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Harry Potter and the soul of the wizard
Chapter four: The tell-tale Scar
Harry backed a few more steps away warily.
"Calm down child. I'm not going to hurt you," Ape said soothingly, as though trying to placate a cornered snarling animal.
"Yeah, sure..." Harry hissed, trying to sound menacing.
Ape sighed. "Thestral, please don't make this harder for both of us..."
She bristled, yelling at the calm old man in front of her, "The hell I will!"
He just looked at her sadly for a moment and she was almost ready to believe him, if his expression hadn't changed to a frighteningly resolute one. It seemed as though suddenly everything was happening in slow-motion. Ape swished his wand in a vaguely familiar way, as he aimed directly at her chest.
On pure instinct she tried to duck, scrunching her eyes shut tightly. She felt something ruffle her hair as it wheezed over her head. Her eyes flew open and she tried to inch into a better position, using Ape's momentary shock to her advantage.
"Potter!" he finally hissed angrily at the teen who froze.
She gulped and trying to act naturally, snarled confusedly: "I have no idea, what you are talking about mad man!"
"You know very well what I'm talking about, you fool! Or tell me where you acquired that scar!"
"Oh shit..." Her mind racing she said the first thing that came to mind, trying not to lose her hate-filled tone in her panic:"It's none of your business!" "I was never good at this stuff..."
"It damn-well is, you foolish child! Just what do you think, you are doing so far away from the muggles! Do you think my brother goes through all the pain to keep you protected for the fun of it!" he yelled angrily.
Harry blinked. She had expected him to throw the killing curse at her, not reprimand her. "Protection! What does my safety have to do to you, deatheater!"
Ape raised an eyebrow, muttering: "I thought we had at least gotten past the accusation of me being a deatheater..." At her glare he continued somewhat coldly, completely ignoring that it had been a rhetorical question, "Your well-being Mr.Potter concerns me, because I and the rest of the Order have been and are working night and day to make your muggle relatives' house one of the safest places in England!"
Harry stared open-mouthed at the old wizard, but when she snapped out of it, she asked in the same accusing voice she had used before: "Why should I believe you?"
He sighed, obviously more than a little annoyed, but trying to hide it. He responded: "You know where the Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix are, don't you?"
Harry nodded, a feeling of pure dread and grief settling over her at the mere mention of Sirius' house.
Ape schooled his face into a pitiying expression, that only served to annoy Harry even more. He tried to bring her thoughts back to the problem at hand, "Good, it's at number twelve Grimmauld Place." When her face didn't show any comprehension on the significance of this statement and her stance didn't relax at all, he added with no small amount of impatience, "Honestly child! Are you dense? If I know this, Dumbledore must have told me!"
She did believe him by now, but she just couldn't help but question his intentions further. After all he had just watched as those people were killed. "Well, you could have just betrayed him." The sound of flesh connecting with flesh echoed and Harry only became aware of the fact that her face had been whipped to the side by the vicious slap, when her cheek began to sting. Numbly she lifted one hand to tenderly touch it, hissing at the piercing.
"I'm sorry," muttered a regretful Ape, who sounded as shocked by what he had done as she. "I shouldn't have done that. It's just... Albus and I are really close."
She turned her inquiring gaze at him and he shifted a little, trying to stay resolute, but finally shook his head from side to side as though to search the room for other people and leaned in, although they both knew that nobody could eavesdrop with the silencing charm he placed on the room, so she was fairly certain it was for show really.
He whispered in her ear: "I'm Albus' brother, Aberforth."
Opening her mouth she found herself unable to form her words of disbelief. She finally realised, whom he had always reminded her of. Now that she knew it, it was obvious that the two were closely related, having similar features and a similar way of speaking, when Ape didn't talk in his gruff way.
He chuckled, obviously very pleased, that she finally believed him, pointing out jovially, "You should close your mouth or an owl might consider building a nest in it."
She closed her mouth with a snap, glaring at the laughing man. When he sobered, he turned stern eyes on her, making her wonder, what she had done.
"So, are you going to tell me, why you are not with the muggles?"
She paled once more, having completely forgotten, that he knew, who she really was.
He gave her an imploring look. "Well?"
"It's just... I er...don't really know how to explain." The truth was with all that had happened down there, her wish for freedom suddenly didn't seem like a valid reason any more.
He sighed, looking a little dejectedly. "I should just floo Albus... I have never been good with kids. He is far better in this kind of stuff than I am." He turned around.
"No!" she yelled, grabbing his hand before he could take a hold of the doorknob.
Raising an eyebrow at her, he met her eyes again impatience shining in his gaze.
She looked down at her shoes. "I... I know it sounds stupid.., but I felt caged and wanted to have a little time for myself..."
The old barkeeper sighed. "You are right. That does sound stupid!" he said somewhat sharply, making her winced, but he continued in a softer tone. "How could you put your life in danger for something like that?"
"I didn't think it would be dangerous!" She looked up, so she would be able to judge his reaction better. "Nobody was supposed to find out about, who I am! I didn't think..." She trailed off, as she caught sight of Ape's disappointed look.
"Yes, you didn't think.", her companion remarked sternly. "This world isn't just dangerous for you, now that he is back, but for everybody. Sure, Voldemort isn't looking for you specifically in this form, but this is war! Everybody can be killed, whether they are the boy-who-lived or just a little girl, who witnesses some scum joining the Dark Lord."
Harry's face turned red in something between embarrassment and anger at herself. "How could I have been so naive..? I can't just escape this war by being somebody else. Voldemort kills people for being in the way - for the fun of it."
"So..?" Ape looked distinctly uncomfortable and Harry wondered, what could be left to discuss, that was this unpleasant. He coughed, obviously searching for the right words. "How exactly did you come up with the ingenuous plan of turning yourself into a girl?"
Harry blushed, turning back with a pop. He must have spent too much time in his Animagus form if he forgot, that he wasn't supposed to look like a girl. "Well... You see..." Harry muttered.