Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe belongs to the proverbial Duchess of Magic, JK Rowling, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros and some other high falutin' companies. No matter how much I whine about not owning anything related to the HP universe, other than a few fanfic plots, I do not profess to own - and would never dream of making any money off - JKR's wonderful world... Damn it!
Chapter Three - The Truth About Memories
Still smirking in the direction of the VIP stand, Memory-Harry continued.
"You've now seen all the information about what has happened over the past three years that is otherwise public information; if anyone had bothered to go and look for it," he said. "Now, I'm going to show you memories that hold information that Dumbledore - your so-called Leader of the Light - has worked hard to keep hidden. If you haven't already figured it out, your so-called Leader of the Light isn't as 'light' as he would have everyone believe.
"First, we go back down the memory lane of my memories, back to when I was a small child. Then, we'll work our way forward again.
"This first memory was from when I was about five years old. But first, as you don't know who all the 'players' are, I'll set the scene for you.
"The overweight fat middle-aged male muggle is my Uncle, Vernon Dursley. The skinny horse-necked middle-aged female muggle is my aunt, Petunia Dursley. She's the older sister of my mother, Lily Potter née Evans. And the overweight male muggle child is my cousin, Dudley Dursley; who is often called Duddikins, little Dudley-Wudley and other pet names.
"I give you full warning," he firmly stated. "This will be difficult for you to watch. If you have a weak fortitude - stomach - you might want to block your ears and turn away, or be violently ill."
He gave them a moment before he said, "Let's begin."
Memory-Harry faded out and a memory from when Harry was about five years old began to play. The scene was of the lounge at 4 Privet Drive.
Harry was cowering on the floor with Vernon towering over him at his full height; he was wielding a leather belt, angry and shouting. Petunia and Dudley were standing in the doorway to the dining room. Petunia was scowling at Harry while Dudley watched with glee.
Harry was pleading about how he didn't do it. That, whatever it was, was not his fault.
Vernon was shouting at him, calling him a freak and brandishing the belt, before he suddenly began thrashing Harry with it with his full weight behind each swing. The beating went on until Harry stopped writhing about and seemed to have fallen unconscious.
Then Vernon flung the belt to the side and began kicking the small boy hard enough to bodily lift him from the floor and throw him partway across the room. It would be considered a vicious beating on anyone, let alone a small child.
After a long few minutes of that, and when Harry appears unconscious, Vernon dragged him over to the cupboard under the stairs by his hair, and bodily threw him within before slamming the door shut; which then slammed back open again as the latch didn't catch.
There was only a long moment as Vernon turned to look at his family, his chest heaving with the results of the obvious exertion he put into the beating. Petunia gave a haughty sneer and was about to turn away as Dudley looked positively joyous at what he'd witnessed.
Suddenly, there was a crack of apparation as Dumbledore appeared in the middle of the lounge. He had also apparently side-along apparated Poppy Pomfrey, the school resident medi-wizard with him. As the Dursleys reeled back in shock Dumbledore appeared thunderous, while Pomfrey appeared confused.
"Poppy," Dumbledore firmly said, "You'll find young Harry inside the cupboard under the stairs."
With a gasp of horror, Pomfrey quickly hurried to the small cupboard, drawing her wand at the same time.
A quick duck down to her knees and she was then levitating Harry out. Levitating him no further than out onto the floor just outside the cupboard door she began her diagnostics.
Meanwhile, Dumbledore was berating Vernon. "You disappoint me, Dursley." Spinning to glare at Petunia he said, "As for you, Petunia - as I have had to repeatedly remind you - Harry is of your blood! He is your only sister's son. Your responsibility is to his safety. When are you going to remember that?"
The scene suddenly paused and Memory-Harry quickly faded in. "Did you catch that? Did you catch what Dumbledore said? He said, 'As I have had to repeatedly remind you' - with emphasis on the 'repeatedly'. And listen to how, by their own words by both male adults, it is clear there was a number of times this sort of discussion was held in the past.
"That means Dumbledore had to have gone to the Dursley residence on quite a few occasions before what you're currently watching. And, in this memory, I'm only five years old."
Again Memory-Harry faded out and the paused memory returned. Suddenly, it restarted.
Neither Dursley replied until Vernon snarled, "Then take him! We don't want him here! When are you going to remember that?"
Dumbledore's mien took on a pained expression before he more quietly replied, "And I've repeatedly told you the boy needs to remain here for the blood wards to work. If the blood wards fall then you will no longer remain safe from... as you put it... freaks like me."
Vernon was about to angrily snap his next retort when Pomfrey piped up. "Albus, he has a great many injuries; not the least of which is three broken ribs and a severe concussion!"
"Do your best, Poppy," replied Dumbledore.
"I'll need to get him back to Hogwarts," she began.
"No," Dumbledore almost snapped back. "He must remain here."
When a horrified Pomfrey went to argue back he continued, "He must remain here for his safety. Heal him as well as you can and his magic will fix the rest."
"Albus!" she gasped back. "He's just a child!"
"Nevertheless, Poppy, he must remain here," replied Dumbledore. "Heal him the best you can and we must be leaving."
Clearly horrified by what she was hearing, Pomfrey healed young Harry as best she could.
By the time she was finished, clearly magically much weaker from the effort, Harry was quietly watching her work while keeping an eye on the others. He never made a peep of sound from his injuries, even when it was apparent he was in a great deal of pain.
When she was done, Dumbledore magically forced Harry and his relatives into a group in the middle of the lounge floor.
Then he stunned Pomfrey before turning his wand on the four residents of Privet Drive. That had many in the audience gasp in shock.
A quick swipe of his wand and he called, "Obliviate!"
Once it appeared everyone was under the charm he said, "Young Harry was suitably punished by being locked back into his cupboard. I warned you, yet again, not to take things too far. There will be no further punishments for this incident."
Then he levitated Harry back into his cupboard.
He took a quick look about the room, bent his wand to Pomfrey, levitating her upright, before tucking her into his side with his off hand wrapped around her. A quick twist and he apparated away.
Then the memory ended with Memory-Harry putting in another appearance.
"There," he sighed. "Memory over. Have no fear that I'll show you another like that. However, that's only because I do not believe many of you will be anything but either unconscious or vomiting your insides up by the end of them, if I didn't. I know they're horrific.
"I'll also let you know that what you just saw was chosen because of how average it was for how I was treated there. There are quite a few times I was beaten almost as bad as that, and about an equal number of times I was beaten worse than that. They number well over a dozen.
"What I also want you to consider of what you just witnessed is that what you saw was of my memories. And, I also want you to consider that the only way I could have that as my memory was for me to be conscious the entire time. I was awake for the entirety of that. In other words, I was feigning being unconscious when I was thrown into the cupboard."
That had quite a few audible gasps of shock from the audience.
"It was something I figured out when I was younger than that," continued Memory-Harry, as if he hadn't heard it. "If I appear to be unconscious then the beating wouldn't be as bad. Vernon thought a beating wasn't as effective if I wasn't awake to... enjoy it.
"As you saw, Dumbledore was fully aware of how I was being treated by the Dursleys. And, as he claimed magical guardianship over me, it was his responsibility to ensure I would not and wasn't treated like that.
"Dumbledore not only did nothing to stop the beatings, he also modified the memories of everyone - he thought - so the Dursleys had little idea all their beatings of me were known about by Dumbledore. If the Dursleys had known, even once, that Dumbledore was directly monitoring every situation, as he clearly was, then I believe I never would have been beaten as much as I was.
"So, in case you're all as stupid as I think you are, I'll explain it to you. Albus Dumbledore is blatantly guilty of the crimes of child endangerment, child abuse physical by proxy, child abuse psychological, child abuse psychological by proxy, child neglect, child neglect by proxy and a host of other despicable crimes relating to a child. And he did all this while acting as my supposed Wizengamot-appointed magical guardian, while Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, while Headmaster of Hogwarts - where he's in charge of almost four hundred other children - while Supreme Mugwump of the ICW and while everyone believed him to be the Leader of the Light."
Up in the VIP section, where she still had the tip of her wand pressed into Dumbledore's neck about an inch behind his left external carotid artery, Bones was fuming. One minor piercing curse, let alone a blasting hex, and the old man would be dead in only a few seconds, if that.
However, even she was paying little to no attention to that. What Harry had just shown down on the floor of the other end of the arena, had her blanch. When he stated how it was his memory, and that he had to have been conscious to actually have it, once she realised he was right even had her at the point where she wanted to do nothing more than to turn her head to the side, bend forward and vomit. It was only through a force of her own indomitable will she did not succumb. Many in the audience, including some within the VIP section, weren't so lucky. She could hear them retching from where she sat, and smell the results only moments later.
Finally, she leaned forward and whisper-snarled into the old man's ear, "Try something, Dumbledore. Please, try something. Just one little twitch is all I need. Just give me the excuse I need to blow your fucking head off; right here, right now. With the evidence Mister Potter clearly has for me no court would ever convict me."
Dumbledore refused to even breathe, so still he sat.
"But!" continued Memory-Harry, instantly dragging everyone's attention back to him. "But... I did not show you that memory to show you to what despicable lengths my so-called uncle would go when I displayed incidences of, as he put it, my freakishness. I showed you that memory to show you to what despicable lengths Dumbledore would go to make sure I lived there!
"That shows you why Dumbledore had no problem forcing me to go back there during the summers between my first, second, third and fourth years of Hogwarts. Plus, it shows you Dumbledore is that despicable he would use a memory modification charm on both muggles and on a five year old wizard who he'd only just been told was suffering from a concussion!"
"In my possession are another more than dozen memories of mine that show Dumbledore turning up... sometimes bringing Pomfrey with him, sometimes not... berating the Dursleys for their behaviour, healing me or having Pomfrey do it, Obliviating everyone and leaving again. So, it wasn't a one-off incident you all witnessed. I also remember there being times when Vernon actually did beat me unconscious and my waking up some time later with all, or almost all, my injuries healed. Once I learned what magical healing was like, I recognised that's what had happened during those times.
"You also need to understand that, at the time, I had no idea it was Dumbledore or Madam Pomfrey that were apparating in after Vernon went too far and beat me too much. All I knew was that an old man called 'Albus' with long white hair and beard, who wore what looked to me like a gaudy dressing gown, would arrive out of thin air with a sound like a gun shot. Sometimes he would bring a lady a little older than my aunt and uncle who dressed in what appeared to be an old style nurse's uniform, and sometimes not. I also quickly realised the lady in the nurse's uniform - 'Poppy', as the old man called her - wouldn't recognise me from one visit to the next. She also acted as if she was meeting me for the first time.
"I knew from when I asked a teacher at school, that's muggle primary school, what the word 'Obliviate' meant. The closest I could find in the dictionary was that it meant to erase from existence, to wipe clean. And that told me the old man, 'Albus', was wiping Pomfrey's, my aunt's, uncle's and cousin's memory clean; and trying to do the same thing to me.
"If he was wiping everyone's memories away, I quickly realised that it would be a bad idea to let the old man know that I could remember both of them from their previous visits. The old man would wave that stick of his at us, firmly call out 'Obliviate!', a light-blue light would shoot out of it and hit us, I'd feel all wooly-headed for about the next one or two minutes, then everything would come flooding back."
Again, Memory-Harry smirked towards the VIP stands. "And, by then, I had already become a good enough actor to fool the old man. It was something I never stopped doing. As you will see a little later."
Memory-Harry gave a snort of amusement before he changed the subject. "About a week before my eleventh birthday I received my first acceptance letter to Hogwarts. But, I couldn't accept; because, as soon as the letters began to arrive, Vernon was collecting them and burning them.
"And, yes; I said 'them', meaning 'plural'. I received one on the first day, one on the second day, three the day after that, the next day I received twelve, on the fifth day I received twenty four, on the sixth day - the Sunday - about thirty to forty arrived, and on the seventh day well over one hundred arrived. At one minute past midnight the next morning, Rubeus Hagrid turns up to hand-deliver my invitation letter.
"Now, think about that; wizarding mail is delivered by owl. Think about how many owls had to have been flying into the muggle world to deliver mail to me; especially on the sixth and seventh day. Think about how many owls that would have to have meant were waiting just outside - perched on branches, fences and the like - to deliver that mail; each with a letter in its beak or tied to its leg. Would that not be a breach of the Statute of Secrecy? And this was forced, knowingly, to occur under the direction of Albus Dumbledore.
"That's yet another crime willingly committed by the so-called Leader of the Light. And this time it was breaching the law set in place centuries ago to protect the wizarding world.
"Anyways," he sighed, "Hagrid collects me on the evening of the tenth day, we head for Diagon Alley the next morning, my eleventh birthday. I learn about having a trust vault at Gringotts, get some galleons out to buy my school supplies and shop.
"As soon as we're finished, Hagrid hustles me off to the Underground and sends me back to the Dursleys.
"For the entire month of August the Dursleys - all three of them - pretend I don't even exist." Memory-Harry gave a long, drawn out sigh of bliss and added, "It was won-der-ful!
"And, why did they leave me alone?" he asked. "It's because, this time they had kept their memories of just how close the wizarding world was watching me." He sighed. "I was then left to wonder just how much of that abuse I suffered I wouldn't have suffered if Dumbledore hadn't kept Obliviating the Dursleys."
Coming back to himself he continued, "However, during that time I was not idle. Hagrid had told me a little bit about the truth surrounding my parents and their deaths, a fair bit about Hogwarts, and very little about anything else. But one of the nuggets of information he did share with me had to do with the Houses of Hogwarts. And I made sure to grab a book on Hogwarts and another on recent wizarding history from Flourish and Blotts while I was there.
"So, during the month of August, while the Dursleys were ignoring me, I read. I read about the four Houses and of how the students are sorted into each. I read how the method by which students are sorted was based on that young witch's or wizard's character - and grew quite concerned. I knew I was destined for Slytherin if I didn't figure out a way to change it.
"Oh, yes," he suddenly said. "Based on what Hagrid had told me, and after meeting Draco Malfoy in Madam Malkin's that day Hagrid took me to Diagon Alley, I had already reached the decision I did not want to end up in Slytherin.
"And why did I decide I didn't want to end up in Slytherin?" he rhetorically asked. "Not just because of what Hagrid had told me about my parents; and not just because of the behaviour of Draco Malfoy, either. No. It's because of the ideals each of the Houses are supposed to prize the most."
Up in the Slytherin section of the stands around the arena, Draco Malfoy scowled back. Because of his own focus, glaring in hate back at Harry, he was unaware many of his housemates took their own moments to glare at him.
While he didn't think Potter was worthy of being a Slytherin, there were many more of Slytherin House who would have been quite proud to have him in their House. And they all now knew Malfoy was partly responsible for him not being there.
Well, that's what they thought - for now.
"And, why did I believe I was going to end up in Slytherin, you may ask? It's because of my upbringing. Anyone who understands child psychology - that is how a child grows to think based on their home life - will already know that a child that is raised in the sort of home environment in which I was raised would make perfect little Slytherins.
"A child raised in a similar environment to the one in which I was raised would grow up cunning, sly, secretive, would employ guile, almost instinctively negotiate for a better position in life, plan moves in advance, consider risks in advance. In other words, as I said, a perfect little Slytherin. Without their knowing they did it, the Dursleys raised me as a perfect little Slytherin - a true Slytherin.
"I figured that out weeks before I arrived at Hogwarts, within hours of cracking open the book on the history of the school. So, I had to bend my mind to figuring out how not to be sorted into Slytherin, as I should have been.
"As the story goes, Slytherin cherished those who employed cunning and guile to achieve their ends. These days many think that also means ambition; it does not. At least, not alone. All four founders cherished ambition, not just Slytherin. Therefore, the Hat does not take how ambitious a new student is to determine into which House the child would be sorted. So, I did not have to worry about the Hat considering me ambitious.
"I began to plan. First, I had to think about what the two words, 'cunning' and 'guile', actually meant. For those who do not know, the definition of 'cunning' is the employment of a skill in a shrewd or sly manner; and 'guile' means crafty or artful deception. Once I had those definitions I knew how I could argue my way out of being sorted into the House of the Serpent.
"You see, by the very definitions of 'cunning' and 'guile' I knew I had the means in which to argue the best House for a true Slytherin was to be sorted into any House but Slytherin." He paused to give a chuckle. "Think about it. How guileful is it to be sorted into Slytherin when you're a true Slytherin? Where's the craftiness?... the insidious cunning?... the artful deception? A true Slytherin would do everything they could not to be publicly labelled as such."
That had most of the students in Slytherin, together with the alumni of that House, who had come down to watch the task almost all collectively scowling in annoyance.
"On the First of September I bumped into the Weasleys at Kings Cross. Hagrid, for all his good intentions, had forgotten to tell me how to get onto Platform nine and three-quarters. With only a few minutes until the train left the station - and me in a near panic - that's when I heard Molly Weasley doing her best to break the Statute of Secrecy. Whether that was out of malice aforethought, ignorance or just plain stupidity, I do not know. On the muggle side, she was crying out to her own children in a shrill voice words along the lines of, 'Look at all these muggles! What's the number of the platform again, dear?' And a ten year old Ginny Weasley calling back, 'nine and three-quarters, Mum!'"
With a sigh, he continued, "Irrespective of the probable breach of the Statute, Molly Weasley gave me the knowledge of how to get onto the platform. If it wasn't for her I'd have never found the platform in time, if at all.
"Once on the train, Ron Weasley found me in a compartment on my own. When the subject of Houses came up, he then gave his very biased opinion about them. It was from that conversation, added to what I'd heard from Hagrid back on that day in the Alley, that I had my answer as to where I would try to convince whoever it was that did the sorting, where I was to be sorted. Remember; I still did not know the sorting was done by a magical talking hat that could read minds.
"It was while on that train ride I finally learned of the full identity of 'Albus', the old man with the long white hair and beard. I got a Chocolate Frog card of Albus Dumbledore. I had finally learned that the old man who kept trying to wipe away my memories was also the same old man who would be my new Headmaster. I almost panicked, right then and there.
"We arrived at Hogwarts, received a talk from Minerva McGonagall - where she effectively lied to us and told us our House would be like our family - and were then escorted by her into the Great Hall.
"As the Hat gave its little tale expressed in doggerel verse, I learned how the Hat would sort me. And I also physically breathed a sigh of relief when I learned it would not relate what it would learn out of my mind to anyone.
"Almost immediately after the Hat was placed on my head it wanted to sort me into Slytherin. 'In Slytherin you would be great, you know', the Hat said to me. However, I was determined to go to the one House where a true Slytherin would never be expected to be sorted - Gryffindor.
"For those of you who were there and remember that night, that's why my sorting was one of the longest in history. It took me almost the entire time I was under the Hat for me to convince it to sort me into the House of red and gold. Finally, it recognised my determination, ceded to my wishes and sorted me into Gryffindor. I have never had to argue for something I wanted so hard in my life!
"Now, you might wonder why I chose Gryffindor; and not another House such as Ravenclaw. The answer is quite simple. When people are presented with evidence of something they expect, they never question it. If I had been sorted into Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, questions would have been asked of why. I'd have been questioned about my sorting, questions would be asked of others who would also then ask me directly. However, as people expected me to be sorted into Gryffindor, no one wondered why; and, therefore, no one asked why."
With a smirk on his face, he gave that a moment to sink in; and for the audience to understand what he'd done.
"So, here I was, a newly minted Gryffindor who was expected to be a Gryffindor, while all along I was really a Slytherin in disguise." He gave a low, almost evil chuckle.
"From then on it was easy. I just had to behave pretty much like I was expected to behave. And just bide my time while trying to stay under the radar, as the muggles would say, until I finished my schooling." He gave another snort of amusement. "Like, that was ever going to happen."
"Basically, from day one in First Year I figured out Ronald Bloody Weasley was going to prove to be nothing but an anchor around my neck. However, I had to 'allow' him to hang around me because, if I'd broken things off with him, Dumbledore would have come sniffing around to find out why.
"From what I've now come to believe, though I have no evidence to support that belief, the first meetings with Weasley at Kings Cross Station and on the Hogwarts Express were somewhat engineered for me and Weasley to meet; and for us to become friends. However, after arriving here at the school, I quickly learned that boy is nothing but an indolent, bigoted, gluttonous git."
Up in the stands - where he was sitting near Hermione, but not next to her - Ron Weasley flushed with anger. It did not help that his housemates sitting near him were now attempting to slide away from him, as if he was diseased.
'Dumbledore's gonna be pissed!' he thought. 'Bloody Potter.'
It had not occurred to him, and likely never would, that Dumbledore had far bigger problems than worrying that his little spy on Potter would now be pretty much worthless; or, that he had ever truly been of worth.
Hermione was staring at her best friend in awe as he systematically tore down the staff of Hogwarts. As she had been with him for all of the events he spoke about since his arrival, she knew she was in the unique position to know precisely what he was talking about.
Now that Harry had effectively already torn down Headmaster Dumbledore and Professors McGonagall, Snape, Moody and Hagrid, she wondered what was coming next.
She even spent time paying a little attention to the aurors who were heading off as Harry brought to light more truths. It was no challenge for one with her intellect to deduce they were being sent off to arrest people - all of which were those aforementioned.
And she knew Harry wasn't done yet.
"My second major misdirection was something I had to employ while at the Dursleys. I had to show myself to be academically somewhat below average," he explained.
"Dudley was a pretty piss-poor student. And, if I ever brought home marks that showed me to be a better student than Vernon and Petunia's little angel, I would get punished. Because, according to them, it meant I had to be cheating.
"So, by the time I started at Hogwarts, I was very good at being able to write my assignments, answer my tests and similar to score just behind my fat baby whale of a cousin. As I figured out Weasley seemed determined to keep me performing sub-par academically, it was easy for me to shape things to seem like I just went along with it. After all, I still didn't know if the incident involving Weasley meeting me on the platform at Kings Cross and Dumbledore's behaviour towards me were or were not somehow linked.
"Because she's been such a good friend, and thought she was trying to help me with studying better, I owe Hermione Granger a major apology. It took me a little while to determine that, unlike Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger honestly did have my best interests at heart. Weasley, just like pretty much everyone else in the wizarding world, sees me as 'The Boy Who Lived'. Hermione sees me as 'Just Harry'. And, I have to say, I love her for it."
Hermione dropped her head in embarrassment and blushed. It was the first time her friend had actually shown he truly cared. And, to have done it in such a public environment, had her feel deep joy inside.
It was not until that very moment that Hermione Granger realised she just might love Harry Potter.
But, while Harry loved Hermione, he thought he loved her like a little brother loved his big sister; not the romantic sort with which Hermione thought she might love Harry.
Memory-Harry had only paused for a few moments before he began again. "About a month after I started at Hogwarts I managed to track down a book on Mind Magics. And that led me to tracking down a book on Occlumency.
"Both books I asked a seventh year 'Puff to check out for me, who was happy to do so. My explanation for her was that I didn't want my 'lazy' friend questioning me on why I was reading up on the subject. I was having a hard enough time dodging the git's constant begging of me to play chess and or skiving off with him, instead of studying.
"As for Ronald Weasley, here was a boy who was the sixth and youngest son of a family of seven children, whose family was not that flush with money, whose family had to work hard to save enough money to put together the tuition needed to send him and his siblings to Hogwarts, whose family did so in the belief of ensuring him the best chance at a good future, and who spends almost the entirety of this... gift... doing his level best to get out of studying and, instead, want only to talk and read about Quidditch and play chess.
"In other words, Ron Weasley's family have worked damned hard, and continue to work damned hard, to send him to the supposed best school of magic in magical Britain to give him an excellent start in life. And his way of thanking them for their effort is to deliberately piss it all away." He then sighed as if in disappointment.
"I wonder what their reaction would be if someone were to actually go and tell them the truth of their youngest son's behaviour in school," he continued. "Mind you, that's exactly what his school Head of House, Minerva McGonagall, is supposed to have done. I bet she's completely ignored that part of her responsibility, and not."
If Minerva McGonagall was within hearing range she'd have almost died in embarrassment. However, as she was already being 'detained' by aurors outside of the arena while they awaited further orders from their boss, she was not aware of Harry's words.
"I've already shown you what should be known to anyone of what happened in my first year, the 1991-92 school year. But there's more only myself and Dumbledore know. That is, what Dumbledore thought only he knew, due to his judicious use of memory charms.
"It was in late October, shortly before Hallowe'en, I figured out Quirinus Quirrell was being possessed. At the time I did not know the identity of the malevolent spirit inhabiting him; though, I had a pretty good idea.
"So, I had to make a difficult decision. That decision was whether or not to tell Dumbledore the information about Quirrell, and thereby risk him discovering I wasn't as dense as he thought me to be; or, keeping Mum about it, thereby risking the residents of the castle to actions Quirrell or his spirit 'hitch-hiker' might launch against them.
"To me, the answer was obvious. It was time to do what was right for all, rather than just what was right for me."
Again Memory-Harry faded away to be replaced with a memory of Harry running along the corridor that led to the Headmaster's gargoyle guardian.
With barely a pause, Harry almost shouted the then current password to the gargoyle, who leapt to the side to allow Harry ingress. Harry practically bolted up the upwardly rotating stairs.
Almost slamming the Headmaster's door aside, Harry barrelled in before coming up short and looking around, almost in awe.
"What brings you up to my office, young Harry?" twinkled a slightly smirking Dumbledore.
Snapping out of his stunned reaction, Harry quickly made his way to the Headmaster's desk at the other end of the room. "Headmaster! You need to know! The students are in danger! Professor Quirrell is being possessed by, I think, Voldemort's ghost!"
Dumbledore frowned as if the news was terrible. However, he drew his wand and said, "I'm very surprised you figured it out so quickly, Harry my boy."
As Harry appeared to gape back in what appeared to be his own shock Dumbledore drew his wand on him, the Headmaster continued, "It's too early for you to learn that."
As Harry continued to stand there, his expression slowly changing to one of great anger, Dumbledore lifted his wand and cast at him.
"Obliviate!" the old man snapped out. And the light blue charm zipped from his wand to Harry's chest.
As Harry's expression seemed to go blank and his eyes glassy-eyed, Dumbledore said, "You and I had a short talk about how well you're fitting in to Hogwarts' life, Harry. You have no interest in wondering if Professor Quirrell is being possessed. However, you believe Professor Snape may be trying to get into the forbidden third floor corridor to get what is being protected there."
As Dumbledore lowered his wand and quickly slipped it back into his belt, he rose as Harry's relaxed expression regained liveliness and his eyes seemed to clear.
As Dumbledore walked around his desk, he said, "Thank you for coming to see me, Harry my boy. I'm glad you're fitting in and enjoying yourself."
"Errr..." said Harry, before he seemed to think of how to reply. "Thank you, Sir."
"Excellent," said Dumbledore. "You may go. And don't worry so much about Professor Snape, my boy."
Harry gave a little nod before he quickly left.
Once he was back past the gargoyle he suddenly stopped and seemed to stand still for a long moment. Suddenly, he spun back to stare at the gargoyle with an expression of great fury on his face.
And the memory ended, bringing Memory-Harry back.
"So, as you witnessed, Dumbledore both knew of Quirinus Quirrell's possession, knew that possession was by the shade of 'Voldemonkey', and, when I raised the issue with him expecting him to put the students first, tried to Obliviate me of the knowledge and further used the Obliviation charm to try and redirect my thoughts to it being Severus Snape going after the Philosopher's Stone. He did not want me knowing the truth.
"For you parents of students and actual students in the audience, if you haven't already figured it out, Albus Dumbledore deliberately put the children of magical Britain at great risk. He did it both knowingly and intentionally. That's premeditated child endangerment times as many students as were under-aged at the time who resided in the castle. Each case is, of course, a crime punishable by the loss of every position of authority he holds, at a minimum; and a long-term stay in Azkaban, if not execution via the Veil, at a maximum - for each.
"And that, of course, does not count the illegal obliviations."
From where they were all sitting parents, students, Ministry personnel, journalists, others who had an interest in watching the first task, staff of the visiting schools and even the few remaining Hogwarts staff who were in attendance and had not otherwise been taken into custody spent at least a few moments staring at Dumbledore in both fear and anger.
From where he was still sitting with Madam Bones's wand firmly jabbed into his neck, Dumbledore did not need his great wealth of experience to know, without any doubt, that his tenure as Headmaster was now over; as were his roles as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Supreme Mugwump of the ICW. Nor, at the moment, was he able to see any strategy he could employ that would keep him out of Azkaban.
He knew representatives of the wizarding world's news media were also in attendance; and that what young Potter was doing would be the lead news stories on both wireless and in the printed news press by that evening, at the latest. He had no hope of stopping it happening. He'd need to be out of the clutches of the DMLE well before either made it all public for him to have any hope, no matter how slim, of effecting that. And, with the amount of information Harry was making available and knew Bones would be asking him about, he would be lucky to be out of her clutches by the next afternoon at the earliest; if he was out of her clutches, ever again.
'Merlin's balls!' he mentally cursed. 'The Daily Prophet, at least, will parade this story for weeks!'
Chuckling with a laugh that sounded almost evil, Memory-Harry continued. "Of course, stupid me, I kept trying.
"Oh, not that time," he corrected. "I meant at other times over the past three years.
"I, again, tried to get the old bastard to act when I complained directly to him about the way I was being illegally treated at the beginning of second year, when I figured out it was a basilisk even before Hermione did, when I told him - yet again - about how the Dursleys treated me, and all the rest of the times I kept going to him. On just about each and every occasion he attempted to Obliviate me and redirect my thoughts away from what I knew to be the truth.
"For second year that includes: He knew the exact moment when the dark artefact that compulsed a student to release the basilisk, Slytherin's supposed monster, was brought into the school; he knew who the student was; he knew it was a basilisk petrifying the students; and he knew a lot more than just that."
"You'll also recall when earlier I told you I ran from my summer prison of Durzkaban after blowing up 'Marge the Barge'," continued Memory-Harry. "And how I spent the next three weeks in Diagon Alley.
"You'll also recall I told you about how Dumbledore has been stealing from my inheritance.
"What I've already told you, though, wasn't all of it.
"When I went to Gringotts and explained the situation to them, the goblins immediately wanted to go after Dumbledore for everything he had. However, I begged them to hold off. At first, this surprised them; and they thought me weak. However, once I explained why, they were all for it and just as willing to go along with my plan.
"You see, I like to read muggle crime fiction. I'm a big fan of that genre. And one of the things I learned from reading those books is that, if you want to find out what happened to evidence, you 'follow the money trail'. I had the goblins hold off from acting by suggesting they wait for the next time Dumbledore accessed my accounts and made moves to steal yet more gold from me. And the goblins, through use of their own magics, placed tracking charms on the gold before it left their lands.
"From that they were able to track it. The monies went into quite a number of different accounts, both in the wizarding world and the muggle world. Most of it went into Dumbledore's private accounts he had set up using others to set them up for him. A very small amount went into the account of one Molly Weasley under her maiden name of Margaret Prewett. Another small amount went into a Barclays account - that's a muggle bank - under the name Vernon Dursley - that's my Uncle, who always claims I'm a financial burden on them. But, most of the rest of it goes to the same bank under the name 'White Bumblebee Enterprises'; 'Albus' is Latin for 'White' and 'Dumbledore' is an old-fashioned term for what is today known as a bumblebee. Therefore, 'White Bumblebee Enterprises' easily translates to 'Albus Dumbledore Enterprises'.
"While Harry, down there," said memory-Harry, gesturing to where real-Harry was still lounging, "Is trying to come up with ideas how to complete his task, the Goblins are currently in the process of recovering all the gold that has been stolen by Dumbledore from the Potter vaults. By the time they're finished, they assure me, Albus Dumbledore will be close to being completely broke and bankrupt. Plus, they're also recovering the money from both Vernon Dursley and Molly Weasley."
That had quite a few of the audience shocked to their very magical cores, and they could already tell Harry wasn't done yet.
"However, gold is not all Albus Dumbledore has stolen from the House of Potter," he continued. "He's also stolen family heirlooms and artefacts. These, too, the goblins are tracking down.
"And, finally, should Albus Dumbledore venture onto goblin soil before matters between he, the House of Potter and the goblins are resolved, he shall consider his life forfeit. The goblins are very much hoping to introduce old Albus to one of their security dragons - up close and personal like."
He laughed; cackled, really.
Again, Dumbledore groaned. That money was meant to be his retirement fund. He was planning on retiring as soon as he had vanquished Tom, for good.
He also knew that, once the goblins recovered all the money from his accounts he'd been carefully taking from the boy's, he'd be close to flat broke. His robes cost quite a lot. And that, once Molly learned of the money missing from her own maiden family account, she'd be coming after him with that screech she called a voice.
He really didn't know which would be worse.
"Moving on to third year. Dumbledore knew Sirius Black was innocent, he knew the school wards in his standard configuration for them would not keep the dementors out but did know he could easily adjust said wards so they couldn't come in, he knew Black knew about at least one of the secret tunnels under the wards and he knew Black would use at least one of them to come into the school. But, I do not know for sure if he knew Ron Weasley's pet rat, Scabbers, was actually the animagus form of Peter Pettigrew, or not," continued Memory-Harry, not in the least bit interested in Dumbledore's thoughts. "That's something for the DMLE to ask him.
"Now, for this year. The intent wards of Hogwarts are such that Albus Dumbledore is completely aware that the person pretending to be Professor Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody is, in fact, not. That person is actually Barty Crouch Junior under the effects of Polyjuice Potion. The reason why he is not dead is because his own father, who was Director of the DMLE at the time and is currently sitting among the judges, switched his son with his terminally-ill wife using - you might have guessed it, but I very much doubt it - Polyjuice Potion, to smuggle said son out of Azkaban."
From where she was sitting, Amelia heard the gasp and look of shocked terror that suddenly broke out on Barty Crouch Senior's face, and immediately stunned him as the man suddenly shot to his feet looking to flee.
Before she could say anything, Rufus Scrimgeour, who had returned to standing at her shoulder, said, "Magical suppression 'cuffs and portkeyed to a nice cell at the DMLE; yes, Ma'am."
Bones gave a slightly amused snort that her imminent order was quoted to her before she could utter it. She added, "And send someone to stun and arrest the fake Moody."
"Yes, Ma'am," nodded Scrimgeour as he sent another auror off to go and do just that as he moved towards Senior.
Her rising to extraordinary heights trust in the young Potter boy now had her not even questioning if he was wrong or not. Senior's reaction was more than enough to confirm it for her.
"Dumbledore was also aware my name was very likely to come out of the Goblet as a fourth competitor, or just as the representative competitor for Hogwarts," continued memory-Harry. "He knew it, because he knew Barty Junior, Polyjuiced as Alastor Moody, was very likely going to confound the Goblet to spit my name out. That's why he put up nothing more than a simple age line as the security for the Goblet.
"And, yes, Madam Bones, I have copies of each and every memory of those events," he said.
From in the stands, Madam Bones gave an almost snort-like grunt of acknowledgement.
Memory-Harry then seemed to give a sigh before he stood up straight and practically barked, "Right! That's the history lesson complete.
"And... it also marks the end of the entertainment."
Memory-Harry then turned to 'look' to where Real-Harry was still lounging back on the banana-lounge. "Alright, Harry..."
When Real-Harry didn't seem to notice Memory-Harry was supposedly now addressing him, Memory-Harry tried to 'gain his attention'. "Harry."
Still no response.
Real-Harry almost jumped off the lounge in surprise before his head snapped to look at Memory-Harry. "Hunh?"
Memory-Harry smirked and said, "Your turn."
As if suddenly understanding, Real-Harry suddenly said, "Ah!"
The final memory winked out.
He quickly stood, tossing his novel into the ex-Army echelon bag. Then folded up the portable lounge, also stuffing that into the bag.
Once he was done, he then pulled the rack of empty vials out, deactivated the pensieve and began pulling the strands of memory out, dropping them into vials one at a time.
That took a few minutes.
Meanwhile, the audience - who still hadn't broken up and left - quietly sat and talked among themselves while keeping one eye on Harry as he worked.
Once all the memories were removed from the pensieve he then packed both it and the plinth on which it stood into the bag. Finally, he dropped the rack of full-once-more vials on top before zipping the bag closed.
Then he stood up and looked around, as the audience returned to once more silently watching him.
With a cheeky grin, he then looked to blow on the tips of the fingers of his right hand before then rubbing his thumb over the balls of them. With a large overly done gesture to be sure everyone saw him do it he snapped his fingers. Instantly, the bag disappeared in a flash of white light.
He then drew his wand and pressed the tip of it to his jaw. "Sonorus."
Looking about with his cheeky grin he said, "I bet none of you have yet worked out how I'm doing that, have you?"
When he received no answer he gave a chuckle.
"Well, that was the entertainment for you while I sat and figured out how I was going to complete this task," he said, his voice again carrying across the arena. "I'd actually figured out a number of possible ideas by about halfway through it. But, I thought you might like to see the end of it before I shut it off.
With everything now cleared away Harry stood tall and proud while smirking at the audience, but mainly at the VIP box.
"As you now know," he began. "I think most witches and wizards are... not just daft... but daft morons.
"So, in order to complete this task, I considered the straightforward approach first. I mean, the approach that should not work because it's so obvious."
Removing the wand tip from his jaw line he dropped it into his pocket, for the moment.
He then held his left hand, palm upwards and out to his side. Then he pointed his right index finger at it before, with the similar gesture as before, snapped his fingers.
With yet another flash of white light, the golden egg disappeared from the dragon's nest and appeared on his left palm, as if it apparated there.
Taking his wand out of his pocket again, he placed the tip back to his jaw and said, "Hunh! How about that? The organisers of this task were as big a bunch of daft morons as I thought.
"However, you all probably think I cheated or something to get the egg. So that you know I didn't, I'll put it back and try a different method."
Tucking his wand under his left armpit this time, he again snapped his fingers and the egg disappeared from his hand before immediately reappearing on the nest. The dragon didn't notice either the time it disappeared or the time it reappeared. It was still somewhat dozing.
Plucking his wand from under his arm he returned it to his jaw. "Let's try a simple fourth year charm."
He then aimed the wand towards the dragon's nest. "Accio golden egg!" he firmly intoned.
Nothing happened. Again, he used the Sonorus.
"Hunh!" he exclaimed. "Since the first idea worked I'd thought that one would too. Maybe wizard-kind aren't as daft as I thought.
"Let's try a switching charm. That's a third year Transfiguration charm." He bent down and picked up a pebble, holding it on the palm of his left hand, which he held palm up as when Dobby used elf magic to translocate the egg there a little earlier.
"Permuto!" he called, first indicating the egg before then indicating the pebble.
Surprising the audience but not surprising him so much, the egg suddenly appeared on his palm. Though, he did almost drop it when it did, as he truly did not expect it to work.
Returning the wand to his jaw he sighed, "Well, I had such high hopes I'd not be disappointed by the organisers of this event. Sadly, they've proven themselves to be daft, just like the rest."
Tucking the wand back under his left arm he again snapped his fingers. And, again, the egg appeared back in the nest; before returning the wand tip to his jaw.
"Well, that was a simple third year transfiguration charm," he sighed again. "Let's make it a little more difficult by seeing if using only first year charms will accomplish the task. Professor Flitwick taught us these in our first year."
With the pebble still on his palm he pointed to it with his wand and intoned, "Nomen Harry's Pebble. That's named it. Gluten! That's made it capable of sticking to the next object it touches. And... Wingardium Leviosa!"
With his wand guiding it, Harry levitated it down the length of the arena until he guided it to touching the very top of the egg.
As soon as he cancelled the charm the pebble dropped only a fraction of an inch before contacting the top of the egg, and affixed there.
With a smirk he again pointed his wand at the egg. But, this time, had his mind's eye firmly on the pebble, Harry's Pebble, that now stuck to the top of the egg.
"Wingardium Leviosa!" he again intoned. And the pebble, with the egg firmly glued to it, levitated.
Then it was only a matter of using his wand to guide it, before he flew it slowly back to his hand.
As soon as he dropped it onto his palm he returned his wand-tip to his jaw. "Three first year charms," he said. "I find myself soooo disappointed. I actually thought this was supposed to be, and was going to be, a challenging event for seventh years. That even a first year could accomplish it - with little danger to themselves - is, quite frankly, disappointing."
More focussed on what he was doing than anything else, Harry had no idea the other three champions had been standing at the Champions' entrance to the arena, along with the dragon handlers, since before the first hour of his 'presentation' had even passed.
As Harry demonstrated how to accomplish the task with no more than first year charms Cedric Diggory, the supposed Hogwarts Champion, almost sulkily said, "He's making us look like idiots."
Durmstrang Champion Viktor Krum, muttered, "He's making everyvun look like idiots.".
"Non," sighed the Beauxbatons Champion and part-Veela, Fleur Delacour. "Ee's doing what we should 'ave thought of do-eeng. We made ourselfs look like ee-dee-ots."
Though not as disappointed as he professed to be, with his egg in his hand Harry was still a long moment before he said, "Still, as I now have my egg and all I need to complete the task is to step out of the enclosure, I should bid you, as they say in France, 'adieu'.
"However, that will not give you leave to harass me in any way, shape or form. I remind you that, even though a task will not then be under-way, interfering with me can still be viewed as interfering in the Tournament. And I will look very... poorly... on that.
"As I said at the beginning of my little presentation, I am no longer in a forgiving mood. Secondly, I've given you all ample evidence I am not the Harry Potter you thought me to be. As I no longer have to play a role, I will no longer do so. You have all been warned; and it is the only warning you're ever going to get."
Dropping his voice to an almost-snarl he declared, "It is time for you all to learn it is very unwise to... fuck with a Potter."
As Harry turned to walk back out of the arena with the egg tucked under his off-arm, he heard the voice of Madam Bones using a Sonorus.
"Mister Potter!" she called out.
Harry stopped and turned back, with his head cocked just so it was clear he was listening. "It's Lord Potter, now. After having been declared of-age, by being forced into this Tournament, I've taken up my Lordship."
"My apologies, Lord Potter. Please wait for me just outside the entrance to the arena," she instructed him. "I do not want to see you harm anyone as, like you, I think they just might be too stupid to take your threat seriously."
Harry gave a slight bow to her, knowing she said that as much to protect him as protect those who truly were too stupid to realise they were no longer dealing with the Harry Potter they thought they knew.
And, with that, he strode from the arena. He could see the five dragon handlers rush in while giving him strange looks; and the other three champions, plus Madam Pomfrey, waiting in the entrance for him.
"Lord Potter," called Madam Bones yet again. "You need to be awarded points."
Again stopping and turning to her, he again cast the Sonorus on himself and said, "No, I really don't. There's nothing in the rules of this Merlin-bedamned tournament that states I have to be here for any points awarded to me. And, further, since you've not figured it out yet, I really couldn't give a damn about points, anyway.
"If you feel I have to be awarded points, award me a single, solitary, one point each. After all, it did take me about three hours to accomplish my task; when the three real champions all did it in a few minutes, each."
And, with that, he strode from the arena.