Harry Potter and Future's Past

Starts out the day after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry and Hermione meet the Goddess of Love, and she offers to let them go back in time. Strictly Harry and Hermione. Minor - well maybe major Ginny, Ron and Dumbledore Bashing. Soul Bond - Time Travel

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5664828/1/Harry-Potter-and-Future-s-Past

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16. Chapter 16 Discussion with Dumbledore

June 19th 1996 Continued

Dumbledore sat behind his large desk and simply stared at the two teens in front of him. It was a blue-eyed grandfatherly gaze over his half-moon glasses that usually had students ready to confess any and all sins to him after only a short time, but Harry Potter only stared back at him. Green eyes stared into blue, both waiting for the other to flinch. Finally Dumbledore reached out his hand and took a lemon drop from the glass dish on his desk. The stay fresh charm on the dish had kept them from going stale since April when he'd been forced to flee his office. He offered the bowl to both Harry and Hermione who just shook their heads declining the offer. Albus popped the lemony sweet into his mouth and moved it around with his tongue several times before finally speaking. "I'm very disappointed in you Harry," He said. "To take something that belongs to me and give it to the Ministry was inexcusable."

"I did what you should have done two years ago sir," Harry replied testily. "I found it most interesting that the Ministry did not know about your Pensieve."

"Who knows about my personal property is none of your concern Mr. Potter," Dumbledore stated.

"SIRIUS COULD HAVE BEEN FREE TWO YEARS AGO HEADMASTER!" Harry was on his feet now glaring at Albus Dumbledore. "You could have proven that I wasn't lying about Voldemort last year. WHY DIDN'T YOU?" Harry's anger was genuine now. "I spent a year being ridiculed and tortured," Harry turned his hand around to show the outline of the words made by the Blood Quill.

"I did what I could for you," Dumbledore replied. "There are just things that you do not understand."

Harry sat heavily back down on his chair and simply said. "Enlighten me then. Tell me what I don't understand. Make me understand why my godfather has had the threat of a Dementor's kiss over his head? With the Pensieve you could have taken my memories of Voldemort and Pettigrew to the Ministry and the Wizengamot or to the press like I just did and it would have been easy to convince them."

Dumbledore's gaze never left the young man's face as he sat back in his large chair as he tried to figure out a way to answer those questions. Of course he knew that the Pensieve was critical in his search for Voldemort's Horcruxes. Even now he thought he had a lead on where one of them was located but needed to view Bob Ogden's memories again to make sure. Finally he decided on his favorite answer. "Harry, you're just going to have to trust me that I know what is best. As I said, there are things you do not understand and I'm not at liberty to discuss with you."

"Then we have nothing left to discuss Headmaster," Harry replied and got up from his seat. He took Hermione's hand and started for the door. "I'll speak to Professor McGonagall about our school records," Right before they made it to the door they heard a click. When he tried to open it, it would not open. He had been expecting exactly that to happen. He knew Dumbledore could not afford for Harry to leave the office and contact Sirius.

"You will both come back and sit down," Dumbledore commanded. "I am the Headmaster of this school and I will not be spoken to like that by two of my students."

Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out his mirror. "Sirius Black," he requested and almost immediately his godfather was there.

"Sirius, it seems Dumbledore has locked us in his office and is refusing to let us leave, even after we've made it clear that we'd like to withdraw from Hogwarts."

"I'll let Amelia and the Minister know," Sirius replied. He then spoke louder to make sure Dumbledore could hear him. "Albus, I'm not sure what you are doing, but understand that if you harm a single hair on either my godson or Hermione's head, I will personally ensure you spend a long time in my old cell; that includes memory charms."

Harry turned back to see a dumbstruck look on Dumbledore's face. "Sirius gave me this earlier," He said truthfully before starting the lie. "If I'd had it last night it could have all been avoided, then again it should never have happened anyway, should it?" He asked the Headmaster.

Dumbledore removed his half-moon glasses as he rubbed his eyes. Finally he looked up and said. "What would make you ever think I would ever harm these children Sirius or think of altering their memories."

Harry decided it was time for another strike to keep the Headmaster from finding firm ground. "Because you did it to Professor McGonagall the day you left me with my Aunt and Uncle," He said.

"How..." Dumbledore started and then composed himself. "Mr. Potter you are now making serious allegations that you could not possibly know of."

"Shall we call her in here and ask her WHY she was watching Harry's Aunt and Uncle's house that day?" Hermione asked. "We've already discussed it with her and I'm sure she'll eventually want to speak to you about it."

"You see Headmaster, according to her, as soon as Hagrid delivered me there that night you put me on the doorstep and left," Harry said. "Now exactly when did you put up those blood wards? Why did it take Hagrid an entire day to get me there?"

"And either you are a sadist or you didn't actually leave a one year old child on a doorstep for the entire night in November. Especially one, who according to Sirius was already flying toy brooms," Hermione added. A look of surprise on Sirius' face was quickly contained. He wasn't sure how the two of them knew about the broom he had bought Harry for his first birthday, but he knew they had found out some time in the future.

Dumbledore sighed as he realized the two teens had somehow started tearing apart secrets that he'd had for many years. He also knew he couldn't let the two of them leave and since they were obviously now protected by Sirius and the Ministry he couldn't change their memories. The righteous pleasure he had felt when he watched Voldemort disappear and the Minister acknowledged his existence now was only a memory as all that he had worked so hard to ensure happened was now unraveling before him. Dumbledore had been thrown for one shock after another all morning since that time. He couldn't understand why he hadn't been able to counter what had happened and regain his customary upper hand. As his secrets crumbled before him, he realized they had been like a house of cards built from exploding snaps. When one detonated the others soon followed. Another sigh escaped his lips as he contemplated the two teens. "Very well," He said finally. "Sit back down and we'll sort through what you think I have kept from you."

Harry looked at Hermione and a silent mental chuckle was passed between the two. They both returned to their respective chairs and sat back down and waited.

"Understand Harry," Dumbledore started again in his best grandfatherly voice. "Everything I have done, I did for you."

"For me?" Harry asked bitterly. "What do you think you've ever done for me?"

"From your ability to detect me earlier, am I to presume you and Professor Snape saw through your differences and he was able to teach you Occlumency?"

Harry snorted in amusement. "Snape?"

"Professor Snape Harry."

"No sir, since Snivalous will never teach me in another class, nor will I regard him as having any authority over me, I will call him Snape, Severus, or Snivalous, whichever he prefers."

"He is still a Professor at Hogwarts," Dumbledore responded in an irritated voice. "You will show him the proper respect."

"And we've already said we'll be glad to leave Hogwarts," Hermione replied.

"As for the git teaching me Occlumency, have you ever watch any of his classes sir? His method of instructing students?"

"What does that have to do with this Harry?" Albus asked.

"He teaches by putting the instructions on the board and then tells us to do it. Then he walks around making snide comments on the sloppy work," Harry explained. "He has us writing essays with no classroom discussions of the topics. That is how he tried to teach me Occlumency sir. Just like his classroom, he starts off by insulting me and then he pulls out his wand and performs Legilimency. No instructions at all. Tell me sir; was that how you were taught?"

"No it wasn't, but I'm sure Severus had his reasons," Dumbledore replied. "Obviously he must have thought it was the best method for getting you to learn it quickly."

"Or he just liked pillaging my thoughts sir. Either way it does not matter," Harry replied. "Hermione and I were able to learn it together. Thank you Miranda."

"You're welcome," The goddess replied. "Oh and excellent job last night. I was sent six bottles of Ambrosia by Death's office. Seems he's having fun with those Death Eaters that came through the veil. Been showing them reruns on how they were fooled by you and your friends while not letting on that you knew what was coming. I think he's planning a feast of roadkill for them tonight."

"Roadkill?" Hermione asked.

"Death Eaters...get it. They get to eat dead things, but not the good dead things."

"Uh…exactly how are they... I mean they don't have bodies or... do you really eat there?"

"It's all imaginary of course, just like you imagined your clothes to be there that day, but it's all very real to them."

"Well...uh...I hope Death's having fun," Harry said politely.

"Oh he is. He loves Death Eaters because of their names. He'll play with them for a century or two before turning them over for Final Judgment."

"Final Judgement? What happens there?"

"Normally I'm not supposed to tell you, but Death said if you asked, I could make an exception. He seems to like you," Miranda replied. "Final Judgment is where your soul is judged. There are three options, the first is you're passed on into the realm and you enjoy an nice eternity with your loved ones; the second is your soul is deemed not truly evil but unworthy and it is recycled to be given another chance, and finally your soul is deemed truly evil and you're sent to an eternity of suffering."

"Oh...uh..." Harry mentally uttered.

"Your soul is just fine Harry," Miranda said. "Yes you took lives but in doing so you saved innocent lives. You are not evil. Now get back to the long bearded idiot."

"Very well," Dumbledore replied. "We shall leave the issue of Severus for the time being. Though you must understand he has my full confidence. Obviously I am concerned you haven't learned Occlumency well enough yet since Riddle was able to penetrate your mind last evening."

Harry and Hermione were ready for this question as well. "Sir, we have been staying up late studying for OWLs and when we finished the last one yesterday I was exhausted. After dinner I took a little nap and wasn't prepared for him. Then again had someone told me that Riddle might have been trying to trick me..." His glare at the Headmaster was very genuine. "I might have been more prepared. I am actually hoping that when he realized he got a fake prophecy that he will think he was tricked and won't bother me again."

"Possibly," Dumbledore agreed. "Though if you do have any of the visions again, please let me know."

Harry shrugged his shoulders again. "Why? Why should I tell you everything when you want to leave me in the dark? You KNEW that Voldemort was trying to trick me to come to the Ministry. You KNEW, but your only answer to was to have the one person who hates me more than Voldemort try to teach me something. So tell me again exactly why I should tell you anything? And then when you finish explaining that, you can explain what you think you've done for me."

"Harry..." Dumbledore started but then realized he had no arguments. Finally he sighed. "It appears I have no choice," He admitted. The Headmaster looked over and saw the mirror still in Harry's hand. "At least turn the mirror off please. The fewer the people who know what I am to say the better."

"I'm not sure that's such a good idea," Harry replied. "I am not in a particularly trusting mood at the moment."

"I would never hurt you, either of you," Dumbledore insisted.

Harry glanced at Hermione and then down at the mirror. "Check back in a few minutes."

"Are you sure?" Sirius asked and at the nod from Harry he spoke louder. "Just remember what I said Albus. You harm either of those kids and you'll be enjoying my old cell," The mirror went blank when he finished speaking.

Dumbledore sat back in his chair and gathered his thoughts before he started. "I guess I the explanation starts sixteen years ago when I met with an applicant for the post of Divination teacher. Though I was more inclined to allow the class to not continue, the applicant was the great-granddaughter of a very gifted Seer and it is was only common courtesy for me to meet with her. The interview occurred in room above the bar at the Hogs Head."

Harry wanted to see if Dumbledore would mention his brother. "Why the Hog's Head?" He asked.

"It was a rainy night and instead of making the poor lady walk all the way up to the castle, I met her there. It's where she had a room," Dumbledore explained. "I also know the owner. The applicant was nice enough but it was soon obvious she didn't have a trace of the gift. I informed her as nicely as possible that I didn't think she would be suitable for the position and turned to leave."

"What does this have to do with anything sir?" Harry asked, knowing what was coming next.

"Will you please take out the blue orb you have and tap it with your wand?" Dumbledore requested. "I'm sure you're going to listen to it, and it's best to do it here where I can explain."

When Harry did as had been requested, a misty figure of Sybill Trelawney rose above the globe as it once did above the Pensive. Draped in the numerous shawls she wore she spoke in the same words and in the same voice Harry had etched into his mind.

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives ... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies ..."

Dumbledore looked up when the ethereal projection of Trelawney had disappeared expecting to see terror in Harry's eyes but only saw thoughtfulness. It was Hermione who broke the silence. "This is the reason the Potters died? This rubbish from a fake? You had just told her she wasn't getting a job, and she obviously made up some crap about Voldemort since she knew you were fighting him," They wanted Dumbledore to defend the prophecy in hopes of getting more information from him.

"Oh how I wished that had been true, but unfortunately it is quite real."

"Given that, and I am not sure it's a given, how can you be sure that it applies to Harry?"

"It actually could have been either of two children. Both had parents who had defied Voldemort three times and were born at the end of July. At the time the prophecy was made it could have been either Harry or Neville Longbottom."

"And how do you know this? Did you monitor every single time someone defied Voldemort?" Hermione pushed. "I find it very coincidental that both sets of parents you mentioned were in your Order in the last war. Of course you would know about them, but did you actually monitor every single family in the country? What about muggles. For all you know there is a muggleborn out there whose parents escaped Voldemort's attacks three times or even a muggle himself."

"I assure you that the prophecy is about Harry," Dumbledore replied. "The proof is on his forehead."

"His scar? Nowhere in the prophecy does it say it's a physical mark. Neville was just as marked by Voldemort's followers when they all but killed his parents. He has mental scars that will never leave him."

"Nevertheless it was Voldemort himself who marked Harry as the prophecy stated," Dumbledore argued.

"I think you are self-fulfilling this prophecy sir," Hermione said.

"Wait…" Harry said as if a thought had struck him. "If Voldemort doesn't know about the prophecy, then why did he kill my parents?"

"Ah yes," Dumbledore replied. I look of sadness appeared on his lined face. "There was a young man who took it upon himself to eavesdrop upon Sybill and my conversation that evening. He was a servant of Voldemort at the time. I was fortunate that he only heard the first part, the part that said someone in July that had thrice defied Voldemort. Tom never knew that there may be danger in attacking you..."

"YOU WERE FORTUNATE?" Harry yelled. He had missed Dumbledore saying it the last time, but now knowing the whole story; it hit him hard hearing those words. "It was fortunate that he has a reason to kill my parents?"

"Harry that's not what I meant..."

"But it's exactly what you said sir," Hermione replied. "If the eavesdropper had heard the entire prophecy, Voldemort would have never attacked the Potters. In fact he might have stopped attacking most people in fear of setting off the prophecy. The year the child was to be born was not set in the prophecy so until Harry was marked as you say, the child could have been anyone."

"Miss Granger you are taking a few words and trying to build an argument; you should know better."

"No sir, because a lot of things are now making sense," She replied. "Tell me sir, why did it take an entire year before the Potters went into hiding? If I remember correctly from overhearing the Minister during our third year, they were killed only a week after they went under the Fidelius Charm. That would have been eighteen months at least after the prophecy."

"They were in hiding on my first birthday," Harry reminded his wife. "Remember the letter that mum wrote Sirius."

"They went into hiding as soon as I knew that Voldemort had specifically targeted them," Dumbledore replied with a hint annoyance in his voice. "I also don't appreciate your insinuation that I was withholding protection from the Potters. James and Lily Potter were not the type of people to hide when a war was going on. To answer your question though, at first they moved around. It wasn't until later I found a reference to the Fidelius Charm and suggested they use it. I offered to cast it or be the secret keeper, but Lily insisted she would be the one to cast it. She spent a month learning the charm before they finally performed it. They told me Sirius was going to be the secret keeper and you know how that came out."

"But didn't Peter have to tell you where their home was once it was done?"

"No. I was told the same way you were of Grimmauld place Harry, by the written note," Dumbledore said. "It was handed to me by Sirius to further the illusion that he was the Secret Keeper."

Harry wanted to press about Snape so he asked the next question. "You've told me my mother gave her life to save me."

"She did," Dumbledore replied.

"But why was she able to? Voldemort had killed my father so why was he going to spare my mother?"

Harry had to give the old wizard credit; he didn't choke on his lemon drop. Though it was possible he had finished it by then. Harry was sure though, the sour look that came and went on the Headmaster's face was not related to muggle candy. "I'm sure he had a good reason," Dumbledore replied.

"So he never confided his reasons to Snape?" Harry pressed.

"I'm sure you must understand what Severus garners from Voldemort is not a topic we can discuss," The Headmaster replied. "Now shall we continue with what happened?"

"Nice change of topics there," Harry said to Hermione. "Yes, of course sir."

Albus nodded before continuing. "As I said, I heard the prophecy and Voldemort found out about the first part. When I discovered that Riddle was targeting your family, they started hiding and eventually they performed the Fidelius Charm. You know what happened that night..."

"Actually after my parents died what did happen?" Harry asked. "Minerva mentioned that Hagrid brought me on Sirius' motorcycle but it seems like it took a whole day. Though with you changing her memories and the fact it seems to have taken so long, I don't think that's the truth."

"Come to think of it sir, how did people know that Voldemort was gone, and that it was Harry who did it so soon after it happened? I mean Harry was taken directly from his parents' house to the Dursleys. How did the wizarding world find out about Harry and his scar?"

Dumbledore's head rose as he stared at a spot on the wall well above Harry's head for several seconds. Finally as if an internal decision had been made he lowered his gaze back to Harry and Hermione. "Here's what really happened that night, but I ask that you not repeat it to anyone."

"Why?" Harry asked. "So you won't get caught in your fabrications?"

"I've only done what I've had to for the Greater Good. Surely you must understand that the good of society must come before the good of the individual?"

"But who decides what is considered good sir?" Hermione asked. "In all of history it has been proven that individuals will gladly make sacrifices for the benefit of society, but those same individuals are unwilling to be sacrificed."

"There are some truths that are too dangerous for people to know," Dumbledore argued. "But that is an argument for another time. For now, you wanted to know about that night," Again Dumbledore paused before he started his narrative. "I had monitoring charms on you and your parents Harry. Since the Fidelius was breached by the secret being given, I had no way to know there was anything wrong until it was too late. My first warning that something was amiss was when a charm signaled your father had died. Unfortunately Fawkes was only a week past a burning day and since even I can't apparate from inside of this castle, I had to make a portkey to take me Godric's Hollow. Voldemort anticipated this and had raised a portkey prevention ward. The time it took me to attempt that method of getting to your parents' house was enough for your mother's death to have occurred," Dumbledore gazed at the two teens again for a few seconds before he continued. "I paused then, expecting you to die any second. That second turned into a minute and yet you were still alive and you were still in your parent's home. The prophecy came to my mind instantly and I did two things, I contacted Professor McGonagall and asked her to go to Privet Drive. I thought that Voldemort might have sent Death Eaters there to cut off an avenue of escape if your parents were to get away from him."

"They would have never gone there," Harry said.

"You and I know that but Voldemort might not have. Though he has disdain for muggles, he knew that your mother and father were very familiar with the muggle world and might seek out those relatives."

Harry nodded. He could understand that logic, though it still didn't explain why the memory modification was performed later. He and Hermione waited for the further explanation.

"I ended up flooing to a friend's house in Godric's Hollow who lives down the street from your parents and made my way to their home."

"That might have been Bathilda's house," Hermione suggested.

"But I thought Hagrid..." Harry started without replying to his wife.

"Allow me to finish and I'll think you will understand," Dumbledore interjected. "As I said, I went to Godric's Hollow, I found your mother and father dead and you crying with the open wound on your forehead. The house had been heavily damaged."

At the description of the Potter's house, Harry and Hermione both started thinking about their visit to Godric's Hollow this past Christmas. Two years in the future they had seen the damage, with much of the rubble hiding amongst the overgrown grass. Wetness crept into Harry's eyes as he remembered that and the statue of him, as a baby with his parents that stands hidden in the middle of village.

Dumbledore saw the tears starting to form in Harry's eyes and paused. "I don't have to tell this part if you don't want me to."

"No," Harry replied as he blinked the tears back. "I want to know what happened."

"Very well," Dumbledore replied and continued the story. "I also found Voldemort's robes lying beside you and your mother but of course there was no body. I started piecing together what had happened. I had to guess at some things, but I think it's been proven that my hunches that night were correct."

"But didn't the police and fire department..."

"Remember the house was under Fidelius. It does not end when the caster dies. Though there were some windows broken in neighboring houses, no one could see your parents' home."

"True, the one at Grimmauld place didn't end when Dumbledore died," Harry said to Hermione who only returned a mental agreement.

"The next part is where it got more complicated," Dumbledore said. "I was positive that the prophecy was in motion. With you having been marked, I knew the fate of the wizarding world rested on a small infant's shoulders, your shoulders."

"I still think you are trying to fit events into making the prophecy work," Hermione replied.

"Miss Granger we could debate that all day, but for now, let me finish the story as you two have requested. I do have a lot that needs to be done now that I have returned to Hogwarts."

"Yes sir."

"Again as I said, I knew the fate of the wizarding world rested on your shoulders. Only you could defeat Voldemort. I did not know how or when, but I knew the day would come. Your safety was paramount to everything else. I sent a message to Hagrid asking him to come to Godric's Hollow; in the meantime I started removing the Fidelius Charm from the house. Eventually Hagrid showed up and I requested he take you to Hogwarts. He was the one above all others who I could trust and could provide the greatest protection for you. He, of course, was curious to what had happened and I told him my beliefs, but asked him to not tell anyone else."

"What about Sirius?" Harry asked. "He was there wasn't he?"

"Yes. Sirius showed up just as Hagrid was leaving. I think you know that part of it. I did not have time to apprehend him then, but I wasn't surprised that he offered Hagrid his motorcycle. I presumed it had tracking charms on it to find out where you were being taken."

"But I thought..." Harry started.

"Just let me finish. You wanted the truth, well I'm giving it to you," Dumbledore replied. "Hagrid took you to Hogwarts, his hut to be exact. From what I garnered the next day, when you were settled and sleeping, Hagrid decided to go to the Hog's Head and drink a few in memory of your mother and father. I think you might guess what happened then. After a few drinks, he started crying about it, and shortly it became known that Harry Potter was the Boy-Who-Lived and Voldemort was gone."

"It was Hagrid's fault?"

"More of my fault for telling him I suppose. I think you have found out Hagrid's secret keeping ability is not the best," Dumbledore said. "I didn't realize what had happened until the next day after I put up the wards and convinced your Aunt and Uncle to look after you. Though they too will have different memories of that day as well. Once Hagrid realized what he had done, the danger he put you in, he felt extremely guilty. He planned to leave Hogwarts and never return. I helped him forget what he did. He only remembers taking you from Godric's Hollow and bringing you to Privet Drive. As for Minerva, after what happened with Hagrid, I was concerned about further inadvertent leaking of information so I modified her memories as well. She did not remember me talking to your Aunt and Uncle nor of me putting the wards up. Though eventually I did have to explain the wards when she started worrying about you."

"Do you believe him?" Hermione asked.

"I think so. It fits everything we know. How I became so famous without anyone knowing what happened and everything else."

Dumbledore was waiting patiently for the two teens to digest what he had said before continuing. "I will admit that I expected you would have many dark years ahead of you living in that house," He finally admitted. "But your safety was paramount in my mind."

Harry snorted. "Safe from whom? Do you really know what my life is like in that house? Did the Weasleys tell you about the bars on the windows, about my having to beg my friends for food? Do you know what it's like to be hit by a frying pan because I'm ten seconds late getting to the kitchen to cook them breakfast that I'm not allowed to eat? Do you have a clue to the scars I have from living in that house?"

Dumbledore had the courtesy of at least grimacing before he answered. "But you're alive."

Harry remembered what Miranda had said about the agreement between Dumbledore and his aunt and uncle. "Out of curiosity, how did you convince my Aunt and Uncle to take me in?"

"They were extremely reluctant, but when I pointed out that eventually bad people would come looking for you there and it would be better for them as well to have the protection the wards provided. I had to remove that information from their minds after they agreed, and only..."

"The owl," Harry said remembering the message that had come in from Dumbledore at the beginning of his fifth year. He had surmised before that Dumbledore had sent it but Dumbledore's response hadn't made sense when he'd said he was reminding his Aunt to what she had agreed to. 'Remember my last, Petunia,' It had said. It made much more sense now.

"Pardon?" Dumbledore asked.

"That owl, you sent it to my Aunt didn't you. The one when I'd just done the Patronus. It said something like remember the last."

"Yes. The phrase was keyed to remind them of our agreement and why it was important for you to be there," Dumbledore replied. Then he continued with the explanation. "After the wards were up and memories modified, I staged the next night. As I said, Hagrid only remembered taking you from Godric's Hollow and bringing you to me at Privet Drive. When he arrived, I put you on the Dursley's doorsteps and Minerva and I left though I immediately returned," Dumbledore looked at Hermione over his half-moon glasses. "There was a warming charm on the basket along with a light sleeping charm. I waited, disillusioned, until the Dursleys took Harry inside. Does that satisfy your teenage curiosity?"

Hermione was concentrating hard and had to agree that the story was most plausible, but then a horrible thought crossed her mind. "The Dursleys sir. You said you modified their memories so they would not remember the agreement, but only that they would accept Harry into their home?"

"Yes."

"Is it possible that their hatred for magic and Harry was based on that. They subconsciously recognized Harry was a potential source of danger and it was because of magic?"

"It is possible," Dumbledore agreed. "I confess that I am not a master of muggle psychology."

"SO IT..." Harry started but then he felt the mirror warm and he reached for it. Sirius' mug showed quickly.

"Just checking in with you Pup," He said. "Making sure you were alright."

"We're fine. Been a very enlightening conversation," Harry replied. "We'll call you back later."

"Sure thing," Sirius replied and he disappeared from the mirror.

Harry looked back at Professor Dumbledore. "He's just checking up on me like a good guardian should."

"The Dursleys might not have been the best guardians, but it is through your Aunt's blood you are alive today."

"So where was that blood when I faced Fluffy or the Dementors or the Basilisk here at Hogwarts?" Harry asked. "You came up with this scheme that required me to suffer for ten years to protect me but then you always seem to fail when I face dangers under your very nose. Then you have the audacity to keep sending me back to that prison every summer? A place where Voldemort might not be able to get to me, but it seems everyone else can."

"What do you mean?"

"Lucius Malfoy's house-elf was in my room sir," Harry spat. "Fortunately Dobby was there to help, but what if he'd been ordered to harm me?"

"Obviously I missed an avenue in that case," Dumbledore replied.

"And the Dementors last year, exactly where were the wards then?"

"The wards are just around Privet Drive Harry."

"I WENT TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY FOR YEARS HEADMASTER!" Harry yelled at Dumbledore. "I stayed away from Privet Drive as much as I could because of the abuse I suffered there."

"But no one knew where to find you," Dumbledore insisted.

"That is garbage sir," Harry said. "The first time I walked into the Leaky Cauldron, everyone recognized me. Dedalus Diggle bowed to me in a store before I knew who he was. Obviously I could be found if someone had truly been looking for me."

Hermione couldn't help but use the past time line Dumbledore's words back against him. "Sir, I believe there was a flaw in your plan."

The twinkle was definitely gone from Dumbledore's eyes. He was not used to people finding flaws in his plans but before he could reply Harry changed topics. "Why didn't you tell me about the prophecy before? In fact you blatantly walked around it after my first year."

"I did plan to tell you when I was sure you were ready, but eleven was much too young."

Hermione asked Harry to show her those memories so she'd know what Dumbledore had said. He closed his eyes and had just started when Hermione spat out "You set Harry up that year, didn't you?" Then realizing what she'd done, she quickly explained. "Harry told me about the conversation you two had. I didn't think of anything about it until now."

"What do you mean Miss Granger?" Dumbledore asked.

"When he mentioned Flamel, you told him he had done things properly. What things sir?" Hermione replied. "You meant for him to go after the stone, didn't you? That's why the traps were what they were...but...but," Hermione's mind was racing as pieces fell into place, "you expected Neville to be there as well. He was with us the first time we found Fluffy and you expected him to be there when we did go after the stone. Of course, I bet if I asked Neville how he knew we had planned to go back out that night he wouldn't remember would he?"

Dumbledore face remained set but he did not speak.

"How else did you know he stood up to us that night? Why you felt you had to give him points?" Hermione continued. "But it didn't work as you thought it would, did it? Neville didn't do what you expected him to do. Instead of following, he tried to stop us," Hermione paused when she saw the look on Harry's face. "Devil's snare, Neville was an expert in Herbology even in the first year. That was supposed to be his trap. Flying keys and a broom?" Hermione continued explaining to Harry. "Do you really see Professor Flitwick making a trap designed for a seeker? The Chess set was designed specifically for Ron and the potions for me."

"What about the troll?"

"He couldn't change it since that was Quirrell's trap, but you had already defeated one so why not another? Or he knew Quirrell would deal with it."

"Why?" Harry asked Dumbledore.

Dumbledore shrugged. "You needed confidence and to learn to depend on your friends."

"We could have been killed!"

"Do you really think I flew to London on a broom Harry?" Dumbledore asked. He looked at Hermione. "Fluffy would probably have bitten you between the time you stopped playing the flute and the time you jumped. I prevented it. I was disillusioned in the room, and if you hadn't shown up shortly I would have followed Quirrell. I watched you get through the Devil's snare and the door that needed the flying key. I was very concerned when Ron chose to make you two less powerful offensive chess pieces."

"What do you mean?" Hermione asked.

"If he had thought it through, he'd have made Harry the King. The King in a chess game can never be harmed."

"Of course," Hermione replied. "I could have been the queen since they are rarely sacrificed."

"There really should have been no danger to any of you," Dumbledore explained.

"What about the potions?" Harry asked. "Not that I would ever doubt Hermione, but what if I'd drunk a poison?"

"I had the antidote in my robes," Dumbledore replied calmly.

Harry just stared at the Headmaster before asking "Why?" again. He remembered the desperation he had felt in trying to beat Snape to the stone.

Dumbledore didn't answer at first. He just reached for another lemon drop and popped it in his mouth. Finally he replied. "As I said, I wanted to make sure you started developing confidence. I knew that..."

"No sir," Harry cut him off sharply as what he thought the real answer was popped into his mind. "You still weren't positive about my mother's protection in my blood. As you said earlier, you had guessed what happened that night, but you needed to make sure. You knew Voldemort had possessed Quirrell and you set up a controlled confrontation between us didn't you? You had placed so much on a guess that you had to make sure."

Dumbledore's sigh this time was the largest one yet. This interview had not gone the way he had wanted and all of his secrets were crumbling. "You must understand Harry..." He began again.

"No! I think you need to understand sir," Harry replied. "I will not be controlled; I will not be manipulated by you ever again. Now what else have you not told me? If I'm supposed to be the blasted hero of the wizarding world, you're going to tell me everything you know about him, especially how he stayed alive. I supposedly killed him when I was one and he survived, I killed Quirrell, but Voldemort survived...how sir?"

Dumbledore looked at the young man who was glaring defiantly back at him. "And if I don't? You plan to run off to France I guess?"

"Sir, if you don't," Harry started, barely containing his anger. "I'll tell the whole wizarding world the prophecy, tell my friends to leave the country and then send Voldemort a damn owl telling him that I'll leave him alone if he leaves me alone. We can then both be immortal, unless the prophecy is wrong...but then again according to you, it can't be."

Dumbledore sat riveted in his seat; the look of shock not even close to being contained on his face.

Harry softened his voice some. "Sir, I don't want to do that. That monster killed my parents and I want him dead. I don't want to be looking over my shoulder the rest of my life. I just want you to understand that I am not going to be controlled. I want to work with you, but are you willing to work with me? If not, then it's your war and I'll go sit it out," He paused for a few seconds before remembering something Dumbledore had said at one time. "Sir, last year when Cedric died, you said a person can do what is right or what is easy. I think it's time for you to decide what you are doing," Harry rose from his chair and took Hermione's hand. Dumbledore's eyes fell upon the ring that adorned her left hand.

"Am I to presume from the ring that adorns Miss Granger's finger that you two are together now?" Dumbledore asked.

"Yes sir," Harry replied. "You can say that we finally realized what we meant to each other."

"That will make her a tempting target for Riddle," Dumbledore said.

"She was already a target sir. But now that you've mentioned it, I can presume you'll ensure her parents' home is warded?"

Dumbledore realized that refusing would destroy any chance of building a relationship with the young man. "Of course. I'll see to it personally. Will you send an owl to them to let them know to expect me Miss Granger?"

"Yes sir, thank you sir," Hermione replied.

"I presume I will need to upgrade the Burrow's wards as well?"

Harry shrugged. "Though I still respect the Weasleys, Ron had a problem with Hermione and me getting together. We had a falling out with him that I'm not trying to repair. But you can check to make sure the Longbottoms' and Lovegoods' wards can be improved," Harry remembered what Miranda had said about the Weasleys at Kings Cross. "Sir why did you have Mrs. Weasley find me at King's Cross my first year?"

"That too?" Dumbledore asked.

Both Harry and Hermione recognized what he was asking. "It was pretty obvious when Harry described it. Mrs. Weasley had been sending children to Hogwarts for many years," Hermione replied. "She would not likely forget what platform the train leaves from, especially since it's the only one there."

"They were a family I could trust who had a son your age," Dumbledore explained wearily. "Was I wrong to think you might have wanted a friend who could tell you how things worked in the magical world? I do know that Mrs. Weasley cares for you greatly and considers you one of her own sons."

"As much as I appreciate that sir, she has to understand she's not my mother," Harry replied. He turned to leave and then looked back, "I hope you decide soon on whether you'll share what you know with me."

Dumbledore nodded.

"Will you unlock the door now? I really need to get some sleep."

A click and the door swung open.

"Thank you sir."

As much as they wanted to sleep together, they knew people would come looking for them when the story broke. The two of them ended up in their own beds after a passionate good sleep kiss they shared in a broom closet on the way back to Gryffindor Tower.

As Harry stumbled into the dorm, he could see Neville stretched out on his bed, still fully clothed sounds asleep.

**** E E ****

Voldemort looked down upon the sobbing broken form of Lucius Malfoy. The blond Death Eater lay curled in a ball on the floor with most of his extremities twitching uncontrollably. Blood pooled around the man's mouth where he'd obviously bitten off his own tongue. The Dark Lord hadn't meant to break the man, but while he had been punishing Malfoy, Goyle had returned from Diagon Alley. He'd been sent to capture Ollivander so Voldemort could find out what was happening with his and Potter's wand. When Goyle had delivered the message that Ollivander's store was closed and he hadn't been seen in two weeks, Riddle had let his frustration and rage pour into the Cruciatus Curse. He didn't realize what he was doing until the screams from his follower had ceased. A quick scan of Lucius's mind confirmed that all coherent thought was gone.

"Drop him in front of his own home Goyle," Riddle said dismissively. "Let it be a warning to all that I will not accept failure."

"Yes...yes my Lord," Goyle replied and rushed to obey his master.

Narcissa Malfoy found her bloodied and broken husband later that day. Though she kept insisting the Healers at St. Mungos keep working on him, it was to no avail. Though by offering more and more galleons they kept trying different treatments on her husband, in the end she found herself sitting beside her husband's bed in the Janus Thickey permanent care ward.

"Would you like an autograph?" Gilderoy Lockhart asked her from his bed as she sat weeping. "I can do joined writing now."

 
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