledore mumbled to himself as he placed Harry in his crib. He pulled something from a pocket, a ball that pulsed a bit with light, and smiled at it. The expression was quite evil in the glow and little Harry tried to back away from him, though there wasn’t much room. “Don’t bother, child, this won’t take long and then it’ll be all over. It’ll be such a shame that the young Potter family was killed by Voldemort, but at least they were able to take him with them in the magical backlash of the death of the ‘prophesy child’. And, since you won’t be needing your magic anymore, when you’re dead I’ll just take that from you too. Now then, this won’t hurt a bit – it’ll hurt a lot.”
With that he shoved the glowing ball into an open cut on Harry’s forehead, nearly causing him to pass out from the pain of it. He actually stopped screaming, it was such a sudden shock and the silence was unnerving.
The headmaster stepped back a bit nervously and aimed his wand at Harry. “Well, the screaming was getting a bit annoying anyway. One last detail and I’ll go let your dead bodies be discovered by someone else – you have to be dead. Avada Kedavra!”
The spell hit something surrounding the crib and the resulting blast knocked Harry down in the crib and appeared to blast Dumbledore through the nursery wall, across the hall and out the outer wall of the house. Between everything that had just happened, it wasn’t too surprising that shortly afterwards, little Harry passed out.
Harry drifted a bit after that. He could see himself being flown on the motorcycle with Hagrid and waking up on the steps of the Dursleys, but couldn’t really understand why Dumbledore hadn’t just killed him. There were some details there he was still missing and he wondered if he’d ever know for sure.
The memories start jumping then. There were glimpses of the various times he’d met with Voldemort, dreams he’d had in connection with his supposed ‘visions’. They were all looking a bit hazy and had all apparently been affected by this original block. There had been a few too many revelations today though and he couldn’t quite process the changes yet, but once he recovered he was sure this would be quite traumatic.
Dumbledore, not Voldemort, had killed his parents. It put his ‘adventures’ since starting Hogwarts in a rather sinister light and made him wonder if there hadn’t been more reason to leave him with his Aunt’s family than he’d originally suspected.
It was all definitely interesting, but he finally was simply too overloaded to continue and this time when he passed out it was to sleep.
“Haaarry… come on, Harry, it’s time for you to wake up.”
There was something tickling his nose and Harry found it really annoying. He wanted to sleep, his head was aching yet again and he still felt exhausted. Unfortunately he was going to have to move to get whatever was tickling his nose to stop and he knew from experience that he would then be too awake to fall back asleep.
He could hear someone laughing softly from nearby and he batted weakly at the area around his nose, trying not to hit himself while doing it. He was mostly successful.
“I know you’re probably feeling horrible, Harry, but if you wake up Madam Currie can give you a headache potion and you can drink a lot of water since I know you’re also dehydrated, considering how long you’ve been sleeping.”
He finally gave up and tilted his head towards the familiar voice and opened his eyes a bit.
Seamus’ smiling face was close. He had propped his head on his arm on the side of the bed and had obviously been using the string dangling from his other hand to tickle him.
“’bout time you woke up. Every time you come in here you stay for days!”
“How long this time,” Harry whispered through his dry throat.
“Three days,” Seamus answered sitting up and grabbing a cup of water sitting nearby with a straw sticking out. He helped Harry take a couple of sips before putting it back down. “Granted, Grabthar slept for almost a full day after he was done, so we were expecting it to have taken a lot out of you. You are an over achiever though – three days, Harry!”
“There was a lot to take in,” Harry replied a bit sheepishly.
“I can imagine.” He hesitated for a minute before continuing. “We think some of the memory charms on us were tied to the ones on you because since you got in here to have yours removed, we’ve all been remembering things too.”
Harry gulped, suddenly feeling rather terrified, but pushing on. “So, do you remember our fourth year now?”
Seamus blushed, but nodded. “Yes, two nights ago. Then I pulled out my letters and read through them again. I hadn’t even been aware that I wasn’t seeing them all before. I suggest you read mine too.”
“I plan to. I can sort of remember what they said now, but things like that are still a bit fuzzy to me.”
“Does it bother you,” Seamus asked suddenly, as if he just couldn’t not ask.
“The only thing about the situation that bothers me is that Dumbledore took it from us. Though considering what all else he’s taken from me, I shouldn’t be all that surprised.” Tears sprang to his eyes at that and he blinked furiously to clear them as Seamus looked on, unable to figure out how to help.
“Harry, what did he do? Are you okay? Can I help?”
Harry just shook his head, knuckles digging into his eyes to rub away the tears, and he took a deep breath. “No, I’m not okay. Seamus, Dumbledore killed my parents, not Voldemort. Voldemort wasn’t even at the house that night. Dumbledore set the tether between Voldemort and I then planned to kill me, causing Voldemort to die as well while harvesting our magic for himself. It was horrible to watch! I have no idea when he set the block, but it was sometime after he blasted himself out the side of our house casting the killing curse at me.”
Seamus’ look of shock echoed the one he himself still felt over everything. Being betrayed was one thing. Knowing that not only had he been betrayed, but that they’d been actively trying to kill him as well was a whole new level of horror.
“Oh, Harry… that’s horrible! Why would he… how,” Seamus couldn’t seem to complete a thought, but he moved to sit on the side of the bed, pulling Harry up into a hug where he finally let go and let the tears fall. It wouldn’t help his headache, but it was cathartic.