HP Year 6:
Warnings: Strong Language, Self-harm - these may change at any time.
Sequel to HP Year 4: Voldemort Returns and HP Year 5: When Worlds Collide.
He was vaguely aware of Sirius and Remus moving towards him, out of the corner of his eye, and then Harry recognised the look in his Uncle's eyes, the glazed-over look that showed his Uncle was unaware of much of anything. He barely had time to register this fact, that his Uncle was under the Imperious curse, before there was a sudden familiar jerk behind his navel and the train station disappeared from sight, morphing instead with a dizzying array of colours into the familiar kitchen at Number Four, Privet Drive.
Harry blinked, trying to stop his head from spinning, and then realised that although his uncle had moved away from him, someone else was still clutching at his arm.
"Ginny?" he asked incredulously. "No, Ginny, you shouldn't -"
"Harry, look out!" Ginny warned, tugging on his hand, pulling Harry away just in time to avoid Vernon's fist. His eyes certainly didn't hold that glazed-over look anymore; rather, they were filled with undeniable fury. Harry shoved Ginny back just in time to avoid another punch, and the two of them tumbled to the floor. Ginny's head slammed onto it with a sickening crack, and Harry knew there was no chance she was conscious. Panicking, Harry decided he had to keep Vernon distracted from Ginny.
"How'd you get out?" Harry asked, the first question that came to mind moving to the opposite side of the kitchen. He was pleased that his voice came out fairly even, despite the fact that inside he was almost trembling with fear. Vernon wasn't interested in Ginny, and wouldn't be, as long as Harry kept away from her.
"Some of your lot," Vernon spat the two words in disgust, "said if I could hold you here for a bit, they'd make sure I stayed free."
"So you're siding with wizards now, are you?" Harry asked coolly, even though inside the fear was increasing, rather than going away. All logic had gone out of his head now, and all he could think was to keep talking, to keep his Uncle distracted, so that he would forget about Ginny, and maybe be too angry to aim properly, so he wouldn't hurt Harry, and then maybe help would come, if Harry could keep away for long enough.
Although, would anybody guess that Vernon had brought him here, of all places? It did seem a bit obvious.
"Don't say words like that under my roof!" Vernon hissed dangerously, lunging at Harry. But Vernon was big and bulky and Harry easily moved away, although his hip collided painfully with the kitchen table, sending him to his knees. That gave Vernon the chance he needed, and he yanked on Harry's hair, pulling him back into a standing position. Rather than defending himself, Harry flinched back, but with the table in the way he couldn't avoid the blow that hit his face. It sent him reeling back, and Vernon happily let go so that Harry could crash to the floor. He didn't have a chance to regain his senses before his Uncle yanked him roughly up again, and Harry whimpered like a terrified child as memories flooded through his mind, reminding him of just how dangerous the situation was. Never mind that he had faced Voldemort and Death Eaters only a month before. This was entirely different.
"Who's the girl?" Vernon asked gruffly, and Harry's eyes flickered to Ginny. "I said, who is she!" Vernon yelled when Harry didn't answer, smashing his fist into Harry's face again. This time Vernon left him on the floor, stepping over to Ginny instead and grabbing onto her unconscious form. Harry stood quickly, unsteadily, trying to blink the dizziness away, and almost without thinking, threw himself at Vernon. The man tumbled to the floor, dropping Ginny instantly, and Harry landed with a loud "oomph!" on top of him. But Ginny's wand had fallen out her sleeve when Vernon grabbed her, and finally, finally, Harry's mind started working again. Grabbing his own wand from his wand holster, he stuck the tip of it right in Vernon's face.
"Now, now," Vernon said hurriedly, going cross-eyed as he tried to stare at the wand tip. He obviously hadn't expected this. Either he thought Harry was still the same terrified thirteen year old he had been two years ago, or the Death Eaters should have been arriving by now to contain him. "No need to do anything… hasty."
"Anything hasty?" Harry snarled. Gone was the fear that had overpowered him as a child. He was not helpless anymore. He didn't particularly care what his Uncle did to him, although he knew he should, but he did care if Vernon wanted to hurt Ginny. With the fear now gone, anger took over. "You… you – for years - you abused me!" Harry shouted, not noticing sparks shooting out of his wand. "And then – as if it wasn't bad enough, with me – you had no right to touch her!" Harry yelled, shifting his gaze to Ginny. That was enough of a distraction for Vernon who roughly pushed Harry off him, grabbing the wooden stick out of Harry's hand before throwing it behind him as though burned.
"Taking away my wand won't stop me," Harry told him, letting out a slightly hysterical laugh. "A wand helps, but it's entirely possible to do magic without one," he hissed. Although, a wand would certainly make it easier, especially since he had to concentrate that much harder without one, and his head at the moment was thumping too much to allow him to concentrate much. Not to mention the adrenaline rush that was fading away, leaving him feeling more than a little shaky. But he wasn't going to tell Vernon that. Then he spied something lying at his feet, and allowed a brief smile.
"Incarcerous!" Harry snarled, after snatching up Ginny's wand that was on the floor beside him. He watched in satisfaction as thick ropes tied themselves around Vernon, and as the man's eyes widened in fear.
"I should hurt you," Harry said coldly, after picking up his own wand and tucking Ginny's into his pocket. "There are so many spells I could use. Wouldn't make up for the years of abuse, but…"
"You don't have it in you," Vernon scoffed, although he couldn't entirely keep the fear out of his voice.
"No, you're right," Harry agreed. "You're not worth it, in any case. And besides," he added, smiling slightly. "You hurt Ginny. She has six older, protective brothers, not to mention the temper Mrs Weasley can get! They're not going to be very happy with you."
"There are laws!" Vernon barked out desperately. "They told me. You lot aren't supposed to use your… your freaky stuff against us!"
"No, we're not," Harry agreed. "Laws can be broken, though. I think you proved that often enough. It is illegal to abuse children, after all." Harry paused thoughtfully. "You were tricked, anyway."
"I'm assuming, since you were to get me, that Death Eaters got you," Harry said coolly, turning around to lift Ginny up. He barely avoided falling back over with her. She wasn't heavy, but he still felt dizzy. He had to get out of here. Now. If he didn't, he wasn't sure he would be able to continue to reign in his temper, and then he maybe would end up hurting Vernon. As much as the man deserved it, Harry knew he would likely still feel guilty afterwards. "Death Eaters follow Voldemort. Death Eaters torture and kill people like you for fun. You would've been free from jail, yeah, but you'd be free of everything else, too since they would kill you."
"You can't just leave me like this!" Vernon bellowed as Harry stepped past him. He would need to Apparate away, and he knew that since none of the protections had been taken down from Privet Drive – and there was a thought, how were the Death Eaters supposed to get him from here, anyway? – he would have to leave the house to do it.
"Sure I can," Harry said coldly before ignoring his Uncle completely and exiting the house. It took some extra concentration – he did, after all, have a very sore head, and an unconscious Ginny in his arms – but he finally managed to turn on the spot and disappear with a quick Crack!
Harry reappeared a second later inside the kitchen at Number 12, Grimmauld Place – the only room in the house that now allowed Apparition and Disapparition with the heightened security – and promptly fell to his knees as dizziness overcame him. He managed not to drop Ginny, though, and instead carefully lay her on the ground in front of him.
"Kreacher?" he called out quietly.
"Harry Potter is here!" the elf cried out moments later, his eyes big and round.
"Are Sirius and Remus here?" Harry asked tiredly, and Kreacher nodded. "Good. Tell them we're down here, please?"
It took less than a minute for Sirius, Remus, and Mr and Mrs Weasley to appear in the small kitchen.
"He didn't touch her," Harry assured everyone quickly when their eyes fell on the unconscious form of Ginny. "He tried, but he didn't."
"Then why, pray tell, is she unconscious?" Mrs Weasley asked him, looking murderous.
"Er, well," Harry shifted uncomfortably. "That was kind of my fault. I pushed her away from him and we both fell, and she hit her head."
"She has bruise marks on her arm!"
"He grabbed her. I didn't give him a chance to do anymore more."
"What did he do to you?" Sirius asked, looking pained.
"Nothing," Harry muttered, not meeting Sirius's gaze, moving back from Ginny to stand unsteadily.
"We'll take her home," Mr Weasley quickly decided, seemingly sensing that Sirius and Remus wanted to talk to Harry, alone. "Are you sure she only hit her head?"
"I – yeah," Harry nodded. "It was me he was after, not Ginny."
"You feel better soon, dear," Mrs Weasley said kindly as her husband picked up Ginny. "And thank you for looking out for her."
"It was nothing," Harry mumbled self-consciously, waiting for the Weasleys to leave before gratefully dropping down to sit on the floor again. He caught Sirius and Remus staring at his face. "It doesn't look that bad, does it?" Harry asked, frowning as he gingerly touched his face.
"It kind of does, Harry," Remus said quietly, looking as though he was struggling to contain his anger.
"What did he do to you?" Sirius asked again, moving over to pull Harry up and wrapping an arm around him to support his weight. "And be honest this time," he added, moving them towards the stairs.
"Nothing, he just punched me a couple of times," Harry said quietly. He waited until they'd reached the living room and then sunk onto the sofa dejectedly. "I messed up, though," he said finally, avoiding looking at either of his guardians. "Just being near him… I completely forgot all about magic, until he grabbed Ginny and her wand fell out her sleeve."
"Harry, that's perfectly understandable -" Remus began gently, but Harry cut across him.
"No, Moony," Harry said angrily. "It isn't! I've faced Death Eaters and – and even Voldemort, but as soon as I'm with my uncle I get so terrified that my mind just stops working!"
"Harry -" Sirius began.
"If I hadn't let my fear take hold like that, he wouldn't have gotten near enough for me to have to make Ginny fall!" Harry ground out. "In fact, if I hadn't let my fear get in the way, I would've got away before he managed to portkey me away in the first place!"
"You can't blame yourself -" Sirius tried again.
"Aren't you listening?" Harry asked angrily, jumping back up off the sofa and starting to pace the room, ignoring his dizziness. "All this training. Everything you've tried to teach me, about keeping a cool head… it was like I was a kid again, like I couldn't defend myself. It… if I hadn't frozen, back on the train – it's my fault Ginny got hurt!"
"She's been hurt worse than a knock on the head before," Sirius tried to placate him.
"No! That isn't the point. She was lucky. He was too focused on me. He could easily have hurt her a lot worse. I wouldn't have been able to stop him…" Harry trailed off, scratching at his arm which was starting to itch something awful.
"But you did stop him, Harry," Remus reminded him. "You ignored your fear and you stopped him and you both got away completely fine."
"Not completely fine…" Harry shook his head, and then regretted it as the whole room seemed to spin. When it stopped, he realised he had fallen over and Sirius was trying to pull him back up. "I'm fine," Harry told him, pulling his itchy arm back and standing on his own.
"What's wrong with your arm?" Remus asked, as Harry continued to scratch at it.
"Nothing," Harry said, a little defensively. "It's itchy."
"You're making it bleed," Sirius told him, and Harry frowned at Sirius, before taking his hand away from it. "We should get Pomfrey to take a look at you."
"I'm fine," Harry repeated. "I can take a couple of punches without having to get Pomfrey involved."
"Alright, Harry," Remus agreed, glancing at Sirius. "At least have a nap?"
"Fine," Harry agreed, turning away from them and heading to his bedroom.
Once there, though, rather than nap as Remus had suggested, Harry paced restlessly around his room, scratching at his arm again. He couldn't help it. Being near Vernon had brought up so many memories… and with them, the urge to hurt himself again, even though the aching bruises on his cheek were already doing quite a good job. But he hadn't in so long, and he didn't want to start now. Did he? After all, Vernon would think he would deserve it, and despite the fact that he had come to believe Sirius and Remus when they told him his uncle was wrong, were they actually right? Was Vernon actually wrong? He had always called Harry weak, and a coward, and he'd certainly acted it today. Did that not say something? If Vernon was wrong, he wouldn't have been so scared and weak, and he would've got out of there quicker, rather than freezing up. So, damn it, who was right?
Feeling more frustrated with himself than he had in several weeks, Harry threw himself down onto his bed, deciding he'd have that nap after all.
And that's when the vision began.
And here is chapter 1 of year six! Lots of lovely drama to make up for the delay in posting the final chapter of year five, and hopefully Harry is showing some signs of progress in how he deals with his uncle!
For all my lovely loyal readers, I hope you continue to follow the series with me :)
Also - judging by the small summary of the fic that I have posted on my profile page, does anyone have any title suggestions? I'm struggling to come up with any for the moment.