- Bill Weasley/Fleur Delacour Ginny Weasley/Harry Potter Hermione Granger/Ron Weasley Remus Lupin/Nymphadora Tonks
- Draco Malfoy Albus Dumbledore Ginny Weasley Minerva McGonagall Molly Weasley Neville Longbottom Percy Weasley Peter Pettigrew Remus Lupin Severus Snape Nymphadora Tonks Harry and Hermione and Ron Lord Voldemort
- Action Adventure
- Harry and Classmates During Book Seven
- Half-Blood Prince
Published: 02/06/2007Updated: 03/31/2007Words: 15,636Chapters: 4Hits: 2,901
Search for the Broken Soul
- Story Summary:
Chapter 01 - Grapefruit and Gizmos
- Chapter Summary:
- It is the summer after Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts, and Harry leaves the hated Privet Drive in style. Escaping from the Muggle world, Harry goes to Grimmauld Place to meet Ron and Hermione; his quest for shards of a broken soul begins.
A ray of early morning sunlight crept through the window of an upstairs bedroom of Number Four, Privet Drive, illuminating the form of a boy with black hair and rumpled, baggy clothes. Harry Potter was bent over a copy of The Daily Prophet, frowning at the photograph on the front page. A straggle-haired man stared out at him, lips stretched in a grin. He had unusually pointy yellow teeth. Bold lettering across the top of the page proclaimed, "FENRIR GREYBACK STRIKES AGAIN." Harry's frown darkened as he read the story.
In the early hours of this morning, two brothers, aged three and ten respectively, were found lying unconscious in Windelton Woods. Hans and Sidney Trimping, of Essex, both show unmistakable signs of having been savaged and bitten by a werewolf. The Prophet is sorry to report that Hans has died of his injuries, while Sidney is in critical condition at St. Mungo's Hospital, London.
The identity of the animal in question is unknown; however, Ministry Inspectors have voiced suspicions that the attack may have been the work of the notorious Fenrir Greyback, who ...
Twisting his mouth in disgust, Harry laid down the paper on his desk, which was cluttered with bits of parchment and empty inkbottles. According to the Prophet, Greyback had a large record of attacks on infants, stretching back over thirty years. The reporter fittingly called him the 'fleetest, most cunning beast of this era." Too swift to outrun, too clever to catch, he had evaded capture for all this time. And he was still at it, thought Harry gazing at a second, smaller photograph, from which the elder brother screamed and writhed silently from his hospital bed.
A sharp tap on the window distracted him from his grim thoughts. Looking up, he saw a snowy owl perched precariously on the windowsill, two scrolls of parchment tied to her leg and a sorry-looking mouse dangling from her beak.
"Hedwig!" Harry jumped up from his chair, opened the window and Hedwig awkwardly half-flew, half-scrambled in. Harry felt her warm, comforting weight settle on his shoulder. Stroking her head feathers fondly, he removed the letters, and carried her over to her cage. She blinked her amber eyes at him and hooted softly, before gulping the mouse down in one mouthful.
Harry threw himself onto his bed and eagerly unfurled the first letter. The sight of Ron's untidy scribble lifted his spirits.
How are you doing? Hope the Muggles aren't treating you too bad. It's been great here so far - Bill and Charlie managed to get home for the summer, and we've been staying at the place we stayed two summers ago -
Here Harry's insides wrenched but he pushed the thought of Sirius firmly out of his mind and forced himself to keep reading.
- it's much cleaner now. I think you're going to be brought here after you come of age. Hermione's here too, I swear she's trying to learn everything we'll miss in seventh year this summer, it's driving me crazy. Anyway, we'll see you next week, unless you blow up your aunt again, then you really will be expelled! No, seriously, don't let them annoy you, because I don't think I can stand a whole summer with just Hermione, at least until she finishes memorising all three thousand, five hundred and sixty-four pages of The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 7
Harry laughed as he folded up the parchment, though felt a slight twinge of guilt - it was, after all, his fault that he, Ron and Hermione weren't going back to Hogwarts. Though, he thought with a knowing smile, he doubted if Ron really was as unhappy about being alone with Hermione as he claimed. The next letter was from her.
Have you had a good summer so far, Harry? Don't let your aunt and uncle get to you - this time next week you'll never have to see them again! I can't wait till you get here; Ron's been badgering me constantly when I'm working. He doesn't realise how important it is that we learn as much advanced magic as possible, and we're really going to need it this year. You had better be studying too - I think we need to learn some more obscure spells, ones that perhaps the Death Eaters don't know. I might go to Hogwarts and have a look in the Restricted Section, I'm sure Professor McGonagall would let me.
Anyway, I'll see you next week. Happy Birthday in advance! Ron's dad is going to collect you; I think he wants another look at your uncle's stereo system.
Don't let what happened to Professor Dumbledore get you down. I don't know if you wanted me to bring that up but I really don't think you should dwell on it too much, you'll only make yourself more miserable.
As he laid down the letter, Harry scowled. No, he hadn't wanted her to bring that up. It had haunted his dreams at night, flashes of green light repeatedly forcing their way into his sleep, images of Dumbledore's pallid face, drained and weak, staring at him, until he woke up drenched in sweat and panting. And cursing Snape under his breath. In his heart Harry swore to himself, that if he ever saw that slimy, traitorous murderer again, he would kill him first and ask questions later.
The loud creaking of the Dursleys' bedsprings and the sound of his uncle muttering something brought him back to the present time and to his senses. Hermione was right - he mustn't let Dumbledore's death crack him up. And so he carefully tucked the letters under the loose floorboard in his room where he kept all his secret possessions, then went downstairs without bothering to comb his hair.
A week later, it was his birthday. Once this would have been nothing out of the ordinary, but today he eagerly scoured the skies for owls bringing him cards from his friends. He hoped very much that this would be the last day he was stuck in Privet Drive; the thought of leaving to stay with Ron and Hermione had been what had allowed him to put up with Dudley's jeers and punches and the open hostility of his aunt and uncle over the summer.
Then, with a sudden leap of his heart, Harry spied a group of birds gliding towards him over the rooftops, and he quickly wrenched open the window. He jumped back as several owls swooped down at once, appearing suddenly and silently from the night. One, two, three owls glided smoothly through the open gap; the fourth, a bedraggled grey, slammed straight into the other window. Harry hastily leant out and grabbed it before it could drop to the ground. He checked the unconscious Errol anxiously to see if he was still alive, then, satisfied, relieved him of the huge package tied to his leg.
With the parcel was a quickly scribbled note from Ron, wishing Harry a happy birthday and informing him that he was to be collected from Privet Drive at eleven o' clock the following morning. Harry's spirits rose even higher. At last, he would be free! Underneath the brown paper there were two parcels - one, obviously from Mrs Weasley, containing a large, sticky, treacle birthday cake, and a second present from Ron, which was struggling slightly in its wrappings. Harry eagerly ripped off the paper and out darted a real Golden Snitch, though he could tell it was a cheap one; after a few minutes of darting inquisitively around the room its little wings struggled to keep it in the air. It flopped onto Harry's bed, quivering with exhaustion. Harry watched it, grinning, then turned to the rest of his presents.
Hermione had sent him a large, leather-bound book entitled Unique Defensive Magic: Little known Counter-Jinxes and Blocking Spells, which he skimmed through enthusiastically. She was right; it was a good idea to learn unusual spells that the Death Eaters - and, if he were extremely lucky, Voldemort - would not know.
The third card was from Lupin, though there was no gift attached. This did not surprise or disappoint Harry, for he knew how poor his old teacher was, and wondered, with a twinge of anger, if the laws Dolores Umbridge had passed against werewolves still prevented him from finding employment.
Not entirely to Harry surprise, the card Hagrid sent snarled and snapped at his fingers when he opened it - he stuck it hastily on the windowsill, where it rocked and quivered, making ominous growling noises. With the card was a large parcel of lumpy biscuits, so hard he couldn't break one even after banging it repeatedly on the edge of his desk.
As he laid down his gifts, feeling happier than he had in a long time, Harry was suddenly gladder than ever that, somewhere out there, he had friends.
None of the Dursleys acknowledged his presence at breakfast. Harry was hardly expecting warm birthday greetings, but still - he had come of age. They could at least look at him. Come of age ... the sudden inspiration hit Harry like a gleam of sunlight. Of course - now, he would never have to worry about Mafalda Hopkirk and his Decrees for the Improper Use of Underage Magic ever again! Smirking, he silently slid his wand out of his jeans pocket and pointed it under the table at his pathetically small grapefruit quarter, transfiguring it into a thick slice of warm buttered toast. For good measure, he conjured an ample amount of strawberry jam. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, who were still avoiding looking at him, noticed nothing, but Dudley, who could sniff out food a mile away, turned his head so fast he appeared to crick his neck.
"Mum!" said Dudley loudly, glaring at his cousin with piggy eyes as Harry bit noisily into the toast.
Aunt Petunia turned affectionate eyes on her porky son. "Yes, Popkins?"
"You gave Harry - I don't have - give me jam on toast!" Dudley declared, and Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon turned sharply to look at Harry. Identical expressions of bewilderment and anger appeared on their faces as they took in his breakfast.
Harry, who had been licking his lips to incense Dudley further, whilst directing his wand under the table at his cousin's grapefruit and shrinking it to the size of a thimble, looked up innocently. "Yes, Uncle Vernon?" he said politely, making his uncle's grapefruit disappear entirely with a muttered Vanishing charm.
"Where did you get that toast?" demanded his uncle, attempting to grab it from Harry, who widened his eyes in feigned innocence.
"Why, it was on my plate - I thought it was my birthday breakfast," grinned Harry, stuffing the rest of the slice whole into his mouth to evade his uncle's grasping fingertips.
Uncle Vernon's face was now dangerously red, but the upcoming outburst never came. For at that moment, Dudley noticed his tiny grapefruit and amidst his wails Harry, choking down his laughter, slipped upstairs to his room. He didn't forget to charm wings onto his aunt's grapefruit as he went so she screamed and ducked as it fluttered about the kitchen.
None of the Dursleys followed him. That day was one of the best in Harry's life, as he got back at Dudley and his aunt and uncle for all the slights and punches he had endured at their hands. By that afternoon, all three of them immediately fled from any room he set foot in. Harry, as well as having fun hexing small objects to fly, tap-dance and whistle whenever the Dursleys walked past, enjoyed, for the first time in his life, unlimited use of Dudley's computer and all four televisions.
But that evening, having had his fun, he put everything back to normal and retreated to his room leaving the Dursleys in peace. After all, they had sheltered him for sixteen years, and he wondered, feeling slightly guilty, if Dumbledore would have repaid them in such a way. But, he decided as he climbed into bed, Dumbledore might well have done. And he fell into a peaceful sleep, a remembrance of flying glasses of oak-matured mead, cowering Dursleys, and a serenely smiling Dumbledore before his eyes.
The next day Harry woke up early in anticipation. It was only dawn and he pulled on his clothes as quietly as possible, as experience had taught him that it was never an agreeable experience to rouse his aunt and uncle before they wanted to wake. Especially not after the events of yesterday. He had packed everything last night, as soon as he finished vanishing the legs on the remote control and silencing the growling doorknobs. Now, with nothing to do, Harry spent the early hours of the morning pacing the floor, impatiently checking his watch every few minutes. The Daily Prophet arrived as usual, borne by owl, and he read it cover to cover several times before eleven o' clock. To his disgust he read that the bitten boy, the elder brother, had also died in St. Mungo's last night. The hunt for Greyback was at its peak, with most of the wizarding community furious and howling for the beast's blood.
As the minute hand of Harry's bedside clock approached eleven, Harry had his head stuck under his bed, searching for Ron's golden snitch. It had decided to hide in the most awkward place possible. As he lay flat on his stomach making ineffectual swipes at the evasive glimmer of gold, he distinctly heard through the dusty floorboards the sound of several loud pops downstairs - the sound of people Apparating. In excitement, Harry attempted to jump to his feet, and immediately cracked his head hard on the underside of the bed. In agony, seeing stars and cursing his own stupidity, Harry managed to catch the Snitch with a lucky snatch. He pulled himself out, stuffing the wriggling ball into the pocket of his jeans as he did so. Then, rubbing the back of his aching head, Harry grabbed his trunk and staggered out of his bedroom. Wondering whether as many wizards would have come to collect him as last time, he hurried down the stairs three at a time, heaving his trunk behind him, and threw open the kitchen door.
The sight that greeted him was almost comical. Harry forgot the still-sharp pain in his head as he surveyed the scene before him. Aunt Petunia and Dudley had both backed up, terrified, against the wall, looking as though they were trying to push themselves right through it, and Uncle Vernon was standing in the middle of the room, surrounded by four familiar people. His face was beet red and turning purple faster than Harry knew to be safe. Knowing the signs of an impending explosion, Harry announced his presence with a hasty cough.
"Er - hi," he said, surreptitiously pointing his wand at the clock and wordlessly shrinking the long, blue, twitching ears - he'd forgotten that one last night. Mr and Mrs Weasley and Lupin turned to him with smiles, but Moody continued to glare at Uncle Vernon, who was looking anywhere than at his horribly spinning magical eyeball.
Lupin walked swiftly over to Harry, still smiling, but studying him intently. Harry also looked at him with some concern, though he tried not to let it show. Lupin looked thinner and more exhausted than he had ever seen him, and though he was still young, his light-brown hair was now almost entirely grey. Harry guessed that he had probably been right in thinking that Lupin still had no job, for his robes were more worn and threadbare than ever.
"Harry, dear!" Mrs Weasley was beaming at him, and Harry forgot Lupin as she pulled him into a warm embrace. At that moment, Uncle Vernon reached boiling point. Evidently the sight of someone hugging the nephew he hated was just too much.
"What the hell are you weirdos doing in my house?" he yelled, slamming his fist on the draining-board. Harry felt a surge of anger. Weirdos, were they?
"These are my real family," he said calmly, looking his uncle directly in the eye. "And they're better than any of you could ever be."
Aunt Petunia gasped and clutched her throat, shaking her head silently. Uncle Vernon had no such restraint.
"You ungrateful little beast!" he bellowed, so loud that even his own family jumped in shock. But Harry stood his ground, and amidst his yells, Lupin said, "Grip my arm tightly, Harry, I'll Apparate you back."
With a surge of remembrances - the last time he had done this, it had been on the way to Dumbledore's last adventure - Harry took hold of the proffered forearm, turned on the spot, and was pulled away from the pristine kitchen, at last, never to see the Dursleys again. And he wasn't sorry at all.
Though by now familiar, the sensation of Apparating was still so unpleasant that Harry wondered if he really wanted to take his Apparition test. The feeling of being squeezed through a very small tube was not one he was keen to repeat. Lupin smiled as though he knew what Harry was thinking, and led him down the street towards number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. Harry heard several small pops behind and glancing round saw that the rest of the company had joined him. Mr Weasley's ears were pink, Moody looked contemptuous and Mrs Weasley horrified. Such was the effect of the Dursleys, thought Harry with an inward grin, glad to see that he was not alone in his dislike.
Harry was feeling slightly light-headed - the realisation that he was, after sixteen long years, free from the Dursleys at last, was wonderful. It was as though a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders, and he couldn't quite belive it yet.
They reached Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. Moody rapped on the door of the old house three times, and it flew open almost immediately.
"Harry!" The wind was knocked out of him as Hermione pulled him into a bear-hug, exclaiming and calling Ron and Ginny. Harry grinned as he saw the familiar freckle-faced, red haired figure of Ron bound down the stairs, and felt his heart give a funny leap when his sister appeared at the top, beaming at him. Harry hugged Ginny when she reached him, but then looked her in the eyes, with a small shake of his head. He'd already had this conversation with her, and wasn't going to back down now. There was no way he could carry on having a relationship with Ginny until the war was ended and they could live a normal life. But it was good to be with them again, so good he could almost ignore the inevitable twist in his stomach as he walked through his godfather's old house, the gloomy, cold house where everything reminded him of Sirius.
"You're sleeping in the same room as last time, dear," said Mrs Weasley, who still looked very ruffled from her encounter with the Dursleys. "Ginny, come and help me with dinner."
Harry looked at Ginny, sending her the unspoken message "talk later," and she nodded and disappeared into the kitchen. He, Ron and Hermione clambered upstairs, hauling his truck behind them. Harry couldn't stop grinning. Four weeks was, after all, a long time to have been away from his best friends, and as he collapsed onto his bed with Ron and Hermione, he felt that, for now, nothing could spoil his gladness.
"Good to see you, mate," said Ron, also beaming. "It's been hell here stuck with Hermione, she won't stop working. You'd think, in the holidays, you'd want to forget books for a bit, but no ... "
Harry laughed as Hermione buffeted Ron with her pillow. Then she turned to him, her face slightly tense.
"How are you, Harry?" She surveyed him anxiously, and Harry understood the meaning behind those simple words. She was asking how he was coping with Dumbledore's death, and he turned away, the grin sliding off his face. "Fine. I'm fine. So, what's been going on here then? You said you were having loads of fun?"
Ron settled back lazily on Harry's bed. "Yeah, we have. Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes is...well, it's amazing, it took off so well - Fred and George bought branches in Birmingham and Bristol, and they're looking to expand abroad - maybe get premises in Paris. I can't believe they've been so successful...they're richer than Percy is, with his salary as Junior Assistant to Scrimgeour ... " and he trailed off, looking slightly moody. Hermione put her arm comfortingly round his shoulders, ignoring Harry's knowing smirk. Ron looked slightly awkward, glancing at Hermione's hand on his sleeve, but then relaxed and continued. "They've come here a couple of times for lunch, they've been playing pranks on everyone, it's been great."
Hermione frowned slightly disapprovingly, sliding her arm off Ron's neck. "Well, it's funny when they played tricks on Tonks, and you, but I think they should have more respect for Professor Moody and Professor Lupin, I mean, they were their teachers..." She tailed off as Ron rolled his eyes.
"Honestly, Hermione, that was why it was funny! No-one would've believed even they'd dare to turn a teacher's hair blue!"
"They turned Lupin's hair blue?" said Harry, grinning.
"Nah, that was Moody. They put this Poppa-paintbomb in his bowler hat, the stuff wouldn't come off for days," said Ron with a snort of laughter. "What they did to Lupin was worse, they put crushed Canary Creams and Bunny Biscuits - they're a new thing - in his sandwich. It doesn't wear off when they're combined, he was covered in feathers and rabbit fur for an hour before Mum worked out a counter-charm." Ron sighed reminiscently as Harry laughed.
Halfway through a disapproving shake of her head, Hermione seemed to abruptly turn to more important matters.
"Harry," she said seriously, and he and Ron looked up at her from the bed, where they were messing about with the Golden Snitch that Ron had given Harry for his birthday. "We've been thinking about - about the Horcruxes." She said the last word in a whisper as though if she said it any louder Voldemort would come bursting through the window.
Harry sighed. "So've I," he said heavily, feeling the lump of the fake locket he carried around everywhere in his jeans pocket and reluctantly pulling it out.
All three of them stared at the golden locket as it lay on the bedcovers, tarnished and dull. Then, as Hermione seemed about to launch into a heavy discussion about R.A.B., Horcruxes and Snape, Harry impulsively grabbed the fake Horcrux and stuffed it back into his pocket, standing up. Both Ron and Hermione glanced up at him enquiringly.
"Let not talk about it now," he said firmly. "I've just got away from the Dursleys for ever, I'm seeing you for the first time in weeks, I want to have fun - at least for today." Gratitude swelled in his chest as Ron and Hermione nodded in understanding.
They spent the time before dinner laughing and talking about things that only best friends would find funny, and Harry savoured every moment of the normal, silly messing around he could get, for he knew that soon there would be little time for such trivial pleasures.