Chapter 2 : Of aftermath, training and holiday frolics
| ||Rating: 15+||Chapter Reviews: 14|
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A/N: Yes, I'm back. Now, before you say anything yes I did hit some serious writers block and I really did hit it, I was travelling 70mph at the time and it has taken me an age to recover from the injuries I sustained. If you want to know true frustration, my friends, get yourself some of this writers block stuff because I am yet to experience anything quite as annoying as sitting there time after time, staring at a Word document, knowing what you want to say, but just knowing how to say it. But, anyway, I'm over it now and so hopefully chapter three won't take nearly as long.
Now, this isn't the most exciting chapter of the story but I wouldn't consider it just a filler chapter wither, there's a bit of everything and I hope you enjoy it, if you did then why not share your joy with others by posting a review.
Thane Harding winced in pain as he pushed himself up to his feet, battling through the fatigue and the agony as every inch of his body cried out for him to stop and through injury or just sheer exhaustion, he found that his legs would not support him and collapsed back to the ground.
“Little help?” He asked the young wizard who had just rushed forward to him as he fell back down to the floor.
“You’re such a pansy aren’t you Thane?” Harry asked as he took his teacher’s arm and placed it around his own shoulders before pushing him up to his feet. Thane winced again as he felt a sharp pain shoot through his legs and he knew that they were broken, but still he managed to croak out a reply.
“This from the guy who can’t even enter a duel with Lord Voldemort without passing out.”
“Yeah and we all know what a wimp he is.” Harry replied as the two of them reached the stairs and Harry foresaw a potential problem. “This would be so much easier for someone with magic.”
“Oh yeah, I heard about your temporary loss of power, I’m surprised that the Council let you out.”
“Well I can be very persuasive.” Harry said, “Even ask Ginny. Watch out.” He saw Kingsley Shacklebolt coming to the bottom of the stairs and pulled his teacher and himself behind a partly collapsed wall, pressing himself up against it as he waited for the Auror to pass. After a few seconds, Harry peeked out from behind the wall to see that the coast was clear and, with considerable effort, started to pull his teacher down the stairs.
Thane laughed, “You’re not supposed to be here are you?” He asked.
“Well technically not, but I thought that if only my friends, such as Remus and yourself, knew that it would be OK to break the rules. That’s the way I live at Hogwarts and I seem to have done alright.”
“You do realise that, friend or not, Remus is now your guardian and he is going to be, let’s just say, a little annoyed, that you endangered your life like this?” Thane asked as the two of them reached the bottom of the stairs and hobbled towards the, now missing, door.
“Yeah, you’re probably right but what can I say? I have, as Hermione put it, a saving people thing, I‘m just a very brave person..” Harry replied, “Now, are you OK to stay here and shout for help while I go and hide?”
“Spoken like a true warrior.” Thane said, “I’ll be fine.”
With that, Harry left his friend and teacher sat down and leaning against a wall, just inside his house, while he crept to the back door and quietly slipped outside to wait for Remus to return from taking Snape into custody. Eventually, after what seemed like hours and after much of the gentle murmur of conversation had died from the front of the house, Remus reappeared and, looking around, spotted Harry. Coming over to the young wizards Remus stopped in front of him and folded his arms, his face desperately trying to convey anger at his charge’s disobeying of orders, relief at his safety and concern for him, before deciding that these three emotions were too difficult and settled for just anger.
“Not now Remus.” Harry spoke just as his guardian opened his mouth. “We have to get back to headquarters before anyone notices I’m missing.”
Remus just nodded before grasping Harry’s arm, a little tighter than was absolutely necessary, and turning on his heel, and disappeared into limbo. Landing in Harry’s old bedroom in Grimmauld place, Remus turned to Harry and said;
“We’ll talk about this later.” Before disappearing downstairs.
Harry waited a minute before walking downstairs to join his fellow Council members who were gathered in the kitchen and hallway, waiting for everyone to arrive. McGonagall looked up from her conversation with Moody as Harry reached the bottom of the stairs and spotted the young wizard who quickly remembered that he was supposed to act naïve of what had happened at the battle.
“Oh. I didn’t know that the battle was over and all of you people here had returned to headquarters.” Harry said not particularly convincingly, “Is everyone alright?”
Amazingly, neither McGonagall nor Moody saw through Harry’s act and replied.
“A couple of minor injuries Potter and Professor Harding has two broken legs along with a few other wounds, but no one was killed or seriously injured. We managed to capture four death eaters, the rest of them fled, and we’re now just waiting for everyone to arrive for the debrief , Professor Harding is just being fixed up by Madam Pomfrey now, it’s him we’re waiting on.” McGonagall spoke.
Eventually, Thane joined the rest of the Council, looking much better than the last time Harry had seen him, and everyone filed into the kitchen and sat down for the meeting,. The de-brief was not a particularly thrilling experience, Harry already knew much of what was being said, as they mostly just went over who was injured and who was captured as well as discussing and debating how the death eaters broke the wards around Thane’s house, without reaching a conclusion. The meeting was just drawing to a close when Thane spoke up;
“I think all that remains to be decided is where I live until my house is rebuilt and the wards have been replaced.”
“It’ll have to be a house of the Order, preferably belonging to one of the Council so he has the benefit of the added protection and the secure link to headquarters.” Moody said.
“He can live us.” Harry responded, pitching in for the first time, though he had to restrain himself a number of times, remembering just in time that he wasn’t supposed to have been at the battle. “That’s OK, right Remus?”
“Fine with me.” The werewolf responded and Thane smiled at them.
“Well that about concludes the meeting then.” Moody said as he rose to his feet. “Remember everyone, keep your ears to the ground and we’ll be in touch over details of the next meeting. You are dismissed.”
Everyone stood at these words and, one by one, they began to file out of the kitchen, where most of them said their goodbyes and apparated away. Soon only Harry, Thane and Remus remained and the latter spoke up.
“I just have to have a word with Moody, I’ll be back in a minute and we’ll go home.” He said before turning and walking back into the kitchen where the ex-Auror was sat.
“You don’t think he’s telling on me do you?” Harry asked Thane.
“No, I don’t think so somehow, if he let some of the things James and Sirius did go by without snitching he’s not about to tell on you. Thanks for letting me stay at your place mate, but I’m going to have to go for the moment. Madam Pomfrey said she’d only let me go if I promised to return after the Council meeting, hopefully she’ll release me after an hour or two but I really don’t want to cross her.”
“OK, I’ll see you later.”
Thane waved as he turned and disapparated away to the clutches of Madam Pomfrey and just as Harry turned away, he was met by the sight of his guardian coming out of the kitchen, looking rather angry.
“I’m in big trouble aren’t I?”
Remus just nodded, looking as if he was forcibly restraining himself from exploding right there. Placing his hand on Remus’ arm, Harry watched with a sense of looming dread as his guardian turned on his heel and the two of them were sent flying through limbo.
“Harry I can’t believe how irresponsible that was, you could have been killed.” Remus shouted at his charge as they appeared in their living room.
“I’m sorry but-”
“You’re supposed to be a member of the Council now, responsible and making wise decisions over the war, I mean forgive me if I’m wrong but I wouldn’t have said that charging completely powerless into battle is responsible. What if Voldemort would have been there?”
“If Voldemort would have been there-”
“If your Mother would have been here she would have been very disappointed and filled with worry, just as I was and just as I am. If your father was here, he would be very…” He paused.
“Don’t bring your father in on this Harry.” Remus began once more.
“I didn’t it was-”
“James valued bravery and loyalty to your friends very highly, but that’s not to say that he wouldn’t have been very worried. What do you have to say for yourself?”
Harry didn’t say anything, unsure as to whether Remus’ rant was finished.
“Well?” The werewolf prompted.
“Do the rest of the Order know that I have been inducted into the Council?” Harry asked his guardian, calming himself down and keeping his voice slow and steady.
“Yes, but don’t change the subject Harry, you shouldn’t have-”
“Well then think of it this way,” Harry interrupted, “if the Order know then I think it’s a fair assumption that the Death eaters will know, one way or another, and me not turning up at the battle would, therefore, have been very suspicious. But now I’ve shown my face, they have every reason to think that I still have control over my magic, I have convinced them of this which, I believe, was a direct order from Moody.”
“A direct order from Moody, you’re sure you want to go down that route Harry?” Remus asked in reply, “Because, I seem to remember the words; ‘Potter, you stay here’ coming forth from said ex-Auror’s lips and that is an even directer order.”
“Shut up, you know what I mean.”
“OK Moony, I admit that it’s not a perfect excuse but if Moody’s orders contradict each other, like they did today, you have to choose which to follow.”
“But they didn’t contradict each other, you may have shown your face tonight but you didn’t show any magic.”
“Yes, but that’s not the point. Because, even though you’re right, when Voldemort, in pleasant conversation, asks his slaves about why they lost tonight, I’m willing to bet that they will swear blind that I did use magic. And besides, just because I didn’t use magic, doesn’t mean that I can’t, I mean, who in their right mind would willingly go into battle without magical power?”
“You’ve got me.” Remud replied, his voice now more reasonable as he calmed down, “I’m still not happy with you Harry, but seeing as you saved my life tonight, I suppose I’ll have to let it go for now. That was two all, competition carries on to the next battle?”
“Deal.” Harry replied, “Now I don’t know about you Remus but I am completely shattered and I’m going to bed. If Voldemort tries to start another battle tell him to come back in the morning.” He said as he walked out of the living room and towards the stairs.
“Will do. Goodnight.”
No. Not the whispers. Please no. He could just hear them on the edge of his sub-conscious, his mind trying desperately to fight them. To just let him sleep. But then he realised; something was different, the whispers were not conspiring, they weren’t urging him to go against his morals, in fact they seemed quite happy, talking between themselves. And then the words became clear, though no meaning was derived from them at first in his state of deep unconsciousness, two voices broke through into his sleeping mind.
“Do you think we should wake him?”
“No you’re definitely not supposed to wake them.”
“I think that’s sleepwalkers.”
“Well this is almost the same thing.”
“This isn’t close to being the same thing. I mean, it must take a hell of a lot of magical energy.”
“Yeah but this is Harry we’re talking about.”
“Screw it I’m waking him up. Hey Potter! Get up!”
The last part was shouted and Thane’s voice penetrated Harry’s subconscious, jerking him out of his slumber. Opening his eyes, he recoiled slightly as he found that his nose almost touched the ceiling and noticed that his bed, which he usually kept under him as he slept, could not be felt beneath him. Confused, he twisted around, turning his head to look downwards, only to gasp in shock and fright as, rather unusually, he found himself floating fifteen feet in the air, watched by an interested Thane and a worried looking Remus. His mind just had time to register all of this before he felt whatever force was holding him up, let go and he started to fall to the ground. He braced himself for impact but was relieved to find himself engulfed in the comforting clutches of his bed, albeit with an odd squelching sound and to the vast amusement of the two supposed adults standing by his bed.
“What the hell was that?” Harry demanded as he rolled of his bed, only to find himself covered with a thick, pink liquid.
“Nothing to do with us mate.” Remus replied, “Remember the accidental bursts of magic Madam Pomfrey warned us about? Well I think it’s fair to assume that you’ve just had one. We were downstairs when there was a sudden flux of magical power in your room, both of us sensed it and came up to see what was happening to find you floating fifteen feet in the air.”
“And also you conjured some pink paint on your bed.” Thane added, his eyes darting from side to side.
Harry shook his head, both amusement and annoyance written on his face as he tried to shake the paint off of him. “You do realise that if I had control of my magic, you’d be dead right now?” He asked.
“Yeah but you don’t.” Thane replied, “Say Remus, you know how you were really annoyed at little Prongs jr here for running off powerless into battle?”
“And you know how he has no control over his magic, so we could mess with him and transfigure him without fear of retribution?”
“Yes.” Remus responded once more, smiling evilly.
“Well, you won’t believe this, but I have a cunning plan.” Thane said, turning and smiling manically at Harry.
“Hey guys.” Harry said as he opened the door to find his best friends.
“Hey Harry.” Hermione replied, looking at him strangely, “What-”
She was interrupted by a small figure pushing past her and running into the house. All Harry saw was a small red blur before he felt the air knocked out of him and two arms snake around his torso as Ginny Weasley flung herself on him. He was just relaxing into the hug, when Ginny pushed him away and hit him hard, twice in the chest.
“Ow.” He said. “What was that for?”
“What is the matter with you? Going through with the ritual without telling anyone, then charging into battle without control over your magic, are you crazy?”
“Oh that.” Harry replied but was stopped from saying anything else when Ginny hit him, with surprising strength, in the chest once more. “Ow. Stop hitting me.”
“Fine.” She said, “Now, why are you green?”
“Actually I was wondering that.” Ron commented as he walked into the living room where Harry had backed away from his attacking girlfriend.
“I have no control over my magic and I’m living with an old marauder and Thane Harding, do I really have to answer that question?”
“I suppose not, do you want me to fix that for you?” Ron asked, surprising Harry.
“Don’t think that he’s being nice.” Hermione said, seeing Harry’s surprise, “He’s just being using magic at every opportunity since coming of age.”
“It’s not that, I’m always nice.” Ron said, drawing his wand and pointing it at his friend’s face. He seemed to hesitate. “Now, what spell shall I use Hermione?”
“No offence mate,” Harry said, “ but I’d really rather you not point your wand at my face .”
“Is that so?” Ron asked in reply, an evil smile on his face, “Well come to think of it, I know exactly what spell to use.”
With that, Ron flicked his wand and even Hermione and Ginny burst out laughing as Harry felt something growing from his back. He was about to kill Ron when the four of them were interrupted by Thane and Remus walking into the room.
“Oh good you’re all here.” Remus began before the two of them stopped in their tracks, their mouths agape before they both doubled over with laughter. “Harry, can I ask why you have fairy wings?” He asked, recovering slightly. Harry just glared at him.
“Ginny, Hermione, can one of you please change me back?” He asked.
“Sorry Harry, but you do look pretty funny.” Hermione replied, a huge grin plastered on her face and Harry looked hopefully to his girlfriend who too was smiling broadly.
“Sorry, not of age.” She said.
Harry just shook his head, exhaling in exasperation, “You lot are so dead once I get my powers back.”
Eventually all of this was forgotten as the four friends, along with Thane and Remus, relaxed and played chess, exploding snap and gobstones, enjoying each others company while lunch cooked itself in the kitchen.
“So what does everyone want to do after lunch?” Asked a still green and winged Harry as they all sat down and began to tuck into their roast beef.
“Sorry,” Ginny replied, “but Mum’s insisting that we go home after dinner.”
“Why?” Harry asked in response.
“Something about the war and only being home a few weeks. And I think she said something about us growing up so fast, I’m not sure, quidditch was on the WWN at the time.” It was Ron who spoke this time.
“Hermione?” Harry said as he turned to his other best friend.
“Sorry Harry but you know what my parents are like, they don’t like to let me out of their sight during the holiday, especially since I told them about the war.” She replied.
“How about after lunch, the three of us go down into your trunk and we do a bit of training, see if we can coax a bit of magic out of you?” Thane asked.
“Actually Tonks said that she might come over a bit later.” Remus said a little too casually, his eyes firmly on his dinner. “So it’ll be the four of us.”
“Really?” Harry asked, smirking and looking towards Thane where his expression was mirrored.
And so the rest of lunch was spent teasing Remus about a certain young Auror until, all too soon, their stomachs were filled and Ron, Ginny and Hermione said their goodbyes.
A lull in the conversation followed Ron, Hermione and Ginny’s departure as Harry, as Thane and Remus collapsed on to the chairs and sofas of the living room after a merciful Remus removed the spells on Harry.
“So Remus,” Thane interrupted the silence, speaking as if he had been trying desperately but rather unsuccessfully to restrain himself, “when are you going to ask out Tonks?”
Remus sighed, wary of the question that had been posed to him so many times in the last few months, “I’ve told you before Thane, I’m too old for her. And besides, she doesn’t like me in that way.”
“Really?” The Auror asked disbelievingly.
“Well if your not going to, maybe I’ll ask her out.” Thane said teasingly.
“Fine with me.” Remus replied, rather more tight lipped than usual, as if he was trying to restrain himself from hitting his old friend, or else passing a particularly nasty kidney stone.
“Yep, I’m sure I’ll have a lot of fun with that ‘being able to change her face and body’ thing.”
“That sounds splendid.” Remus responded, now starting to turn ever so slightly maroon.
“Maybe I’ll ask her to transform in to a really flexible form.” Thane continued, “Actually I’ve always liked the look of your Mother.”
“Alright that’s enough.” Remus cried as he jumped to his feet. “Fine, I will ask her out.”
“You don’t have the guts to.” Thane replied challengingly.
“I bet you that I’ll have asked her by the end of the week.”
Harry had watched this all amusedly and chipped in for the first time, “Why not put your money where your mouth is then Moony?” He asked pulling ten galleons from his pocket and placing it on the table.
“You’re learning young master Potter.” Thane said, pulling out some coins of his own and placing them on the table with Harry’s, “Soon you will be adept in the ways of the marauder. I will match his stake, Moony; the ball is in your court.”
Remus hesitated for the second before delving into his own pocket and pulling out twenty of the gold coins. “You’re on.” He replied.
At that moment, the doorbell rang and had he not have been connected by ligaments and cartilage Remus may well have jumped out of his skin.
“Well, well,” Thane began, “it looks like you beloved has arrived young Remus. Perhaps now would be a good time to win your bet.
“Shut up.” Remus replied as he went to open the door and Harry and Thane looked at each other amusedly.
“I’m afraid we haven’t got anything too exciting planned, we’ll just be helping Harry to get some degree of control over his magic.” Remus said to Tonks as the two of them came walking back into the living room.
“Hey that’s pretty exciting Remus.” Harry chipped in before Tonks had time to reply, “Though it may not be as romantic as you’d have liked.”
Harry’s statement was met by somewhat of an awkward silence as Remus and Tonks both turned an attractive shade of red and decided that they should avoid looking at each other at all costs.
“So,” Remus finally spoke, breaking the silence, “how about we head in to Harry’s room and we can start his training in his trunk.”
Tonks mumbled her agreement and together the two of them walked off in the direction of Harry’s room as Harry himself stayed back and shared an amused smirk with Thane who held his hand up for Harry to high five.
“Nice one.” The Auror said as Harry brought his hand up to Thane’s
“I try my best.”
Together the two of them then walked to Harry’s room and then into his trunk where Remus and Tonks were waiting for them.
“So what are we going to begin with?” Harry asked as he sat next to Remus on the duelling platform. “Do I start small or just dive right into the big stuff?”
“Harry you seem to be labouring under the delusion that we have even the faintest idea of what we’re doing.” Remus replied, “What you’ve got to remember is that, although the founders created the Rock and Slytherin created the potion and so we know a little about them, no one ever got the chance to go through with the ritual. So basically your input is just as, even more important than ours, you’re the only one who can tell us how your feeling.”
Harry thought upon this, closing his eyes for a second and reaching out to his errant magic in an attempt to find some clue as to what to do. He delved deep into his magical core and found that, though his magic was bright, it was still scattered, and felt far away, as if just out of his reach.
“My magic is still there,” He said, opening his eyes, “ and it’s still powerful, but it’s not concentrated and I just can’t seem to reach it.”
The four of them thought upon this for awhile before Thane spoke up.
“I think we should stick to simple magic to begin with,” he began, “Wingardium Leviosa, for example, but I also think that we should make it so that you have to use quite a bit of power.”
“What do you mean?” Harry asked.
“Well, we know that you’re powerful enough to pull of the levitating charm, you just need to find a way of putting your magic to use again. So there’s no point in making you levitate a feather, I mean, muggles can levitate feathers, but it takes a fair bit of magic to levitate, for instance, a heavy safe. I know it would still take little effort if you were at full power, but it will at least force you to gather together a bit of power and utilise it.”
Harry thought about this and nodded as Remus and Tonks did the same. “That makes sense.” Tonks said.
“Yes, well there is a first time for everything.” Remus chipped in before drawing his wand and giving it a wave.
A large, grey, iron safe, five foot by four, materialised on the floor of the trunk a few feet in front of Harry and the young wizard turned to the three adults who were now sat behind him.
“Nothing like throwing me in the deep end eh guys?” He said as he drew his wand.
“Are you ready?” Thane asked and Harry nodded, concentrating simultaneously on both the safe in front of him and his magic, calling it to his fingertips as he imagined the iron block rising in to the air.
“Wingardium Leviosa!” He whispered, giving his wand a swish and a flick and pushing out his magic as he had learnt to do all those years ago in a class with the now late Professor Flitwick.
Harry knew that something had happened and felt the magic leave his wand, but at the same time knew that the safe would not lift into the air. He was proven right as he sensed the invisible strike the safe and not much seemed to happen, apart from it wobbling a little before, suddenly, it came to a standstill and unexpectedly turning a bright yellow in colour. Harry was taken aback by what had happened and let up his magic as Thane stepped forward.
“OK.” he said, “Not exactly the effect we were hoping for. On the upside it was magic, in fact quite a bit more advanced than what you were trying to do. If you think your ready and up to it, you can try it again but this time try and put a bit of oomph into it Harry, we know you’ve got the power it’s just a case of channelling it.”
Harry nodded and closed his eyes, summoning his magic to his fingertips as he delved deep into his inner magical core and started to gather together his scattered magic, exhaustively reaching out and pulling together the small but bright pricks of light magic which shone within him like stars in the night sky. Remus, Tonks and Thane looked at each other, satisfied smiles on their faces, as they felt the hairs on the back of their necks stand on end. The air cracked and fizzled and the room seemed to filled with a pulsating, raw magical energy as Harry reconnected with his magic and his true power began to manifest in the air around them. Light seemed to emanate from the young wizard and, as he opened his eyes, the three adults were shocked to see that they were glowing a brilliant emerald green.
“OK Harry, now levitate the safe into the air. Don’t lose concentration.” Remus spoke.
Harry gave no response but raised his wand and levelled it at the safe, his eyes unblinking and determined. Then, with a swish and a flick of his wand, he cried;
Though still transparent, the usually invisible charm seemed to almost solidify with the sheer power of the spell, it was palpable to the eye as a constant beam and Tonks gasped in surprise and the other two just stood rooted to the spot as the charm escaped Harry’s wand. Flying through the air with massive speed, the beam soon struck the safe and Harry’s gaze seemed to harden with the effort of lifting it into the air. Nothing happened at first but then the trunk started to shake, softly to begin with but then with ever increasing force, as if an earthquake had just taken hold of the trunk.
Weapons clattered to the ground from the walls where they stood and Thane, Remus and Tonks all almost lost their footing as Harry and the safe alone remained steadfast and still. Then, suddenly, the safe started to wobble and Harry, encouraged, forced yet more power into the spell until it took of into the air like a rocket. The safe shot into the sky, crashing through the ceiling of the trunk and into Harry’s room proper. Harry immediately released the spell and the room suddenly stopped shaking, leaving it perfectly quiet and still, the four occupants still staring into the sky where the safe had disappeared.
“I have a bad feeling about this.” Remus broke the silence, “You know what they say, what goes up-.”
He was interrupted by a second huge Crash as the safe came back through the ceiling and into the duelling arena of the trunk, falling right at the shocked wizards and witch. Harry reacted instinctively, raising his hand above him as the safe neared his head and his magic flooded the place once more, his eyes glowing as the safe stopped suddenly in mid-air. Harry, feeling as if his magic was seeping out of him and weakening by the second, flung the safe across the room before collapsing on to the floor as it landed with a bang.
Thane, Remus and Tonks rushed over to Harry to find him conscious but weak, but together the three of them helped him to clamber to his feet.
“Perhaps next time I should be more specific in explaining what I mean when I say ‘levitate this safe Harry’” Thane quipped.
“I did it didn’t I?” Harry retorted, an exhausted smile on his lips.
“True.” Remus conceded, “Of course it would have been even better if you hadn’t destroyed your trunk and much of the house in the process but I suppose a step at a time. Here drink this.”
Harry drank greedily from the goblet Remus offered him, knowing that it would restore his erstwhile absent energy. That it did and Harry thanked God for the advanced pepper up potion as the familiar, warm sensation of his magical and physical energy returning to him spread throughout his wary body.
“I think that’s enough magical training for now. Thane?” Remus said, handing over to his old friend.
“What?” The Auror asked, confused before it seemed to dawn on him. “Ah yes, I’m sure that big head of yours hasn’t failed to comprehend, Harry, that Remus and I are running out of things that we can teach you. As brilliant as I am, after the ritual, and even before it, your power level has surpassed ours and, in fact, that of all other known wizards and witches except Voldemort and the upshot of this is that, even though there are still spells that we haven’t taught you, the vast majority of them are too weak to be of any use. Personally I thought that that meant we could pat ourselves on the back and go down the pub, but my wolfish friend here disagreed and so we are going to teach you the noble art of fencing.”
“Fencing?” Harry and Tonks asked at the same time, slightly incredulously.
“You didn’t learn how to fence?” Remus questioned the metamorphogus.
“No and frankly it’s a little bit weird that you two would be shocked by that.” Tonks replied.
“Fencing,” Thane began, cutting off any reply Remus might have been about to make, “and swordsmanship was first taught centuries, maybe even millennia, ago by the Lords and Knights of this kingdom, especially by the magical Lords and Knights who became the ancient pure blood lines of today. While it has died out in muggle families, it is still traditional for old pureblood families to teach their sons how to duel with swords.”
“Sons?” Tonks asked and Thane smiled at the slightly accusatory tone of her question.
“Yes.” Her replied. “There wasn’t too much feminism around the turn of the ninth century. Anyway, I was taught how to fence as I was growing up and now I am ready to pass on my vast well of knowledge to you.”
“So you’re a pureblood?” Harry asked his DADA professor interestedly.
“Thane, you’re kidding aren’t you?” Remus interjected, “he’s got hereditary wizarding titles coming out of every orifice.”
“Thank you for that pleasant image Remus.” Tonks replied sarcastically.
“Hereditary?” Harry asked
“It means inherited.” The werewolf replied, “Lord Harding here has a lineage that’s almost as noble and traceable as yours. Tonks and I are just mere peasants comparatively.
Thane just smiled a little embarrassedly, “Can we get on to teaching young master Potter here how to duel please?” He asked.
“Whatever you say your Lordship.” Remus replied with a mock bow, prompting a giggle from Tonks who had been watching the whole show with an amused look on her face.
“How exactly is this helpful to the war effort?” Harry asked his guardian.
“Well it’s sort of derived demand-.”
“Moony you’re a great friend of mine and I really appreciate you becoming my guardian and welcoming me into your home and everything but if you keep on using really big words I’ll be forced to hit you very hard in the face.” Harry interrupted.
“Yeah, as much as I hate to agree with squibby here, “ Thane began, prompting a glare from Harry, “you are starting to make my head hurt.”
“It’s so good to see that the education system is working in giving people a comprehensive grasp of the English language.”
“Just get on with it.” Harry interjected.
“Well, the point of learning to fight with a sword isn’t necessarily so that you can beat Voldemort if the war ever leads to a fencing match, although you’ve proven that knives and other weapons can be very effective in a duel. Much of the skills used in swordsmanship can be transferred to a duel with a wand.”
“But isn’t fencing just a sport?” Harry asked in reply.
“Yes, it’s actually more like duelling with swords that we‘re teaching you, but it’s much the same and, for now at least, you’ll be practicing with foils.” Thane responded
“Fair enough.” Harry replied, “What are we waiting for?”
“You’ll be up against Remus first, because I learnt all this growing up, I’m just a bit better than him. Once you beat Moony here, you can have a go at me.” Thane said.
With that, Thane wandlessly and silently summoned to him two of the swords that had fallen to the ground during Harry’s magical training session, two Italian grip foils, and threw one each to Harry and Remus. (A/N: Do not try this at home. Prongs_Potter does not accept any liability for injuries sustained while throwing swords!) Both of them caught the foils by the hilt and Harry looked to his professor questioningly.
“Real swords Thane? Shouldn’t we start with wooden ones or something? ”
“Probably, but don’t worry we’ll fix you up if you get injured.”
Harry was completely and utterly reassured by this answer and turned to face his opponent.
“Are you two actually going to teach me anything or are you just going to let me get my arse kicked?” Harry asked as Remus began to circle him.
“Well the latter does sound quite entertaining,“ Thane replied, “ but seeing as the wizarding world is depending on you to save them I suppose I better teach you some moves. OK, there are three basic attacking moves; a strike, a cut and a thrust and three basic defences, you can block, you can parry or you can get the hell out of the way.”
“Is that the technical term?” Harry asked.
“I assume so.” Thane replied, “that’s what my Dad used to say to me anyway, usually when we weren’t fencing.”
“This isn’t therapy Thane, just get on with it.” Remus interjected.
“Good to know I can rely on you emotionally mate.” He responded. “OK, let’s start with stances, always keep your feet about shoulder width apart, your front foot should face forwards and your back foot to the side in the shape of an ‘L’, except for the crossover step and the lunge, but we‘ll come to that later..”
Harry placed his feet as Thane instructed and looked up for further instruction.
“OK, that was the ludicrously easy bit, now the not quite so ludicrously easy stuff. To advance, first move your front foot forwards on to the heel, follow that with your back foot and then place your front foot flat on the ground.”
Harry did so, moving slightly clumsily as he fought the urge to simply step forward.
“Good. You have proven that your not a complete moron and that you can step forwards in a slightly different way than usual. Now let’s see if you have the same success stepping backwards.”
They practiced this for about ten minutes, with Harry moving forwards and backwards in step with Remus and to Thane’s instructions, in a sort of duel but without the ‘trying to hit the other person’ bit. Eventually, Thane was satisfied that Harry (and Remus who himself was a little shaky) had mastered the steps and the stances and they moved on to the blocking and striking techniques and finally started to put it all together. After two hours of training and a lifetime of jibes and general mocking from Thane and Tonks who, though having never fenced herself, decided that Harry’s mistakes were hilarious, it was decided that he was ready and that it was time for him to face Remus for a full sparring session.
Readying himself and getting into the correct stance, Harry felt butterflies stirring in his stomach as he looked to Thane, awaiting the signal to begin. Eventually it came as the Auror slashed his hand downwards between the two combatants and Harry started to advance. He had decided before the duel started that if he was to stand any chance of winning, he would have to take the duel to Remus and not just sit back and wait for a chance to respond. Lunging forwards, Harry thrust his sword to his guardian’s chest and it almost made contact before the werewolf had time to right his stance and position and parry the blow to one side.
Harry made to continue his offensive and rose his sword in to the air, ready to strike it down. He was forced to turn the strike in to a block, however, as Remus recovered faster than he had anticipated and immediately struck his foil downwards towards the younger wizard’s head. Harry’s hurried block managed to hold off the attack, however, and Harry just had time to feel proud of himself before he felt his foil being flipped by Remus’ weapon, pushing it out of the way before the werewolf finished him off with a lunge and thrust to the chest.
Harry let out a sigh of frustration as he let his foil drop to the ground and Thane and Tonks came forward to meet them both, he noted, smiling broadly.
“That was great Harry.” Thane said as he approached the young wizard.
“What are you talking about?” Harry responded, “I was thrashed, I got in one attack and one block.”
“Yeah but you looked great.” Tonks replied.
“And, believe me, that is more than I was expecting.” Thane added, “No matter what I may have said earlier and even though Remus was never taught as a child, James and Sirius did a great good at teaching him how to fence while at Hogwarts. He’s been doing it for longer than you have lived and with that first attack you damn near had him. Now get back into position and we’ll go again.”
Harry was not entirely convinced but did as he was told and assumed the correct stance as waited, once more, for the signal to begin the second duel. They continued like this for three quarters of an hour and, though Harry lost a further four duels, he lasted longer and longer each time and even Remus conceded that it was only a matter of time before he was beaten. After five duels, however, Harry was exhausted and Remus wasn’t much better and, as Thane came forward after the fifth duel, Harry spoke.
“Thane, I’m exhausted mate, can we continue tomorrow?” Harry asked.
“Of course we can continue tomorrow Harry.” The Auror replied and Harry smiled, relieved, “but that doesn’t mean that you can stop for today. Come on, one more duel and this time it will be a proper duel; the loser is the first to draw blood and seeing as you might have a bit of trouble so much as scratching each other with those things, you’ll be using these.”
Thane summoned to him two large swords, before throwing them to Remus and Harry as he had done before. Harry caught one of the two handed highland claymores and twirled it around a little to get used to the feel of it, surprised at heavy it was.
“Is this strictly safe or legal?” Harry asked.
“Don’t think you can handle it Harry?” Remus asked mockingly.
Harry rolled his eyes but walked forwards and, for the last time that evening, got into duelling position. Thane slashed his hand down between the two duellers and the duel began, this time with Remus taking the offensive, pushing back the wary young wizard with a few strikes that he was forced to block and parry. This continued for a full minute as Remus was unrelenting in his attacks, constantly driving forward as Harry had to use every inch of his new found skill just to keep hold of his weapon and keep Remus’ from striking him.
Slowly, however, Remus began to tire and Harry’s stamina, built up from years of quidditch, began to give him the advantage. Parrying one of Remus’ blows, he quickly responded with two successive strikes of his own which put the older wizard on the back foot. Taking advantage of having the upper hand, Harry then raised the claymore high and brought it down hard towards Remus’ shoulder.
Harry’s sword met only with Remus’, but before he could counter, Harry spun the sword around, catching the werewolf’s hand with the tip of his weapon and making his grip relax in shock and pain. The claymore came free of Remus’ hand, sent spinning through the air and, despite his impending defeat, the slightest trace of a smile flickered on the older wizard’s face as he realised that this too was a skill his young charge would soon master and that he had given him another weapon in his ongoing fight against evil.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Thane pluck Remus’ sword from the air, but Harry was aware that the duel was not yet over and kept his focus unwaveringly on the werewolf. Advancing on the now retreating Remus, Harry feigned a blow to the torso and Remus jumped back to avoid it, only to feel Harry’s sword drop down to his legs and pull them from under him, sending him flying to the ground where he landed with a painful thud. The older wizard made to get up again, but was prevented from doing so as Harry stepped forward and lowered his weapon.
Harry’s sword levelled with Remus’ throat before he brought it to the werewolf’s shoulder and nicked it slightly, just enough to draw blood, he then smiled at his first victory of the day before stooping to help up his old friend and guardian. But then they came. His mind clouded as it was wrapped in the darkness the ritual had created in his psyche and the whispers began, corrupting his mind with treacherous thoughts and hissing their evil orders in a voice which was both sinister and bone chillingly familiar. ‘Strike him down’ they seemed to whisper in his ear and, just for a second, his sword hand twitched in Remus’ direction as he responded on instinct to the dark temptations of his mind.
“NO!” Harry cried as he pushed away the maleficent voices of the dark side of his psyche and threw down his sword in alarm at what he had almost done.
“What is it Harry?” Remus asked, alarmed at Harry’s reaction as he, Thane and Tonks all rushed over to him.
Harry placed his head in his hands and closed his eyes, sinking down on to the floor, exhausted and yet still alert and on guard against the whispers should they once more try to infiltrate his mind. After a full minute, Harry was confident that, for now at least, they had gone and he slowly climbed to his feet and uncovered his face, looking into the concerned gazes of the three adults who had waited patiently for him to recover.
“It’s nothing.” He said, diverting his eyes to the ground, unwilling to meet Remus’ stare after what he had been so close to doing. “I think the training’s taken it out of me guys.“ He said, Forcing a strained smile on to his face, “I don‘t think I can handle any more, I’m going to bed.”
With that, Harry walked to the exit of his trunk and back into his room proper where he collapsed on to his bed, leaving behind three very concerned and confused people. He found that as soon as his head hit the pillow exhaustion consumed him once more and so he didn’t have to wait long to sink into a dreamless but uneasy sleep.
Harry woke with a start hours later as two men came barging loudly into his room. He groaned in protest at the sudden awakening but was forced up as he felt his pillow being yanked rudely from under him, opening his eyes, he glared at his two older friends who were indecently cheerful for such an early hour.
“Good morning young Harold.” Thane said as Harry reluctantly sat upright, the Auror purposefully using the incorrect form of his name.
“What do you want?” He asked groggily.
“Well, after you went a little crazy in the duelling arena,” Thane began sensitively, “Remus, Tonks and I began talking about how we could cheer you up a bit. Now personally I thought we should beat it out of you, but Moony here thought we should be all sensitive and nice-.”
“Which Thane is managing perfectly.” Remus interjected.
“Well quite.” Thane continued, “Anyway, Tonks then said that we should invite Ginny around and you could talk about your feelings or something. You know, girly crap.”
“OK.” Harry replied, “I’m still not getting why you had to wake me up so early.”
“It’s nine O’clock mate and Ginny is coming around in ten minutes.” Remus replied.
With that, Harry jumped up in alarm as how much he had overslept (for him at least) and Remus and Thane left the room as he started to get dressed. Ginny showed up fifteen minutes later and Harry showed her to his room where they sat down and started to talk. For half an hour the two of them just talked about things in general, relaxed in each others company as Harry felt himself begin to unwind. Eventually, however, the conversation lulled and the subject turned to more serious matters as Ginny said;
“So Thane tells me that you went crazy?” She began and Harry had to smile, “Care to talk about it?”
“I’d really rather not.” Harry replied, feeling his depression start to return to him.
“Harry you know that you can trust me.” Ginny responded.
“I’m sorry Gin’, as much as I do trust you, I don’t think I can just spill my guts and describe to you all of my feelings. It’s not how I was raised and even though I now know that how my Uncle and Aunt brought me up was wrong, I just can‘t deal with all of this talking about your emotions rubbish.”
“It is not rubbish Harry.” Ginny chastised in response, “And you hit the nail on the head, you weren’t brought up by your family at all, they rejected you and mistreated you and ever since you were a small boy you have had to look after yourself. I understand that this must be difficult but I’m not leaving until you talk to me, so you may as well just spit it out Potter.”
Harry sighed and rolled his eyes but at the same time was rather pleased that his girlfriend had cornered him. The whispers, the damn treacherous whispers were driving him crazy and he was still consumed with guilt every time he saw Remus, unable to bear the knowledge that he had almost harmed someone who had shown him nothing but affection and friendship.
“Ginny, ever since the ritual I have heard voices in my head, usually just out of reach and mostly silent but always there, lurking in the back of my mind.” He confessed.
“Like in your second year?” Ginny asked, looking slightly confused but deeply concerned, thinking back on the horror that had been her first year at Hogwarts.
“No.” Harry replied. “The voices aren’t just around me, they’re within my mind, speaking to me, urging me to do terrible things and trying to corrupt my soul.”
Ginny seemed at somewhat of a loss to say, but was torn a part at the angst she could hear in her boyfriend’s voice. “Is it Voldemort Harry?” She asked, “Is he trying to posses you again?”
Just then it was like a light had been triggered in his mind; that hissing, evil voice; it was Voldemort’s, the whispers were faint and they seemed to echo as they rung out from the deep recesses of his subconscious but Harry still marvelled at how he failed to recognise them.
“It was Voldemort’s voice.” Harry replied before pausing to think, “But it’s not him speaking to me. The whispers come from my own mind, of that I’m sure, they seem to occupy the dark side of my sub-conscious and speak to me when I’m vulnerable or least expecting it, as if they’re trying to take over.”
Harry bowed his head in sadness and shame as, for the first time, he allowed his mind to consider something he had previously wrestled to expel from his own mind.
“Harry,” Ginny began, he voice caring, “I know that you would never let that happen. You’re the strongest person I know and however hard this dark force may try, I know you’ll never let it win, you never have. It’s fairly clear that this is a side-effect of the ritual and, more than likely, the potion of Slytherin’s design. You should really talk to Thane and Remus about this Harry and Madam Pomfrey too, I’m sure that it’s only temporary and they may even figure out a way to cure it.”
Harry sighed as he realised that he couldn’t keep it to himself any longer, he had to confess something to Ginny that he had sworn he would take to his grave.
“Gin’, there’s something that I haven’t told you. As you know, Slytherin added the potion to the ritual of the Rock of Initium as well as the blood line spell to make sure only those he deemed fit to hold it’s power could do so. What you don’t know is that this potion had some of the vilest, most evil ingredients known to wizarding kind. There was unicorn blood and the sliced heartstring of a dragon, but much worse, even than that, there was the blood of a foe spilled in cold blood. When I came to the battle, I still had none of these and, though some would be pretty difficult to get, it was the blood of a foe killed in cold blood that resonated through my mind, presenting a problem that seemed insurmountable. And then Bellatrix was there, she had almost killed you and she was mocking me about escaping with ease from Azkaban, she said that she would come back and kill you, along with everyone else I love. I had beaten her in a duel, she was at my feet and I killed her. She was unarmed and I killed her in cold blood.”
Ginny seemed to shiver next to him for a second and Harry was terrified at what he might see in her eyes should he meet her gaze, the one he was resolutely avoiding.
“Harry,” she said, pulling his face around to look at her, “you have a different definition of cold blood to everyone else I know. It must have been awful for you, but don’t doubt that you had a good enough motive to do it. Bellatrix would have kept her promise Harry, she was too dangerous to be kept alive and you turned her into a tool for good, the ritual was essential in the war effort and as much as you’d have liked it another way, any other way, you had no choice.”
“But don’t you get it Gin’,” Harry began a note of panic entering his voice, “I killed someone, I took another human life, not in self defence but for my own motives, that’s murder and now I’m hearing evil voices speaking to me from my own psyche, trying to corrupt me, to get me to commit yet further acts of evil. I mean, it’s pretty clear that my-.”
“No Harry.” Ginny interrupted, rather aggressively, “I know what you’re thinking and you can stop right now. I have known you for five years, I’ve seen you perform feats of light magic that even Dumbledore could not and on countless occasions I have seen you sacrifice much and be willing to sacrifice everything in the protection of others, even those you have never met. So no, you are not a dark wizard Harry and your soul remains very much intact.”
Harry smiled grimly at his girlfriend’s passionate defence of him as she seemed to read his mind, “You can’t possibly know that.”
“Did you hear any of the voices in the few weeks between the battle and the ritual?”
“No.” Harry felt the first signs of blissful relief stir up inside him before he realised that this knowledge, though good to have, didn’t change anything. He had still almost killed his guardian and friend and he still had very little control over his own magical abilities.
“Exactly.” Ginny said, happy that Harry had finally accepted the truth she was speaking.
“But it doesn’t change anything. I’ve suffered losses before Ginny, I’ve even been subject to mental attack before, but at least then I was able to offer some sort of defence, at least I could put up a fight. Now, the attack is coming from within my own mind and I have no magic with which to fight. Now, I have an army of powerful, dark wizards, witches and magical creatures baying for my blood and I have no defence to offer, yet I am still expected to defeat one of the most powerful men to ever walk the planet.”
You don’t need magic to have some fight in you Harry.” Ginny replied, “You showed it in the battle at Thane’s house and you showed it in the Battle for the Rock, magic or not, you’re the bravest person I know and, though I know you don’t want this responsibility, there’s no one I would feel safer about having this job. You will find a way to defeat him.”
Harry smiled again, Ginny seemed to have that power over him, but her talk of the Battle of the Rock immediately made him come down, his mind refusing to let him move on from the image of the men, women and children he had led to their deaths which was seared forever more into his brain.
“All that pain and death and suffering and what do I have to show for it?” Harry asked, sinking ever deeper into depression as he let out the woes he had kept bottled up for the past weeks. “Two dozen deaths on my conscience, no magical power and now there DAMN WHISPERS!” He shouted the last part and Ginny reeled back in alarm but quickly recovered and put a comforting hand on her boyfriend’s shoulder as he lowered his voice, though it still contained enough sadness to break her heart. “The whispers of my own psyche trying to corrupt me, trying to make me attack the closest thing to a father I have ever had. Apart from Sirius.”
“Your loss of magic is only temporary Harry.” Ginny replied, “Hagrid and the others didn’t die in vain, when the ritual takes effect you will have power over the four elements, the power the prophecy said you would need to end this war once and for all.”
“But even if I gain use over the elemental powers, where does that leave us?” Harry asked, “We’re exactly where we were before the damn battle and ritual; at a stalemate. Thirty human lives Ginny along with countless losses for the magical creatures and countless more casualties, all for nothing.”
“Harry you can’t honestly think that.” Ginny replied, her voice rising slightly. “Do you think that if you hadn’t chased the rock Voldemort wouldn’t have either? If those people hadn’t given their lives to get half the Rock of Initium for the light, Voldemort would have gone underground for a few days and then emerged more powerful than ever, more powerful than anyone could handle, even you. Forget about stalemate, it would’ve been checkmate to the dark.”
Harry thought upon Ginny’s words and smiled as he realised the truth contained in them.
“You’re right.” Harry said. “I don’t know why-.” He was interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Come in.” Both Harry and Ginny shouted.
The door swung open to reveal Thane, his right hand over his eyes and his left stretched out in front of him, feeling his way forwards.
“Can I open my eyes or will I be scarred for life?” He asked.
“Shut up and come in.” Harry replied. “What’s up?”
“I just thought you should know that a date has been set for Snape’s trial.”
“When is it?”
“Tomorrow.” Thane replied.
“Tomorrow?” Harry asked incredulously.
“Yep, the ministry wants to speed up death eater trials as much as possible and it was just a case of the two sides gathering evidence. He’ll be tried by the highest court in the land; the Wizengamot, and you Harry will be required to give testimony. Ginny, you may also be called seeing as how you were also there when Snape betrayed us.”
“OK.” Ginny replied, her face resolute.
“Well that was all I wanted to tell you. I’ll leave you kids alone to get back to what you were doing. Remember Harry, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, but don’t worry, that still leaves you pretty free.” Thane said, an irritatingly and unworthily knowing look on his face as he walked towards the door.
Thane Harding exited Harry’s room rather more quickly than he usually would have, a number of winged bogies hot on his tail.
A/N: Well there it is, like I said I hope you enjoyed it and I would love to hear what you thought. This chapter covers practically everything, with a bit of character and relationship building, some training, some humour and somewhere in there there was a bit of the story. As you may have picked up when Harry cursed Vernon towards the beginning of Birth of a legend, the neglect Harry suffered at the hands of the Dursley's has been enhanced a little for the purpose of this story series and so Harry telling all says alot about their relationship. The next chapter will be Snape's trial and I think it should be pretty interesting, it is certainly very important to the story as a whole, are you intrigued? Thhere's not much more I want to say except review and tell me what you think and I'll get to work on the thrid chapter.
P.S: I am not a fencer, all of the information about fencing, swords and duelling was found from wikipedia and Youtube (the two most reliable websites on the internet) so if there are some inaccuracies tell me and I'll put them right.
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