CHAPTER 1: 222

Beta: Neon-Panda

I guess I should warn everyone that I didn't really read books 6 and 7, found them too frustrating and depressing… that means I'll try to stick to the original story as best as I can without having read it. There are going to be some changes though: I am totally 100% refusing to accept the deaths of Tonks, Lupin and Fred. Honestly I cannot bear the thought of George being left behind and Teddy growing up without his parents.
I don't even know yet if any of them will play any important role, but still I find even the thought too depressing…

It was the 9th of July, 1998, just a few days past the two-month mark after the Battle of Hogwarts, as wizards and witches in all of Britain had already started to call it in the euphoria that drowned the wizarding community after the Dark Lord's fall.

It was to be a full moon that night; the 222nd full moon of Harry Potter's life and although the young wizard didn't know it yet, it would mean yet another pivotal turning point in his life.

"An unparalleled chaos!" Arthur Weasley said tiredly in answer to Ron's inquiry of how things stood in the ministry, stabbing the slice of roast meat on his plate rather viciously – a highly unusual sight for the Weasley patron.

Immediately after Voldemort's fall on the 2nd of May there had been a torrent of prosecutions and arrests. With their lord's demise, the once-steely determination of his followers had collapsed like a tumbler. In the desperate attempt to spare themselves years of imprisonment, and worse, many tried to sell whatever information they could to the Aurors, whom, in turn, were so hopelessly understaffed that Ministry employees of other departments who were not already working to capacity were deployed with the duty of filing and evaluating that information.
And that was an organisational nightmare.

"No one really knows what the other does. Information gets scrambled, or lost. We have too few capable people available to validate and keep track of everything, never mind finding the connections between all those hints we get. And that is why people like Malfoy, who have the money and the right friends to get rid of compromising evidence and maybe even place false clues are going to go free!"

"He's not going to be sentenced?!" Ron exclaimed angrily.

"I don't think so, no. He claims that the Dark Lord black-mailed him with threats on his family. The same goes for the younger Malfoy, who has already been acquitted, as you well know." With that, he glanced up from his dinner towards Harry briefly, his expression carefully blank, before he looked down again.

"Malfoy and his mother saved my life…" Harry stressed calmly, but inwards he was fighting with his irritation at the lack of understanding. Sometimes it felt as if his surrogate family blamed him for witnessing for the Slytherin who had been his arch-nemesis for so long and for his mother. He knew it wasn't true, though they didn't truly comprehend it either, and they didn't allow any chance to mention it to lapse away. But, damn it, after everything he had seen and lived through, could anyone really blame him if he found such petty feuds pointless? Did anyone even remember the real reason behind their futile, time-consuming fights?
'Because Malfoy was a snobbish prat in his youth' just sounded somewhat ridiculous and irrelevant after having died – death certainly had a way of putting things into perspective.
Especially since Draco had saved him with his silence in Malfoy Manor, since Narcissa had saved him with her clever lie and he himself had saved Draco from the Fiendfyre, closing the circle, Harry found it hard to keep holding onto their shared hatred, steeped in tradition though it might be. Whenever he thought of the two of them he remembered that moment when Narcissa had whispered to him, asking about her son and he kept seeing the fear for her child in the proud woman's eyes just in front of his inner eye. No, somehow after all that he just couldn't allow her and her son to go to prison.

Perhaps Lucius would deserve such a fate, but he was a different matter altogether.

Oh, Harry knew very well that Voldemort had threatened the son to keep the parents in line and vice versa. However the Malfoy patron had been a Death Eater long before then and had killed and tortured more than his fair share of muggles and muggle-borns, which wasn't true for Narcissa and Draco Malfoy. So, who was he to judge them?

Flushing, he became well aware of the raised eyebrows directed his way and he coughed slightly, never really comfortable with being in the middle of so much criticising attention.
"You know, the way it seemed to me, what they said was very likely true…" he said finally, and tensed in spite of himself; because he knew whatever he said would not save him from this discussion. That much he had learned over the previous week after the Malfoy heir's acquittal.

"Oh, come on, mate!" Ron spoke up, his patronizing voice and expression telling the dark haired wizard just how naïve he thought him to be.
"Draco Malfoy is a cruel, petty tyrant; always was and always will be. His father was a Death Eater; he tortured and killed people, for fun! We all know the ferret would have, too, but for the fact that he's an insufferable coward!"

"I think being afraid and having a conscience is something different, Ron. And you know that I'm not speaking of Lucius Malfoy."

"And I think you are too nice for the world, sometimes, Harry." Ginny quipped in an affectionate voice that was somehow just as patronizing as Ron's had been. "It's not as if anyone in that family wouldn't deserve…"

"Do we have to have this discussion every evening?" Molly called out, more loudly than necessary to silence her daughter and everyone else; her pointed glance rushed over them all with furious disapproval – over Ginny's flushing face and Ron's defiant glare that wilted under her own, to Arthur's apologetic expression and at last to Harry. Her gaze remained on him.

Really, in a way Harry could sympathize with her but nonetheless he pressed his lips together tightly, irritated at being put off like that and at the way she kept staring. Why was it his fault now? If they didn't want to hear him out, why did they bring it up in the first place?
But still, he shrugged with a for-your-sake expression and let the matter rest. Merlin, he was tired of fighting.

"Are you alright, Harry dear?" Molly asked cautiously, still eying him. "You look awfully pale."

"Fine," he muttered, looking up from his now empty plate with what he hoped was an indifferent expression. "Really I…" but then his voice died away and he gasped for air in surprise and shock: a weird, tugging sensation overcame him like a shockwave that made him flinch. His fingers started to tingle and prick before they went painfully cold, the feeling spreading through his stiffening knuckles like frost and ice.
It felt horribly as if his very life was pulled back from his limbs up into his torso, leaving them aching with weakness. And it just kept on retreating as if something ripped at the insubstantial force that kept him alive; the little sparks of magic running through his body.
"Oh, god!" he muttered in sheer horror, shivers and violent tremors running down his spine, making his skin crawl and his body shake. Something was sucking up his magic from within!

Harry reached out, his fingers clawing at the table wood as he desperately tried to fight that black hole his magic was vanishing into. He bit his lips so hard he drew blood, the metallic taste exploding in his mouth, making him feel strangely sick, affecting him more than it normally would have. His limbs shook violently, whether from the horror that surged up in him, from the chills that seemed to have been implanted directly into his heart, or from weakness, he didn't know; only vaguely did he hear the others call out for him as if through a haze.

Suddenly his eyes lost their focus and the next thing he knew, he was lying on the ground, staring up at dizzying blobs of bright red and white and so many swirling colours in between. "Something … something is taking my magic…" he forced the hoarse words out, his green eyes staring up in wide-eyed terror.

Then it was gone. Just gone. He had never felt so weak and desperate and vulnerable...
The one thing that had gained him a home, a family, friends; that had protected him from his would-be murderers … it was gone. His magic was not there any longer!
He had never been so painfully aware of how a muggle must feel without that inner power to strengthen them. He had always had it even though he hadn't known it for the first eleven years of his life. Now it was gone and that loss was more bitter and terrible than he could have imagined.

In the next moment, pain exploded behind his eyes and his vision filled up quickly with small dots of nothingness that grew and melted together. Horrified he kept on watching as his sight fled, holding onto the last spots of colour until they, too, vanished into darkness.
A panicked cry escaped him. He was blind.

Then that cruel, black something attacked his ears and he screamed as he felt as if acid was being poured into his ear canals. At least until his voice gave way rather abruptly, leaving him in mindless pain that rivalled that of the Cruciatus curse, unable to relieve some of the agony with screams.

He lost his consciousness soon after.

Please let me know if you'd like me to continue with this story. I have much to do at the moment but if it is appreciated I would very gladly continue with this.