AN: I did not have power for an extended period of time, that is why this chapter is so late in getting out. For that you have my deepest apologies. The power company is being… Difficult about the entire thing, but for now I once again have the ability to post so please accept this chapter as we come up on the end of year 1.
There are a few things you should know about coming to from a forced unconsciousness, the first is that it's not like those fluttery eyed beautiful waking up scenes in dramas, it is sudden, forceful, and very explosive. Secondly, it's not uncommon to gasp, drawing in a very deep breath. Some people view this as panic, and it can be, but most of the time it's the first conscious thought that hits the brain. Thirdly, the adrenaline. When the brain attempts to process the last thing that it remembers, as is with most forced unconsciousness events, a serious event, the body responds flooding the system with adrenaline forcing a fight or flight reaction.
Harry sat down the pamphlet he had been given with a sigh. Waking up in the hospital wing had been an unpleasant experience. The burning shame of his failure to stop Voldemort had on more than on occasion sprinted to the front of his mind and left him feeling quite unhappy with himself. The fact he had saved his friends was a relief, but the memory was stained with his failure. He knew on some level that no child his age would be expected to fight Voldemort and yet the chilling exclamations that Voldemort had said had unbalanced him, left him feeling like he should have been able to do something, anything. Harry realized had been dealing with the fact that he had been played with, his best spells rebuffed, and he had been left with nothing, but the chilling knowledge that Voldemort would be waiting for him.
The story was, according to Madam Pomfrey, that Dumbledore had made it back to the school and the alarms in his office had been activated, alerting him that someone was making an attempt on the stone. Dumbledore hurried through the challenges only to find an obviously exhausted Harry in a deep magical sleep. Nearby his friends were still left in a pile just now rousing from their sleep. No one knew what had happened, that was, until Harry woke up and explained what had happened.
Of his Failure…
Of how he had been baited with his friends' lives, and how he had taken the bait refusing to let his friends be hurt because he had refused to act. Of his defeating the traps that lay in front of him. Of the intense pain that overcame him and left him unable to defend himself when Voldemort had walked right up to him, oh and how stricken Dumbledore had looked when he had explained that particular detail.
The exact details of the battle and the insane sounding speech Voldemort had made were only relayed to Dumbledore and McGonagall who both said little except for urging him to take his time and to breathe when he felt overwhelmed.
For all his efforts and his explanations Harry felt somehow hollow, drained of energy and drive. He didn't know what would become of himself and that perhaps scared him more than the Voldemort encounter. Would he be sent back to his Aunt and Uncle now that he had proven he couldn't fight? Perhaps placed in an orphanage and told to fend for himself? He was already considering how he could attempt to make it through to the start of the next school year, if they even allowed him to come back. Harry was deep in his musings when Madam Pomfrey came back from her office and informed him that he could go down to the leaving feast after he went to speak with Professor Dumbledore in his office.
The walk gave him time to think, time to stew in his own emotions. He was just working himself up into a proper fit when he was come across by Professor Snape. Harry had gone to move around the man when a solid hand landed on his shoulder and he was steered into a nearby classroom that the professor unlocked with a whispered spell.
"Mr. Potter, I would like a few words before you speak to the headmaster." Snape announced as he cast a series of spells over the doorway they had just entered through. Harry didn't recognize a single one and that thought for some reason made his hairs stand on end
"Is something wrong sir?" Harry's knew his voice had come out strained but couldn't muster up the energy to be embarrassed about it, not when he could still be in danger.
"Per chance there is." Snape announced as he spun around with his wand still out which caused Harry to jump backwards. Harry looked, startled, at the man's face and his eyes flicked to the wand that was still drawn continuously. Was he really about to be attacked by a teacher only a day after being attacked by a previous one?
"Your wand, Mr. Potter. If you would be so kind." Snape said pointing his own wand at the ground and outstretching his other hand toward Harry. After a moment of hesitation Harry pulled his wand out and gave it to the professor.
"I simply wish to see the spells you cast, and then share a few words with you, no need to fret." Harry jerkily nodded refusing to tear his eyes away from the man's face. If he was to be attacked, he wanted to at least see it coming.
"Priori Incantatem" Snape said with a flick of his own wand. Harry's wand reacted immediately, replaying the spells he had cast in reverse order. Harry saw where he had cast each spell and the pauses in between. Snape seemed satisfied with this and handed Harry his wand back carefully. "There are few that can say they have stood before The Dark Lord and lived to tell the tale. Fewer still who can say they've done it twice. You may think yourself weak or Incompetent, and while your potion brewing skills could do with a fair improvement, you should not feel inconsequential. These fights never should have happened, no one expects you to battle him as a child, no one expects for you to win while you know so little." Snape said with a frigid tone, if Harry hadn't heard the words himself, he doubted he would believe Snape had said them. The man had always been rather cool with him, but this was very much unlike the professor who stared down at his potions with contempt.
"Your mother grew up alongside me." Snape whispered quietly after a brief pause. His voice was different now, not quite so cold nor did it had the hard edge of sarcasm that normally laced his words.
"My mom?" Harry answered back surprised.
"Indeed, she was a brilliant witch. Smarter than near anyone else our age. I have made many mistakes in my life Harry, but I can easily say the largest one and the one I wish I could change most was growing apart from your mother. Perhaps at a future time I can tell you about her, for now you should go to the headmaster." Snape offered as he cancelled the spells at the door and opened it for Harry.
Harry exited the room in much less of a slump than he was in beforehand. He wasn't exactly jumping for joy, but whether Snape had meant to or not he had at least distracted Harry from him previous musings. So caught up in his thoughts was he that he didn't even notice when he walked right past the gargoyle that guarded the staircase and up the stairs only realizing where he was when Dumbledore invited him inside.
"Ahh Harry, it is good to see you up and awake so soon. I had worried that Voldemort's spell would leave you asleep until well past the end of term." Dumbledore said from his desk, which was empty of paperwork a stark contrast to how it normally was when Harry visited. When he noticed Harry looking, he smiled. "I see you've noticed my lack of paperwork; well it seems that someone in the mail room of the ministry had the most wonderful idea for all of my mail to be routed through the goblins of Gringotts and then returned to the ministry. While a very safe practice and one that is sure to screen my mail most carefully, it left it showing up days late. This now explains why things I had sent out were not showing up on time. The issue has now resolved itself, so I am once again paperwork free, just in time for no paperwork to appear on my desk for almost two whole months. Strange how that works, no?" While it was phrased quite jovially Harry was able to pick up on the undercurrent of the conversation easily, someone had sabotaged Dumbledore's mail, and it had caused him to leave the castle on the night where Harry had gone after his friends and had confronted Voldemort.
"That is rather unfortunate sir, I hope whoever did that got a rather stern talking to." Harry said carefully.
"Oh yes, I quite think that the young man, will never make such a decision on his own ever again. Ahh, the follies of youth. However, Harry, that was not the reason I asked you to be here this evening. I have rather large news that I think you should take a seat for." Dumbledore motioned to the seat in front of his desk and Harry's stomach dropped, so he had been right Dumbledore intended to punish him in some way.
"You will be happy to know that you received well over forty offers for you to stay with families during the summer holidays. There were also several offers of adoption, but in your best interest I chose to leave you under my care, as I believe I hold a unique role in your life." Here Harry exhaled dramatically and practically melted into the chair he was sitting in. Dumbledore continued on with only a slight quirking of his lips
"I narrowed down the list of families to ones I thought suitable for you. For your own safety I removed any family that had confirmed or reported ties to Voldemort and his followers, the so-called Death Eaters. After that I removed any family that I felt would attempt to use you for your wealth or political power, I truly believe that you should make your own decisions once you come into your own with proper teachings to guide you. Thirdly I looked for families that have previous connections with the Potters, who as I learned had their fingers in many pies indeed. The Potter fortune expands in many directions with interests in businesses all across both the muggle and magical world. This narrowed down the list significantly. In fact, only three families remained that I felt would be suitable for you.
The first is the Tonks Family. You are already very well aware of Nymphadora from your meetings this year with her, but she comes from a good family in my judgement. Her father, Ted, is a solicitor and actually runs his own office, which the Potters helped fund. Ted was your father's solicitor up until that tragic evening at which point, he lost all ability to do anything with the Potter account due to the family magic locking him out; Possibly in an attempt to preserve itself. Her mother goes by the name of Andromeda. A beautiful and very skilled witch, she was born Andromeda Black to which you are related by rather distant blood. Andromeda is a healer by trade and works in the wizarding hospital located in central London known as St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies. The apprenticeship program she enrolled in to earn her job was started by a Potter ancestor many many years ago.
Secondly is the Greengrass family, with whom you are in the same year as their eldest daughter Daphne. The Greengrass family is part of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, meaning they, as a magical family, can trace their line back to the founding of Magical Britain. When Arthur pulled the sword from the stone and became the one true king twenty-eight families stood beside him. They are a famously neutral family, refusing to side with anyone permanently. The Greengrass family has made their fortune on fast tracking exportation and importation of goods, with techniques that fall under the mantle of family magic so no one can force out of them how they do such things. Cyrus, the patriarch of the family, has offered to give you lessons on politics if you choose to stay with them, along with cultural lessons should you prove interested. Cyrus is a master politician, and as such has been elected the leader of the so called neutral block, who's interest currently lay in preserving certain traditions of the old families, while opening our world more to muggleborns and foreign wizards. Many of our current laws are penned with both the Potter and Greengrass names as co-writers, also the early version of the Potter Will has them named as Allies of House Potter, though it does not list why so I feel they would also be a worthwhile family to look after you.
Thirdly is House Longbottom, with whom you share the same Hogwarts House as Neville who is also Heir Apparent to his lineage. The Longbottom family has stood with the Potters for so many generations it is near impossible to tell when the pairing actually started. What we do now from public information is that if a Potter was ever in need of protection for any reason a Longbottom was assigned as their guard. Their family charters call out a long-standing pact of brotherhood and comradery. Currently the house is run by Augusta Longbottom, a very intense lady who plays the political game quite well. She stands as a Moderate Progressive in political terms while leaning toward the Light in terms of her beliefs. She stands firmly against any proposals that would lead to the darker sided families gaining power. She is also a member of the Hogwarts' Board of Governors. In a future time when you are accepted as your majority, the first person I intend to set a meeting up with is Augusta as she will be of great help to unlocking the secrets of House Potter. Until such a time presents itself however Augusta is knowledgeable in all of Wizarding History, and has quite the reputation as a story teller" Dumbledore finished.
"All three seem like good choices sir, but I do have a question." At Dumbledore's gesture Harry continued "Is there a reason the Weasleys were not chosen?" Harry was worried that his best mate's family had some dark secret he wasn't aware of which drove him to asking this. Dumbledore seemed surprised by the question then let out a hearty laugh
"Oh no Harry, there is nothing wrong with the Weasley Family, in fact they are such a staunchly Light sided family that I would trust them with you in a heartbeat. The reason they were not chosen is a simple one. While I trust Arthur and Molly implicitly, they already have many children and I do not wish to stress them unduly. I'm certain that they would say it is no trouble at all, I just simply do not want to be a bother to them. I'm sure if you wanted, you would be able to visit them over the summer at any time you wanted and they allowed." Harry nodded deep in thought, he hadn't considered that the Weasley house may be overly full, but he conceded that it did make sense considering all the Weasleys he had seen and heard about.
"I do not expect an answer immediately Harry, in fact you have a week before you must choose, or you can simply leave the choice up to me. In the meantime, you will be staying here in the castle while we attempt to get a little bit of work done, including a trip to Gringotts at the end of the week. For now, you may go down to the feast which will be starting soon. I will join you shortly."
"Thank you sir!" Harry said as he stood up and gave a friendly wave, before ducking out of the office and down the stairs quickly rushing off to the shortcut Susan and he had used during the dragon egg incident. It was easy to slip into the waiting crowd gathered at the stairs trying to make their way into The Great Hall, he would have been completely stealthy, if not for the twin pairs of hands grabbing him by the shoulders and dragging him backwards into the side hallway that had the badger head in it.
"Ickle Harryikins, back from the dead it seems." One of the twins said as they ushered him into a corner that provided them cover from the crowds moving past.
"Hey guys," Harry said as he leaned into the stonework behind him, at least with the twins he knew he was safe. "What's up?"
"We just wanted, to impress on you, how grateful we are, for you saving Ron, if you ever need anything know that we've got your back!" The twins said swapping who was speaking back and forth at every breath. Harry considered what he had just been told, the twins were a sight to behold and the stuff of legend in the Gryffindor common room. Practical jokes were their bread and butter and it never ceased to amaze and excite all involved. Mysteriously people they pranked ended up having good luck afterwards if one paid attention, Harry had already announced his theory to Hermione, Ron, and Susan on the matter. He was sure they were doing something nice as payback for their victims. It was not unusual for someone to find something they had had confiscated returned, or to stumble upon something they needed just lying in their path.
Harry stammered for a moment before standing up straight, his training in wizarding culture kicking in "As Heir Potter I accept the favor given by George and Fred Weasley to be returned at a later date." One of the twin's mouth was open in shock before receiving an elbow to the ribs from the other one, where they quickly glanced toward each other before turning back to Harry "We Fred and George Weasley do certify a debt owed by us and us alone to Harry Potter." Afterwards they both relaxed and George raised an eyebrow at Harry
"Since when did you get all fancy with pureblood rights?" He asked inquisitively.
"Well it's just something Dumbledore has been teaching me, he says I'll need to know it since I will one day be Lord Potter." Harry replied with a shrug
"Well we had better remember to pull dad aside and let him know, we don't expect any trouble of course Harry but as Head of House its best he knows." Harry responded with a nod and swiftly rejoined the crowd heading to the leaving feast which had thinned considerably by the time he returned. He swiftly noticed Ron sitting next to Hermione and quickly joined them. Right when he was about to say something Dumbledore spoke drawing all of their attention toward the Head Table.
"Another year has passed and now it is time for us to bid our goodbyes, may this feast appease you as we break our selves of our routines and move into the summer months. As is tradition we shall now count the House Points to see who our champion house is. In last place with three hundred and fifty-two points is Hufflepuff, next up the ladder is Ravenclaw with four hundred and twenty-six points, sitting in second place is Gryffindor with four hundred and fifty-seven points, and finally Slytherin with four hundred and eighty-two points." The cheering from the Slytherins nearly drowned out the hall of all other noise and with a mighty wind the banners in the hall became silver and green with a motif of a snake on them. Dumbledore still stood at his podium however which left some of the older student's curious as he had never done so before according to the whispers Harry heard around him. Suddenly over the celebrating someone was shouting drawing attention to one of the banners which was slowly morphing from the very bottom into a burgundy and gold coloring.
"Ahh yes, I had almost forgotten, there are some last-minute points that need to be awarded. There will be a ten-point reduction in points to Gryffindor for a very serious breach of rules," And audible groan came from the Gryffindor table at this announcement. "And there will be a fifty point addition to Gryffindor for one member of your house standing above the call of duty of even an adult, for defeating puzzles that would leave older students trapped, and for quite possibly the best reason there is, being a true friend to those around him." This announcement was met with widespread silence and Harry noticed people from every table looking at him. "Now then I believe a change of colors is in order." Dumbledore announced. If it had been loud before when the Slytherins had been celebrating it was deafening now with several Claws' and Puffs' joining in at the end of the Slytherin winning streak.
Everything after that was a blur to Harry. The feast, the celebration in the common room afterwards, the mournful goodbyes and promises to write, and suddenly Harry was left alone at the gates of the castle which had become his home.
~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~ FIN ~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_
Authors Note: As of this moment this story has been fully updated, some details in previous chapters have changed minutely, so a reread may be in order. There is one chapter left of this story which will cover Harry's summer and the much anticipated Gringotts vault visit. There will be a poll up on my profile on FFN for who Harry should spend his summer with. Your choices were covered in the story, but for those who need a refresher they are. House Greengrass, House Longbottom, and House Tonks.
Link to my profile: u/6540824/Ulltima101