Harry Potter stood outside of Number 4, Privet Drive, with a sadistic gleam in his eyes. Gazing dispassionately at the bloodied remains of the Dursleys beneath his feet a kitchen knife lay beside them, crimson staining the steel.
Never again would he have to hear Vernon constantly berate him for something he couldn't help. After all, magic was like blood. It flowed freely through his veins. His physical and verbal abuse, Petunia shrieking to cook the bacon then pull weeds in the already immaculate garden alongside Dudley and his gang chasing him for another round of ‘Harry Hunting’, was no more.
Finally, his cupboard. Throughout the years he had lived with the Dursleys that had been his first bedroom, a respite from the pain which faced him, daily. Even once moving into Dudley's second bedroom, he ached for the dark, quiet security it had provided.
Harry reflected upon what had led him up to now. In his first year of Hogwarts, there was the Philosopher’s stone and all the surrounding events. Dumbledore could have put a stop to it, being the Headmaster but no, wasn't it convenient that he was out attending to an emergency at the time?
Second-year and the Chamber Of Secrets nightmare. How did a trio of 2nd years find all this out and yet the Headmaster hadn't? He must have known! Surely, as Headmaster he could have found a way to assist, but no. It was left to a solitary 12-year-old in defeating a Basilisk.
'3rd 4th and 5th year. What is there to say? It's more of the same.' Harry's thoughts were lemon-bitter. 'It all comes back to Dumbledore and what he didn't do.'
He understood all too well, growing up as he had, that life didn't always deal the best cards. But why? The injustice and unfairness of it all, he rarely ever allowed to be released. Showing emotion meant a weakness which strong people could take advantage of, picking him apart bit by bit.
Such liberation from the family which had bound him for years shook Harry to the core. Physically, magically, mentally. A green light shrouded him, growing in brightness to outshine the sun, eyes swirling pools of escaping emotion.
Thinking about all the years of needless suffering he'd gone through, eventually became too much. Screaming out in anguish, he fell to his knees. For all those years that he refused to grieve over the deaths of his parents, Cedric and Sirius, he let it all out. The light, an eerie green, became solid. It exploded, causing the ground to shudder violently as a shockwave spread outwards in a circular motion.
“I've had enough, fuck it!” Harry spat, irritated with the mere thought of Dumbledore. With a simple wave of his hand, he summoned his personal belongings. Naturally, no one knew about this ability. He had been suspicious of Dumbledore for a long time now, manipulations becoming less subtle as the years went on. He'd learned to keep his innermost guarded secrets locked away, using Occlumency in the face of much Legilimency.
If it wasn't for that unfortunate meeting with Malfoy on the train, he may well have agreed with the hat to put him in Slytherin. Was Dumbledore behind him choosing to go to Gryffindor too? Harry didn't know what to think anymore. As he was about to leave, who apparated in front of him? Dumbledore and his mostly docile flock of sheep.
Harry prepared himself. No doubt Dumbledore would be 'disappointed' in him. He had to stifle laughter at that thought. It was clear to Harry that Dumbledore believed that he was still under his thumb, but no more. No more hiding who he was, he would tell all of them.
Harry observed the reactions of Dumbledore and The Order. His emotive magic had caused a disturbance, but only to the point of a trained eye paying attention to close details. However the silent, dark street and what remained of the Dursleys with Harry standing over them, he was certain that made a more obvious picture.
“Harry my boy, what have you done?” Harry glanced at Dumbledore with disgust. The annoying grandfatherly twinkle normally present was gone, scanning the surroundings in horror.
“What does it look like I've done, Dumbledore? I've gotten rid of my so-called relatives.” Responding calmly, it seemed that comment brought Remus out of his shock-induced stupor.
“Harry, why did you do this?" Harry could see how broken and worn Remus was, feeling sorry for him. As one of the few people in Harry's life who didn't show open hostility to him, manipulate him or treat him as a child, his opinion of him was anything but cold.
“Remus, I have nothing against you. You're one of the few people in my life that I respect and am fond of. I killed my relatives out of revenge, anger, whatever you want to call it. They abused me. They starved me, kept me in a cupboard and made sure I was as unhappy as humanly possible. I couldn't live my life. I want to live. I don't want to be the pawn used to end Voldemort. I'm going away from here, and I'm not coming back.”
Remus smiled shakily, hiding away a mixture of discomfort and rage. “Alright, I'll help as much as I can. Wherever you decide to go, will you keep in touch?”
Harry smiled. A genuine smile this time. “Of course I will."
“I'm afraid I can't allow you to leave.” Dumbledore attempted to look stern. ”You have a duty to the wizarding world in defeating Voldemort, according to the prophecy. Due to the Dursley's unfortunate demise,” Harry snorted loudly. Unfortunate? ”I will be your magical guardian and see to your needs. You will receive training from Professor Snape and me to defeat Voldemort. No exceptions. You will come with us to headquarters.”
So, he'd finally decided not to beat around the bush? Good. Harry wasn't in the mood for mind games. “Not a chance! I'm through with you, dictating my life.”
“Harry, what would your parents sa-” Dumbledore never got to finish his sentence as by now, Harry snapped. He'd tried with all his might to reign in his temper, but to no avail. He'd gone too far this time.
“DON'T YOU DARE BRING MY PARENTS INTO THIS!” he roared, the magic becoming more solid than the first time. It took no form as such, simply a mass of swirling power.
“HAVEN'T YOU RUINED MY LIFE ALREADY WITHOUT MENTIONING MY PARENTS?! I SHOULD HOPE THEY APPROVE OF MY DECISION TO ESCAPE, YOU SET ME UP TO DIE!”
Eyes narrowing to slits, he had to leave here. With an almighty CRACK, Harry apparated. The backlash of magic was near staggering, many Order members losing their balance from his actions. The area taught with tension Remus left himself, to mull over all he'd heard today.
Harry fell into a heap on the ground, belongings scattered around him. Usually, he wasn't too bad with landings, but apparition fuelled by a fit of anger was never a good idea.
He'd been practising that particular trick since his bout of accidental magic involving his old primary school's roof, using spare classrooms and the Room of Requirement, once aware of its existence.
Righting himself, he shrank his belongings to fit in a pocket. Sensing a hum of magic in the air, the location was nearby. Reaching out his senses, Harry let them guide him onward, coming to a stop when he could see a visible dome of magic. Hesitating, he stuck an index finger through. Nothing happened, so he stepped through entirely.
The sun was setting, casting a beautiful glow upon a river, its water flow gentle with an arched bridge allowing crossing. As far as he could see, there were plants, flowers and wildlife of all varieties. In the middle of it all stood a large manor almost Victorian in appearance, the walls painted an off-white, roof tiles black.
Harry instantly relaxed gazing upon the sight. Wasting no time he reached the entrance, taking note of the sign which read Evergreen Manor.
He'd planned this for a while now. Entering the Wizarding world, he was blind to all around him, making use of Gringotts and learning more of his family. While he hadn't looked into detail about inheritances, what he did set eyes on was a new place to eventually escape the clutches of Dumbledore and his relatives.
There had been several properties, though this caught his eye the most. It was located in Ireland, right on the outskirts of a forest. Away from other neighbours, it offered a degree of isolation which he sorely needed right now.
"Alohomora," he murmured, the door creaking open. He'd have to change it so a simple lower year spell wouldn't allow anyone to gain entry if the wards didn't keep them out.
He'd spent a short while looking around. The design scheme was much the same as outside, not having a desire in changing too much. There were several rooms and possibly some hidden, much like what Hogwarts had. He was slightly surprised to note that there was no dust, though that could be due to a House Elf. As if it was summoned by his thoughts, a House Elf appeared before him, oddly enough wearing a dress.
“Greetings Lord Potter, my name is Misty. How can I assist you today?”
Harry's eyebrows rose. He'd never heard of House Elf so well-spoken. Recovering from his surprise, he answered her. ”Hello Misty, call me Harry. Could you tell me about yourself and this property?”
Once he was more informed, Harry filled the hungry hole in his stomach caused by the unexpectedness of his magical outburst. Opening a window, he relished the breeze caressing his face as Hedwig flew in through the open window. Always admiring her impeccable timing, he stroked her feathers. “Hello girl, I knew you'd find me. Could you take a letter to Remus?"
He conjured a bowl of water and some owl treats for her, while he penned his letter.
Are you well? Wish I could have stayed to see the fallout, but I was worked up with all that happened. Maybe you can show me the rest sometime? I still can't believe the nerve of Dumbledore though with everything so far, maybe I shouldn't be so surprised.
Anyway, to the point. I've relocated to a place called Evergreen Manor. I've hooked up the Floo Network to yours, so if you want to visit, the password's 'The Lion's Den'. To anyone else reading, this entire letter will be something to insult them or just nonsense. I thought up some amusing insults for Dumbledore and Snape if they do read it. Look forward to hearing from you!
P.S: I hexed the envelope. Let me know if any suffer the consequences.
Placing the letter in an envelope and sealing it with a wax stamp, Hedwig took off into the rapidly darkening sky.
A day after their run-in with Harry, an emergency evening Order meeting had been called.
“Good evening everyone. Welcome to The Order of The Phoenix. I have called this meeting in session due to what happened last night. Harry Potter,” here Dumbledore waited a few seconds to build suspense, “has become a dark wizard.” He stopped speaking so the gasps of outrage were allowed to ring throughout the otherwise silent room. ”He killed his own relatives in cold blood, using powerful magic to destroy his surroundings. We need to capture and subdue him.”
Idly stirring his lukewarm tea, Remus wondered, not for the first time, why he hadn't left. Unsure if he was feeling some sense of responsibility to keep his cub safe in case of what Dumbledore was planning or to be part of the resistance who opposed Voldemort, their lack of progress was telling.
Well, they said resistance. More time was spent talking, rather than doing.
His attuned senses, unfortunately, couldn't block Albus' waffling out, but he did smell something familiar. A little like Harry, but mostly the outdoors. His suspicions confirmed Hedwig gave a little hoot, gliding in through the narrow window to land in front of him, leg outstretched.
He'd barely touched the envelope before it was snatched from his grasp. He didn't know the old man was anywhere near him, restraining himself from growling. No one prevented him from seeing how his cub was doing!
He was about to take the letter back and leave, but more than glad for that few second's pause.
He wasn't wrong. As Albus read the letter with Severus, resident nosy bastard looking over his shoulder, they began breaking into painful, pus-filled boils. Dropping the letter as if he'd been burned he quickly fled the room, to cancel the hex with Madam Pomfrey's expertise, Severus following shortly after with a few choice words.
Remus skimmed the letter's contents, not sticking around. The Order Meeting was unofficially over anyway. Heading where Harry was, they had a lot to discuss.
Slowly opening his eyes, Harry found himself lying upon one of the softest pillows he'd had the pleasure of feeling, sheets cool and refreshing to the touch. After a few moments thought, the events of yesterday replayed through his mind. So much had happened within that time.
Getting dressed in a long-sleeved dark shirt and jeans, he headed straight for the kitchen and was about to make himself an Omelette when Misty popped in.
“Lord Potter! Let Misty take care of this.”
Smiling, he turned to address her. “Thanks for the offer, but I don't mind cooking. Also, it's Harry. The title of Lord makes me sound more adult and responsible than I am.”
Misty laughed uneasily, nodding in acceptance of his requests and popping away again.
He threw some ham, eggs, cheese and a little salt and pepper into the mix, happily tucking into a light breakfast minutes later.
He decided to go into Diagon Alley, as there were some things he needed to do, now that he'd started the journey of carving his own path. He only needed to make a quick trip into Gringotts to ask about something, as the past few years what vaults owned by his parents and more recently Sirius, he'd claimed any and all items of sentimental value. He had yet to unpack his belongings but would do eventually.
He was wondering how to remove The Order of The Phoenix from Number 12 Grimmauld Place. He was unsure of the process and wanted to know. Once he had the knowledge, he'd wait. He wanted to give it some time, for the right moment they were all inevitably booted out on their arses, except Remus. Though Harry had a feeling that he wouldn't voluntarily choose to be there, if not for The Order.
Everything else was just a case of buying his school supplies. He hadn't had his Hogwarts letter yet, but an idea of what to buy anyway.
As he'd done so when heading into Diagon Alley for the past five or so years, he placed a strong glamour charm over his body. Conjuring a pin, he pricked a finger, placing it against his forehead. The blood dissolved into the disguise. This way, he was keyed into his own magic so while others could sense the glamour, they wouldn't be able to remove it as they needed his blood to do so.
He had his pouch of Galleons secured to his waist, in a little drawstring bag. He'd placed anti-summoning, theft and a myriad of other charms on the pouch to prevent people from getting their hands on it.
Once he had everything sorted, Harry opened and locked the door of the manor, apparating with a faint crack and reappearing in one of the darkened side alleys. Eyes shining determinedly, he went about Diagon Alley doing his business.
A few hours later he'd purchased everything needed for the new school year, plus some extras. He'd found out how to remove everyone from Grimmauld as well. All he had to do was edit the name log. For every house under the fidelus, there was a log tracking who was allowed on the property. Harry now owned this log and he could add and remove whoever he wished. He was glad the process was simple.
He'd snuck into Knockturn Alley as well. Ever since he'd accidentally entered the place, he'd been intrigued at what it could offer. The answer was another wand not traced by the ministry. He'd had to pay 35 Galleons, but it was worth it. Surprisingly, he had a stronger connection to this than he did to his old wand, so he'd decided to buy two new wand holsters. These had spring actions and with just a thought, the wands would eject to slide smoothly into the owner's hands, though it took practice.
The core of his new wand was that of a Hargraven feather and the Heartstring of a Dragon, once known as the time-eater. The wood was dark ash ten inches, inflexible. Needless to say incredibly rare, not to mention illegal. Harry had broken more rules than not so, at this point, he didn't care.
Now came to the thing which he really wanted to do, alter his appearance. There was an obscure shop he knew of right at the very end of Diagon Alley. It offered haircuts, tattoos and piercings. He'd never had the chance for self-expression and this was one way to do it. As he opened the door, a little bell rang and a petite witch greeted him. “Hello sir, how can I help you?”
“I'm looking to get a haircut, possibly dyed. Also, I was thinking of getting a few tattoos and piercings?”
“Certainly! Do you have any ideas about what you'd like?”
Harry did, in fact. After much discussion, his hair was done first. It was shorter, not as messy. Artfully spiky would be a better term. His fringe was chopped so it sloped more towards his scar, the other side shorter. At the back of his head, he had layers of his hair dyed green and decided to get a little green tint, only noticeable if stood in the light, but more so at the back. The colour accentuated his eyes nicely.
He had both ears pierced and after some extra thought, his nose. The best thing about piercings in the wizarding world while more uncommon, the area could be magically healed. After what he'd been through, he was sure his tolerance for pain was abnormally high. He had simple titanium studs, but actually had plans for jewellery once he headed back home.
Finally, what Harry loved the most, the tattoo. On his arm, was the Basilisk which he had to kill in his second year, coiled and ready to strike, eyes that if real, would definitely kill. He never actually wanted to kill her, he had no choice. He loved reptiles of all kinds and had developed a tentative bond with a lot of the common snakes around Privet Drive. He'd come to understand a lot of their thought processes and ways.
Through this, he knew the Basilisk wasn't of her own free will and sound of mind. She was utterly under the control of Riddle and still was, after all these years. The longer Imperio was put upon her, the more it became her natural state of mind. He felt true sorrow that day. He had to slaughter such a magnificent serpent thanks to the Dick Lord. So this tattoo was to honour her. The man paled a little, but thankfully his nervousness didn't pass over to the artwork on his skin.
Leaving the shop, he made one more stop to purchase clear contact lenses with a few charms placed upon them so he could throw away the pieces of shit that were his glasses, disappearing where he stood. Removing the glamour, he unlocked the door and headed back inside.
Pleased to see Remus ready and waiting for him in the living room, he clapped him on the shoulder. "I take it Dumbledore or Snape tried to look at the letter I sent you?"
"Albus did and suffered the consequences. As Severus was reading over his shoulder, he did as well." chuckling, Remus ruffled his hair affectionately. “You've been busy! So other than your appearance, anything else new?"
Harry rolled his sleeve up, Remus' eyes twinkling in amusement. Only Harry would want a reminder of his own near death. “It's a wonderful piece of art, though I imagine many will run screaming when they see a Basilisk on your arm.”
He snorted. ”True, can't deny that. So, care to tell me what happened?”
The Marauder rubbed his hands in barely restrained glee. “Oh, with pleasure. Is there a Pensieve here?”
Harry thought for a moment. ”I'm not sure.” He called out tentatively. ”Misty?”
The little Elf was before him. ”Yes, Harry?”
“Do we have a Pensieve?”
She nodded, large ears flapping from the force. “Yes, shall I fetch it for you?”
In a few moments, a Pensieve was before them.
“Thanks!” Harry called out.
Remus pulled out two strands of memories. The one where Harry lost control of his magic, the other The Order Meeting.
“Let's get started then!” Remus clapped Harry on the shoulder, before they leaned over the Pensieve, pulled within Remus' thoughts.
Harry was stunned, to see his eyes glowing in such a manner and fascinated, to observe from a different perspective.
Said man who provided this memory turned to him, eyes calculating. “You know, you were quite intimidating that night. I'm not sure half the order recovered from your outburst, though it was long overdue.” He gave Harry a side hug. “I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you more.”
Harry shook his head. “You're here now, that's all that matters.” Harry whistled low, watching the memory finish before it was black for a moment. "If I was them, I think I'd be intimidated as well."
Lead straight into the second memory, he couldn't help but think this new, painful look for the pair which had tormented him should stay for the entirety of his Sixth year.
Once the two landed back in the living room, they spent a few hours chatting away and as a whole, growing closer together and cementing their friendship with stronger bonds. Remus was reluctant to keep going to the order, but would for Harry's sake. Firstly because he can pass any information onto him and secondly if there was ever a repeat of earlier that day, it would be more than worth it to sit through another Order Meeting.
With an offer of staying whenever he liked, Remus waved goodbye, flooing home.
Harry, was now going to attempt some permanent transfiguration. He went upstairs, looking at himself in the nearest mirror. He pointed his wand at one ear, focusing on what he wanted it to be.
With delight, he noticed that it worked, his right ear changing to match the left. He now had studs in his ears which were of a golden lion's head, the eyes were glittering, similar to rubies.
He next pointed his wand at his nose stud. This time it took a few more tries, but he was eventually successful. It was now a ring, a delicate silver snake and where the hole of piercing was, a tiny snake's head was near, little titanium tongue sticking out. Its eyes were Emerald Green.
After further thought, he charmed them with the intent of what he wanted. In this case, his studs would detect nearby threats, such as enemies and potions slipped into food and drink. His nose ring would allow him to see through disguise magic and items, much like Dumbledore.
He lay back on his bed for a little, just thinking. He wasn't sure what to do with his life. He would continue attending Hogwarts and kill Voldemort, but he was woefully unprepared. He would take a leaf from Hermione's book and read texts until the knowledge left an imprint on his brain.
A sharp, burning pain brought him from his thoughts. Eyes widening, he raised the sleeve of his arm. The scar left there by the Basilisk was slowly but surely fading. The pain was still there, but it encompassed his whole body. It was similar to that of the Cruciatus, but the liquid fire in his veins felt like ice. Perspiration rolled down his brow and he bit his lip to keep from crying out, limbs spasming. As suddenly as it started, it stopped.
His left arm with the Basilisk tattoo was almost feverishly warm, stunned when the tattoo actually moved. He could feel and see the mini Basilisk uncoil. She crawled up his shoulder and came to a rest on his back. She'd expanded to cover the wider space. He'd never heard of an animated tattoo before. How? Why?
His blood ran cold when he heard a sibilant whisper in the corner of his mind.
“Harry Potter, we meet again...”
Harry stayed very still, trying not to give in to the sudden fear which had gripped his embarrassingly small frame. A tingle ran up his left arm, where his tattoo resided. He was hit with only mild surprise when the realistic-looking Basilisk was moving. It uncurled from its position, staring into his emerald gaze with a piercing glint.
"Was that you, who spoke within my mind?" he was startled when he'd spoke Parseltongue instead of English.
"It wass, sspeaker. My name is Aela." Harry raised an eyebrow, inclining his head politely. "Pleasure to meet you, Aela. What brought this about?"
He didn't know how or why his tattoo suddenly became sentient or indeed why he no longer had a scar, but he had a feeling his questions may have answers.
"Let me explain." Once he nodded his assent, the animated Basilisk moved to Harry's shoulder, nearer his ear.
"For four years, you have had my venom flowing freely through your veins. It isss only thanks to your Parseltongue ability which offers you some degree of immunity to all ssnake venom and the tears of a Phoenix which saved your life. Once you decided to ink me onto your skin, the exact likeness of the inked Basilisk called to the venom and magic in your blood. The ink absorbed the venom, healing the point of impact. Once you go back to Hogwarts, go to the chamber. Repeat the very wordss which Tom Riddle uttered. I will leave your body as will the venom. I will no longer be sssentient and the mark marring your skin will remain unmoving. For now, until my moment of releasse, I am with you."
He groaned, rubbing his face wearily. "For what it's worth," Harry eyed the Basilisk with something akin to amusement. "Welcome to Hotel wonder boy. Please enjoy your stay and ignore frequent visions of maniacal Dark Lords and dreams of strangling lemon drop loving old coots."
The Basilisk merely blinked, choosing to curl in its coil again. He couldn't blame her, in all honesty. Right here, was further proof that his life remained consistently abnormal.
Remus reclined slightly in the worn threadbare armchair which he favoured, letting a mug tea warm his insides. It was the little things like this which he lived for.
Day by day, the order meetings were starting to wear on him and it was only when visiting Harry that his life didn't seem as chaotic, strange as that sounded.
With him, though, the pain of losing Sirius wasn't quite as pronounced. It still hurt deeply, more so as Sirius was a part of his pack. The bond was only ever broken by death and when one died, a piece of them physically died with him or her.
His respect for Albus since the day Harry lost control of his magic a few days ago had plummeted, regarding him as nothing more than a bumbling old fool. Of course, Albus was powerful, but his self-assurance would be his downfall.
The meetings were daily now instead of weekly and often went on for several hours. These days it wasn't even discussing Voldemort, but Harry! The man who was firmly on their side and would sooner join Voldemort's cause than Lucius Malfoy declaring his undying love for him.
Finishing the tea he fully relaxed into his chair, happily dozing off.
Remus jerked awake with a start, clearly hearing something. Thanking his attuned sense of hearing for probably not the last time, he drew his wand.
The wards placed around his home didn't indicate an intruder but he was still wary. He had a right to be.
His eyes widened in growing alarm as the windows of his cottage smashed, shards piercing his skin if not for the hasty Protego.
“What the hell?” he shouted, disillusioning himself. The Wards should have alerted him to anything wrong but to his confusion, they hadn't. If Death Eaters, he hoped none of the elite was here.
He dove out of the way, a loudly uttered Confringo blasting a huge hole into the wall, debris and bits of wood flying everywhere. When the haze of dust cleared, Remus couldn't believe who, he saw.
It was Dumbledore, with several others. Snape, Kingsley, Mad-eye, and Bill Weasley. Mad-eye immediately spotted him.
“Don't bother hiding Lupin,” he growled, eye swivelling in its socket. “You're not leaving here tonight.”
Before Remus could even respond, Dumbledore took over the explanation, his and five other wands pointed directly at him.
“I cannot allow you to leave alive.” Dumbledore's eyes glinted harshly. “You have been working with the enemy, Harry Potter. He is a dark wizard and because you're choosing to associate with him, you will pay the consequences.”
“You can't be serious!” Remus gave him an incredulous look. “Turning on our own people when Voldemort is out there, what are you thinking?”
Fake regret tinged Dumbledore's expression. “I'm sorry Remus, it's for the Greater Good.”
Remus immediately entered into a battle stance, quickly realising spells were not aimed at him, but the surrounding room. Fiendfyre erupted from wands, immediately setting the place ablaze. The five wizards apparated, but not before firing debilitating spells at Remus. One which he failed to dodge, smoke clouding his vision. The bone-shattering curse immediately hit his right leg, screaming as it buckled beneath the pressure. He had to get out of here.
Thanking whatever deity was up there that he hadn't lost his wand in the confusion, the crawl to the blast in the wall was a slow one. Able to feel himself burn, only sheer adrenaline and the will to survive pushed him on, blocking out every other sensation. He had to warn Harry!
At last, he crawled a fair distance away from his home. He had doubts anything could be recovered.
“Aguamenti,” he croaked, attempting to put out the fire on him. He succeeded, thankfully. He couldn't Floo, but he could apparate. He was well aware of trying to apparate in his current state, but he would die trying. Putting the excruciating pain he was in to the back of his mind, he focused with all his might, on Evergreen Manor.
It was with some shock and no less alarm that the wards he'd set up flared. Checking his wands, he looked out of the window.
Harry didn't care for stairs right now. He jumped from the opened window, slowing his descent until feet hit solid ground.
Harry ran to him, desperately checking for a pulse and knowing it was him, despite his nearly unrecognisable state. It was faint, but there. Harry nearly wept with relief. A hand touched his own and he gazed into the pained eyes of the only family he had left.
“Harry,” he coughed violently.
“Shh, ” Harry quietened him. “I'm going to get you help and I'll murder the fucking bastards who did this to you.” Eyes serious, he called for Misty.
“Yes, Harry?” she asked, eyes wide upon seeing Remus.
“Could you take Remus to St Mungo's emergency ward? I would, but I'm in no fit state to apparate someone else right now.”
“Of course.” With a snap of her fingers, a stretcher was placed under Remus. As the two disappeared, Harry shortly followed them.
He explained what had happened at the front desk and Remus was rushed straight into a room. It was all Harry could do to not completely break down. He paced outside the door, seating himself when the pacing only made him feel more agitated. Minutes passed. Or was it hours? Time bled into itself, unaware of any changes outside.
“Mr Potter.” Harry looked up from his brooding, noting that the healer's name was McCarthy.
Seeing his silent question as an affirmation to continue speaking, the man took the chair opposite him.
“He is in critical condition. The bones in his right leg are shattered knee down and his vocal cords and lungs are damaged from the intake of smoke. Burns cover half of his body but fortunately, Mr Lupin has a higher resistance to dark or darker magic due to his condition and in this case, it will be more of a help than a hindrance. As for his other injuries, as with a lot of things, it will take time.”
Harry nodded, relief taking some weight off his shoulders. “Can I see him?”
“Yes, he's awake. He'll have to stay with us for at least a few weeks before you can take him home.”
Harry nodded, opening the double doors.
A tousled head looked in his direction. Harry winced at the burns which started from his left cheek and trailed to his chest, the rest covered by sheets. He took the chair by Remus, taking his hand in his.
“Hey, Cub.” Remus rasped out.
Harry fixed his green gaze on Remus' amber ones, that watered as he coughed.
“Here.” Harry gently lifted his head so he could take a few sips of the water he held.
“Thanks.” he sighed in relief, looking at Harry seriously. “You need to be careful. The people who attacked me were part of the order. Dumbledore, Snape, Kingsley, Mad-eye, and Bill.”
“I'll kill them.” Harry sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Do you want me to see if there's anything left at your home?”
He gazed at Harry sadly, nodding. “I don't think there will be, but thank you anyway.”
Harry smiled, a glossy sheen to his eyes. ”It's the least I can do.” With a pat on Remus' shoulder, Harry left to salvage whatever might remain.
Staggering slightly, Harry promptly choked on the air which was thick with the acrid smell of ozone and burnt flesh upon his arrival.
Death, for the Fiendfyre surely destroyed most if not all of Remus' quaint little cottage. Looking at what was left or what wasn't left, Harry cautiously approached the ruins, searching every part possible.
He feared that everything was destroyed, until noticing something peeking out towards the very back. Climbing over the piles there he dug through, meeting ash, rubble and debris. Hastily wiping away the grime and sweat, he gingerly reached into the pile and pulled out a slightly burned book.
To Harry's amazement, it was a photo album. Deciding not to question his luck, he hastily pocketed the book in favour of returning home to peruse it further. Visiting hours were now over, so he would return the album to Remus the next afternoon.
With the album resting in his lap, the fireplace to Harry's right crackled. Flicking through the pages, he found several photos. Some of Remus and his family, Hogwarts, his parents, a few with the marauders.
But one single photo right at the very end caught his eye. His breath hitched, heart, skipping a beat. It was of Remus and Sirius and in that one animated moment, all the trials and hardships of war seemed to have melted from their faces. In their place were indescribably happy middle-aged men.
It pictured Remus, idly flicking through a book while standing. Sirius shot into the photo, arms locking around the werewolf so he dropped his book, arms drawing his Godfather closer. He spun Sirius about on the spot, kissing him, smiles on their lips. They both turned to wave and smile at the camera before the photo infinitely looped once again.
Harry bit his lip, though his heart and eyes were smiling, he couldn't prevent the tears even if he wanted to. For the loss of life and how unfair it was. He'd known for some time that the pair had shared more than a friendship. He had vague suspicions when he'd first met them and the secret glances and smiles only confirmed his suspicions.
The most saddening thing was, a lot of the members of the Order of the Phoenix were aged and therefore had old-fashioned ideals. Even the younger generation raised by their judgmental parents showed clear disgust for same-sex relationships.
So Sirius and Remus had to keep their relationship private. Harry dearly wanted to tell the pair that they had his full support among the masses of hate but there was neither the time nor the opportunity that he could bring it up. Personally, he was of the mind that it didn't matter.
There were idiots among humanity, there was no doubt about that. It wasn't restricted to a certain race, religion or sexuality. It was something which humanity of all kinds suffered. It didn't matter to Harry what or who people were. As long as they were nice to him, he was nice to them. He was not under any illusion that it was as simple as that, but Wizards had the habit of making life overly complicated.
So what if a man is attracted to another man? As long as they're happy and not harming anyone else, what was the problem? Love is love, no matter what, something even the muggle world didn't grasp. He was bisexual, personally, finding himself attracted to both sexes. Harry would never personally understand the issues but perhaps with time, would come more acceptance.
Feeling like he had brooded enough, Harry spent the rest of his time exploring magic itself. He had become confused as to why all of a sudden, his magical core had spiked with power. He had his suspicions, involving the old coot.
Harry made the promise to himself. For Remus, for him, he would have his revenge.
It was the next afternoon and as Harry promised himself, he went to visit Remus, album in hand. Luck had it that the man was awake, his gaze immediately landing on the photo album. He paled slightly and the only reason Harry could think of why was the photo at the very back which Harry and he suspected the tawny-haired man loved the most.
He sat down in the chair beside Remus, placing the album in his lap.
"I know about the picture." Harry decided that blunt was best before he shot him an apologetic look. "I know I could've snuck in to give it back to you yesterday but I like not having St Mungo's healers on my arse." he gazed at the man, raising a single finger as he opened his mouth.
"Give me a minute, I need to tell you this, I've wanted to for years." Harry crossed one leg over the other, hands clasped on top. "I don't care about Sirius being your mate. Personally, I'm happy you found someone you deeply care about in these dark shitty times. Life's too short for others to worry about who someone else chooses to be with. If other people can't see that, it's their loss. They should mind their own bloody business anyway. I bat for both teams myself! So I'd be a hypocrite to judge."
Remus was shocked and definitely emotional. He loved Harry very much like a son and though his disgust in him, if it would ever happen, would upset him, he would love him no less. In fact, he expected as much once Harry found the picture but to not only hear that he supported the relationship he had with Sirius but had known for a while now was a huge revelation. He almost felt ashamed he'd thought the worst of Harry but years of being shunned for his homosexuality instilled a deep-seated fear of anyone finding out. It was nice to confide in someone about the simple things.
The amber-eyed man choked on his words a little. "Thank you, Harry, your support means the world to me."
Opening his arms a little, Harry reached over to embrace the bedridden man.
"In other news," Remus sounded cheerful. "Healer McCarthy spoke with me just before you came. He said that though I'd only arrived the other day, that the burns were healing at an incredible rate. He estimates that I can go home with you in a few days instead of weeks!"
Harry couldn't help but be drawn in by Remus' enthusiasm.
"Brilliant!" and indeed, Harry could see that some of the burns had already cleared up, leaving behind pink-tinged skin which had grown back and would fade to normal over time.
He took note of Remus' yawn, deciding to bid him farewell. But not before some parting words. "Now that you have those photos, be sure to spell the sheets clean."
Laughing at Remus' sputter of indignation and rising blush, Harry went home.
It was a few hours later, whereby Harry was firmly rooted to the spot. He reread the letter over again, to be sure that he was not mistaken.
It is with some regret that I was unable to contact you earlier than this. Due to you being placed with The Dursleys, certain letters of importance over the years were unable to find their way to you. One Albus Dumbledore placed your place of residence under the fidelus, with him as secret keeper. It was only your location to another place and presumably away from him that allowed me to send this letter.
You have visited the bank recently, but documents confirming your change of housing were only just updated now.
This is to inform you of several powerful and illegal blocks placed upon your magic. A high level of magical disturbance resulting in minor damage to the area around Privet Drive forcibly broke one of the blocks. Emotions, particularly high levels of anger, can contribute to this.
This is why your power levels may have become irregular. It will remain this way until your magical core adapts.
There is a Portkey enclosed to the lower levels of Gringotts, where an associate of mine specialising in specific forms of magic will assist you in removing these blocks. However, this has to be done over time. Details of how many, when and why these blocks were placed on you will be discussed upon your arrival.
The choice of when to remove each block is entirely up to you. This Portkey is keyed to you and you only. No one will be able to take that. It is recommended that any blocks removed should be given a fortnight for your magical core to adjust.
May the blood of your enemies flow freely,
Harry took deep breaths, but he couldn't prevent the slight green glow and the brightening of his emerald eyes in his anger. "The old fucker does it again!"
"I pressume you mean Longbeard?" Aela hissed from his arm.
Harry smiled a little, despite his mood. "The very same."
He sighed. Better late than never. He touched the golden ring which came with the letter, heading to Gringotts.
It was with some luck that for once, Harry didn't lose his footing. Judging from the rather long and menacing stalactites which hung from the ceiling and the damp smell which permeated the air, he guessed they were deeper down than he'd ever been.
An old withered goblin looked up sharply at his arrival, placing the Quill down that he'd been writing with and approaching him. "Mr Potter, I have heard much about you. I am Dragonclaw."
Harry bowed. "Greetings Dragonclaw. Shall we get down to business?"
The goblin nodded, wisps of hair fluttering in the breeze. "Indeed."
Filled in, the whim to just find Dumbledore and off him was strong.
"I see." Harry gritted his teeth, unable to form more of a response for the moment until he got his temper under control.
Dumbledore, in his infinite so-called wisdom, had placed seven blocks on Harry's magic. Down to six from his Privet Drive outburst. The one which Harry had removed was placed upon him at the end of 5th year after Harry had destroyed the old man's office in a fit of rage.
The other six were at various memorable stages of Harry's life. The first was placed on him when he was just a baby. Apparently, he'd convinced his parents because he was showing high and unusual levels and control of his accidental magic. The second was placed on him before he got his Hogwarts letter. The third was after his rescue of the Philosopher's stone, the fourth was after the chamber of secrets, the fifth was during his rage and the last one was during his confrontation with Dumbledore at Privet Drive.
So he'd removed a block only to gain one back, which was immensely annoying. The man could have killed him! No one was meant to put more than one block on an adult, let alone a child! It was a miracle Harry survived with what little amount of magic he had.
Taking note of a door blended into the rocky and damp wall that opened, Dragonclaw beckoned with one finger for Harry to follow. Soon, they were in a small and tidy chamber. The walls were like that of the upper level of Gringotts, with no indication of how far down they both were. It was with some amount of alarm and apprehension that he was laid upon a flat surface, magical binds restricting his movements.
"People tend to thrash around, disrupting the flow of magic and damaging themselves." the goblin offered by way of explanation. "Just a precautionary measure."
A harsh, guttural sound erupted from him. Harry didn't know what language that was. It certainly sounded nothing like Gobbledegook. Speculations on what language Dragonclaw spoke was lost in that moment because the pain he was in was unbelievable.
It was an ache, a bone-deep one and he couldn't help the slight hiss. Soon, there was a slight tug and with it, all his nerve endings were on fire. He could feel something within his chest pulling, forcing its way out by invisible hands with no incision for it to leave. It was as though dentists were operating on his teeth and removing them without the use of anaesthetic, only with his magical core.
He screamed, throat almost tearing. The tugging was vicious, but he could feel something give way. With one more tug, it was free and within only a few seconds the pain dulled to a slight tenderness. He could already feel his magic replenishing and it was as though he'd took a sip of Felix Felicis. His power level increased and it felt like he could do anything.
The bindings were released but Harry sat on the stone slab to regain his bearings.
"Bloody hell." he breathed. A funny noise made him look up and Dragonclaw's version of a laugh escaped him.
"Yes, it will do that. The tenderness will go away shortly, so burn off any excess energy you have." He advised.
Harry nodded, standing up and shaking the goblin's hand. "Thank you for the help, I appreciate it. I'll see you in a few weeks."
The goblin inclined his head slightly, watching the human go before a predatory grin lit up his face.
"Dumbledore won't know what hit him. This wizard shall shake up the Wizarding world and we will profit." Rubbing his hands, he left to go and annoy Griphook, his favourite pastime.
Harry took the goblin's advice. Once at home, he entered the basement, where a small training room was located. It had several training dummies and a closet which was much like the Room of Requirement.
He spent the next few weeks in this manner. Summer was nearly at an end. To Harry's delight, once he'd brought Remus home, he was up and walking within the week with the burns slowly fading. The exercise he'd partaken in not just to burn up energy was benefitting Harry's body greatly. It made sense that with a powerful magical core, a body to match that would be advisable, for maximum efficiency. For all he'd toned up and had a lot more energy, not counting the fact that most of his blocks were now removed save for the largest one, he was still the runt of his year. Hopefully, he'd grow a bit.
"There's hope for you yet." Remus grinned slightly, flicking through a textbook in the library. "Your father was short as well, though he shot up several feet in his 6th year of Hogwarts."
Harry glared. "Easy for you to say, you tower over me! I only come to your bloody chest."
"Not much different from when you were a baby then."
"Piss off!" Harry would later deny that he stuck his tongue out in a fit of childishness.
The man laughed. Harry was far too easy to tease sometimes.