A few days later, Snape went to Dumbledore’s office with some troubling news.
“Albus, Mr. Bole is missing. No one knows where he is. I suspect foul play.”
“Rest assured, Severus, there was foul play.”
“You know where he is?”
“No, but I know what he did and I can tell you he was expelled for it. He left the school and according to him he was going to withdraw all his funds from his student bank vault and get away from his family.”
“Why didn’t you mention this to me before? He’s one of my snakes.”
“Since he informed us he was going to hide from his family, I felt he needed time to make his getaway before anyone else caught on.”
“Can you tell me what happened, Albus, that caused the need to expel him?”
“Certainly, Severus, but I should tell you he should have been turned over to the aurors. However, Harry decided to be lenient with him. Mr. Bole chose to swear an oath and left.”
“That figures… Potter.”
“It’s quite a thrilling tale.”
“Yes, yes, just get on with it, Albus.”
Ron and Hermione were always busy studying now, so it was fairly easy this year for Harry to get away by himself. It was a couple of weeks later and he found himself back down in his chamber. Whenever he was caught up on his homework, he took the opportunity to train more. While he was working in his training room on some new Parseltongue spells he just learned, he wondered how the cleanup of Grimmauld Place was coming along.
“Dobby? Can you come here please?”
“What can Dobby do for Harry Potter, sir?”
“Hi Dobby! I haven’t seen you much lately. I assume you’re working hard over there at Grimmauld Place? How’s that coming along? Is Kreacher doing his part and behaving properly?”
“The house is looking much better Harry Potter, sir. Kreacher is doing just fine too. Dobby thinks Kreacher has had a change of heart. He works very hard and never complains. We all three are very happy elves to have all this work to do. I think Kreacher likes the company too.”
“That’s great Dobby. Were you able to get all the things you needed to buy?”
“Yes, Dobby got them all and we have already installed them.”
“That’s fantastic! When can I see it?”
“Dobby can take you right now, and then bring you back.”
“Are there any Order members there right now?”
“Dobby doesn’t think so.”
“Okay, let’s go.”
Dobby took him and they landed in the entrance. Harry looked around in shock. Everything was so clean and shiny. New, brighter lights had replaced the old ones, giving the place a much warmer feel. The snake motif was gone completely and had been replaced by normal decorations. All the old ratty, peeling wallpaper had been removed and new bright painted walls replaced it. The wood on the floors and walls had been scrubbed and polished until it reflected the new bright and light colors that had transformed the place.
“This is unbelievable Dobby! I can’t believe the difference.”
“There is still much more to do Harry Potter, sir, but we took care of the downstairs first. The upstairs still needs very much work.”
“Winky! Kreacher! Come here please.”
Both the elves popped in to where Harry stood. Winky looked ecstatic, but Kreacher looked apprehensive.
“I know you guys are busy but I just came over to see how things were coming along. Dobby reports how well you guys are working together. That’s great! I saw the downstairs here and I couldn’t believe how much better it looks. You guys have done a wonderful job and I’m very proud of all of you. That includes you too, Kreacher. I’m especially proud of you. Thank you.”
Kreacher held his head up high after that.
“Have you guys found any dark objects for me to take care of?”
“Yes, Harry Potter, sir,” answered Winky. “We left a box for you in the lounge just like you said.”
“I hope none of you were hurt dealing with those,” Harry said worriedly.
“Oh, no, Harry Potter, sir, we is very careful,” answered Dobby.
“Good. Keep up the good work and I’ll see you guys again sometime.”
Winky and Kreacher popped off leaving just Dobby and Harry.
“Dobby, if you wish to go back to work then I can take the floo back. I want to talk to Mrs. Black for a second and then check out that box in the lounge. Sound good?”
“Yes Harry Potter, sir. Call Dobby any time.”
Dobby popped away so Harry went over to Mrs. Black’s portrait.
“Mrs. Black? What do you think of the new look?”
“Then feel free to call me Harry, Walburga.”
“Thank you Harry. I think the downstairs looks lovely. Those elves are something else. They work so hard and thank you for helping Kreacher. I’m afraid it’s mostly my fault for the way he was acting. He is so happy now.”
“I’m glad he’s working out.”
“He has always been very faithful to the Black family.”
“Say, I don’t have long but I wanted to ask you to kindly keep an eye on things around here. A lot of people will be coming and going and I don’t know all of them. I just want to make sure the place stays nice and nothing goes missing. I’m not expecting that to happen, I just don’t know everyone who might come through here.”
“You can count on me, Harry.”
“Thank you, Walburga. I’ll see you later.”
Harry went to the lounge and checked out the box of dark objects. He wasn’t sure about some of them so decided to wait and tackle these with Dumbledore’s help or one of the knowledgeable Order members. He moved the box over to a corner out of the way.
After he looked around more at the remodeling, Harry used the floo and then headed back to his dorm.
A couple nights later, Harry was back at Grimmauld Place for an Order meeting. He went over a little early to check out more of the place, including the upstairs. He also wanted to give the elves a heads up about the meeting and have them prepare some snacks and drinks for it. The day before he had Dobby go purchase a few cases of Butterbeer for the house and put several bottles in cold storage.
He was in the kitchen talking with Winky as she prepared the last of the treats when Mrs. Weasley walked in.
“Harry? What are you doing here and who is this?” she asked curiously.
“Hi, Mrs. Weasley,” he said as he hugged her. “It’s good to see you again. This is Winky. She’s the new Black family house elf and she is something else! I took her on to help out Kreacher. He seems to appreciate it.”
“Hello, Winky.” Winky bowed to Molly. “I came a little early to make tea and some snacks but it appears you have it well in hand.”
“Yes, Mrs. Weasley. There are actually three house elves here right now but in the future it will be down to two. You don’t need to come early unless you just want to. The elves will make sure everything is prepared for the meetings,” he assured her.
“Three elves? Winky, Kreacher, and who is the third one?”
“That would be Dobby. He’s actually my Potter family elf. He’s only here for now helping to get this place repaired and cleaned up. After that, he will likely not be here very often except in his capacity as my head elf.”
“I’m worried about Kreacher though,” she whispered. “How’s he working out?”
“Actually, Kreacher is doing great. I had a little talk with him and he decided to change his ways. Dobby and Winky make sure he sticks to it. He hasn’t fully earned my trust yet but I don’t think it will be very much longer the way he’s working.”
“I assume the downstairs was fixed up by the three of them?”
“Yes. They did a marvelous job.”
“It looks wonderful, Harry. Even the kitchen is updated and spotless. I was so shocked when I came out of the floo that I almost made too much noise and woke Mrs. Black’s portrait. Everything looks great!”
“They’re still working hard upstairs. They just did the downstairs first. But follow me, I want to introduce you to someone.”
Harry led her to Mrs. Black’s portrait. Mrs. Weasley didn’t know what to think since the curtains were open. Harry stopped in front of the painting. Then she heard the painting speak normally and she was shocked.
“Harry! It’s good to see you again.”
“Hello, Walburga. There’s someone I’d like for you to meet.”
Harry pulled Mrs. Weasley over to in front of the picture.
“Mrs. Weasley, let me introduce you to Mrs. Black. Mrs. Black? This is Mrs. Weasley. She’s the mother of two of my best friends at Hogwarts. That would be Ron and Ginny, who have been here before as well.”
“How do you do?” asked Mrs. Weasley tentatively.
“My pleasure, Mrs. Weasley. It’s very nice to meet you.”
“Same here,” she replied still in shock.
“Thanks, Walburga. We can chat again another time,” said Harry.
“Sounds good, Harry,” she replied, so he took Mrs. Weasley back to the kitchen.
“I don’t know what you did, Harry, but that was amazing!”
“I just had a little talk with her as the head of house and laid down the rules. She chose wisely.”
“Okay, Harry, I know you’re the new Head of House Black, but I still need to know why you are here tonight.”
“Oh, well, Dumbledore has invited me to join the Order.”
“WHAT?!” She exclaimed, then calmed herself down. “Harry, don’t you think you’re a little young?”
“Compared to you guys? Absolutely.”
Molly clipped him playfully on the shoulder with her hand.
“But, am I an adult? Age wise, I’m just 16. However, legally, I am an adult and the head of two different prominent families. Professor Dumbledore believes I will bring good insight to the meetings.”
“That man!” she said shaking her head.
“Why don’t you go and relax Mrs. Weasley? Winky has it completely under control.”
“You sure you don’t need any help?” she asked.
“Winky is good elf and does not need help.”
“Very well, Winky. I’m sure you are a good elf. I’ll just go relax before the meeting.”
As soon as Molly was seated in the newly remodeled lounge, Winky popped in with a tea service and served her. She was shocked but accepted the little elf’s help anyway.
“Would Missus like some snacks?” asked Winky.
“No, thank you Winky. I think I’ll wait for the meeting before I have a snack. Tea will be fine for now.”
Winky bowed and popped away. When she appeared back in the kitchen, Harry winked at her. She blushed and went back to making sure all was ready.
After a few minutes, people started arriving via the floo or the front door. All they could talk about was how nice the place looked. Winky was popping this way and that taking care of the guests. Mrs. Weasley was telling everyone how you didn’t have to tip-toe around Mrs. Black’s portrait anymore. She also mentioned the three elves who had fixed the place up. She introduced Winky to everyone and praised her to the high heavens. Winky was blushing constantly.
Once Dumbledore arrived and they were all seated around the table that was loaded with tea trays and snacks, Harry came in and stood next to Dumbledore.
Several people who he was familiar with, like Tonks, Remus, and Bill, were saying hello and waving at him. Others were looking at him cautiously and wondering why he was at the meeting. Moody was just smiling at him while his electric blue eye spun in its socket looking all around, up, down, behind, and so on.
“I call this meeting of the Order of the Phoenix to order,” announced Dumbledore.
Everyone quieted down and looked to Dumbledore. A few glances slid over to Harry who was still standing beside him.
“Now, I suppose most of you are wondering why Harry is here with us. He is actually our first order of business.”
The members started looking around at each other, wondering what this would be about. They knew Harry was the new Head of House Black and the new owner of Grimmauld Place. They were wondering if he was going to kick them out. Finding a new safe place to meet would be a chore. Dumbledore continued.
“Harry was emancipated this past summer on his sixteenth birthday and is now classified as an adult. Since the end of last semester when he and five of his friends fought off a dozen of Voldemort’s best fighters in the Department of Mysteries, friends that Harry himself trained, he has proven he deserves to be an adult through his wisdom and maturity.”
Most of the members now openly stared at the Boy Who Lived.
“As a matter of fact, he has proven himself quite capable. If you recall his single-handedly deposing of twenty Death Eaters in Diagon Alley this past August, you will recognize that. But, most importantly Harry will bring great insight to our illustrious group. I have invited him to join us and he has graciously accepted.”
There were some murmurings now from the group. Snape was grumbling about special privilege or something like that. Dumbledore did not let that impede him.
“Harry has also graciously allowed us to continue to use this house for our meetings. Currently, there are three house elves here, including Kreacher who seemingly has had a change of heart after Harry spoke to him. The same goes for Mrs. Black’s portrait. Although Molly has done a marvelous job of supplying us with drinks and snacks in the past, tonight Winky, who is the new Black family house elf, has provided all of it. Not to mention Harry fronted the bill. Harry, as our new host, would you like to say anything?”
“Yes, if you don’t mind, sir,” he answered then looked up at the Order members seated around the table. “I have taken it upon myself to repair the Black family reputation, a goal Sirius started and I plan to finish. My first job is to clean up and repair this old house. I had already had a house elf named Dobby as a Potter family elf so I asked him to find me another elf to be my Black family elf. He brought me Winky. Along with Kreacher, the three of them are doing a fantastic job of fixing this place up.”
The order members nodded at that.
“And Winky did a great job of providing for us tonight. I hope you are all enjoying her service. Dobby and Kreacher have remained upstairs continuing the repairs and clean up. Soon they will be completed with the entire house. I want the Order to feel at home here and use the house when needed. However, I’m new to your group so while I know or have met most of you, I don’t know all of you personally and I assume others may join us in the future.”
Harry paused and looked around the room at them all. Then took a big breath.
“That being said, I want to make sure we are all on the same page regarding the house and the house elves. Since Dobby is a Potter family elf he will not be here very often after the initial cleanup is finished. Winky and Kreacher will be here for the duration since they are both Black family elves. Given all the hard work the three have put in on the house and how great it now looks, I want to make sure all of you understand that while you are welcome here, you are expected to keep the place as nice as you found it.”
There were many verbal answers to the affirmative before Harry continued.
“Good, so the next item are the elves themselves. Keep in mind that while I do not anticipate any of you doing this, I want to make sure everybody understands that Kreacher, Winky, and Dobby are not just my house elves, they are my good friends. They should be treated accordingly. I want you to allow them to work and serve because that makes them happy, but I better not catch anyone talking to them or treating them in anyway like a slave. They are forbidden to call me master and I do not like the word or concept of slave.”
The Order was silent now and just stared at Harry.
“Like I said, I don’t expect that out of you guys but I felt it needed to be said so everyone knows and understands the house rules. Please inform anyone who wasn’t here about them as well. Any questions?”
No one said anything then a blur flew in and grabbed Harry around the legs, hugging him. Winky had heard everything her master said and could not be more pleased with her Harry Potter, sir.
“Winky? What’s up?”
She stepped back away from Harry looking up to him with a very big smile. “Winky is just very happy Harry Potter, sir. Can Winky get you anything?”
“Actually, I think a cold Butterbeer would be nice.” Harry turned to the group. “Anyone else want one?”
Three hands went up.
“Make that four Butterbeers, Winky, and thank you,” Harry said winking at her.
She blushed again and popped out, returning thirty seconds later with four Butterbeers. She received a thank you from everyone for her hard work before she could get away and pop upstairs to tell Dobby and Kreacher what their master said.
“If you’re done, Harry, I suppose we should get on with the meeting.”
“All yours, sir.”
After Harry swore the oath, he sat down with the group as an equal and attended the meeting. Mostly the members reported on what they had been doing and what they had learned. Their different assignments were discussed and information shared. Snape kept glancing over at Harry every once and a while with a sneer on his face.
Finally, they came to Harry.
“Harry, would you like to share with us what you found out a couple weeks ago?” asked Dumbledore.
“Certainly. I was attacked a couple weeks back by a misguided Slytherin. Once the dust settled, he told me that Voldemort had issued the order to have me killed as soon as possible. My attacker was just trying to get into Voldemort’s good graces by being the one to do it. Obviously, he failed.”
“Severus, can you add any explanation to this order that was given?” asked Dumbledore.
“Yes, I was called in to report to the Dark Lord. It seems that Lucius spread the word to him about how powerful Potter is getting and about the special family spells he picked up from somewhere but won’t share with anyone, and about how he can cast spells with just his mind. I assume it was Draco who told his father all of this. He also shared that the Nott boy is the one who can sense power levels. He has been telling everyone in Slytherin about Potter’s power and how much it has increased over the summer and also how he is approaching the same level as Albus.”
Pandemonium broke out. The Order members could not believe Harry was that powerful. They were all asking questions and trying to be heard over the others. Dumbledore set off a bang with his wand and finally got them to calm themselves.
“That’s better. I was not aware young Mr. Nott could sense magical power levels, Severus, but that is good to know. As far as what was said about Harry’s power levels – that is true. In fact, I strongly expect Harry will bypass me at some point.”
Everyone was in shock and completely silent over that news. Harry just kept his expression neutral.
“Anything else, Severus?”
“The Dark Lord was also told about the duel in my classroom between Potter and myself. The one where students from all houses were witnesses. Since Potter has been so careless with showing his abilities in Diagon Alley and then in my classroom, practically everyone knows now what he can do. I strongly suspect the Dark Load issued the kill order because he’s worried about Potter getting stronger and better trained along with it.”
“What about this duel in your classroom, Severus?” asked McGonagall. “I believe it would be beneficial for us to know exactly what happened and what Voldemort was told.”
“Seriously?” he asked looking at Minerva. He was not anxious to share that embarrassment.
“I think it would be best, Severus, so we understand it better,” encouraged Albus.
Snape sighed. “Very well. I invited Potter up to participate in a demonstration duel between us where we were to only try to stun one another. Nothing stronger than that was to be used. However, when we started Potter never raised his wand or anything else. I decided to go ahead and cast a stunner to see if he would respond. He didn’t and my stunner connected right in the middle of his chest. Only, it never reached his chest since he had an invisible shield that was a few inches from his body. While I was trying to figure out how he blocked my spell, I suddenly was stunned. I saw no spell or Potter casting one. As before, he never raised his wand or even his hands. That is what the class saw.”
“How is that even possible?” asked Tonks.
“Harry has the ability now to just use his mind to cast spells and what is most intriguing is they are invisible,” added Dumbledore. “I have personally seen him do this on two separate occasions and heard of others. The only spells that I noticed were not invisible were the battle magic spells he used on the twelve Death Eaters in Diagon Alley.”
“Can you explain what it looks like, Albus?” asked Kingsley. “Because, I’m having a hard time getting my head around it.”
“It doesn’t look like anything, Kingsley. Harry just stands there like normal and makes things happen.”
“Describe it anyway, please. I’m really struggling with this.”
“Very well. I’ll tell you. The first time I saw him do this was in my office at the end of last semester. In fact, it may have been the trigger event. Anyway, I realized I had kept things from Harry for too long so I shared, amongst other things, the full prophecy with him. This was the same night we lost Sirius so Harry was already quite upset. After everything I told him, his magic lashed out in my office. I thought at first it was accidental magic since he just stood there not using his hands or his wand. I was wrong. It was controlled and he destroyed everything in my office except for me and the chair I was sitting in, Fawkes and his perch, and thankfully, the past headmaster’s portraits.”
“I can’t believe I forgot to apologize for that Professor,” Harry said contritely.
“You owe me no apology for that Harry. Trust me on that. The good news is I was able to repair everything, well, almost everything. What wasn’t repaired was not important. Too many trinkets you see,” he said smiling.
“What about the second time?” asked Remus.
“The second time was right here in this house when he spoke to Mrs. Black in her portrait. She was yelling like she normally does and he shut her up with just a thought. Eventually, she asked how he did that and he told her it was all in the mind as he tapped his temple. Realizing how powerful he must be, she was far more accommodating to him as the new Head of House Black and agreed to act civilized or he would remove her.”
“I thought that portrait couldn’t be removed,” said Molly.
“Mrs. Black thought that too,” replied Harry, “until I told her I would burn it off then repair the wall afterwards. She decided to believe me. It was a good choice.”
“Harry, would you mind demonstrated this new ability?” asked Tonks. “I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who is curious.”
“Which ability are you asking about?” he asked as the door to the room shut on its own and locked itself.
Everyone’s head turned toward the door.
“Do you mean where I cast spells with just my mind?” Harry asked as the door unlocked and opened again.
“Clever, Potter,” noted Moody.
“I have never in my life heard of such a thing,” said McGonagall.
“Too bad the Dark Lord knows all about it now. Now Potter can’t surprise him with it and use it as an advantage,” snarled Snape.
“At first, I came to the same conclusion, Professor,” replied Harry. “I thought perhaps I had made a mistake by exposing that ability to everyone. However, since then I’ve changed my mind. I don’t wish to hide that ability. I have no reason to hide that one,” he said nonchalantly.
“That one?” asked Remus. “Peculiar use of wording. Does that mean you are hiding at least one other ability?”
“Perhaps,” Harry said smiling.
Everyone just looked at each other. Dumbledore chuckled and Snape frowned.
“Unless anyone has something else to discuss, that concludes our meeting,” announced Dumbledore.
“I do have one more thing, sir,” Harry said.
“The elves have collected dark objects as they came across them in the house that they can’t do anything with. They were instructed to place said objects in a box and leave it in the lounge for either myself or Professor Dumbledore to deal with. They’ve done this and I’ve taken a look at the objects. Unfortunately, most of them are above my knowledge. I could use some help from any of you with expertise in that area.”
“Excellent!” exclaimed Dumbledore. “I ask all those who can lend a hand to join Harry and myself in the lounge before you leave. Your help will be appreciated. Meeting is now adjourned.”