Harry sat beside the tower’s highest window, wrapped in a warm cloak. It was late at night. Well after curfew. But he didn’t care. He’d snuck out of Gryffindor tower and made sure that no one followed him. He was, rather experienced at that nowadays. His messy black hair was even messier than usual. A sign of stress for anyone that knew him. His bright green eyes were narrowed into a fierce stare, and his arms which were wrapped around his legs had clenched fists. He was absolutely seething in rage.
‘How was it,’ The fifth year Hogwarts student wondered silently to himself. ‘That of all people in this world, it was the witches and wizards who were the most complacent and resistant to change?’
Magic allowed for the impossible to happen nearly daily. Witches and wizards were as far from the muggle standard of ‘normal’ as you could get. Surely, they should be prepared for change, for the extraordinary. They had so much power at their very fingertips. Yet, they seemed content to do absolutely nothing.
They called him a liar and an attention-seeker. As if he wanted Voldemort to come back. As if he wanted to think about the man who had killed his parents. Had ordered Cedric to be killed. Not only was Fudge in denial, and covering things up, but the public was going along with it. They would rather believe that nothing was wrong than think about potentially defending themselves from attack. No action was being taken to prepare any sort of defence, or to find out if Harry’s words were true. But rumours were continuing to spread to spread about Harry, his supposed personality and actions, and his mental health. Many of his peers were isolating and harassing him based on the approval and encouragement of their parents. And who could forget Umbridge, the sadistic woman who had been given free rein to torture him and other students.
Not that he couldn’t handle it, of course, but he shouldn’t have to. He was sick of his allies, particularly the adult ones, abandoning him whenever it became convenient for them to do so. Or the other adults, whose job was to protect him and he other students, who seemed to not bother as much as the year went on.
He knew though, that as soon as people realised that he’d been speaking the truth, they’d jump on board. They wouldn’t apologize for what they had done, but they would start singing his praises again. And demanding that he solve their problems. The same way the DA students had. Oh, sure. He had some allies in that group. Luna, Neville, Fred, George, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione. But most thought that he was full of shit, and were just using him to get a passing OWL in DADA.
He didn’t want to give it to them. It would be fitting if most of the students failed DADA that year. OWLs and NEWTs were graded according to international standards. If so many students failed that year, an official inquiry would be launched. Umbridge would go down, and Fudge might too. The investigators might even do something about the curse on the teaching position that everyone seemed to know about, but not actually do anything about. That would be for the best. But doing so would go against Hermione’s views. The ‘couple of friends’ Harry had been willing to assist had turned into a massive group right from the first meeting. He hadn’t been able to refuse them. Anyone he said ‘no’ to would have gone running to Umbridge. And he had enough problems to deal with as it was.
Harry had reached his limit though. Actually, he’d probably reached it back at the end of second year. But back then he’d been too scared to act. Adults had frightened him. Losing his friends had frightened him even more. Naively, he had also thought that nothing could be worse than his second year. He’d been wrong. Now, he was leaving.
He’d been preparing for a few months. Reading up on useful spells. Concealment. Anti-tracking. Privacy wards. Protection spells to be placed on Hedwig, his truest and most faithful companion. Using Hedwig, he’d gotten into contact with Fleur Delacour.
Fleur, who had faced the cruciatus curse the same night he had. Fleur, who had also witnessed Viktor being controlled by the imperious curse. Fleur, whose sister he had helped rescue. Fleur, who had told him to call on her anytime he needed anything. He’d told her his problems. She’d offered a way out. He had accepted.
Two nights ago, he’d cleaned out his trunk. Removed the stuff he didn’t need. Took the stuff he did. And some extra. He figured that if it had been abandoned in the room of requirement then it was free game. He’d then double checked that there were no tracking spells on any of his things, and removed the spells from items which had been tagged by a tracking charm. The trunk had been shrunk down, and he carried it in his pocket. Now he sat waiting. His father’s invisibility cloak was firmly wrapped around his shoulders.
Soon, Hedwig would arrive with a portkey from Fleur. He’d then slip out of Hogwarts, move beyond the wards, and activate it by saying his own name. It was take him to Fleur’s friend’s house in Bordeaux. From there… He wasn’t sure yet. Currently he believed that America would be his best option. They were known for having a positive outlook on parselmouths.
A flutter of wings caught his attention. He looked up and straightened his spine. Hedwig had arrived. He whistled softly to her, and she dropped her prize down to him. It was a fluffy pink sock. It made him smile. Fleur had promised to find a way to make sure he knew that the portkey was from her, knowing his last experience with portkeys had left him rather paranoid.
He hadn’t expected her to think of Dobby.
He picked up the sock. Harry Potter is going to be free.
As soon as he spoke the password Harry felt the magic take hold of him. The sound from his surroundings cut off, colours seemed to spiral round him in a vortex, and before he knew it he was hitting the ground in a country he had never been to before. His knees had buckled the instant he had touched ground, and so he had ended up on his hands and knees. He gasped for breath, drawing air into his lungs and desperately holding back the desire to vomit.
International portkeys were the worst he decided. The pulling sensation had been harder than ever before, and it had felt like it had taken longer for him to arrive.
“Harry!” Fleur was with him he realised. Just as she had promised she would be. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, just, just give me a minute.” He said, giving her a shaky smile. She held out her hand which he accepted with gratitude, and she pulled him onto his feet with ease. A wave of her wand dispelled the dirt that was clinging to him.
“Do you have a plan on where you want to go from here?” She asked after he had begun to breath normally.
“Not yet,” He admitted. He hadn’t been able to plan ahead back at Hogwarts. There had been a small part of him that hadn’t been convinced that this would work. He had worried that if he dreamed too much of what he would like to do and then he failed to escape, that that would break him.
“Then you stay with me and my family tonight,” Fleur announced without so much as asking him first. He gaped at her.
“Fleur, I, I can’t just impose myself like that,” He tried to reason with her. She tilted her head and raised a single perfectly shaped eyebrow at him.
“It’s no trouble Harry. My parents want to meet you, and Gabrielle will want to see you again. And, my father, he is a healer. He can give you a check-up. Do something about your hand, with the wounds that the toad has been giving you. It is perfect, yes?”
It was pointless, he realised. Fleur was his best option, and she knew it. She also knew how stubborn he could be and so wasn’t letting him get a word in edgewise.
“Very well then. Thank you.” He said with a sigh that conveyed both relief and exasperation.