Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling; various publishers including, but not limited to, Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books; and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
A/N: Sorry this took so long! RL sometimes sucks.
Raising Harry, Part Two
Book Four: La Vida Hogwarts
Year Three: Of Marbles Lost and Found
Chapter One: Grounded
Harry sighed, staring longingly at his ultralight while helping Dave repair the lawn-mower. "Hand me that wrench, will ya?" Dave asked, breaking Harry's melancholy meditation.
Harry picked up the wrench and handed it to his uncle. "Here."
"Ya know, Hare-bear, your mom didn't ground ya for that fight." Dave tightened a couple of bolts and reached for an oilcan.
"Yeah, she did. It ain't fair!" Harry wasn't whining… okay, maybe just a little.
"Just from flyin'," Dave said, nonchalantly. "An' I know she said y'all couldn't have a party for your birthday, but… You've been mopin' 'round here for weeks. Why doncha go over ta A.J.'s or take Kudzu out for a ride? This has ta be the first clear day all summer…"
Harry shrugged, staring once again at his ultralight. If he were in his room, he'd be staring longingly at his broom. "A.J.'s family is off visitin' with her sister for the next two weeks, and it's too hot to go riding."
"Then take a dip in the pond."
Harry sighed yet again. "S'pose I could go finish my homework…"
"Ya mean ya ain't done with it yet? Thought bookworms like you didn't let homework sit?" Dave asked, teasingly.
Harry just sighed once more and headed up to his room. Once within sight of his Nimbus, he pointedly ignored it and disappeared into his hide-a-room. He felt listless and bored, but was too apathetic to go about finding anything to do, so he kicked back on the bed and thought over the events which had, effectively, 'grounded' him.
'Krätze, take that back! It isn't Hermione's fault you can't fly like ya mean it!'
Draco, who had been spouting off at the mouth in his usual manner after losing spectacularly to Harry during the final quidditch match of their second year, snarled so broadly Harry could see his molars. 'I didn't say it was, now did I, you brainless four-eyed freak! I just said that even the mudblood would have pulled out of that dive before I did. Get your hearing checked, Potter… Maybe deafness runs in your family.' Draco smirked, 'But, then again, you wouldn't know, would you? Picked out simply because you were the Boy-Who-Lived-to-Inherit-the-Potter-Fortune.'
Harry's temper spiked at Draco's insinuation. 'You schwachsinniger! Mom had money before I was adopted, you tonto comadreja! You're still jealous, ain't ya?'
Draco scoffed, 'Like there's anything to bloody be jealous of! An ugly disfigurement and a libertine mother.'
Harry was momentarily speechless. He'd read much of Shakespeare, and hadn't encountered the term anywhere else since; it took a moment for Harry's brain to realize what Draco had called his mom. At that moment, Harry leapt forward with an inarticulate roar and landed a well-placed right hook directly on Krätze's nose.
Harry could still smirk a bit at the memory of cartilage crunching under his knuckles. The short-lived spark of good humor didn't last long as his memory turned from the younger Krätze to the older one, and what he'd glimpsed in the man's mind. It just didn't mesh well with what he knew of the man. There was no doubt that Malfoy had asked Harry for help… Though why he'd picked Harry instead of Dumbledore or Snape or any of the other adults the man must know, Harry had no idea. Normally, Harry would have gone for a lengthy flight to think things over, but that wasn't an option. He sighed and realized that he wasn't doing anything to solve the situation. Isn't any use wonderin' why, I suppose. Could be I'm just the first to figure this out, if there really is anythin' to it…Harry's gaze landed on the clock Percy had made. Wonder iffen I could get the clock to work again? Harry started looking through the charms books in his collection.
Meanwhile, Aurilia was at her shop in Lovilla, showing Carly Munez the best way to extract the active principles from wild cherry bark for use in cough syrup. Her thoughts, though, weren't really on the task before her. Lord Bright and Lady Night, I don't know what to do… Harry's usually better about keeping promises than this. He swore he'd keep a better reign on his temper, yet he goes and gets himself into a damnable brawl. I know that it isn't always easy; Gaia knows, I don't have much of a fuse myself, but he promised. It isn't like Harry to break his word so easily, and for something as insignificant as someone calling his friends names? It just doesn't add up…
"Señora Brewer?" Carly's voice interrupted Aurilia's thoughts.
Shaking her head to refocus on the task at hand, she smiled at her apprentice. "Carly, how many times have I asked you to call me 'Aurilia?'"
Carly returned Aurilia's smile, "At least once more, señora." She pointed to the simmering pot of water and bark before her. "Is this right?"
"Yeah, that's perfect," Aurilia confirmed.
Back at the ranch, Jim finished nailing the last of the repairs to the fence into place and wiped his hands off on his jeans. Finally done! Jim felt like dancing. An early-summer thunderstorm that had behaved more like a land-bound hurricane had utterly demolished an entire side of the fence surrounding the stableyard, not to mention ripped numerous shingles from the roofs of both the garage and stable. Jim had spent the last six weeks cleaning up and repairing the damage. It's times like these I miss Sirius and Remus hangin' 'round the place. Jim understood, though, that the two men had only stayed with the Brewers until Sirius felt ready to once again face the people he knew from before his time in prison.
He paused by the pump at the base of the windmill to dunk his head in the cool water of the horse trough on his way to put his tools away. Jim tucked the hammer back into the toolbox on a shelf just inside the stable doorway and glanced up to Harry's window. Wonder what the kid's up to? Damn shame, Aurie groundin' him the way she did. Hellfire, wonder what she woulda done iffen she knew Dave an' me taught 'im how ta fight like that? Jim just shook his head and headed up to the house. Don't make no never mind, though, do it? I love Aurie to bits, but sometimes I have trouble knowin' what goes on under that hair of hers.
The weather remained relatively clear over the next couple of days, something for which both Jim and Dave were eternally grateful. It had rained very nearly non-stop since early May, and both of the men were thoroughly sick of mud. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, however. Due to all the rain, much of Des Moines, situated as it was on the Des Moines River, was flooded. In fact, Sec-Taylor Stadium – the minor-league ballpark – was flooded to the point where only the topmost levels of the grandstand were visible. The dam across Lake Red Rock, likewise on the Des Moines River, was churning out so much water that Dave found the concept of dams as flood-control an amusing irony. The little river which bordered the Brewer Ranch, however, though deeper than it was most years, never escaped its banks.
The weather caused the annual Independence Day party the Brewers held to be cancelled, yet something else that Harry found disappointing; he'd been looking forward to it, especially since it would be the only party he'd see that summer.
Four rain-drenched, cooped-up weeks later, Harry's birthday arrived. Harry, himself, had been a little shocked to realize it had come up so suddenly; he'd been more than a little preoccupied researching the charms that went into making the clock in his hide-a-room. Luckily, he hadn't had to start completely from scratch, a quick note to Percy via his messenger-parchments and the redhead flooed his notes over. Since there wasn't to be a big party, as had been the case in previous years, the Brewers had just a little family affair wherein much chocolate cake was eaten by all. Harry received a kit of muggle magic tricks from his now-four-year-old brother who had 'picked it out all by myself!' He also received numerous books on various topics from most of his friends, including a book that was more creature than book from Hagrid, the enclosed note had said that even though he wouldn't be taking Care of Magical Creatures, Hagrid knew that Harry liked to read and hoped that he'd enjoy the book. It was quickly subdued and tied up with a length of rope. Harry wondered just how he was expected to read a book that seemed to want to eat him. Hermione had surprised him by getting him a practice-snitch. The best present, in Harry's opinion, was from Liv. The toddler had been speaking for quite some time, and could crawl anywhere (once, she'd even managed to somehow climb to the top of the refrigerator, and no one but the cherubically innocent little girl knew how she'd managed that), but hadn't begun walking yet. On Harry's birthday, though, she let go of the coffee table in the living room when Harry walked past, the golden retriever, Missy, right at his heel, begging for a lick of ice cream. Harry's little sister took her first toddling, unassisted steps, following him across the living room.
Amidst the general uproar her first real steps had caused, Harry wondered momentarily whether she'd been following him or the dog, before reflecting that it didn't really matter. It had happened on his birthday, so the real reason didn't matter.
A couple of days after his birthday, Harry slammed one of the charms texts shut. "This ain't gettin' me nowhere. I c'n prob'ly make my own clock, iffen I wanted, but I'm not gonna be able to reactivate this'un 'til I get back to school. I'd almost forgot they chained and synchronized the magic that went into it." He sighed and flopped onto the bed in the hide-a-room. He pulled his bear, Mr. Blue, onto his chest and stared into the plush animal's plastic eyes. "What should I do, huh? I can't get the clock ta work on my own, an' I don't wanna hafta wait 'til I get back to school to continue on this. He asked me for help, damnit, and I ain't helpin' iffen I'm just sittin' 'round doin' nothin'." Unfortunately, the bear didn't reply.
Harry sat the bear back on his bed and climbed up the ladder to his room. He noticed that his booklet of messenger-parchments was blinking, meaning that one or more of his friends had left a message for him. He flipped the book open and set to penning replies to Seamus and Dean about how his summer was progressing. Just as he was about to put the booklet away, the parchment connected to the one that Percy had flashed.
How's it going with the research on the clock? Getting anywhere? You never did answer when I asked just why you wanted to reactivate it…
Harry picked his pen back up from off of the desk and scribbled a reply. Hi, Perce. It's going… slowly. Very slowly.
Oh? What's wrong?
Nothing, really, just that I remembered that we channeled a lot more magic into making it work the first time than I'll be able to do on my own. It's frustrating.
Why do you need it working again anyway? I thought that you and Snape got rid of that basilisk?
We did, but I need other information now.
Anything I can help with? I mean, I owe you for the basilisk, after all.
Well, wasn't it my sister who was going to have to deal with it on her own before you stepped in and stopped it?
Harry smiled a little. Guess so… I just don't know if I'm grasping at straws or not.
From what I know of you, I highly doubt it. You've been right about everything else so far.
Snickering, Harry replied, Not so! If that was true, wouldn't I be the top of the class in all my subjects?
There is more to life than books, you know. You and Hermione ought to get that into your heads.
I know that! I was teasing.
I know. So was I. A little smiley-face appeared at the end of the sentence. There was a lengthy pause before Percy began writing again. But back to the subject at hand. Just why do you need that clock working again?
Harry sighed, he'd hoped that this time he'd be able to figure everything out without bringing in everyone else. Alas, that wasn't meant to be. Well… You remember that fight that Malfoy and me got into at the end of the year, right?
Yes. Weren't both your parents called to the school over that?
Yeah. Anyway, when Mom and me and everyone was in the headmaster's office, I was going to try reading my mom just to see exactly how mad she was at me. Instead of meeting her eyes, though, I ended up reading Draco's father. What I got from him didn't make much sense at all.
What in Merlin's name are you blathering on about, Harry? What do you mean 'reading'?
Harry grimaced. He'd forgotten that he hadn't told his friends about all his little 'gifts.' Um… I can read people's emotions. Snape called it 'empathy' the first time we met, and according to the book he recommended, he was right.
After another lengthy pause from Percy, he finally replied. Wow. If you could see me, I'd be sitting here like an idiot, complete with my mouth hanging open. Precognitive dreams and empathy? Sweet Merlin on a Unicycle, Harry! The next thing you'll be telling me is that you're a natural occlumens and a parselmouth, too!
Harry quirked an eyebrow at the parchment. Well, he's three-quarters right, he thought, though I'm not good at occlumency, Snape has said time and again that I am good at legilimency for only being twelve. Well, thirteen now.
Harry? You still there?
Shaking his head, he put his pen to the paper again. Yeah, I am. Who told you that?
Told me what?
About the occlumency and parseltongue.
On the other side of the world, Percy Weasley was sitting at his desk in his room. He had his messenger-booklet open to Harry's page and had just taken a sip of tea after penning his last question. Upon seeing Harry's response, back in Iowa, a spattering of tan droplets appeared on Harry's half of the messenger-parchment pair.
WHAT! You can't be serious!
Why not? Don't tell me you believed that Professor Snape was actually giving me advanced potions lessons? He never does that until you're a seventh-year.
Two words, Harry: Bloody Hell! If I find out you're pulling my leg, I'm going to sic Fred and George on you.
Come on, Percy, you know me. Have I ever outright lied about anything? Ever?
Point, but there's always a first time for everything. I'll shelve my disbelief for now, though. You were saying about Draco's father?
"Damnit," Harry breathed to himself. "I'd hoped that he'd forgotten about that." Bowing to fate, Harry realized he wasn't going to get out of asking for help on this particular mystery.
Well, like I said, I'd intended to read Mom, but got him instead. What I read didn't make much sense. At first, I just got his emotions – anger and some loneliness – then, when I added a little legilimency into my empathy, I got a bunch of pictures of him with this other guy and a girl when they were all teenagers, a picture of some other blonde girl, and then a whole bunch of remembered excerpts of books. All the book-parts were focused in on the word 'help.' I think it has something to do with that last response we got from the clock – the one that broke it to begin with.
Ah, the 'they didn't notice' reply?
Well… I don't know what's going on, Harry, but I'll try to help out whenever I can. It probably won't be as much as before.
Because I got Head Boy. Besides that, though, this is my NEWT year. I doubt I'll have time for much else than studying.
Oh, I'd forgotten about it being your last year at Hogwarts. Congrats on making HB, though. Bet your mom was really happy.
Dad, too. The twins and Ron weren't too keen on the idea, but Ginny seemed happy for me.
That's good, Harry replied. The two of them spent a further hour or so chatting back and forth before calling it quits for the day. When they finally sat aside the parchments, Harry checked a notepad he had nearby. It held fifteen tally marks – the number of times Percy had managed to bring up A.J. during the conversation. He broke down giggling.
A/N2: Hope this lives up to your expectations.