To confirm - I make no claim (obviously) to the characters below, but am really happy to have had the chance to play with them and make something that is, I hope, enjoyable to read.
I do want to say a massive thank you to the fabulous LadyKatie who has been 'with me' on this from the start. I really have valued your input and feedback on this as it has developed.
I will also admit that this
is my first story so please be kind if you choose to review. I am very open to
constructive feedback and comment on the story so please, if you have time and
would like to please, either comment or drop me an email on phill2818 at
hotmail .co . uk
Harry Potter and the Unforeseen Hero
Chapter Five: Interviews
The three lads had sat down in front of the visibly apprehensive journalist. Who crackled into life before they had barely drawn a breath.
"I wanted to start by assuring you that I am not here to trip you up or ask you awkward questions. From a journalistic point of view this book could be the greatest work of drivel ever created but it will still sell millions of copies. From a personal point of view I am just as curious as the next man to understand what happened to lead us to our present situation. I no longer write often but when I do I write what I hope to be in a fair and balanced way. I have been made familiar with your conditions and I am very happy to respect them"
Draco nodded in acceptance and thanks of the man's words.
"So how do you want to do this?" Barnabas Cuffe asked. Harry, Draco and Ron sat in the Dexter Fortescue suite that adjoined the school library. It was typically used as a study room for the lower years when working on cross-house assignments. It certainly wasn't the most comfortable room they had ever sat in and Ron considered the possibility of asking Cuffe if he would join them in the room of requirement. However, it had all that was necessary four chairs, a table for Cuffe to write his notes and pitcher of pumpkin juice with four glasses.
"What would you suggest?" Draco asked
"Well of course it works in lots of different ways: for different people, you understand? Typically an interview can be based on me asking questions and you answering. But some do of course prefer the unprompted approach. It depends really on how comfortable you are telling your own story. Also I must admit this is a first for me, when I have done this in the past it has always been with just one person. I hope I will be able to follow"
"Well today should be an easier start for you Mr Cuffe. As it will mainly be from Ron and me that you will be getting your information. Draco joined this little adventure a little late"
"Just so" and Cuffe scribbled a note to himself
"Don't get me wrong his contribution, as you will soon hear, was invaluable but it took us a while to find each other"
"I see and how did you come to meet?"
"I think we will have to tell this in our own way Mr Cuffe. I can only really explain this as I remember it. Jumping around wont make for good continuity"
"Please do call me Barnabas and I am happy to listen as you explain"
"Well for me it started when I was born but for us it really started as we left Hogwarts on the express after Dumbledore's funeral…………."
He had always known it, deep down, it had always been this way; his destiny. Not that he often thought of it that way; destiny somehow offered little flexibility it only offered inevitability. Opportunity and possibility was so appealing but that just wasn't how this felt. The course that had been laid out for him from a tender age had always felt like destiny. However the extreme events of the past week had made his destiny feel yet more perilous and he now felt, if it was possible, even more acutely aware of his own mortality.
Harry was sat slumped against the wall of the train's compartment on the Hogwarts express gazing vacantly out of the window watching the countryside flyby, lost in his own thoughts. Harry considered the number of people currently on the train that where happy to be here; heading home to family or simply happy to be away from the place of the crime. True, unlike most young witches and wizards, Harry had never enjoyed the trip ‘home'. Snorting to himself about the concept of number four Privet Drive and ‘home' in the same sentence he desperately tried to avoid returning to the events of the past week that made this particular journey the worst of the five previous times he had completed this journey.
He accepted that destiny had already played a considerable part of his life and would continue to; facing Voldemort was just another step along that path. ‘Either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives'. But things had changed Harry had never envisaged walking the path alone he had always counted on the unwavering support of Albus Dumbledore. Returning to the knowledge that choked the most was the perpetrator of the crime; Snape. Snape had killed Dumbledore his ally and guide. If there were not already one hundred reasons to hate Snape this was enough for Harry to want to strike him down. He had forced Harry to face all this alone. He felt worse now, if that was possible, guilty for being selfish and thinking about himself while Dumbledore lay dead in the white tomb and yet here he was alive and for the most part well.
"Bastard" Harry muttered under his breath as several familiar faces looked up questioningly at him
"Are you ok Harry?" Hermione asked face full of concern
"I'm fine. Just… thinking…you know?" There was no need to question it further all the people in the carriage knew exactly what Harry was thinking about, but not one of them wanted to talk about it; choosing to reflect on their own personal grief and he was grateful for this. Talking about it would not make it any easier.
Of course he wasn't alone in the true sense of the word. Ron and Hermione were still there and although he couldn't express it, it was an endless source of comfort.
‘Ok so maybe not completely alone' he thought to himself but it *felt* very different knowing that he was facing the power of Voldemort without the support of the ‘only person Voldemort had ever been afraid of'.
Exhaling deeply he supposed that this course and those facts would scare anyone. But of course it made complete sense, Dumbledore the shred operator that he was always going to have contingency plans. Why else would Dumbledore have spent so much time with him over the past twelve months?
"Harry" Ginny said as she gently rocked him out of his own thoughts "we are in London, are you ready?" Looking startled, how time could pass so quickly, he climbed to his feet and focusing his sight out of the window the familiar London skyline became more recognisable.
"Yeah, sorry, thanks"
The scarlet steam engine slowed pulling up along side platform nine and three quarters.
"and now for the only bit that can possibly make this week any worse" Harry announced to his friends as he gathered the remainder of his possessions. The train ground to a halt and they trooped out onto the platform. It was quiet, eerily quiet. Platform nine and three quarters was always so bubbly and hub of activity but a thick sombre cloud hung over the platform.
"Harry dear" Mrs Weasley pulling him into a close embrace "are you ok?"
"Holding up" was the only response that seemed even vaguely appropriate
"The muggles are waiting for you just outside the barrier; we saw them before coming through. Only a couple of weeks Harry and then we will have you away from there, I promise"
"Thanks Mrs Weasley. I'm looking forward to it" Some how the response didn't seem adequate he was really looking forward to it, it would likely be the only thing keeping him from going stir crazy over the next few weeks but somehow the energy and enthusiasm was gone. He just couldn't feel happy at the moment; Harry glanced around the rest of the platform half expecting to see dementors amongst the crowd. Pulling his trunk along in his wake with the Weasley family surrounding him Harry crossed the magical barrier between platforms nine and ten to be greeted by the puce coloured, moustache figure of Uncle Vernon.
"Your late boy. Another minute and you would have been walking back to Little Whinging!"
Pondering briefly to himself whether it was worth opening hostilities this early on Harry bit back the retort about the train always arriving at the same time it had the previous five years opting simply for "Sorry"
"See you guys later" he called cheerlessly and trudged off
"Yeah, see you Harry" voices echoed behind him
The journey back to number four Privet Drive was uneventful, just the way Harry liked it, nobody talked or asked him how he was and he knew better than to make small talk. As the car pulled up on the drive Harry noticed his squib neighbour Mrs Figg looking in his direction stroking one of her many cats in the wrong direction and suppressing a grin he began to pull his trunk from the boot of the car.
"Want a hand?" the offer completely caught Harry by surprise and he had to recreate the scene in his mind just to be sure that he had heard what he thought he had.
"erm… yeah sure, Dudley"
The two boys taking an end each carried the heavy trunk up to Harry's room. It was funny to watch Uncle Vernon's puce complexion deepen to resemble more closely a deep purple.
"I don't think I will ever understand you Dudley, but thanks" receiving no response Harry gazed after his stocky cousin as he lumbered back down the stairs.
"What the fuck was that about" he mused to himself throwing open the trunk flopping down onto the floor in front of it and glancing over the debris that was a pretty good representation of his worldly possessions. Reaching into the trunk and routing around for the photo album that had been given to him he flicked slowly through the pages. With a pang of sadness he snapped it shut thinking of his parents, Sirius and now Dumbledore all gone where he could not, at least for the time being, follow.
It seemed that the day, as awful as it had been, had been a day of self discovery; wondering if he would ever be in the same situation as his parents… part of a happy family with a kid, who knows maybe two! Harry wasn't really sure where these thoughts where coming from, yes he had always thought of his the painful absence of his own family and of his parents but never before the prospect of having someone who he could call his own.
"BOY" the summons from Uncle Vernon disrupted his train of thought. Gently placing the album back in his trunk he trudged back downstairs. An uncomfortable silence was surrounding the room as he walked in to find food on the table.
"………….and that's how it started. Not very exciting really is it?" Harry asked of Cuffe
"No I suppose that is fairly normal. Except the muggles, they don't seem to care much for you?"
"That's about right yeah. Anyway I can paraphrase the next few weeks. Nothing happened. I was stuck in a room on my own. I was bored senseless. I read the books that I had access to and I thought about life"
"I see" It was clear that Cuffe was not going to lead the interview. He was going to respect Harry's request to do this in his own way.
"I guess the most important thing to say now is that I used to have visions. I had a connection with Voldemort. I will explain why later but take it for now that I did. These visions often projected me into his thoughts when he was particularly emotionally charged. Anger, spite, anticipation or combinations usually gave me access to his thoughts and I guess this is where it gets more interesting……………………."
Several week's after Harry's arrival back to Privet Drive Harry found himself upstairs on his bed after a half decent meal. He had been downstairs over an hour through which he had endured the typical ‘Harry baiting' from Uncle Vernon. The bed wasn't nearly as comfortable as his bed at Hogwarts but it was a bed at least.
Harry returned to the thoughts that had earlier run through his mind, Voldemort, Dumbledore, his parents some abstract future family that he may never have. It was a topic that frequently dominated his thoughts. Harry found his eyes getting heavy until suddenly images razor sharp appeared before him where the darkening bedroom had once been.
"Mmmyyy Lord" the short, fat, hamster faced man stuttered back
"I have a problem Wormtail and it must be resolved before it inconveniences me further". The red slits glinted in the reflection of light from the fire. It was impossible to see into and beyond the red eyes.
"They have become a liability; all of them" Voldemort continued gently fingering the Yew wand gently between his thumb and forefinger
"This will need to be resolved… and this leaves me with a slight" he paused "logistical problem"
"What do you wish of me my Lord" the squat man asked cowering in the doorway
"I would speak with Bellatrix, Dolohov and Macnair. Arrange it"
Waking with a start and with sweat dripping from his forehead Harry came back to reality patting around on the bed to locate the glasses that had fallen from his face. Rubbing his scar absently and getting up to open the window he replayed the detail of the nightmare.
"Who had become this liability?"
Frustrated at the lack of useful information this dream had provided he moved to the tiny desk and switched on the light. The room flooded with illumination and padding gently to his trunk Harry rummaged around until he found a scrap of parchment and an old quill.
I'm sorry that we didn't get much time to talk earlier; haven't felt much like talking since the night on the tower. Not much going on here but I had another dream tonight…can we talk?
Unlatching Hedwig's cage, Harry affectionately stroked the snowy white owl who hooted dolefully in return.
"Take this to Remus for me?" he said offering the letter to her. Hooting in confirmation Hedwig took the letter in her beak and flew through the window and into the night.
Striding around the room Harry felt confident he would not have to wait too long for a response even if it was some unearthly hour in the morning. True, Lupin was much busier now that he had been. He now was acting as Mad Eyes second in command of the Order and after an hour's constant trudging Harry flopped back onto the bed, he didn't like waiting.
Wait Harry was, however, forced to. It wasn't until several days had elapsed when a package arrived for Harry through the muggle post. It was almost surreal how Dudley's attitude towards Harry had changed; so commonplace had it been for Harry to be on the wrong end of his Smelting's stick or to be ‘reported' to Vernon Dursley because of some faint misdeed. It was therefore with some amazement therefore that Dudley knocked on Harry's bedroom door one Thursday morning armed with a jiffy bag package addressed to him.
"Harry" Dudley had nodded in his direction and continued "Its for you" and he passed over the package. Without waiting he left closing the door behind him. Not wasting a moment Harry had ripped it open and something the size of credit card had fallen into his lap. A note accompanied it scribbled hastily in what Harry had recognised to be Remus's writing.
I am sure this wasn't what you were anticipating however; the order has taken to using this muggle contraption in order to communicate.
Although we of course have the fireplaces, patronus's and owls we have found that these do not have the ability to provide instant two way communication which has been essential – especially recently.
We have, as I am sure you would expect, placed some spells on the thing to reduce it's size and also to create a shield around it to stop our magical fields from disrupting its signal – so the thing actually works! Also it has been spelled so that it will only work for the owner and the communications cannot be overheard. Or as Arthur told me the other day ‘bugged' is the muggle expression.
We have also charmed it so that you need only press the green button and say my name for the thing to contact me. Place contact me to confirm you have received it and we can discuss your original letter.
Opening up the flip top style mobile phone Harry pressed the green dial out button
"Remus Lupin" the phone paused for a moment and then made the dialling toned
"Harry!" Remus had exclaimed thirty seconds later "You got my package then?"
"Hi Remus, I did! I was rather shocked to be honest to get muggle post" Harry was feeling rather daft. Growing up with the Dursley's it wasn't the first time he had used a telephone but it was certainly not a common occurrence and he felt self-conscious.
"Well I hope it was a nice surprise? Anyway the rest of the Order is using them so I thought it made sense for you to be able to talk with us"
"It's a great idea. Nice to feel a little more connected than usual"
"I can't talk for too long now Harry – we have an Order meeting starting shortly. But I was hoping you could tell me about your dream?"
Dutifully Harry recounted the dream that he had experienced several day previously and before Lupin could cut in with a comment or question Harry moved straight into the thing that had been plaguing his mind for the past few days
"Does the Order know what this means? Who is a liability? It sounded like more than one person didn't it?" There was a pause on the other end of the line and Harry could just imagine Lupin sitting in his former office at Hogwarts, considering the question that Harry had posed
"To be completely honest with you Harry – I don't know. I had a hunch that it may have been the Goyle family. During a recent raid they made a rather big error and nearly got themselves caught but that just doesn't fit because Voldemort could easily deal with them himself. I will raise it at the meeting and I promise to let you know if I discover anything"
"Ok. Let me know. Bye Remus"
"Keep safe Harry"
The device switched off and Harry placed it in his pocket. He did not want to miss the thing if Remus got back in touch with news.
So it was that Harry returned to the little entertainment he had available to him – reading. He was working his way through systematically the books he felt would be most valuable to him on the quest for the Horcrux's. It was not how he would choose to spend his time given free reign or his friends being around but being stuck in Privet Drive on his own this was the best option available.
"………………………………….still not really very exciting is it?" Harry asked the journalist sat opposite him.
"No, I guess the change in behaviour of your cousin and a nightmare can't be considered thrilling, but don't worry the wizarding world is really interested in the whole tale. We have another hour until lunch. Would you like to continue?"
"Sure – as with all these things everything tends to happen at once and so it did for me at Privet drive. I had been there several weeks, had the dream I just described to you and then nothing for a week then three things all at once. A newspaper, fight and another dream" Draco, Harry noted, was listening avidly. Of course they had discussed all of this before but this was all third person from his point of view.
"Do continue" Cuffe had prompted
Harry was sat on his bed disappointed. Remus had contacted him several hours later on the day they had spoken for the first time to inform him that nobody was aware of anything. The Daily Prophet sat folded at the end of his bed. Having read the paper earlier that morning he was disappointed with a lack of information.
There had been an article written by one Elphias Doge; a tribute to the late Headmaster of Hogwarts. Elphias had described in great detail the early years of Dumbledore's life for which Harry had been very grateful. Having known the headmaster as the Wizard that could always be counted on to know the answer to every situation or question Harry found himself in. It was surprising to read about this younger version.
The Prophet had carried other less exciting articles – the Chudley Cannons had lost again and the introduction of some desperately dull legislation on broom stick design. The only article that Harry had raised an eyebrow to was five lines long and had peaked his interest really only because of the affiliation to Draco Malfoy his nemesis from school. He had met Narcissa once or twice and had not liked her. "I wish nobody ill but I won't loose sleep over it" he had muttered to himself
Narcissa Malfoy, 48, was admitted to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries late yesterday evening. Wife of known Death Eater Lucius Malfoy, currently serving a term in Azkaban prison, Mrs Malfoy had last been seen by house elves in their Wiltshire home approximately six hours previously. The location of one Draco Malfoy is currently unknown. A spokesperson for the hospital had this comment "Mrs Malfoy has been admitted in a critical state. The cause of her injuries is not yet known"
"Lunch" Petunia Dursley called from downstairs
Stretching Harry moved from his bed and ambled down the stairs. His aunt acknowledged his appearance with a grunt and put a sandwich down in front of him. It was, to say the least, uninspiring. The bread was dry and the cheese tasteless; though his expectations hadn't been high he still felt a pang of disappointment with his aunt. He didn't know much about his mother after all but he felt sure she wouldn't have treated Dudley this way if their roles had been reversed.
Still! He told himself trying to smile he had had the forethought to exchange some of his Galleons into muggle money and would finish his sandwich and then follow his typical routine and slip from the Dursley's house to walk into the village of Little Whinging. There was quite a nice little cafe in the village. It was inexpensive and at least had fresh bread.
Forcing the dry cheese sandwich into his mouth and chewing he finished.
"Thanks" and placed his plate in the new dishwasher. Moving back to his room he picked up the mobile phone Remus had provided, a ten pound note, tapped his pocked to ensure his wands was in place and slipped out the front door.
"Bacon and egg sandwich please" Harry requested of the Greek man who ran the cafe
"Eat in or take away?"
Glancing outside at the sunny day Harry responded easily "Take away, thanks"
"One moment" and turning away from Harry he slapped two thick rashers of bacon onto the griddle.
Paying the man for his troubles and taking the hot, fresh sandwich Harry ambled over to the park. Sitting on the swing Harry took in his surrounding; two young children playing catch with a tennis ball, two more on a see-saw and one on his own on the climbing frame. Moving to the swings he unwrapped and took a bite into his sandwich. The egg yolk split and filled the sandwich. Good, simple food Harry mused; just what he liked. Finishing up the sandwich Harry rocked back on the swing. It was often at these moments he became thoughtful about the future, would he have kids? Who with? Would he even live to entertain the possibility?
The tennis ball that had been being thrown between the two children bounced up against his foot, leaning down he picked up the ball to return it to its owner and as his head rose back he watched a green curse fly past aimed, he was sure, for the back of his head.
Snapping his head round Harry had just enough time to pull the holly and phoenix feather wand from his jean trousers and shout "Protego" to form his shield charm before another bolt, red this time, streaked towards him.
Noticing the commotion the children all paused in a comical parody taking in the sight before them. Parents came rushing forwards not fully understanding the imminent danger their children where in but sensing that all was not right.
Another hex came flying towards Harry and raising the wand he deflected it harmlessly into the ground.
"Stay behind me. Take the children and run"
The dance continued for a minute longer with the attacker-throwing jinx's and hexes at Harry. Harry dared not to respond not being able to see his attacker and being more concerned with offering protective cover to the children fleeing the play park.
Sure that the coast was clear and nobody was vulnerable to a stray curse Harry backed off taking cover behind the slowly revolving merry go round. Reaching into his back pocket he grabbed for the mobile phone and pressed the green button as an orange curse flew overhead.
"Remus Lupin" the phone took an age to connect
"Harry, I'm a little" cutting right through him
"Remus, I'm being attacked"
The tone of voice changed instantly "Where are you?"
"Park in Little Whinging" and the phone disconnected
Duty done it was time to take up the offensive. Ducking down to avoid the latest curse Harry moved to the side and aimed his wand for the brush that covered his assailant "Incendio". The brush caught fire and as the fire took a hooded man sprang into the open.
Curses began flowing more rapidly than before as his attacker strengthened their grip on the engagement. A faint pop was barely audible swiftly followed by a physical thickening of the air.
Throwing a "Furnunculus" at the attacker followed by an immediate "Immobulus" they stumbled backwards. Regaining his footing the aggressor pushed forward with a green jinx that hit the see-saw and exploding it into tiny fragments. Returning with a "Ventus" Harry drew breath and heard a third, all together more familiar voice and chanced a look over the merry go round.
Remus was stood behind the loan attacker wand pointed at their head "Pertrificus Totalus". The body fell forwards with a satisfying thump into the ground. Gingerly Harry made his way forwards and pointed his wand at the prone figure "Incarcerous"
"Harry, what the hell just happened?" Lupin exclaimed.
"I haven't a fucking clue! I sat down to eat my sandwich and then next thing I know I am being hexed into seven reaches of hell. Who the fuck is it?"
Lupin glanced down and muttered something and the mask disappeared from the death eaters face.
"Antonin Dolohov" Lupin announced
"What are we going to do with him?"
"Use your phone. Call Tonks. He needs to be collected by an Auror. But one thing is for sure, you cant stay here any longer"
"…………and that was my summer in Surrey over" Harry announced before continuing for the benefit of Cuffe "Lupin took me straight from the park to The Burrow. I didn't even return to my aunt and uncles home. He felt it better to get straight to some where we knew was safe"
"Well you certainly had an eventful summer Harry, despite the slow beginning" Barnabas Cuffe smiled.
"Oh no my summer doesn't stop there! That's just the first part of it" and Harry ginned impishly at Ron.
"Well I look forward to hearing about it but it is however, lunch time and whilst I would be happy to go through lunch I am not so sure that the Headmistress would be. Shall we meet here after lunch?"
"Sure" Harry shrugged and the three lifted from their seats and towards the exit, Draco grabbing playfully at Harry's arm.
"God Harry, you talk so much" Draco was overheard to have said
"Well that's the whole point isn't it?" Harry responded slapping Draco's arse