Training and Confrontations


Story Summary:
A sprawling tale set in many places and dimensions, as Harry finds himself, finds his abilities grow, and trains for that final confrontation with Voldemort. A H/L/Hr tale, with N/G, R/T, and a paternal Ron.

Chapter 02

Chapter Summary:
A sprawling tale set in many places and dimensions, as Harry finds himself, finds his abilities grow, and trains for that final confrontation with Voldemort. A H/L/Hr tale, with N/G, Remus/T, and a paternal Ron.
Author's Note:
Letters, the Dursleys meet the Death Eaters, and Gringotts after hours.

Chapter II

Dear Luna:

We missed you on the train today. I'm glad you let Ginny know that Padma and some of the other Ravenclaws wanted you to sit with them. Hopefully this means you got all your things back, and that life in your House will be better for you next year. I hope you can drop me a note before you go to Sweden next week. I really hope the six of us can stay in contact over the summer.

Thank you again for your words last night.

your friend

Dear Ron & Ginny:

The Muggles seem about as nasty as usual, despite the warnings your parents and the rest of 'the Old Crowd' gave them. They already have me in my room without supper. Let your parents know, and they can let the others know. If three days really do go by without a note somehow getting to you or Professor Lupin, have someone check with Hermione (in case I was able to telephone her) and if I haven't contacted anyone, then get someone here to help me! I promise not to panic.


Dear Hermione:

I really hope everyone meant what they said this afternoon. The Dursleys seem as sour and surly as ever, so I am worried. They already have me in my room without dinner. About the only good thing going on is that they moved an old television into the room they store me in and haven't locked the door or tried to take my things.

I still have the phone numbers for your house and your parents' office. I'll try to use Hedwig to let 'the Old Crowd' know how I'm doing, but I may have to call you as a last resort. I'm telling them to contact you, and if I haven't contacted them or you after three full days, to get here and get me out. I know I can trust you to help.

love, your friend


Dear Professor Lupin:

The Dursleys seem as nasty as usual, despite the warnings you and your friends tried to give them. They already have me in my room without supper. If three days go past without you or Ron hearing from me, contact Mrs. Figg or Hermione. I'll try to phone Hermione if I can't get word to anyone else. If no one hears from me, I promise it means I will need help! I will do my best to stick things out here, like the Headmaster wants me to, but I need to know I can get out.


"Here you are," Harry said. "Good luck." Hedwig gave his hand a soft, friendly nip and took off.

Harry watched Hedwig fly off, and then moved his broom and trunk near the window. He then packed his book bag with a change of clothes, his invisibility cloak, and what little money he had left. He would stick things out at #4 Privet Drive if he could. However, Harry was not about to tolerate the treatment he had gotten after his First, Second, and Fourth years.

Sunday, June 30, 1996

Harry hadn't been able to sleep well at Hogwarts since Sirius' death, and things were even worse at the Dursleys. Harry had therefore spent the first forty minutes since the Dursleys had gone to bed polishing his broomstick (he had spent the previous night adjusting the bristles). As he moved to start polishing his wand, he noticed it was 11:52.

At that moment, he heard the sounds of rushing wind throughout the house, and then two figures appeared in his room, also with the sound of a strong wind. 'Portkeys,' Harry realized.

Harry saw that one of the figures was Antonin Dolohov. Then he saw the other was Bellatrix Lestrange.

Because Harry hadn't been seen outside of the Dursleys since he had arrived, there was no need of a guard to follow him around. Should Harry pop out of any of the doors, an alarm would sound and one of the people at Arabella Figg's (there were always at least three, if not four, people available during the day, and two at night) would grab an invisibility cloak and be transported over.

Tonight, however, there were nine people present at Mrs. Figg's. Two were low level members of the Ministry. Minister Fudge's acknowledgment of the Dark Lord's return had allowed Dumbledore access to a larger pool of fairly reliable people. They would follow Harry around the neighborhood, and call for help as needed.

The other seven had gathered quite simply because Harry had not been seen since early Friday evening. Remus Lupin, Tonks, 'Mad-Eye' Moody, Bill Weasley and his fiancee Fleur Delacour, a very unhappy Percy Weasley, and, just arrived before the meeting had started at 11:45, Kingsley Shacklebolt, sat around Mrs. Figg's dining room table, which was piled high with odds and ends as well as a thick layer of dust and cat hair.

"If Potter is supposed to contact one of you every three days, and it's barely been more than two, why is everyone so upset?" Percy demanded.

"Percy," Remus tried reasoning.

Percy glared at Remus as if his former professor was something scraped off his shoe. Before Bill or Tonks could react, Remus invaded Percy's personal space and said firmly, "Look, Percy, drop the bigotry. While you're here, you're at least working with us, if not for us. Now, get off that broomstick and think! I know there's still a mind in that self-satisfied bog of thoughtless regulations somewhere! Think back two and four summers ago. Harry was living in the same house as you. You spent three years living with him in Gryffindor, and you took your responsibilities as a prefect seriously. Now tell me, was he more of an indoor or an outdoor boy?"

Percy stopped and puzzled that out for a moment. Finally, Percy admitted, "Outdoors. He always wanted to be moving."

"Now, he hasn't been seen, and we know the Muggles have a history of locking him up. Is that legal?"

"No," Percy admitted, "that would be abuse."

"You're sure?"

Percy frowned. "Look, I still think Potter leans to the attention-grabbing and overly dramatic. I also believe he's potentially dangerous or at least dangerous to be around. Still, that's no excuse for the kind of punishments those Muggles are alleged to have inflicted."

Percy quirked a small smile. "Even the most of the bigoted Pure-Blood Supremacists I've met this last year or so would be appalled by any wizard, even a Muggle-born, being treated that way by a Muggle parent, and a Muggle harming a wizarding child is an additional count that can be brought against them if they don't behave. From what I've heard of that family, I would imagine being threatened with our punishments would be even more frightening to them than their own."

The others all had to admit that.

At that moment, all the alarms started screaming.

Monday, July 1, 1996
12:42 am

Albus Dumbledore approached #4 Privet Drive with a feeling of dread. Something terrible had happened, or perhaps it would be better to say that several bad things must have happened. The first garbled message had been disturbing enough to bring him immediately from Hogwarts.

Dumbledore took a deep breath, and stepped beyond a powerful sheltering ward that had been hastily erected around the property, deflecting any interests from the surrounding Muggle world. Cornelius Fudge stomped into the front yard to confront him.

"Well, your boy wonder has done it now!"

"Done what?" Dumbledore demanded.

"He must have murdered those Muggles!"

"Now Cornelius!"

Fudge was actually waving his arms in agitation. "We recorded one powerful underage curse! And no others! And Weasley told me they're dead!"

"Let us wait until the aurors have completed their forensic sweeps before we do anything," Dumbledore stated.

"Very well, and then the manhunt begins!"

"Aye, that it will, but not the way you think," Moody stated, stumping towards them. Shacklebolt and Percy were right behind him.

"What happened?" Fudge and Dumbledore demanded in perfect unison. The other three looked at each other, and Moody and Percy reluctantly let Shacklebolt speak.

"It's almost all bad news," Shacklebolt stated. "At some point, someone planted at least a dozen portkey targets inside the Dursleys' house."

Both Fudge and Dumbledore looked stunned. Whatever either had expected, that was not part of it.

"Where were the ones we found again, Moody?" Shacklebolt inquired.

"There were two in each of the three bedrooms that were in use, none in what was apparently a guest room. There was one in the upstairs bathroom, one in the downstairs toilet, one on the downstairs landing and three were in the dining room. We collected all of them. This type lasts between ninety and a hundred days, and cannot be traced back. The aurors will watch them decay, and maybe we'll know which of the Dursleys' contacts was a plant, or at least give us a hint of who did it."

"Go on," Fudge ordered.

Shacklebolt nodded and did so. "Twelve people portkeyed in at a little before 11:55, setting off all the wards. We responded immediately, but by the time we entered the house, everything was over. There was just the one curse cast. Because we could test everything almost immediately, we could tell the curse was cast by a wand that we have a record for."

"And that was whose?" Fudge asked.

"Harry's. However, the three Muggles were knifed, not cursed, and it looks like the knives were poisoned. They died from the poison, not the wounds. Two knives were left, one in the uncle, one in the Dursley boy. Looks like both managed to get a few punches in. The boy even knocked one attacker's incisor out. We have prints off of the knives, and they don't match each other, the Dursleys', or Harry's. Harry did not murder his uncle or cousin, so there's no real reason to believe he murdered his aunt, either. We'll send the tooth to a Muggle lab. If we catch anyone, the Muggles have ways to match it to them, even if they've regrown it. We're still checking for foreign prints, and then we'll see if any of the evidence matches any of the processed Death Eaters or other suspects we might have."

"So you think Potter didn't kill his relatives? All right, I'll accept that for now. What exactly did the boy do?" Fudge demanded.

Shacklebolt sighed. "Bellatrix Lestrange and Antonin Dolohov were the two who portkeyed into Harry's room." He shut his eyes in pain. "Harry used one reductor curse that hit both of them."

"Did you send them to St. Mungo's?" Fudge asked eagerly. Reductor curses could do a lot of damage, but if it hit two people, at least one should have survived, and more likely both. Fudge knew catching those two would make him look good in the press.

"There really wasn't enough of them left to make it worthwhile, other than their heads, legs, and hands," Moody said drily. "That boy has gotten extraordinarily powerful. Most aurors could only have done that on a very good day."

"Both are dead?" Dumbledore asked sadly.

"Very," Percy answered, looking rather green.

"Self-defense," Moody said with a shrug.

"An underage. . . ." Fudge started hotly.

"Lestrange and Dolohov? The Ministry has had a dead or alive reward on both of them since they escaped!" Moody pointed out.

"True," Fudge acknowledged with a sigh. He looked at Percy. "You agree with their analysis?"

"Yes, Minister," Percy said, with some reluctance. "Anyone who knew who those two were, and Potter certainly should have, would know their lives were in immediate danger. Technically, we have to give him 20,000 Galleons."

"So where is Potter?" Fudge asked, ignoring that last point.

"That's the problem. We don't know," Shacklebolt answered.

"You mean they have him?" Dumbledore asked in a voice shrill with panic.

"Maybe," Moody said, "but if they took him, they also took him without another curse being thrown, and his broomstick is missing, along with what looks like some clothes, including a cloak." Dumbledore realized Moody meant Harry's invisibility cloak. "So, no, I doubt they have him." Moody looked up into the night sky. "More likely, the boy has escaped. He's escaped Voldemort, these Muggles," he transferred his disturbing eye to the two men, "and he's escaped both of you, too. The boy is free, if only for the night."

"Get your brother over here," Dumbledore ordered Percy. "Harry will likely head to the Burrow. Alastor, send someone over to the Grangers, just in case he goes that way." He would make certain someone was at headquarters at all times, in case Harry showed up there.

"Where are they!" Voldemort demanded.

No one had an answer. "Crucio!"

Voldemort looked over his cowering servants. "Begone! You are all worthless! I send twelve of you, twelve! and you run just because a few wizards show up and oppose you! A few common wizards, not even aurors from what you could tell! And all without throwing a curse! Not one curse! You on the ground floor were in a position to defend the house while those upstairs made certain the job was done properly! Two of you failed to keep a hold of your knives, and come back beaten by Muggles! Physically beaten! By Muggles! And two failed to come back at all? So, begone, worthless scum! Anyone who is still in this room in three minutes will never leave here alive! Go, until I summons you!"

The Death Eaters ran.

A little after 5:00 am, Harry Potter managed to land in front of Gringotts. Flying with the invisibility cloak wrapped around him had slowed him down a great deal. He approached the great doors, still wearing his invisibility cloak, and found them locked. Frowning, Harry went over to a small bronze sign he had remembered was on one side of the doors. It read:

8:00 - 6:30 Daily
but always open

"If they're always open, how do I get in," Harry muttered.

The two zeros in '8:00' blinked, and the 'u' in 'but' adjusted itself to become a mouth. "Who is there?" it asked.

Harry opened his cloak. "A customer."

"There is a ten Galleon fee for out of hours business," the sign stated.

"Agreed, after I go to my vault."

"Of course," the sign agreed. "Is there anyone with you?"

"No, just me."

"Take the cloak completely off, keep your wand put away, and then touch the number six on the sign."

Harry did as he was told, and was portkeyed into the bank.

Harry was confronted by six armed, muscular young goblins, and what appeared to him to be a middle-aged, hefty one. "I am Turnkey," the elder goblin said. "Who are you and what do you want?"

Harry reluctantly showed his scar, knowing that it should hurry things along. "Harry Potter, and I need to visit my vault and also exchange some gold into Muggle money. Is that possible?"

"You already owe us ten Galleons, so it's possible," Turnkey stated. "I hope you're taking enough out and exchanging enough to make it worth your while."

"I hope so, too," Harry said. "I'll need to exchange five hundred Galleons. . . ."

"That's a lot of cash to carry around," Turnkey pointed out, "even in Muggle paper money."

"Well, how else can I spend money? You don't have current accounts, do you?" Harry nearly snapped. He was exhausted from the long night flight without any sleep, and the weeks with little sleep.

"Of course we do, boy! This is a bank, isn't it? Designed to function in both the Wizarding and Muggle worlds! We also have Muggle credit and debit cards." The goblin hesitated, and then said, "For you, a special price."

"And that would be?"

"Normally, it is five Galleons for the card, three if you have a current account already. For you, Harry Potter, we shall set the whole thing up for two Galleons, unless you want it all by the time you leave. In that case, it shall be. . . ."

"One Sickle," came a voice from behind Harry. Harry turned, and saw an older, even heftier goblin. "I am Strongbox, a branch manager. You were never told of your assets beyond the storage vault, were you?"

"No, sir."

"I thought not. If you make it to twenty-one, you will be in primary charge of one of our larger trusts. At seventeen, you will be able to draw some of the money. Add in the fact that you are important to us all, wizard and goblin alike, and for you, one Sickle."

Turnkey made a noise, and Cashbox turned on him. "If the other managers disagree, I shall pay the difference myself."

Turnkey bowed respectfully. Cashbox turned back to Harry. "Both wizarding and Muggle checks, and the debit card which may be used as a credit card as well?"

"Yes, please," Harry said. "And I appreciate your offer, sir, but would it make things easier all around if I agreed to pay for everything at cost?"

Turnkey's and the six security goblins' eyes went wide, and Cashbox laughed. "You are a good boy, for a wizard, Potter. That would probably cost you a bit more than two Galleons, but yes, thank you." He turned to Turnkey. "Well? We don't want to keep Mister Potter waiting, do we? Send an attendant to him, and then get those checks printed and the card cut!" He paused and turned to Harry. "I think you can use a magical identity card as well. Passport? Driver's license?"

Harry smiled. "Can it be a school card of some sort? I don't think I could pass for an adult."

"I like you, Potter. Come along. We can do you a Muggle passport, too."

Dawn came to a very active Burrow. Bill had shown up a little after 1:00 am, and none of the residents had managed to go back to sleep yet.

Bill would stay until after breakfast, and there were two additional wizards from the Ministry stationed there as well. No one was sure of how long it might take Harry to fly to the Burrow, especially if he was wearing his invisibility cloak. Trying to keep that on would slow him considerably, something Bill had had to explain six times already.

Arthur Weasley had arranged for the Grangers' fireplace to be opened for fire-talking only the week before. There had been no sign of Harry at the Grangers', either.

A little before 7:00 am, the goblins let Harry, again in his invisibility cloak, out a side door. He was beyond exhausted, but he had made better arrangements than he had anticipated.

People were moving steady through the Alley by now, although there was nothing like a crowd anywhere. Harry had spent a few weeks in Diagon Alley right before his third year, and knew every business and even many of the residents' addresses. Only a few cafes and a bakery were open, and Harry headed towards the bakery. Despite being really hungry for the first time in many weeks, Harry kept going.

The building next to the bakery had six floors. The ground floor had a taxidermy shop and a magical timepiece store. The first floor had a group of magical solicitors. The second floor had the Office of the Consul of the Magical Ministry of Brazil on half the floor (the Consul's apartment was the entire third floor). The other half of the second floor had the offices for The Quibbler, and Ginny had once mentioned that the Lovegoods had one of the apartments on the top floor, as well as a small cottage on the other side of Ottery St. Catchpole from the Weasleys.

The street door to the stairs was unlocked, so Harry slipped in. He was lucky not to have met anyone on the stairs, because he was running out of what little energy he had left.

Harry slowly and rather blearily looked for which of the four apartments on the top floor was the Lovegoods'. Before he could look at more than one door, however, the further door opened.

"Harry?" came a soft voice. "Are you there?"

Harry turned and saw Luna looking for him. A small part of his mind told him to be wary. It could still be a trap.

The rest of him was too tired to care.

The cloak fell off him, and caught on his left arm, between his wrist and his Firebolt.

"Oh, dear! What's happened?" Luna said softly. She hurried to help Harry into the flat, and as they passed over the threshold, Harry passed out from exhaustion.

Author notes: Yes, Harry is being rather disingenuous in his letters to Ron, Hermione, and Remus (ie he was sent to his room without dinner, but was told he would be fed later). Warning, non-explicit sexual references in the next-chapter.