Wish Me Luck as I Wave You Goodbye
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"How is he doing, Armando?" Albus asked.
"I have not seen him these past two days," Dippet sighed. "He is eating, however. He has been visiting the kitchens regularly."
"He knows his way around the castle," he said amusedly.
"I take comfort in it. At the very least, Hogwarts is familiar to him. He needs that right now."
"He does," Albus agreed. "I cannot even imagine what he is feeling."
"No. It is bad enough that he has endured what he has. With what has happened, it can only have made it harder for him. I do hope he comes to us, when he is ready. It would be unwise for him to bottle it all up."
Dumbledore gave the headmaster a sympathetic smile.
Armando Dippet was one of the most caring men he had met. It was what made him an excellent headmaster and afforded him the respect he had earned from the rest of the staff.
"Would you like me to speak with him?" Albus asked.
Armando shook his head.
"Not yet. Give him time, Albus. I do not wish for him to think we are prying into his affairs. He is grieving, we must allow him to do that."
"Of course," Dumbledore replied with a bow. "If there is anything I can do for him, let me know."
"Thank you," Dippet returned with a grateful smile. "I don't suppose you've had any luck with the time-turner?"
Albus shook his head.
"Nothing," he answered. "Without testing it, I do not believe anything else can be learned from it. All appears to be as intended. The rune work is flawless, though I cannot identify what the sand within is. I can only imagine it is something that we do not know of."
"I feared as much," Armando huffed. "Well, if nothing comes to light by the end of the summer, I would have you destroy it. We cannot afford to have such a device in the castle with the students here. Were it to fall into the wrong hands, the results could be disastrous. We are fortunate that Mr Potter does not harbour ill-intentions."
"I agree," Dumbledore returned. "Will you tell him?"
"Of course," Armando said immediately. "I will not lie to the boy, Albus. I would like to earn his trust."
"We have the entirety of the summer for that. When he is ready, perhaps we should give him something productive to put his time into," he suggested. "He is going into his sixth year, and we have no OWL results for him."
"That is not a bad idea," Armando mused aloud. "I will offer to tutor him, and you can help too, if you have time. We can have Marchbanks come in and assess him during the last week of summer. Her workload will have eased by then."
"I will help any way I can," Albus offered. "I think having something to focus on would serve him well, even if only to distract him from what he is going through for a while."
"Then I will discuss it with him when the opportunity presents itself," Armando decided. "Thank you, Albus."
"We both want what is best for him, headmaster. Getting him through this is our priority."
"It is," Dippet acknowledged. "It is indeed."
He ran his fingers over the photo that had been taken of Sirius and his parents on their wedding day. They looked happy, and yet, where he found himself, this day had not yet come to pass.
His parents were not even born yet.
He had spent the past two days questioning just why this had happened to him. Why was it always him that had to endure everything that life could throw at him?
He released a calming breath.
Harry would get no answer to these questions. In truth, this was just another one of those things that could only happen to Harry Potter.
Carefully, he closed the photo album and placed it back in the trunk that contained all his worldly possessions.
It added up to very little of a personal nature.
There were his clothes, his photo album, his cloak, and the gifts he had accumulated since starting Hogwarts, but little else. The rest was a rather sizable collection of books, robes, and other items he required for school.
It was a rather sorry ensemble.
With a shake of his head, his closed the lid of his trunk, no closer to figuring out what he was going to do.
"Live your life, Harry."
Was it so simple?
Harry shook his head.
No, it wasn't, but he could not lock himself in the tower and wallow for the rest of his days. Sirius would be furious with him if he did that.
If the man was here, he would give him the same advice Dippet had, and though it was the last thing Harry wanted to do, he pushed himself off the bed and headed towards the showers.
Perhaps this time around it would help?
He doubted it, but he needed to wash and find something to occupy his time. Being left alone with his thoughts would not do. As things were, they were rather bleak.
Still, he needed to vent, to release the anger and hurt he was holding on to.
Evidently, showering helped little with this, so he dressed and took his leave of the thankfully empty tower and headed towards the one room he would be able to let some of what he was feeling go.
"I need somewhere to let it out."
He repeated it over in his mind as he passed the expanse of wall three times and took a deep breath before pushing the door that appeared open.
Having slammed it shut behind him, he turned and was faced with a mass of furniture, stone statues, and even an assortment vases.
Harry nodded. This was what he needed.
He hadn't known what he was feeling since he had watched helplessly as Sirius had passed through the veil, had used the Cruciatus Curse on Bellatrix Lestrange, or even when Dumbledore had revealed the prophecy to him.
He was angry, of course, hurt from the loss of his godfather, but there had been no clarity, no differentiation between the emotions. They had come so soon, one after the other, and even in this moment, he could not tell one from the other.
Harry had never been one for tears, not for as long as he could remember. He had learned from a young age that crying changed nothing, that his tears were meaningless, but here, they flowed, and his wand trembled in his hand as he tried to make sense of what it was he was experiencing.
He knew not, but the urge to destroy everything in the room prevailed.
With an agonised roar, he brought his wand to arms. There was no incantation, just the need to destroy what was in front of him.
He continued in this vein for some time, the various cabinets, chests of drawers and statues being reduced to splinters and rubble as he unleashed what he was feeling.
When that was no longer enough, he pocketed his wand in favour of throwing things, kicking, and dismantling with his hands.
By the time he was finished, he was sweating profusely, his chest heaving from the exertion, and he stood amongst the remains.
Perhaps it was a childish reaction, but wasn't that what he was? He was a child, and time and time again, the world seemed to treat him as though he was the butt of a cruel joke.
Being sent here was just a punchline too far for Harry Potter. Eventually, something had to give, and it had been this that sent him over the edge, Sirius's death, and the damned prophecy too.
It felt good to vent.
For years he had endured such things happening to him. From first through his fifth year of school, not one had passed without incident, and he had been expected to merely accept it for what it was, to return to the Dursley's at the end and return the following September as though nothing had happened.
Harry couldn't do that anymore and letting some of what had burdened him felt good, a relief to be rid of some of what he carried.
A small part of him felt foolish for his outburst, but he didn't care. There was none here to see it, and he felt better. For how long it would last, he didn't know, but as he surveyed the damage, he chuckled darkly.
Nothing had escaped his wrath. Everything that had stood had been reduced to an unrecognisable mess of what it had one been, and he released a final deep breath before taking his leave.
His feet felt lighter as he made his way through the castle and back towards Gryffindor Tower, and the cleaning charms he cast on himself refreshed him, removing the lingering sweat from his hair and skin.
For the first time in days, he felt something other than misery, and though he was no closer to returning home, nor having Sirius back, his future did not seem so dismal.
What he did not anticipate, however, was that when he entered the Gryffindor common room once more, was the same girl he had encountered the night he arrived being there.
Much to his relief, she was fully dressed this time.
"Oh, hello," she greeted him awkwardly. "It's Harry, right?"
"Don't worry, Professor Dumbledore spoke to me. I won't tell anyone anything," she assured him.
"Thank you," Harry replied gratefully.
In truth, he hadn't given the girl much thought, but her presence did leave him pondering what she was doing here.
"Where is everybody else?" he asked.
"They left for the summer the day you came," she answered. "That's why…"
"You were practicing transfiguration half-naked?" Harry finished.
The girl blushed before shooting him a somewhat familiar stern glare.
"It helps me be creative," she defended hotly.
Harry held up his hands to placate the girl.
"I'm not judging, it was just not something I expected."
"Well, I didn't expect a random boy from the future to walk in," she returned.
Harry conceded the point with a nod, though he could not help but feel amused by the situation.
"If everyone else has left for the summer, why are you here?" he asked curiously.
"I'm working with Professor Dumbledore on a project," she explained proudly. "I'm hoping that he may take me on as an apprentice when I'm finished here."
The girl nodded enthusiastically.
"It is what I'm best at. Ever since my first lesson, I fell in love with it. Most people don't understand because it's hard for them, but not for me."
"You looked very good from what I saw," Harry praised before his eyes widened in horror. "I meant your spell work, not anything else."
The girl's cheeks reddened as the realisation of what he said dawned.
"I do not know if I should be grateful that you were referring to my spell work or offended that you did not like what you saw," she teased.
Harry did not know what to say, and instead, gaped dumbly at the girl who eventually took pity on him.
"Do you make a habit of putting your foot in it?"
Harry rubbed the back of his neck as he nodded.
"It happens more than I would like it to."
The girl snorted, a bright smile cresting her lips.
"Then maybe we should forget what happened?" she suggested.
Harry readily agreed with a nod as he offered his hand.
"I'm Harry Potter," he introduced himself.
She took the proffered limb.
Harry immediately stiffened at the response.
He knew the glare she had given him was familiar.
It was the same one he had been on the receiving end of more than a few times over the last five years.
"Is something wrong?" Minerva asked worriedly. "What is it?"
Harry shook his head.
"No, nothing's wrong," he denied.
The girl tutted.
"You're a terrible liar."
"It's not anything bad," Harry tried to assure her, but the girl glared at him again and he almost wavered under it.
"If it is nothing bad then why won't you tell me?"
"Because I shouldn't," Harry sighed. "There are things I want to change but others I don't. If I say too much, I don't know what will happen."
Minerva frowned thoughtfully but nodded her acceptance.
"But you know who I am?" she pressed.
"You could say that," Harry chuckled.
"Oh, Merlin, I'm not your mother or anything like that?"
Harry shook his head.
"Bloody hell, no," he said firmly. "We're not related. Besides, if you were my mother, you would have been sixty when I was born."
"I've never thought of myself as old before. Thanks for that, Harry."
Harry released a deep sigh.
"I'm sorry, it's just a shock for me, all of this," he explained. "I think for now, the less said about some things the better. All I will say is that you are very respected and well thought of by everyone."
Minerva seemingly accepted his position on the matter.
"That will do, for now," she replied. "I can't imagine how hard this is for you."
Harry could only shrug.
"What can I do? I can spend my life complaining and sulking about it, or I can take it for what it is. I won't pretend I'm happy about it, but there's nothing that can be done. Dippet said himself that me going home is very unlikely."
Minerva shot him a look of sympathy.
"Well, as one of only few that will know about you, I'm here if you'd ever like to talk. I don't mean to tell me anything, just if you need someone," she offered.
"I appreciate that," Harry said sincerely, the situation only having become much stranger with his now former transfiguration Professor the same age as him.
It would certainly be quite the experience getting to know the woman on equal footing.
She smiled at him once more.
Well, you know that I'm good at transfiguration, what about you? What's your best subject?" she asked.
"Defence," Harry answered immediately.
"Defence is just a mixture of different branches of magic," she replied.
"I hadn't really thought of it that way," Harry mused aloud.
She made a valid point.
The spells used were varied between several topics.
"When you put it like that, I don't really know what I'm best at. I suppose I'm good with charms and curses."
He'd spent the previous school year teaching up to seventh years defence, and the year before competing in the Triwizard tournament, that had to count for something.
Minerva nodded appreciatively.
"What's your transfiguration like?"
"Probably average," Harry answered honestly.
In truth, he hadn't put so much thought into the topic beyond what he learned in the classroom. It was useful, that he wouldn't deny, but he hadn't had much call for it.
He doubted that changing Voldemort's robes into a dress would be much help, amusing, but little else.
"Well, you can't be that good at defence if your transfiguration isn't up to par," she half-joked.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked curiously.
He was interested to hear what she had to say. The Professor McGonagall he had known had never mentioned transfiguration use in defence, but this one had piqued his curiosity.
Minerva pondered it herself for a moment, evidently thinking of a relevant example before nodding thoughtfully as she drew her wand.
"If you were going to block a spell, how would you do it?" she questioned.
"I'd use a shield or dodge it," Harry answered.
"What if you were stuck somewhere narrow and you couldn't dodge? Shield charms are tiring to use and not always reliable. There are spells designed to destroy them."
"That's true," Harry acknowledged. "What would you do?"
"If there was nothing around me to use as cover or to intercept a spell, I would conjure something," she said simply, demonstrating by seemingly creating a sizable rock from nothing. "It may be destroyed by some spells, but it will block even the most dangerous curses."
Harry nodded appreciatively.
He had seen Dumbledore do something similar when he used parts of the Statue of Magical Brethren during his fight with Voldemort in the atrium.
"That's brilliant," he praised, thinking of how he could incorporate it into his own duelling.
"That's not all," Minerva continued, her eyes widening excitedly at having a captive audience. "You can also use it to attack. You can conjure things and banish them, and when you get really good, you can use almost anything as a weapon."
This time, she turned her attention to a chair in the corner of the room, and with a wave of her wand, it was transfigured into a snarling wolf that bounded towards Harry.
"Bloody hell," he gasped as he drew his own wand, but even before the beast crossed half the distance between them, it was a chair once more.
"Sorry," Minerva offered, "I got a little excited."
Harry waved her off and chuckled.
No wonder she had become a transfiguration professor. He had never met anyone so passionate about a subject.
"It's alright," he assured her. "I get your point, and you've given me a lot to think about."
Minerva positively beamed.
"Give it a try," she urged.
"Give what a try?"
"Anything you'd like to," Minerva replied. "Try using transfiguration as if you were in a duel."
"I don't really know any spells that would work like that."
"That's because you've not thought of them in that way," Minerva returned with a grin. "What was the first spell you learned."
Harry snorted at the memory of his class attempting to turn a matchstick into a needle.
There wasn't a matchstick to be found, but there was a quill on a nearby table and with a tap of his wand, he turned it into what he wished for it to be.
Minerva's eyebrows rose considerably at the demonstration.
"I thought you said you weren't very good at this," she muttered, inspecting his work.
"I turned a quill into a needle," Harry pointed out confusedly.
Minerva scoffed and shook her head when she realised he wasn't merely being humble.
"No, you turned something organic into something synthetic," she explained. "Not only that, but you also shrunk it to several times smaller than its natural state. That's really advanced transfiguration."
"I thought everyone could do that," Harry returned with a shrug. "I didn't really think about what I was doing."
Minerva gave him a look of disbelief.
"The simple thing would have been to keep it at the same size for a start," she informed him. "Your magic and intent are really in sync. They must be to be able to do what you did."
He had no idea what he had done, but if the girl was as surprised as she seemed to be, he had evidently done something more than what he believed he had.
"If you did that unintentionally, then you are better at transfiguration than you thought," the girl insisted. "Most students won't be able to do what you just did before they leave here."
That, Harry struggled to believe. He had never been conditioned to accept praise and he began to feel awkward as the girl bestowed it on him.
"I really didn't even think about it," he reiterated.
Minerva nodded before retrieving a log from the pile next to the fire and breaking it into several pieces.
"Try again", she encouraged, indicating one of the chunks of wood, "but this time, don't turn it into a needle, turn it into a metal spike."
Harry sighed but focused on what he wanted to achieve before waving his wand over the target.
The result this time was less than admirable. The spike he tried to create was more of a warped metal rod with the pattern of the wood still visible
"You overthought it," Minerva explained. "It is the same principle as what you did first, but easier. You need to see what you want it to become before you change it. Try again," she urged.
Harry nodded and took a deep breath, imagining what he wanted the piece of wood to become. When he was ready, he cast the spell once more.
"You did it!" Minerva cheered, picking up the metal spike he had created and checking it over. "This is brilliant, Harry."
"Is it?" he asked sceptically.
The girl nodded.
"This is why we are taught this spell first. It is to prepare us to do the same thing but on a bigger and more complex scale. It is the foundation that we build our entire skill set in transfiguration on."
"Okay," Harry replied uncertainly.
"It's quite sweet that you don't even realise what you've done," Minerva replied amusedly. "Just one more demonstration?" she asked.
Harry could not deny her. Her enthusiasm was rather contagious, and he found that he was enjoying her company.
With an exaggerated sigh, he gestured for her to explain what she required of him.
"This time, I want you to do the same thing you just did, but to the rest of the pieces of wood at the same time."
"Isn't that difficult?" Harry asked.
"It is," Minerva agreed, "but not as difficult as what you did first. Go on, give it a try," she encouraged.
With a shake of his head, Harry focused once more and carried out the task, eliciting a joyous laugh from the girl as she checked over his work.
"How much work do you put into this away from the classroom?" she asked, squinting at one of his creations to take in the finer details.
"Err, none," Harry answered honestly.
"None?" Minerva questioned with a raised eyebrow. "You have never put in extra work in transfiguration?"
"No, nothing more than the homework we've been given."
Minerva huffed irritably before grinning once more.
"Then you're a natural at this," she returned, shoving him playfully. "Charlus is really good too."
"The other Potter boy," Minerva clarified.
"Oh, right, him," Harry shrugged.
Harry didn't know Charlus, didn't even know if he was related to him, and Minerva gave him a look of sympathy.
"Sorry, I got a little carried away. I forgot…"
Harry waved her off.
"It's fine," he assured her. "This will all just take some getting used to."
The high he had felt whilst completing the tasks set for him had vanished, and Harry felt the darker mood begin to descend once more.
"I guess it's not just you that puts your foot in it," she muttered.
"Well, I suppose that just makes us even."
Minerva nodded and the two fell silent for a few moments before she spoke once more.
"Don't keep it all in, Harry," she suggested. "It won't help if you just let it eat away at you. Find something worthwhile to put the energy into. An idle mind is one that becomes bogged down with things that are out of your control. That's what Professor Dumbledore told me."
Minerva gave him a sad smile.
"He's a smart man. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here doing what I am," she explained. "He gave me something to lose myself in so the other things I couldn't control didn't matter as much. I think that would help you too."
The girl was being sincere, and though Harry was curious, he did not press her for what she was referring to. It was something that bothered her still. He did not need to be a master in legilimency to see that.
"I will," he answered simply. "Maybe I should speak to the headmaster and see what he suggests," he decided as he stood. "It's not like I have much of an idea of what I can do here. You won't even have CDs here yet."
"What's a CD?" Minerva asked.
"Just a muggle thing where I came from," Harry answered as he exited through the portrait hole, leaving behind a thoroughly confused girl in his wake.
"Well, if we switch the second-year charms with the third year, then there will be no conflict with the rest of the electives," Albus suggested as he and the headmaster pored over the timetables for the upcoming year.
"That would work," Armando agreed, making the changes with his quill. "That way, the first year flying lessons can remain as they are also."
"Excuse me, headmaster," one of the portraits hanging on the wall interrupted. "There is a young man heading in this direction."
"Ah, thank you, Davin," Dippet replied, sending a spell towards the door to allow the boy entry. "I was not expecting him so soon."
"From what little we know of him, I expect he is quite resilient," Dumbledore guessed.
Armando nodded his agreement.
"Come in, Mr Potter," he instructed when a knock sounded.
The boy that entered look just as lost as he had when he'd arrived, though he had a little more colour to him. He was still grieving and would be for some time, but Armando took what he saw as a positive.
"Harry," he greeted him, "What can I do for you?"
The boy seemed uncertain and shrugged as he took a seat.
"Honestly, I don't know, but I can't spend my life moping, can I?"
"No, but you are allowed to grieve, Harry," Dippet replied. "It's natural but keeping your mind off it will help. What would you like to do?"
"I suppose I should prepare for being here," Harry sighed. "There's not much hope of me returning home, so I have to get used to this at some point."
Armando offered him an understanding smile.
"I am sorry. I wish there was more that we could do," he said sincerely. "Albus did make a suggestion that I believe would help," he revealed, turning to his colleague.
"Well, you of course will have your place here to complete your schooling. Unfortunately, we do not have any OWL results for you."
"I didn't think of that," Harry groaned. "I just finished them a few days ago."
"And did you do as well as you could have?" Dumbledore asked.
Harry grimaced as he shook his head.
"I didn't finish my last exam. I fell quite ill."
"And the rest?"
Harry shrugged once more.
"I probably could have done better," he conceded.
"Then take this as an opportunity to do your best," Armando suggested. "I would like to offer you the chance to be tutored by me and take the exams at the end of the summer."
Harry frowned at him.
"You want to tutor me?" He asked suspiciously.
Armando chuckled at the cautious nature of the boy.
"I'm an educator, Mr Potter," he reminded him, "but it would also give me the opportunity to see what you have learned for myself. I will not attempt to force you, but there is much that you can learn from Albus and myself."
Harry pondered the offer for a moment before nodding.
"It would be something worthwhile," he acknowledged.
"It would," Armando agreed. "There are, however, a few things we must discuss. I do not wish to pry into your life, Harry, but some concerns were raised with me by Madame Morgana."
"Is it about the Basilisk bite?" Harry asked.
"No, no," Armando assured him. "As curious as that is, Madame Morgana does not believe it has had a detrimental effect on your health. I am very curious as to where you encountered such a creature, but as I said, I have no desire to pry. To do so would serve no purpose other than to risk altering things that we may not wish to. We are in a very precarious position, after all."
"Then what is it?" Harry pressed.
"Your scar, the curse one."
Harry's hand immediately reached for the infamous mark, a deep frown marring his features.
"What about it?" he asked defensively.
"It is most unusual in that it causes you great pain and discomfort," Dumbledore broke in. "If it were only a scar caused by a curse, your body would have purged the foreign magic from you, and it would be only a scar. How did you get it?" the man asked curiously.
"Won't me telling you that alter things?" Harry returned.
Dippet shook his head.
"Unless we act upon it, then no, I do not believe so," Dippet replied. "I am not asking you to learn of your personal affairs Harry, but so that we may help you if we can."
The boy stared at the Professors uncertainly for a moment before deflating.
"When I was a baby, a dark wizard murdered my parents and tried to do the same to me. This," he said, lifting his fringe, "is what is left from when he tried to kill me."
"Good grief!" Armando exclaimed, taken aback by the revelation. "Why would anyone want to murder a babe?"
Harry released a deep breath.
"I don't want to talk about that. I only learned why myself a few days ago."
"Of course," Armando agreed immediately, followed by Dumbledore who nodded as he looked sadly upon the boy.
"Again, this is not to pry, Harry, and I do not wish for you to relive such unpleasant things, but do you know how he tried to kill you? What method was used?" Dumbledore asked.
"Really, Albus, does that matter?" Armando chastised.
"Knowing the method is the only way we can hope to help him," he explained, gesturing towards the boy. "You have my apologies for the lack of tact, Harry."
"It's fine," Harry assured him. "You'll probably find this hard to believe, but he fired a killing curse at me. It rebounded back on to him."
Armando was speechless, and Albus eyed the teen curiously.
There was no hint of untruth in his voice nor in the expression he wore. It was something he had grown used to throughout his years and Armando could only shake his head.
"How?" he asked simply. "How did you survive it?"
"My mother sacrificed herself to save me. She pleaded for my life, and he laughed in her face before killing her. When he tried to kill me, it didn't work."
What was clear before anything else was that he remembered it. The haunted look in his eyes as he spoke was not something that could be fabricated.
It was as though the boy had told the tale so many times that it no longer resonated with him, and Armando's heart tightened in his chest.
No child should have to experience nor witness such a thing.
"Albus?" he prompted.
The other professor was just as saddened as him and released a deep breath before speaking.
"Magic works in mysterious ways," he said simply. "I believe what you experienced was old magic in its rawest form. I cannot be certain, but there are accounts of sacrificial magic creating some remarkable events. This is undeniably one of them. Your mother's sacrifice undoubtedly shielded you from what happened. I do not know how, but as you are here breathing, that is the only explanation I have."
Armando did not know what to say. Albus's understanding of magic exceeded that of any he had met, and he would not be the one to question the man's theory.
More often than not, he proved to be correct.
"What happened to the dark wizard? Did he die?"
Harry shook his head.
"Everyone thought he was dead for a while, but he came back."
"He came back?" Albus asked severely.
"He didn't have a body for a long time, but he got one back eventually."
No, that did not make sense at all.
He would not profess to be an expert on such things, but that did not add up.
That Harry survived the killing curse due to his mother's sacrifice was difficult enough to believe, but the caster also living having been struck by it. No, something was amiss.
Dumbledore hummed thoughtfully, pulling him from his musings.
"With your permission, I would like to discuss this with someone," he requested of the teen. "I can assure you, he is the most trustworthy person I know, and the only one I believe that could give us definitive answers. Of course, I will not mention your status."
"Nicholas Flamel?" Harry asked, surprising the transfiguration professor.
"You know him?"
"No," Harry denied, "but I know of him and his work," he added cryptically.
Dumbledore nodded appreciatively.
"Would you object to me discussing this with him? I do believe that he could be of help to you in understanding what happened and what can be done to help?"
"If you think it will help."
Dumbledore smiled encouragingly and began scrawling a missive to the rather elusive wizard. When he was finished, he signed it with a flourish.
"Fawkes?" he called.
The man's companion arrived in a burst of flames, trilling melodically.
"Could you take this to Nicholas?" Dumbledore asked.
The phoenix, however, was not paying attention to the man. His small, black eyes were fixed on the teen.
"Hello, Fawkes," Harry greeted the bird.
The creature's head turned as it stared at Harry curiously before it trilled once more and landed on his shoulder.
"You are familiar?" Dumbledore asked.
Harry nodded, a smile gracing his lips.
"It was Fawkes' tears that saved me when I was bitten by the basilisk," he explained, stroking the bird's plumage. "The core of my wand is also one of his feathers," he added, drawing it.
Fawkes trilled again and Dumbledore chuckled.
"Is that so?" he returned thoughtfully, a smile of his own aimed at the odd duo. "I remember when Bertram came and asked him to donate them. He took some convincing."
"It's saved me more times than I can count," Harry said as he eyed his wand fondly.
"I wonder," Dumbledore mused.
"What is it, Albus?" Armando questioned.
"Well, I would not pretend to understand the wonder that is wandlore, but with all the discussion of the mysteries of magic, I am rather intrigued by the relationship between Mr Potter and his wand. I imagine the bond is rather strong. What do you think, Harry?"
Harry pondered Dumbledore's words for a moment before nodding.
"There was a time I managed to cast a lumos with it when it wasn't in my hand."
"That is a considerable feat," Dumbledore replied. "I cannot help but think that with Fawkes having become a part of you through his tears, that it has strengthened your connection with your wand. Of course, I am merely speculating. You would need to speak to Bertram or Garrick to clarify it. The understanding of the craft is something the Ollivanders are experts in."
"But that is for another day, is it not, Albus?" Armando interjected.
"Indeed," Dumbledore acknowledged. "You have my apologies, Harry. I tend to get caught up in my own observations."
"I know," Harry snorted.
Armando and Dumbledore looked at one another before the former shrugged.
"When would you like to begin your tutorship?" he asked.
"As soon as possible," Harry answered. "I don't think leaving my mind idle will do me much good. Minerva said the same."
"Yeah, she spent the half an hour before I came here putting me through my paces in transfiguration," he chuckled. "That was strange, this whole thing is strange."
Armando felt another stab of sympathy for the boy.
"Well, I think giving you some normality will help, Harry," he offered. "Professor Dumbledore will assess you tomorrow to identify where you are, and what we can work on during our sessions. If you arrive here for nine am, we can begin then."
Harry nodded as he stood and gave Fawkes a final pet.
"Shouldn't you be delivering something," he chuckled.
The phoenix took the note where it had been left on the desk and vanished in another burst of flames.
"Is something wrong, Harry?" Armando pressed when the boy remained where he was, seemingly torn on whether to take his leave or speak further.
He released a deep breath and Armando could not miss that he needed to get something off his chest, unburden him of something he knew.
"I know I have to be careful with what I say, but I have to tell you."
"Could it have significant repercussions to do so?" Armando asked.
"Even if I don't tell you, it will," he muttered. "War is coming, headmaster. In the coming years, the muggle world will be at war, as will we. There's a wizard that will plunge us into it. I don't think there is anything that can be done to prevent either."
"There is already talk of the muggles preparing for conflict on the continent. It was something I hoped would be avoided. The conflict amongst wizards, however, I know nothing of. Who is the man responsible? I need to ensure the students will be safe from this."
Dumbledore froze, his eyes widening in horror.
"Grindelwald has not been heard of in some years, not since he visited the states," Armando explained. "Are you certain of this?"
"Yes!" Harry said firmly. "Unless you have a plan to put a stop to him, the war will happen."
"He will not be stopped," Dumbledore whispered. "Gellert will not strike until he is ready to resist what force will be sent to meet him. Unless you know of his whereabouts, there is nothing that can be done."
Harry shook his head.
None of the books he had read nor tedious lectures that Binns had given contained that information.
"Could you not find him?" Harry asked Dumbledore.
The man released a deep sigh.
"I cannot. Gellert is as gifted as any wizard you will ever meet; charismatic, strong, elusive. I suspect he will use the muggle war to push his agenda and gather followers of his own. Until he comes out into the open, there is little that can be done about him. We can prepare as best we can, but it will never be enough. Gellert Grindelwald is as dangerous as any man you will ever meet."
Dumbledore's expression had darkened, and it took all of Harry's willpower not to blurt that it would be the man himself that would defeat the one that concerned him so.
Even when discussing Voldemort, Dumbledore had never shown such worry, and Harry could not help but think there was much more to Grindelwald than he knew.
He suspected Dumbledore knew more than he was letting on, and it would not surprise the teen.
The man had kept the prophecy hidden from him for his entire life, even when given the many opportunities he'd had to reveal it to him, he hadn't.
As such, Harry no longer felt he could trust him entirely, not where his safety was concerned. Dumbledore was too secretive when it came to important things, and that did not sit right with him.
Nonetheless, he nodded his acceptance of what little he had gleaned.
"I just thought it was something you should be aware of, Headmaster," he said to Armando before taking his leave of the room.
Armando looked at his colleague and shook his head uncertainly.
"Any thoughts, Albus?"
"Until we can learn more, then no," the man said worriedly. "It is concerning to say the least, but I will stay alert to any rumours I hear. Mr Potter is evidently concerned, and with good reason. Gellert should not be underestimated."
"You know him better than I, Albus," Armando pointed out. "If what happened in America is anything to go by, dark days may indeed be on the horizon."
Dumbledore could only nod.
"What are your thoughts on Harry so far?" he asked.
"I believe that he is a boy that has had a very difficult life, Albus. You only need look into his eyes to see that."
"Indeed. He is rather fascinating, and fortunate to be alive. His stories would be fantastical to all, but he has been nothing but truthful."
Armando shook his head.
"Do you think Flamel will be able to help him?"
"That remains to be seen," Dumbledore said thoughtfully. "If anyone can, it is Nicholas, though we must first learn what it is that ails the boy. After all this time, even such a horrific curse should either have killed him, or the effects he is experiencing all but absent."
He may not be as well-versed in magic as Albus, but he too knew enough that the man was right.
"What are your thoughts on the matter?"
Albus scratched his chin.
"I believe that Mr Potter's scar is not a product of the killing curse, but a failed ritual. The protection of his mother did not work as intended, and I believe it is because there is more to it than even Harry knows. Without a memory to view, it will be difficult to confirm, but I think Nicholas is best equipped to help us. He is a font of knowledge that we would be foolish to not implement."
"So, we wait until we have spoken with him?"
"That would be for the best."
Having left the office of the headmaster, the final part of the conversation Harry had shared with Dippet and Dumbledore did not sit right with him. The latter did not seem surprised that Grindelwald would surface sometime in the near future, but neither did he show any urgency to confront the issue.
Harry found himself questioning why, but with the recent behaviour of the man, he was not as shocked as he should have perhaps been.
As much as he appreciated what Dumbledore had done for him, it's what he had not that weighed heavily on Harry's mind.
There had been ample opportunity for him to be made aware of the prophecy, for his life to be bettered by his headmaster, but neither had evidently been a priority to the man.
"The one with the power to defeat the Dark Lord…"
It was not the words that haunted him now, but the vagueness of the prophecy, and the label that had been attached to it in the Department of Mysteries.
S.B.T To A.P.W.B.D
Dark Lord and
His steps paused and he shook his head.
No, the prophecy could not refer to him and Grindelwald, could it? The prophecy did not specifically mention whom the Dark Lord was, but it had been made years after Grindelwald had been defeated.
He shook his head once more, ridding himself of those thoughts.
It was not possible. Dumbledore would be the one to defeat Grindelwald, Harry was destined for another, one that could only be but a small boy at this point.
Where even was Tom Riddle?
Harry remembered that he was an orphan, but little else. He did not know where he had grown up, nor when he would be arriving at Hogwarts.
He huffed irritably.
Why did Dumbledore not see fit to tell him these things?
It was not as though that the old man could have predicted what would have happened to Harry, but there should have been some urgency for him to provide information.
He did expect Harry to defeat Riddle, after all.
Harry rubbed his eyes tiredly as he entered the tower. It was empty this time, something he was pleased for. He felt a headache coming on and he wanted little more than to find his bed.
Although he had an understanding of what was coming, there would be no plain sailing, no easy solution or preventing it.
Things were already in motion that could not be changed and all he could do was wait to see how it would unfold.
However, if the opportunity arose for him to intervene, he would do so.
From Dumbledore's demeanour, he could not count on the man acting, not against Grindelwald and certainly not Tom in a timely manner.
That meant it would be up to him, and though he did not relish it, he would not sit back and wait for things to conclude as they had before.
Thousands had died during Grindelwald's rise to power and subsequent war.
If there was anything Harry could do to prevent it, he would, and damn the consequences.
If that meant acting alone, so be it.
He could not simply sit back and allow what had once been to come and go again as it had.
Maybe he did have a saving people thing, as Hermione called it.
"Wish me luck," he muttered to the photo of his parents that he had left on his bed.
Perhaps he would get help, but he would not rely on it. If anything, Dumbledore's secrecy had proven only one thing to Harry, and as much as it pained him, he could not hide from the truth.
When the time came, it would be him alone that would have to deal with Tom. There would be no Dumbledore to protect him, to rescue him from certain death.
With that in mind, Harry knew he had to be prepared for what the future held. At the very least, he took comfort in the knowledge that he had time to do so.
Now more than ever, he was alone in this.
In the end, it would come down to him and Voldemort.
Without the necessary knowledge, he may be unable to prevent the rise of his foe, but there were things he could to that would not make it so easy for him. Even whilst in the castle, there were steps Harry could take.
He nodded thoughtfully as he pondered what he faced and the chance he had been given.
It was unlikely that he would have ever been ready to face Voldemort during his own time. The man had decades of experience on him, but here, he could be his equal. Perhaps being sent back was going to happen regardless of what he had done?
He frowned at the thought, the words of the prophecy haunting him once more.
"And either must die at the hand of the other…"
It was fated that they would meet, that Harry would have to kill Voldemort if he wished to live.
Still, being here at this time when the world was on the brink of here, he could not shake the feeling that the prophecy held much more than he had believed thus far.