Posted: 21 March 2008 at 1:51pm
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Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
There couldn't be a better and more pleseant morning in the Private Drive than this one. The very first morning rays had just hit the place. An unfamiliar cold breeze, blowing at a high speed giving everyone a new refreshing start.
People, who earlier spent their early mornings lying lazily in the bed, could be seen strolling or walking on the streets. Older men could be seen, sitting in groups on benches, reading newspaper. Twittering and chirping of the birds, welcomed a brand new day with glee. Garden - Lovers were watering their plants, milkman was delivering milk and the sweepers could be seen sweeping.
Not long before, it had been just impossible dream to ever see the Private Drive like this; but now, nor it was a dream and neither an illusion. The hot damp summers of Private Drive were no longer miserable, long or boring. To everyone's surprise, the climate at Private Dive had changed completely. Mornings were cool and refreshing; and evenings turned to a delightful playtimes. Not only Private Drive, the whole Little Whinging witnessed this change. People were so happy about this, that no one thought of going to holiday destinations instead, visitors dropped in to their friends and relatives who lived in Little Whinging, to enjoy this unusual change to which even the top – most scientists failed to explain.
Everything was pleasant and nice but certainly not with everyone!
A tall boy with dark but dirty hair, was peeping out through the window on the upper floor of number 4, Private Drive. Harry Potter…like his usual morning routine was sitting on the table besides the window, holding a cup of hot chocolate, and was staring emotionlessly at the outside world. He had grown a couple of inches in the past days and looked bigger than he ever did.
The climate change at the Private Drive, didn't have any affect on him at all, neither did days, nights, noise or anything else had. He remained calm and composed, occasionally crying to himself. Harry followed his dull, boring and horribly depressing timetable. Today was his eighth morning at the Dursleys but not even once, had he stepped out of his room (except for using the washroom / bathroom that was just five steps away from his room :P )
He woke early in the morning, spent hours till lunch sitting on the table besides the window feeling guilty and helpless. Then after taking lunch in his own room, he spent the time till late hours in the evening to check his old spell books and other magical guides he owned for anything useful that he might find. Occasionally he noted some spell, curse, counter curse, jinx, hex or a potion recipe. Then after his dinner, he down on his bed, thinking of what more he could do to destroy Voldemort completely, and he mostly fell asleep during this time. Next morning, he wakes to find hot chocolate or juice in a kettle kept on the table.
Sometimes, his routine was varied when his personal guard came for a word or tea together.
Harry had been back a fortnight earlier than usual from Hogwarts due to the sudden unfortunate incident that took place and finally resulted in Dumbledore's demise. This was the reason that made Harry feel guilty and helpless.
Harry wasn't certainly welcomed heartily at the Dursleys for two more weeks than usual however like the climate, Dursley were also portraying opposite character. They didn't welcome him but were nice and gentle with him, took care of him and were polite.
He arrived at number 4, Private Drive with Uncle Vernon from Kings Cross station to find McGonacall and Lupin waiting for him there already. Aunt Petunia, welcomed him with a smile at the door and to the most pleasant thing possible ever – Dudley wasn't at home.
Since then the shocks and surprises didn't end. Harry was provided three meals a day in his room (morning bed – hot chocolate not counted). His uncle often asked him to come along for a drive or to the market. And the height of it was that the Dursleys also allowed spells to be performed at their place. Everything had become so un-dursleyish.
On the first evening of Harry's return, Lupin and McGonacall explained Harry all the precaution measures done to the Dursleys house. The house was magically protected with various complex jinxes. Only Harry himself, Lupin, McGonacall, Tonks, Bill and Mr. Weasley could use their wands inside the house. No one could apparate or disapparate from here. And addition to all this, three guards will stay guard around the house – two outside and one inside, occupying the cupboard under the stairs, which once was Harry's home.
For this Lupin had told him "Harry you know that you are important. Its you among everyone who is in grave danger and so the order has decided that we will be providing you protection until…" Lupin stopped himself on this. There was something Harry realized that they all were hiding from him but he didn't make any efforts to find it out. Whatever it was, it didn't matter. Instead…nothing did!
Later that evening, McGonacall had also come to have a word with Harry.
She sat besides him and said "Harry, I will not say that you should be brave at this moment as no one is. Not even the best of our kinds. But there is always hope. For millions whom you even don't know, you are that hope. Dumbledore and we all have led our hopes on you. So before making any move, give it a thought. And yes, take care of yourself. I will soon let you know about Hogwarts. We are trying our best that it remains open this year."
Harry never was concerned about what all he was told. He knew that Dumbledore had told him so much about the horcruxes and Voldemort, that now when Dumbledore isn't there, Harry himself knows his way and precautions. So now, he considered his duty as to get Dumbledore's job done.
Nonetheless, order had been fast enough. Tonks and Lupin often told them that they were checking many places like the ministry in order to find something that might be fatal or useful. Activities of people inside the Dursleys house as well as the neighboring people will be monitored regularly (Incase anyone was under Imperious curse).
Harry like past seven mornings was today also thinking about that, graveyard like night… that brought him darkness… despair and deaths. A single thought of that night shook him completely. He still couldn't help thinking about it and blaming himself for the loss experienced by the whole wizarding community.
It was he whom Voldemort wanted to kill when his parents died. It was he, to save whom Sirius risked his life and died and even this time it was to an extend Harry whom, Dumbledore died in a process of saving.
This guilt was killing him from within and all he wished was – Revenge!
Revenge for his unloved childhood, for his parents, his Godfather, Dumbledore and everyone else who suffered with no fault of theirs.
He had planned his steps. The foremost was that he shall not return back to Hogwarts at any cost and also this time, he will decide his journey alone. It was his quest; he will have to do it alone. Moreover, he didn't want to risk any more lives.
He had given his each step a deep thought. He decided to start with visiting Godric Hollow, from where this all started and then following Voldemorts steps that is to start from the orphanage where Tom started his journey to be Lord Voldemort. Harry thought, he should gain every bit of knowledge about Voldemort as he can so that he faces Voldemort in Voldemort's ways.
Harry also knew that there wasn't enough time with him, to live a lifetime as long as that of Voldemort's so he had to hurry. He had to reach places as quickly as possible, and for that he ought to know how to apparate. However he knew that he had never ever tried to apparate or known anything about it but was confident about his determination and also sure that he had the strength.
He knew that the way isn't easy, but he was far more determined to cross it!
Harry was lost in these thoughts when he heard his Aunt calling him downstairs for breakfast. He quickly finished his hot chocolate which now was completely cold and then quickly washed and brushed himself to be presentable in front of others. Certainly this change in timetable was unexpected but he didn't mind seeing the others after such long.
He checked the watch and found that three hours had past since he woke. It was now ten in the morning, sun was shining brightly and everyone was busy hurrying around.
Harry reached downstairs to see a surprise. Tonks had joined Aunt Petunia for breakfast. They both were talking happily just like they were good friends. This shocked Harry to a great extend cause firstly Aunt Petunia sitting, sharing a meal with a witch, that itself was something shocking and apart from that Aunt Petunia was not a kind to make friends. Instead she liked sneaking into problems of neighbours and broadcasting them as headlines.
He stood at the door, shocked for a while but then forcing a smile on his still bewildered face, he joined them.
It was quite a heavy breakfast with lots of wild discussion. To Harry's amazement, Aunt Petunia listened to Tonks with full interest, understanding everything about wizards as though she too was one. The talks went on and on for several minutes without a stop. they were, however, disturbed by the doorbell. It was Lupin. He looked pale but like always, wore a reassuring smile on his face.
Tonks was delighted to see him. Harry, though, couldn't feel the delight. Lupin had come to inform that Hogwarts is open and Harry soon will be back there. Lupin, surprising, asked Harry that if he wished going back? Surely Harry thought that this was a dream…, but it wasn't. He stared back quietly looking dumb for a while but when he noticed all eyes were on him, he thought what to say as he expected a hard time with Lupin after saying that he hadn't yet thought about returning to Hogwarts but before Harry could speak anything, to his relief, Tonks spoke "What do you mean Remus? Certainly Harry will go, it's his seventh and the final year and I am sure he is missing Hogwarts and his friends there, aren't you Harry?"
Harry had nothing to say. He certainly feared saying that he wasn't going but he couldn't say anything else too. So gathering up courage, he spoke in a very calm yet determined voice "No I am not."
Lupin's eyebrows rose hearing this. He looked quite un-trusting his ears and angrily asked Harry "What do you mean Harry?"
It was clear that now was the time, he had to say it. "I got things to do much more important than Hogwarts." Harry rose up after saying his mind, and decided to leave but Lupin caught him from shoulder and said "What on this Universe could be important than Hogwarts? More important than attending school?"
It had broken the limits. Harry was very furious and he had to really force to control himself. But that wasn't really helpful. Harry spoke his final word for the argument in the weirdest voice he ever heard out of his mouth "That place is never going to be like it was. It is going to be horrible without Dumbledore and with that white tomb."
The single mention of Dumbledore had done it all. After months, Harry, in an instance, had discovered the truth that why he dread being back at Hogwarts for his last year.
Lupin and Tonks stood statue like where they were giving Harry chance and space to rush back to his room. He stayed the rest of the day there. Finally he had said it. Hogwarts will never be the same without Dumbledore and also he had an important task to do. Certainly he longed to go to Hogwarts, his only home, but there was nothing more important than completing the thing he started with Dumbledore.
It then, suddenly struck him that if he had to go, then it was only possible by facing his own dear ones. Earlier Harry had decided that he would only leave the Private Drive after his seventeenth birthday as this was one of Dumbledore's wishes and now he didn't want to disobey any of Dumbledore's wishes. But now things had changed.
It was Dumbledore only who prepared him for the battle and now if Dumbledore isn't there, this doesn't mean that the battle has ended. It was a do or die situation for Harry. He couldn't let the evil win…he couldn't let Dumbledore down…he needed to do it now…alone…all by himself.
Within next few months he was going to face his life's ultimate quest. Already there had been enough loss because of him and now he wanted no more…
Hence, making up his mind, he got up and started packing his trunk.
He heard Lupin and Tonks call him from outside the room but never forced their way in as Harry had bolted the door shut.
When he finished packing, it was just five in the evening. It was still hours till night, during when he had decided to sneak out. He opened his door, trying to figure what was going on outside…what no specific luck. The television was switched on and so no one else's voice was audible. He then went back to his bed and lay down thinking.
It was then a thought struck him- where would he go after escaping? He had nowhere else to go and certainly with that big trunk and Hedwig's cage in hand, he wasn't going to find the horcruxes. He required a place for his hiding and if not for hiding but for keeping his luggage at least.
He thought hard about it and then as though the answer came in front of him alive. A squeezed and sharp voice called him from the back. Harry recognized it to be of Dobby's at once. Dobby was a house elf and had once belonged to the Malfoys. He had always helped Harry whenever required and also was determined to do so in future. Dobby looked extremely happy and excited today.
Harry gave him a faint smile and then said "Hello Dobby. How are you?"
Dobby looked highly delighted hearing this and said in a shaky voice, "Harry Potter sir, is so kind to ask Dobby how he had been. Dobby had never seen someone as good as Harry Potter sir."
Harry offered Dobby a chair and sat on the bed, facing him.
No one spoke for a moment and then Dobby said to Harry " Sir, Dobby is happy because Hogwarts is open this year too. Dobby and the other house elves were really worried what if Hogwarts closed? We all would go homeless. Dobby worried that then Dobby would never be able to see Harry Potter sir again." Dobby sensed, Harry wasn't interested in this, so he paused for a moment and then said "Harry Potter sir, you remember five years back Dobby tried to stop you from coming to Hogwarts because the Malfoys planned the danger but not today. Dobby wants Harry Potter to be back at Hogwarts, as Dobby knows that Hogwarts is your home. Hogwarts needs Harry Potter and if Harry Potter is there at Hogwarts, Dobby can too help him."
Harry seemed not to be hearing a single word. He wasn't interested about anything related to being back at Hogwarts. Instead, Harry was thinking something else. When Harry realized Dobby finished speaking, Harry started finalizing his words before speaking. After a moment in thought, Harry spoke enquiringly "Dobby, do you know where is Kreacher?"
Dobby looked surprised hearing this but his excitement didn't low. He replied, "Yes Harry Potter sir. Dobby knows. Krecher is still in Hogwarts as you ordered him to. He had taken a leave to visit the remaining Black relatives but now when Hogwarts will be opening, then he is back."
Thought of Kreacher with the Blacks, really frustrated Harry. It was Kreacher who tricked Harry into the ministry the night when Sirius died saving Harry. Since then Harry hated Kreacher like anything. Sirius had given all his belongings to Harry and so He had inherited Kreacher too. On Dumbledore's suggestion, Harry placed Kreacher in Hogwarts with the other house elves. And from then, Harry hardly ever bothered of him. But now on hearing that Kreacher was still loyal to Blacks, made him really angry. He decided to think about him later as now there were some more important things.
Harry then asked "Dobby will you be kind enough to pass him my message that I will soon be arriving at the Black house in Grimmauld Place. So he should tidy the place in a week and then he can be back at Hogwarts and no need to get bothered."
Dobby looked really pleased that Harry had asked him for a task to be done. He smiled beamingly and nodded. After exchange of a few more sentences, Dobby took leave.
Harry had decided that he would live at Grimmauld Place, the home Sirius had left him. And simultaneously, a trick had also struck him. Kreacher possibly didn't like Harry as his master but he didn't deny serving him. And like two years back, when Kreacher served two masters, even now, maybe Kreacher was helping the Blacks and Malfoys and this is what Harry could benefit from.
As being his rightful master, Harry decided he would get as much as he can from Kreacher and the rest he will put Dobby after. Kreacher couldn't deny any information that Harry asked him and if Dobby was with Kreacher always, this would prevent the Blacks from knowing anything.
It was late in the evening that Harry had finalized his move about this. Now when his mind was empty of these, Harry felt hungry.
After a few minutes, he heard a knock on the door. It was his Aunt. She carried his supper. Harry's heart raced with excitement, It was his last meal at the Dursleys. After taking the meal, all he got to do was, sneak out when everyone fell asleep.
He gazed at the meal, hungrily. However the things weren't like he had thought. Instead of handing the food and then going, Aunt Petunia kept the food on the table and she sat down on the chair facing him.
Harry saw a feeling of warmth and understanding on her face which he had never seen till now and had neither expected to see it ever. No one spoke for as long time. After a long moment of no talks from either side, Aunt Petunia decided against it. Patting Harry on the shoulder, she said, "Harry, I can know what you are going through. Certainly no one is more miserable than you. Professor Minereva told me that you were with Dumbledore the night he expired." For a moment, Harry felt as though his own mother was sitting besides him and consoling him, but then the practical fact took place – she wasn't his mother. She was the one who kept him miserable for sixteen long years. And now he certainly wasn't going to stop. Not for her at least. Not even for the best of times with Dursleys.
And then, a new question struck him – How did she know Dumbledore?
Before he could ask, his Aunt answered – "I have known Dumbledore since we came to know that Lily is a witch. She used to tell me lots about him and it was like knowing him myself. And then, the day your parents died, Dumbledore himself came to leave you on out door. He had also left a letter that day telling me about you and your parents."
Harry felt this was his weirdest dream. He would soon wake up to find his hot chocolate waiting. But Petunia's tale didn't seem to stop neither it turned out to be a dream. Harry's heart wished to believe what all she said but his mind kept interrupting that this wasn't possible.
Aunt Petunia then said, "I know you hate us. We had been worse than the worst. But it all had a reason Harry. And Dumbledore finds you fit to know the reason only after the day you turn seventeen, not a moment before that"
Winding the conversation quickly, Aunt Petunia got up, gave a deep sign and said "There is lots which, I am asked to inform you but not until the correct time. He has left you many things and many secrets. So if not for anything else, you will have to wait, for the sake of Albus Dumbledore."