by Bellanaris
Disclaimer- Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling. I own only the plot.

Summary- The summer after fifth year brings about many changes for Harry Potter. When the light of truth forces away the shadows of manipulations and lies, will the Wizarding World still have their hero?

Warnings- Slash, AU, Minor uses of vulgar language, some violence.

= thoughts
= parseltongue
= telepathic thoughts

Ch. 1 - Revelations
The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple - Oscar Wilde

A dense fog hung low over a moor secluded deep within the countryside of Wales. It shrouded immense castle ruins from the eyes of wizard and muggle alike. Many had searched for this fabled place, seeking the magical treasures rumored to be hidden within its depths. Yet none had returned to tell the tale if they had even managed to find it. Even Lord Voldemort had sent an expedition of Death Eaters, confident his lackeys would succeed where his predecessors had failed numerous times. Of course they had fallen into the same rut as the others: complete and utter failure.

On a normal day, the ruins were eerily silent, but today was far from a normal day. From the bowels of the the ruins in what had once been a dungeon of some magnitude came a deep groan of someone regaining consciousness. Pebbles scattered as a dusty, scraped hand braced against a broken wall, its owner pulling himself up to a sitting position. Blinking in the unrelenting dark, the man flung his hand out, running it over his immediate surroundings before finally grasping a hold of a thin stick.

"Lumos!" A raspy voice cried out in the dark, causing the tip of the wand to illuminate the man and his surroundings. He was a tall, gaunt man, his dusty features bespeaking of better times. His left arm hung at an odd angle, yet he did not pay it any mind, more concerned with his current situation. A rat skittered across his booted foot, and without thought, he viciously kicked it away. The furry rodent slammed against a nearby wall with a sickening crunch, blood smearing across a bas-relief of a serpent imprinted within the weathered stone. Aiming the wand in that direction, his inky-black eyes widened in horrified recognition of the bas-relief.

"Oh fuck! Slytherin! Bloody hell, how did I get here?" He closed his eyes a moment, trying to remember what had happened before he woke up here. With a strangled gasp, the memories returned to him with full force- Harry...his cousin Bellatrix...the Veil in the Department of Mysteries..the Order of the Phoenix...Voldemort...a red flash of light...falling! Oh sweet Merlin, he'd left his godson to the not-so-tender mercies of his insane cousin! He had to get back. The thought of what Harry might suffering at Bellatrix's hands spurred him into motion, and he scrambled to his feet in search of a way out. He ignored the rubble and skeletal remains scattered throughout the ruins, determined to get out.

It took him nearly three and a half hours, but he finally made it outside into the open air. Panting heavily, he dropped onto a broken stone, cradling his broken arm to his chest. The haggard man simply rested in what had been a courtyard in the castle's magnificent and glorious past, resigned to the fact that he would have to walk to Surrey. His animagus form was not an option; a broken limb was a broken limb, no matter what shape or form your body was in at the time. With a deep sigh, he rose to his feet and began to trudge towards the partially destroyed gateway, stumbling over the uneven ground. Suddenly his concentration and the silence was broken by a sweet, musical trill. Blinking in surprise, he looked up towards thse sound, startled to catch sight of a red and gold Phoenix perched atop the broken gate. He stared at the magical bird, a startled half-whisper escaping him before he could stop himself, "Fawkes?"

If he was shocked by the sudden appearence of the Phoenix, he was even more so by the smoky voice that cut through his mind...nearly falling over. Aye, hatchling Padfoot. It is time you came back to the nest. You have been in this evil place too long. There is no sanctuary here for my hatchlings. As the last word resounded in his mind, Fawkes landed on his right shoulder, the golden tip of a wing caressing over the man's dirty cheek. A red and gold haze surrounded them both before they completely disappeared.


In the back of his mind, Harry Potter couldn't help but realize that the Order of the Phoenix's not-so-subtle and well-meaning warning to Vernon Dursley would not bode well for him once they made it home, and yet he couldn't seem to make himself even care. He'd lost the only person who ever truly cared for the real boy behind the Boy-Who-Lived facade foisted upon him before he'd even known what to do. Life just didn't matter without Sirius anymore, and any punishment meted out by his muggle family was more than justified in his eyes. Quietly he followed his uncle to the waiting car, vaguely taking note of his cousin's presence in the passenger seat.

Silence seemed to permeate the vehicle, a strange occurrence in light of what had occurred at King's Cross. However this was not to last, as Uncle Vernon finally spoke up at they waited for a stoplight to change colors. "Boy, you should have stayed at that freak school this summer. In fact, when we get to the house, you are to write those red-haired freaks and the one with the crazy eye, and persuade them to take you in for the summer. Understood?" Blinking in surprise, Harry nodded and softly murmured his acquiescence before dropping his head back against the leather seat, his emerald eyes drifting briefly towards Dudley. If the look on Dudley's face is anything to go by, they have something planned...vacation or something, and they don't want to take me along..

It wasn't long before the car was pulling into the well-kept driveway of No. 4 Privet Drive, the house looking no different when Harry had last left it. Quietly he slipped out of the car, Hedwig's cage in hand, taking no notice of Dudley slipping out of the car and heading towards the house. Vernon went to the trunk, quickly hauling out Harry's school trunk for the boy to drag inside. Reaching the cupboard, he paused, a slight frown touching his lips as the sight of Dudley hurrying down the stairs with several bits of luggage in his arms.

Uncle Vernon held the door for Dudley, watching his son waddle to the car before looking back at his nephew...something akin to sympathy in his beady eyes. "Don't even bother putting your trunk in there. With any luck, those freaks will be by to pick you up before Petunia gets back. Good-bye, boy...we won't be seeing each other again." Harry blinked in confusion, slowly straightening up as his uncle grabbed two suitcases near the front door and slipped out. Going to the door, he silently watched as Vernon and Dudley stuffed the trunk with their luggage, and then left without a glance back towards No. 4 Privet Drive. What the bloody hell is going on?

Alone in the house, Harry sat in his room, trying to write the letter to the Order as Vernon has explicitly told him. He bit his bottom lip, uncertain how to word it correctly. How am I even going to convince them? Who'd want to take me in anyways? A door slammed below, jarring the raven-haired boy from his thoughts. Then his aunt's familiar voice rang through the house, coming closer with each word. "Harry? Are you here? Harry?" Quickly he tucked his parchment and quill inside the desk drawer before rising to his feet. Opening his bedroom door, he answered her calmly. "Coming, Aunt Petunia..."

Slipping out of the room, he hurried down the stairs and into the parlor. Finally lifting his eyes, his mouth almost dropped open at the sight of his aunt. There she was in the center of the parlor, brushing off a set of royal blue dress robes that matched her eyes. Her blond hair was much longer than the last time he had seen her, and she looked like ten years had been taken off her age. A bright smile touched her lips as she looked over to her nephew. "Welcome home, Harry. You and I have much to talk about..."

Gently Petunia ushered the shocked boy into the kitchen, pushing him onto one of the seats before sitting down herself. She pursed her lips a moment as if trying to decide what to say, her dark blue eyes resting on Harry. Finally she pulled out a light-hued wand, and with a small wave, two steaming mugs of tea appeared before them. Harry nearly knocked his chair to the floor as he leapt to his feet. "A-aunt P-p-petunia! You can do magic?!" He exclaimed rather loudly. A delicate brow arched as amusement flooded her eyes. "Of course I can, dear...surely you didn't think that your mother was the only one, did you? Sit down and I'll explain everything."

She gave him a reassuring smile as he finally resumed his seat, taking a small sip of the tea she'd conjured. "How to begin? Well, for starters...Lily and I were never Evans to begin with. We may be full-blooded sisters, but we are far from muggleborns. The Evans adopted us both at the age of four months, supposedly the only survivors of a horrible fire. We were found hidden in a reed basket, floating in a small pool outside a ravaged manor just as they got the blaze under control. One would think they'd have wondered how we hadn't drowned or who had put us there..." Her voice trailed off briefly as she shook her head slowly, her disgust for the lack of intelligence showing. Shaking her head, she brought her attention back to her silent nephew, "I might as well come out and say it...your mother and I are not even human. And neither are you."