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SIYE Time:15:52 on 12th July 2024
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A Saving People Thing
By Dianne

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Category: Post-OotP
Characters:All
Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Humor, Drama
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: G
Reviews: 17
Summary: Pre HBP One Shot: Voldemort is dead, Harry is missing and the Muggles now know all about the wizarding world as chaos is unleashed upon them. In searching for Harry, someone will pay the ultimate price, but will they find him in time...
Hitcount: Story Total: 5106







ChapterPrinter



A Saving People Thing

“Mrs Dursley, over here! Chad Tarlickton from KPMJ here. Can you tell us how long your nephew, has been missing?”

Petunia Dursley was dressed in her finest as she turned toward the throngs of reporters, acknowledging the question just posed to her. “My dearest nephew, who is as close as a son to me, has been missing for a whole week,” she sobbed as though she cared, twisting a pure white linen handkerchief that had never seen real tears shed for the nephew she secretly hated.

“Ms. Dursley, how long have you known that your nephew was destined to kill Voldemort?” another reporter shouted. As Petunia turned to answer the question, clearly loving the attention, Hermione gritted her teeth in anger. The ease with which these Muggles used the name of Voldemort as though he were the flavour of the month villain, when the wizarding world had feared him for over seventeen years, infuriated her.

Petunia Dursley continued to play the part of the concerned aunt, making obscene amounts of money with her exclusive interviews. Hermione wanted to blast her off the stage as she related how ‘poor Harry’ had gone missing with his Headmaster from school when the old man had shown up at the Dursely’s door in the middle of the night telling him that it was time.

Dudley was sitting on a chair behind his mother who was standing on the podium, flashbulbs going off in all directions as Muggles scrambled for pictures. Dudley looked bored, but Hermione watched his mother slip him a twenty pound note when he put his hand held computer game back into his suit jacket and resumed looking the part of the concerned cousin, with a picture of Harry held lovingly in his fat hands. Hermione wondered how they’d even gotten a picture of Harry. Ron, who had been to Number Four Privet Drive, had told her that there was nothing in the house to indicate that Harry had even lived there.

Ron came up behind Hermione looking exhausted. “Any word on when we can have at them?” he asked with a look of grim eagerness on his face.

Anything that would wrap up this sickening display of publicity seeking, would have been very welcome at this point, and it came, in the form of Rita Skeeter, the only reporter from the wizarding world present at the Muggle Press conference.

“Rita Skeeter here from the Daily Prophet,” said the bespeckled woman who had just risen from her chair, not even trying to hide her Quick Quotes Quill.

Isn’t it true that Voldemort’s body was found, riddled with drill bits at a place called Grunnings Drill Factory? And isn’t it also true that your husband Vernon worked at Grunnings?” Rita asked in an accusatory voice, not yet letting on her true intention for her line of questioning.

Petunia Dursley looked frazzled. “Erm...well, yes, my husband works there...but I fail to see what any of this has to do with my nephew’s disappearance.”

“You mean other than the fact that there are several witnesses who saw a person fitting the description of your nephew in the company of two other men, in the vicinity of Grunnings on the night he disappeared?” Rita taunted. “And isn’t it also true that one of the men in the company of your nephew suffers from Lycanthropy?” Rita placed her hand to her chest dramatically at this point and then, seeing the puzzled expression on Petunia’s face, she explained in a long suffering voice. “One of the missing men is a werewolf.”

The Order had heard no such information that Lupin had been with Harry and Dumbledore when they had disappeared. Hermione fumed, feeling that Rita was merely baiting the Dursleys into frustration. That was until Rita described the two men Harry had supposedly been seen with. One matched the description of Albus Dumbledore, the other Remus Lupin, and so far, the Order had been able to keep fact that Lupin was also missing, a secret. A person with Lycanthropy, loose without their medication, would cause a severe panic, particularly within the Muggle community who had only recently learned of the secret wizarding world. Perhaps Rita’s secret sources were reliable.

Hermione couldn’t wait to get her hands on the smug reporter and question her on her knowledge on the whereabouts of the three missing persons. No doubt, Rita Skeeter would have her price for revealing any more of her information. As much as Hermione would have loved to charge into the crowd and begin questioning Rita Skeeter, she knew she would have to wait until the press release was over.

Hermione glared at a man sitting in the crowd as an observer, who had just suggested to another rather burly looking brute of a man, that perhaps they should start a vigilante group to shoot Lupin on sight now that Rita had given a description of him to the crowd. The two men seemed to almost enjoy making plans to manufacture silver bullets and go on a hunt. Even if Harry, Dumbledore and Lupin were found, it seemed life would still be difficult at best for Lupin. The men finished their nasty conversation with a declaration that they would also be approaching ‘that Skeeter person’ to sell her pictures of the werewolf’s carcass.

Sickened by the turn of events, the friends could barely turn their attention back to the press conference as Petunia stammered on and on about how she failed to see how any of Rita Skeeter’s revelations had to do with she and her family. Rita’s camera person, snapped a few pictures and disapparated right in front of the Muggles. There was a gasp as the Muggle reporters proceeded to scribble furiously in their notebooks, taking a picture of the empty seat Rita had just vacated.

“Oh, we have to alert the Order to find Rita for questioning, and we’ll have to ask some questions of Harry’s uncle as well about this Grunnings information,” Ron said with frustration clearly evident in his voice. “Is she finished yet?” he said, turning to stare at Petunia, who had regained her limelight.

“No, it looks like she’s really milking this,” Hermione replied contemptuously.

For her final act, Aunt Petunia looked directly into the crowd and said imploringly, “If anyone has any idea where my beloved nephew is, please let us know...and bring him back.” She feigned a fainting spell and Uncle Vernon rushed up on to the stage to help his ‘distraught’ wife clamber down from the raised platform. It seemed acting was Vernon’s new job now that Grunnings was shut down when the building had all but been destroyed before Voldemort’s body had been found there.

Now was Hermione and Ron’s chance. As the Dursley’s pushed their way to their new luxury car, complete with chauffeur, Hermione and Ron rushed to their assigned car with Fred behind the wheel. The twins were the only wizards they knew who had a Muggle Driver’s license.

They followed at a respectable distance until the car, still followed by a throng of over enthusiastic reporters, pulled up to Number Four Privet Drive. Uncle Vernon made a spectacle of himself, carrying Aunt Petunia into the house. It took two hours for the reporters to finally leave.

As Cornelius Fudge was dead and the Ministry was in complete disarray, the Use of Underage Magic Department had been closed while it’s workers were deployed in the pursuit of more important things, like the Muggle Liaison Department. Hermione and Ron were only in their sixth year, but they didn’t care how much Underage Magic they had to use to get this job done.

Professor McGonagall was acting as Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts and she, as an Order of the Phoenix member, had given them permission to look for their friend, the savior of the wizarding world. It was July 24 and Harry hadn’t been heard from or seen in a week, nor had Dumbledore or Lupin. Some people took this as a good sign, others a bad omen.



“Shedshade!” ordered Hermione, as the Dursley’s lacy curtains became see through. Hermione felt Ron’s grip on her shoulder tighten in agitation as they sat on the wall across from the Dursleys watching Aunt Petunia, apparently whistling, heave Harry’s belongings into a garbage sack, including Hedwig’s empty cage.

No one had heard from Harry’s pet owl either. Ron had even sent out Pig, his tiny owl and the Weasley’s very elderly owl, Errol to look for Hedwig, but they had returned with no clues as to her whereabouts.

Ron was taking a bite out of the sandwich Hermione had made him bring and was mid bite when Hermione heard him cry, “I donbelieve’t Sheputhivcage int trash!”

“She put what in where?” Hermione asked, for once not admonishing Ron for talking with his mouth full. She knew he hadn’t been able to eat much since Harry had disappeared.

“Sorry, I said she put Hedwig’s cage in the trash...almost like she knows he’s not coming back...” Ron said, looking appalled.

The twins, who had taken up vigil with them, handed Hermione that day’s Muggle Newspaper which bore the headline, ‘A World So Unknown To Us, Now Rears It’s Ugly Head.’ The article that followed explained that Corneilius Fudge, the Minister for Magic (they explained erroneously that Fudge had been the Prime Minister equivalent to the wizarding world) was now dead, and that this was the reason for the chaos in the streets including dragons laying waste to property by burning and trampling. There was a picture of a giant walking the streets of London that reminded Hermione of Grawpy, but then again, giants looked so similar.

The article explained that there had been a sharp rise in prescriptions of anti depressants since strange hooded figures had begun wandering around anywhere there were large gatherings of people, and the Muggles honestly thought that a new rare disease that left people without emotion, had become an epidemic, and was contagious. Only wizards knew that the Dementors Kiss could not be cured by medicine, but those fortunate enough to not to have been kissed, were still left horribly depressed.

Severus Snape of all people, had been chosen to speak to the head of a very famous chocolate factory. He had been successful in his attempt to make the President of the factory believe that their products could aid in restoring mental health to those afflicted by Dementors. Being an accomplished Potions Master, Severus had even helped the company come up with a recipe which would be packaged in a medicine bottle to be sold to those who refused to believe that something as simple as chocolate could make them feel better. When asked if he would like a job at the chocolate factory, Severus had looked down his nose at the man. The article they were reading quoted Snape as having told the man that he hadn’t spent his entire life in a dungeon classroom perfecting his craft to become a candy maker.

Voldemort was described to the Muggles as a terrorist with an organization that had been backing him up called Death Eaters and quite a few of them were behind bars in Muggle prisons without wands.

“How long are we going to just sit here?” Ron asked, becoming visibly annoyed at the article and the Dursleys.

“No time like the present,” piped up George. They didn’t need any more prodding, but Hermione begged them not to do anything rash.


The doorbell rang in the Dursleys home and Petunia, thinking it must be reporters, grabbed her handkerchief that she had abandoned by the table at the front door and opened the door, ready to be in the limelight again.

“Good evening, Mrs Dursley,” Hermione began, thinking that they would get more co operation with honey than vinegar.

“Vernon!” Petunia yelled, “Those freaks are at the door!” She turned to Hermione and the Weasleys with venom in her eyes. “We had a deal to make that whelp safe until it was time. Your Headmaster came and got him himself and took him away and I say goodbye to bad rubbish. Our part in this is finished.” She was just about to slam the door in their face when Fred, who looked like he couldn’t have contained himself if he’d wanted to, aimed his wand and caused the door to melt, stepping in onto the carpet with the goo that was now all that remained of the door on his trainers.

“Yes, we’d love a nice cup of tea!” George said in a friendly voice. “That way we can all have a little chat about how you didn’t hold up your end of the bargain.”

“Yes, well about that you see...er...” Petunia stuttered as Vernon came to the door, his face purple with rage.

“Get out of my home!” he shouted.

“Oh, hello, Mr Dursley, George said, extending his hand, which held a ton tongue toffee. “Is your son Dudley at home?”

Vernon shrunk visibly, handing Dudley, who was cowering behind him, another twenty pound note and told him to go to Piers Polkiss’s house for the night. Dudley didn’t need telling twice.

Ron and Hermione slipped out of the house, leaving the Dursleys to the twins to extract any information from them regarding the night Harry had gone missing with Dumbledore.

“Oh, Dudley, do be careful of those Dementy things,” Aunt Petunia called after him. “And the dragons. Mrs Fona down the way called on Tuesday to say that a dragon’s eaten the baby she always babysat...”

Dudley looked horrified, probably not so much for the poor infant, but for his own future safety.

“Oh, but don’t be scared Popkins, it was only a mistake. I should have told you this part before alarming you, dear. Mrs Fona had just fallen asleep and the baby’s parents had come to take him home. They didn’t bother to wake her and they just took the child home without her knowledge. Mrs Fona found dragon footprints on her front lawn and just naturally assumed the worst. She was fired for sleeping on the job of course, but she had announced only yesterday that she was pregnant with her own child, God forbid! Don’t forget about the giants either dear, though Daddy says their dead stupid.

Ron rolled his eyes as Dudley’s mother continued to warn him about every possible danger out there even after Dudley had stepped out of the house, but she was dead wrong about giants. Ron laughed a harsh laugh that didn’t feel as good as it would have if Harry was here, even with the Dark Lord gone for good. He taunted Dudley from behind the bushes where he and Hermione had hidden in preparation to follow him to Piers Polkiss’ house.

“Dudley, you didn’t think we’d let you go all by your itty bitty self, did you? Oh, and giants are not dead stupid. I know a half one who doesn’t even have a proper wand and he was fighting a Death Eater and e’ blew him up! poof! Splattered like a Niffler on Pixie Dust.” Dudley had no idea what a Niffler was, or a Pixie for that matter, but he still looked terrified. It was Dudley who was dead stupid.

“Ron, didn’t you hear?” Hermione asked as Dudley picked up his pace as if he could outrun them. “Hagrid got a new wand. When Madame Maxime came to help with security at the school over the summer, she accidentally borrowed Hagrid’s umbrella because it was raining and well....... lightening struck it and affected the wand pieces inside. Hagrid wrote to me to tell me that it took Madame Pomfrey a week to stop poor Madame Maxime from changing into everything Hagrid had illegally been conjuring with it until his name was cleared. When she stopped being a pink umbrella, the last spell on the broken wand itself, she insisted that he go straight to Ollivanders and get a new one. Apparently, it’s the size if a Beater’s Bat.” Hermione hoped that they would be able to give Harry a laugh with this story soon if he wasn’t already dead. They couldn’t bear the thought.

Dudley clearly didn’t understand magic because as soon as he stuck his tongue out at Ron and Hermione and closed the door of Piers’ house, he started bragging about how much money he’d made from a pudgy cloaked man who had come the door asking about Harry, just for telling him that Harry was locked in the bedroom on the second floor.

Little did Dudley or anyone else know that the Dark Lord had been biding his time. Voldemort had thought to make Harry suffer by killing Dumbledore in front of him before killing him and fulfilling the Prophecy which he had killed Professor Trelawney to find out. Voldemort had used a memory rejuvenating potion on her strong enough to make her recall the Prophecy, but too strong for her to live through. It put her every thought on a kind of magical fast forward and caused her mind to be too consumed with information to keep up with performing autonomous activities like regulating the heart to keep beating and breathing. Under it’s effects, poor Sybil Trelawney had simply forgotten to breathe.

Back at the Dursley’s house, Fred and George were busy disregarding all of the rules they had been given by Kinglsey Shaklebolt pertaining to the treatment of people under investigation by the Order of the Phoenix, temporarily being run by Mad Eye Moody in Dumbledore’s absence.

The Weasley twins had been sworn in to join the Order, much to Mrs Weasley’s protests. Mrs Weasley had told Mr Weasley that she wished she had not discouraged their joke shop so much that they had left it in the temporary management of their friend Lee Jordan who had needed a new job after he’d been too injured in an explosion caused by dragons at his job at the Nimbus Factory. They took their new volunteer job as Order Members very seriously. Well.......not seriously enough to not bend the rules from time to time......okay, all the time.

Having served detention in the Caretaker, Mr Filtch’s office many times out of count, Fred and George had learned a thing or two about questioning people. They were thankful that Hermione had left with Ron to follow Dudley. She would never approve of their tactics.

Vernon Dursley hung by his thumbs, standing on the very tip of his piggy toes as Fred sat before him, lazily eating Aunt Petunia’s delicious homemade biscuits that she had made to impress important guests that kept stopping by to express their condolences for their missing nephew. Aunt Petunia had made up a whole story as to why she had never really spoken of ‘the poor boy’ before. She had explained that she had kept him relatively secret in order to keep him safe from Voldemort.

There was a knock at the now repaired door and the twins, fearing that it was another Order member who would catch them red handed doling out what Mr Filtch liked to call, ‘the old punishments,’ let Vernon fall with a heavy thump to the floor, cursing under his breath about teaching them some manners like he had done with the boy. He would pay for that, but now they had to find out who was at the door.

George opened the door as Fred stood behind it with his wand drawn in case it was an enemy. An old woman stepped into view, dabbing her eyes with a tissue. She was walking with a cane and stepped right into the house. Having seen Mrs Figg only once, the twins didn’t easily recognize her.

“Is there any word on Harry? The poor boy!” she sobbed as she stepped over Petunia who lay on the floor in a Full Body Bind Curse and sat down in an armchair.

The twins breathed a sigh of relief as Mrs Figg didn’t seem to be perturbed one bit by the scene before her. They informed her with heavy regret that as of yet, there had been no word from Harry or Dumbledore. Mrs Figg knew Remus Lupin, so the twins also informed her that he had not been found either.

Mrs Figg seemed to bring a ray of hope that confirmed what the twins and everyone in the Order had been thinking. “Well, if he’s with Albus and they’re still alive, there is hope.” The old woman then lit her pipe and sprinkled ashes carelessly onto Aunt Petunia’s spotless kitchen floor. She too had tracked in the goo from the previous melted front door.

The questioning commenced without complaint from Mrs Figg, who seemed content to just watch the proceedings. She told the boys that she was extremely fond of Harry, but couldn’t show it to him all these years because the Dursleys would never have left him with her when they went anywhere otherwise. As Mrs Figg put down her cat that she had brought with her, Aunt Petunia, who was allergic to cats, sneezed, which is not an easy thing to do in a Full Body Bind. There was no ‘hachoo’ sound, but a gust of air and bogeys came from her nose just the same and everyone was happy to just leave her there to wallow in her discomfort.

The twins knew that Vernon at least knew more than he was telling them. It seem too much of a coincidence for Voldemort’s body to have been found in the factory where Uncle Vernon worked. They suspected Harry’s own uncle had been feeding Voldemort information.

All the twins learned was that Dumbledore had come to collect Harry himself and they had left peacefully in the dead of night without anyone else. It was decided between them that the Dursleys would have to be brought in for sophisticated questioning since they hadn’t co operated. The twins sent a signal to Ron and Hermione informing them that they would have to bring Dudley from the Polkiss’s as well.

To add insult to injury to the Dursleys, Mrs Figg, whose home had sustained damage in the floo attacks performed by Death Eaters looking for Harry, informed the now counter cursed Petunia Dursley, that her home would be perfect to hold her wedding to the elderly single Muggle gentlemen who had always lived at number ten Privet Drive. With a look of sheer revulsion, Petunia listened to Mrs Figg assure her that in her absence, she would make sure that the indoor fireworks used to celebrate the nuptials wouldn’t damage her walls and ceiling too much. Mrs Figg was a squib in service to the Order and now that Voldemort was dead, she was retiring to a quiet married life. She would not however abandon hope for Harry.

Vernon and Petunia seemed terrified to leave the house with the twins and were suddenly possessed of memories previously forgotten.

“Alright, alright!” Vernon yelled. “If we tell you what you want to know, will you just leave us alone?”

The twins affirmed that they would, but only if the information was valuable enough to be worth their time. Secretly, the order was to bring them in anyway, but maybe not just yet.

“Just before that creepy old bat Headmaster of yours showed up, another man came to the door. We could tell he was one of your lot,” Uncle Vernon spat in distaste, ‘by the way he was dressed, and who wears gloves in July? He wanted to know where Harry was. He told us to tell Harry that a member of some Order was here for him, but the blasted boy has no respect and wouldn’t come down from his room when we called him. The little whelp had locked himself into his room. Thinking maybe we could be rid of the little ingrate once and for all, I invited the man in, but when he tried to step through the doorway, he screamed and vanished right before our eyes. Bloody rude if you ask me.”

“Well, yeah, if you consider an instant death rude,” Fred snickered, impressed with the wards that had been placed around the house. “Then what happened?” he prodded with his wand under Vernon’s third chin.

“W...well, then that white haired old codger showed up and walked in liked he owned the place and demanded to know where the little ingrate was. The boy wouldn’t come out of his room until Dumbledore made me slip a lemon drop under his door. The whelp went with him after the old man told him it was time. I told him to take his belongings with him or we would burn them, but all he took was his owl, that wand of his and a small sack of pictures. I had to fix the damn door after they poofed away surrounded in green light that melted the paint right off the front of the house,” Vernon finished looking put out by the inconvenience of it all, but he suddenly looked satisfied when Fred sat down heavily and Mrs Figg started to sob uncontrollably. George just stood there with his mouth hanging open, wanting to curse the Dursleys into oblivion for having let Harry come to harm without trying to stop it.

Fred and George sealed the Dursleys inside their home so they wouldn’t be able to leave. It seemed Mrs Figg’s quiet retirement with the old Muggle gentleman down the way, would be put on hold for a little while. She would now continue to watch for anything strange at the Dursleys and report back to the Order.

The twins met up with Ron and Hermione early the next morning. They had spied on Dudley all night, but it was all for naught as it seemed the dumb brute was so oblivious to everything that he didn’t care much about anything but video games or television still.

****************************

Da rkness surrounded him. He had no idea how long he had lain there. Maybe a week, maybe a month. Harry Potter tried to raise his head up in the pitch blackness, but his body was wracked in pain and he didn’t have the strength to do it. He tried to cry out, but his voice came out as a mere moan. He then regretted having called out at all, fearing that it would be the Dark Lord who would answer his cries of pain. He tried to roll away from where he lay, but again, his damaged body would not obey him.

“Lumos,” rasped a voice from somewhere nearby, causing him to convulse in fear. Harry didn’t know where he was, but wherever it was, it was the foulest smelling, dampest, piece of hell he could imagine as he shivered in the moist dirt that lay beneath him. The only thing that Harry could remember before passing out from the pain, was hearing howling misery that had terrified him, not knowing what foul beast had cried out so.

He found the strength to open his eyes, terrified of the horror they would meet. He wondered if Voldemort had died, or was torturing him into a slow death to prove his victory once and for all.

“Harry.......y......you’re awake,” whispered the unmistakable voice of Remus Lupin, as Harry squinted in the light that caused searing pain to shoot through his already splitting head.

“R....Remus......is that really you?” Harry asked, afraid that his mind was playing cruel tricks on him.

“Yes, Harry.......it’s me,” Lupin told him, but he sounded like he wanted to add, ‘for all the good it will do you.’

“Remus......where are we?” Harry blurted out too forcefully as his chest splintered in agony causing him to lurch into a fetal position which wasn’t any source of comfort at all.

“Easy, Harry,” Lupin cautioned. “You’re pretty battered up. Don’t try to move around too much. Harry could see the man cringe when he asked again where they were. Clearly, he didn’t want to answer.

“I’m sorry Harry.........I......I don’t know.” Remus sounded frightened and it was not comforting to Harry, but it seemed like the man had welled up tension that he needed to let out even though he clearly struggled not to.

“I just don’t know, Harry.......but as far as I can tell by keeping track of the days......seven now from when you left the Dursleys, it is now three days past the full moon.....We were here for the full moon, but no light reaches here and I didn’t transform......that has never happened before...” Lupin shook his head and Harry saw his main of long hair that he’d grown back after leaving the teaching profession.

“My parents used to try to lock me in an old mine shaft for a few days prior to full moons when I was a child....to save me from my disease...but it never worked. No matter how far down they had me go...it never worked...” he finished in wonder. “I don’t know where we are.”

When Harry had closed his eyes again, apparently passing out in pain, Remus took a deep breath to quell his panic, berating himself for having conveyed to the boy his sense of hopelessness. He bolstered what was left of his bravery and shuffled to the boy’s side, dragging his leg, which hung at a awkward angle behind him. His clothes were ripped and torn and had crusted blood on them.

Remus placed his calloused hand under Harry’s head and called to him a little too desperately. “Come on Harry, you can’t leave me now. We have to find a way to get out of here. I’m sure the Order is looking for us.” When Harry did not respond, Remus shook him just a little out of sheer raw nerves, afraid that he had finally been left all alone. First James, then Sirius, then Dumbledore. “Oh, God, Harry, you can’t leave too!” Remus wailed.

Lupin’s fingers were black and blue and his finger nails had been all but worn away from trying to dig them out of this prison of stone. Every once in awhile his wand light would catch something shiny mocking him from within the walls. Every time he had seen it, he had fallen for it, but it was not a ray of sunshine or the beam of friendly light that he’d prayed for every night since they’d fallen here.

Harry moaned and his eyes fluttered open again. “Remus........did I do it? The Dark Lord........Is he really gone?”

Remus didn’t know whether or not to tell Harry that indeed Voldemort was dead, that Harry had finally done it, for fear that the only thing making the poor boy hold on, was his sense of duty to finish the prophecy. He found he could not lie to James and Lily’s son.

“Yes, Harry, The Dark Lord is dead......do you not remember?”

“N........no, I can’t remember...” Harry stammered, suddenly very agitated. He’s coming for us...that’s why we’re trapped, Remus...They must all be dead...”

No matter what Lupin did to try to quell Harry’s fear that the Dark Lord still lived, he could not convince him. He knew from what he could see of Harry’s injuries that he was in a very precarious position and he did not want the boy to be concerned about the threat of Voldemort, real or imagined. Lupin silently cursed Dumbledore for slipping Harry a timed released potion which would induce forgetfulness of events for up six hours after consumption. The old Headmaster had seen the pain in Harry’s eyes as he’d had to recall the events after the Tri Wizard Tournament, and he decided, given Harry’s fear of having to ultimately kill Voldemort, that he would take and keep the memories of the deed tucked away safely for Harry until he was ready to face them, that is if he should survive the prophecy.

Harry was wracking his brain for a memory...anything....anything that would convince him that he’d done it. He wanted to know for certain that he’d made his friends safe before he could die too.

“It was a gift Harry...from Dumbledore. He knew you were not a murderer and that it was your greatest fear that you would have to live with having taken a life for the rest of your life. He placed a charm upon you after your fourth year at Sirius’s request to let you live with the knowledge that you did your duty, but to live free of the memory of it. Dumbledore regretted all the times you had to relive your worst moments, so the charm works like this: once we get back to.......to home.....there is a vault in Gringotts, containing a Pensieve into which all of your memories of the act of killing Voldemort were magically transported once the prophecy was fulfilled. When you feel ready, you can view it. If you don’t ever want to......that is your prerogative.

A lump rose in Harry’s throat and his eyes burned with tears both from his pain and from the unkind things he had been thinking about the Headmaster. They had had a falling out in which Harry had broken many of Dumbledore’s finest possessions. The fight had been about this very issue. Dumbledore always keeping things from him, supposedly in order to protect him.

Lupin knew from looking into Harry’s unfocused and uneven pupils, that he had suffered a severe concussion. He had done his best to bind the wound at the back of Harry’s head that had finally stopped bleeding. As Harry wavered between consciousness and unconsciousness, he forgot each time he woke that Voldemort was dead. Lupin had finally felt like he’d had no choice but to tell Harry at least some small details of the battle. Honouring Dumbledore’s wishes to let Harry remember the actual killing only if he chose to later, Lupin told Harry only the details after the Dark Lord had died, causing the floor of the drill manufacturing plant to shake with a force not seen in the worst of earthquakes.

“Harry, the truth is, I don’t really know what happened. Whatever curse you used at the end of it all, caused the Dark Lord to erupt in flames. The screaming was like voices from hell...” Lupin trailed off, clearly still horrified. Harry shivered.

“As Voldemort fell to the floor of Grunnings Drill Works, Dumbledore was just about to Apparate us away, when the floor of the place just fell out from beneath us. Voldemort uttered a curse and crates of drill bits flew into the air, bursting open, piercing everything, even embedding into the concrete support pillars. You were hit so many times before Dumbedore could reach you to shield you from the flying drill bits... Voldemort’s screams of agony changed to laughter when he saw you fall, staring at your chest where you’d been hit by a drill bit like a bullet. We fell for thirty seconds, but it seemed like hours. Dumbledore....saved us, but when we landed, there was a cave in. You were lying, exhausted and already wounded from battle about three feet from us. Dumbledore shoved me out of the way of a crumbling wall of rock and ....and...there was no answer when we were separated by the rubble though I yelled for him for hours out of count...” Lupin hung his head, unable to believe that Albus was gone.

Harry now felt like a snake...Dumbledore had gone to his grave trying to save him from his memories...so that he could make a new start.

“Dumbledore.....he...he’s dead?” Harry asked, his voice faltering even beyond what it was moments ago.

“I’m afraid so, Harry,” Remus told him, pointing his wand and indicating the piles of heavy rock blocking a corridor of some sort. “He was standing.....right over there when it happened.”

Harry followed Lupin’s lit wand tip to the pile of rubble and debris and saw a piece of shiny purple cloth of the robes the Headmaster had worn the night he had come to take him to to battle Voldemort. Harry remembered the sheer panic upon learning, without warning, that the prophecy must come true that night. Voldemort had killed Professor Trelawney, learning of the entire contents of the prophecy and this had necessitated an immediate response. There would be one shot at defeating the Dark Lord and that was by secrecy and stealth only.

Lupin had tried in vain to remove the rubble from the Headmaster’s body, but his wand had split diagonally from the tip to where Lupin had held it in his hand, from the fall. Lupin could only risk small wand usage as a result and in trying to raise the stones from where he had last seen Dumbledore, he had only caused more rocks to fall.

Looking at Harry, who now appeared to be sleeping and near death, Lupin decided to risk a full fire to warm him.

Every time Harry awoke, he had more questions, and Lupin was grateful that he was still coherent.

Lupin told Harry that only select members of the Order knew of the sudden mission. The Weasleys hadn’t even been told because of the response Dumbledore knew he would get from Molly Weasley in particular, not to mention Ron, Ginny and Hermione. The only thing Harry had carried into battle was his wand, the love he carried from his friends, the memory of the love he carried from his family and Sirius and a lust for revenge.

Something made Harry know for sure now that Dark Lord was dead, though he had no memory of the actual battle. The fact that Dumbledore was gone, somehow confirmed his belief that he’d finally done it, but hadn’t the prophecy said, ‘For neither can live while the other survives?’ Harry didn’t want to tell Remus that he could feel his life slipping away as his teeth chattered with the cold from the damp ground.

As if sensing Harry’s thoughts, Remus begged him, “Please Harry, just hold on a little while longer. I’m sure they’re looking for us.”

Harry’s eyes closed again...he could feel his grief that Dumbledore was gone, but his body was too tired to react to the news. Lupin bathed the wounds from the drill bits that had pierced Harry’s body and hated himself for putting the boy through more pain. Harry’s body went rigid with pain with every wound Remus tended to. Lupin had to risk his wand to boil the foul water to cut the risk of further infection. Wherever they were, there was at least oxygen and long dirty icicles hung from the ceiling, their only source of water

Remus sat, feeling helpless and he worried over the fact that Harry hadn’t asked about his wand...the smoking gun. Mixed with the relief of not having to tell Harry that his wand hadn’t been found, was the fear that Harry figured he wouldn’t be needing it any longer...

Remus wished he had cast a Body Bind Curse upon Harry. It seemed the extra movement had caused him further injury. Harry could not rest peacefully now as he had done for days almost out of count, his chest rising shallowly with ragged breath. Now he moaned and his hands would clutch at his chest from time to time when he struggled to awaken again. Remus knew he would be all alone soon, but he vowed to fight against death that tried to swallow up Lily and James’ son. He was not Harry’s Godfather on paper, because of his lycanthropy and the laws forbidding adoption by dangerous beasts had not allowed it, but James and Lily had verbally begged their friend to watch over their son with Sirius, and watch over him he would, to whatever end.

Remus looked over at the pile of rock, under which surely lay the body of his beloved Headmaster, one of the few wizards who had tried to help him in his life, by offering friendship and acceptance.

“Dumbledore why.....why, only to come to this?” he gestured to Harry uselessly.

Suddenly Harry went into convulsions. His body went rigid and his eyes opened and rolled back into his head. When the convulsions stopped, Remus was horror struck to see trickles of blood coming from Harry’s mouth. The movement had apparently started his internal bleeding again.

Remus bent down to listen to Harry’s chest. He felt for a pulse...there was nothing.

“Noooooooooo!” Lupin howled, releasing the pent up energy of his non transformation still within him. The howl echoed throughout the cavernous room.

“Enervate!” Lupin shouted in a pleading voice, raising his broken wand over Harry’s body. Harry wheezed in a weak breath and began to cough. Now Remus could hear a gurgling sound in Harry’s lungs as he struggled to breath.

Spasms of white hot pain sheared through Harry’s whole body as he looked up to see Lupin about to make another attempt to enervate him.

Lupin dropped his wand and fell back to his knees next to him, grabbing his cold hands and begging him not to move. Through it all, Harry remained strangely aware and practical.

“Pro....Professor Lupin......Remus...” he corrected as the man had grimaced slightly at being called Professor, “How are we going to get out of here if I can’t move around?”

Lupin had no answer. He just told Harry to lie still and concentrate on just breathing as he melted a piece of the icicle to place to Harry’s lips in his palm, the only thing he could think of doing. He tipped some of the awful tasting water into Harry’s mouth as the boy spluttered in revulsion and pain.

“You have to drink this Harry. I know it hurts...” he told him, as though it cost him everything he had to inflict more pain upon the boy, “But you have lost a lot of blood and you are already dehydrated. Seeing the anxious look on his father’s best friend’s face, was the only thing that could make him drink that water and try to hold on.....for what, he knew not.

***************************

“Stop ! Everyone stop! We’re going in silent mode!” It was Arthur Weasley’s voice. Mr Weasley did not tell his children...except Percy, about a possible location of Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore. He could only hope if they were found alive, that Remus Lupin would also be with them. He knew that the poor man had endured a full moon without benefit of Wolfesbane Potion and could now be anywhere.

Severus Snape, was clearly fed up that the people digging frantically on the site of the last known whereabouts of Harry Potter, hadn’t heard the mild mannered Arthur’s signal for quiet. Silence was always called when it was thought a victim may have been found and the Muggles helping dig had insisted it was the best way, as Magical excavation of the site had caused further cave ins. The Order now followed the Muggle Foreman on the excavation job. Snape shot several red sparks from his wand up into the air, which given his previous lack of enthusiasm for ‘silly wand waving,’ was quite impressive, and got everyone’s attention immediately.


Muggles and wizards alike were apprehensive as to what they would find, as the dig site was where the Dark Mark had burned in the sky on the night Harry, Lupin and Dumbledore had disappeared.

Percy Weasley, once so prim, proud and almost allergic to physical labour now shoveled with the Order members and even Professor Snape seemed determined to at least find the bodies of those who were missing. Percy had mended his ties to his family, afraid that he or they would be killed before they could reconcile with a big meal at the Burrow with the boy-he-hoped-had-lived.

Percy and Snape had not been so different. Mr Weasley had only learned now that Percy had turned spy for Dumbledore to leak information on the corrupt Minister Fudge. He was still a pompous, arrogant prat, but an honest and good man he remained.

Snape’s bandaged left forearm was raised to his lips as he let out another piercing shrill whistle in addition to his red sparks, which was heard by all, who finally went into silent mode.

It was unmistakable. A werewolf howl echoed up from somewhere in the depths. If Harry had survived the fall after the Muggles had seen the hideous Lord Voldemort fall, he would surely be dead now, killed by the very person sent to protect him.

Arthur could not figure this out. It was not full moon. Remus should no longer be a werewolf. The dig now became a lot more dangerous as the rescuers, now without any hope at all, were flanked by Aurors, with their wands out, fully intent on taking down the werewolf. Arthur ordered them not to kill the beast for he was an innocent.

********************

Hermion e and Ron returned to Grimmauld Place, with Dudley in tow shortly after the twins had arrived with the Dursleys. Fred and George had been ordered to brief Kinglsley Shaklebolt on what they had learned from the Dursleys and to keep the information among Order members only, but this news could not be withheld.

Fred put his hand on Ron’s shoulder, looking down at the floor as he stepped out of the basement kitchen fireplace, and Hermione and Ginny started to sob at the sight of the twin’s uncharacteristically somber faces.

“They,” Fred said with murderous contempt, “informed us that there were two bursts of green light just as Harry and Dumbledore stepped out of the door at their house...” He didn’t need to say any more. None of them had ever witnessed the Killing Curse placed upon a human, but Harry had described what it had looked like on many occasions, even in his nightmares. They figured the Dark Lord, wanting to flaunt his victory, had taken the bodies and hidden them before he had died of the wounds Harry must have inflicted on him. So, Harry had defeated the Dark Lord and his reward for this, was to die first at his hands.

Hermione wondered what killing spell would be slow acting enough to allow its victim to claim more lives before finally giving in, because if Voldemort killed Harry and Dumbledore in front of the Dursley’s house and his body was found at what was left of the Grunnings Drill Company, then there had to be some explanation for this. The situation also left the question of where Harry and Dumbledore’s bodies were taken before Voldemort had died at Grunnings. The friends hated to admit that Harry, Dumbledore and possibly Lupin, were dead, but if it was true, not to have at least a body to bury, was deepening their pain. The injustice of it all was overwhelming.

Just then, Mrs Weasley rushed into the room and toward the fireplace, ordering them all to get a nap after securing the ‘witnesses.’ She had received an owl from Arthur telling her that the Order may be close to finding Harry and Dumbledore. He could not keep the news from her any longer, and if Harry was alive, he would need her. Mrs Weasley had a calming effect on Harry.

When they all asked at once where she was going, she avoided their question, and they knew by the worn look on her face, that the Order had found at least Harry’s body...or the Headmaster’s...or Lupin’s...maybe all of them.

Molly was too tired for once to argue with them. They were nearly adults. She allowed them to come with her, warning them that they would have to stay out of the way once they got to wherever she was taking them. They didn’t argue and followed her lead two by two, calling out, ‘Wizard’s Gold Mine!” after stepping into the floo.

They stepped out into an old miner’s cabin and crossed the dusty floor to reach the outdoors in seconds. Ron had heard Harry mention that his Uncle Vernon worked for a place called Grunnings, and that this was where the body of Lord Voldemort had been found. The entire Grunnings Drill Factory building had been leveled, and in investigating the scene, Nymphadora Tonks a very clumsy Auror, had walked into a wall with her wand out, knocking herself out cold and causing a tremendous chain of events to occur.

Tonks had come to, expressing her usual “oops!” to find a gaping crater had existed under Grunning’s Drill Factory which no one, Muggle or wizard knew anything about. One look at the cavernous underground structure told Mad Eye Moody that this was not a Muggle made place. He told everyone that as near as he could figure, it was an old abandoned wizard’s gold mine.

As Aurors dug day and night for several days, they found disturbing evidence that Voldemort had used this ancient place as a ceremonial chapel, where he could be close to a source of information on Harry. The abyss that the sounds of howling had come from, had been Disillusioned back to resemble a damaged shop floor as the last act of Voldemort to entomb Harry and his supporters forever. That was until Tonks and her usual clumsiness had triggered events that broke whatever curse had been put on what was now labeled Voldemort’s secret hideout.

Arthur embraced his wife, and for once, he was the one who wanted to keep what he had to tell her regarding Harry and Lupin a secret from the children. This time, it was she who stood up for them and told Arthur to just tell them the news, good or bad. They had suffered enough in punishing anticipation.

When they heard of the Werewolf’s howl, Ginny dropped to her knees. She had adored Harry for years now and the thoughts that he may have lived, only to meet his end at the hands of someone who loved him, was devastating.

Ron let go of Hermione without a word, picked up the biggest shovel he could find and began to dig furiously. He knew he would go insane just standing around waiting.

They all took shovels, surprised and just a little jealous to see Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom digging along with everyone else. The couple had gotten word first of Harry’s disappearance with their Headmaster while putting together a summer edition of the Quibbler, Neville’s new job so he could make his Gran proud and stay near his girlfriend at the same time.

The friends knew that Luna was a strange girl, but never in the history of Hogwarts..... according to the book that Hermione seemed to know like the back of her hand, ‘Hogwarts A History,’ had a student ever changed houses...until Luna Lovegood came along that is. She had perched herself upon the stool just after the sorting of he first years at the beginning of last term and asked the Sorting Hat, ‘to please check again,’ The Sorting Hat had sung a brief song about the acts of unity and had declared Luna a Gryffindor. Hermione said it made perfect sense, based on the acts of bravery Luna had shown in the battle at the Ministry of Magic last year, so Luna had moved into a new house...Gryffindor House.

Harry’s friends dug until they were covered in dirt and sweat, through the night and into the gray daylight. Mrs Weasley finally made them take a break for some nourishment and she placed blankets around their shoulders. It had begun to rain to add to the misery of the rescue party.

By ten o’clock in the morning, the mists from the rain had gone and the sun was very strong and hot, as shovels were picked back up and Harry’s friends began their search anew.

*********************

Lupin carefully placed Harry’s head back down after he had drank a pitiful amount of water. He knew the boy would not last long and his hope of being found was fading fast. Conserving whatever magic was left in his failing wand, seemed pointless now. ‘At least Harry can die in comfort’, he thought to himself as he conjured another roaring fire and blankets for him.

“Th........thank you, Remus...” Harry murmured almost incoherently.

“I tried James...Lily...I’m so sorry I let you down...” Remus buried his face in his hands for a moment, weeping. He stopped, willing himself to be strong for Harry.

“Gahhhhhhhhh!” Harry suddenly cried out, unable to stifle the pain in his chest any longer. “Oh, God, Remus, it hurts...Every time I breath....it hurts!” Tears formed in the corners of Harry’s eyes, but he was too dehydrated for them to become heavy enough to fall. When he started to whisper in between spasms of the most pain he had ever endured, even under a Cruciatus Curse, Remus knew that Harry was giving up.

Even Harry heard the noise now that Remus had thought was his imagination, having held on to false hope for so long now. Neither of them had eaten for seven days and existed only on the water from the icicles.

Remus began shouting, causing small unstable boulders to shower down upon them unexpectedly. Harry had tried to cry out, but he hadn’t the lung capacity to even talk anymore. A rock the size of a fist grazed Harry’s ear and the ceiling of rock just above him looked unstable, like it might collapse at any moment. They could hear digging sounds now. Had Remus been heard? Neither of them knew if it was friend of foe above them.

The dust was overcoming Harry and with the tightness in his constricted chest worsening by the second. Remus wet his shirt and held it lightly to Harry’s mouth to try to filter out the dust and smoke from the fire that had been disturbed by the debris. Harry was suffocating and Lupin knew he would follow shortly.

“Harry, you’ve got to stay with me. I hear them digging. They’re coming for us. The Order. I know it’s them,” he told Harry as the pain filled eyes closed. At this point Remus didn’t care who was coming for them. Even if it was foe, maybe death would be quick and painless instead of filled with agony watching his best friend’s son die.

As more rocks continued to rain down upon them, Remus shielded Harry the best he could with his own body.

“R.....Remus, I think maybe you should try to get out of here. It’s going to come down...the ceiling’s gonna...” Harry gasped, looking up past Lupin’s protective shoulders hovering over him as a large rock hit the man on the back of his head. Despite feeling blood trickle down his neck, Lupin remained protectively over Harry until the noise from the falling debris ceased for a time.

“Harry ask anything from me but that. I begged Dumbledore to let me come with you for your battle. I’m the only one left Harry.... the only Marauder. I promised James and Lily...I promised Sirius... that I’d look after you. I failed them Harry, and they died, but I’m not going to fail you.”

If anything could have encouraged Harry to hold on more, it was the fact that he couldn’t bear the thought that Lupin would have to live with more guilt and grief if he died and somehow Lupin survived. Harry’s saving people thing extended, it seemed, to even saving himself if it meant helping someone else live.

As the stones stopped falling and the dust settled, both Harry and Lupin fell into unconsciousness.


*********************

“It’s Dumbledore!” Remus heard someone exclaim in wonder in his foggy brain. He had fallen asleep gripping Harry’s cold hand. He wasn’t sure if he was hearing correctly...but yes, he was still coherent...he tested himself to see if he knew his own name, where he lived, and other such details...someone had found Dumbledore. He dared not believe that Dumbledore lived, for he knew the Headmaster would have saved them if he had been.

“I don’t believe it,” said a voice that seemed to be only meters away. It sounded like Severus Snape, and it seemed he was talking to himself. “He turned himself to stone to hold up this support wall, or the whole place would have collapsed like a house of cards.” Snape’s voice was hollow and Remus could detect a definite air of sadness and despair. Dumbledore had also given Snape his second chance at a life with purpose and now the Potions Master had to stand toe to toe with the statue of his mentor, who stood holding up the ceiling serenely, as though he had always been a statue, there to support everyone in their falls. The statue was full of drill bits like the corpse of what remained of the Dark Lord.

“Severus!” Remus called, gasping in the acrid air. Harry did not stir.

“Lupin, are you in full human form now?” Severus asked in a dangerous voice that cancelled out any sympathy Lupin had felt for the git just a moment ago.

“Yes, I did....didn’t transform down here for some reason..........Snape, you’ve got to get Harry out of here!”

“Potter...Potter’s still alive?” Snape asked incredulously.

“Yes, but only barely....hurry!”

“I’m the only one who took this tunnel...I need to go back for help,” Snape called.

Snape didn’t return for what had seemed like hours, but were in fact only moments. Those moments were enough for Lupin to fear that Snape had left them to die in pay back for the cruel trick Sirius had pulled on him when they were at school together. His fears were unfounded, but were soon replaced by a new fear as water began to pour in freely through the hole someone was trying to make from the other side.

“Stop!” Remus cried, rushing to pick Harry’s head off the floor as water floated him from the floor of the cave. There was no time, and no choice. Remus had to pick Harry up as the water gushed around his knees. The boy screamed in agony in his arms and he almost dropped him in his anguish at causing him further harm.

With the hole now almost open, voices echoed to the surface and Harry’s friends had heard him cry out. They were overjoyed to hear him alive, but were filled with cold dread when the screaming stopped and they could hear Remus begging Harry to stay awake.

Snape and Arthur floated Harry and Remus to the surface. Remus seemed almost unable to let go of the boy as he stood there shaking with his limp form in his arms. Bodies and voices closed in on Remus and Snape only just caught him as he fell to his knees with Harry still in his arms. He had to let go...he was passing out, the sunlight feeling like it was burning his entire body through his eye sockets, so dark had the mine been.

As people rushed around them and barked orders, Remus heard Snape’s voice. That know- it- all git was telling him that the reason he hadn’t transformed, at least not fully...(he’d had no mirror and Harry had been out cold)...was because a mine for Wizard’s Gold went much deeper into the Earth than a Muggle gold mine and his body must not have been able to feel the pull of the moon beckoning his instinct to transform.

In his starved, confused mind, Remus smiled slightly........ ‘Hmmmmmmm, that might just make a nice little full moon home,’ he thought, before succumbing to the effects of the potions that the on site Healers had just given him.

Harry was vaguely aware of hearing crying nearby. He could make out Hermione, Ginny, and Mrs Weasley’s voices and Mr Weasley telling Ron that everything would be okay. There was cheering coming from all directions otherwise.

Harry could make out one of the twins trying to figure out what the green light had been that the Dursleys had described seeing after he and Dumbledore had left their house. He was not strong enough to tell them that a Death Eater had stepped seemingly out of no where as soon as they’d stepped outside and had been killed by the Avada Kedavara Curse. Lupin, who had stepped up to meet them just then, had vehemently denied having cast the Unforgivable Curse.

Just as the twins were discussing in worried tones, how they hoped that Lupin’s wand would prove that he had not cast an Unforgivable, as he didn’t need any more problems, Harry stiffened as he heard Snape say in a dark undertone to them, “No, of course Lupin wouldn’t have the guts would he?” Harry gave in to the exhaustion that was taking him away, actually hearing Snape’s billowing robes swish as he stocked off.

For Harry, things were very grave. He was transported to St Mungo’s immediately, where the Healers, joined by Madame Pomfrey, worked feverishly to save his life. Harry had been sedated as he watched the lights go by as he was levitated down to an operating room.

He heard beeping sounds and every time the beeping grew louder, he heard Madame Pomfrey declare that she had located another piece of shrapnel or a full drill bit. He had been numbed as the smaller pieces were removed, but Madam Pomfrey had knocked him out cold when they found a two and half inch drill bit embedded into his chest, inches away from his heart.

Removing the drill bit from Harry’s chest, proved to be a very complicated operation, even for the skilled Healers working on him. He had been so weakened by his battle with the Dark Lord, that what would have been almost easy for Madam Pomfrey to heal, was next to impossible. Harry had been enervated four times when he had stopped breathing and they lost a pulse. If he lived, it would be a miracle and he would have to undergo many more healing procedures in the weeks to come.

When the Healers had done all they could, Harry was left lying in a bed, with potions being fed into his veins by a device that looked remarkably like a Muggle IV unit. There was no needle, but the machine gave a slight hiss every time a bubble of air replaced whatever potion was being fed into him. He looked pale and sweaty, a result of the infection that had set in from the drill bits.

Under better circumstances, Harry wouldn’t have been allowed visitors at all, but as his life was still in peril, the Healers allowed the weary Weasley family, including Bill and Charlie and also Hermione, Luna and Neville to sit next to his bed. Remus who was seriously injured, but out of the woods, lay in the bed next to Harry’s.

Remus’ head was bandaged and he too was being fed fluids through a similar device that Harry had attached to him. Mrs Weasley kissed Lupin lightly on the cheek, thanking the sleeping man for saving Harry. The Healers of St Mungos had wanted to take Remus to a secure ward because of his lycanthropy and the fact that he hadn’t transformed on the last full moon as there was no protocol for such an event. Mrs Weasley had blasted them in her typical motherly way, that Remus would remain with Harry and his friends so he could be looked after properly.

Muggles, for the most part, were still not permitted in St Mungos, even though now, the wizarding world had been exposed, but Hermione felt that Mr Weasley should be informed about the trophy hunting Muggles who would be out to get Lupin upon his release from hospital. Mr Weasley assured Hermione that he would take of it and that Lupin would be safe.

*****************************

He rmione, Ron and Ginny sat with Harry a week and a half later and there had been very little change. Harry had not so much as stirred. A lot had been learned about the forgotten Wizard’s Gold Mine under Grunnings and Lupin recalled with a chill, that the eery shine in the walls that had played with his sanity, must have been small deposits of gold.

Lupin had been released after a week in hospital and had only left for a meeting with Professor McGonagall and an Order meeting. Otherwise, he just remained at Harry’s side and slept in the bed he had occupied as a patient.

As they sat there, Harry finally stirred for the first time. He opened his eyes and looked around the room, again finding that he didn’t know where he was.

“Remus.......where are we? Did we die?” Harry rasped in a voice that didn’t hold too much concern at this thought, and having mistaken the stark white light of the hospital room for the white lights described by persons who had died and come back. He didn’t have his glasses and he didn’t want them.

“Harry?” Remus whispered, fearing that the mere sound of his voice would terrify the boy, or that he had imagined hearing Harry calling him.

Lupin dared to look at Harry and found those green eyes so much like Lily’s, filled with tears, and staring back at him.

“Where are we?” Harry asked again. He knew it wasn’t Heaven because Lupin looked worse than he’d ever seen him and his own body was wracked in pain. Surely in heaven there was no such thing as pain.

“St Mungo’s Harry,” Lupin informed him , limping over and taking Harry’s hand in his.

Harry looked at the ceiling, tying to fathom the passage of time that had passed since that night at Privet Drive when Dumbledore had come to take him to fulfill the prophecy.

Lupin didn’t like the sound of Harry’s breathing and although he wanted nothing else in the world but to just have him to himself for a few more minutes, he knew he had to call the Healers to tend to him.

Remus opened the door. “He’s awake,” he told the Weasleys, who were speaking with the Healers out in the corridor.

The Healer summoned Madame Pomfrey and indicated that the Weasleys should remain outside, but Molly would not leave Harry alone, knowing that he would be terrified without a familiar face. Mr Weasley and Bill entered with them, and Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Lupin all staunchly refused to leave his side as well.

Harry had been trying to stay brave until he saw Mrs Weasley, but any control he had over his emotions, was quickly diminished as he caught sight of her. Molly had just enough time to reassure him that he would be fine, before the Healers took over.

Madame Pomfrey stayed calm for Harry’s sake, but being the only Healer in the room who knew him personally, she was doing a bad job of it as she asked him questions about where he felt pain and took his pulse.

Molly looked as though her heart would break when Harry flinched with every touch of hand or wand that made contact with his battered body. Every time Harry would cry out in pain, Remus’ hands would ball up into fists like he wanted to curse anyone who caused him more pain. When it was declared that Harry would have to have another operation to repair the scar tissue that was impeding his breathing, Remus sat heavily on the edge of his bed.

Madame Pomfrey was a very skilled Healer and everyone had utmost confidence in her, but Harry had been through a lot and they weren’t sure how much fight he had left in him.

A house-elf appeared in the room with a small pop and the Weasleys were ushered out, but only after Molly had laid a reassuring hand on Harry’s shoulder and told him he was going to be okay, and Lupin had told the very groggy teen not to make a liar out of him, for he had promised Lily, James and Sirius that he would see Harry through this.

Harry saw Arthur Weasley assuring Remus that he had done all he could, and leading him from the room with his arm around his shoulder.


The house-elf was the resident in charge of disinfection. She waved her tiny hands in the air and the Weasleys caught a smell of antiseptic and that familiar hospital smell as the door sealed after them.

Everyone had tried in vain to get Remus to sit down while Harry was operated on, as he still looked very tired and worn out, but the man simply paced the floor until Madame Pomfrey came out and smiled at them. Charlie had to ease Lupin into a seat from the sheer relief of it all.

Harry was knocked out again while the scar tissue was removed from his chest and when he woke, he could hear a soft hiss of moist air blowing on his face, and his chest hurt terribly. The pain was not long lived as a Healer administered a potion that relived his entire body.

Just as Harry closed his eyes in bliss, they flew back open as he heard voices he had longed to hear for over a month. Hermione, Ron, and Ginny were all there.

“Harry, how do you feel, mate?” Ron asked. The girls were clearly at a loss for words.

“Like I lost,” Harry smiled, despite the serious looks on his friend’s faces.

Ron was the only one who could manage to smile back. Harry had been brought back from the brink of death, and he looked it.

Harry had been warned not to try to sit up or make any sudden movements, and remembering the pain from when he’d moved in the gold mine, he heeded the Healer’s advice, but he reached up to hug each of them as they gently leaned over him.

Harry’s friends skirted the issue of Voldemort, having been informed that Harry did not remember any details of the final battle with the Dark Lord, but it wasn’t long before Harry’s need to talk about Dumbledore surfaced. He wanted to hear the details from his friends. Molly had refused to talk to him about the Headmaster, telling him to just rest and heal.

The Headmaster had apparently turned himself to stone to hold up the precarious ceiling of rock after the pillar that had been supporting it, had fallen. The Headmaster had been taken back to Hogwarts and examined by Professor Flitwick, the Charms Professor at Hogwarts. Flitwick had made a full report to the Order that the statue that was Dumbledore, had no less than forty drill bits embedded in it, one of them right through the heart area. Dumbledore must have known he was dying and as his last effort, he saved Harry and Lupin. Hermione hated to convey Flitwick’s report, but she, Ron and Ginny had agreed to tell Harry the truth.

“So, it’s true,” Harry whispered, tears forming in his eyes. The truth was, none of them could resist crying, but at least together, they didn’t feel as hopeless.

Through her tears, Hermione told Harry that there wasn’t much hope of returning Dumbledore to his human form and still managing to save his life. Professor Flitwick vowed to make it his life’s work to find a way. In the meantime, Albus Dumbledore’s statue was placed in his office at Hogwarts and it was seen as a good sign that Fawkes had started to watch over him day and night.

**************

A curious thing happened in Dumbledore’s office on the third day after he had been placed there. Professor Flitwick had found a bowl of phoenix tears next to the Headmaster’s personal photo album containing pictures of Harry.

“For Harry then?” the little Professor asked. Fawkes lowered his beautiful head and Professor Flitwick hurried off to St Mungo’s.

Madame Pomfrey was ecstatic with the gift. She applied the phoenix tears to all of Harry’s wounds and even administered a few mouthfuls for Harry to swallow.

Within a week, weeks ahead of the estimation for his release from hospital, Harry was wheeled out of St Mungo’s under heavy security. He was still stiff and sore, but would now make a complete recovery at Grimmauld Place. Lupin pushed his wheelchair and wouldn’t allow anyone else to help him into the car.

Lupin had finally taken a small amount of Phoenix tears himself at Harry absolute insistence, and Madame Pomfrey had bathed his head with them. Lupin’s massive bump from the rock falling on his head as he shielded Harry, was now completely healed, as were his fingers. The Phoenix tears had even restored Lupin’s fingernails.
***************************************

Mrs Weasley was insufferable once they all arrived at Grimmauld Place, with her rules for Harry and even Lupin. For the most part, she ordered them both to stay in bed. Ron and Hermione tried to pass his days with Wizard’s Chess and Exploding Snap and the twins stopped in to amuse them with their new products.

Lupin, though still extremely concerned and protective over Harry, finally allowed himself some desperately needed rest. It was a healing experience for him to just to hang out with Harry and his friends in the relative safety of Grimmauld Place. Lupin had never mistaken Harry for James like Sirius had done, but it still amazed him how much Harry resembled his best friend. Harry had fulfilled the prophecy and Lupin had fulfilled his promise.

They talked about Dumbledore only when they felt strong enough and wiped tears away without hiding them, but they would never abandon hope.

Harry decided to see the Pensieve in which all of his memories of killing the Dark Lord waited until the day he could face them. Mrs Weasley was furious with Professor McGonagall for delivering the Pensieve to Harry, but out of respect for Dumbledore’s last wishes, she complied with Harry’s request to have it.

McGonagall looked weary, but she embraced Harry warmly. She had visited him while he had slept at St Mungos, but this was their first meeting since he had awoke and been allowed to recuperate further at Grimmauld Place. McGonagall felt better knowing that Harry’s friends would be with him to view his memories. She went downstairs to reason with Molly that there was no choice but to let Harry have his memories, for however horrible or damaging they may be, they belonged to him.

Harry asked Remus to be there with him while he viewed the contents of the Pensieve as well. Lupin had viewed the horrible battle already, but he sat next to Harry on his bed, already gripping his shoulders in anticipation of Harry’s reaction. You could hear a pin drop as Ron, Ginny, and Hermione also sat with Harry in stoic support of their friend.

Harry noticed with searing derision, that Voldemort did not bother this time to even try to kill those he had arrived with. This time, the Dark Lord seemed to want to kill Harry first. A dome of blue light surrounded Harry and Voldemort and watching in the Pensieve, Harry could see Remus and Dumbledore trying to penetrate the dome to no avail. Lupin had tried his wand and had finally resorted to beating against the enclosure with his bare fists as the duel began. Dumbledore remained silent, chanting while little puffs of purple light emanated from his body and seemed to start tearing away the blue dome Harry and Voldemort were locked into.

As they all watched the scene at Grunnings playing out like a nightmare, a miraculous thing happened. Voldemort shouted a curse none of them had ever heard before and it struggled its way down a magical beam of light that connected the brother wands. Harry gasped and felt his breath catch in his chest as he stared into the Pensieve and saw first his mother and father, then Sirius, place their hands on his wand hand and begin to chant something that had no sound at all. The curse severed the thread and flew back into Voldemort’s wand, causing it to shatter and Harry’s wand to burn his hand and he dropped it as he fell. The dome made by Voldemort dissipated as they saw a ball of flame engulf the Dark Lord before the floor swallowed up Harry, Dumbledore and Remus Lupin.

There was silence. No one knew what to say. The image of Sirius and his parents had been like those in the Mirror of Erised. Harry had not felt his parents or Sirius’ hands upon his wand, helping him. He had not seen them then, yet here they were in his memories. He had only known that suddenly, he knew he could do it. He could defeat the Dark Lord.

Harry stood up, still bare footed and in his pyjamas, which these days had consisted of a pair of flannel pyjama bottoms and one of Sirius’ old tee shirts that he had found in the dresser of Sirius’ old room where he now slept. He demanded to be taken to Grunnings. He had to see...not so much where Voldemort had fallen, but where his parents and Sirius’ image had stood helping him overcome Voldemort.

“Harry, you must understand, that these are only your memories, and you were probably thinking of your parents and Sirius when you finally cast the last successful curse with your wand. I didn’t.........I didn’t see them there then like we can all see them now in this Pensieve memory.......” Remus told Harry truthfully, not wanting Harry to put himself through going to Grunnings where he would find nothing but heartache.

Harry would not be deterred from returning to Grunnings. He had to try to figure out if it had really happened. If his parents and Sirius had really been there, or if his desperation had just injected this memory from another part of his thoughts into the Pensieve to save him from the horrors of having to live with the fact that he had killed all by himself.

Hearing Harry’s very upset ravings and demands, Madame Pomfrey hurried upstairs to give him a sedative, but he wouldn’t take it. Lupin was broken hearted watching Harry’s face, not so much full of hope, but of confusion. How many times had he himself prayed that they would return somehow, only to have to convince himself that it would never happen?

“I’ll take him,” came a voice from the hallway outside of Harry’s room and in stumped Mad Eye Moody. If Harry was going, Lupin would not let him go without him. He already knew of the heartbreak that the cold moment of realization that they were not coming back felt like, and security was still a strict policy when it came to Harry. Damn that Pensieve! Why hadn’t Dumbledore charmed it to only accept reality? Lupin felt a pang of guilt for finding fault with the old man who had died for them, but it hurt to know that Harry had found comfort in this false memory as much as he had in the Mirror of Erised.

During Harry’s recovery, most of Voldemort’s Death Eaters had been captured, but the threat from Dementors remained. For the most part, the dragon attacks had been largely exaggerated and it seemed, once their lair had been repaired and made secure again, they became content to return to Romania on their own. Some of the more violent ones had been given gold from the wizard’s gold mine that had been discovered under Grunnings, in a bribe to get them to leave.

Mrs Weasley was furious once again at Lupin, who was named as Harry’s legal guardian, for consenting to let Harry out of the house. Arthur allowed Ron and Ginny to accompany him as well, and Hermione didn’t even seek permission for the sad journey, she was going with them come what may. If only Dumbledore had lived, this trip would like be returning to a scene of victory, even though Harry truly knew in his heart that whatever had happened, his parents and Sirius wouldn’t return.

Lupin held Harry’s shoulders tightly as they flooed to Grunnings, landing in the old miner’s cabin. Everyone else followed in twos, still feeling like they should have their wands drawn at all times. Things were settling, but paranoia was hard to shake.

The area around Grunnings was heavily guarded. Kingsley Shaklebolt stepped aside to allow Harry to walk in, supported by Lupin and Ron. Tonks used her wand (this time on purpose) to trip the lock that had concealed the abyss again. Harry thanked her for her clumsiness, which in the end, had saved his life. Tonks uncharacteristically burst into tears and Harry hugged her, not knowing what else to say.

Harry stood on the edge of the abyss. He would not go down there again. He went and stood in the spot where he had been when the Dark Lord had fallen. His hair stood up on end. Lupin had been back to the scene once already, but Hermione placed her hand on his shoulder when he shivered, in obvious pain at having to watch Harry like this.

They watched with broken hearts as Harry felt his wand hand with his other hand, as if trying to detect a feeling...anything, and it was indeed like the Mirror of Erised. It had only been an image, but suddenly it didn’t matter. Either way, there in spirit, or not at all, his Mum, Dad and Sirius had saved him...they did watch over him. He would believe that for the rest of his life.

As Harry turned to walk back over to his friends, who were walking toward him, he stumbled, still weak on his feet. Lupin conjured him a chair and as Harry sank into it, he caught a glimmer of red under a beam that lay on the dust covered floor. He got up without saying a word to the astonishment of his friends and went over to pick up whatever it was.

The object was a red feather, a phoenix feather to be exact, and there was no dust on it to indicate that it had been there long. Beside it lay, Harry’s wand, shiny and bright and in like new condition. Harry was filled with a sense of inner peace and healing for the first time since he’d killed the Dark Lord.

With a last glance around, Harry announced that he was ready to go, and Lupin was more than happy to oblige him, for every time he glanced around, images of Harry’s body twisting in agony as drill bits flew into him, flooded his mind. Even as they made their way from the dim light of the ruined factory, they stumbled on loose drill bits that still rolled around on what little of the floor that remained.

Somehow, reporters had gotten word that Harry Potter was inside Grunnings and a crowd had gathered. Harry wanted to step out alone unaided, so as he stumbled out of the rubble of Grunnings into the daylight to a whole new world, he straightened up. He would speak of the horrors of the battle publicly for the first and last time today.

Flashbulbs went off in his face as his friends stood behind him. Harry was just about to answer the twentieth question posed to him when the crowd was attacked by Dementors. Holding the Phoenix feather in his hand, Harry was unaffected by them. Patronus’s shot out in all directions as the Dementors were rained down upon by all of them.

Harry’s wand vibrated with supreme power as his silver stag shot out of the end of it, blinding half the crowd of terrified Muggles who had joined the wizards for the impromptu press release. Harry’s jaw dropped when a silver shaggy dog erupted from his wand tip as well and the stag and the dog drove the Dementors away, some of them bursting into flame like the Dark Lord had done.

The reporters had gotten much more than they had bargained for, as the last Dementor burst into flame. Harry fell back into Lupin’s arms, exhausted, but knowing somehow, that his part in all of this over.

Harry asked Ron, Hermione and Ginny to speak for him. He now had no intentions of giving an interview. The press had had their show.

*****************

“Oh, my head,” Harry groaned, opening his eyes, knowing that he was back in his bed at Grimmauld Place. ‘Well, at least it’s not St Mungo’s,’ he consoled himself. He had no memory of the trip back.

“I should think so,” scolded Molly Weasley, though she looked at him kindly, holding a glass of water to his lips as he sat up. “Your magical reserves were low enough without that stunt you pulled,” she admonished. “I’m not letting you out of this house for a week and I’m backed by Madame Pomfrey,” she added when Harry made to protest.

It was late August and Harry couldn’t imagine a year at school without the threat of Voldemort hanging over him every day. He dreaded having to deal with the Slytherins though. He seriously considered quitting school. Without Dumbledore there, he couldn’t imagine what Hogwarts would be like.

Harry learned that he would never have to go back to the Dursleys again, and that they were doing some sort of penance for the years of abuse he suffered at their hands. He didn’t want the details, nor would he crave to see them again.

By August twenty ninth, only three days until the start of the new school year, Harry informed everyone that he was not going back to school. Madame Pomfrey had banned him from using any magic, even small spells for three whole months while he recovered his reserves and strength, even physically.

Ron begged him to come back, promising to hex Draco Malfoy at the first signs of cheek, but Harry sadly explained that he didn’t know what to do. Most of his classes would be theory only, and he had enough of that to last a lifetime from Umbridge in his fifth year. In a word, Harry was tired, but he wouldn’t admit it, and when Hermione had joked that Harry could still enjoy his favourite class, Potions, because there wouldn’t be any of that ‘foolish wand waving,’ in Snape’s class, Harry actually smiled.

On Platform nine and three quarters, Molly tried not push Harry to go to school, but she did tell him that if he changed his mind, they would see to it that he got to Hogwarts later. Lupin, for his part, was torn. On one hand, he wanted Harry to finish school, on the other, it would be nice to have him around. In the end, Lupin did want Harry to go back to school, but it was his decision to make.

Hermione kissed Harry on the cheek and Ron gave him a one armed hug. It was Ginny who completely threw him for a loop. She grasped Harry’s cheeks in her hands and placed her lips to his and snogged him senseless right there on the platform to the cheers of everyone watching.

Usually very self conscious, Harry suddenly didn’t care who was watching. He’d been kissed...and there were no tears involved at all!

Mrs Weasley suddenly found a thread on her hand knitted sweater very interesting as her daughter continued to say goodbye to Harry. When Ginny was finished, she released Harry and said simply, “Coming?” before getting on the train, leaving him standing there with a stupid grin on his face.

“Yeah,” he said, through numb lips.

Ron stood there, mouth agape, and said to Hermione, “I thought he wasn’t coming back yet. He said he had no reason to...”

“Well, your little sister’s just given him one,” Hermione sad happily, dancing onto the train.

“Right...wait! What’cha mean she gave him one? One what?”

“Oh honestly Ronald, Hermione scolded, turning around on the step and embracing Ron much the way Ginny had with Harry only moments before.

“Oh.......now I get it,” Ron said happily. “Hey, I’m gonna have to have a chat with Harry!”

As Arthur assured Harry that he would send along his belongings, a throng of students starved for information on the-boy-who-lived-again, crowded around him, Harry turned to them, still wearing the look of utmost astonished surprise and happiness.

Justin Finch-Fletchly called out, “Harry, you’ve just defeated the Dark Lord. What will you do now?”

Harry turned to them and said, “I’m going to see how many house points I can lose Gryffindor for having been caught in broom closets with a certain red head and see how many newspapers I can shock with pictures of us skinny dipping in the lake.”

Molly looked like she wanted to take Harry aside by his ear and have a talk with him before turning him over to Mr Weasley and Ginny’s older brothers, but she knew she could trust him and the train was ready to leave.

As Harry held Ginny’s hand and Ron glared at them, Hermione giggled. She had been so sad that Harry had come so far only to drop out now, and she wouldn’t let Ron ruin Harry and Ginny’s first kiss and hand holding session. Besides, the war had left her feeling her a little rebellious herself, and the thought of maybe trying skinny dipping in the lake with everyone, was strangely appealing, though she didn’t think she could actually go through with it. She was more the type to steal the clothing of skinny dippers than to actually do it.

They pulled into Hogsmeade Station, Harry and Ginny never having let go of each other’s hand the entire ride. When Harry heard Hagrid call out ‘Firs’ years, this way!’ he knew was home at last.





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