Disclaimer: Oh dear! You think I own Harry Potter!? You're funny! Only my original characters are mine.
A/N: If you've read or are reading my other fics, you know how sorry I am for neglecting my fics for so very, very long. Real life is a pain but things seem to be settling down so I might be getting time to write more. I hope you enjoy the update.
Harry sat down at the Slytherin table with a sigh and greeted those few Slytherin's around him that he had managed to befriend. The rest of his Christmas holidays had been pleasant and relaxing. He immensely enjoyed teaching Draco how to play the various muggle video games as it had been extremely hilarious. The poor boy looked as if he had been handed an alien specimen and floundered drastically when Harry tried to walk him through the first steps of the game. However, once he got the hang of it, they both had a blast and spent several hours playing. Remus and Sirius remained in Sirius' apartment for the remainder of that day and did not emerge until late in the afternoon of the next day. Harry had educated Sirius in how to perform the less lethal form of the Unbreakable Vow and so silence was ensured. Remus was still having an issue processing everything but he was slowly adjusting, just like Sirius did.
"Harry," a voice said from behind Harry sometime after the welcoming feast had started, when they were nearing dessert. "Please accompany me to my office." Dumbledore began walking away but stopped when Harry replied with a swift but decisive no. "Excuse me?" He asked in disbelief as he turned back to face Harry.
"You heard me." Harry said, not bothered by how silent the hall had fallen and how almost everyone was staring at him and the Headmaster. "I have broken no Hogwarts or Ministry law, nothing has happened that would require you to talk to me, either here or elsewhere, and you are not my guardian or my head of house. You may be the Headmaster of this school but the Headmaster does not call upon specific students without reason pertaining to school business. Since you have no official reason to see me, I have no reason to go with you."
"Your reason is the mere fact that I have requested to speak with you." Dumbledore said, a hint of anger entering his voice. The rest of the hall stared in shock as Harry refused what they perceived to be the most powerful man in the school, if not England.
"Are you a god?" Harry questioned sarcastically as he turned in his seat to stare at Dumbledore, a sarcastic look on his face. A few of the Slytherin's around him hid snickers behind their mouths when they realized the position that Harry had put the Headmaster in. "Well, since the obvious answer to that is no, then I say again; I have no reason to see you and you have no reason to see me, especially since just about every time you have tried to request my presence without due cause before, you have attempted to bind me in some fashion or another. So, unless you have official business that you have to discuss with me I suggest you go away, lest I file a restraining order against you. Not to mention you're making a rather disgraceful scene." Dumbledore frowned dangerously but turned and left the hall in a swirl of his robes. Everyone watched as the aged man left before breaking out in animated whispers the minute he was out of sight
"Mad." Draco said from his place next to Harry's side. "Completely and utterly mad. I cannot believe you just did that. Do you have any idea just how people view that man in our society?"
"Too much like Merlin if you ask me." Harry grumbled as he took a spoonful of his ice cream. "He may be well accomplished and a survivor of two wars but that does not make him an infallible god. He is nothing more than a man who has a great deal to answer for, something I intend to see happen."
"This is Albus Dumbledore, Harry." Draco said, as if that little fact had escaped Harry's notice. "Whether he is or is not Merlin, people do view him as such. You may be the one who took down the Dark Lord but you can't just 'take down' Albus Dumbledore."
"I did not take down Voldemort." Harry said, causing several people around him to flinch and shift nervously. "I merely stopped him. He is not gone, not yet, and will be back sooner or later. As for Dumbledore… everyone has skeletons in their closets and he has several. Do not worry about the way people view him. That will change soon enough."
"Just because you…" Draco's voice trailed off as Harry silenced him with a look.
"Salazar was known for his ruthless cunning, Draco." Harry said with a slight smirk on his face and a nasty glint in his eye. "His plans were so convoluted that no one knew what was going on until it had long been laid to rest. Trust me. Dumbledore won't be well liked when I'm through with him. Now, if you'll excuse me. I must go tend to something before curfew."
Harry got up without another word and left the hall. He swiftly and silently made his way to the seventh floor of the castle. Knowing he was being followed, Harry did not bother trying to take any short cuts or long and convoluted routes to get to his destination. He knew who was following him and was not upset by it. In fact, it gave him a good opportunity to involve the man without explaining too much. So, he made sure he was visible and his footsteps were heard echoing through the halls. When he reached the hall with the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy, Harry paused briefly to ensure that he was being watched before pacing three times in front of the wall.
The Room of Requirement appeared with some quiet rustling and a shimmer of magic. Harry opened the door and went inside, leaving the door open just a crack in case his little companion decided they wanted to follow him all the way. With the memories of his sixth year playing through his head, Harry turned down one of the thousand or so aisles that filled the massive junk room. He counted down numbers, images, and other such random things in search for the right aisle he needed before he finally came to the one with the vanishing cabinet with the bust on top. On top of the bust rested Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem, which gleamed almost innocently in the dim light of the room. Pulling out his wand, Harry levitated the crown off the bust and trapped it in a time suspension spell like he had with all the others.
"You know," Harry said as he turned to go back the way he came. "Spying is generally considered rude."
"To most," Severus' silky voice sounded as the tall and lanky man pulled himself out of the shadows of one of the many piles of junk that littered the room. "But you are not most now are you? Otherwise you would have either not noticed me following you or would have attempted to loose me before reaching your destination."
"True." Harry said with a shrug of his shoulders and started back towards the door to leave. "I suppose you're wondering what this is."
"Among other things," Severus drawled as he fell into step besides Harry.
"I can imagine." Harry said with a nod of his head. "To answer your primary question, this is one of seven possible objects that are keeping the Dark Lord alive. It is the fifth one I have obtained. The last two are still out there somewhere. The identity of one is known and the other is not. I have been hunting these things down, hoarding them and trying to find a way to safely destroy them."
"The potion you've been theorizing." Severus said, understanding dawning on him. It had been bugging him ever since New Year's Eve why Harry would be theorizing such a potion.
"Brewing actually," Harry amended, seeing no reason to hide the fact that he was actually brewing the potion any more. Severus would probably grill him for more information anyways. "I've added the rose pedals and oil already and have deemed the potion done enough to bottle since it no longer boils wildly and unpredictably. I'm tempted to try it out but I need to set things up at a safe, secluded, and warded location where no one will be harmed if things go wrong. I have, unfortunately, not had the time to find such a place."
"Did I not warn you what I would do to you if you tried to brew that thing?" Severus said in a dangerous purr that Harry completely disregarded.
"I have not tried to brew anything," Harry said as they entered the Slytherin dorms and made their way towards his room. "I have succeeded in brewing the potion and I can only hope that it is strong enough to destroy the Horcruxes without too much trouble. My only concern now is the magical backlash created from their destruction. I need a way to funnel the energy and have it disperse safely."
"There is no possible way that you brewed that potion." Severus said as he watched Harry down the potions he had been taking to repair the damage done by his relatives. "It would have blown up in your face, sending you to the hospital for weeks."
"Severus," Harry said in a placating tone that Severus did not appreciate one bit. "I have been brewing that potion all year and it is sitting in the top drawer of my desk. I mean no offense to you, as your skills are beyond any other Potions Master today, but I know methods that will allow one to brew such a dangerous potion without it killing them that you have never heard of. They were, in fact, developed by Salazar Slytherin himself as he was known to dabble with dangerous ingredients."
"Humph!" Severus said, taking a small amount of offence despite Harry's attempt not to offend him. "I shall be the judge of that." He made to open the drawer Harry had indicated only to yank his hand back in pain as a ward he had not previously sensed sprang to life and gave him a rather painful shock.
"You did not think I would leave such a dangerous potion unprotected did you?" Harry said to Severus' dark scowl that he sent towards the youth. Harry stepped forward, opened the drawer, and pulled out the jar filled with the potion. "I cannot give you as much information as you would probably like Professor but I can tell you this." He paused as he stepped forward, watching as Severus carefully examined the potion. "I know things that have been lost to time or so thoroughly hidden that people have forgotten about them. I am not the child I appear to be and know far more than any student or professor at Hogwarts. Despite that though, I could use your help."
Severus was silent for several minutes as he sniffed and eyed the red and black potion. "One condition." He finally said, turning his gaze to the youth before him.
"As long as it is within reason." Harry replied with a slight smirk on his face.
"You show me exactly how you managed to brew this concoction." Severus demanded as he resealed the jar. Much to his annoyance, Harry burst out laughing.
Harry lurked in the shadows of the halls of Hogwarts on the third floor, waiting. If he was right, Quirrell would be making for the stone tonight. Severus had told him that only he and Dumbledore knew the stone was missing; though he only divulged the details of that when Harry had told him that he was the one who took the stone in the first place. Most of the second term of Harry's first year at Hogwarts had passed amicably. Dumbledore had left him alone and made no more attempts to try and bind him to either himself or Hogwarts grounds and Harry had spent a fair amount of his spare time showing Severus how he had made the potion without it blowing everything sky high.
Now, it was June and Harry was waiting and watching to make his first truly public move. It was well past midnight and nearing five in the morning. He had sent off an owl to the Auror's at the Ministry a mere thirty minutes ago saying that a teacher at the school was possessed and if everything worked out the way he planned, doubt would be cast on Dumbledore, he would be seen as the hero (though he thoroughly detested that), and the public at large would start waking up to the very real danger they were all in.
The sound of measured footsteps echoed down the hall and Harry's ears perked up and his wand slipped into his hand in anticipation. Quirrell came stalking down the hallway, muttering under his breath and with his wand in his hand. He came up to the door and whispered a simple unlocking charm only to frown when the door would not open due to the spells Harry had put in place to keep the man from opening the door and so Fluffy would not interfere.
"I wouldn't bother really." Harry said as he stepped out of the shadows a few feet down from the door and Quirrell. "There's nothing beyond that door worth steeling. I took the stone and hid it away far from your reach."
"Potter!" Quirrell snapped in surprise as he spun around and leveled his wand at Harry. "What're you doing out here?"
"Waiting for you." Harry said as if it should have been obvious. "Tell me Riddle, how does it feel to be nothing but a spirit? Unable to affect the world around you, nothing more than a wisp of shadows?"
"You dare to speak my name!" Voldemort's rasping voice demanded angrily, making Quirrell cringe in pain.
"Why should I fear someone who can't realize he's been set up and gets taken down by an infant?" Harry questioned with a raised eyebrow as he rubbed his thumb along his wand, getting ready to fire off spells. Suddenly a ward went off in Harry's head, alerting him to the presence of several witches and wizards crossing Hogwarts boundary lines. He had set them up a few minutes before he sent off his letter. "You really are pathetic you know. Did you honestly think that if you went about slaughtering innocent families that people would just fall in line with you, meekly bowing down to your will and doing everything you wanted?"
"Fool! Kill him!" Voldemort raged, spurring Quirrell into action.
The man fired off a killing curse at Harry. Harry did not move and Quirrell mistook his complacence for fear and smiled triumphantly. The smile quickly died when the curse sputtered and dissipated into nothing several feet from Harry. The man stared in shock, not understanding how such a thing could happen. Harry smirked, enjoying the look of stunned shock on Quirrell's face for a few moments. By all accounts, such a thing should have been impossible and yet it had been done. Before Quirrell could recover, Harry raised his wand and snapped off a spell that struck the man in the chest. A collar slammed into place around the man's neck and he collapsed to the ground, grabbing at his neck in pain.
"I would pity you Tom," Harry said, a hint of sadness to his voice as he approached the struggling man. "But you have done too much to earn anything but hatred from me."
Harry held out his wand and a leash stretched between its tip and the collar around Quirrell's neck. He walked away, Quirrell dragging along behind him. Harry did not bother to be gentle with his captive as he made his way down to the entrance hall. Quirrell thudded and thumped down the stairs behind Harry, causing more than one portrait to wake up and glare at them or demand them to be silent. Some even left their portraits, no doubt to go and alert one of the teachers as Harry knew several portraits reported to different staff members.
"I don't know who sent you this letter Auror Scrimgeour," McGonagall was saying as Harry rounded the corner from the staircase to the entrance hall. "But I can assure you that this school is perfectly safe and no one on our staff is possessed. The wards around the school would not allow such a thing to happen."
"Where is Headmaster Dumbledore?" Scrimgeour was saying as he folded up Harry's initialed letter and put it back in his pocket. Harry rolled his eyes. Honestly! He was the only person with those initials. Why did no one make the connection? "He is in charge of the wards surrounding the school. If what you say is true then he should be able to confirm it."
"He is likely in London," Harry said, announcing his presence to those gathered. "Summoned by the Ministry I believe. As for the possession of a teacher and the wards… well, see for yourself." He pulled Quirrell forward and ripped off his turban, revealing the pain ridden face of Voldemort sticking out from the back of the man's head. "Not a standard possession but a possession nonetheless."
"Mr. Potter, how did you uncover this and what are you doing out of bed so late at night?" McGonagall said, a pinched look on her face as she glanced between Harry and Quirrell.
"It is morning actually," Harry said, a slight hint of reproach entering his voice. "And I pay attention to the shadows instead of the blinding light that lords his status and power over the entire school."
"Why do they appear to be in pain?" One of the Aurors that had accompanied Scrimgeour to the school asked. Harry looked and was mildly pleased to see that it was Tonks.
"The collar." Harry said simply. "While it does not actually cause pain it is meant to cage a spirit in one place. They are fighting the restraint and it is that fight that is causing them pain. I found the spell in one of the books up in the library. Never thought I would have to use it but I found it simply fascinating."
"Mr. Potter," Scrimgeour spoke up just as McGonagall seemed to gather herself to lay into Harry for seeming disrespect to a teacher. "You made it sound as if Dumbledore has been distracting people to keep them from noticing this possession. Why? He has always done what he can to protect this school."
"I've honestly no idea," Harry lied smoothly and effortlessly. "But I have plenty of reason to distrust him. Between his attempts to dose me with binding spells and potions and his witnessing my parents will and failing to execute it properly and leaving me in the house of abusive muggles, I have no cause to view him as the Merlin people believe him to be."
"He would do no such thing!" McGonagall practically screeched; incensed that someone would accuse a man she had trusted implicitly for years of such crimes.
"My memories would argue otherwise." Harry replied calmly before returning his attention back to the Aurors. "The collar can easily be removed but I think he should be taken to St. Mungo's or wherever to deal with the possession. Voldemort will more than likely put up a strong fight."
"I will rise again you fools!" Voldemort rasped in anger. "And I will kill you all!"
"Good night gentlemen, ladies." Harry said and quickly turned towards the dungeons and the Slytherin common room before anyone could question him further.
His plan depended on them believing his story and they would not if they questioned him any further. Whistling a merry little tune, Harry changed, climbed into bed, and went to sleep, knowing a certain little beetle would be on her way to writing a story on what she had just witnessed. No one but Draco knew that he owned the Daily Prophet now; he had made sure to guarantee the boy's silence on that matter. Not even the people at the paper knew who their boss was. He had dictated everything via letter or with him Polyjuiced.
He had explicitly informed Rita that if she did not do exactly as he told her and wrote respectable stories instead of the horrid gossip columns that she had been writing then she would never work in the press industry again. Harry also made it clear that if she kept her word then he would not only keep her illegal animagus status a secret but supply her with headline stories, so long as they were respectable, truthful, and approved by him before they went to press. Oh yes. This had played out perfectly, the way he wanted it to. It was too late now for the story to go out but it would hit the public with the evening edition of the Prophet.
It was with a pleased smile on his face that Harry finally drifted off to sleep.
Harry was still in a highly pleased mood a few days later when he and the rest of the students were leaving Hogwarts for London. He, Hermione, and Draco were sitting in a compartment on the train, which was just starting to pull out from Hogsmeade. Hermione had been a bit obsessed with her studies this last term and had not been very sociable. It probably did not help that Weasley had returned for the second half of the year and had been grumbling about the school like a wounded animal. He had not been actively speaking out against Hermione or Harry but they could both tell he was spreading rumors behind their backs. Thankfully though, not many actually believed them since they had all heard how he had slapped Hermione unprovoked.
"Ah!" Hermione gasped, drawing the gazes of her two friends, who had been quietly conversing about random topics. Harry looked over to see Hermione grasping her head in pain.
"Are you alright Hermione?" Harry asked, leaning forward. He sensed an odd bit of magic swirling in the air, too subtle to be noticed by anyone but those with an extreme sensitivity to magic.
"I'm… fine. My head just – ahhh!" Hermione's assurance was cut off as she let out a small scream and slipped off her seat and to her knees. Draco made to go get help but Harry sealed the room. He saw the bloody tear streaks that ran down Hermione's face and thought he knew what was going on.
"Hermione." Harry said calmly and softly as he knelt down on the floor in front of her and put his hands on her shoulders. He ignored for the moment the pestering questions that came from the blond and focused on his longtime friend. "Hermione, it's me, Harry. I need you to look at me." The bushy haired girl slowly raised her head, looking as if her neck was made of stone. Harry's heart pounded in his chest when he saw the look on her face, coupled with the bloody tear tracks. It was a look of pain and confusion and so much knowledge, a look that should not be on the face of an eleven almost twelve year old. "I need you to let me in Hermione and I need you to follow me. I'm going to help ease your pain but you have to do exactly as I tell you ok?"
Hermione nodded ever so slightly and Harry quickly delved into Hermione's mind. He entered Hermione's landscape and helped her locate and repair the damage done to her mind. He then repeated the process that he had done with his own mind, showing her how to absorb the mind of her younger self to keep the two minds from warring with each other and causing her any undue pain. Her mind was a different layout than Harry's but they managed to find a place for her younger self as a beautiful and blossoming garden. When he was finished he left Hermione's mind and returned to his own body.
"What happened?" Hermione questioned, her voice hoarse. They were still on the floor with Draco standing over them trying to get a response out of them as to what was going on.
"Something I'd like an answer to myself." Draco said in an annoyed voice.
"Hang on Draco." Harry said before the blond could go into a snit. "I'm not sure how Hermione but near as I can tell, we've been sent back in time to our younger selves in order to stop the war before it starts." Harry explained to Hermione in Greek, a language he knew Draco did not know at this point in time. "It's the summer of 1992, school just ended and we're on our way back to London."
"How?" Hermione questioned in both surprise and confusion, following Harry's lead and speaking in Greek. "The last thing I remember was fighting in the sands of the Sahara against the Death Eaters. Next thing I know I'm here."
"You got hit by a killing curse." Harry said sadly, regretting the necessary words as they brought a look of shock and regular tears to his friends face. "I don't know who fired it, too much was happening. I was taken down two weeks later."
He spent the next few minutes, much to Draco's annoyance, speaking Greek and giving Hermione the highlights of what had happened over the past ten months, what has changed due to his presence and what has not. She simultaneously laughed and scowled when Harry spoke of Dumbledore's first attempt to dose him with a binding potion and she out right squealed in delight when he told her he owned The Daily Prophet and had Rita on a permanent leash. She became all business like when Harry told her that he had all but two Horcruxes and was working on a way to safely dispose of them.
"Sirius and Remus both know right?" Hermione questioned quickly. She could sense that the blond was nearing the end of his patience and wanted to get through this last bit before he blew his top.
"Yes. I was going to ask Remus if he could go out and do some hunting this summer." Harry said, following her line of thought as he had done countless times before. "I don't want Sirius anywhere near the things without me there as backup since he nearly collapsed when he and I retrieved the necklace from Grimauld place. He's been seeing a mind healer but I don't know how effective his sessions have been yet."
"If you two don't stop soon and fill me in on what's going on, I'm going to out Harry as the owner of the Prophet when we get off the train in London." Draco drawled in annoyance, a scowl on his face as he sat across from them with his arms crossed over his chest and one leg crossed over the other and bouncing up and down.
"Some things never change do they?" Hermione snickered as she looked to the blond in amusement. Draco's scowl deepened.
"No, I think it's in the blood." Harry replied with a laugh of his own. He quickly continued before Draco could blow a gasket. "We can't tell you everything Draco, not that we don't want to but that we are incapable of saying too much. What we can tell you is that Hermione is perfectly fine. The bloody tears were a rare phenomenon that is nothing to be concerned about."
"Why don't we tell him?" Hermione questioned with a thoughtful look on her face as she assessed the blond, making Draco squirm slightly. "I know it's risky and all but it isn't like he's against us."
"I've been trying to take things relatively slow. Ish." Harry added on the end when Hermione gave him a look. "I didn't want to disrupt too much at once. And technically speaking I did tell him he just didn't believe me."
"That's probably because you were making a joke out of it." Hermione teased with a roll of her eyes. She stood up with the others when the train whistled, signaling that they were pulling into the station in London. Harry stuck his tongue out at her but smiled regardless.
"Oh! I forgot." Harry said as he helped Hermione pull her trunk down and shrink it for her so she did not have to lug it around. "You convinced your parents to let you come over to my place in the middle of July. They're going to spend time with Remus and Sirius to get to know the magical world better and I invited the three of you for my birthday. With luck you'll also be attending something else I have planned between now and my birthday. That gives you about three weeks to go through your… thoughts and get everything in order."
"Sounds good." Hermione said as she followed Harry and Draco out into the hall of the train. "Oh, hey, what about that bastard?"
"Still a prat. Got him in trouble with Molly though." Harry explained, his words only serving to confuse Draco even more as he had no idea who the two were talking about. "Suspended too."
"Brilliant!" Hermione crowed in delight before giving Harry a brief hug and wandering off to find her parents.
"You two are officially the craziest people I've ever met!" Draco griped to Harry when the Gryffindor disappeared into the crowd and could no longer be seen. "Why can't you guys tell me what's going on?"
"Because, Draco, the more people who know the more dangerous things become for everyone." Harry said, turning to face Draco squarely, placing both hands on the blond's shoulders. "It is not that I don't trust you Draco, I do, I really do, but you have to understand that I have already upset things and have risked a great deal by simply doing the things that I have already done. I need you to trust me and not demand so many answers, answers that I cannot give."
Draco looked long into Harry's face and saw only pleading and sorrow there. The blond realized then that Harry truly did want to tell him but, as he said, was prevented for some reason of telling him all that he wanted to.
"Alright," Draco said with a nod of his head, dragging a rare smile from the other boy. "I'll see you in a few weeks Harry."
"Who knows," Harry said as he leaned forward to give the blond a hug, shocking Draco even further. Harry had not once hugged him or anyone else the entire time Draco had known him. At least, he had never seen Harry hug someone. "We might see each other sooner than I have planned."
With that parting remark, Harry turned and walked away. He walked through the barrier between worlds and quickly made his way back to his flat. Sirius was at an appointment with his mind healer and Remus was still recuperating from the latest full moon that had been only a few days ago. So Harry made his way on his own, not the least bit concerned for his health as he had at least half a dozen wards and spells linked into his very skin that would shield him from attacks of any kind and give him ample warning if he was about to be attacked by someone magical and with lethal intent. After the Christmas holidays he had a special ward that alerted him if Dumbledore was anywhere within a half mile radius of him just to be on the safe side.
When Harry reached his apartment he immediately went over to his 'bedroom' and pulled out his trunk, waving his wand to unpack everything and put it all in its proper place. He greeted Hedwig briefly when she flew in from the window and settled onto her perch but he did not stop his bustling about the apartment. He had very little time in which to get ready. He had to leave as soon as Sirius got home from St. Mungo's. Entering the bathroom, Harry quickly showered and changed into more formal robes, adorning his outfit with the family ring that signaled him as Lord Potter and a lovely necklace he had found in one of his vaults.
He paused in the middle of his frantic changing and grooming as he looked into his bathroom mirror. His hair was sticking up all over the place like it always did, much to his annoyance since he had put quite a bit of product into it to try to make it lay flat. Harry had not bothered with it much before since it had not mattered but now he needed to present a certain image for his plan to work. Sighing in annoyance, Harry pulled his wand and waved it over and around his head. Snipping sounds could be heard and Harry's hair started falling away and floating slowly towards the ground, like strange black snow.
In a matter of moments, Harry now had a modified crew cut. The hair on top of his head was longer than the hair on the sides and back but only by about an inch. He had very small sideburns (he was only approaching twelve after all). His hair line all around his head was perfectly trim with not a hair out of place. The sides were considerably shorter than they had been, though not enough to be considered a buzz cut. The hair on the top of his head was lying down without a fuss, was combed forward and towards the side near the front of his face, just a little. It was enough to make him appear clean cut and sophisticated yet not so ridged as to seem like a heartless business man.
"Perfect." Harry said, nodding his head in satisfaction. He banished his hair clippings and finished getting ready. "Please tell me you are ready Sirius. We have to leave like right now." He said as he moved into Sirius' apartment, buckling cuff links into place as he went.
"Your bloody owl saw to that Harry." Sirius said with a rueful chuckle. "She made sure I couldn't leave the apartment before I remembered that we had an appointment at the Ministry after my appointment at St. Mungo's."
"How is that going by the way?" Harry asked as picked up a briefcase he had placed by the fireplace before he hopped into the shower and waited for Sirius to tie up any loose ends before joining him.
"Pretty well," Sirius said with some slight enthusiasm. "Healer Monroe says I'm healing quite nicely."
"Good, good," Harry said before he was whisked away into the floo network with Sirius by his side.
They reappeared in the Atrium at the Ministry moments later. Dusting off the soot from the fireplace, they made their way through the milling mass of witches and wizards towards the lifts. They passed through security without a problem, the guards staring in amazement at Harry before Harry sent him a glare that had the man rushing to finish his security check and ushering them through to the lifts. They quickly got into a lift that was not overcrowded and descended into the depths of the Ministry. Harry ignored the memories of the last time he had been in the Ministry, destroyed as it was, as they stepped out of the lift onto the second level and headed towards the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, where the Wizengamot usually convened when they were not operating as judges and jury during a trial and where Harry's appointment was located.
"Good evening ladies and gentleman." Harry said, announcing his presence as he walked into the Wizengamot's meeting room as if he owned the place, Sirius hot on his heels and appearing just as important as Harry. "It is late and I'm sure everyone would rather be with their families, sooner rather than later, so let us get on with our business shall we?"
"Harry?" Dumbledore questioned in confusion when he got over the shock of seeing Harry waltz into the room when he had been expecting the boy to be holed up wherever he had been residing since he was obviously not staying with his relatives, as Dumbledore had been attempting to force the boy to do since he had come to Hogwarts. "This is to be a private meeting. How do you even know of this place?"
"As I am the one who requested conference with the Wizengamot that statement and question are moot." Harry said as he seated himself at the opposite end of the large round table from the rest of the gathered witches and wizards. "Now, as I said, it is late so let us get down to business. Chief Warlock Dumbledore, if you would please step out into the hall. My first order of business is a matter in which you are conflicted out of and under the bylaws of the Wizengamot, no witch or wizard on the panel shall be present to judge or review an issue in which they have a personal stake. If it is proven that you do not have a personal stake in this issue then you may be summoned back." Dumbledore did a fairly good impression of a fish out of water as he stared at Harry in shock and surprise before he reluctantly got out of his seat and left the room.
"What is this issue that you believe conflicts our Chief Warlock out of?" A young woman that Harry recognized as Amelia Bones asked as she leaned forward in her seat.
"These," Harry said as he popped open his briefcase and pulled out several files. "Are non-school related files copied from the office of the Headmaster of Hogwarts." He tossed the files down the table to the Wizengamot members. "The contents of which are highly disturbing and often illegal. I hereby move to have Albus Dumbledore dismissed as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. I would move to have him removed as Headmaster of Hogwarts but that requires the Board of Governor's approval, though I see several members of the Board present here now."
"What proof do you have that any of this is legitimate?" Amelia questioned with a frown on her face as she sifted through one of the more… displeasing files.
"When I discovered the existence of these files, I hired several private investigators, both magical and muggle, to look into the matter." Harry explained as he interlocked his fingers and leaned forward on his elbows on the table. "The muggle ones remain ignorant of our world but they were useful nonetheless. All the investigators followed the trails, asking questions to the families that have been separated. All show signs of memory charms and all claim that they have no recollection of the child they were supposed to have had. The children, being young at the time of their abduction, have no idea that they are not biologically related to their supposed parents. Furthermore, I'm sure if we were to interrogate Albus you would get more direct answers and information."
"I don't think that's necessary." A wizard said, one that Harry did not recognize or know the name of. "I've checked for any charms on these documents and for the validity of them. They are all legitimate."
Whispers broke out among everyone present. The Wizengamot members all began to converse among themselves. Every now and then they would open a folder and point to it or hand one to someone else. Harry suppressed a smirk that threatened to spread over his face. He looked to Sirius and saw that the man was doing the same thing. Things were playing out exactly as they had planned out. When Harry had first told Sirius of Dumbledore's less than appropriate activities, he had been reluctant to believe Harry but when he saw the file, Harry had to stun the man to keep him from rushing off to Hogwarts to strangle the Headmaster.
"Mr. Potter." Amelia said, drawing Harry out of his thoughts. "It has been in the press recently and there is a file here with your name on it. Is there any validity to the claim that was made by the press that Dumbledore placed you with abusive muggles, something that was directly against your parent's will, of which he was witness and executor?"
"Yes," Harry said, resisting the urge to scratch his neck. He knew Rita was clinging to the collar of his robes and she tickled him whenever she shifted her position. "There was a copy of their will in my trust fund vault at Gringotts that I found last year when I received my Hogwarts letter. I have had several legal copies made and hidden the original. Here is one such copy." He opened his briefcase once again and pulled out a scroll with two seals on it, one for the Ministry and one for Gringotts. "You can imagine my surprise when I found and read the will."
"I imagine it was quite shocking." Amelia said as she picked up the scroll and broke the seals. She frowned as she began reading. "It is my understanding, though, that most of the will has been carried out so far, there are a few outstanding contingencies that require time more than anything else."
"Yes, that is my understanding as well." Harry said with a nod of his head. "However, the stipulation that one Remus J. Lupin is to receive the sum of two million galleons from the Potter vaults has, as far as I am aware, not been carried out for a reason I am not aware of. The Potter vaults have more than enough to cover such an expense and the stipulations of a legitimate Will supersede any law."
"A matter I will look into personally," Amelia said as she looked through the will before returning to conferring with her fellow wizards and witches. A few minutes later she had the scribe leave the room to summon Dumbledore. Before the old man could say anything, Amelia started speaking. "Albus Dumbledore, by edict of the full Wizengamot you are hereby removed as Chief Warlock and placed under arrest for child endangerment and encouraging child abuse."
"Preposterous!" Dumbledore blustered, doing his best to resist the Aurors that had entered the room and started placing him in cuffs. Unfortunately, he was unprepared and failed to escape the magic suppressing cuffs. "What proof do you have against me?"
"Files from your office at Hogwarts." A wizard said holding up several he had been looking at before allowing them to fall to the table with a resounding smack. Dumbledore stared in shock at the files he could easily recognize. He started to say something but thought better of it and snapped his mouth close, allowing himself to be dragged from the room by the Aurors.
"Now," Harry said, once Dumbledore was removed from the room. "My next and final order of business is really rather simple. I have a few zoning and construction permits here that need the signature and approval of the Wizengamot before I can proceed with my plans to build upon various properties that I own under the Potter estate."
"You have everything else in order yes?" Amelia questioned as she looked over the different permits that required her signature, as temporary Chief Warlock until another one could replace Dumbledore. Harry nodded and she pulled out a quill and signed her name on the papers.
"Thank you Ms. Bones." Harry smiled a very pleased smile. "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Wizengamot; a good day to you all."
"Is it me or was that a little too easy?" Sirius asked once they were safely back in their apartment where no eavesdroppers could listen, especially since Rita had flown off the minute he left the Wizengamot's room.
"Perhaps just a little," Harry said with a shrug of his shoulders. "But that's what happens when you have everything in order and you strike like a bludger." He said using an analogy he knew Sirius would understand. "Strike fast and strike hard and people will get out of your way or do what you want without asking questions until it's too late."
"And of course you've done everything by the book so even when people do ask questions, they won't have anything to pin you with." Sirius said with an amused chuckle.
"Aside from copying those files, yes I did everything by the book," Harry said, giggling as well. He made his way out of Sirius' apartment and into his and started changing. They may look nice but fancy clothes were always stiff and uncomfortable for some reason. "However, I doubt anyone will call me on that given what was in those files."
"Oh your father would be so proud." Sirius said before he let loose a barking laugh. Harry smiled as well before he went into the kitchen to fix dinner.
The Dark Lord He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named:
The Truth Revealed
by: Rita Skeeter
As I'm sure all of us can remember the darkest time in our world's most recent history was when the Dark Lord He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named terrorized all of Britain in his ten year campaign to purge the world of all things muggle. This campaign lasted until he was stopped by the infant Boy-Who-Lived, who somehow managed to deflect a direct killing curse back onto the Dark Lord. What many of us don't know or chose to ignore, is that this terror that is still plaguing our world had innocent beginnings just like us all.
Nothing can excuse this man's actions of course but the fact remains that the Dark Lord became what he was because of how he was raised. He was born to one Merope Riddle née Gaunt, a family that had been known for its inbreeding, insanity, and direct ties to Salazar Slytherin. Merope had fallen for a local muggle and resorted to magic to get him to fall for her as well. A child was conceived during this scandal and for some reason young Merope could no longer keep her beloved under her spells and he abandoned her. Heartbroken and without a galleon to her name, Merope was forced to spend her pregnancy on the streets, doing what she could to feed herself and her unborn child.
This young witch came to a muggle orphanage where she gave birth to one Tom Marvolo Riddle, better known as Lord Voldemort. Since his mother died during childbirth, Tom Riddle was taken in by the muggles that ran the orphanage and essentially became a muggleborn who knew nothing of magic until he received his Hogwarts letter when Albus Dumbledore, currently under investigation for child endangerment, came to deliver the letter. Tom had been harassed and bullied by the other children at the orphanage because of his accidental magic. Because of this, Tom learned at an early age to control his magic to defend himself and extract revenge on his tormentors. With no one there to teach him the rights and wrongs of using magic, this developed a nasty torture streak in the child that went away when he came to Hogwarts.
Despite his many requests to Albus Dumbledore and the then Headmaster Dippet, Tom was refused sanctuary at Hogwarts, something that is perfectly legal, both with the Ministry and Hogwarts, though such a thing has not been done in many centuries. As a result, Tom was sent back to his abusive environment time and again where he was subjected to the ignorance and abuse of the muggles that lived in the orphanage that he grew up in.
With such a background is it any wonder who this Tom Riddle became in the end? His actions cannot be excused of course but one cannot help but wonder what would be if things had been different. Would we have a visionary instead of a villain? A saint instead of the Devil? Would this man we condemn now have been revered had things been different? Only the gods may know.
"Rita darling your quill knows no equal," Harry said before he laughed viciously. Things were working out the way he wanted perfectly.
"And here I thought the woman was only useful for ruining lives." Hermione said as she finished reading the article. They were all in Harry's flat eating breakfast, well, her, Harry, and Draco were. Sirius, Remus, and the Grangers were all in Sirius' apartment chatting and getting ready to go. "I really must congratulate you on finding a way to tame that quill of hers Harry. Well done indeed. This is a perfect precursor to what you have planned for this afternoon. I imagine you will get many donations because of this article."
"Well that was the idea," Harry said with a nasty smirk on his face as he took a drink of his orange juice.
"I'm still surprised you got my father to go in on this venture with you." Draco said as he shook his head dazedly.
"Hey," Harry said with a small, huffing laugh. "He agreed of his own volition. I merely asked. I did nothing to manipulate."
"That's because your manipulation started long before you asked Harry," Hermione snickered into her glass of milk. Harry mock scowled at her and stuck his nose up in the air as if to say he did not deem that statement worthy of comment. "I'll go check and see how they're doing since we need to leave in a few minutes if we're to get there before everyone else."
"Father and the other board members have been trying to get Severus to take up post as Headmaster." Draco said without precursor when Hermione had left the room. The blond had become much more sociable and less annoyed at Harry's tendency towards vague answers since their conversation at the train station. "He has yet to give an answer either way. He has told me and my father personally that he is reluctant to take the position since it has never been something he has wanted yet at the same time he does not want the position to fall into the wrong hands, meaning someone that will continue to encourage the idiocy of the Gryffindors and abuse of the Slytherins."
"Severus would not be a good person for Headmaster." Harry said with a shake of his head, taking a small sip of tea. "Most of the school dislikes him and he is not exactly a people person. I would suggest Minerva but she is not as disillusioned as I would prefer for her to take the post. Filius would be a good choice though. He has always been the most fair of all the teachers at the school and he favors knowledge above all else."
"I have to agree with that. Professor Flitwick has never been harsh on the Slytherins yet he has not been lenient either." Draco said with a small look of surprise on his face. Obviously he had not even considered the diminutive professor for anything but a charms teacher. "And yet neither has he been coddling towards the other houses. Yes, I think I will suggest that my father nominate him. I think Severus would agree as well, despite the fact that he thinks Flitwick to be far too cheerful for his liking."
"Hey!" Hermione spoke up, poking her head through the door leading between Harry's flat and Sirius'. "Everyone's ready to go and the press are supposed to arrive in like five minutes."
"Alright!" Harry said, waving his wand and banishing the dishes to the kitchen and standing up.
Harry and Draco filed into Sirius' apartment where all the adults were waiting and lined up in the middle of the room next to everyone else. Remus made sure everyone was present and in a circle where they belonged before he held out his hand with a large rope that was a portkey set to their destination. Mr. and Mrs. Granger were between Sirius and Remus since they had never traveled by portkey before and the werewolf and animagus made sure to have a supportive arm around the waist each of them so they did not freak out during the ride.
With a simple word, they were all whisked away with a feeling of a hook behind their navel. For the most part Hermione's parents handled the trip well, with only some slight dizziness to deal with. They all landed on the front lawn of the ruined house of Godric's Hallow where Harry's parents used to live before they died. Harry had left the house as it was for this part of his plans but he had hired a muggle lawn care service to clean up the exterior of the place, explaining that the place was to be viewed in a press release for a new building to be placed on the sight to explain the ruined house. So, instead of the overgrown mess it had been, the yard was almost perfectly manicured with all the trees trimmed back and the bushes shaped to look clean as opposed to the jungle it had been.
"Mr. Potter," Lucius' smooth and polished drawl sounded from behind Harry a few minutes after they had landed. Harry turned to see the blond standing a few feet from him, looking every bit a pureblood lord of a prestigious family. "It is a pleasure to see you again."
"And you, Mr. Malfoy." Harry said, taking the offered hand and shaking it. "I'm glad you have agreed to join me in this venture of mine."
"I would be remiss if I did not," Lucius said, glancing briefly at Hermione and her parents, visibly restraining himself from sneering. "This venture of yours has merit and it is a wonder why no one, even I, has thought of it before now. And it should be very successful after this morning's article. I wonder where Ms. Skeeter found her information, though I am surprised that she even dared to write such an article."
"Perhaps the new owner of the paper gave her no choice?" Harry said with a slight smirk just before several pops sounded, signaling the appearance of several more people. "I hear that the new owner has her on quite the leash." He added as he watched several of his reporters from the Prophet and from a few international papers that he was looking into buying or at least purchasing a few stocks in, set up their equipment and prepare for the conference.
"As have I and yet I still cannot locate or gain a meeting with the man," Lucius said, looking down at Harry with a look on his face that caused Harry to smirk. The man really wanted to get in on the control of the paper. "He has proven extremely reclusive and none of my owls can find him to deliver a request for a meeting."
"If I may, why do you want to set up a meeting with this mysterious person?" Harry questioned, ignoring the muffled snort that came from Draco, who was standing behind him and trying to keep from laughing. Thankfully, Lucius had yet to notice his son's hilarity.
"Because if a man can out snoop me for ownership of The Daily Prophet then I would love to go into business with him." Lucius said, a slight predatory look on his face. "He and I could achieve many things together I'm sure."
"I see; I can imagine you would achieve many things." Harry said managing a straight face. "Now, it appears that all the necessary people are here so why don't we get this show on the run yes?"
"I believe we should." Lucius said, stepping out of the way and allowing Harry to take the lead since this was his endeavor and Lucius was merely an additional financial backer.
"Ladies and Gentleman!" Harry called, his voice slightly magnified with a sonorous charm. The gathered press and few Ministry officials stopped their conversations as Harry stepped up onto the raised platform that had been erected so he and the others could be easily seen by everyone present. "I wish to welcome you all to this rather historic, if tragic, site! Everyone in our world knows the story of this place so I will not bore you with repeated facts." A few people snickered in amusement. "I have called you all here because it is my wish to turn this tragic place into one of hope and prosperity. Backed by the finances of the Potter, Malfoy, and Black families this place, a site of death, tragedy and victory, shall become the first of a series of magical orphanages that will span the globe!" Everyone broke out into excited chatter and the press started shouting questions. Harry let them for a few minutes before he raised his hands for silence.
"No longer will we have to face the possibilities of potential Dark Lords like Voldemort." Harry ignored the way everyone flinched at the name. It was his goal to get everyone to stop that nonsense, to inspire strength and freedom from his reign of terror.
"No matter the standing of the family, these orphanages will accept any unwanted children from magical families and raise them in a healthy and well cared for environment that will instill to them a background and understanding of our world so that they do not feel so lost when they are old enough to attend school." The quills of the journalists were working frantically to keep up with his speech and several people were whispering among themselves. "Wards will be put in place to secure secrecy from the muggle world in accordance with Ministry law and so the children remain safe from any misunderstanding attention from the nearby muggles. There will also be wards set into place to help locate abandoned or orphaned muggleborns so that they too will know our world. It is my goal, that Voldemort be the last one who was abandoned and left behind by our world."
"Furthermore," Harry continued before any of the press could start asking questions again. "As owner of The Daily Prophet ten percent of our annual sales will be going directly into the funding of these orphanages, henceforth called Haven Orphanage. No longer will we have to fear an uprising as we had with Voldemort because of an oversight that should have been tended to a long time ago."
Stunned silence followed Harry's last announcement as no one, absolutely no one had been expecting Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, to suddenly announce that he owned the most prominent newspaper in England; except for Hermione since he trusted her with all of her plans. Lucius and the others stared in open mouthed amazement and while the others continued to stare, Lucius quickly snapped his mouth shut and resumed the poise of a powerful pureblood lord from a prestigious family.
He truly had to give the boy points for this. Not only would his announcement increase sales exponentially but it would ensure that word spread about the orphanage so that everyone in the entire wizarding world knew of its existence so that if any pureblood that was still bent on the old ways of abandoning children but could not safely and legally do so, now had a way to get rid of their spawn that did not result in them killing their own flesh and blood. It also ensured that those children had somewhere safe to go, somewhere where they could be cared for.
And let us not forget the number of jobs this will open for the unemployed. Well played Potter, well played indeed. Lucius thought to himself just as the questions started flying from the press.
Harry answered questions as best he could from the clamoring press, though those from the Prophet were more respectable in their questions now that they knew it was their boss that stood before them. When most of the questions had been dealt with, they all arranged for a photo shoot of the ground breaking for the front pages. Harry, Lucius, and Sirius all took hold of the ceremonial shovel that the Ministry had for such things and pushed it into the ground all at the same time, looking towards the many cameras snapping their shots.
When all was said and done and the press and Ministry had left, the team of people Harry had hired to tear down and rebuild the building with the strongest wards available (experts that were hired out of country) popped in and moved towards the structure to start their work. They had obviously already been given their orders and blueprints since none of them bothered to stop to consult with Harry or the others, merely going straight for the building and started casting spells. Harry watched them for a few minutes, smiling in satisfaction.
"Why didn't you tell me you were going to announce your ownership today?" Sirius questioned when Harry had turned from the workers to face everyone else.
"What son of a marauder would I be if I gave you advance warning?" Harry said cheekily, smiling mischievously at Sirius. Remus started laughing.
"Well played Mr. Potter," Lucius said, holding his hand out for Harry to shake once again, a look of approval adorning the normally cold and neutral face. "I look forward to future business endeavors with you."
"And I you Mr. Malfoy." Harry said with a smile. "I do hope you do not hold my secrecy against me for too long."
"Hardly Mr. Potter," Lucius said, a small smirk popping up onto his face. "In fact, I approve of the way you handled this. I imagine people will clamor about this for months to come all over the globe."
"Well, that was the point." Harry said, his smile growing to dangerous proportions. Everyone smiled and chuckled at that.