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- Ginny Weasley Harry Potter Hermione Granger Luna Lovegood Neville Longbottom Ron Weasley Remus Lupin Sirius Black Severus Snape
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Published: 02/04/2006Updated: 09/22/2006Words: 120,316Chapters: 21Hits: 91,514
Harry Potter and the Daemon Sidhe
- Story Summary:
- In the aftermath of the events of the Ministry, Harry is in dire need of help. That help arrives in the form of six mysterious people, along with his friends and even foes, who give him the strength and support he will need to defeat Voldemort. Written post-OotP but will take some factors of HBP into account.
Chapter 03 - 3
- Chapter Summary:
- Harry decides its time for some letter writing. He then has some Occlumency lessons and discovers some suspicions were true. The letters are received and the receivers make some decisions.
Harry woke and lay in his bed, feeling very odd and very confused. He was still a little staggered at the idea that the Daemon Sidhe considered him their leader and...a King. He snorted to himself, a king. He wouldn't know the first thing about being a king. Just as he thought that, knowledge of leadership flowed through his mind and he gasped and quickly squelched everything down. It seemed that Gwydion was right; he was going to have to find somewhere quiet and let everything settle into place. He threw back the sheets and quickly went to shower and dress.
When he wandered downstairs, he was surprised to find the house empty. He walked into the kitchen where he found a note lying on the table. He picked it up and read that his Aunt and Dudley had gone into London to do some shopping and were not expected back until this evening. He grinned and quickly prepared himself some breakfast. After he finished he washed his dishes and made some sandwiches. He felt like going down to the park again. He liked his little corner; it was quiet and protected and he thought it would be a good place for what Gwydion wanted him to do. He shoved the sandwiches in bag and headed out of the house, making sure to lock the door behind him. He looked around for a moment then headed down the street to the park where he quickly walked over to his bench. He stopped for a moment then, with a small smile, lay down on the grass under one of the trees. He drew in a deep breath and, with some trepidation, relaxed and let his mind go where it wished.
Snape watched the young man in front of him. He was back on his punishment duty again today and he had some half-formulated plans about trying to find out why the boy wanted Dreamless Sleep. He had been rather disarmed by the boy's determined pace when he left the house and headed towards the park. He was even more surprised when the boy lay down under a tree and closed his eyes. As he watched the boy seemed to almost enter a trance-like state. He sat down on the bench and watched with interest and then growing confusion as the boy lay there for nearly three hours, with only a slight twitch of a muscle here and there. He was actually starting to grow alarmed and wonder whether he should contact someone when the boy slowly sat up. As he watched, Potter hauled himself over to a nearby tree and propped himself up against it, a contemplative look on his face.
Harry leaned against the tree and let himself relax. What had just happened had been remarkable and yet he had felt utterly comfortable for the whole thing. The knowledge that had been locked up in his brain had startled him. He was actually bordering on being intimidated by it except that he knew, and he couldn't really determine how he knew, that the new strength of his magic would be able to handle this. He felt somehow different now; more confident and sure of himself. He also realised that he was viewing his relationships with everyone else a little differently now. For example, he examined his dealings with the Headmaster and frowned. Two things were now very clear to him; one was that Dumbledore loved him very dearly and the second was that the man had been manipulating him for years. Moving him around like he was a pawn on a chess board. What Harry didn't know was the why behind that manipulation. He very much wanted to believe that it was because Dumbledore had his best interests at heart but he couldn't be entirely sure. He resolved to corner the Headmaster at some point very soon and have a very long and detailed discussion with him.
He then turned his thoughts to Remus. He blushed and hung his head slightly. The older man had sent a number of letters to Harry so far this summer, most of them tentative offers of a shoulder to cry on. His replies had been noncommittal and bland and he realised he had been doing the man a grave disservice. He was all Remus had left of his best friends and Harry knew that the older man cared about him deeply. Harry then came to the realisation that Remus was all he had left of his parents. Remus would certainly know how Harry felt about Sirius dying; probably felt much the same way himself. He closed his eyes as he thought about Sirius, still feeling that terrible ache in his chest whenever he thought about his godfather and the events in the Ministry. With this new knowledge he could see the mistakes that not only he made but also the ones that Sirius had made. Harry shook his head silently; he vowed to write to Remus the moment he got back to the house and this time it wouldn't be a bland note but a real letter that let the man know just what he was feeling.
Thoughts of Sirius inevitably turned his attention to Snape. He scowled a little until his new knowledge came to the fore and made him really think about things. He stilled as he thought about the Potions Master's behaviour and his role in the Order. He came back to himself with a small shake of his head and sighed. Much to his utter chagrin, he had realised that he owed the Potions Master an apology or two. One for looking in his pensieve, though a small, very Slytherin part of him rather thought that Snape had wanted him to look in it, why leave it out like that otherwise? He owed him another apology for refusing to take the Occlumency lessons as seriously as he should have. He shuddered as he thought about that; he might be prepared to apologise but he was not under any circumstances prepared to take those lessons with the man again. He frowned and reminded himself to ask Devante if he or one of the other Daemon Sidhe could teach him. He also realised at this point that he had been a touch harsh for blaming the man for Sirius' death. The room had been full of Death Eater children when he had yelled out about Snuffles; the Potions Master had had to act the way he did. To do anything else would have been highly suspicious and, despite Harry's devout wishes, Draco Malfoy was not that stupid. He hung his head slightly and sighed; Snape was going to be impossible after he apologised.
He deliberately turned his thoughts away from the surly Potions Master and towards his friends. A fond smile crossed his face and his eyes lit up. They immediately dimmed a little as the events in the Department of Mysteries ran through his mind. He still could not believe the loyalty they had shown that day. Even though they had their doubts about the vision he had had, they still came with him. He knew from the letters they had sent that they did not blame him for what happened and he swallowed past the lump in his throat at that. They had been hurt because of his stupidity and yet they were more concerned about him than themselves. He looked across the park, not seeing anything that was in front of him; he didn't deserve friends like them but it seemed that he had no choice but accept their presence. He had even had letters from Neville and Luna that were as concerned about him as the ones from Hermione, Ron and Ginny. And he had done the same thing as with Remus; he had written bland, almost unconcerned notes back. He let out his breath gustily; okay, he owed them proper letters as well.
He pulled himself to his feet and stretched. Since he had all of these letters to write, he thought he might go home and get a start on them. He shoved his hands in his pockets and wandered through the park and along the streets until he got back to Number 4. He quickly made his way upstairs and settled down at his desk. He pulled some parchment towards him, grabbed his quill and began to write.
I wanted to apologise for my letters so far this summer. I know that I have been a bit rude and selfish. I'm sorry, Remus. I didn't mean to be, I guess I just didn't know how to deal with what happened to Sirius and I was taking it out on you a bit. I won't do it again, I promise.
You've been wondering how I've been doing. Well, I guess the answer is not so good. I miss him so much, Remus. I feel like it's my fault that he's dead and sometimes I don't understand how you don't hate me. I was stupid to stop the Occlumency lessons and I was stupid to believe that vision. I've been having terrible nightmares about it. I just keep seeing him fall through that Veil. Remus, you told me in the Department of Mysteries that he was dead, that he wouldn't come back. Why? What is the Veil? And why could I hear voices coming from behind it? Luna could as well though none of the others seemed to. I really want to know even though I'm kind of afraid to find out, if that makes any sense.
I also wanted to make the same offer to you as you did to me. I mean, you knew Sirius better than I did. I guess we might be the only two people around who will really miss Sirius in much the same way. I guess it's a little hard to make this offer when I'm stuck here but I stand by it. I'll take up your offer of a shoulder to cry on if you'll accept my offer of the same. I also wanted to ask you something but I'm not sure how to do it in a letter so I guess it will have to wait until I can speak to you. I'm hoping that Professor Dumbledore will let me leave here very soon. They're being pretty good to me but I really hate it here. I'd even be prepared to put up with staying at Grimmauld Place if I could get out of here.
Anyway, I think I'm starting to ramble. I miss you.
He looked down at the letter and smiled. He had said everything he thought he could in the letter. The rest would have to wait until he could speak to the man personally. He folded the letter up and pulled another piece of parchment towards him.
Hi mate! I'm sorry about not writing a proper letter to you before this but I guess I haven't been feeling too great. Not much of an excuse really but it's the only one I've got. First things first, how are you? Really? I don't want to hear anything like 'Oh, I'm fine' or anything like that. Those brain things got you good and you were hurt. I want to know how you are.
I also wanted to apologise for dragging you into the Department of Mysteries. I know you've been saying that it wasn't my fault. Well, it was. I chose to not continue the Occlumency lessons and I chose to believe the vision. And I'm probably going to sounds like a real prat when I say this but I'd do it again. I'd do it if it was Sirius or Remus or you or Hermione or any of the people I consider my family. I can't not do it. I've lost too many people to want to lose anymore and if that means taking stupid risks on the off chance that it's the right things to do then that's what I'm going to do.
And I really, really hope you'll always be there as my friend when I'm doing it. You were my first friend, Ron. My very first friend. And I hope, in spite of what I've just written in the last paragraph, you always will be my friend. It's bloody dangerous being my friend so I'll understand if you want to pull away but I hope you won't.
Harry sighed and folded the letter. He didn't want to think about what Ron's reaction might be so he picked up his quill again.
Firstly, I'd like to apologise for not writing to you properly. It's been pretty hard dealing with what happened, not just to Sirius but to you and Ron and the rest. I guess you were right in some way when you said I had a saving-people thing. I guess I do but I'm not going to apologise for it, Hermione. I would do the same thing again. I would do the same thing if it had been Remus in the vision or Ron or Ginny or you. I don't have many friends and I have even fewer people that I think of as family. You are one of those Hermione and I will do anything for my family and friends. I hope you can accept that because while I'm prepared to change some things about myself that is not one of them.
I hope you are alright. I know you've been saying that you are but I really would like to know the truth. Are you alright?
I'm getting there, I suppose you could say. I still miss Sirius so much. It hurts, Hermione. I know Sirius had his faults but he was my godfather and I miss him and I want him back. I know it can never happen just like my parents but I wish it could. I guess I'll just have to hang on tighter to Remus. He's all I've got left of my parents.
I hope this letter won't change your mind about being my friend because I need you. Your level headedness is very important to me as are you.
Harry folded the letter and rubbed his eyes. He was starting to feel a little choked up. Having to think about Sirius all the time was hard. He shook his head and placed Hermione's letter with the others. He quickly wrote his letters to Ginny, Neville and Luna and then picked up a piece of parchment to compose the first of his really serious letters.
Dear Professor Dumbledore,
I would like to apologise for the tantrum I threw in your office at the end of the school year. Breaking your things was childish and wrong and I am very sorry.
I am still upset that you chose to hide something so important from me for so long. I do honestly feel that if I had known why Voldemort was after me from the very beginning I would have made some different decisions throughout the years. I certainly think I would have made different decisions last year. I believe that if I had known I would have been much more sceptical about the vision that was sent to me. I also think I would have taken the Occlumency lessons much more seriously.
I hope that you will not continue hiding things from me. I understand that you may not wish to tell me some things for various reasons but I just ask that if you do not wish to tell me something, please tell me those reasons. Then, even if I am not happy about it, I will at least know your reasoning. It's better than getting frustrated about everything.
Lastly, I would like to ask when I will be leaving Privet Drive. I know about the protections here but I really do not want to spend my entire holiday with people who do not care about me. I was hoping at the very least to be able to return to Grimmauld Place, particularly if Remus is still staying there.
Harry quickly folded the letter; he didn't want to linger over it or add anything more. There was still a bit of lingering resentment inside him and he didn't want to have it come out in the letter. He picked up his quill for the last time and drew in a deep breath before starting to write.
Dear Professor Snape,
I hope that you will read this and not just throw it into the fire.
I would like to apologise for looking in your pensieve. It was rude and inconsiderate of me. The only reason I can offer for it is that I had some hope that my parents would be in your memory. I know so little about them and I have only one memory of them and that is of the day that they died. I guess from what I saw I can freely say that your hatred of my Dad and Sirius is well-founded, though I think you were very rude to my Mum. She was only trying to help. I know what it is to be bullied and humiliated in public myself so I can kind of understand your reaction. I guess it's possible that I would have been embarrassed and lashed out like that if someone had ever rescued me from such a situation.
However, some part of me can't help but think that you wanted me to look in that pensieve. Why else would you leave it out like that? You never had before and I have to assume that it was no accident on your part; you're too Slytherin for that. And when you consider the single memory you left in there, well, it becomes a bit more suspicious, doesn't it? For what's its worth, I have found that I don't mind what happened. While I didn't really like seeing my Dad and Sirius like that, I did enjoy seeing my Mum. Not many people speak about her and it was nice to see that she didn't let anything as stupid as House rivalries get in the way of her life. I was very proud of what she did that day.
Once again I would like to apologise for looking in your pensieve though there is some part of me that thanks you for allowing it.
He looked over the letter and nodded. He rather thought that Snape was going to pop a blood vessel when he read it. Harry paused and snorted; if he read it that is. He folded the letter up then addressed them all. He walked over to where Hedwig was perched on the top of his wardrobe. He coaxed her down onto his arm and tied the letters on.
"Can you deliver the letters for Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Neville first? Then the letter for Remus and finally the ones for Professor Dumbledore and Snape?"
Hedwig hooted softly and nipped his finger gently. She spread her wings and Harry gave her a little boost out of the window. He watched her go and sat down at his desk again, dragging some of his holiday homework over.
Harry flopped down onto his bed with a gusty sigh, glad to be out of the way. The evening had been...tense, to say the least. Uncle Vernon had been in a bad mood when he got home from work, something about an accident in the plant that had injured a number of workers, and Aunt Petunia and Dudley had been tired and irritable. Harry had just kept his head down, been respectful and got out of there as soon as he could. He had buried himself in homework so that if Uncle Vernon stuck his head into the room, he wouldn't have an immediate excuse to start yelling. His desire to stay busy through his homework now meant that he had almost finished it all; something of a first for him really. He snorted and shifted his shoulders until he was a little more comfortable. He shifted his head until he could see the open window. Hedwig wasn't back yet but he wasn't concerned. She had a fair few letters to deliver and getting up to Hogwarts was going to take her a bit of time. Still he wished she was here, he missed her whenever she was gone. He sighed and pushed himself off the bed, grabbing his pyjamas. He got changed and flopped back down on the bed. He rolled onto his side and stared at the window again until he fell asleep.
He opened his eyes to find himself in the salle again and smiled.
"Hello, Harry!" came Devante's gravely voice.
Harry turned and grinned at the older man. "Hi, Devante. Where is everyone?"
"Just me and Gwydion tonight," Devante replied. "We thought you might like to get started on learning how to use your new power." He shrugged. "I mean, I know you have the knowledge tucked away inside your brain but knowing it and using it are two different things."
Harry smiled wryly and nodded. "Yes, I think I've kind of realised that."
Devante chuckled and walked over to Harry. He slung and arm around the young man's shoulders and guided him over to the door that led to the small study. When he opened the door Harry was rather startled to find not the study but a large workroom. He walked into it in a slight daze and looked around. The room was completely empty but for three rather battered looking stools and Gwydion. There was an odd feel to the room that Harry's new knowledge identified as very heavy shielding.
"Wow," he said finally. "This wasn't here last time."
Gwydion chuckled. "Well, as nice as that other room was, it wouldn't have very useful for working with powerful magic. We'd have made a ruin of it in no time." Harry nodded and Gwydion gestured to one of the stools. "Come on over and have a seat."
Harry obeyed and Devante and Gwydion took the other two stools.
"Before we start," Gwydion said. "Did you have any questions?"
"Uh, yes, but it doesn't really have anything to do with this," Harry said slowly. Gwydion raised an eyebrow in interest and Harry continued. "I...I need to learn Occlumency. Can any of you teach me?"
Both Devante and Gwydion looked surprised at this.
"Kolos would be the best one to teach you that," Gwydion said after a moment's thought. "Both Devante and I are decent Occlumens but Kolos is better than either of us. Why do you need this?"
Harry sighed and made a quick decision to trust these strange new friends. In as few words as possible he outlined his history with Voldemort and the odd link that the two of them shared. He told of the visions, including the false one he had received about Sirius and its consequences. The two men were silent for a while after that then Gwydion drew in a deep breath and let it out.
"Alright, I think that changes a few things," he said with a frown. "We'll cut down our training sessions for the moment and bring Kolos in to start teaching you Occlumency. I think this is very important."
Harry nodded with some relief. "Thank you."
"Have you had any lessons previously?" Devante asked with a look of concentration on his face. "I've just been speaking to Kolos and he wants to know."
Harry looked at Devante with surprise; he didn't know the Daemon Sidhe could communicate telepathically. "Er, yes, but they weren't very successful. My...teacher and I...didn't really get along."
Devante's eyes became distant for a moment then he chuckled. He grinned at Harry and said with a laugh, "Kolos had a few uncomplimentary things to say about the idea of learning Occlumency with someone you neither liked nor trusted. He hopes the same won't be applied to him."
Harry snorted with laughter. "Uh, no, I don't think so. I...trust all of you. I don't know why but I do. I think this new...knowledge I have is the source of it."
"Possibly," Gwydion said dryly. "Or possibly we're just very trustworthy people."
The other two laughed and Gwydion clapped his hands.
"Now that we've sorted that out, let's get down to business, shall we?" the nondescript wizard said cheerfully. "We're going to start with some basic things first, Harry, so that you can get a handle on how to control all this extra power. Don't worry if things go a little haywire at first. The room's heavily shielded and Devante and I know how to take care of ourselves so any explosions are perfectly alright."
"That's not making me feel any less nervous," Harry said with slight alarm.
Gwydion chuckled and began to give Harry instructions. The next few hours were some of the most challenging of Harry's life. The power he now had at his disposal was immense and he had indeed caused a few minor explosions at first. He was surprised when he came out of them with absolutely no damage to himself until Gwydion explained that his magic was also protecting him. His most embarrassing moment came when he caused a large explosion trying to cast the Lumos spell. He had grumbled for some time about that one, unsure how a simple light spell could do that. Gwydion and Devante had laughed at him and jollied him into a better humour before moving on. Finally Gwydion called the session to a halt and the three collapsed back on their stools.
"Well done, Harry!" Gwydion said with tired cheerfulness. "That was an excellent first session."
"Yeah, except for when I blew things up," Harry replied grumpily.
Devante laughed. "If it's any consolation Merlin was no better when he came into his power. He caused a beauty of an explosion once when he lost control of some Levin-bolts he was handling. Scorched the lot of us!"
Gwydion chuckled. "Yes, he was rather embarrassed at that. Said something about how a wizard of his age and experience shouldn't be making elementary mistakes like that."
"He was a little disturbed to find out that he would continue making those 'elementary mistakes' until he got used to the new power," Devante reminisced. "He was a bit put out by that."
Harry gave a laugh and relaxed, feeling a bit better about his efforts. If even Merlin had struggled for control at first then he was definitely allowed to be a bit clumsy. He gave a sudden start as Kolos materialised beside him.
"Are you gentlemen finished?" the scholar asked sternly.
"Yes," Gwydion said with a sigh. "He's all yours, Kolos."
Kolos nodded once and the other two Daemon Sidhe disappeared. Harry looked over at his new teacher a little nervously; after the last lot of Occlumency lessons he had had, he was a little apprehensive about these ones. Still, it couldn't be as bad as learning from Snape; Kolos didn't hate him. Kolos looked around the empty workroom with distaste.
"Well, this is hardly the place to be doing this," he said stiffly and the room suddenly shimmered and became a large library. Harry suddenly found himself not perched on a stool but sitting in a large, comfortable, leather chair in front of a fireplace. A similar chair sat opposite him and a small table stood between the two chairs. Kolos walked over and sat in the other chair.
"Now, Harry, will you let me see that previous Occlumency lessons you had," he said calmly.
"Er, y...yes," Harry stammered. "How do I do that?"
"Just relax, concentrate on the lessons and let me into your mind," Kolos instructed.
Harry nodded and swallowed. He took in deep breath then let it out, letting his muscles relax along with the exhalation. He concentrated on the lessons he had had with Snape and when he felt Kolos presence in his mind, he let the other man take control. As he watched, Kolos scanned through the memories then, with a burst of anger, the scholar ran through them again, slower this time. When he felt the scholar withdraw from his mind, he opened his eyes to find Kolos pacing angrily in front of the fire, muttering to himself and gesticulating wildly.
"Er, Kolos?" Harry said warily and twitched as the scholar whipped around to look at him. Kolos caught the small flinch and calmed himself down. He liked the young man and the last thing he wanted to do was frighten him. He sat back down and leaned forward.
"The way that man taught you was totally, completely and utterly wrong," he said intensely. "From what I could see, you had some perfectly good natural shields. You probably developed them when you were young because of the link. His...well, I won't call them lessons because he taught you nothing...his abuse of you destroyed those shields. I noticed that you felt like what he was doing was making things worse, not better. Well, you were correct. He absolutely destroyed those natural shields of yours and made you much more vulnerable to this Voldemort's attacks."
Harry leapt out of the chair and paced around the library, his anger red-hot. He stopped next to the fireplace and swore, long, loud and creatively, as he pounded the mantelpiece with his hand. The only thing that stopped him from regretting that he sent the letter was that he had only apologised for the one thing in that. He was now glad he hadn't apologised for not taking the Occlumency lessons seriously; it looks like he wasn't the only one with that attitude. His snarled comments were interrupted when Kolos laid a hand on his shoulder.
"Harry," the scholar said calmly, "come and sit down. Getting angry isn't going to change anything and we have some work to do."
Harry anger deflated suddenly and he slumped back down into his chair. "I'm never going to be able to do this, am I?" he said miserably.
Kolos glared at him. "Of course you are," he said stiffly. "You have the makings of an excellent Occlumens and probably a quite powerful Legilimens if you wish."
Harry looked at him in surprise and pulled himself together. "Okay," he said with a sigh. "What do I have to do?"
Kolos eyed him sternly. "Do you know how to ground and centre yourself?"
"Uh, no, I don't even know what that means," Harry stammered.
Kolos sighed; this was going to be interesting. "Alright," he said as he thought for a moment. "Let me into your mind again. I think that will be the easiest way to do this."
Harry nodded and relaxed, allowing Kolos to enter his mind.
Typical teenage mind, I see, Kolos said grumpily.
Harry chuckled. What did you expect, I am a teenager. Surprise flowed through him. How am I doing this?
Partly it's because I am one of the Daemon Sidhe and you are our King, Kolos said in very academic tones. But it's partly because you have the capability for mindspeech. Don't try and force it, it will develop in its own time. The shielding I am going to teach you will also allow you to shield your mind from others mindspeech.
Oh, Harry said a little weakly, how many more of these odd abilities am I going to develop?
I don't know, Kolos replied with amusement. We'll just have to wait and see.
That's not very reassuring, Harry said grumpily.
It wasn't meant to be, Kolos said dryly. Now concentrate on what I'm doing. Because I am in your mind I will be able to show you how to ground and centre but I won't be able to actually achieve it. You have to do that yourself. Now, watch.
Harry watched carefully as Kolos showed him how to ground and centre himself. It seemed to be a process of reaching down mentally and anchoring yourself in the ground and then almost wrapping your mind around that anchor. He had Kolos run through it three more times before he felt confident that he could remember the process then the two of them were back in their own minds. Kolos looked at him with a kind of stern encouragement.
"Now you try it on your own," he said.
Harry nodded and closed his eyes in concentration. He reached down and was pleased to find that grounding himself was really very easy. He then began to process of centring himself which he quickly found was not that easy. He scowled in frustration as he kept trying then he heard Kolos speaking.
Harry opened his eyes and looked over at the scholar.
"You're trying a little too hard," Kolos said dryly. "Just relax for a moment then try again."
Harry took in a deep breath then slowly let it out, forcing his muscles to relax. When he had achieved that, he closed his eyes. Once again he easily grounded himself then, deliberately trying not to try too hard, he attempted to centre himself. For a while he thought he was going to fail again, then with a suddenly snap he felt himself centred. It was like a muscle he had never known about had been cramped and had suddenly relaxed. His eyes flew open in surprise and he grinned at Kolos. The older man returned the grin.
"Now you should have the knowledge on how to weave your shields," he said. "Give it a try."
Harry nodded and closed his eyes. The knowledge of how to weave shields bubbled up and he slowly began the process. It took a few false starts before he managed it but gradually he began to weave his shield. It felt like putting up and curtain around his mind and he wasn't sure how this could stop anybody from getting it. When he was done, he opened his eyes again.
"Do you have them?" Kolos asked and Harry nodded. "Good. Legilimens."
Kolos spoke softly and Harry immediately felt a presence outside his shields trying to get in. Now, he understood why the shields seemed so flexible. The presence leant on the shields but the shields bent underneath the presence, flowed and did not shatter. The presence then tried hammering on them with much the same effect, then ramming them. It was at this point that Harry began to feel tired and he noticed the shields thinning. The next time the presence attacked it shredded the section of the shields it was aiming at and was inside. Almost immediately it withdrew and Harry stared at Kolos with dismay.
"They didn't work," he said sadly.
Kolos blinked. "Of course they did, Harry."
Harry stared at him. "What? They did? But you got in!"
"Well, yes, but not at first. It took me several tries to get through and the only reason I succeeded is because you are not used to holding up your shields."
Comprehension dawned on Harry's face. "So with practice..."
"You'll be able to hold them up indefinitely and they'll get stronger," Kolos finished. "You must keep them up, Harry, at all times. Even when you're tired and exhausted. You must keep them up until it becomes second nature and when you let them down it feels strange and unnatural."
Harry grimaced and nodded. "Is that the only way to strengthen them?"
"Yes," Kolos said, pleased with Harry's quick grasp of the situation. "Now, I think it's time for you to go. It's morning and you'll feel your activities here today." He paused then smiled proudly at Harry. "You've done very well today, Harry. Very well indeed."
Harry grinned and woke to find himself staring at the ceiling again as his head pounded with a headache. He sighed and pulled himself upright before starting his normal morning routine.
Severus Snape was irritated, though he was doing his best to avoid showing it. He was once again sharing breakfast with the Headmaster. It had become something of a routine on the morning after he had been on his 'punishment detail' as he still called it. He was not and had never been a morning person. Unfortunately the Headmaster was and he was forced to endure Albus' cheerful and slightly batty conversation with gritted teeth. It did very little for his appetite and thus he also had to endure Albus forcing all sorts of breakfast foods on him. When the snowy owl flew into the room, he almost sighed with relief until he realised it was Potter's owl and she was heading for him. What could the brat want now? The owl landed on the back of his chair and calmly held her leg out. There were two letters attached to her leg, the top one being addressed to him. He raised an eyebrow and removed the letter. The owl hooted at him then flew over to Albus to deliver the final letter. She then spread her wings again and flew out of the window.
Severus stared at the letter in his hand then, his curiosity overcoming his suspicious nature, he opened and read it. By the time he was finished, he was utterly speechless. Not that the boy had apologised but that he had apologised so sincerely with such an interesting reason and that he had worked out what Severus had done. He had indeed deliberately left that memory in the pensieve and had deliberately left the pensieve out. He had been sure that Potter would look, like the inconsiderate Gryffindor that he is. He wanted an excuse to stop the lessons. There, it was out; he wasn't overly proud of the fact but there it was. The boy was too much like his father, in his looks and his infernal Gryffindor courage and brainlessness. And yet there was also too much of his mother in him. In spite of his actions to her on the day in question, Severus had always liked Lily. She had always been nice to him, no matter what kind of attitude he displayed to her and part of him had admired her stubbornness. Seeing that same stubbornness in the boy had been...painful. He had hoped that Albus would take the boy for lessons when he stopped them, particularly when he cited the boy's arrant disregard for his privacy, but it seems that Albus had always been of the same opinion as Potter now was. He looked up at the Headmaster to find him reading Potter's letter with a solemn expression, quite unlike his normal, irritatingly cheerful self. When he finished, the Headmaster sighed and looked up at Severus.
"It seems, Severus," the Headmaster said sadly, "that I have done our young Harry a terrible wrong. I can only hope that he can find it within himself to forgive this foolish old man."
Severus snorted and sneered. He opened his mouth to comment but was stopped by Albus' raised hand.
"No, Severus. In this case it truly is I who am in the wrong." He sighed. "I concealed something very important from Harry and he is right to chastise me for it. Well, all I can do is make up for the mistakes I have made." He stood and nodded to Severus. "If you will excuse me, I must go and make some arrangements. I trust your own letter was more edifying than mine."
Severus watched with surprise as the Headmaster strode out of the room and he stared back down at the letter in his hand. His eyes narrowed as he read the letter again; his first impression was confirmed. That was a...very Slytherin piece of thinking from Potter. In fact, the boy's analysis of his actions was more than just a little Slytherin. This was a side of the boy he hadn't seen before; a much unanticipated side. Maybe it wasn't just blind luck that got the boy through all the scrapes he had gotten himself into. He couldn't bring himself to be angry. Well, he could but not right at this moment. Right now he wanted to know where Potter had summoned this most unGryffindorlike knowledge from. He tapped the letter against the arm of his chair for a moment then stood and swept out of the room. Perhaps it was time for a little letter writing...
"Ron! Ginny! Hedwig's brought letters for you!" Molly yelled up the stairs.
Seconds later her two youngest children came thumping down the stairs and she handed the pieces of parchment over. Ginny immediately disappeared back up to her room while Ron nicked outside into the garden. Molly watched them go and worried a little. She was hoping that these letters might have a little more information about how Harry was doing. Both children had reported that Harry's previous letters had been rather short on detail. She was terribly worried about the boy. She might have had her disagreements with Sirius but she knew how much he cared for Harry and how much Harry cared for Sirius. She had tried desperately to convince Albus to allow Harry to come straight to the Burrow this summer but he had insisted the boy must return to his relatives. Molly sniffed as she remembered the Dursleys; they really were dreadful people. She sighed and turned back to her cleaning; she would wait and see what Ron and Ginny had to say and then she would speak to Albus again.
Ron sat down under a tree and scratched at the welts that had been left on his arms by the brains in the Department of Mysteries. Madam Pomfrey had assured him that the welts would fade given time and that they would most likely be gone by the time school started again. He didn't remember much after the brains attacked him, just weird flashes of people and things that he didn't know. Hermione and Neville had told him what had happened though and he was really worried about Harry. He had tried writing letters but Harry hadn't really answered them; the notes he had gotten in return had been very bland and impersonal. He sighed, opened the letter and began to read.
After he finished he sat for a long time staring into space. The first paragraph had made him smile; typical Harry to be more concerned about other people than himself. The second paragraph however had been an eye-opener. He couldn't believe Harry was apologising for all of them going to the Ministry. Ron shook his head; like Harry had a choice! There was no way he was going to let Harry go alone and the others had agreed with him. It was the third paragraph that had brought Ron to an absolute standstill. His very first friend? Surely Harry had had friends at his primary school, but then he had to believe what Harry wrote. He wouldn't lie about something like that. Ron gulped as he continued reading then felt a short blaze of anger. What did Harry mean? If you'll still be my friend; of course, he would always be Harry's friend! Then he remembered Fourth Year and the Triwizard Tournament and a shamed look crossed his face. He hadn't believed Harry then, not exactly the action of a best friend. The look of shame was quickly replaced by a determined look and he got to his feet. He wouldn't do that again; Harry was his friend and he was going to stick by him, no matter what! He stormed into the house looking for his mother; right now he was going to do what a best friend should do. He was going to see if he couldn't get Harry out of that damn place!
Ginny was having an equally difficult time reading Harry's letter. Her letter had also contained an apology for dragging her to the Ministry and Ginny vowed that she would disabuse Harry of any notion he had that she was dragged along the moment she saw him again. Her letter had contained a bit more on how Harry was feeling right now. She had nearly burst into tears when he told her of how much he missed Sirius and had blushed a brilliant scarlet when Harry had very shyly and very hesitantly told her that he liked her and apologised for being such a blind dimwit in the past. She had let out a shaky laugh when he had then immediately backtracked a bit and signed off with a very flustered wish that her summer was going well...with Dean. She bit her lip and she considered the letter. She and Dean had broken things off fairly quickly after she admitted to herself that she was only going out with him because she was irritated with Ron. She had written a hesitant and rather chagrined letter to Dean explaining this and had been relieved when he had written back cheerfully that he'd already figured that out and that he was happy to let things go. She had been left wide-eyed by Dean's last statement in which he had said that another reason he didn't mind breaking things off was that he was fairly sure that one of his dorm mates really liked her and she was pretty sure he hadn't meant Seamus or Neville.
Ginny looked down at the letter again and then tucked it into her top drawer. Harry wasn't happy, that much she was sure of and she quickly resolved to have a word with her mother about when Harry would be allowed to come to the Burrow. Then, she decided, she would write a letter to the Headmaster. She smiled at this thought and headed downstairs.
Remus sat in the library at Number 12 Grimmauld Place, a book open on his knee. He couldn't have told anyone what the book was about though; he had spent more time staring at the pages than actually reading them. He knew he really should be in bed getting some sleep; he hadn't slept well in several weeks and the full moon was approaching. He couldn't sleep though. Every time he tried he ended up having one nightmare or another. One he had often was watching helplessly as Sirius fell through the Veil...again and again and again. But the most common nightmare was being unable to move while Harry followed Sirius through the Veil; he invariably woke sweating and shaking after those. He had tried to write to Harry, to speak with him about Sirius, but Harry replies had been brief to the point of coolness. Remus partly understood that but he was desperate not to lose Harry. He knew he could never take Sirius place in the boy's heart but he wanted to be some part of Harry's life. The boy was all he had left.
He was shaken out of his introspection by the arrival of Hedwig. He smiled brilliantly at the owl; he hadn't sent a letter recently so this could only be Harry's own approach. He gently took the letter from the owl's leg. He noticed that there were still two letters remaining to be delivered so he wasn't surprised when Hedwig immediately took off again. He turned the letter over in his hands; to be honest, he was a little apprehensive about what it contained. He hoped it was a letter saying he wanted Remus to stick around but he was terribly afraid it would be one of rejection. He took a deep breath, opened the letter and began reading.
When he finished there were tears standing in his eyes and he let the letter drop into his lap while he scrubbed his face with his hands. He then snatched the letter up and read it again. Hate him? How on earth could Harry ever think that he would hate him? More people than Harry had been fooled by Voldemort over the years, including Sirius, James and himself. Harry was the last person he blamed for what had happened. He shuddered as he realised that Harry was having some of the same nightmares as he was and he certainly agreed with the boy that they were likely the only two people missing Sirius so much. He bit his lips as he read the part with Harry's questions about the Veil; those would have to wait until he could speak to him face to face. That information should probably not be put in a letter.
The tears that had been threatening did fall as he read the last paragraph and Harry's sign off. Just few but they were enough; Harry had realised what he had been offering and had the heart to do the same. His expression firmed as he read that two word sign off, 'Love, Harry', and he stood abruptly. Harry was coming here! As soon as was physically possible, he would not allow Albus to say no this time. He carefully folded the letter again and stormed off to the kitchen.
Thank you for all the reviews! darkcelestial - The court will start coming together over the next few chapters so you don't have too long to wait. And there's a big surprise regarding Harry's court to come as well! *grins*