On Saturday morning, Harry met Dumbledore in his office as planned and they took the floo over to Grimmauld Place. Once they were there, Harry called Dobby and Winky. The elves popped in and took a quick look around. They noticed all the work that needed to be done.
“Molly and the kids cleaned it up some this past summer, but she wouldn’t allow them to use magic so there was only so much they could do in the allotted time,” said Dumbledore.
“It does look like they did a little work, but there is just so much more to do.”
Just then, the curtains flew open on the painting of Sirius’ mother and she started shouting obscenities and blood-purity nonsense.
“I’ll take care of it, Harry,” Dumbledore said then headed toward the painting.
“No! Let me, Professor.”
Harry passed the Headmaster and went in front of the painting. He then stood there looking at the crazy witch. Albus decided to watch the show for entertainment.
“…FILTHY HALF-BLOOD IN MY HOUSE, SOILING THE BLACK FAMILY RESIDENCE…”
Harry let her go for a few seconds more before he smiled and suddenly no sound came out of the painting. When she realized she could not make a sound she stopped and stared at the young wizard who dared to silence her.
“That’s better. Now, listen up you old hag. Sirius is dead and he left this pile of crap to me.”
Her eyes got bigger.
“Yes, that does mean that I am now the Head of House Black. My great aunt Dorea Potter nee Black is likely rolling in her grave knowing that a Potter had to come into this fleabag house and straighten out the Black family. But that’s exactly what I plan on doing. I’m starting with this house. It will be cleaned up and set to rights. You are part of this house and I’m going to deal with you right now.”
She stuck her nose up in the air, pretending not to care.
“Here are your choices, Mrs. Black. Number one: You start acting like a proper lady and quit insulting everyone, or two: I remove this painting.”
She indicated she wanted to speak so Harry just looked at her and nodded. She was surprised when she could be heard again.
“Y-you can’t do that. This painting can’t be removed,” she said in normal voice.
“Sure it can.”
“No. I mean it, its impossible to remove it from the wall. It was charmed this way.”
“If that is the case, then I’ll simply burn it off and repair the wall afterwards.”
“You wouldn’t dare!”
She looked at him carefully then asked a question.
“How did you do that before?”
“Silence me then unsilenced me without using your wand or at least waving your hands.”
“It’s all in the head,” Harry said, tapping his temple.
Her eyes grew big at his revelation.
“You must be very powerful to do that.”
“I am very powerful. As a matter of fact, Professor Dumbledore here believes I will eventually surpass him in power.”
She looked at Dumbledore, who nodded in agreement. She then turned back to Harry.
“And you are the new Head of House Black?”
“Yes, that is correct. I plan on bringing respect back to the Black family name. Cleaning this place up is just the first step.”
“Then I would like to stay. And, I promise to behave,” she swore to him.
“Good! I approve of your choice. Just remember, that second chances are not automatically given so removal is still on the table.”
She nodded in acceptance.
“Oh, and you may want to watch this next part.”
She straightened up and paid attention.
“Well, here goes. Kreacher! Come here please.”
After a few seconds, there was a muffled pop and Kreacher stood before Harry and Dumbledore. He looked up at Harry with hate in his eyes.
“What must Kreacher do for his filthy half-blood master?” he croaked out.
Before Harry could respond, Dobby and Winky popped over on each side of Kreacher. They each grabbed him by an arm and began shaking him.
“HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO THE GREAT HARRY POTTER IN THAT MANNER!” yelled Dobby.
“HARRY POTTER, SIR IS THE BEST MASTER AN ELF COULD EVER WANT!” added Winky. Then she leaned in close to Kreacher’s ear and said with venom in her voice, “You are a disgrace to all elves! We should take you to Hogwarts to be judged.”
“Noooo!” Kreacher yelled and fell to his knees crying.
“Dobby, Winky, that’s enough,” instructed Harry calmly.
The two elves let go of Kreacher but only took one step back away from him, watching him carefully. Kreacher remained on his knees crying. Harry knelt down in front of him.
“Kreacher?” he asked softly.
“Yes, master?” Kreacher mumbled.
“You know that Sirius left me practically everything, don’t you?” Kreacher nodded. “And you know that I am the new Head of House Black?” Kreacher nodded again. “Kreacher, Dobby is my new Potter family elf. Winky is my new Black family elf.”
Kreacher looked up at Harry worriedly.
“Don’t worry. I’m not going to give you clothes. I’m going to give you a choice.”
Kreacher swallowed nervously, not knowing what his fate would be.
“You have been a very bad elf. You helped to get your own master killed. Sirius might still be here had you not betrayed him. Now, the question is this. Can you serve me with honor and respect? Can you change your ways and start acting like a proper elf? If you can prove to me that you are a proper elf again and that I can trust you, then you are welcome to stay here as a Black family elf and help Winky.”
Kreacher looked up at Harry with big tears in his eyes.
“However, if that is too hard for you then you can go to Hogwarts.”
Kreacher started crying again.
“Not to be judged, Kreacher, at least not yet. No, you will go there to work and not be allowed to come back here. You will be the lowest of the elves there and will have to do whatever assignments they give you. That is your choice. Remain a proper, but good Black family elf who helps with this house, or leave here forever to work at Hogwarts. Keep in mind that you only get one chance, whether you stay here or go to Hogwarts. If you fall back into this poor excuse for a house elf routine, then you will be judged. Dobby and Winky will make sure of it. Do you understand your choices?”
“I expect an answer in five minutes.”
Kreacher just sat there. Harry turned to Dumbledore.
“Professor, is there anyone from the Order here right now?”
“Not that I know of, Harry.”
“Dobby and Winky, assess the house and see where you want to start. Keep in mind that there are many dark objects here so be very, very careful. Anything really dark that you can’t handle, place it in a box and take it to the lounge where either myself or Professor Dumbledore will take care of it. Understood?”
They both nodded.
“Alright, enjoy yourselves and let me know if you need me for anything.”
They both popped off while Dumbledore and Harry walked into the lounge.
“You handled that very well, Harry. Both cases. I was impressed. Now, let me ask you if you want the secret switched over to you. We could also take down the current Fidelius and put up another under your own name since this is now your house.”
“No, I would prefer to keep the Fidelius as is and you remain as the Secret Keeper. I still have two more years of school to deal with, sir.”
“Very well. I just wanted to make sure.”
“Thank you for asking.”
“The next question I have for you, Harry, is would you like to join the Order?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, you are considered an adult now and have proven yourself quite capable. You also own the house where we meet,” he said gesturing around him. “I believe that you have a right to be there.”
“What exactly would you have me do?”
“It’s not so much that I need you to do anything. It’s so you can more easily stay in the loop. We share knowledge of what’s going on around us so we all have a good picture of things that are currently happening. With you still in school then it wouldn’t work for you to go on any missions, but your opinion would certainly be welcome at the meetings. You have very good insight, Harry. We normally meet only in the evening so it should work with your schedule. Of course, if you have to miss any meetings due to school then no big deal. I can always fill you in on what you missed.”
“Will I have to take an oath or something?”
“Yes, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. It’s mainly so that what we discuss and plan stays private to the Order only.”
“In that case, I’ll accept. I have a feeling things are about to change, and not for the better.”
“See! Your insight is already paying off.”
“Right!” he chuckled. “I guess I better see what Kreacher decided.”
They both walked back to where Kreacher was kneeling on the floor. He was still there.
“Kreacher, I need an answer. What’ll it be?”
Kreacher stood up and walked forward until he was in front of his master. He kept his head down.
“Kreacher sees that what master said is true, so he is sorry for being a bad elf. If master allows him to stay as a Black family elf, then Kreacher will be respectful and act like a proper elf. Kreacher will work hard to help Winky and Dobby. But, if master wishes, then Kreacher will take his punishment and go to Hogwarts.”
“Very well said, Kreacher. I really hope you meant it. Here is your one and only chance to prove yourself. Go and help Dobby and Winky. We’ll see if you can earn my trust. Do not fail me.”
“Kreacher promises,” he said then popped away.
“Shall we head back to school, Professor.”
“If you’re done here, then I guess we should.”
“Just one second, sir. Dobby?”
“Yes, Harry Potter, sir?”
“I just wanted to let you know that the Headmaster and I are going back to Hogwarts. I don’t think I’ll need you for a while so stay here as long as you like. I’ll call you though if I do need you.”
“Make sure you do, Harry Potter, sir. Dobby will always be there to help the Great Harry Potter!”
“Thank you, Dobby.”
“Bye Harry Potter, sir and Headmaster, sir.”
Dumbledore chuckled and said goodbye to Dobby. Dobby popped back away.
After Voldemort broke out the eleven that went to Askaban for their part in the Department of Mysteries fiasco, Lucius Malfoy was trying to gain some favor back. He started pushing his son for any information about Potter.
“What is it, Lucius?”
“My Lord, you saw what the papers reported about the Potter brat this summer. My son has just reported that Potter is gaining in power and approaching Dumbledore’s level. I thought you ought to know.”
“How would Draco know this?”
“He wouldn’t, my Lord, but I questioned him when he reported it. As it so happens, the Nott scion is the one who can sense magical power. He told Draco that Potter was very powerful at the end of last semester when he simultaneously stunned four Slytherins, including Theodore Nott himself. He now claims that Potter’s power has increased multiple times just over the summer. He says that Potter is almost to Dumbledore’s level.”
“Yes, this changes things, Lucius. Finally, you are providing useful information. According to one of my spies, the spells Potter used in Diagon Alley were claimed to be private family magic, so the actual spells were never revealed. The two spells he cast that killed 12 of my new Death Eaters were said to be some type of battle magic spell. I need to know what he used. I suspect they were only as big as they were because he is powerful. Had you cast them, Lucius, it would have done far less damage, even though you are above average in power.”
Lucius Malfoy nodded reverently in acceptance and did not leave.
“What else, Lucius?”
“Draco also believes that Potter can cast spells with just his mind. I’m not sure I believe that, but according to the paper, that is what he appeared to do. Draco also said that he did that to Severus in Defense class. Severus was using Potter for an example duel in front of the class. They were to try and stun each other. Severus cast a stunner but it connected only to an invisible shield on Potter who never raised his hands or used his wand. He then said that Severus was just stunned along with Pansy Parkinson who was a little to close to the action. They saw no spells. They figured he used the same wide area stunner that he used on them last semester and in Diagon Alley.”
“This is troubling. He also cast the two battle magic spells wandlessly and at the same time from both his hands. I’m afraid we are going to have to pick up the pace on killing Harry Potter, before he gets too powerful and skilled. The longer we wait the better and more powerful he’ll be. You can bet Dumbledore is making sure of that and I certainly don’t want to lose any more of my new recruits.”
“Yes, my lord.”
“Put a team together Lucius. I want Potter dead.”
“It will be done, my lord.”
“I’m warning you, Lucius. Do not fail me.”
“Yes, my lord.”
Harry was walking alone through the dark hallways of the castle a little after curfew a few nights later. He had just come from the library where he was working on a complicated Transfiguration assignment. McGonagall wanted a paper on object to animal transfiguration. They had finally reached the level that she demonstrated in their first year on the first day of class, when she turned her desk into a pig. Her goal was to make sure everyone understood all the theory and steps behind that type of spell. Harry’s head was spinning from all the theory he had to work through. His mind was in a fog trying to sort it all out, as he headed back to his common room.
Suddenly, his eyes flashed and he saw a blasting curse coming from just a few feet behind him out of the shadows. How could he see a spell coming from behind him, he asked himself. Then he realized and quickly moved out of the way. The purple color of the Confringo flew right by him but Harry didn’t stop there. No, he took off toward the attacker with amazing speed. He was a blur when he moved fast.
He saw in is precognition exactly where his attacker was located so he was there in less than a second. He grabbed the attacker by the front of the robes with one hand while his other hand grabbed the wrist of the hand holding the wand. Using the grip on his wrist and robes, the attacker was lifted almost even with Harry’s head as he pulled him out of the shadows and slammed the person onto the stone floor in the middle of the hallway.
All of the attacker’s breath was expelled from his body from the force of painfully hitting the floor on his back. Luckily, his head did not hit first. The problem now, was he couldn’t catch his breath. But even while he was desperate to be able to breathe again and his focus was specifically on that goal, there was no mistaking the pain in his wrist as Harry broke it causing him to drop his wand. He was momentarily distracted by the sharp pain, but quickly put his focus back on trying to breathe as that was the more demanding need at the moment.
Had he had any breath in him he would have cried out quite loudly when his wrist was broken.
Harry picked up the wand and waited until Bole had caught his breath. His attacker finally sat up and brought his broken wrist to his chest and cradled it with his other hand.
“Why?” asked Harry.
“I’m not going to tell you,” he snarled.
“I see. Well, I’m very sorry about this,” Harry said contritely.
“Sorry? About what?”
Harry stomped on Bole’s right knee, breaking it. This time Bole did cry out.
And a lot.
When he finished yelling and calling Harry all kinds of nasty names, he just laid there whimpering.
“I still need an answer, Bole.” Harry said calmly.
“Alright, alright! Aagh! Word has just come down,” he grunted out. “The Dark Lord wants you dead as soon as possible. I was just trying to get in his good graces by doing the deed before anyone else. Aagh! Crap! This hurts! …Nothing personal, Potter. I made a mistake, and I’m sorry. Ah, man!”
“If you meant to kill me, Bole, then why not use the Killing Curse?”
“For your information,” he then hissed in pain, “I’ve never been taught how to cast that spell.”
Harry remained silent pondering what he should do. Finally, after the initial shock wore off, Bole looked up at Harry.
“Brilliant, Potter! Now, I can’t walk to where we need to go!”
“No worries. I’ll take you straight to the infirmary.”
“Good, because this hurts… a lot.”
Harry went behind Bole and grabbed him by the back of the robes.
“What are you doing, Potter? Haven’t you ever heard of magic?”
“I don’t need magic for this,” he replied then took off walking, dragging Bole behind him.
The hard stone floor was unforgiving. Bole’s leg was bouncing causing his knee to hurt even more, not to mention his wrist and backside.
“SWEET MOTHER OF MERLIN, POTTER. ARE YOU CRAZY?” he cried out in pain.
“Perhaps,” Harry replied calmly and with a shrug of his shoulders, but kept walking.
Somewhere on the stairs, Bole passed out from the pain. When they made it to the hospital wing, Harry called for Madam Pomfrey. She came out of her office in time to see Harry bodily throw Bole on top of a bed and none to gentle like either.
“Mr. Potter, what is the meaning of this?” she asked in a shrilly voice.
“Good evening, Madam Pomfrey,” he answered calmly. “Bole here tried to kill me, so I dissuaded him of that notion.”
“I can see that, Mr. Potter,” she said waving her wand over the student. “Apparently he has a broken wrist, a cracked rib, and a broken knee. Also, his back and backside are both scraped up and quite bruised. How did this happen?”
“Like I said, he attacked me. He also told me that Voldemort (she shivered, but Harry continued) gave the order for my death. He was trying to cash in on it. He obviously failed.”
“So you did this to him?”
“Yes, but I just broke his wrist and knee.”
“How did his rib get cracked and his back all bruised up?”
“I’m not sure about the rib, but I did slam him onto the floor rather hard right after he cast the blasting curse at me. It could have happened then, or maybe it was the stairs,” he said thinking about it.
“Well, after his wrist and knee were broken and he couldn’t walk, I dragged him here.”
“Dragged him? Mr. Potter! You dragged him and over the stairs too?”
“That is barbaric! How could you?”
“Madam Pomfrey! Did I mention he tried to kill me on Voldemort’s orders?”
She shivered again. “Yes, I heard you.”
“I personally think he got off lucky.”
“Albus and Minerva will need to be informed about this, Mr. Potter.”
“No need, Poppy,” Dumbledore said from the door when he and McGonagall arrived. “We’re here.”
“How did you know to come, Albus?” Pomfrey asked. “I haven’t had a chance to floo you.”
“Several of the paintings saw and heard what happened so they notified me. I notified Minerva so she could join me. Now, why don’t you take care of Mr. Bole while Minerva and I chat with Harry here?”
Pomfrey summoned a couple of potions then turned and started healing Bole while Dumbledore led Harry and Minerva across the room so they could talk.
“What happened, Harry?” he asked.
Harry told them everything but didn’t mention the precognition. He wanted to explore that privately. He felt certain that it was part of Sneak’s abilities, just like the speed and strength increase, but he would have to test to be sure.
“You didn’t use any magic on Mr. Bole?” asked McGonagall.
“No. I wanted to hurt him for trying to kill me but I didn’t want to hurt him that bad.”
“I don’t understand Mr. Potter,” said McGonagall.
“Minerva, Harry is extremely powerful. He will likely surpass me before too long.” Her eyes grew big at that. “Harry was being responsible while his emotions were so high. Good job, Harry. I’m proud of you.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“I find it difficult to be proud of you, Mr. Potter,” said McGonagall. “You did, after all, drag a fellow student a long distance not only over the hard floor, but up and down stairs as well. All this while he had broken bones. I’m afraid I can’t be proud of that.”
“I understand, Professor,” replied Harry.
“Minerva, you’re missing the point. You have to keep it in perspective. Mr. Bole tried to kill Harry simply to get into the good graces of Voldemort. Harry refused to use his magic to defend himself. Had he used his magic, Mr. Bole would likely be dead.”
She thought it about it for a second, then responded.
“Fine, but I’m not going to award you points, Mr. Potter.”
“No, I don’t think that would be a good idea either, Professor.”
“It looks like Poppy has him patched up and he’s awake now. Shall we?” asked Dumbledore.
The three of them walked over to Bole who was trying to rest in his bed.
“Is he awake enough to talk to him, Poppy?” asked Dumbledore.
“Yes, he should be fine to converse with.” Then she looked at Harry. “I expect you to conduct yourself appropriately, Mr. Potter.”
Bole heard ‘Potter’ and looked around wildly until he saw Harry.
“I’m sorry, Potter. I’m so very sorry. Please forgive me. I promise to never attack you again. I’ve learned my lesson. I really have.”
“Mr. Bole?” asked Dumbledore before he could plead with Harry further. “Harry tells us you attacked him with the intention of killing him so you could impress Voldemort.”
Bole shivered at the name.
“Is this true?” Dumbledore asked.
“Yes, the Dark Lord put out an order to kill Potter as soon as possible. I thought I could get into his good graces this way. But I learned my lesson. I promise I will never go after Potter again.”
“What else can you share with us that will help your case?”
“We know in Slytherin how powerful Potter is, and we’ve been paying attention to all the special spells he knows how to do. No one can figure out how he does it and it looks like he can cast spells with just his mind. I should have known better but I tried to ambush him from the shadows. I was sure that would work. He was so close and I thought I had him dead to rights, but he moved about the same time I cast the spell. I was completely silent. I had all the spells on me to prevent detection. How does he do these things?”
“You realize you are in a lot of trouble, don’t you?” asked McGonagall.
“Yes, I suspect you are going to call the aurors. Right?”
“Not necessarily,” said Harry.
Both professors, Pomfrey, and Bole looked at him.
“I think if you can give us a wizard’s oath, then we can skip calling the aurors,” he explained.
“That is very magnanimous of you Harry,” said Dumbledore, “but either way it goes, Mr. Bole will be expelled from Hogwarts.”
“What oath do I need to agree to?”
“Oh, something like never attacking me again, never becoming a Death Eater, never helping or working for anyone who wishes to physically harm me, that kind of thing.”
“I believe that would be acceptable.”
“Really?” Harry asked.
“Sure. I’ve never really aspired to be a Death Eater. My family has always expected it of me though. Until now, I never believed I had a way out of it. I’ll have to empty my trust vault and leave the country so my family can’t find me, but I’m 17 and that’s a whole lot better than the alternative.”
“What about your NEWTs, Mr. Bole?” asked McGonagall.
“I’ll just finish learning on my own, Professor, then take my tests when I’m ready. But I’ll have to get far away from my family first.”
The wording of the oath was finally agreed on to cover all the bases. Then Dumbledore officially expelled Bole right after he completed swearing to it. He was allowed to keep his wand after he swore the oath but was told to leave as soon as Madam Pomfrey released him.
The next morning Bole was gone.