The Vanishing Glass

“So Bellatrix what’s your story?” Harry asked, turning his head to look at the woman in the opposite cell.

“What’s yours? Why is the Boy-Who-Lived and the blood traitor here in Azkaban?”

Harry’s temper flared and he snarled at her.  Bellatrix flinched as she saw his fangs.  “A story for a story then?”

“Why not?  I was in Hogwarts with Sirius, my sisters Narcissa and Andromeda, Severus Snape, Lucius Malfoy, your parents and other children who become the Dark Lord’s followers,” Bellatrix said.  “My mother was a real bitch.  She believed in blood purity like most of the Black family.  Our family is dark as is our magic.  Every family has ancient family magic that they can access.”

“Family magic?  I’ve never heard of that before,” Harry said.

“I’m not surprised if you were raised with Muggles,” Bellatrix said.  “But yes the Potters, like every wizarding family has ancient magic that only the children of that family can access.  Unless they are disowned from the family anyway by the current Lord of the house.  Sirius was sorted into Gryffindor instead of Slytherin like our family had been for generations.  My aunt Walburga was even crazier than my mother about blood purity. In fact our family motto is Toujours Pur which means in Latin ‘always pure’.  Andromeda went off and married a Muggle and had my niece, Nymphadora, who was sorted into Hufflepuff.  She was disowned by my mother and blasted off the family tapestry.  Sirius’s mother was also upset at him and demanded he get a resorting and called him a blood traitor.”

“The woman was an abusive bitch,” Sirius said.  “God I hated that woman.  I made some good friends in Gryffindor.  Your dad and mom, Moony and the rat.  We used to pick on Slytherins a lot, especially Snivellus.” 

“Yes and that was cruel,” Bellatrix said.  “But this is about my story, not Sirius.  Though he was blasted off the family tree as well when he ran away.  Our uncle was also blasted off the family tree.  I was in Slytherin and while I believed that Muggles and Magical people shouldn’t mix because it would only put our society at risk of being found out with all the Muggle children coming into Hogwarts, I didn’t believe they should be killed.  But I couldn’t say that around my family.  As I was the oldest child, the expectations of my family were forced upon me.  Mother was determined I not fall into the same trap as Andy and run off with a Muggle and Narcissa was engaged to Lucius Malfoy by the time she was fourteen. 

“I was betrothed to Rodolphus Lestrange.  I didn’t even like him and had only seen him a few times at pureblood parties but my parents were determined I marry someone of good stock. It’s not unusual for houses to make betrothal contracts with their children when they’re infants.  Since you’re the ‘Boy-Who-Lived’ I wouldn’t be surprised if you have a lot of betrothal contracts in your vault.”

Harry winched at that idea.  “Ginny is my soul mate.  I don’t need any other women in my life,” he said.  “Besides since I’m apparently a vampire which I didn’t know about until two weeks ago, I doubt any father would want his daughter being married to a creature.”

Sirius stared open mouthed at his godson.  “You’re a vampire? I didn’t know James had any creature blood in him,” he said.  

“Got a problem with that?” Harry asked.

“No,” Sirius said.  “It may take some time to get used to but Moony…” he trailed off.  Thinking about Moony hurt the once playful Marauder.  Moony probably thought he was responsible for James and Lily’s deaths as well as the deaths of the rat and those Muggles.  They hadn’t told Moony about them switching secret keepers because they thought Moony might be the spy.

“So you were forced to marry Lestrange?” Harry asked.

Bellatrix nodded.  “I thought the Dark Lord was right in sealing off our world from Muggles and not letting Muggle born witches and wizards into Hogwarts.  Getting jobs for half-bloods in the magical world since most are only for purebloods and those who have connections and money.  I was married when I turned eighteen and Rodolphus became abusive towards me.  Magical society is still very patriarchal.  He was never good at Potions so he got Severus to brew an Imperious Potion which he then began administering to me.  I never wanted to join the Dark Lord but I couldn’t fight the potion.  I remember feeling sick after I was branded with the Dark Mark and threw up when I got home after Rodolphus went to bed. 

“I got weaker with the abuse and the imperious potion that was forced on me every day.  To join the Death Eaters and get the mark, I was forced to torture and kill a five year old Muggle girl.  The Dark Lord said that Muggles had no business being around witches and wizards and were nothing but animals.  Things just got worse from there. I knew there was no way I could leave the Dark Lord’s service.  My mind began to slip with the abuse and the things I was forced to do under the Imperious potion and over time I suppose I did become insane. Three days after the Dark Lord was defeated, Rodolphus, his brother Rabastan, and myself went to the Longbottoms and I tortured Frank and Alice Longbottom into insanity against my will.  I had been put under a heavy dose of the potion for that mission and we were caught at the scene of the crime and thrown in here.  I was lucky that I wasn’t thrown on the same cell block as my brother-in-law and husband.  Once I came to Azkaban the potion slowly began to wear off and I was able to gain control of my sanity and mind once again.  You have no idea what it is like to be abused by your spouse, passed around to the male death eaters for their own amusement…” Bellatrix trailed off, tears falling down her face. 

“How do I know you are telling the truth and not lying to me?” Harry asked.  “This could all be a death eater trick.  You could want me to tell me your story so if Voldemort does come back then you can give him right to me.”

“I can show you my memories,” Bellatrix said.  “I know Legilimency and can show you my memories of my life up until the time I was thrown into Azkaban.”

“What’s Legilimency?”

“It’s a mind art,” Sirius said. “Legilimency is the practice of being able to peer into another’s mind and see their memories.  People who have this skill are known as Legilimens.  Voldemort, Dumbledore and Snivellus are all skilled Legilimens.  It’s done through eye contact and to someone who has never had it performed on them before, can feel a buzz in their head. Occlumency is the second mind art and the opposite of Legilimency.  People who know Occlumency are known as Occlumens.  They can shield their mind from Legilimency, create false memories in case of a Legilimens attack, and are able to build mental shields to shield their mind from invasion by other people.  But both skills take a lot of work and are not easy to master unless you practice or you are a natural in the Mind Arts.”

“How do I know you aren’t going to plant false memories in my head then or rummage through my mind?” Harry asked.

“I’ll take a magical oath,” Bellatrix said.  There was no hesitation or uncertainty in her voice.  “If I’m lying then I’ll lose my magic and possibly my life.”

“And you’re willing to risk that?” Harry asked in shock.

“Yes.”

“Suit yourself,” Harry said and Bellatrix appeared in the cell he and Ginny shared. 

“Just look into my eyes and don’t blink or move your head.  I’ll do the rest,” Bellatrix said.

Harry nodded and did as the woman commanded.  Instantly a stream of memories appeared in his mind, memories that were not his own.   He saw memories of three girls playing together outside, a pale girl with dark brown hair nervously sitting on the stool during the Welcoming Feast, arguing with a younger version of Sirius Black, the abuse she took from her parents to be the perfect pureblood daughter, seeing a young Dark Lord during a party at her family home for the first time and the fear and awe at seeing him, her parents telling her that she was to be married to one of the Lestrange brothers when she turned eighteen, the first time she had been put under the Imperious potion and having the Dark Mark branded into her skin after being forced to kill an innocent child and other painful memories. He felt Bellatrix pull out of his mind and he shook his head to rid himself of the horror of what he had just witnessed. 

“Is all that true?” Harry asked Bellatrix. 

“I, Bellatrix Lestrange nee Black, do hereby swear on my life and magic that the memories I have just shown Harry Potter are in fact true and I also swear that I do not intend to turn him over to the Dark Lord or cause him any harm should the Dark Lord return, so mote it be.”  There was a flash of light as her magic bound the oath. 

“The oath is sealed,” Bellatrix said.  “Now what about your story? What are two kids doing in a place like this?”

Harry looked at Bellatrix and then at Sirius who nodded.  “The oath is sealed,” Sirius said.  “Bella’s telling the truth about her story,” he said. “Even though she doesn’t have a wand at the moment, her oath drew upon her magic.  If she hurts you or gives you to Voldemort she will lose her magic and/or her life.  Let that be a lesson for you not to ever give a wizarding oath lightly.  Many do not do that because of the consequences in the event they are lying or break their oath.”

Harry admitted to himself that he had no clue what wizard oaths were about but he got the sense that both of them were telling the truth so he decided to tell his story after all.   So he proceeded to tell them both about the events of his second year at Hogwarts, since the first book they were reading was about his first year.  He told them about finding out he was a parslemouth during a duel with Draco Malfoy, who it turned out was related to Bellatrix and Sirius, how people suspected him of being the Heir of Slytherin because he could talk to snakes, how he and Ron had flown Mr. Weasley’s flying car to Hogwarts and crashed into the Whomping Willow because the barrier at the platform in King’s Cross had sealed itself and they couldn’t get through, how Hagrid had been taken to Azkaban on suspicion of being the one behind the attacks, how Harry had discovered Hagrid’s past and the fact that he had been expelled, how he and Ron had snuck into the Forbidden Forest to talk to an Acromantula named Aragog and almost got killed if it hadn’t been for the flying car which had turned wild due to being in the Forbidden Forest, how Dumbledore had been forced to step down from his position as headmaster of Hogwarts, about the petrification of a few students, how Hermione had created a Polyjuice Potion and he and Ron had changed themselves into Crabbe and Goyle and snuck into the Slytherin Common Room to see if Malfoy was the Heir of Slytherin or if he knew who it was-this got laughter from Sirius and Bellatrix, how Hermione had been attacked in the library and had figured out that it was a Basilisk that Harry was hearing, Ginny’s kidnapping and the messages on the wall, Harry and Ron going down to rescue Ginny, the cave in and Lockhart getting his memory wiped-“Good riddance,” Sirius said-and Harry’s fight with the Basilisk and finally being able to destroy the diary by plunging a fang into the diary.

Ginny had remained silent throughout the story, jumping at parts in the story as Harry told it.  Harry told of nobody coming to save him, how the Sword of Gryffindor had flashed into the Chamber of Secrets which he had used to kill the Basilisk, how the Basilisk had sunk a fang into him and he had blacked out, only to wake up hours later and find out from Ginny that he had died, how he discovered he was a vampire when Ginny mentioned he had stopped breathing and then come back to life, and the fact that Ron had been getting paid to be his friend, Nexus revealing himself to Harry in the tunnel that led out from the Chamber of Secrets, trying to explain to Dumbledore about the diary and Tom Riddle and how they had been arrested, tried and then thrown into Azkaban.

“And you have a soul bond at twelve years old?” Bellatrix asked.

“Well Ginny’s eleven but yeah.  It happened when Ginny helped me up after I came back to life,” Harry said. “Nexus here,” Nexus let out a trill, “said it was a soul bond that we experienced and that’s partly why we were convicted.  He scared Fawkes though when we came into the headmaster’s office.”

“Dark and Light Phoenixes don’t get alone. They’re like mortal enemies,” Sirius said.  “What about Ginny?”

“She was possessed by Tom Riddle’s memory for the entire year until she threw away the diary and I found it.  I think Lucius Malfoy slipped it in her cauldron when we were in Flourish and Blotts when shopping for school supplies. Instead of getting Ginny a healer, those idiots threw her in here with me.  Is there anything either of you can do to help her?”

Both adults shook their heads.  “The public and the Ministry don’t care prisoners like us,” Bellatrix said.  “The only way she can get help is if we can figure out a way to break out of here and get her to a healer in a different country.”

Harry nodded.  “Sirius what’s an Animagus?”

“It’s a person that can turn into an animal,” Sirius said.  “You retain your mind when in an Animagus form, unlike with… say werewolves… where they lose their mind during their transformation.  You can’t pick your Animagus either.  It’s usually a reflection of your personality and may carry some markings that you have as a person.  It’s a difficult branch of magic and not everybody can do it.”

“Can you teach us?” Harry asked.

“I can try but I don’t know if two kids will be able to learn it.”

“Do you have an Animagus Bellatrix?”  Harry asked the woman.

“A raven,” Bellatrix said and transformed to reveal a raven with violet eyes before she changed back. 

“Didn’t know you had an Animagus form Bella,” Sirius said.

“I kept it hidden from everybody,” Bellatrix said.  “It was necessary.”

“Well who wants to read the next chapter?” Harry asked.

“Since I’m in here with you and Ginny then I guess I will,” Bellatrix said.  Harry handed her the book and she flipped the pages until she saw chapter two.

Chapter Two.  The Vanishing Glass.

“Oh I bet this is going to be interesting,” Sirius said.

Nearly ten years had passed since the Dursleys had woken up to find their nephew on the front step, but Privet Drive had hardly changed at all. 

“Wow that must be boring,” Sirius said.  “How can nothing change in ten years?”

The sun rose on the same tidy front gardens and lit up the brass number four on the Dursleys’ front door; it crept into the living room, which was almost exactly the same as it had been on the night when Mr. Dursley had seen that fateful news report about the owls.  Only the photographs on the mantelpiece really showed how much time had passed.  Ten years ago, there had been lots of pictures of what looked like a large pink beach ball wearing different-colored bonnets-but Dudley Dursley was no longer a baby, and now the photographs showed a large blond boy riding his first bicycle, on a carousal at the fair, playing a computer game with his father, being hugged and kissed by his mother.  The room held no sign at all that another boy lived in the house, too.

“But you were there,” Bellatrix said.  “Why wouldn’t they have any pictures of their nephew?”

“Because they hate me,” Harry said.  “For the first ten years of my life I lived under the stairs in a cupboard. Then when I got my Hogwarts letter they moved me to my cousin’s second bedroom.”

Yet Harry Potter was still there, asleep at the moment, but not for long.  His Aunt Petunia was awake and it was her shrill voice that made the first noise of the day.

Sirius winched as he remembered the time that Petunia had shouted at him after he turned the woman’s teacup into a frog when they were kids.  He let out a whine.

“Up! Get up! Now!”

Harry woke with a start.  His aunt rapped on the door again.

“Up!” she screeched.  Harry heard her walking toward the kitchen and then the sound of the frying pan being put on the stove.  He rolled onto his back and tried to remember the dream he had been having.  It had been a good one.  There had been a flying motorcycle in it.  He had a funny feeling he had had the dream before.

Sirius looked up in shock.  “That wasn’t a dream pup.  That was a memory.  I’m surprised you remember that.”

His aunt was back beside the door.

“Are you up yet?” she demanded.

“Nearly,” said Harry.

“Well, get a move on. I want you to look after the bacon.  And don’t you dare let it burn, I want everything to be perfect on Dudley’s birthday.”

Harry groaned.

“What did you say?” his aunt snapped through the door.

“He didn’t say anything you old bat!” Ginny shouted.

“Nothing, nothing…”

Dudley’s birthday-how could he have forgotten?  Harry got slowly out of bed and started looking for socks.  He found a pair under his bed, and after pulling a spider off one of them, put them on.  Harry was used to spiders, because the cupboard under the stairs was full of them, and that was where he slept.

When he was dressed, he went down the hall into the kitchen.  The table was almost hidden beneath all of Dudley’s birthday presents.  It looked as though Dudley had gotten the new computer he wanted, not to mention the second television and the racing bike.  Exactly why Dudley wanted a racing bike was a mystery to Harry, as Dudley was very fat and hated exercise-unless of course it involved punching somebody.  Dudley’s favorite punching bag was Harry, but he couldn’t often catch him.  Harry didn’t look it but he was very fast.

“What a spoiled brat,” Ginny said. 

“They never disciplined this child?” Bellatrix asked concerned.

Harry shook his head in the negative. “No they think that their precious Duddykins can do no wrong and is an angel.” 

Sirius laughed.  “Duddykins.  That’s hilarious!”

“Wait until you see some other things that Aunt Petunia calls Dudley,” Harry said with a grin.

“Did they ever hit you Harry?” Ginny asked.

“Aunt Petunia hit me over the head with a frying pan once,” Harry said shrugging his shoulders.  “Sometimes Uncle Vernon would hit me but I was mostly sent to my cupboard without meals.”

“Child abuse is unheard of, or rather isn’t talked about in the magical world,” Sirius said remembering how his own mother used to curse him, yell at him and hit him.  It was mainly why he had run away from home at sixteen to go live with James and the Potters.  The other part being he didn’t want to fall into his parents’ trap of pureblood ideology.  Unfortunately he had left behind his little brother, Regulus, who had been caught up in the abuse and had joined the Death Eaters at a young age. Sirius and Regulus had never been on good terms after he had been sorted into Slytherin.  Sirius had ignored Regulus in favor of his friends and that may have been partly why Regulus joined the Death Eaters.

“I’m sure plenty of things in the Muggle world aren’t heard of or talked about in the magical world,” Harry said with a growl.  “Magical Britain is stuck in the Victorian Era and puts muggleborn students at a disadvantage during the summer since they can’t practice magic.”

The others nodded.  They could agree with the fact that Britain was stuck on pureblood bigotry and old traditions and laws that made them look like fools in to the rest of the wizarding world. Of course some adults knew that this was a ploy by the ‘purebloods’ and politicians to kick out the muggleborn, squib and half-bloods after graduating from Hogwarts by denying them jobs based on their lack of money and blood status.  It just wasn’t talked about in ‘polite’ society.

Perhaps it had something to do with living in a dark cupboard but Harry had always been small and skinny for his age. 

“No James was that way as well until he hit sixteen and then he went through a big growth spurt,” Sirius said.

“It could be also due to the neglect you experienced for twelve years,” Ginny voiced.  “I noticed that you always ate a lot more when the school term ended.” 

“That’s because I was starved by my loving family,” Harry said. 

He looked even smaller and skinnier than he really was because all he had to wear were old clothes of Dudley’s, and Dudley was about five times bigger than he was.  Harry had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair, and bright green eyes.  He wore round glasses held together with a lot of Scotch tape because of all the times Dudley had punched him on the nose.  The only thing Harry liked about his own appearance was a very thin scar on his forehead that was shaped like a bolt of lightning. 

“You used to like your scar?” Ginny asked in shock.

“Yeah,” Harry said. Speaking of said scar, it was still there and had surprisingly turned silver.  This was a result of the phoenix tears in Harry’s system. 

He had had it as long as he could remember, and the first question he could ever remember asking his Aunt Petunia was how he had gotten it. 

“In the car crash when your parents died,” she had said.  “And don’t ask questions.”

“You can’t learn if you don’t ask questions,” Bellatrix said.

“Thank you Miss Obvious,” Harry said glaring at Bellatrix. 

Don’t ask questions-that was the first rule for a quiet life with the Dursleys.

Uncle Vernon entered the kitchen as Harry was turning over the bacon.

“Wait they make you cook?!” Bellatrix shouted.

“They made me do everything since I was four,” Harry said.

“Comb your hair!” he barked, by way of a morning greeting.

“Won’t work.  James’ hair was always like that,” Sirius said.  “It’s the Potter genes.”

“Thank Merlin you didn’t have any kids,” Bellatrix said.  “That’s all we need.  A mini Sirius running around.”

“A mini me? Sounds like a fabulous idea Bella.  I like it!”

Bellatrix put her head in her hands and groaned before going back to the book.

About once a week, Uncle Vernon looked over the top of his newspaper and shouted that Harry needed a haircut.  Harry must have had more haircuts than all his classmates put together, but it made no difference, his hair simply grew that way-all over the place.

“That’s the way James’ hair was as well,” Sirius said.  “He never could get it to lie flat.”

Harry was frying eggs by the time Dudley arrived in the kitchen with his mother. Dudley looked a lot like Uncle Vernon.  He had a large pink face, not much neck, small, watery blue eyes, and thick blond hair that lay smoothly on his thick, fat head.  Aunt Petunia often said that Dudley looked like a baby angel-Harry often said that Dudley looked like a pig in a wig.

“You’re really observant aren’t you?” Bellatrix asked.

“Yeah,” Harry said. 

Sirius meanwhile was laughing at what Harry used to call Dudley. 

Harry put the plates of egg and bacon on the table, which was difficult as there wasn’t much room.  Dudley, meanwhile, was counting his presents.  His face fell.

“Thirty-six,” he said, looking up at his mother and father.  “That’s two less than last year.”

“Thirty-six presents?  They obviously spoil the brat,” Bellatrix said.  “No wonder he hits you Harry.”

“I think he hit me because Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia never did a thing to stop him,” Harry said.  “Do either of you know why I’m a vampire?”

“Well it’s obvious you get it from the Potter line since your mother was a muggle,” Bellatrix said.  “I didn’t know James well enough.  Did he say anything to you Sirius?”

Sirius shook his head.  “I can’t remember if he did or not.  It’s possible that James didn’t know and that the gene was dormant.”

“What does that mean?” Ginny asked.

“It means that somewhere in the family, a Potter may have married and had a child with a vampire or perhaps one of James’ distant relatives was turned into a vampire, married one and they had a child.  That gene may have then lain dormant until you were born Harry.”

“Or it could be a curse on the Potter line,” Bellatrix said in thought.  “Sometimes that happens when a witch or wizard does something to upset another witch or wizard. The witch or wizard who was upset would cast a spell on the wizard’s family that would affect future generations.”

“Darling, you haven’t counted Auntie Marge’s present, see, it’s here under this big one from Mummy and Daddy.”

“All right, thirty-seven then,” said Dudley, going red in the face.  Harry, who could see a huge Dudley tantrum coming on, began wolfing down his bacon as possible in case Dudley turned the table over.

Aunt Petunia must have scented danger, too, because she said quickly, “And we’ll buy you another two presents when we’re out today.  How’s that popkin?  Two more presents.  Is that all right?”

Dudley thought for a moment.  It looked like hard work.  Finally he said slowly, “So I’ll have thirty… thirty…”

“Thirty-nine, sweetums,” said Aunt Petunia.

“Oh.”  Dudley sat down heavily and grabbed the nearest parcel.  “All right then.”

“Merlin he can’t even count?” Bellatrix asked. 

“Dudley’s always been bad with schoolwork.  He gets abysmal grades as he prefers bullying people to actually studying,” Harry said. He took another drink from the bottle of blood in his hand. 

Uncle Vernon chuckled.

“Little tyke wants his money’s worth, just like his father.   ‘Atta boy, Dudley!”  He ruffled Dudley’s hair.

At that moment the telephone rang and Aunt Petunia went to answer it while Harry and Uncle Vernon watched Dudley unwrap the racing bike, a video camera, a remote control airplane, sixteen new computer games, and a VCR.  He was ripping the paper off a gold wristwatch when Aunt Petunia came back from the telephone looking both angry and worried.

“What’s a VCR? Sirius asked.

“It’s a video cassette recorder that Muggles stick video tapes in so they can watch movies,” Harry said.  “And a video camera is a device that you can use to videotape people, animals or anything else you want and convert into a movie.”

“Bad news, Vernon,” she said.  “Mrs. Figg’s broken her leg.  She can’t take him.”  She jerked her head in Harry’s direction.

Dudley’s mouth fell open in horror, but Harry’s heart gave a leap.  Every year on Dudley’s birthday, his parents took him and a friend out for the day, to adventure parks, hamburger restaurants, or the movies.  Every year, Harry was left behind with Mrs. Figg, a mad old lady who lived two streets away.  Harry hated it there.  The whole house smelled of cabbage and Mrs. Figg made him look at all the photographs of all the cats she’d ever owned.

“That’s cruel Harry,” Ginny said as Sirius laughed at the thought of his godson calling the squib a mad lady.

“Now what?” said Aunt Petunia, looking furiously at Harry as though he had planned this.  Harry knew he ought to feel sorry that Mrs. Figg had broken her leg, but it wasn’t easy when he reminded himself it would be a whole year before he had to look at Tibbles,  Snowy, Mr. Paws, and Tufty again.

Bellatrix wrinkled her nose in disgust at the names that Mrs. Figg had given her cats. 

“We could phone Marge,” Uncle Vernon suggested.

“Don’t be silly, Vernon, she hates the boy!”

“And I hate her,” Harry growled.

The Dursleys often spoke of Harry like this, as though he wasn’t there-or rather, as though he was something very nasty that couldn’t understand them, like a slug.

“What about what’s-her-name, your friend-Yvonne?”

“On vacation in Majorca,” snapped Aunt Petunia.

“You could just leave me here,” Harry put in hopefully (he’d be able to watch what he wanted on television for a change and maybe even have a go on Dudley’s computer).

“That’s not going to work,” Sirius said.

“And come back to find the house in ruins?” she snarled.

“I won’t blow up the house,” said Harry, but they weren’t listening.

“I suppose we could take him to the zoo,” said Aunt Petunia slowly “…and leave him in the car….”

“That car’s new, he’s not sitting in it alone.…”

“That fat walrus cares more for his car than his own nephew?!” Bellatrix shrieked causing Harry to cover his ears. 

“Yes now can we get on with the story,” Harry said. 

Dudley began to cry loudly.  In fact, he wasn’t really crying-it had been years since he’d really cried-but he knew that if he screwed up his face and wailed, that his mother would give him anything he wanted.

“Dinky Duddydums don’t cry! Mummy won’t let him spoil your special day!” she cried flinging her arms around her son.

“I…don’t…want…him…t-t-to…come!” Dudley yelled between huge, pretend sobs.  “He always sp-spoils everything!”  He sat Harry a nasty grin through the gap in his mother’s arms.

“Drama queen,” Ginny said.

Just then, the doorbell rang-“Oh good Lord they’re here!” said Aunt Petunia frantically-and a moment later, Dudley’s best friend, Piers Polkiss, walked in with his mother.  Piers was a scrawny boy with a face like a rat. 

Sirius growled at the mention of Piers being like a rat.  It reminded him of Pettigrew.

He was usually the one to hold peoples’ arms behind their backs while Dudley hit them.  Dudley stopped pretending to cry at once.

Half an hour later, Harry, who could barely believe his luck, was sitting in the back of the Dursleys’ car with Piers and Dudley, on the way to the zoo for the first time in his life.  His aunt and uncle had been unable to think of anything else to do with him, but before they’d left, Uncle Vernon had taken Harry aside.

“I’m warning you,” he had said putting his large purple face up to Harry’s, “I’m warning you now, boy-any funny business, anything at all-and you’ll be in that cupboard from now until Christmas.”

“I’m not going to do anything,” said Harry, “honestly…”

But Uncle Vernon didn’t believe him.  No one ever did.

The problem was, strange things tended to happen around Harry and it was and it was just no good telling the Dursleys he didn’t make them happen.

Once, Aunt Petunia, tired of Harry coming back from the barbers looking as if he had never been at all, took a pair of kitchen scissors and cut his hair so short he was almost bald except for his bangs, which she left “to hide that horrible scar.”  Dudley had laughed himself silly at Harry, who spent a sleepless night imagining school the next day, where he was already laughed at for his baggy clothes and taped glasses.  Next morning, however, he had gotten up to find his hair exactly as it had been before Aunt Petunia had sheared it off. He had gotten a week in his cupboard for this, even though he had tried to explain that he couldn’t explain how it had grown back so quickly.

“It sounds like that may be a metamorphmagusability,” Bellatrix said as she finished the paragraph.

“Metamorphmagus?” Harry asked.

“Yeah.  It’s a witch or wizard who can change their appearance at will.  They’re born, not made and extremely rare.”

Another time, Aunt Petunia had been trying to force him into a revolting old sweater of Dudley’s (brown with orange puffballs).

“Yuck,” Ginny said.

The harder she tried to pull it over his head, the smaller it seemed to become, until finally it might have fitted a hand puppet, but certainly not Harry.  Aunt Petunia had decided it must have shrunk in the wash and, to his great relief, Harry wasn’t punished. 

“Why would you be punished for that?” Sirius asked.

“Because my relatives hate magic,” Harry said.

On the other hand, he’d gotten into terrible trouble for being found on the roof of the school kitchens.  Dudley’s gang had been chasing him as usual when, as much to Harry’s surprise as anyone else’s, there he was sitting on the chimney.  The Dursleys had received a very angry letter from Harry’s headmistress telling them Harry had been climbing school buildings.  But all he’d tried to do (as he shouted at Uncle Vernon through the locked door of his cupboard) was jump behind the big trash cans outside the kitchen doors.  Harry supposed the wind had caught him in mid-jump.

“You apparated?!” Sirius shouted in surprise.  “You must have had powerful magic even back then to be able to do that.  How old were you anyway?”

“Five,” Harry said.

Sirius let out a whistle and looked to his cousin who had stopped reading at the sentence as well.  “I have to agree with Sirius. Very few children are able to apparate that young consciously.”

 But today, nothing was going to go wrong.  It was even worth being with Dudley and Piers to be spending the day somewhere that wasn’t school, his cupboard, or Mrs. Figg’s cabbage-smelling living room.

While he drove, Uncle Vernon complained to Aunt Petunia.  He liked to complain about a lot of things: people at work, Harry, the council, Harry, the bank, and Harry were just a few of his favorite subjects.  This morning, it was motorcycles.

“…roaring around like maniacs, the young hoodlums,” he said as a motorcycle overtook them.

“I had a dream about a motorcycle,” said Harry, remembering suddenly. “It was flying.”

“Poor Harry,” Ginny said. 

Uncle Vernon nearly crashed into the car in front.  He turned right around in his seat and yelled at Harry, his face like a gigantic beet with a mustache: “MOTORCYCLES DON’T FLY!”

Dudley and Piers snickered.

“I know they don’t,” said Harry.  “It was only a dream.”

But he wished he hadn’t said anything.  If there was one thing the Dursleys hated more than his asking questions, it was his talking about anything acting in a way it shouldn’t, no matter if it was in a dream or even a cartoon-they seemed to think he might get dangerous ideas.

It was a very sunny Saturday and the zoo was crowded with families.  The Dursleys bought Dudley and Piers large chocolate ice creams at the entrance and then, because the smiling lady in the van had asked Harry what he wanted before they could hurry him away, they bought him a cheap lemon ice pop.  It wasn’t half bad, Harry thought, licking it as they watched a gorilla scratching his head who looked remarkably like Dudley, except that it wasn’t blond.

Laughter came from Sirius, Ginny and Bellatrix at the thought causing Harry to give a weak smile.

Harry had the best morning he’d had in a long time.  He was careful to walk a little way apart from the Dursleys so that Dudley and Piers, who were starting to get bored with the animals by lunchtime, wouldn’t fall back on their favorite hobby of hitting him.

Sirius let out a low growl.  If he got out of Azkaban and met that little whale, he’d make the kid sorry for hurting his pup along with the Dursleys.

They ate in the zoo restaurant, and when Dudley had a tantrum because his knickerbocker glory didn’t have enough ice cream on top, Uncle Vernon bought him another one and Harry was allowed to finish the first.

Harry felt, afterward, that he should have known it was all too good to last.

After lunch they went to the reptile house.  It was cool and dark in there, with lit windows all along the walls.  Behind the glass, all sorts of lizards and snakes were crawling and slithering over bits of wood and stone.  Dudley and Piers wanted to see huge, poisonous cobras and thick, man-crushing pythons.  Dudley quickly found the largest snake in the place.  It could have wrapped its body twice around Uncle Vernon’s car and crushed it into a trashcan-but at the moment it didn’t look in the mood.  In fact, it was fast asleep. 

Dudley stood with his nose pressed against the glass, staring at the glistening brown coils.

“Make it move,” he whined at his father.  Uncle Vernon tapped on the glass, but the snake didn’t budge.

“Do it again,” Dudley ordered.  Uncle Vernon rapped the glass smartly with his knuckles, but the snake just snoozed on.

“This is boring,” Dudley moaned.  He shuffled away.

Harry moved in front of the tank and looked intently at the snake. He wouldn’t have been surprised if it had died of boredom itself-no company except stupid people drumming their fingers on the glass trying to disturb it all day long.  It was worse than having a cupboard as a bedroom, where Aunt Petunia was the only visitor hammering on the door to wake you up; at least he got to visit the rest of the house.

The snake suddenly opened its beady eyes.  Slowly, very slowly, it raised its head until its eyes were on a level with Harry’s.

It winked.

“This author is an idiot,” Bellatrix said. “Snakes don’t have eyelids so they can’t wink.”

Harry stared.  Then he looked quickly around to see if anyone was watching.  They weren’t.  He looked back at the snake and winked, too.

The snake jerked its head toward Uncle Vernon and Dudley, then raised its eyes to the ceiling.  It gave Harry a look that said quite plainly:

I get that all the time.

“I know,” Harry murmured through the glass, though he wasn’t sure the snake could hear him.  “It must be really annoying.”

The snake nodded vigorously.

“I still can’t believe you’re a parslemouth,” Sirius said with a shake of his head.  “Though I can’t believe you’re a vampire either or that you have a dark phoenix.”

Nexus trilled and turned his beady gaze on Sirius. /I’ll have you know that dark phoenixes are as loyal to their masters as a light phoenix human./

Harry laughed and related what Nexus had said.  “No offense meant.  It’s just hard for me to comprehend,” Sirius said holding up his hands.

“I have to agree with my cousin there on that Harry.  Parsletongue is a trait of Slytherin’s bloodline,” Bellatrix said. 

“Where do you come from anyway?”

The snake jabbed its tail at a little sign next to the glass.  Harry peered at it.

“Didn’t you find it odd that you were talking to a snake?” Bellatrix asked.

“Snakey, snakey,” Ginny said.

Harry frowned at Ginny. “I didn’t even I was speaking another language,” Harry admitted.  “I was surprised that the snake could understand me.”

Boa Constrictor, Brazil.

“Was it nice there?”

The snake jabbed its tail at the sign again and Harry read on: This specimen was bread in the zoo.  “Oh, I see-so you’ve never been to Brazil?”

As the snake shook its head, a deafening shout behind Harry made both of them jump. 

“Oh no,” Sirius said sensing something bad was about to happen.

“DUDLEY!  MR. DURSLEY!  COME AND LOOK AT THIS SNAKE!  YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT IT’S DOING!”

Dudley came waddling toward them as fast as he could.

“Out of the way, you,” he said, punching Harry in the ribs.

Sirius let out an angry growl at the thought of his pup being hurt.

 Caught by surprise, Harry fell hard on the concrete floor.  What came next happened so fast no one saw how it happened-one second, Piers and Dudley were leaning right up close to the glass, the next they had leapt back with howls of horror.

“Oh what happened?” Sirius asked excitedly.  Bellatrix too seemed interested in what had occurred in the zoo.

Harry sat up and gasped; the glass in front of the boa constrictor’s cage had vanished.  The great snake was uncoiling itself rapidly and slithering onto the floor. People throughout the reptile house started screaming and running for the exits.

Everyone burst out laughing at that.  “You set the snake free?” Bellatrix asked in surprise. 

“A pity your cousin couldn’t have been eaten by it,” Sirius said.

“That’s probably a good thing,” Harry said.  “The poor snake would probably get indigestion or something.”

As the snake slid swiftly past him, Harry could have sworn a low, hissing voice said, “Brazil, here I come…Thanksss, amigo.”

The keeper of the reptile house was in shock.

“But the glass,” he kept saying, “where did the glass go?”

“It vanished you idiot,” Ginny said.

The zoo director himself made Aunt Petunia a cup of strong, sweet tea while he apologized over and over again.  Piers and Dudley could only gibber.  As far as Harry had seen, the snake hadn’t done anything except snap playfully at their heels as it passed, but by the time they were all back in Uncle Vernon’s car, Dudley was telling them how it had nearly bitten off his leg, while Piers was swearing it had tried to squeeze him to death.  But worst of all, for Harry at least, was Piers calming down enough to say, “You were talking to it, weren’t you, Harry?”

“Ungrateful bastard,” Harry muttered.  “I wish the snake had eaten them both.”

Uncle Vernon waited until Piers had left the house before starting on Harry.  He was so angry he could hardly speak.  He managed to say, “Go-cupboard-stay-no meals,” before he collapsed into a chair and Aunt Petunia had to fetch him a strong glass of brandy.

Harry lay in his dark cupboard much later, wishing he had a watch.  He didn’t know what time it was and he couldn’t be sure that the Dursleys were asleep yet.  Until they were, he couldn’t risk sneaking to the kitchen for some food.

“Did they really starve you?” Bellatrix asked concerned which many would find was not like her.

“I managed to sneak to the kitchen for some food that night,” Harry said.  “They never really starved me but they never gave me as much food as Dudley.”

He’d lived with the Dursleys almost ten years, ten miserable years, as long as he could remember, ever since he’d been a baby and his parents had died in that car crash.  He couldn’t remember being in the car when his parents had died.  Sometimes, when he strained his memory during long hours in his cupboard, he came up with a strange vision: a blinding flash of green light and a burning pain his forehead.

Ginny, Sirius and Bellatrix looked at him in shock. “You actually remember the night your parents died?” Sirius asked in disbelief.  Nexus laid his head against Harry’s check and Harry reached up a hand to stroke his familiar’s breast. 

“I can remember every detail of that night,” Harry said.  “Dad telling mom to run for it, mom putting me in my crib and barricading the door, shielding me from Voldemort as he blasted open the door, my mom begging him not to kill me and to take her instead, Voldemort offering her a chance to live…” he frowned at that, “…and she refused, mom falling to the floor, him turning to me and firing the jet of green light at me, it backfiring onto him even as it cut into my forehead…”  he shook his head and trailed off.

“Why would He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named spare a muggle?” Ginny asked.  “I thought the Dark Lord hated all muggles?”

“He does,” Bellatrix said.  “It seems odd that he would consider sparing Lily if he could just kill Harry.”

This, he supposed, was the crash, though he couldn’t imagine where all the green light came from.  He couldn’t remember his parents at all.  His aunt and uncle never spoke about them, and of course he was forbidden from asking questions.  There were no photographs of them the house.

When he had been younger, Harry had dreamed and dreamed of some unknown relation coming to take him away, but it had never happened; the Dursleys were his own family.  Yet sometimes he thought (or maybe hoped) that strangers on the street seemed to know him.  Very strange strangers they were, too.  A tiny man in a violet top hat had bowed to him once while out shopping with Aunt Petunia and Dudley.  After asking him furiously if he knew the man, Aunt Petunia had rushed them out of the shop without buying anything.  A wild-looking old woman dressed all in green had waved merrily at him once on a bus.  A bald man in a very long purple cloak had actually shaken his hand in the street the other day and then walked away without a word. 

Harry stopped as he sensed the adults were upset about something.  “What’s wrong?”

“Harry did anyone know that you were with your relatives?” Sirius asked.

“I don’t think so,” Harry said frowning.  “Dumbledore never explained why I had to go there.”

Sirius raised his gaze to look at his cousin who met the gaze with a hard one of her own.  “If they had no idea where you were then why were these people in a muggle neighborhood and why did they just happen to spot you out of dozens of people?” Bellatrix asked. 

“I don’t know,” Harry said, realizing that Bellatrix and Sirius were making a good point. 

“Maybe Dumbledore sent his little vigilante group to watch Harry and make sure he stayed at the Dursleys,” Sirius murmured thoughtfully.

“What vigilante group?” Ginny asked curious.

“The Order of the Phoenix,” Sirius said.  “Dumbledore’s own personal and unmarked group of witches and wizards that was used to hunt down Death Eaters and battle Voldemort’s forces in the first and second wars.  Your parents, myself, the Longbottoms, and two of my friends were all part of the order along with many other people.”

Bellatrix nodded thoughtfully.  “I bet the woman in the emerald green robe was McGonagall.”

Harry pulled out the letter and frowned.  “It looks like book five is called Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” he said.

“Then maybe that book will talk about the Order,” Sirius said. 

The weirdest thing about all these people was the way they seemed to vanish the second Harry tried to get a closer look.

At school, Harry had no one.  Everybody knew that Dudley’s gang hated that odd Harry Potter in his baggy old clothes and broken glasses, and nobody liked to disagree with Dudley’s gang.

“That’s the end of this chapter,” Bellatrix said.  “Who volunteers next?”

“I will,” Ginny said. Bellatrix handed her the book and was sent back to her cell. Ginny flipped to the third chapter and read: “Chapter Three. The Letters From No One.”

The Boy Who Lived

See Key/Warnings in Chapter One. Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He’s never worn a cloak of invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon.  All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years. 

Sirius looked at Harry startled.  “James I know you had plenty of birthdays.”

“I’m not James. I’m Harry Potter.”

“Little Harry? But you’re only a baby,” Sirius said confused. 

Harry sighed.  ‘I’m surrounded by insane people. Just my luck.’  “No I’m twelve years old now.  I’m… was in Hogwarts.  Until I got expelled and thrown in here with my wife Ginny.”

“Little Harry want to play?” Ginny asked.

“No Ginny,” Harry said looking at her.  “I want to read this book.”

When nobody said anything he continued.  But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed.  There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him… if Harry can survive the encounter.

He turned the book over and saw a picture of himself trying to catch a snitch with a unicorn running across the grounds and a Cerberus hiding in Hogwarts.  “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.”

“Who’s J.K. Rowling?” Ginny asked.

“I have no idea Ginny.  I’d like to know how the woman knows about me and the magical world. Think she’s a squib?”

“Could be a muggle,” Bellatrix said. 

“But how would a Muggle know about the wizarding world?”

“With people like Molly Weasley, I’m surprised the muggles haven’t found out about us by now,” Bellatrix said. 

Harry coughed to get silence and opened up the book to the first page.  Chapter One.  The Boy Who Lived.

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.  They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange and mysterious because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense. 

Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. 

“What’s a drill?” Sirius asked.

“A muggle contraption that is used to screw in bolts and screws so muggles can build houses and stuff,” Harry said.

He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache.  Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors.  The Dursleys also had a small son called Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere.

“They sound pleasant,” Bellatrix said with a sneer.  “How did you manage to get by without killing them?”

“Well I didn’t know I was a wizard until the day I got my letter,” Harry said.

“What?!” Bellatrix screeched.  “What do you mean you didn’t know you were a wizard until you got your letter?!”

“You’ll find out if I’m allowed to read,” Harry said. 

Bellatrix waved her hand for Harry to continue.  The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it. They didn’t think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters.

“There’s nothing wrong with the Potters!” Sirius shouted. 

“That’s just the way my relatives think,” Harry said.  “They’ll be glad to never see me again though.”

Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley’s sister, but they hadn’t met for several years; in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn’t even have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be. 

“That’s not even a word,” Ginny said. 

The Dursleys shuddered to think what the neighbors would say if the Potters arrived in the street.  The Dursleys knew that the Potters had a small son, too, but they had never even seen him.  This boy was another good reason for keeping the Potters away, they didn’t want Dudley mixing with a child like that.

When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesday our story starts, there was nothing to suggest that strange and mysterious things would soon be happening all over the country.  Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for work, and Mrs. Dursley gossiped away as she wrestled a screaming Dudley into his high chair.

“These people must have dull lives,” Bellatrix said. 

“Yeah. Uncle Vernon hates anything to do with imagination,” Harry said. 

None of them noticed a large, tawny owl flutter past the window.

At half past eight, Mr. Dursley picked up his briefcase, pecked Mrs. Dursley on the cheek, and tried to kiss Dudley good-bye but missed, because Dudley was now having a tantrum and throwing his cereal at the walls.  “Little tyke,” chortled Mr. Dursley as he left the house.  He got into his car and backed out of number four’s drive.

“Horrible child,” Bellatrix said.

It was on the corner of a street that he noticed the first sign of something peculiar-a cat reading a map. 

“Oh I bet that’s Minnie!” Sirius crowed.

“Minne?” Harry asked.

“Minerva McGonagall,” Bellatrix said.  “The Marauders, of which my cousin here was part of along with your father Potter, used to call Minerva ‘Minnie’ in private.”

“You knew my father?” Harry asked looking at the man with interest.  “Did you know my mother too? What were they like?”

“Yeah I knew your parents,” Sirius said smiling. “Your dad was had a talent for transfiguration and your mom was amazing with Charms and Potions.  Your dad and I were the ringleaders of our little gang.  James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew.  Your dad chased your mom around for six years before she finally agreed to go out with him in their seventh year. They got married after graduating and I was best man.  We used to play tricks on the Slytherins, especially a greasy haired git named Severus Snape.”

“Snape?!” Harry shouted. 

“Yeah. Do you know him?” Sirius asked.

“He’s the Potions master at Hogwarts and hates me!”

“Snivellus is a professor? Who was the idiot that hired him as a professor?” Sirius asked. 

“Snape doesn’t hate you Harry. He hates your father,” Bellatrix said.  “Sirius did something stupid and mean in their fifth year that almost cost Severus his life but your father saved him. He was also in love with Lily but did something stupid when we were at school with each other and destroyed their friendship. He probably hates you because you look so much like your father.”

“That’s stupid. Why can’t the man let go of his hatred for my father?” Harry asked.

“Well the Marauders never apologized to Severus for what they did,” Bellatrix said.  “They were bullies and not the kind people you may have thought of them as.  Your father did grow up though in his seventh year.  I think your mom had a lot to do with that growing up. My cousin on the other hand still acts like a child.”

“You’re cousins?” Ginny asked.

“Yes. Most pureblood families are related in some way. The Malfoys are related to us due to my sister, Narcissa, marrying Lucius Malfoy.  Even, as much as I hate to admit it, Andromeda and her daughter are related to me even though she went and married that muggle. Most pureblood families marry each other to keep their lines pure. They don’t realize that it’s only hurting the wizarding blood by doing that.”

For a second, Mr. Dursley didn’t realize what he had seen-then he jerked his head around to look again.  There was a tabby cat standing on the corner of Privet Drive, but there wasn’t a map in sight.  What could he have been thinking of?  It must have been a trick of the light.  Mr. Dursley blinked and stared at the cat.  It stared back.  As Mr. Dursley drove around the corner and up the road, he watched the cat in his rearview mirror.  It was now reading the sign that sign that said Privet Drive-no, looking at the sign; cats couldn’t read maps or signs.  Mr. Dursley gave himself a little shake and put the cat out of his mind.  As he drove toward town he thought of nothing except a large order of drills he was hoping to get that day.

“He sure has a one track mind,” Sirius said.  “I never liked him.  Didn’t like Petunia either come to think of it. She screamed when I turned her hair blue.’

“You know Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia?” Harry asked.

“Not really,” Sirius said.  “But we did go over there a few times to visit Lily.  Petunia hated freaks being in her house. Her parents loved us though.  Mrs. Dursley always made the best cookies and cakes.”

Harry was glad to hear something about his family since he wasn’t allowed to ask questions at home and there were no pictures of his mother in the house.  He wondered what the letter meant about not killing Sirius and to wait until the end of the third book before he judged the man.  Sirius had been shocked that Harry had arrived in Azkaban and had told him that he was Harry’s godfather. Harry didn’t know what to think of that and didn’t understand why the man was here when he could have been raising Harry all his life.  ‘Maybe the books will tell me.’

But on the edge of town, drills were driven out of his mind by something else. As he sat in the usual morning traffic jam, he couldn’t help noticing

“Bet you could,” Harry interrupted himself.

that there seemed to be a lot of strangely dressed people about.  People in cloaks.  Mr. Dursley couldn’t bear people who dressed in funny clothes-the getups you saw on young people!  He supposed this was some stupid fashion new fashion. He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and his eyes fell on a huddle of these weirdoes standing quite close by. They were whispering excitedly together.  Mr. Dursley was enraged to see that a couple of them weren’t young at all; while that man had to be older than he was and dressed in an emerald-green cloak!  The nerve of him!  But then it struck Mr. Dursley that this was probably some silly stunt-these people were obviously collecting for something… yes that would be it.  The traffic moved on and a few minutes later, Mr. Dursley arrived in the Grunnings parking lot, his mind back on drills.

Mr. Dursley always sat with his back to the window in his office on the ninth floor.  If he hadn’t he might have found it hard to concentrate on drills that morning.  He didn’t see the owls swooping past in broad daylight, though people down on the street certainly did; they pointed and gazed open-mouthed as owl after owl sped overhead. Most of them had never seen an owl even at nighttime.  Mr. Dursley, however, had a perfectly normal, owl-free morning.  He yelled at five different people.  He made several important phone calls and shouted a bit more.  He was in a very good mood until lunchtime, when he thought he’d stretch his legs and walk across the road to buy himself a bun from the bakery.

“Is that the only exercise he gets?” Ginny asked.

“Yeah.  My family hates exercise. The only exercise Dudley likes is Harry Hunting.”

“What’s Harry Hunting?” Bellatrix asked. Now that she was in Azkaban, the imperious potions Rodolphus had forced on her were wearing off and she was starting to gain her sanity back. 

“You’ll see,” Harry said.

He’d forgotten all about the people in cloaks until he passed a group of them next to the baker’s.  He eyed them angrily as he passed.  He didn’t know why, but they made him uneasy.  This bunch were whispering excitedly, too, and he couldn’t see a single collecting tin in sight.  It was on his way back past them, clutching a large doughnut in a bag, that he caught a few words of what they were saying.

“-the Potter’s, that’s right, that’s what I heard-”

“-yes, their son, Harry-”

Mr. Dursley stopped dead.  Fear flooded him.  He looked back at the whisperers as if he wanted to say something to them, but thought better of it.

He dashed back across the road, hurried up to his office, snapped at his secretary not to disturb him, seized his telephone and had almost finished dialing his home number when he changed his mind.  He put the receiver back down and stroked his mustache, thinking… no, he was being stupid.  Potter wasn’t such an unusual name.  He was sure there were lots of people called Potter who had a son called Harry.  Come to think of it, he wasn’t even sure his nephew was called Harry.  He’d never even seen the boy.  It might have been Harvey.  Or Harold. 

“They don’t even know your name?” Sirius asked, staring at his godson.

“I didn’t even know my own name until elementary school.  I was always called ‘freak’ or ‘boy’ by my relatives when I was younger,” Harry said.  “Even now I still get called ‘boy’ by them.” 

“Harry I’m sorry. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you,” Sirius said.  

Harry looked at the man coldly.  He didn’t know if he should feel sorry for the man or not.  The books suddenly went invisible as food was delivered.  Harry looked at the tray that was slid through the bars in disgust.  Porridge and stale bread.  That was all they had to eat in Azkaban, the only wizarding prison in the British Isles.  Guarded by Dementors, soul sucking fiends, who had skeletal hands and fed on the happy emotions of the prisoners, often driving them to insanity.  Most prisoners went insane within a few months to years in the prison.  The four ate the meal and pushed the trays back out for the dementors to collect them. 

When the dementors had collected the trays along the cell block they were in, the box of books popped back into existence and Harry continued with the chapter.  There was no point in worrying Mrs. Dursley; she always got so upset at any mention of her sister.

“Of course she did,” Sirius said.  “Petunia was jealous that Lily was a witch and she wasn’t. You know Lily wrote a letter to the headmaster, asking if Petunia could come to Hogwarts but of course there was no way she could being a Muggle.  Muggles can’t even see Hogwarts.”

“Petunia was jealous of my mother?” Harry asked, pleased to keep learning about his parents.

“Yeah.  The Marauders were always mean to her but looking back I can see why she was hurt that Lily could do something she couldn’t.  Wouldn’t you be upset if you had a sibling and your brother or sister was able to go to Hogwarts and do magic but you couldn’t?”

Harry thought about that and nodded.  If he looked at it that way then he could see why his aunt hated his mother and didn’t like him.  But that was no reason for her to be abusive towards her nephew.  ‘Maybe I need to find a way to contact her and patch things up with her.  But would she even listen to me? Not likely.’  He didn’t blame her-if he’d had a sister like that… but all the same, those people in cloaks…

He found it a lot harder to concentrate on drills that afternoon and when he left the building at five o’clock, he was still so worried that he walked straight into someone just outside the door.

“Sounds like Professor Flitwick,” Bellatrix said thinking about the description and comparing it to her old Charms Professor. 

“Sorry,” he grunted, as the tiny old man stumbled and almost fell.  It was a few seconds before Mr. Dursley realized that the man was wearing a violet cloak.  He didn’t seem at all upset at almost being knocked to the ground.  On the contrary, his face split into a wide smile and he said in a squeaky voice that made passerby stare, “Don’t be sorry my dear sir, for nothing could upset me today! Rejoice, for You-Know-Who has gone at last! Even Muggles like yourself should be celebrating, this happy, happy day!” 

And the old man hugged Mr. Dursley around the middle and walked off.

Sirius and Bellatrix burst out laughing.  Sirius’s laugh was a bark like laugh.  Bellatrix’s was a bit manic as she was still suffering from the after effects of the potion she had been under all her married life, but it was pleasing to Harry’s ears.  “That’s Flitwick alright!”  Sirius said.  “I would have loved to see Dursley’s expression when Flitwick hugged him.”

Even Harry and Ginny cracked smiles at the thought of seeing that memory.  “A pity we will never be able to go back to Hogwarts,” Harry said. 

“What do you mean you will never be able to go back to Hogwarts?”

“I’ll tell you when I’m done with this chapter,” Harry said.

“Then continue Harry,” Sirius said.

Mr. Dursley stood rooted to the spot.  He had been hugged by a complete stranger.  He also thought he had been called a Muggle, whatever that was.  He was rattled.  He hurried to his car and set off for home, hoping he was imagining things, which he had never hoped before, because he didn’t approve of imagination.

As he pulled into the driveway of number four, the first thing he saw-and it didn’t improve his mood-was the tabby cat he’d spotted that morning.  It was now sitting on his garden wall.  He was sure it was the same one; it had the same markings around its eyes.

“Shoo!” said Mr. Dursley loudly.

The cat didn’t move.  It just gave him a stern look.  Was this normal cat behavior?  Mr. Dursley wondered.

“No that’s just McGonagall behavior,” Sirius said laughing.

Trying to pull himself together, he let himself into the house.  He was still determined not to mention anything to his wife.

Mrs. Dursley had had a nice, normal day.  She told him over dinner all about Mrs. Next Door’s problems with her daughter and how Dudley had learned a new word (“Won’t!”).  Mr. Dursley tried to act normally.  When Dudley had been put to bed, he went into the living room in time to catch the last report in the evening news.

“And finally, bird-watchers everywhere have reported that the nation’s owls have been behaving very unusually today.  Although owls normally hunt at night and are hardly ever seen in daylight, there have been hundreds of these sightings of these birds flying in every direction since sunrise.  Experts are unable to explain why the owls have suddenly changed their sleeping pattern.”  The newscaster allowed himself a grin. “Most mysterious.  And now, over to Jim McGuffin with the weather.  Going to be any more showers of owls tonight, Jim?”

“Well Ted,” said the weatherman, “I don’t know about that, but it’s not only the owls that have been acting oddly today.  Viewers as far apart as Kent, Yorkshire, and Dundee have been phoning in to tell me that instead of the rain I promised yesterday, they’ve had a downpour of shooting stars!  Perhaps people have been celebrating Bonfire Night early-it’s not until next week, folks! But I can promise a very wet night tonight.”

Mr. Dursley sat frozen in his armchair.  Shooting stars all over Britain? Owls flying by daylight?  Mysterious people in cloaks?  And a whisper, a whisper about the Potters…

Mrs. Dursley came into the living room carrying two cups of tea.  It was no good.  He’d have to say something to her.  He cleared his throat nervously.  “Er-Petunia, dear-you haven’t heard from your sister lately, have you?”

As he had expected, Mrs. Dursley looked shocked and angry.  After all, they normally pretended she didn’t have a sister.

“That’s awful of them Harry,” Ginny said.  She got up and came over to sit beside her husband.  Harry had to admit he was worried about her sanity.  She needed to see a healer to deal with the possession she had suffered during her first year at Hogwarts.  Not be locked away here in Azkaban.  But everyone thought that she was just as guilty for the petrification of the students at Hogwarts as Harry was.  Nobody believed them when they had said that the diary had been cursed.  Harry would have thought that Dumbledore would but he had turned his back on them both. 

“I’m used to it,” Harry said as he ran his fingers through Ginny’s hair. 

“You shouldn’t be used to it,” Bellatrix said. “Nobody should have to put up with people who hate them.”

“I didn’t have anywhere else to go,” Harry said.  “I had no other family.”

“Your parents should have written a will that specified who you could go to in case they died,” Bellatrix said.  “Every wizarding family makes sure to have a will with people their children can go to in the event of their death.”

“Well I don’t know anything about a will,” Harry said.

“It should have been read to you on your eleventh birthday,” Sirius said.  “That’s what normally happens.”

“Well Hagrid never mentioned a will to me and I didn’t think to ask.”

“That oaf took you to get your school supplies?” Bellatrix asked.  She had never liked Hagrid.  He was too obsessed with dangerous creatures.

“Yeah.  He was the one who gave me my letter and took me to get my school supplies,” Harry said.  “He also told me that I was a wizard and told me about Voldemort being the one to kill my parents.”

Bellatrix and Sirius both frowned at that.  “Did you get an information packet about Hogwarts and wizarding culture at all?” Sirius asked.

“No.  Should I have?” Harry asked looking from one adult to the other.

“You should have gotten an information packet since you were raised by Muggles,” Sirius said.  “All Muggle born children and half-bloods raised in the Muggle world do.”

“All I got was a letter. Actually about three hundred letters.”

“Three hundred letters?  All I got was one,” Sirius said.  “I suppose we’ll see that in this book?”

“Yeah,” Harry said.  “No,” she replied sharply.  “Why?”

“Funny stuff on the news,” Mr. Dursley mumbled.  “Owls…shooting stars…and there were a lot of funny-looking people in town today…”

So?” snapped Mrs. Dursley.

“Well, I just thought…maybe…it had something to do with…you know…her crowd.”

Mrs. Dursley sipped her tea through pursed lips.  Mr. Dursley wondered whether he dare tell her he had heard the name “Potter.”  He decided he didn’t dare.  Instead he said, as casually as he could, “Their son-he’d be about Dudley’s age now, wouldn’t he?”

“I suppose so,” said Mrs. Dursley stiffly.

“What’s his name again?  Harold isn’t it?”

“Harry. Nasty common name, if you ask me.”

“There’s nothing wrong with Harry!” Sirius shouted angrily.  “You were named after your mom’s dad,” Sirius said. 

“Oh, yes,” said Mr. Dursley, his heart sinking horribly.  “Yes, I quite agree.”

He didn’t say another word as they went upstairs to bed.  While Mrs. Dursley was in the bathroom, Mr. Dursley crept to the bedroom window and peered down into the front garden.  The cat was still there.  It was staring down Privet Drive as though it were waiting for something.

Was he imagining things?  Could all this have anything to do with the Potters?  If it did…if it got out that they were related to a pair of-well he didn’t think he could bear it.

The Dursleys got into bed.  Mrs. Dursley fell asleep quickly but Mr. Dursley lay awake, turning it all over in his mind.  His last, comforting thought before he fell asleep was that even if the Potters were involved, there was no reason for them to come near him and Mrs. Dursley.  The Potters knew very well what he and Petunia thought about them and their kind….He couldn’t see how he and Petunia could get mixed up in anything that might be going on-he yawned and turned over-it couldn’t affect them

How very wrong he was.

Mr. Dursley might have been drifting into an uneasy sleep, but the cat on the wall outside was showing no sign of sleepiness.  It was sitting still as a statue, its eyes fixed unblinkingly on the far corner of Privet Drive. It didn’t so much as quiver when a car door slammed on the next street, nor when two owls swooped overhead.  In fact, it was nearly midnight before the cat moved at all.

A man appeared on the corner the cat had been watching, appeared so suddenly and silently you’d have thought he’d just popped out of the ground.  The cat’s tail twitched and its eyes narrowed.

“Dumbledore,” Ginny said.  “Dumb-as-a-door, dumb-by-door.”

Harry looked at Ginny with concern in his eyes.  “You’re right Ginny.” 

“What’s Dumbledore doing in a Muggle neighborhood?” Bellatrix asked curiously.   She couldn’t think why the leader of the light would be in a muggle neighborhood at midnight.  Harry ignored her and continued with the story.

Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive.  He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt.  He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice.  This man’s name was Albus Dumbledore.

Albus Dumbledore didn’t seem to realize that he had just arrived in a street where everything from his name to his boots was unwelcome.  He was busy rummaging in his cloak, looking for something.  But he did seem to realize that he was being watched, because he looked up suddenly at the cat, which was still staring at him from the other end of the street.  For some reason, the cat seemed to amuse him.  He chuckled and muttered, “I should have known.”

He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket.  It seemed to be a silver cigarette lighter.  He flicked it open, held it up in the air, and clicked it.  The nearest lamp went out with a little pop.  He clicked it again-the next lamp flickered into darkness.  Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him.  If anyone had looked out their window now, even beady-eyed Mrs. Dursley, they wouldn’t be able to see anything that was happening down on the pavement.  Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside his cloak and set off down the street toward number four, where he sat down on the wall next to the cat.  He didn’t look at it, but after a moment he spoke.

“Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall.” 

He turned to smile at the tabby, but it was gone.  Instead he was smiling at a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses, exactly the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes.  She, too, was wearing a cloak, an emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into a tight bun.  She looked distinctly ruffled.

“When does McGonagall never look ruffled?” Sirius asked.

“She is a stern woman,” Harry said.

“How did you know it was me?” she asked.

“My dear Professor, I have never seen a cat sit so stiffly.”

“You’d be stiff too if you had been sitting on all day,” said Professor McGonagall.

“What was she sitting on a brick wall all day for?” Ginny asked.

“All day?  When you could have been celebrating?  I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here.”

Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily.

“Oh yes, everyone’s celebrating, alright,” she said impatiently.  “You’d think they’d be a bit more careful, but no-even the Muggles have noticed something’s going on.  It was on their news.”  She jerked her head back at the Dursleys’ dark living room window.  “I heard it.  Flocks of owl…shooting stars….Well they’re not completely stupid.  They were bound to notice something.  Shooting stars down in Kent-I bet that was Dedalus Diggle.  He never did have much sense.”

“I remember Diggle.  We scared him one night when we were outside running around,” Sirius said. 

“What were you doing outside Sirius?” Bellatrix asked.

“Eh…sneaking into the kitchens.”

“The kitchens are off the Great Hall.  Not outside,” Bellatrix said frowning at her cousin.

Sirius blushed and hurriedly waved his hand at Harry to continue.  Harry looked at Sirius with amusement but continued anyway.  “You can’t blame then,” said Dumbledore gently.  “We’ve had precious little to celebrate for eleven years.”

“Eleven years?” Bellatrix asked.  “Something big must have happened.”

“I know that,” said Professor McGonagall irritably.  “But that’s no reason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out on the streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes, swapping rumors.”

She threw a sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, as though hoping he was going to tell her something, but he didn’t, so she went on.  “A fine thing it would be, if, on the very day You-Know-Who seems to have disappeared at last, the Muggles found out about us all.  I suppose he really has gone, Dumbledore?”

“It certainly seems so,” said Dumbledore.  “We have much to be thankful for.  Would you care for a lemon drop?”

“A what?” Ginny asked.

“A what?”

“A lemon drop.  They’re a Muggle sweet I’m rather fond of.”

“No, thank you,” said Professor McGonagall coldly, as though she didn’t think this was the time for lemon drops.  “As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone-”

“You-Know-Who was defeated after eleven years?  Thank Merlin for that,” Sirius said.

Bellatrix shuddered as she thought back to the day when the Dark Lord had vanished.  She had hoped that she would be finally be free of his control but Rodolphus had kept feeding her the Imperious Potion and forced her to go attack the Longbottoms, driving them into insanity.  Then there was the chalice of Hufflepuff that was in the Lestrange Vault that she had been forced to keep safe for the Dark Lord. She had no idea what it was, only that it was important to him.

“My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name?  All this ‘You-Know-Who’ nonsense-for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort.”

Everyone, except Harry, flinched at the name.  He rolled his eyes.  People acted like Voldemort was going to jump out of the shadows and start firing the killing curse everywhere if they spoke his name.  Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice.  “It all gets so confusing if we keep saying ‘You-Know-Who’.  I have never seen any reason to be frightened Voldemort’s name.”

“I know you haven’t,” said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring.  “But you’re different.  Everyone knows you’re the only one You-Know- oh, all right, Voldemort, was ever frightened of.”

“You flatter me,” said Dumbledore calmly.  “Voldemort had powers I will never have.”

“Only because you’re too-well-noble to use them.”

“It’s lucky it’s dark.  I haven’t blushed this much since Madam Pomfrey said she liked my new earmuffs.”

Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbledore and said, “The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around.  You know what everyone’s saying? About why he’s disappeared?  About what finally stopped him?”

It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she wanted to discuss, the reason she had been sitting on a cold, hard wall all day, for neither as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare as she did now.  It was plain that what “everyone” was saying, she was not going to believe it until Dumbledore told her it was true.  Dumbledore, however, was choosing another lemon drop and did not answer.

“What they’re saying,” she pressed on, “is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric’s Hollow.  He went to find the Potters.  The rumor is that Lily and James-are-are-that they’re-dead.”

Dumbledore bowed his head.  Professor McGonagall gasped.

“Lily and James…I can’t believe it…I didn’t want to believe it…Oh, Albus…”

Dumbledore reached out and patted her on the shoulder.  “I know…I know…” he said heavily.

Professor McGonagall’s voice trembled as she went on.  “That’s not all.  They’re saying he tried to kill the Potters’ son, Harry.  But-he couldn’t.  He couldn’t kill that little boy.  No one knows why, or how, but they’re saying that when he couldn’t kill Harry Potter, Voldemort’s power somehow broke-and that’s why he’s gone.”

Dumbledore nodded glumly.

“It’s-it’s true?”  faltered Professor McGonagall.  “After all he’s done…all the people he’s killed… he couldn’t kill a little boy?  It’s just astounding…of all the things to stop him…but how in the name of heaven did Harry survive?”

“Good question,” Ginny said.

“We can only guess,” said Dumbledore.  “We may never know.”

Professor McGonagall pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes beneath her spectacles.  Dumbledore gave a great sniff as he took out a golden watch from his pocket and examined it.  It was a very odd watch.  It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, little planets were moving around the edge.  It must have made sense to Dumbledore, though, because he put it back in his pocket and said, “Hagrid’s late.  I suppose it was he who told you I’d be here, by the way?”

“Yes,” said Professor McGonagall.  “And I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me why you’re here, of all places?”

“I’ve come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle.  They’re the only family he has left now.”

“You don’t mean-you can’t mean the people that live here?” cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four.  “Dumbledore-you can’t.  I’ve been watching them all day.  You couldn’t find two people who are less like us.  And they’ve got this son-I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets.  Harry Potter come and live here!”

“It’s the best place for him,” said Dumbledore firmly.  “His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he’s older.  I’ve written them a letter.”

“How do you expect them to explain everything in a letter you idiot?!” Bellatrix shouted.

“A letter?” repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall.  “Really Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter?  These people will never understand him!  He’ll be famous-a legend-I wouldn’t be surprised if today is known as Harry Potter Day in the future-there will be books written about Harry-every child in our world will know his name.”

“Exactly,” said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon glasses.  “It will be enough to turn any boy’s head.  Famous before he can walk and talk!  Famous for something he won’t even remember!  Can’t you see how much better off he’ll be, growing up from all that until he’s ready to take it?”

Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed, and then said, “Yes-yes, you’re right, of course.  But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?”  She eyed his cloak suddenly as though she thought he might be hiding Harry underneath it.

“Hagrid’s bringing him.”

“You think it-wise-to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?”

“I trust Hagrid with my life,” said Dumbledore.

“I’m not saying his heart isn’t in the right place,” said Professor McGonagall grudgingly, “but you can’t pretend he’s not careless.  He does tend to-what was that?”

A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them.  It grew steadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a headlight; it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky-and a huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them.

“My motorcycle!” Sirius shouted happily.  “I gave that to Hagrid when I went and chased after the rat.  Wonder if Hagrid still has it?  I used to take you for rides on that pup.”

“Pup?” Harry asked.

“Yeah I used to call you pup and Moony, one of my other friends, used to call you his cub,” Sirius said.  “When you were having trouble getting to sleep, I’d take you for a ride on my motorcycle and you’d fall right asleep. You used to love that thing.  I’m sure Moony used to tell you all about our adventures at Hogwarts right?”

“No. I don’t know anybody named Moony,” Harry said.

Sirius was stunned.  “But James and Lily had no issues with Moony coming to see you at their house in Godric’s Hollow,” Sirius said.  “Why wouldn’t Moony have gone to see you?”

“Maybe nobody knew where I was,” Harry said.  “And who is Moony anyway?”

“A friend of mine from when we were in school,” Sirius said.  “I expect you’ll find out about him in one of these books but it bothers me that he never went to see you.  He was very protective of his cub.”

Harry said nothing except to stare at Sirius for a few minutes before going back to the book.  Ginny too was puzzled by this declaration from the strange man who said he was Harry’s godfather.  She knew that her parents had gone to Hogwarts with Harry’s parents but they didn’t talk about their school days.

If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing compared to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide.  He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild-long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trashcan lids, and his feet were in their leather boots were like baby dolphins.  In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets.

“Hagrid,” said Dumbledore, sounding relieved.  “At last.  And where did you get that motorcycle?”

“Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir,” said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke.  “Young Sirius Black lent it to me.  I’ve got him sir.”

“Where did you get a flying motorcycle?” Ginny asked.

“I got it as a birthday gift from James on my fifteenth birthday,” Sirius answered. 

“No problems were there?”

“No, sir-house was almost destroyed, but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin’ around.  He fell asleep as we was flyin’ over Bristol.”

Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets.  Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep.  Underneath a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.

“Is that where-?” whispered Professor McGonagall.

“Yes,” said Dumbledore.  “He’ll have that scar forever.”

“Can’t you do something about it, Dumbledore?”

“Even if I could, I wouldn’t.  Scars can come in handy.  I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground.  Well-give him here, Hagrid-we’d best get this over with.”

Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned towards the Dursleys’ house.

“Could I-could I say goodbye to him, sir?” asked Hagrid.  He bent his great, shaggy head over Harry and gave him what must have been a very scratchy, whiskery kiss.  Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog. 

“I can show you a howl like a wounded dog,” said Sirius and then he transformed into Padfoot and howled before transforming back. 

“What was that?” Harry asked.

“I’m an Animagus,” Sirius said. “My Animagus is a Grim.  Your dad was a stag and the rat was a rat. Fitted the traitor too.  We should have seen what he was like.  Peter was always horrible at spells and hung around James and me like a little lap dog.  He just wanted powerful people to keep him from getting bullied.”

“Can I learn that?”

“Yeah.  It’s a lot of hard work.  You wouldn’t start working at it at Hogwarts until like seventh year and then you have to register with the Ministry of Magic,” Sirius said.  “But your dad, the rat and I learned in our fifth year.”

“How come?”

“I imagine the books will tell you,” Sirius said. 

“Shhh!” hissed Professor McGonagall, “you’ll wake the Muggles!”

“S-s-sorry,” sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large, spotted handkerchief and burying his face in it.  “But I c-c-can’t stand it-Lily ‘n James dead- an’ poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles-”

“Yes, yes, it’s all very sad, but get a grip on yourself Hagrid or we’ll be found,” Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door.  He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry’s blankets, and

“Wait read that last part again,” Bellatrix said.

“Umm… He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry’s blankets, and

Bellatrix got a murderous look in her eyes.  “That old fool left a fifteen month old baby on a doorstep in the middle of November?!  And then I’m guessing he leaves?  What IDIOT leaves a toddler on a doorstep in the cold without knocking on the door and making sure the child is taken inside?  You could have been kidnapped or wandered off!”

“That bastard left my infant godson on a doorstep?!” Sirius shouted.

“Well where the hell were you then huh?  You say you were supposed to take me in but you didn’t!” Harry shouted at Sirius. 

Sirius blanched and sank to the floor, putting his head in his hands.  “You’re right.  I should have been there.  It’s my entire fault.  It’s my fault they’re dead.  It’s my fault I didn’t take care of you pup,” Sirius said. 

He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry’s blankets, and then came back to the other two.  For a full minute the three of them stood and looked at the little bundle; Hagrid’s shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked furiously, and the twinkling light that usually shown from Dumbledore’s eyes seemed to have gone out.

“Well,” said Dumbledore finally, “that’s that.  We’ve no business staying here.  We may as well go and join the celebrations.”

“Yeah,” said Hagrid in a very muffled voice, “I’d best get this bike away.  G’night Professor McGonagall-Professor Dumbledore, sir.”

Wiping his steaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; with a roar it rose into the air and out of sight.

“I shall you soon, I expect, Professor McGonagall,” said Dumbledore, nodding to her.  Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply.

Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street.  On the corner he stopped and took out the Put-Outer.  He clicked it once and twelve balls of light sped back to their street lamps so that Privet Drive glowed suddenly orange and he could make out a tabby cat slinking around the corner at the other end of the street.  He could just see the bundle of blankets on the step of number four.

“Good luck, Harry,” he murmured.  He turned on his heel and with a swish of his cloak was gone.

A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen.  Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up.  One small hand closed around the letter and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours’ time by Mrs. Dursley’s scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor knowing that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley….  He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: “To Harry Potter-the boy who lived!”

Hidden Inheritance

Key:

“Text”=non-story

Text=story

/word/=phoenix talk

‘word’=Harry’s thoughts

word=flashback/letter/article from Daily Prophet

Warnings:

Dumbledore Bashing

Vampire coven with Harry as head of coven

De-aged Sirius and Bellatrix

Weasley Bashing

This story will cover all seven books so it will be my longest fan fic. It will have story and comments in between.


 

Cold emerald eyes stared blankly at the opposite wall and the girl with flaming hair rocking back and forth opposite him.  They were beside the mass murderer Sirius Black and opposite them was Bellatrix Lestrange, infamous and slightly insane servant of the Dark Lord.  This boy was once known as the Boy-Who-Lived but now here he was in Azkaban with Ginny Molly Weasley opposite him.  Harry had to admit the girl was slightly insane but then who wouldn’t be after being possessed by the memory of a sixteen-year-old Dark Lord?

A dementor came to the cell and began to feed on Harry’s memories.  He clutched his head with his hands as his mind sank back to the day when he had rescued Ginny at the end of term.  There was an inhuman scream from the memory of Tom Riddle as Harry plunged the Basilisk fang into the diary.  Ink spilled out of the pages like blood and the memory of Tom Marvolo Riddle disappeared.  Harry felt himself stagger from the venom coursing through his veins.  As the venom reached his head, he felt a blinding pain behind his eyes and let out a scream as the basilisk venom battled the weak soul piece that the Dark Lord had unintentionally created when he had tried to kill Harry Potter twelve years ago.  There was a flash of white light as the black leech was drawn out of Harry’s scar and disappeared in black flames.  Harry had then blacked out.

He had been woken hours later by someone screaming his name.  “Harry! Harry! HARRY!”  He opened his eyes to see a shaken Ginny Weasley at his side.

“Ginny are you okay?”

“I’m s… sorry Ha… Harry.  He… m… made me do it! I didn’t wa…want to.  Tom… he… made me do those things.  Oh what will mom and dad say? What if I get expelled?!”

“Shh Ginny it’s okay.  It’s over,” Harry said and shakily sat up to hug the crying girl.  “My head feels like it’s on fire. How long have I been out?”

“A couple of hours.  I tried to wake you but you wouldn’t respond and then you stopped breathing…”

“Wait what? What do you mean I stopped breathing?”

“You stopped breathing.  You were breathing and then you just stopped,” Ginny said. 

“If I stopped breathing then that means I died,” Harry said.  “But I’m here so how is this possible?” He felt sharp canines in his mouth and ran his tongue over them, find they ended in sharp points.  “You’ve got to be KIDDING me!  I’m a fucking vampire?!”

Ginny let out a fearful gasp and backed away from Harry.  “Ginny… I won’t hurt you,” Harry said to the frightened girl.  “I came down here to save you from the Basilisk.  The roof caved in thanks to Lockhart but Ron is here too. He’s waiting for you. Just trust me,” he pleaded, hating to see the fear in her eyes.  Meanwhile his mind was spinning with the ramifications of being a vampire.  Just how the hell was he a vampire? His parents weren’t vampires were they? If they were then how was it they had died from the killing curse?

Harry blinked his eyes at the light and realized with shock that he was able to see. “I can see?” Harry asked the air, his voice showing surprise at the revelation.  He looked for his glasses and saw that they were snapped in half beneath him.  “Must have fallen on them when I blacked out,” Harry said.  He walked towards the diary and pocketed it, thinking it was best to the show the headmaster so Ginny wouldn’t be expelled.  “Come on Ginny let’s go.”

Ginny helped him up and a white light surrounded them, brightening the room before disappearing.  “Okay now this is just getting weirder by the minute,” Harry muttered and saw Ginny nod her head in agreement. 

Harry led Ginny to the cave in and was surprised to find that in addition to his improved eyesight, he could also hear better than usual. ‘Must have to do with me being a vampire.  Maybe the headmaster knows about this and can tell me more.’   They stopped as he heard Ron talking to himself outside on the other side of the blocked passage.

“I guess Potter and Ginny are dead.  Stupid Potter dragging me into this mess of his. Him and his schemes that nearly get me and Hermione killed every year.  First it was the Sorcerer’s Stone. Then this year he drags me into the Forbidden Forest when we aren’t supposed to be out of school after curfew and then down here to the mythical Chamber of Secrets to kill a Basilisk.  And Ginny is just an annoying brat who’s always trying to bother me.  I’m glad she’s dead.  If it wasn’t for the money Dumbledore was paying me then I wouldn’t even be friends with him.  I can just go back and say that there was a cave in and by the time I got there that Ginny and Potter were dead.”

Harry frowned as he heard this.  He couldn’t believe that Ron would betray him like that.  What about Hermione? The Weasley family? Were they all out to steal his money?  He walked forward with Ginny behind him and spoke up.  “Ron? Hey are you still there?”

“Harry? You’re alive!”  But Harry could hear the disappointment in Ron’s voice at his being alive.  “Is Ginny with you?”

“Ron? Ron is that you?” Ginny asked rushing forward.

“Ginny!  Don’t worry I’ll get you two out.  What took you two so long? I was getting worried.” 

‘Fat chance,’ Harry thought to himself as his eyes flashed to pure blackness for a moment before changing back to their emerald green. “Killing the Basilisk was harder than I thought,” Harry said.  “I ended up blacking out after it and only woke up ten minutes ago.”

“Well come on then. Let’s get these rocks cleared away. Ginny needs to get looked at by Madam Pomfrey,” Ron said. 

“Sure Ron,” Harry said and pulled out his wand only for it to erupt into flames and turn to ash in his hands.  Harry yelped in shock and stared at the pile of ash in his hand. 

“What happened? Did something happen to Ginny?”

“My wand burst into flames when I took it out,” Harry said. 

“Oh that’s too bad,” Ron said. 

Again the newborn’s eyes flashed with anger but he pushed it down and focused on shifting the rocks.  A dark phoenix suddenly appeared in a flash of black flames and settled on Harry’s shoulder, letting out a soothing trill which took away his anger.  “Eh hello,” Harry said to the phoenix.  The phoenix had black and red feathers with obsidian eyes.  It nuzzled Harry’s head affectionately and let out another soothing trill. 

/Hello young one.  I am Nexus and am your familiar./

Harry jumped a foot in the air at the voice in his head.  Ginny looked at the dark phoenix with wonder in her eyes.  “Who are you exactly?”

/I am a dark phoenix. We serve dark creatures and dark wizards. We are the opposite of the light phoenixes young master.  I have been waiting for your creature inheritance to awaken for some time now./

“My… creature… inheritance?”

/Did you not wonder why the other phoenix did not help you? It was because the other phoenix could see that you were a dark creature so it did not come to your aid.  I would have come sooner if your creature inheritance had not been blocked when you were a baby.”

“Who blocked it? And what of Hedwig?”

/I am afraid to say that animals tend to be afraid of dark creatures such as dementors, vampires, dark veela, and werewolves.  Hedwig will want nothing to do with you anymore master now that your vampire gene has awoken and changed you.  As to your first question that was Albus Dumbledore.  And the white light that surrounded you and the girl was a soul bond.  By wizarding law you are now legal adults./

Harry said nothing but inside he was furious and Nexus sensed his master’s anger.  He lifted Ginny up and watched her crawl through the gap before crawling through himself.  Nexus flew through the gap after him and stared at Ron with hatred.  What the dark phoenix wouldn’t love to peck out the weasel’s eyes for betraying his master.  They then made their way to the Headmaster’s office where they were met by Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and the elderly headmaster.

“Ginny!” Mrs. Weasley shouted and hugged her daughter.  Mr. Weasley looked at Harry and then the dark phoenix sitting on his shoulder before managing a painful smile.

“It’s good to see you’re okay Ginny,” Mr. Weasley said.  “We were so worried about when you went missing.  Glad to see that Ron rescued you.”

“Harry rescued me daddy,” Ginny said.  “It was Tom Riddle who made me do those things.  Harry killed the Basilisk and defeated Tom Riddle.”

“Who is Tom Riddle?” Mr. Weasley asked the headmaster.

The headmaster was staring at Harry and the dark phoenix on his shoulder in shock.  Fawkes let out a trill of fear and flew up into the headmaster’s bedroom.  The newly awakened vampire had a black aura around him which made everyone except for the dark phoenix and Ginny shudder in fear and back away.  Neither of the two mentioned people seemed to notice. 

“Tom Riddle was once a student here at Hogwarts fifty years ago,” the headmaster said.  “He was a bright charismatic student who grew up in an orphanage and was the last descendant of Salazar Slytherin.  He now goes by the name Voldemort.”

The Weasleys flinched at the name and looked at Harry again. 

“It was this diary headmaster,” Harry said pulling out the diary with the basilisk fang still inside it.  He proceeded to tell the story, starting from the time that he and Ron had gone to visit Hermione in the Hospital Wing and how she had torn a page out of a library book about Basilisks, how Harry had realized it was a snake and that because he was a parslemouth he was the only one who could hear the snake, how they had gone looking for Professor Lockhart in the staff room and had hidden in the wardrobe where they had found out Ginny had been taken, how they had snuck out of the Gryffindor dorms and found Professor Lockhart, discovered he was a fraud and had guessed that the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets was in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom, how they had gone down into the Chamber, how Lockhart had tried to wipe their minds with Ron’s broken wand and how it had backfired, hitting him instead and causing a cave in, how Harry had proceeded alone, met Tom Riddle and had defeated the Basilisk. 

“That’s quite an interesting story you thought of Harry,” the headmaster said looking at them.  “But I’m afraid I will have to expel you both and have you arrested for releasing a dangerous creature on the students of Hogwarts.”

“WHAT?!” Harry shouted and Ginny burst into tears.  “But headmaster!”

“Don’t ‘but headmaster’ me Mr. Potter.  You admitted you are a parselmouth.  I don’t believe that Tom Riddle was possessing Miss Weasley.  Arthur please call some Aurors here to escort these two to Azkaban.”

Mr. Weasley went to do as the headmaster commanded and the headmaster took the diary from Harry.  “Now you two are going to wait right there until the Aurors come to arrest you,” the headmaster said pointing the elder wand at the two confused and terrified children. 

“Mom don’t! Harry didn’t do anything!” Ginny pleaded, turning to her mother.

“Ginerva Weasley you are dead to me.  I thought I raised you better than this.  To consort with a dark creature and to release a Basilisk on your fellow students but I guess I was wrong.”

Mr. Weasley turned back to the others as he finished making the floo call.  “What do you mean by ‘dark creature’ Molly?”

“I am afraid that Molly is right, Arthur.  Harry Potter is a vampire.”

Ron fainted to which Harry snickered.  “That phoenix on his shoulder is a dark phoenix. They only bond with dark creatures and dark wizards.  They are the opposite of regular phoenixes,” the headmaster continued.  “I knew that Harry was a vampire but I blocked his creature inheritance so it would never arise and take over the boy’s soul but something must have happened to make the blockage on his creature inheritance break.  I’m afraid there is nothing that can be done for your daughter. It appears she has been taken in by the vampire.”

The fire flared green and five people stepped into the headmaster’s office, led by Cornelius Fudge.  He was followed by Kingsley Shacklebolt, Amelia Bones, and three unnamed Aurors who didn’t bother to introduce themselves.  “What’s all this then?” Cornelius asked pleasantly.  “Why are you back here Dumbledore when you were suspended?”

“Ah Minister,” the headmaster said.  “It appears that the Board of Governors decided I was fit for the position after all. They told me strange stories about how Lucius Malfoy threatened to kill them and their families if they didn’t comply to sign the order to get me banned from Hogwarts.  But no matter I have caught the culprits responsible for the attacks on the students at the school.”

“And who might they be?” Fudge asked.

“Mr. Potter and Miss Weasley.”

The Aurors stared at Harry and Ginny in shock.  “The Boy-Who-Lived?!” One of the unnamed Aurors shouted staring at Harry in shock.

“Yes.  Oh and don’t go near him. He’s a vampire,” Dumbledore said.

“V… va…”  The Auror fainted. 

“Now see here Dumbledore! You can’t just let dark creatures into Hogwarts like this.  He could have bitten somebody!” Fudge shouted.

“I placed a block on his creature inheritance when I found out what it was,” Dumbledore said. “But somehow it broke free.  Oh and there was a tremor through the castle.  That only happens when a soul bond is created.  I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Weasley but it appears your daughter…”

“She is not my daughter!” Mrs. Weasley shouted.

Mr. Weasley said nothing but all could see the grief on his face.  “and the vampire have a soul bond.”

Fudge didn’t bother to hear anymore and had the two students arrested and transported back to a Ministry holding cell to await trial. They were held in the trial without food or water, and in the case of Harry, blood for a week before the trial was commenced.  Nobody would take their case because of Harry being a vampire, not that they were allowed to tell their side of the story anyway.  Dumbledore presented the evidence, had Ron called as a witness and they were sentenced to life in Azkaban. 

The memory faded and Harry was once more left with his thoughts as the dementor floated away.  Beside him, the mass murderer, Sirius Black, moaned in agony.  “No don’t.  I’m sorry James.  I didn’t know he would betray us.”  Harry hadn’t bothered talking to the man as he made no sense.  The newborn vampire was weak from lack of blood.  They had been in this cell for two weeks and nobody had come to visit them.  His only comfort was Nexus who had flashed into the prison after flashing away to avoid being killed by the killing curse shot from one of the Aurors when Nexus had tried to defend his master.  The dementor left Black when it had its fill and silence reigned again, broken only by the whimpers of the man next to him and the insane laughter of the woman opposite his cell. 

A flash of light appeared in the cell and before them was a box with a letter attached to it.  Harry looked around him and made his way to the box, before he removed the letter and unfolded it. 

Dear Harry Potter and Co.,

Here you will find seven books on Harry Potter’s life.  These books will tell you what type of future you would have had Mr. Potter if your creature inheritance hadn’t been awoken when the Basilisk killed you.  Yes Mr. Potter, you did die in the Chamber of Secrets and your vampire gene saved you and brought you back to life. 

These books are in fact true.  Now you may hate Mr. Black when you discover what he has done in the third book but please refrain from killing him until the end of the third book. Note also that Mrs. Lestrange is not the woman she appears to be.  Talk to her and allow her to tell her story.  You will see she was under use of an Imperious Potion.  The Imperious spell is one of the Unforgivables, all three of which can earn you a lifetime in Azkaban if you are caught using them against another human being.

The books are to be read in this order:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

After reading these books you can decide what to do with your life.  The books will disappear when the dementors make their rounds.  I suggest heading to America where you’ll be free of the Dark Lord and his followers as well as those who betrayed you.

Sincerely,

A Friend

P.S. You can count on Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom to stick by you.

P.P.S. You will also find that I have stocked you with blood bottles until you are able to free yourself from this prison. 

Harry looked at the letter in his hands, puzzled over who could have sent it to him.  Harry looked at Ginny whose eyes shown with curiosity as she looked at the box and then to Bellatrix who had fallen silent.  He turned his head to look at Sirius Black who had also fallen silent and was staring back at Harry.  “Well I guess we have no choice.  Going to be stuck here anyway for the rest of our lives,” Harry said.  He grabbed a bottle of blood from the box and uncorked it before taking a gulp.  “Guess we’ll take turns reading it but how are you supposed to read it Bellatrix?”

Another flash of light and a second paper appeared in Harry’s lap.  He set the first one down and picked up the second one.

Mr. Black and Mrs. Lestrange will be transported to your cell when it is their turn to read the book.  The box of books will be invisible to everyone except you four.  Not even the headmaster or the Aurors will be able to see the box.

“Well then I guess I’ll start,” Harry said.  He didn’t know why he wasn’t afraid of the letter or the box of books in the cell.  And he was grateful to see that he had three friends at Hogwarts to count on.  He turned the first book over in his hands and cleared his throat.

Slave to Free

“Severus Snape my healers can remove the marks that enslave you to two masters now,” Arashi said looking at the former potions master of Hogwarts.

“Thank you sire,” Severus said.

“Don’t thank me until the marks are removed and they will be.  My healers are the best.  And I’m not your master or your king so none of that ‘sire’ stuff Severus.  Get some rest when it’s over.  You may be in pain for a while after the marks are removed but once it’s done you’ll truly be free.  And you’re welcome.”

Severus made his way down to the hospital wing.  “Professor Snape?” The female vampire asked as she looked up from the window seat she was sitting on. 

Severus looked up at the vampire before him.  She had waist length silky auburn hair with almond shaped sapphire eyes.  He felt his heart skip a beat as he gazed at her.  This was something different from Lily.  “It’s Mr. Snape Miss…?”

“Forgive me Mr. Snape.  I’m Selena Ravenscar. I’ll be your healer while I remove the marks on you that bind you forcefully into slavery.  If you could please lie on one of the beds we can get started.”

Selena walked over to the bed that Snape had laid down on and pushed up the sleeve of his shirt on his left arm.  The dark mark was easy to find.  The light mark was nowhere to be seen but that didn’t mean it wasn’t hidden somewhere. Pulling out her wand she performed some quick diagnostic spells and then her face turned into a scowl as anger flashed in her eyes. 

“What is it?”

“It appears that Dumbledore did not just mark you Mr. Snape.  He also put compulsion charms on you to be mean to Neville Longbottom, loyalty spells, memory modifications, and placed blocks on your magic.  King Arashi and Queen Yuki will want to hear of this.”

“Can you fix everything?”

“Yes.  But you may end up being here in the hospital wing longer than expected.  I’m going to put you to sleep now so I can remove everything without you feeling pain.”

Severus nodded and Selena put him into a deep pain numbing sleep.  He wouldn’t awaken until he was healed fully.

Selena examined the dark mark and easily detected the dark magic surrounding it.  “Semi fetch King Arashi and Queen Yuki and bring them to the hospital wing!”

Semi, another female vampire, hurried out of the hospital wing and made her way to the king and queen’s quarters.  “What the hell happened to you?”  Selena asked the quiet room.

Arashi and Yuki came into the room and glanced at Severus lying on the bed before turning their attention to Selena.  “What warrants our presence Selena Ravenscar?”  Yuki asked.

“I am sorry for disturbing you both your majesties but it appears there is more problems with Mr. Snape then was originally suspected.”

“What type of problems?” Arashi asked.

So Selena began to explain everything she had found wrong just with examining the former potions master of Hogwarts.  Most of the problems seemed to link back to Dumbledore. 

“It seems the headmaster of Hogwarts and the ‘leader of the light’ is more evil than we imagined.  Do what you can for him.  He won’t be going back to Hogwarts for his own safety.  Alert us when he is awake.”

“Yes your majesties,” Selena said with a bowl. 

Arashi and Yuki left the hospital wing.  “Dear I think our healer is interested in the Potions Master,” Yuki said to her husband.

“What makes you say that Yuki?”

“Selena kept glancing at the Potions Master when she was talking to us about his condition.”

Arashi just looked at his wife in shock and then laughed.  “Well we may end up having a new citizen of Calista then if they get together.  Yuki we need to figure out something for schooling the children.”

“That’s true.  Perhaps you should call another meeting.  I don’t think it will be safe for us to send the children to school anywhere with a war coming.  Perhaps we should place a school in Shadow Desert.  We can find staff easily among the human spouses and creatures.”

“You’re right.  The children need to be educated in both magical and muggle subjects.  I’ll hold a meeting in a couple of weeks.  I can’t understand why Hogwarts doesn’t teach muggle subjects.  How are the witches and wizards who are half-blood or muggle born and have grown up in the wizarding world explain their absence?  How can they get a job since they have no proper muggle education if they leave the wizarding world?  It makes no sense at all.”

“Your majesties!” Tobias ran into the room and quickly bowed.  “Prince Shingetsu is awake and asking for you.”

“Thank you Tobias,” Arashi said. 

Arashi and Yuki made their way to their son’s room and saw that he was indeed awake as Tobias Moon had said.  A healer was sitting beside him on the bed but upon her king and queen entering got quickly up and gave a bow before disappearing into the hallway so that they might have some privacy.

“Shingetsu my son,” Yuki said as she sat beside him on the bed, her navy blue dress pooling around her feet as she laid a hand on her son’s head.  “How are you?”

“Better mom.  What happened to Zeus?  The last thing I remember is being rescued by two guards.”

“Prince Zeus is dead Shingetsu,” Yuki said.  “He was hit with a cutting curse by the Aurors and didn’t make it.  The army that was left at Azkaban was halted by Aurors before they could escape.  You’ve been in a coma for two months now.”

Tears came to Shingetsu’s eyes at the loss of his friend.  “I’ll KILL Dumbledore for this!”

“You aren’t going anywhere Shingetsu until you get some rest,” Arashi ordered his son. “A war is starting and you won’t be going back to Hogwarts.  Neither will your human friends and the children of the other creatures.  We’ll show these humans not to mess with creatures any longer.”

Selena worked on Severus Snape all through the night.  After removing the dark mark she removed the dark magic that linked Voldemort to his death eaters.  Finding the light mark was harder and it took her half an hour to find it.  At midnight she laid her wand down and went to her office to sleep after posting an assistant healer to come for her if Severus showed any signs of waking.  It was going to be hard explaining what had been done to her patient when he awoke but he already looked much healthier than when he had entered Nightshade two months ago. Perhaps he is the mate I have been waiting for.  I definitely feel a bond between us.  But does he feel the same for me?

Breaking Off

Arashi called an emergency meeting of all the creatures to meet in Shadow Desert.  The leaders all apparated and made their way to the war chamber of Darlicrea Building.  Darlicrea stood for Dark and Light Creatures.  It was where the leaders of the creatures gathered in times of war and to get a respite from ruling their respective subjects.  Only visible to creatures, Shadow Desert could also be used as a sanctuary for the creatures of Britain. A normal human; muggle, squib, half-blood or magical; would see nothing but a wide expanse of black sand with permanent twilight. 

“First Romulus has some news,” Arashi said once everyone had gathered.

“Thanks Arashi. As you all know the rescue of our fellow subjects was successful as was the destruction of the Death Eaters and other supporters of Voldemort. Prince Shingetsu and Prince Zeus were rescued from their cells and the other creatures made it safely to Nightshade, the vampire capital of Calista.  But before my son and Arashi’s son could escape Aurors showed up at Azkaban.  A battle began in which the werewolves and vampires left there killed all the Aurors but in the process my son and heir was hit with a cutting curse and bled out before they could escape.  We also lost a few vampires and werewolves in that battle.  I believe it is time to declare war on magical Britain and possibly the rest of the magical world.  They need to learn that creatures will not be abused or restricted any longer.”

“What of Prince Shingetsu?”  The leader of the Griffins asked. 

“Prince Shingetsu was dying by the time he was taken from Azkaban.  He is still recovering but my healers expect him to make a full recovery. He is notably pissed off at Dumbledore and the Ministry for throwing him in that place in the first place and means to have his revenge.”

There were cries and squawks from the gathering.  “An important thing we need to get rid of is the acromantula that have set up residence within the Forbidden Forest. According to the centaur and unicorn herds the acromantula were introduced by half-giant Rubeus Hagrid shortly before his untimely expulsion from Hogwarts.  They are unnatural to our world and have no business taking over the remaining territory of the centaurs and the unicorns. We will need to wipe them out first thing in order to protect ourselves and our children at Hogwarts.”

“I have some important news Arashi if I may?” Lord Grim asked.

“Of course Grim. The floor is yours.”

“One of my subjects, a dementor, not one of the human citizens of the Isle of Azkaban or the Druid Islands, found a ritual to break us from human control. However it requires a sacrifice and can only be done on the Night of Chaos.”

The other creatures shuddered at that.  “Do you know who the sacrifice will be Grim and will it affect your human citizens?”

“No to both questions Arashi.  We have about six months before the Night of Chaos comes to pass.  In addition to freeing my fellow kin from human control it will also give Azkaban and the Druid Islands complete autonomy from the British Ministry of Magic.  We will be a free country again.”

“Six months of hell for your people Grim.  Will you be able to handle it?”

Grim nodded.  “The Azkabanians are excited that we will be free in six months but are worried about the sacrifice. They have already placed objections to me sacrificing myself even though I haven’t talked about it yet.”

“You are a good leader Grim.  Your people love you, both dementor and human.”

There were mummers of agreement.  “Now I think we should start by breaking completely off from the wizard world for now but first let’s put an article in the Daily Prophet and other papers around the world.  Let’s see just how the humans react to our declaration of open war, something that is sadly long overdue.”

Forty Aurors Found Dead at Azkaban

By Johnathan Panel

This morning forty Aurors were found dead last night when the morning shift went on duty.  Aurors checked the prison and found out that all the creatures that had been arrested and sentenced to Azkaban had escaped from their cells.  Even the princes of the vampire and werewolf nations escaped from Azkaban.  It appears that the Aurors were torn apart by wild animals in the battle that ensued.  There is no evidence to suggest where they went.  What does this mean for wizards and witches throughout Britain?  Where were the Dementors during the time this escape and attack took place?  The Ministry and the readers want to know!

Creatures of Britain Declare War!

By Johnathan Panel

Early this morning a letter was sent to the Daily Prophet and signed by all the creature leaders.  The letter is to be printed in its entirety:

To the wizards and witches of Magical Britain,

Vampires have been hunted by the Ministry for six hundred years.  Werewolves have been hunted since the 1400s.  Magical Britain is stuck in the Victorian Era and Hogwarts has fallen from what it was when the founders were alive.  No wonder Britain and Hogwarts are the laughing stock of the rest of the wizarding world. Purebloods rule and take most positions in your government which pushes muggle born and half-bloods out of the magical world upon finishing their education.  Lies are spread about Salazar Slytherin for reasons we can only guess.  You enslave the house elves, enslaved the Dementors and stole their lands from them; you mistreat the Goblins when they are the ones handling your money, and even have a law that says you can rape muggle born and squibs.  How many of you humans know about that last law?  But mentioning the law that muggle born and squibs can be raped and held hostage by purebloods is not the point of our letter.

We, the creatures of Magical Britain, are fed up with the wizards and witches thinking they are superior to creatures. Too long have we been enslaved, restricted, and nearly driven to extinction by humans.  We will no longer tolerate this treatment.  When the witch trials were occurring in Salem and the United Kingdom the magical world was also issuing a war against creatures.  We declare that we are now breaking off from Magical Britain and declare war on the human population of the magical world.

Sincerely,

The creatures of Britain

Wizards and witches I ask you what will you do now that the creatures have declared war on us?  We are finally at peace after the Boy-Who-Lived saved us from Voldemort and now we have another war upon us by inferior beings?   These creatures should have been wiped out long ago. 

An owl brought a paper to Shadow Desert later that morning and Arashi quickly enlarged the article so that everyone could read it.  They all started laughing as they began reading the influx of panicked letters from the humans of magical Britain freaking out.  “Has Gringotts closed down?”  Prince Gale asked.

“Yes all branches of Gringotts around the world and the main branch in Diagon Alley shut down this morning.  All wizarding vaults are hereby frozen and the humans won’t be able to get to their vaults. They’re already starting to panic,” Goldfang said with a smile.  “There was already a riot outside the bank in Diagon Alley.  The guards ended up throwing them out of the bank and sealed the doors.”

“Do you think Fawkes will break free from Dumbledore?” 

“Hopefully.  Phoenixes are noble creatures and don’t deserve to be forced into slavery.  We need to figure out what to do about the house elves.  There has to be some way to free them from their human masters.”

In the headmaster’s office Dumbledore threw down that morning’s edition of the Daily Prophet in disgust.  He had just gotten back from Gringotts and was disturbed that he couldn’t gain access to Neville Longbottom’s trust fund or his own vaults.  They had been frozen once it had been confirmed at Azkaban that Neville had been ripped apart.  Now who was going to save the wizarding world from Voldemort when he came back?  Who could he use now to defeat Tom Riddle since both boys of the prophecy were now dead?

Pushing back his chair he made his way over to Fawkes who squawked in terror as he saw his master’s eyes.  Fawkes had been forcefully bonded to Dumbledore after Grindelwald became a Dark Lord.  “I suppose you think this funny don’t you?” Dumbledore asked the phoenix.  “Well you’re not ever getting away from me.”

Fawkes stared back at Dumbledore with a mixture of terror and anger in his eyes.  Dumbledore was furious that Hagrid, Flitwick and Severus had vanished from Hogwarts.  When he went to go to tend to matters elsewhere in the school, Fawkes began to break the bond enslaving him to the headmaster.  In his years of slavery Fawkes had learned that Dumbledore wasn’t as light and kind as he pretended to be.  The old man wanted power and he didn’t care who he had to kill or use to get that power.  The humans who treated him like a God or the next Merlin and were his loyal supporters were fools.

Screaming in pain Fawkes fell off his perch as he worked quickly to sever the bond tying him to Dumbledore and several other bonds that kept him forcefully at Hogwarts.  Hearing footsteps Fawkes severed the last bond holding him just as the headmaster came towards him.  “YOU STUPID BIRD!  YOU CAN’T GET AWAY FROM ME!  BOMBARDA!”

Because Fawkes had been under the bonds for so long he didn’t have time to get out of the way as the spell hit him.  Instead he was blasted back into the wall and let out another scream as he felt his spine snap along with both his wings.  “CRUCIO!”  The scream continued as the noble bird was hit with the torture curse.  On top of the pain he was already feeling Fawkes was suffering from the effects of severing the bond and breaking it quickly like he had instead of breaking it slowly like most phoenixes did.  Looking up through his blurry vision Fawkes flashed away only to collapse in front of the palace in the Phoenix Kingdom.  As he looked around he saw other phoenixes that had been forcefully bonded to human masters appearing and their cries filled the air before they blacked out.

“DAMN THAT BIRD!” Dumbledore shouted as he began to destroy his office in his rage.  With the death of Neville Longbottom his monitoring charms and little gadgets had exploded.  Waving his wand he repaired the damage to his office and then fell to the floor screaming in pain as he dealt with the after effects of the broken bond.  He had kept the silencing spell up so nobody would be able to hear him scream.  He was at a loss as to what to do now. His plans were falling apart.  Nobody disagreed with Albus Dumbledore!  He was the leader of the light.  He was the one who had locked up Grindelwald after defeating him and he was the one who had made Lord Voldemort the way he was. He would defeat these creatures and put them in their place or wipe them all out in the process if needed.  Nothing would stand in his way of world domination!

The Minister was not having a good day.  First the morning shift of Aurors to Azkaban had found forty dead Aurors and all the creatures and human spouses of the creatures taken from Azkaban.  The Dementors had been nowhere to be found and had not done their duty in helping restrain the other creatures.  Then Gringotts had shut down all their banks around the world and the wizarding world was beginning to panic since they couldn’t access their funds.  On top of that a letter had been printed in the Daily Prophet saying the creatures were going to start a war with Britain and the rest of the magical world.  He was being swamped with howlers from angry people, mainly purebloods, saying that something needed to be done to fix the problem.    This was going to ruin his chance of election.  As if he didn’t have enough to deal with due to the fact that the Boy-Who-Lived had been a werewolf and had then been ripped apart while in Azkaban.  Fudge’s life was going to hell quickly.