Chapter 26 : The Bond that Finishes
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Harry sat down on the bed, the mirror gripped tightly in his hands. He stared at the mirror, willing himself to clear his mind. He didn’t dare blink, just in case he missed his father’s smiling face. He waited, for what seemed like forever, but he never came... he will never come again, a small voice in the boy’s head told him. Harry stuffed the mirror under his pillow, laying his head down onto the pillow...
Harry stayed that way for almost a month... not coming out of his room unless he absolutely had too. He locked himself in the room, staring at the mirror intently. Harry’s skitten, Willow, always sat next to him on his bed. He had named the skitten Willow, because of the Whomping Willow. Sirius always told him stories of how he, Moony, and his father would disappear under the Whomping Willow when Moony would transform during a full moons.
Harry felt so guilty every time he would excuse himself after dinner and run up into his room, grabbing the mirror as he flung himself onto his bed. Sirius and Remus were his family, and he could tell they were concerned for the boy. Then again, Harry wasn’t exactly a normal boy. Sirius and Remus had saved him from many years of abuse, and he had let them into his life. Even though he was reluctant at first, he know would trust these two men with his life... perhaps they were the only people Harry would entrust his life with. He knew that they would never do anything to hurt him, for they all shared a special bond that seemed to run deep.
He was so afraid of disappointing the two, in fear that something dreadful might happen. He tried his hardest not to show ill feelings, and he tried not to upset the two friends who had so generously taken him in as their own. Sirius and Remus had taken him under their wing and protected him. He had feelings for them that he could not explain... they were everything to him: brother, uncle, friend, dad, and so much more.
Perhaps that was the reason why Harry refused to talk about what he had seen in a magical mirror one day, the lasting imprint of his father that was trapped inside the mirror forever. Perhaps it was that same reason why he didn’t dare tell them he wanted to go up into his room so that he could see the lasting image of his father just one more time. For Harry did not want to upset his guardians by saying he saw their dead friend in a mirror. Then again, it was only a mark of him. He knew that now and he was frustrated by it. He longed to meet his father, to be in his arms. It was a yearning that he felt ever since he could remember. Then again, he felt guilty. Sirius had become a father to him and he was wishing for the real thing. Harry didn’t know what if felt like to be loved and hugged until Padfoot came along...
It wasn’t that he didn’t love his guardians, because that was not true. He loved them more then anybody else in the whole entire world. He would die for them if it came to that point, for they had given him so much. He would never let anyone hurt them or belittle them, as Molly Weasley loved to do to Sirius. Harry always claimed that it wasn’t Sirius’s fault... that Mrs. Weasley just didn’t understand. He never wanted to have an ill thought in their minds because of him.
He quickly took the mirror and shoved it back under his pillow. He then laid his head down onto the pillow and turned his back to the door, closing his eyes tightly. He knew he was worrying his guardians, and that made him feel even guiltier about the whole thing. He didn’t want to upset them... or make them hate him. He just wanted to see his father once more and maybe exchange a few words.
“Harry? Can I come in?”
Harry turned his head towards the door. It was Padfoot. He could recognize that voice from miles away. He buried his head into his covers, not looking at the door as it opened slowly. He could feel Sirius’s eyes on him. They were burning into him. Harry shifted under the blankets as he heard the floorboards creak as Sirius crossed the room.
The bed’s weight shifted downhill. Harry was slowly falling backwards for his godfather was sitting there. Sirius tugged at the sheets, pulling them down and away from Harry’s face. The boy had no choice but to look at his godfather, whose face was filled with concern. Sirius brushed several strands away from his godson’s face, revealing a thin lightning bolt scar. His brow furrowed slightly.
“Harry? Are you okay?” Sirius’s voice was thick with apprehension.
He just nodded. Harry wanted to say so many things, but he didn’t want to upset his Padfoot. The same person who made a fool out of himself by tying a huge, red bow around his neck just to make the boy laugh. He was the same person who would sit around until late hours of the night just to tell Harry stories of his parents. He was the same person who tried his hardest on a day-to-day basis just to try to make the seven-year-old smile and laugh. He wanted to tell Padfoot of the images he saw in the mirror and how his father would never be back. How he had gotten his hopes up that his father really was alive. He had thought that he would live with his father, Padfoot, and Moony. It would be the perfect life in his eyes.
“You can say anything to me, you know that, right?”
“I know...” Harry trailed off, shifting his body so that he was lying on his back.
“What’s really going on then?” Sirius asked, adjusting himself on the bed.
Harry hesitated. Would Sirius be upset if he heard the news about his father? Would he be upset about anything that he wanted to say? Harry opened his mouth and then closed it again, collecting his thoughts. Sirius just sat there, waiting patiently for his godson to speak. Padfoot told him before that they had all the time in the world and that could be spent by doing anything Harry wanted.
“Dad’s not alive.” Harry looked away, refusing to meet his guardian’s gaze.
“I know that, Harry.” Sirius voice was soft and filled with emotion.
“I told you- I told you I saw him in that mirror... he wasn’t alive in the mirror.” Harry, still not meeting Sirius’s gaze, spoke quietly.
“No, he wasn’t. You can’t bring people back to life... when someone dies... there’s nothing you can do. You will see him again,” Sirius started, “when you die. You’ll join him and your mum. That’s not for a long time though... not anytime soon.”
“I was- I was so stupid...” Harry trailed off, as Sirius grabbed the Harry’s chin and gently turned the boy’s attention to him.
“No, you weren’t. You didn’t understand...”
“Hermione got me a book about phycomatry... it explained everything.”
“Phycomatry?” Sirius raised an eyebrow.
“Err... something like that.” Harry smiled sheepishly.
“Psychometry?” Sirius offered kindly.
“Yeah... I think that’s what Tonks said.”
Sirius nodded his head in understanding. Apparently, he knew what Harry was talking about, because he didn’t say another word about it. He just kept nodding his head, a small frown etching his features. He stopped nodding and looked over at Harry, concern filling his every limb. He moved his position, so that he was lying down next to his godson. He then pulled him into a small hug and the two just laid there, for what seemed like forever. They both eventually fell asleep like that, the worries and pain releasing itself away.
Lord Voldemort paced in a room. It was dark and dreary. There, on the wall, was a snake moral. It was the room that Harry dreamed about for so long. Today, however, Harry was not there. He was not dreaming of this room. It was reality as Lord Voldemort stood there, thinking deeply. He was forming a plan, a master plan within itself.
He whipped around to see a young man standing there, Bartemius Crouch Junior. His most faithful Death Eater has been returned to him. Next to Crouch was Rabastan Lestrange, the second most faithful Death Eater he had... and probably the deadliest of them all. They stood there, waiting for the Dark Lord to respond, to fill the room with his wisdom.
“I have come to a conclusion... one that involves Harry Potter.” Voldemort said in a low, hissing tone as if he was angry and frustrated.
“What is that, my lord?” Lestrange asked.
“Isn’t it obvious? I simply cannot get that boy while he is living in that house with the Animagus and the werewolf. They have too many charms on the house and they have too much protection. There is no way that we can get to him as long as he lives in that house. If Dumbledore is the Secret Keeper, as Severus tells us, we will never get that secret out of him, he’s too damn noble for his own good. It will be the death of him... just like that blasted best friend of his. I want everyone to lie low. I want no more attacks on anyone... unless it is on the Secret Keeper himself... if you do get the chance to attack him... I want it to hurt. I want him to scream... I want him to remember what it was like when he witnessed his best friend being murdered and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. Then again, it will probably not happen that way. It is a waste of our time; our precious time and I will not have it. In the meantime, we shall devise a plan so brilliant that we can get Potter in our hands before he finishes his first year at Hogwarts. All we have to do is wait until the boy goes to Hogwarts, for he won’t be in the house with the Fidelius Charm on it then.” Voldemort curled his lips up into a wicked smile.
“Sounds excellent, my lord.” Crouch commented, smiling himself.
“What sort of plan do you have in mind?” Lestrange asked.
“Have you ever heard of the Chamber of Secrets?”
“How is he?” Remus asked.
Sirius then went into a whole explanation of Psychometry and what Harry really saw in the mirror. Remus listened intently, taking everything in. At every word, Remus seemed to frown more and more. He listened carefully though. Then something struck Remus and he asked Sirius what was on his mind, “Did you find the mirror?”
“No... it’s gone. I have a feeling Harry took it with him or something... I’ll look for it later.”
“Anyways, have you ever heard of the Philosopher’s Stone?” Remus changed the subject
“Err... that stone that makes you immortal or something?” Sirius asked, raising his eyebrows.
“Yes, it was made by Dumbledore and Nicolas Flamel. Well, Dumbledore fears that Voldemort might go after it, for Harry is the only who can kill him. Dumbledore thinks that he’ll be looking for it in case Harry does kill him, but if he has the stone, he won’t die.”
“Moody was talking about that at Harry’s birthday party. He seemed to think that it was dire that it be protected.”
“It’s going to go to Hogwarts, Dumbledore is setting up a place to keep it safe. He’s asking everyone in the Order to try to come up with the best defenses they can to protect it. He said if you can’t think of one it would be fine. He just wants to protect it the best that he can. Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape have already put up their defenses.” Remus explained.
“What are their defenses?” Sirius asked lazily.
“A giant chess set, some kind of potions thing, and the Mirror of Erised.” Remus waved a hand of dismissal, “I was thinking some sort of giant puzzle, one that would take more then just thinking. I haven’t figured out all the details yet, but I’m working it out in my study.”
“Why not just put in a fire-breathing dragon and call it quits?” Sirius smiled.
“Hagrid is getting an animal to protect the door that would led you down there. He already suggested a dragon, but Dumbledore said it had to be legal.” Remus narrowed his eyes at Sirius suspiciously.
“I’ll try to think of something.” Sirius shrugged.
The two friends whipped around and saw Harry at the bottom of the stairs. He had his glasses in one hand and the other was rubbing his eyes. Sirius walked over towards the boy and picked him up into his arms, carrying him over to Remus; who reached out and smoothed Harry’s bangs over his scar.
“Come to join the living, eh?” Sirius asked, kissing the top of the boy’s head.
Harry just nodded sleepily, his glasses dangling from his fingers. He felt better about everything after he had that little chat with Padfoot. He hated separating himself from them for so long, not being able to hear their regular chatter. Harry rested his head on Sirius’s chest and just sat there, thinking.
“How is the seven-year-old doing?” Remus grinned.
“Tired.” Harry replied, wrapping his arms around Sirius’s neck.
“The Dark Lord told all of us to lie low until the right time comes.”
Severus Snape sat across from Albus Dumbledore. There had just been a Death Eater meeting, thus making Snape tell Dumbledore what he knew. Dumbledore, however, didn’t know how exactly he should take this information. Was Snape lying? Was he covering up a master plan for Lord Voldemort? Thousands of mistrustful thoughts and questions flooded the headmaster’s head.
Snape looked slight taken back by the sudden question from Dumbledore. Snape expected other questions, but never this one. He had expected a question about the plan. What was going on? Why was not the question he was expecting. Snape opened his mouth and then closed it, collecting his thoughts.
“What do you mean?”
“Why is he telling you to lie low, Severus? Is there a plan involved in all of this?”
“Yes.” Snape answered quickly.
“What is that plan?”
“I- I don’t know. Only Rabastan knows of this plan... or as far as I can tell.”
“Help is always offered at Hogwarts for those who seek it, Severus. I cannot tell you how many times I have said that in all my years here, and yet, nobody seems to take it seriously. I’m not here just for the students; I’m here for the professors as well. I have known you since you were eleven. I’ve seen you in pain and I’ve seen you hate. I’ve seen you laugh and I’ve seen you be happy. I’ve seen everything that you are, Severus, because I have known you for years. I care about you and I do not want to see you make the wrong decisions and go astray.” Dumbledore leaned back in his chair, “You came to me for help before and I helped. I am willing to help you again if you need it. I will not turn my back on you as I would not turn my back on any of my friends.”
“You turned your back on Black.” Snape shot back.
The comment caught Dumbledore by surprise. He tried to quickly recover, coughing slightly. He sighed, taking in all of Snape’s features. He lowered his head, looking at Snape over the top of his glasses.
“Alas, something I deeply regret. If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is being betrayed. I had thought Sirius had betrayed not only me, but also the whole Order and his best friends. I didn’t want anything to do with Sirius after that point, he was beyond help. That is what I thought. Now, however, I know the truth and am ashamed that I ever thought that he could do such a thing. I received that information based on his family history. Sirius’s father was, indeed, best friends with Lord Voldemort and his mother had a certain, let’s say, affair with him. His brother was a Death Eater and I naturally thought I was so stupid to believe that he was on our side.” Dumbledore sighed heavily, “I was wrong and I greatly regret that now.”
“Black deserved what he got.” Snape said through gritted teeth.
“You think anybody deserves to go to Azkaban when they did not commit a crime?”
“Black tried to kill me when we were teenagers, I don’t think I need to remind you.”
“No, you don’t. I remember that day quite well. I would ask you not to blame Remus for that incident, or James Potter. Neither of them knew what Sirius was going to do. It was only natural for Remus to be there, he was a werewolf at the time and could not keep his mind. James saved your life, whether you choose to believe it or not. Sirius is to blame for that incident and Sirius alone. He took full responsibility for it and I know he regrets it.”
“Black would watch me die in a heartbeat.”
“Sirius is a different man now. He could care less about what you are doing. There is but one thing on his mind at the moment... Harry.” Dumbledore said calmly.
“I have to go... I have to get ready for the new school year.” Snape stood up, getting ready to leave.
“You have a month to get ready, Severus.”
“I have to go.” with that, Snape left the office.
Sirius lay on his back on the couch, Harry laying on his stomach and chest. Sirius had one arm draped across is godson’s back and the other dangling off the couch. Remus sat in a chair across from them, his head in his hands. Sirius then asked, “Twenty-seven?”
Sirius turned his head towards his friend and broke out into a smile, even thought he couldn’t see it. Harry lifted his head off of Sirius’s shoulder and looked at his godfather’s face, a weird expression etched on it. Sirius turned to his godson, his lightened expression turning to concern.
“What’s wrong?” Sirius asked.
“I don’t understand why you were counting...” Harry trailed off.
“It drives Moony insane.” Sirius whispered.
“Why?” Harry cocked his head to the right.
“Just something your father and I used to do.” Sirius replied with a smile etching his lips.
“Why?” Harry asked, cocking his head to one side.
“I’ll tell you later.” Sirius replied, “Thirty?”
“I’m going to go to bed.” Remus stood up, bid his goodnight to Harry, and disappeared upstairs.
“Why?” Harry asked again.
“Never you mind.” Sirius sat up, as Harry sliding down his godfather’s frame, “How’s that cat of yours doing?”
“Willow? She’s good.” Harry replied, eyeing Sirius suspiciously.
“I thought you hated her, Padfoot...”
“I don’t hate her!” Sirius looked taken back, “I merely stated I don’t like cats.”
“She’s not a cat though... Hagrid said she was a Skitten.” Harry pointed out.
“It looks like a cat.” Sirius shot back, a smile creeping onto his face.
“Whatever, Padfoot.” Harry laughed.
Author's Notes- This is the end of the first part of the series. The next chapter that is posted will be Harry's first year at Hogwarts.