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A Time to Live by ladymblack
Chapter 14 : Chapter 14: Battle at the Burrow
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 12


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Chapter 14: The Battle at the Burrow

 

There was pandemonium.  “Teddy!” Harry and Ginny cried to each other. 

 

“Come on guys, all members of the Order with us,” Ron said, taking charge.  “Hagrid, make sure the underage members of the D.A. remain here.”

 

Harry had taken off at a sprint towards the castle to get to Minerva’s fireplace.

 

“No, Harry, it’ll be faster to go to the entrance gate and apparate out of Hogsmeade,” Ginny exclaimed, both of them changing direction.  Ron and Hermione were close behind them along with all of the Order.  They began pairing off and apparating into the lane leading to the Burrow.  The Dark Mark had been set off over the house.  Harry felt a panic unlike any he’d ever known.  His voice caught in his throat, but he knew he had to gather himself together.

 

“Ok,” he finally whispered.  “Listen up, everyone.  Hermione, I want you to levitate Ginny up to Teddy’s room.  Hopefully he’s in there.  The two of you need to get back to this lane and apparate out of here with him.  Go to…go to Grimmauld place, ok?”

 

Hermione nodded immediately, ready to set off. 

 

“No way, Harry! You can’t send us away!  We’re here to fight,” Ginny said angrily.

 

“We don’t have time to argue, Ginny.  We need to protect Teddy, now come on!” Hermione retorted, beginning to pull the younger girl towards the house.

 

“The rest of you I would like to act as guards around the two of them until they’re safely away from here.  Ron, Neville and I will try to distract them inside.  Once Ginny, Hermione and Teddy are gone, join us in the house,” Harry instructed, everyone nodding fearfully.  “Seamus and Luna, you’re in charge.”

 

Harry’s heart leapt as he watched Ginny and Hermione retreating with their friends surrounding them like a shield.  He fought against the images, of following in his father’s footsteps, threatening his sanity.  Harry, followed by Ron and Neville crept up to the house, while the rest went around to the back where Teddy’s window would be.  Harry felt a horrible sense of foreboding.  They quietly opened the door to the kitchen.  Arthur was knocked out in front of the staircase, which at least told them that Teddy was probably upstairs with Molly and Andromeda. 

 

“Duro,” Harry whispered, aiming his wand at the fireplace.  A wall came up to block it, preventing any escape that way.  Ron quickly checked to make sure that his father was still breathing.

 

They began to hear bangs from the yard, indicating that the others had met resistance.  Harry, Ron and Neville looked at each other fearfully.

 

“Don’t worry, Harry, the girls will get him out of there.  Let’s go,” Ron said as they snuck up the stairs.  They arrived on the landing outside Teddy’s room, just in time to watch Yaxley send Molly flying through the door into the room and a few hooded men head in after her.

 

“STUPIFY!” Harry, Ron and Neville all shouted at once.  Their spell combined and hit Yaxley square in the back, knocking him to the ground, out cold.  They raced into the room.  Andromeda had her back to the window and they could see Ginny falling to the ground with Teddy.  There were four Death Eaters in the room.  Harry threw up a shield between them and Andromeda.  But one of them still managed to hit Andromeda with the slashing curse that had felled Hermione in the Department of Mysteries, causing Andromeda to collapse.  Duels erupted around the room as they tried to subdue the Death Eaters.  They hadn’t been particularly powerful though and Ron was tying them up in short order.  Yaxley, however had stirred while they were dueling and managed to get back down the steps.

 

“Finish up here, Ron, Neville and I will join the battle outside,” Harry said.  They raced back down the steps after Yaxley.

 

Yaxley sent a killing curse at Harry, who ducked just in time.  “Let’s get out of here!” Yaxley shouted to his remaining companions.

 

Harry could see, between the knot of people at the gate, Ginny facing Hermione, who had her arms wrapped tightly around Ginny and Teddy.

 

Yaxley wasn’t quite ready to give up though and aimed his wand.  “AVADA…”

 

Harry felt white-hot anger surge through him.

 

“NO!” Harry screamed, aiming his wand at Yaxley.  Yaxley hit the ground, which began to tremble.  Yaxley writhed in agony, screaming into the night.  The Order had turned around as their charges left and stared at Harry and Yaxley.

 

“Harry, what are you doing?” Neville cried with an edge in his voice.  It seemed to Harry as though he were hearing it through a tunnel.  Neville knocked him to the ground, shaking him. “You have to stop!  You’re going to kill him!”

 

Harry dropped his wand feebly onto the ground and the vibrations stopped.

 

Yaxley was down and there were only about six Death Eaters left in the yard.  The Order dispatched them quickly, now that their charges had apparated safely away.  Kingsley, Robards, Bill, Charlie, George and Percy came running to the Burrow from the lane just as Seamus and Luna were tying up the remaining Death Eaters.

 

“Harry! What’s going on?  We got a patronus from Dad and all of the muggle streetlights through town have been blown,” Bill shouted as they approached.  Harry gathered up his wand and was trying to recover himself when Arthur came rushing out of the house.

 

“Molly, Andromeda and I were just enjoying a cup of tea in the kitchen when Yaxley came barreling in with a handful of Death Eaters.  I sent the Patronuses and tried to hold them off while Molly and Andromeda went upstairs to protect Teddy,” Arthur explained.

 

Seamus joined them and said, “Harry, we’ve got them all tied up for you.  Now what do we do?”

 

“I think Ron’s attending to Mum and Andromeda.  See if there’s anyone among us who is a decent healer and send them up to Teddy’s room.  Let’s all head over to Grimmauld Place.  We can figure out what happened when we get there,” Harry suggested, finding his voice at last.  He didn’t feel comfortable staying at the Burrow right then.

 

Robards stepped in and asked jovially, “Do you think you’ll ever leave something for us to do?”  He laughed as his own joke, but stopped quickly as he noticed that no one else had joined in, and said, “Why don’t I summon some Aurors to take the Death Eaters into custody?  I think you all have done enough for one evening.”

 

“Thanks, sir,” Harry said.  He turned to Luna.  “Are there any casualties?”

 

“Just a few, we can patch them up when we get to your house,” she replied.

 

“Okay, could you go inside and tell Ron what’s going on?” he asked her.  She nodded and turned back towards the house.

 

The group, minus Robards, began filtering back out into the lane.  Harry’s only concern at that moment was finding Ginny, Hermione and Teddy to make sure they were okay.  Harry and Neville were the first to apparate into the kitchen.  Virtually every surface was destroyed.

 

“Blimey, Harry, what happened here?” Neville asked in a frightened voice.

 

“I don’t know.  Kreacher!” Harry called.  The elf appeared immediately with a bruise blossoming on his forehead.

 

“Master Harry!  Thank goodness.  Kreacher didn’t know what to do!  Two bad men came into the house.  Then Mistress Ginny and Mistress Hermione came with Master Teddy.  Kreacher yelled at them to leave so they did.  Kreacher managed to get the bad men out and Kreacher set up some protection to keep them from coming back,” Kreacher said tearfully.

 

“It’s okay, Kreacher, you did the best you could,” Harry said.  He didn’t bother to ask if he knew where Hermione had taken them.  But now he had a problem, because he didn’t know how he was going to find them.  “Will the rest of the Order be able to get in here, Kreacher?”

 

The elf nodded just as people began popping into the room.

 

“Are you and Winky okay?” Harry asked.

 

“Yes, we is okay, sir.  Kreacher made Winky stay in his room to be safe,” Kreacher explained.

 

“Merlin’s beard!” Bill said, his arm around Molly’s shoulder as he helped her to sit on the broken bench.

 

“I know.  Look, Neville, once everyone’s here, start putting up those protective spells we’ve been practicing over the house.  We’ll see about setting up a Fidelius Charm once I’ve found Ginny,” Harry said.  Neville agreed and Kreacher began ushering people out of the room, telling them to sit in the drawing room so that he could begin to repair the kitchen.  Harry apparated to the site of the Quidditch World Cup, in the hopes that Hermione would have gone back there again.  He knew that he wouldn’t be able to see or hear them with the protective spells that she would have cast.

 

“Ginny!  Hermione!” he called.

 

Hermione pulled off the disillusionment charm she’d put up and Harry rushed over to them.  Hermione and Ginny threw themselves into his arms, Teddy crying loudly.

 

“Oh, Harry!  What’s going on?  We couldn’t stay at Grimmauld Place.  Death Eaters had broken in!” Hermione cried.  “I didn’t know what else to do.”

 

“It’s okay.  We’ve got it all straightened out.  I’m just glad that you came back here.  I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find you.  Come on,” he replied, leading the women out of the tent that Hermione had already erected.  She quickly collapsed it and put it back in her bag.  The three held hands, apparating onto the front steps of Harry’s house.  “I’m assuming that Neville’s already taken care of the protective charms so I doubt we could have gotten right into the house,” he explained as they walked in the door.  They climbed the steps to the drawing room.  Ron and Molly hurried to hug them as they entered.

 

“Alright, folks, let’s sit down and figure out everything that happened,” Harry suggested.  “Ron, where’s Andromeda?”

 

“St. Mungo’s, they said she’ll be fine.  She just needs to rest a few days,” Ron told him.  Harry nodded.

 

Teddy was still crying loudly and Ginny told Harry to try to take care of him.  Harry took the baby and tried to soothe him as they sat down on one of the couches.  Teddy finally calmed down and fell asleep on Harry’s shoulder.  He was hiccupping slightly from all of his crying.  Bill began pouring healthy doses of firewhiskey into glasses and passing them around to everyone.

 

“Okay, so what happened after we went into the house?” Harry asked the room at large, taking a sip of his firewhiskey in an attempt to calm his nerves that were still on edge.

 

“There were already half a dozen Death Eaters standing guard underneath Teddy’s window.  So we decided to split up.  Seamus led a group to distract them,” Hermione said, turning to Seamus.

 

“Yeah, we had to keep them occupied while Hermione and Ginny were getting Teddy out of his room.  So we led them off in a different direction,” Seamus explained.  Luna was tending to a cut on his arm while he spoke.

 

“Then Luna led the other group to form a protective circle around Ginny and me while we worked,” Hermione explained.

 

“Well, Hermione levitated me up to the room.  Andromeda was alone inside standing guard over his crib.  I told her to give Teddy to me, but she kept hesitating.  When I explained that we had a bunch of the Order outside to protect us, she finally gave in.  I think it was just in time, because I saw Mum fly through the door.  I wanted to stay, but I knew I couldn’t!” Ginny said to Harry.  He put his free arm around her shoulders and looked back to Hermione.

 

“Don’t worry, dear.  Teddy had to be your first priority.  I was fine.  You did the right thing,” Molly told her daughter.

 

“So, Ginny and I ducked down, trying to use our bodies as shields until we could get past the grounds to apparate.  The others maintained their formation until we left.  Then we got here and there were two Death Eaters already waiting for us.  Kreacher shouted at us to leave.  He said he’d take care of it.  So I stunned one of them, before grabbing Ginny to get us back out of here.  I had just finished putting up the spells and the tent when you found us,” she finished.

 

Harry was still trying to get his mind around the entire situation.  “So, what do we think was the goal here tonight?  Were they just trying to get revenge or were they trying to take Teddy to get to me?” Harry wondered aloud.

 

“Well, either way, they were definitely after Teddy.  The first thing they asked when they charged in was ‘where’s the baby?’” Arthur said, distinctly uncomfortable with the notion.

 

“Right, well, I think we need to start setting up the Fidelius charms on Grimmauld Place and the Burrow, at the very least,” Harry said.  Everyone looked around with a resigned air.  They’d thought themselves to be safe, but as long as there were still Death Eaters at large, they would have to assume that they would come after Harry and anyone involved with him.  Arthur nodded and led Harry out of the room to show him how to perform the charm.  Once completed for both dwellings they rejoined the rest in the drawing room.

 

“Okay, everyone, the headquarters for Dumbledore’s Army can be found at 12 Grimmauld Place.  I changed the designation of the building so that there could be no confusion with the previous charm,” Harry told them.  Arthur made a similar statement to everyone for the Burrow.  Harry then said, “Also, I think that in the event of such an emergency we should have another place that absolutely no one knows about.  I could only hope that Hermione had brought Ginny and Teddy to our first hiding place after we had to abandon Grimmauld Place last year.  It might have taken me forever to find them otherwise.  Therefore I suggest that we use the wood that was the apparition point for the Quidditch World Cup.  If anyone doesn’t know where it is, please let one of us know and we’ll inform you of the location.”

 

Kreacher had been popping in and out of the drawing room with snacks and drinks, but Harry finally stopped him and said, “Kreacher, you’d better let Hermione take a look at your forehead.  We don’t want that bruise to get any worse.”

 

Kreacher scoffed and said, “Kreacher is fine, Master Harry.  People is hungry and Kreacher must make sure that the noble fighters is fed.”

 

Harry didn’t make it an order but just looked at Kreacher, indicating that there would be no argument.  Kreacher gave Harry a patronizing look and sat down beside Hermione, who immediately took to examining him.

 

“I just wanted to say ‘thank you,’ guys.  Everyone did really well tonight.  I don’t know what would have happened without you,” Harry said, shuddering at the possibilities.  Ginny patted his knee comfortingly and tried to give him a little smile.

 

“No problem, mate, that’s what we’re here for,” Neville told him.  This seemed to be the general consensus and Harry felt better knowing that they all understood the lengths that were sometimes necessary to protect others.  “I just have one question.  What was that you did to Yaxley?”

 

Harry was dreading this question, but he’d known it was coming.  He responded, “I don’t know.  He’d tried to send a killing curse at Ginny and I just lost it.”

 

He could see Ron and Hermione look at each other.  “Exactly what did you do to Yaxley?” Ron asked, nearly repeating Neville’s question.

 

“I don’t know,” Harry answered truthfully.

 

“It looked like he was being tortured, Harry,” Neville said.  “The ground was shaking and I heard Bill say that the streetlights had been burnt out.  I mean, they were on when we got there.  Maybe you had a surge of uncontrolled magic?”

 

Harry knew there was more to it than that but agreed.  He saw each person who knew of his wand’s past look at him and he said firmly, “Yes, I lost control.  It was similar to the incident a few years ago when I blew up Aunt Marge.  I’m sorry if I scared anyone.  Thanks, Neville, for stopping me.  It could have gotten worse.”

 

No one seemed terribly surprised by this explanation so he let it rest.  “We should also think about your parents, Hermione,” he said.  As an afterthought he added, “and the Dursleys, I suppose.”

 

“I’ll see to their protection, Harry.  We’ll set up charms for them as well as everyone’s families.  It would seem like whatever the aim is right now, it’s directed at you or Teddy, so I don’t think they’re in any real danger,” Kinglsey suggested.  Everyone nodded appreciatively.

 

“Everyone is welcome to stay here for the night.  I’ll talk to Minerva about using the Floo to go straight into her office tomorrow morning,” Harry said.  He realized that he’d better send a note to Hagrid as well, before he worried too much.  He and Ginny bid everyone a good night as they headed for their room.  Neither was ready to let Teddy out of their arms and so Harry laid the baby in the middle of the bed between them.  He put his arm out across Teddy to lie on Ginny’s waist.  She was lying on her side, facing him and smiled.

 

“I’m sorry, Harry,” she said, looking down at Teddy.

 

“Sorry?  Why would you be sorry?” Harry asked, thoroughly confused.

 

Her face screwed up with guilt and embarrassment.  She said, “Because I was ready to argue with you earlier.  I was angry that you were sending me away again.  I thought it was just to protect me and keep me out of the battle.”

 

“But…” he began.

 

She interrupted him, “No, Harry, I think I understand.  Hermione and I talked about it once we’d reached the forest and she’d put up her protective spells.  She said that you’d sent us away because we were the only ones that you’d really trust to protect Teddy.”

 

Harry nodded, knowing that this was the truth.  “I knew that you would both protect him and I didn’t trust anyone else to do that with the ferocity that I knew you would,” Harry agreed.  He shivered involuntarily as he said, “I felt like I was my father.  It was like my dreams all over again.  I was telling you to run and protect our child, ready to allow myself to be slain if necessary.  As I sent you away I could see you standing over a crib just as my mother once did.  It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever had to do.”

 

Harry’s eyes were closed, but he could feel Ginny reach her hand up to trace the lightening bolt on his forehead.  She sadly said, “I know, Harry.  That image raced through my mind as well when Hermione explained your actions.  I can’t say that I like the idea of you dying to protect me and our children, but I can understand it.  I would do the same.  That’s why I’m not angry or upset anymore.  I’ve never been so scared as when I was being lowered to the ground by Hermione.  All I could do was put faith in our friends to keep Teddy and me safe.  I was crouched almost to the ground, with Teddy underneath me as we raced to the gate.  Hermione had her body over mine to further shield him.”

 

Tears started falling onto her pillow and Harry moved his body and Teddy’s small form closer to her.  He brought the sleeping baby to rest between their chests while he pulled her comfortingly into his arms.  He kissed Teddy’s head and then Ginny’s cheek.  He could taste the salt of her tears.

 

Finding the strength from Harry’s embrace to continue, she said “Then we got here to find those Death Eaters.  I turned my back to them to keep Teddy out of harm’s way, while Hermione jumped in front of me to shield me again.  She only managed to stun one of them before twisting her hand around to grab my hand and pull us out of here.  Teddy was crying from the moment we got to the Burrow until you took him earlier.”

 

Harry nodded, unable to speak, and they just lay there until all three of them had fallen asleep.  Harry’s usual nightmare surfaced.  He shook himself awake to dispel the images of the Chamber of Secrets, this time Teddy had been in her arms as Voldemort threatened her.  He held them both closer to him and tried to fall back to sleep.  There was a knock on the door.

 

“Who is it?” Harry called, not really wanting to see anyone.

 

“Me,” Ron’s voiced sounded, from the other side.

 

“C’mon in,” Harry told him.  Ron and Hermione walked over to the bed.

 

“Where’s Teddy?” Hermione asked quietly, a slight frown of concern creasing her brow, noting that Ginny was still asleep.

 

Harry lifted his arm slightly to reveal Teddy’s sleeping form underneath it.  She nodded.

 

“Are you guys okay?” Ron asked tentatively, taking a seat at the end of the bed.  Harry nodded slowly.

 

“We’ll be okay.  It just felt like we were reliving my parents’ actions last night,” Harry said, Ginny waking slightly in his arms.  She smiled at the sight of her brother and friend sitting at the end of their bed.

 

“Hey,” she said with a yawn.

 

“Did Minerva write you back, Harry?” Hermione asked, changing the subject.  The events would be something for them to discuss later, she realized.

 

“Yeah, she’s having Kingsley set up a one-time Floo connection between here and Hogwarts,” Harry said.  “I guess we should get up.  Teddy’s going to need to be fed and changed.  I can’t believe he didn’t wake up last night.”

 

“I think he was just as worn out as we were, Harry.  Besides, it was really late when we finally went to bed,” Ginny said.  She got up and took the baby from Harry, getting a bottle ready to feed him.

 

“Any word from St. Mungo’s?” he said, looking at Ron.

 

“Yeah, same as last night.  They said they’d let you know once she was ready to go home,” Ron replied.

 

The foursome walked down to the kitchen, which Kreacher had managed to restore rather nicely.  Arthur and Molly were sitting at the table having a cup of coffee.

 

“We’re going to have to head back to school, Mum,” Harry said.  “Can you guys let everyone know that the Floo is connected right to Minerva’s office?”

 

“Oh, Harry, do you want to leave Teddy here with us?  We’ll be heading back to the Burrow in a little while.  He can stay the weekend,” Molly said.

 

“I don’t think that Ginny or I would get any work done if we left him behind.  We need him to spend a few days with us.  I know you would take excellent care of him, but I…” Harry began, but stopped, not knowing how to explain to her why they wanted to take Teddy with them.

 

She just nodded.  “I understand, Harry.  You guys had an awful scare.”  She got up and hugged each of them, kissing Teddy lightly on his cheek before they all grabbed Floo Powder and headed towards the school.  She and Arthur promised to send the rest of the students once they’d gotten up.

 

Dusting themselves off, Minerva greeted them.

 

“Oh, thank heavens!  I was so worried when Hagrid came up here last night to tell me where you’d gone.  At least you’re all okay,” she said, rushing over.

 

“We’ll be keeping Teddy for a little while, at least until Andromeda is sent home,” Harry said, hoping she wouldn’t be too angry.  They had classes in two days and he wasn’t sure if this would be a problem.

 

“Don’t worry, Harry, I’ll let the rest of the staff know that you have my permission to bring Teddy with you to your classes, if necessary.  I’ll arrange for special transportation once you’re ready to take him home.  We’ll have to set up another one-off with the Floo.  I’m having it closed down for the time being and with the Fidelius in effect we have to make special arrangements,” she said before dismissing them.

 

Harry could hear some of the portraits scoffing at her decision as they left the room.  He didn’t really care, as long as he could have the assurance that Teddy was safe.

 

Harry stopped in mid-step before climbing onto the staircase, pulling Ginny up short beside him.  He swung around.

 

“Yes, Harry?” Minerva asked.

 

“Um, actually I was wondering if I might speak with Albus,” Harry said, noting the empty picture frame.  “Could someone find him for me?”

 

The portrait of Phineas Nigellus scoffed, “What do we look like, boy, your messengers?””

 

Minerva held up a hand to silence him and asked Harry, “Is there something you need help with?”

 

Harry gulped.  He knew she hated it when he couldn’t confide in her.  He finally said, “I’m sorry, but Albus is the only one who might be able to answer my questions and it is rather urgent.”

 

Minerva looked at him closely and said to the room at large, “Very well, you all heard Mr. Potter.”

 

“When you find him just tell him to visit his sister,” Harry told them.

 

A great number of the portraits’ occupants had looks of confusion on their faces but moved sideways out of their portraits anyhow.

 

Minerva shook her head ruefully and said, “I’m not even going to try to decipher that statement, Harry.  Let’s just say that Albus, Hagrid and I are able to understand your reluctance to let Teddy out of your arms.  We were horrified, yet resigned, to leave you on that doorstep.”

 

Harry asked, now curious, “You were there too, Minerva?”

 

“Indeed I was.  Hagrid had confided to me the place where Albus intended to take you and so I stayed there all day, watching them.  I tried to warn Albus.  I know now why you were there, but….” she seemed lost for a moment.  She continued, “Walking away from you was certainly one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.”

 

She raised that one familiar eyebrow and said, “Just be thankful that when you place him back into his grandmother’s arms that you aren’t leaving him where he won’t be cherished.”

 

She looked at Teddy in Harry’s arms with a sigh.  Harry didn’t know what to say and so simply nodded before exiting.

 

Harry and Ginny turned to join their friends who were waiting for them outside the Headmistress’ Office.

 

“What happened to you two?” Ron asked.  Ginny too looked at Harry for an explanation.

 

“Albus is the only one who can answer my questions about what happened last night,” Harry said, with a sigh.

 

Hermione looked both ways before whispering “You mean the ‘wand’ business?”  She’d mouthed the word wand.

 

“Yes, we need to know what’s going on.  I’ll meet with him in private.”  Harry replied.  He held Teddy up to his chest and kissed his forehead.

 

Handing him to Ginny, Harry kissed her soundly and said, “I’ll send Fawkes to you when I’m ready.”

 

Ginny, Ron and Hermione shared a look, watching him leave them.

 

“Blimey, I don’t think I’ve seem him this stressed since before Voldemort was killed.  You don’t think he was right about his…”







“Shut up, Ron!  We can’t talk about this now.  We’ll have to wait until he talks to Dumbledore!” Hermione interjected.  There was nothing left for them to do but head for the common room.

 

Harry snuck into an alcove to consult the Marauder’s Map.  He was glad he’d thought to carry it with him just in case of an emergency.  He didn’t want anyone to see him enter the room, not even a D.A. member.

 

Ariana was still the only occupant as he closed the door.  Her reaction was a smile as she walked out of the frame.  He reached into his robes and pulled out his wand as he paced in front of the portrait.  Harry stopped as Albus entered, his face grave.

 

Without preamble, Albus sat and said, “You have a question for me, Harry.”  It was not a question.

 

Harry shivered as he fell into the sofa behind him.  He ran a hand through his hair and looked down at his wand.

 

“A-Albus, I don’t understand what’s going on,” Harry said weakly.  When he thought back to the moment of his torture of Yaxley, he felt sickened with himself.

 

“I was with Minerva when she learned of the attack on your family, Harry.  Why don’t you tell me what happened?” Albus said, peering at him over his fingertips.

 

Harry began with how he was accepted into the Wizengamot before giving him the details of the previous night and stopped after the incident with Yaxley as this was what needed to be discussed.  He asked, “Why?  I know this has something to do with the Elder Wand, but I’m afraid there may be something wrong with me as well.”

 

“As usual, I have to say that your instincts are likely correct.”  Albus stood and walked between the frames in front of Ariana’s sofa, muttering to himself.  Harry followed him with his eyes.  “Well, I suppose we’d better get started with your training.”

 

“What training?”

 

“You mentioned that at the Wizengamot you were concerned about how your power had registered because you thought that by repairing the holly wand with the Elder Wand it may have transferred some power as well, correct?  You also said you’ve noticed a difference in how the wand works.  Could you describe that again, please?”

 

“It seems a bit harder to control.  At first, I just thought it was because I hadn’t used any real magic since that last battle.  This was when Ron and I started our dueling sessions.  We were more practicing for speed and style, not to knock each other out.  It took a few days before I could get it under control though.  But it’s been working fine since then, for the most part.  What I still don’t understand is what happened with Yaxley.”

 

“Yes, we’ll get to that.  I think by now you have figured out why your wand feels different,” Albus said encouragingly.  “How many wands did you have mastery of the night you defeated Riddle, Harry?”

 

“I had Draco’s wand and the Elder Wand.  Then I repaired my holly wand,” Harry said, counting them off.

 

“You were still the master of the holly wand, even if it was broken,” Albus urged.

 

Harry feared voicing his suspicions but said, “So do you think that my wand has some of the power of the Elder Wand?”  Albus raised his eyebrows in question.  Harry said, “Surely we don’t have two Elder Wands now?  What are we going to do?”

 

The wand fell from his hands with a clatter onto the coffee table as a few sparks flew out the tip.

 

“No, I don’t think we have two Elder Wands.  I think that the immense power the original had now resides in your holly wand.  The old one would be no different than any other wand,” Albus explained.

 

“Maybe I should use the new one Ollivander made for me instead,” Harry suggested, not wanting to wield a wand known as the ‘Deathstick.’

 

“It would not prevent someone from trying to overcome you to get the wand.  It is better for you to learn to control it as you are less likely to be defeated, at least in a dueling situation,” Albus explained.

 

Harry closed his eyes wearily and whispered, “But what if I hurt someone?”

 

“Yaxley had just made an attempt to kill Ginny and Teddy.  I think that in your fear and anger your magic was out of control.  The combined power of the wand and your own could easily explain what Neville told you about the ground trembling and the electric muggle street lamps bursting.  This is the reason we must work on training you to tame the wand,” Albus said.  Harry almost interrupted, but Albus held up his hand and asked, “Did you take pleasure in the torture, Harry?”

 

Harry thought about it for a moment, trying to remember what he’d been thinking at the time.  “No, I didn’t.  I wanted him to hurt, but I didn’t feel any satisfaction or pleasure from it.”

 

“Then that’s your answer.  Why don’t you let your friends know to meet you here while we get started?”

 

Harry wrote a brief note:

 

Ginny, Ron, Hermione,

 

Why don’t you visit Ariana?

 

Harry

 

Fawkes came and went while Harry grabbed his wand back up.  He stood in front of the portrait and said, “Now what?”

 

“You have now mastered Occlumency?”  Albus asked.  Harry nodded briefly.  “You will need to use similar control to tame the wand.  Once we’ve gotten you to the point where the strength of your spells is at the level you intend them to be, we’ll go over the other possible qualities of the wand and how to best use them.”

 

Albus had him fine-tuning some simple spells at different levels when Harry’s friends came into the room.  They all looked at him expectantly and sat while he explained everything.  Looks of shock were replaced by looks of fear on his companions’ faces.

 

“What are you going to do?” Hermione asked tearfully.

 

Albus chose to answer and said, “I will be helping him learn to control and tame the wand.”

 

“I think what she means is, what do we do about the press?  In the train station one of the reporters asked Harry if it was true that he was the master of the Elder Wand,” Ginny said, putting her hand on top of Harry’s while Teddy reached his arms out to his godfather.

 

Harry pulled the child onto his lap.  He thought about what Ginny had said for a few moments before saying, “Maybe I should let Kingsley have that press conference he’s been bugging me about.  I can practice being surprised or confused if someone asks about it.”

 

“Uh, I don’t know, Harry.  You’re not a very good actor,” Hermione said.  “Everyone can always tell when you’re lying.”

 

“Well, what else can we do?  Someone’s bound to ask that question again and I’d better have a response ready, right?” he asked her.  “Does anyone else have another idea?  Albus?”

 

“I don’t know, Harry.  It’s possible that someone caught that snatch of conversation between you and Riddle at the end, but it’s unlikely that they know exactly what it means.  I think pretending that you don’t know what they’re talking about may be the best course of action.  You can even hold up your wand to show them that it’s made of holly and not elder,” Albus said.

 

“Then we’d better get practicing with your acting abilities, Harry.  Why don’t you send a note to Kingsley to let him know that you’re okay with the press conference once we’re done with school,” Hermione said.

 

The group began throwing questions at Harry to gauge his responses.  After awhile, he seemed to have gotten the hang of it and felt more confident.  As they got up to leave the room Albus called, “Why don’t you try to meet me here after dinner in the evenings, Harry.  We can use whatever spells you’re supposed to be practicing in your effort to tame the wand.”

 

Once this was agreed to, the students went up to the common room to try to get some of their work done.  The weekend passed quietly and Andromeda was sent home Sunday afternoon so they were able to return Teddy back to the Burrow before their classes resumed.

 

With exams only two weeks away, Harry was worried that he wouldn’t have full control over his wand in time.  But his lessons in the D.A. common room seemed to be going well and after a week he began to feel more confident with his spellwork.  Albus then suggested one evening that Harry start pushing the wand’s capabilities.  This seemed to be much less difficult than he had anticipated and thought about how helpful some of these tips might be.  While they practiced, Harry and Albus continued to discuss how to manage some of the stress that Harry’d been dealing with over the past few years.  Although Hermione had lectured him about the amount of time he was spending in the D.A. common room, he couldn’t help but feel he was being better prepared for his N.E.W.T.s under Albus’ instruction than he would without it.  Without the weight of the prophecy or the threat of imminent death from Voldemort, Harry found it easier to concentrate on his studies.  He and Ginny had decided to leave Teddy with Andromeda for the remainder of the semester due to their complete lack of free time.

 

One morning brought box and a note from Percy:

 

Ron and Harry,

 

Bill, Charlie and I have got the store all cleaned up and ready to go.  I decided to send you a wide assortment of products after overhearing you talking with George about an end-of-the-year prank.  Although I can’t completely approve, I daresay it would be a fitting way for you to leave and an excellent tribute to Fred.

 

Percy

 

Before anyone could get a chance to look in the box, Harry sent it up to his dorm quietly.

 

“I can’t wait to see what he sent,” Ginny said, conspiratorially.

 

Ron rolled his eyes and said, “Yeah, cause you know Percy has such a great sense of humor.”

 

“Well, Bill and Charlie were there too.  Maybe they helped to pack the box,” Harry said hopefully.  They were all pleasantly surprised when they perused the items that Percy had sent and began making their plans for the ending feast.

 

A/N:  I believe that I've indicated that the title of this story will not change at any point and I have decided to stick with that notion.  It will, however, be divided into parts.  This part is almost finished and I'm just putting the finishing touches on it.  It will go until approximately the end of September (but I don’t know exactly how many chapters it will be).  There will be a great deal of interpretive information (my interpretation as I have gleaned through extensive research of the books and discussion at various sites) at the end of this part due to the fact that our characters have yet to reveal the things they've done to the rest of the Wizarding World and those reactions.  I hope everyone has enjoyed the story so far and I appreciate everyone's reviews.


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