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 04

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. Part I continues with the early summer of 96.
Author's Note:
Searching for Harry I

Chapter IV
Tuesday, July 2, 1996

Harry woke up feeling very nice indeed. Then he realized why; Luna had him well in hand.

"May I have some of my special potion?" she asked. Harry blushed and, speechless, merely nodded.

"You look pretty awful this morning," Fred told Ginny. "What's wrong?"

Ginny glared at her brother as they waited for breakfast. "Who knows what's happened to Harry? He could have been captured! He might be dead, or he might be being tortured right now! And even if he hasn't been captured, where could he be? Out in the cold somewhere? I mean, boys can't just wander around the Muggle world without some policeman finding him or someone getting him into trouble. Can they?"

"I don't know, Gin," George admitted. "We're all worried about Harry, too, but try to think about how to help find him."

"You're right," Ginny admitted.

"Have you seen Ron yet?" Molly asked.

The three younger Weasleys all shook their heads. "Ron was sitting up very late last night, trying to think of where Harry might be," Fred said. "If it's possible, he might be even more worried than the rest of us."

"Fred . . . no, George, go make certain Ron is awake and knows breakfast will be soon. Go on, with you!"

Remus Lupin walked into the kitchen and said, "Remind Ron that Hermione will be here from Nine until Eleven. Perhaps that will motivate him as well."

George almost smiled and got up from the table. Seeing how tired and exhausted Lupin looked, George even managed to steer the Marauder to the table and sit him down on his way out.

George carefully and cautiously opened the door to the room where Ron and Harry had slept the year before. He wasn't totally surprised to see Ron sitting in his pajamas on Harry's bed, his head in his hands. It looked like he had slept little, if at all, that night.

"Ron," George called softly.

Ron made a noise.

"Time to get dressed and come down stairs from breakfast." Ron didn't move. "Come on. Hermione will be here in an hour or so."

Ron sighed and reluctantly stood up. "I hope she's thought of something, because I certainly haven't."

"You do realize, I hope, that it doesn't come down to just the two of you," George complained. "We know Harry, too, you know, even if we're not as close to him as you are."

"Sorry," Ron said, taking off his top and searching aimlessly for the nicest Cannons shirt he had.

George sighed in turn and picked the bright orange shirt up and handed it to Ron. "I don't know how you could miss this color."

Ron tried to glare, but his heart wasn't in it. George placed a hand on Ron's shoulder. "Keep your chin up and all that," George said. "If you fall apart, Hermione and Ginny certainly will. And if they do, Mum will. And if you all do, I know I will."

Ron looked at his brother, and was shocked to see the tears in George's eyes.

"Admit it. You love Harry at least as much as you do Fred and me," George said. "I don't mind saying I care for him as much as any of my other brothers."

"Thanks, George."

"Come down as soon as you can. Mum is worried."

The four youngest Weasleys sat in a parlor along with Hermione and Remus Lupin. "First of all, let me remind you where Harry isn't," Remus said in an exhausted voice. He hadn't been able to sleep since Harry had flown off. "He flew to Diagon Alley under his invisibility cloak. He didn't go to the Leaky Cauldron or to the twins'. He didn't fly here, or to the Burrow, or to Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, or the Grangers'. He has plenty of money, wizard and Muggle. That's really all we know."

"What kind of Muggle money did he take? Do we know?" Hermione asked.

"There's more than one kind?" Ron asked.

"Nearly every country has its own kind of money," Hermione told him. "Do we know that he exchanged into British pounds?"

"Not that I know of," Remus admitted. "Why?"

"Harry told me once he could read some French," Hermione said. "He might have decided to flee the country, thinking he might be safer there. I don't think he'd go to Ireland."

"Ireland's not a separate country!" Ron protested. "I mean, the islands are separate, but. . . ."

"Britain and Ireland are under the same Ministry of Magic, but most of Ireland is a separate country from Britain, and has been since the early 1920s," Hermione corrected Ron. "Still, it would be harder to hide there. Unless . . . he wouldn't go to Seamus', would he?"

"I don't think so," Ron said thoughtfully. "His mother wasn't too keen on Harry at the beginning of last year."

"How about Neville or Luna?" Ginny asked.

"I would think Mrs. Longbottom or Mister Lovegood would contact Dumbledore," Remus answered, "or at least they will today, once they read The Daily Prophet."

"How about Dean, then?" Hermione asked, refusing to be diverted by wondering what that paper had to say at the moment.

"Where does Dean live?" Ron asked. "I don't know, why would Harry?"

"Because, no offense, Harry is a bit more observant than you are about these things," Hermione retorted.

"Really?" Ron demanded.

"Ron, what's Dean's favorite football club?"

Ron paused in puzzlement.

"He's only had a poster of them next to his bed every year!" George pointed out.

"Even I know that!" Fred added.

"And he has a hat and shirt that he wears as often as you do your Cannons' stuff," Ginny added.

Hermione threw more fuel on the fire. "And the scarf, although I admit you might not get that one."

Ron glared at them, "All right, I'm not observant about sports I know nothing about. What is it? And why does it matter?"

"It matters, because Harry and I talked to Dean about it once in our First year, and you were there, although apparently not listening," Hermione retorted. "Harry asked Dean why he supported West Ham, if he lived anywhere around there, and Dean said he lived less than a quarter mile from the stadium. I've also heard Harry talk with every boy in our year, and most of the other years and some of the girls for that matter, about their homes and families our first three years, not just you." She nearly teared up. "He so loves hearing about people's families."

Ginny held her hand, while George stood behind her and massaged her shoulders. Hermione took a deep breath and looked at Lupin. "I'm willing to bet Harry has a good idea of where they all live, but I can't see him going anywhere but Dean's."

The twins looked at each other. "We can," Fred said.

"Harry was the same way at Quidditch," George went on. "I'm sure he knows where Oliver and the girls live, too."

"So there's at least five possibilities," Remus mused.

"Could Sirius have told Harry about any hideaways or boltholes?" Hermione asked.

Remus grimaced. "I suppose so, but I hope not, because I don't have a clue where they would be."

"There's a cave near Hogsmeade, where we met Sirius once," Hermione said.

Remus snapped his fingers. "I forgot about that; I'll check there today."

"Could he have gone to the Shrieking Shack?" Ron asked.

"He shouldn't have been able to get in other than by the secret passage, and the wards at Hogwarts would have flared if he had, but I'll check there, too," Remus answered. "So, I should check on Dean first?"

"I would," Hermione answered.

"Err . . . where exactly does West Ham play?" Remus asked.

"Upton Park . . . Green Street, London." Hermione shrugged at the stares. "What can I say? My father is a fan as well. Upton Park is on the District and the Hammersmith-City Lines. Dean lives more towards the Forest Gate train station, although I'm not certain where. Shall I ask Dad for driving directions as well?" She arched her eyebrow.

"No, no! I'm sure I can get the exact address from Dumbledore, and now I have a good idea of where the address will be I can get there. I'll get the others' as well."

"Are you sure that, well, that he's . . . not been captured?" Ginny asked.

"Fairly sure," Remus answered.

"Why?" Ron demanded. "Because the Order's spy, who apparently had no idea that the attack was going to even happen, hasn't found anything out yet?"

"That's a lot of it," Remus admitted as he stood.

"Forgive us if we aren't comforted," Fred said.

"I forgive you, but there's no need to give up hope." He left the room.

Hermione and Ginny both sighed. Hermione looked up. "So, does the paper tell us anything we don't know?"

Luna and Harry had made it out of the bedroom a little before 8:00. The first order of the day was now getting breakfast around, so that Luna could stick to her schedules. She was surprised to see how comfortable Harry was in the kitchen. Of course, between his cooking duties at the Dursleys and helping Mrs. Weasley, Harry had every reason to be comfortable, but Luna had no reason to know that yet.

While Harry cleaned up, Luna went out shopping. Despite her asking, Harry refused to suggest anything that she could pick up, as she should just follow her usual routine.

When Luna therefore came back with her magical shopping bag filled with what would have needed six large bags to Muggles, Harry gave her a suspicious look. Luna shrugged, "I shop big once in a while, and then small in between. Help me put things away, and then you might want to look at the Prophet."

Harry eyed the folded paper warily, but set to work to learn where everything was kept. When he finally looked some ten minutes later, he winced at the headline, which took up almost a third of the front page: POTTER DEFEATS DEATH EATERS IN ATTEMPT TO SAVE MUGGLE RELATIVES. The article acknowledged that Dolohov and Lestrange had died from the encounter, although it didn't say how Harry had killed them. It did state that the Dursleys were killed, and how, but not how the Death Eaters had managed to enter the heavily- warded home. It also did not say that Harry was missing.


"Excuse me. Mrs. Thomas?"


"My name is Remus Lupin. I was one of Dean's teachers, and work with his Headmaster during the summer vac. I was wondering if I might speak with Dean for a moment."

Mrs. Thomas' eyes went a bit wide, and she glanced behind her. In a hushed voice, she asked, "You're a wizard?"

"I am."

Mrs. Thomas looked him over, and decided the man looked a bit shabby but presentable. "Come in. You're lucky. Dean works for his father in the afternoons. He's got less than an hour before his father comes home for lunch."

Remus came in and looked around. The Thomas' lived in a somewhat commercial area. The ground floor was a florist's shop, and the other three floors were apartments. The Thomas' had the entire top floor, and Remus saw that there were as many Thomases as there were Weasleys, although Dean was the oldest by a number of years.

"Professor Lupin!"

"Mister Thomas," Remus said. "May I speak with you in private, please."

"Dean's in trouble!" two little girls sang out.

"All of you! Set the table! Come on!"

Dean rolled his eyes, and took Remus to a back bedroom he shared with two brothers. "What's happened? Harry, Voldemort, or both?" Dean asked.

Remus put up a privacy ward. "Is that a guess?"

"Please! I may not be as bright as Hermione Granger, but I'm not stupid. What else would bring you here? If we were in direct danger, I would hope you'd want to talk with Mum and Dad."

"Actually, in that situation, assuming time wasn't pressing, I'd still talk to you first, but that isn't why I'm here. Harry's Muggle guardians were killed two nights ago."

"Where's Harry? Is he okay?"

"We don't know. He managed to kill two of the Death Eaters, and then took off on his broom. He made a stop at Gringotts, and then disappeared."

"And you think he might be here?" Dean shook his head. "There wouldn't be room for Harry around here the size he was back when he was eleven."

"Do you know where he is, by any chance?"

"No. I hope I'm not your best guess."

"Actually, you're Hermione and the Weasleys' best guess. I didn't even have one."


"Would you tell me, if you knew?"

Dean looked very serious. "You're about the only person I might tell, except maybe Hermione."


"Really. I have a lot of respect for almost all of my teachers, Professor, but you're the only one I can say that I've liked. And I know Harry trusts you, and that takes a lot. I don't say much at Hogwarts. I'm Muggle-born and all that, after all. I keep my mouth shut and my eyes open, and I saw clearly that Harry was mistreated by his guardians, and I never saw any of the staff at Hogwarts really help him with anything, other than you."

"Dean! Dumbledore. . . ."

"I don't know exactly what went on behind the scenes, but I do know Dumbledore sent Harry to Snape for help, and it made Harry open to his nightmares."

"Dean. . . ."

"Have you ever seen a friend howling in pain, Professor?" Remus winced at that. "That was Harry, a few times last term. And he was moaning in pain most nights by the end of last term even before the fiasco at the Ministry." Remus looked sick.

"Shall I tell you what it was like right before and after the Ministry? Or after the Third Task? What would you say if I told you some nights, the four of us -- or three of, those last weeks, since Ron was in the Infirmary most of the time -- took turns hugging Harry, so he wouldn't thrash around too much and hurt himself?"

"Why not a restraining charm?"

"Because then he would have been restrained and woken up. When we hugged him, most of the time, he would settle down and sleep after five or ten minutes. Some of the other nights, before the Ministry, the nights his scar burned, then we knew we had to retreat, because he would wake up."

"Harry doesn't know?"

"No, he hasn't got a clue. We had to do it a few times a month all year, but it was every night after the Ministry. Even Seamus helped, even back when he was torn between wanting to follow Harry and following his mum's orders to cut him."

"And you never told anyone?"

"Hermione knew, of course."

"I meant a teacher!"

Dean frowned. "Which teacher should we have told who didn't already know that he suffered from nightmares and didn't sleep? We both know the Headmaster knew. And after what Harry went through our First year, we knew we had to help him and we have ever since."

"And you?"

"Cuddled with a bloke? yes. Care to make anything of it?" Remus wasn't intimidated (it's difficult to intimidate a werewolf, after all), but Dean was tall enough (towering over Lupin) and self-assured enough to be a credible threat to most people.

"Look, Dean, if Harry. . . ."

"No, sir. Let me put it this way. Neville gave me and Seamus a slightly less censored version of what happened at the Ministry than was in the papers. I won't say I wish I had been there with him, but I will say, if fate had thrown me the chance, I would have gone. I don't know where Harry is. If I find out, I'll listen to him, and then decide if I would let Hermione know."

"Why Hermione?"

Dean smiled. "Can I ring you up?"

"No," Remus had to admit. "Alright Dean. Thanks for talking with me."

"Professor? Harry really likes and respects you. I know you want to find him, but think seriously about it before you decide to tell anyone else if you do find him."

"I will, Dean. Thanks. Oh, tell your mother that the O.W.L.s will be a little late."

"Right. A flimsy cover story is better than none, huh? I'll tell her an edited version of why you're looking for Harry."


"Works best with my folks, anyway. His guardians were killed, and he ran. Don't worry, I can handle it."

"I'm sure you can," Lupin said, collapsing the privacy ward. "On the off-hand chance you get an owl about the spell, have the Ministry contact me via the Headmaster, if you can't get a hold of Hermione."

"All right."

As Dean worked that afternoon, he thought about Harry, and finally thought to himself, 'Harry might have just run, but he might have gone to Diagon Alley for more than just money. I wonder who all lives there, over the shops?' He decided to keep his ideas to himself.

"No luck, I take it?" Dumbledore asked.

"None good, at any rate. I take it everything else came up a blank as well."

Dumbledore nodded. "Severus is fairly certain Harry has not been captured." He raised his hand, "I know you do not trust Severus. . . ."

"Oh, on this I do. If Voldemort had Harry, Severus would tell us everything we would need to know to rescue him, stand back, and then belittle Harry for needing rescue."

"Remus. . . ."

"I did find something interesting out."

"And what was that?"

"That all Harry's friends trust him a great deal more than they trust you. If fact, most think you've treated Harry rather shabbily, and think whomever kept sending him back to the Dursleys should, and I quote Oliver Wood, 'be tied up and used as Bludger practice for a few days'."

"Remus. . . ."

"I tend to agree, although I'm sure Severus, who's lurking behind the door, wouldn't."

Snape came into the office, scowling. Seeing the very angry look on Remus' tired face, however, Snape decided for once to address only the Headmaster. "The good news is that the Dark Lord definitely does not have Potter. The bad news is that we have six more days to find him, after which he will switch from rewarding whoever finds him to punishing everyone who doesn't."

"It's a shame you didn't get some clue as to what was going to happen," Remus observed.

"I agree," Snape said, managing to hold his temper. "I did learn that this was something Pettigrew was concerned with, which explains why he wasn't present at the Ministry."

"One more score to settle with him, then," Remus growled.

"You already spared him once too often," Snape pointed out.

"If you hadn't interfered, that wouldn't have mattered," Remus snapped back.

"Enough!" Dumbledore ordered.

"I just wish we knew where he was," Remus said.

"Indeed," Snape almost agreed. "Who knows what trouble the boy is getting up to."

Having watched Luna drink her nightly potion, Harry was brushing her long, dark blonde hair as they sat nude on her bed. When they were done, they cuddled under the sheets, and fell peacefully asleep.

Author notes: Thank you to the West Ham web site for the directions! For those who have read my short story 'Great Minds Think Alike', the scene with Dean in this chapter was actually written first. And, to respond to a question about Voldemort's peeping: Considering how many 'power of love'-type fics are out there (including most of my older ones), I was surprised no one (that I know of) has speculated on what would happen to Voldie dropping in under those circumstances. . . .