The Assassin

The Assassin - Chapter 10

Chapter 10

The familiar scenery of the Weasley’s land came in to view as Harry landed on the soft grass after being side along apparated by Bill Weasley. The small trip up to the Burrow was filled with silence. The family surprised by what had occurred during the meeting. Although the twins seemed to be the least shocked out of them all. Considering they already noticed things about the young man that were unusual. Both the twins looked at each other before looking at Harry who was slightly behind all of them. They understood each other without having to say a word; they needed to get to the bottom of things now.

Everyone made their way inside the house to find Ginny and Ron still seated at the table. The pair were anxiously waiting for their return, having no idea if Harry would be found again. The pair got up as soon as the door opened and sighed in relief once Harry entered in last. Harry simply ignored the pair as he begun to climb up the stairs to head to his room. But he noticed he wasn’t alone as he left the Weasley family to decompress from the eventful meeting. He was being followed upstairs by the twins.

Once Harry got to his level, he was expecting them to continue up the stairs. However he heard them follow him at a distance, heading towards his room. He turned around on his heel, surprising the two of them. The twins had been sure to stay far enough back to not been heard. Instead of speaking, Harry merely stared at them with an expectant look upon his face. But when the silence drew on, he gestured with his hand for them to explain what they wanted.

“Can we speak to you?” George was the first to snap out of the small daze they were in.

“In private?” Fred followed up.

Harry was genuinely interested in hearing what the twins had to say. Remaining his usual mysterious self, he nodded before turning around and opening the door to his room. He stood with the door open, watching the pair walk in with slight hesitance in their step. Once they were in, he shut the door ominously and immediately closed his eyes to concentrate erecting the wards around the room. What Harry missed with his eyes closed was the twins shivering at the immense power that coursed through the room.

Upon opening his eyes, Harry saw the stunned looks on both of their faces. He smirked, knowing he had that effect on some people. While he was eager to hear what they had to say, he also wanted to get comfortable. And at this rate it would take the twins some time to get the words out. Shrugging off his coat, his lean form was revealed, along with his extra weaponry that he carried with him. Harry didn’t mind the two sets of eyes that keenly ran up and down his body. He took off his two bicep holders and placed them on his bedside table.

“What you said in the Order meeting about Peter Pettigrew,” started Fred.

“Is it true? Do you really think he is alive and committed the crime instead?” ended George.

Harry turned around to face the two of them, raising an eyebrow in surprise. He honestly didn’t think this was what they wanted to talk about. He could sense some hesitation hanging in the air. Looking between them, they seemed to be tense and not their usual relaxed self. While the question was genuine, he could just tell this wasn’t the topic they wanted to start with. Perhaps they were gaging him in some way, testing out what he would and wouldn’t discuss.

“And how do you even know tha-” Fred started to ask before being cut off.

“You wanted to talk to me in private,” Harry interrupted as he put his right foot up on the bed, leaning forwards and pulling up his pants to reveal more weapons. “And I don’t think that is what you really wanted to talk about.”

“W-Well, yes you’re right,” stuttered Fred.

“What is it?” he asked, turning his head to the side to look at them while still skilfully removing his first ankle holster.

“Last night, when you first got here,” said Fred as he shook away the shock from all the weapons.

“You knew my name before I was introduced to you,” George finished, the both of them carefully watching the other boy’s reaction.

Swapping his feet around, Harry silently continued unstrapping the last holster on his body without replying to the twins. He was rather impressed the two had noticed that small detail during their first meeting last night. Done with taking off his two ankle holster, he turned around to place them beside the bicep holsters. Harry thought over his reply as he eloquently sat on the edge on his bed, crossing his legs with a sigh. He looked up at the pair with a slight smile on his face, hinting at his amusement.

“Did I?” he said and tilted his head innocently. “How odd.”

The twins looked at each other with a knowing look. They weren’t going to be that easily fooled by him. There was so much secrecy surrounding the younger, an intriguing mystery the twins eagerly wanted to solve. They wanted to know all about his past. Where he had been all this time. Why he carried so many weapons on him. Why he didn’t take the one on his thigh off. But the twins had to settle with first getting to the bottom of how Harry knew George’s name without being told.

“You did, yes,” said George as they both looked expectantly at the other. “How did you know?”

“I have my sources,” he smirked with a glint in his eyes.

“What are your sources?” Fred asked immediately, without hesitation.

“Why should I tell you?” asked Harry with the ever present smirk.

The irritation was clear on both of the twins faces. They were so used to being able to get answers out of anyone. Considering they lived with so many siblings, interrogations to extract information was there forte. Nothing was easily hidden from the twins and everyone knew that. Fred looked at George, the two thinking along the same lines as usual.

“You tell us and we will owe you one favour,” said George as they turned their attention back to Harry.

“This is a limited, one time offer,” continued Fred, both twins looking serious. “You’ll never have the chance to have the Weasley twins at your will ever again.”

“A favour from each of you or a combined favour?” contemplated Harry, lightly stroking his chin with one hand.

Fred and George looked at each other, surprise passing over their faces for a few seconds. The boy in front of them was so intriguing. He hid so much about himself, only adding to the desire of figuring out who the real Harry Potter is. The twins thought about the question, for a couple of seconds. It was a fair thing to ask. Considering most people would have glossed over that small detail, they were impressed he had even asked that.

“Whatever you want,” they said in unison.

“You two should go into business,” Harry said as a genuine smile appeared on his face.

“Do we have a deal or not?” asked Fred with an irritated huff.

“I like you two,” he continued to smile before leaning back on his hands. “I think we’ll get along just fine the more we get to know each other. Don’t you agree?”

“Deal or not, stop stalling,” said George, the twins simultaneously folding their arms across their chests.

“Have you guys got any new potions or items that you’ve worked on since you left Hogwarts?” Harry asked, changing the subject that would also create more questions than answers.

“Yes?” they both answered, confusion laced through their voices.

“I would love to see what you’ve come up with one day soon,” he said as he stood up.

Cautious eyes watched Harry as the younger silently stood up and walked over to the door. The twins were taken aback as he simply opened the door and stared at them without speaking. They took the hint from the mysterious young man, departing the room to leave him to himself. Just as they turned back to say goodbye, they saw the door shutting right before their eyes. Sharing a look of amusement, the twins headed downstairs to their room.

Entering their own room, Fred and George separated to sit on their own beds. They both felt drained after not only that strange interaction with Harry, but the Order meeting that morning. It had already been such a huge morning for the pair. Their minds struggled to process all of the information they had learnt. The silence continued as they dwelled on the events over the past day, trying to find the words for it all.

“Harry Potter is not who I expected him to be,” said Fred finally.

“I agree,” his brother George nodded as he shifted on his bed to lie down. “For someone that went missing for eleven years, he is very cool, calm and collected. I expected him to be timid if he was ever found.”

“Or fearful of the world around him,” nodded Fred in agreement as he too lay down.

“You sensed his power, right?” George asked.

“Of course. I’ve never felt such power from someone when performing wandless and wordless magic,” Fred shivered as he recalled the moment in his mind.

“When it washed over me, it felt like it was warming me up after standing out in a cold, rainy night,” whispered George, shivering too.

“I wonder how he knows how to perform such advanced magic for his age,” pondered Fred.

“I wonder how he knows so much about us and the magical world. Where was he all this time?” George turned his head to look at his brother.

“Maybe he was under our noses this whole time and we just turned a blind eye to any and all signs?” Fred instinctively turned his head to look back at his brother when he felt the eyes on him.

“Do you think he’ll take us up on that offer? Even if we give him some time to think on it?” asked George.

“No,” smiled Fred as he turned his head to look at the ceiling, his twin doing the same. “No, he is too secretive to simply give out that small detail.”

“I agree,” George smiled as well as he thought of the intriguing young man.

“And the way he keeps changing the subject to avoid answers,” said Fred in an almost whisper. “It’s frustrating but so impressive at the same time.”

“I think we can learn a few things from him, not the other way around,” said George, slightly shaking his head in disbelief.

The Burrow now had a new strong personality living within its walls. The following month would prove to be very interesting for all of the occupants, as well as visitors. The twins would be keeping a very close eye on the young man living one floor above them. They would make it their mission to learn as much about him as possible. Minds full of ideas on how to spy on him as well as how to persuade him on their team. Their hands would be full with this mystery of a young man.

Closing the door behind the twins, Harry grabbed his mokeskin pouch before sitting at the desk near the window. A smile settled on his face, content with how his second interaction with the twins had gone. He sat still for a few seconds as his mind continued to think back on the conversation. He could tell by the twins reactions that he had unsettled them, as well as slightly getting on their nerves by not easily giving in. A small chuckle escaped him as he shook his head in amusement. He had to wonder how long until their next interaction would be as he very much looked forward to it.

Reaching in to his pouch, he summoned up a book to pass the time with. With a small thud, a thick book landed in his hand and he pulled it out. Harry closed the drawstrings of the pouch before placing it on the desk. He looked at the book that had come up and was deeply amused by it. Perhaps his subconscious was thinking about his family back home as he was summoning a book. He ran his hand over the hard cover of the book that Grayson had brought him for his birthday.

Looking upon it with fondness and excitement, Harry opened the book up to find a hand written message from Grayson on the first page. His heart clenched as he thought of the kid, missing him dearly. He traced over the familiar handwriting, a sad smile appearing on his face. But before he could even start reading the message that had been written for him, his attention was drawn to the window where an obnoxious tapping sound was coming from. His eyes lit up as he saw a slick, black owl with a letter in its beak, waiting to be let in. Harry placed the book down before hastily opening the window. The beautiful creature landed on the desk and waited patiently.

“Thank you, Castiel,” he said as he took the letter, softly patting the feathers on the owl’s back.

Harry opened the letter up to find the familiar handwriting from Grayson. He chuckled at the timing of it all, with summoning a book signed by Grayson as well as receiving a letter from him. Sitting down, he begun to read through the letter, trying to hold back the tears the further he read.

’Dear Harry,

I know you said you would write to me as soon as you could, but I missed you so much. I couldn’t wait any longer. I want to know how you are going over there. Are you living in a better house than our home? I bet you have been up to trouble, right? The Harry I know would be. Since you are gone, the house doesn’t feel the same. It almost feels empty without you here. Please come back soon, Harry. We need you here. I need you here.

Love Gray.′

Wiping a lone tear from the inner corner of his eye, Harry took a second to collect his thoughts. His heart broke at the words he saw on the paper. This special letter from Grayson just reminded him of the importance of doing everything the right way, but as quickly as he could. He couldn’t allow the younger to grow up in a world, magical or not, that was tormented by evil men like Voldemort or Dumbledore. He just needed to end this war, fulfil his destiny, and get back home to his family.

He once again held his hand over his mokeskin pouch, summoning the items he would require to write a letter back to Grayson. Lining the ink pot, quill, letter and paper out on the desk before him, he got ready to start his reply. Picking the quill up, he dipped the tip into the ink pot, making sure nothing would drip as he brought it over to the paper. Harry had just started writing when he heard a knock on the door. He rolled his eyes in irritation before unlocking and opening the door from where he sat. Turning to see which Weasley was disturbing him this time.

“Can I come in?” asked a red cheeked Ron, awkwardly standing near the door.

Harry didn’t say anything to the other boy. Instead he turned his head and continued writing his letter. He didn’t care what the boy wanted, nor did he care if he walked in or walked away. His attention was preoccupied by something way more important than whatever he came up there for. Through the mostly silent room, he heard footsteps approach before Ron sat down on the other bed in the room. He didn’t like that his back was turned to the boy, but was there really much of a threat to worry about with Ron Weasley?

Writing the letter didn’t take very long. Unfortunately for Harry it was the only thing keeping him from interacting with the red head in the room. He finished off the letter, letting it dry for a few seconds before he folded it in half. He wrote Grayson’s name on the front in eloquent writing, before magically sealing it and adding a few hexes if anyone else was to try and open it. He handed the letter to Castiel who had patiently stayed still the entire time, patting the feathers upon his head.

“Good boy, off you go,” he shooed the owl as he stood up, stretching his back.

Continuing to ignore the other in his room, he started cleaning up the items on the desk. Making sure the letter from Grayson was packed away safely, he sat down once more. Harry picked up the book from the desk and opened it up to the first page; he would read the hand written note later when he was alone. As he begun to read absentmindedly, he wondered how long until Ron would say something. From what little he had observed and already read on the boy, he was very full of himself. And it turned out he didn’t have to wait long indeed.

“Who were you writing to?” the nosey kid asked.

“Someone,” Harry replied shortly.

As if he would spill his secrets to someone he had didn’t know very well. He struggled to not roll his eyes even though the other boy couldn’t see him. It was quite laughable really. Everyone here just expected him to answer all questions honestly, like he owed it to them for going missing most of his life. Hopefully Dumbledore and his little sheep would get it through their thick heads soon, much like the twins had realised today.

“Oh,” he said, taken aback by the reply. “Um, so what are you reading?” asked Ron, the silence getting under his skin.

“A book on spells,” he answered.

“You read books to pass the time?” Ron snorted. “Hermione will love you.”

“No, I’m reading this because I have to save you all from Voldemort,” he said with a bit of bite behind his words, turning around to stare coldly at the other.

“I uh, sorry,” his face was flushed red in embarrassment, looking away at the ground to avoid the cold stare.

Harry didn’t say anything, instead letting the silence to linger between them. He was hoping that it would just drive Ron out of the room if he stayed quiet for long enough. Why could he not read the signs? It was pretty obvious that he didn’t want to talk with him. So why was he still sitting there, thinking of something to talk about? Maybe he was encouraged to by his parents or one of his siblings.

“Have you heard of Quidditch before?” Ron asked, eyes shining with excitement.

“I have heard of it,” sighed Harry as he closed his book in resignation.

“Oh really? I-I just wasn’t sure since none of us know where you’ve been this whole time. But how good is it? It’s one of my favourite things in the world. I play for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. And my room is covered in my favourite team’s colours; the Chudley Cannons,” pausing to take a breath, Ron pointed over his shoulder towards the open door. “You can come to my room to see it if you want.”

“I’ll pass. I don’t care for Quidditch. If I ever happen to go up there, I’m sure I’ll see it then,” he said in a flat tone, trying his best to not let his annoyance come through.

Face growing red from embarrassment, Ron looked taken aback from what had just been said. He was struggling to make a connection with the other boy. All his life he had been told stories of The-Boy-Who-Lived, always imagining what it would be like to meet him. He remembered hearing stories that Harry had disappeared, and hearing the fearful whispers behind closed doors that he might not be found. Dumbledore’s reassuring words that had been released to the public had always helped him stay hopeful that one day Harry would be found, alive and safe.

The person that sat in front of Ron was not the person he thought The-Boy-Who-Lived would be. He thought that the Harry Potter he would eventually meet would be unsure of the world around him, perhaps even anxious and needing a new friend to rely on. He had always been prepared to take the boy under his wing to help him adjust to the wizarding world and help guide him through their years at Hogwarts. After all The-Boy-Who-Lived was always being brought up in conversation between all of the Gryffindor boys.

But the Harry Potter he was getting to know was distant, secretive and cold. Ron didn’t want to overwhelm him, but at the same time, this was the moment he had imagined for many years. And this wasn’t how he imagined it going. He was hoping to have a bit more enthusiasm from the other, especially considering he was graciously staying here in his home and practically demanded to stay in a room by himself. Thanks to him, he now had to share with his two oldest brothers, he would have much preferred to be roomed with Harry. Maybe that would have solved the coldness he was currently receiving.

“Yeah, I’m sure you can see it another time,” he tried to play it off kindly. “Are you excited about coming to Hogwarts? It really is a great school. Well, for the most part anyway.”

“Excited isn’t the word I would use. Intrigued, yes,” Harry said, placing the book behind him on the desk and crossing his legs together with his hands clasped together on his knees. “You mentioned you played for the Gryffindor team, so that is your house?”

“Yeah,” he was slightly taken aback by the change in attitude. “My whole family, for generations, has been sorted into Gryffindor. In my opinion it’s the best house out of them all.”

Harry nodded, interested in what other opinions the boy would have. He could possibly use this as an opportunity to learn in-depth about the dynamics at Hogwarts before he arrived; however prejudice they may be. Before coming here, he had read up on each person he could interact with; teachers, students, Order members, other public figures.

“What’s it like?” he asked, playing along for the moment.

“What is what like?” asked Ron in return, dumbfounded by the sudden interest.

“Gryffindor. Hogwarts. What is it all like?” Harry tried to keep his tone filled with fascination and wonder as if he hadn’t heard about it before.

“Well in the Gryffindor dormitories, we have seven rooms for the boys and seven rooms for the girls. You can’t actually get up the girls dorms though because of a spell that turns the stairs into a slide. Some of us found out the hard way,” Ron continued talking after pausing briefly to laugh at the memory. “I share a room with all the other Gryffindor guys in our year; Neville, Sheamus and Dean. They are good guys, you know. You’ll find out soon enough when you room with them.”

Ah, so Ron was one of the those people that assumed he knew what house Harry was going to be sorted in to. Harry would need to get used to it, staying in a house full of Gryffindor’s, as well as the manipulative Headmaster of Hogwarts, there was sure to be some more comments like these made over the next month. He just nodded and forced a small smile on his face, trying to show his interest and ignore the growing irritation the other was enticing from him.

“Neville, Sheamus and Dean are probably my closest mates at Hogwarts. They are way better than any of the Gryffindor girls. Hermione is always reading and nagging us to do work. She is literally the worst, I don’t understand why she is even in Gryffindor. Lavender is weird and clingy. Although don’t let her hear that or she’ll go nuts,” Ron had a flushed face as he sheepishly scratched his neck. “I may have made the mistake of dating her. Don’t make the same mistake I did. And then there’s Parvati. Don’t even get me started. Her and Lavender are always spreading gossip around the school. Best to just avoid them both.”

Very interesting insight. Not too much prejudice shining through his comments. He could hear a different tone when he spoke about Hermione though. Harry had to wonder what was happening between the two. Yes, he may have said she is the worst and pointing out her flaws, but he said it in an almost affectionate way. He talked about the other two girls differently than he did about her. He would file this information away for now and perhaps use it one day if the occasion arose.

“The only real thing you’ll probably need to become familiar with is the pricks in Slytherin,” he continued with a change in tone, barely taking a breath. “The Gryffindor house and the Slytherin house have never gotten along. I couldn’t count how many conflicts we’ve had with them since our first year. They’re all horrible, slimy, evil people. Anyone who ends up in that house will be a follower of You-Know-Who.”

So this is where the prejudice will come out, huh? Harry shifted in his chair slightly, straightening his back and nodding in intrigue. This is the juicy information he wanted to honestly hear about. He of course already knew about the supposed ‘feud’ between the two houses, but he wish he could speak up and tell the boy he was wrong. Not all Slytherin’s are like that, not all of them end up followers of Voldemort. It was quite ludicrous to think of that, and he wondered who planted that seed in his and many others mind.

“When you have the unfortunate pleasure of meeting Draco Malfoy, I’m sure you’ll agree with us that he is the most spoiled brat in all of Slytherin. His father has a big say in changes at Hogwarts because he is on the Hogwarts Board of Governors. That bastard has been trying to get Dumbledore fired for many years now,” Ron sneered, his disdain clearly showing towards the family as he spoke.

Of course he already knew all of this. From what he had observed the night he broke in to their manor, he could tell that the Malfoy spawn was a snobbish, spoilt, rich kid. And he could feel the air of superiority hanging around the head of the family; the man had complete control of the room as soon as he entered it. His research had shown him all of the applications made by Lucius to dethrone Headmaster Dumbledore. And while it wasn’t a bad thing in his eyes, part of him was glad the elder had not been successful in his endeavours. Otherwise how else could he be having his fun during this month?

“Most of the professors are easy to deal with,” the other continued talking, Harry inwardly rolling his eyes. “The Head of Gryffindor is Professor McGonagall, she also teaches Transfiguration. Personally, she is one of the best professors there. She always looks out for us, even if she does come off a little strict when you first meet her. Just don’t get on Professor McGonagall’s bad side, she can be scary when she’s angry.”

“Note taken,” Harry nodded, doubting he would ever entice that side out of her.

“I think everyone agrees that Professor Snape is the worst professor at Hogwarts,” said Ron with a scowl on his face. “Even Hermione has come to agree with all of us; she’s a bit of a suck up to all of the professors. Anyway, back to the Dungeon Bat. Oh yeah, that’s one of our nicknames for Professor Snape. He teaches Potions and is Head of Slytherin. I’m sure you can understand why is the worst now.”

While Ron chuckled to himself, Harry just forced himself to nod and push the annoyance off his face. He didn’t know how much longer he could handle all of these prejudice opinions. Right now, he was feeling glad he didn’t attend Hogwarts in his first year because no doubt all of these opinions would have been pushed on him. Harry was glad he was entering Hogwarts with the knowledge he had already attained in life, as well as the ability to read people fairly well.

“If you pass your O.W.L.s and get accepted into his class, you’ll find out firsthand how much of a prick he is. I barely managed to get a high enough score to go back. I want to become an Auror, and one of the requirements is to complete Potions. So I’m lucky to have gotten this far, although I don’t know if I’ll pass my N.E.W.T.s for it, but it’s better to try, right? Oh you might not know what an Auror is. It’s basically like the wizards and witches who enforce the wizarding law and-“ Ron said before getting cut off, barely taking a breath between each sentence.

“I don’t mean to interrupt, but was there something you came in for?” interjected Harry, with boredom creeping its way into his tone no matter how hard he tried to keep it out.

“W-Well I was told to come talk to you, to get to know you. Since, you know, you don’t really know any of us. It would be good to have at least one friend your own age while you are here, right?” blushed Ron, embarrassed from the situation.

“In that case, since there is nothing of importance, I would like to get back to studying,” he motioned to the abandoned book on his desk, reminding the other of the important task he was doing beforehand.

“Oh, of course,” he said while awkwardly standing up. “I-I’ll leave you to it.”

“That would be great, thanks,” he gave a fake smile as he watched Ron leave the room with a bright flush on his face.

The second the door shut Harry allowed himself to slump in his chair. Exhaustion taking over his body after the morning he had had. If today was anything to base the next month off of, he was going to be drained by the end of it. But he knew it was worth all of it since the end goal was to defeat Voldemort. He just had to remind himself that this was all for his family and friends back home. They all relied on him to do this correctly. He had to think of Grayson’s future, he didn’t want the younger growing up in a world that would haunt him.

Picking up the book, he opened it up to the handwritten note. A smile appeared on his face as Harry ran his fingers over the words on the page. He tried to compose himself as he read and re-read the words before him. ‘To My Big Brother, Save The World, Love Gray.’ was written in elegant and familiar writing. His heart clenched, his breath hitched, his eyes watered. Everything he was thinking before was reinforced from those nine words. Harry needed to think back on these words whenever it all got too much.

The day had gone by without many more disturbances. Harry was left to himself for the most part, only being told food had been prepared downstairs if he wished to eat. He didn’t stay for long, only eating what would satisfy him for the time being. He took a book with him in hopes the others wouldn’t try to engage in conversation with him. Unfortunately it did not deter Molly or Ron enough, as he was forced to talk with them. Perhaps tomorrow he could take the food back up to his room to continue studying, his time was precious after all.

Currently he was sprawled out on his bed, staring at the ceiling. The room was darkly lit from the moonlight streaming in through the window. His ears were filled by the muffled voices floating up from downstairs. Thinking back on the day, he was truly fatigued by the events. It was amusing, somewhat, how he felt so drained from one day around them all compared to his profession he did for a living. One would think researching, stalking and executing many assassin attempts would be more taxing on him. But perhaps his body and mind was conditioned to the job from the years of training. He was used to a life of privacy and seclusion, the complete opposite of anything that occurred in this household.

“Harry, are you there?” a familiar voice spoke into the silent room.

“I am,” he sighed, rolling over and grabbing the mirror from his bedside table.

“Why is it so dark?” Drew chuckled, his face gleaming with amusement.

“I was going to go to bed early, but I can’t fall asleep with all of the noise in this household. And as I want them to leave me alone I just left the lights off,” Harry couldn’t help but to chuckle as well, as he slipped his wand into his hand and held it up near his face. “Lumos.”

A bright, white light illuminated the space near the tip of the wand, allowing Drew on the other side of the mirror to finally see Harry’s face. The two smiled warmly at one another, finding comfort in the presence of a loved one. Drew could tell that Harry was tired just by looking at his face. His usual carefree expressionless face littered with exhaustion. He wondered what was going on to cause him to be this tired. Perhaps it was the task at hand. Or maybe he was emotionally drained already. Possibly he just yearned for some familiarity and security as Drew watched content form on the younger’s face.

“How is Grayson going? I just sent him a response to his letter today,” Harry spoke up.

“He has already sent you a letter? I owe Parker double his pay on the next mission now, damn,” the man chuckled as he wiped a hand over his tired looking face.

“You two made a bet?” he couldn’t help but laugh loudly in surprise.

“Of course we did,” Drew smiled back, happy to see the other happy. “Did you expect much else from us?”

“From Parker no. But from you, I expected more,” he lightly tutted in feign disappointment.

“You little brat,” he shook his head with a fond smile on his face. “Grayson is okay though, to answer your earlier question. He is stepping up his training to help fill in your absence.”

“How is he coping with that?” asked Harry with raised eyebrows.

“So far, so good,” he answered with a pensive look. “I think slowly introducing him to mission’s will be the best route considering he has never done one before him. All his training the last few years has led him to this point.”

“Pass on to him that he can reach out to ask me anything. However, I’m sure he will do well when the time comes. I remember switching from training to field work. It’s very daunting, so I’ll be here if he needs help,” he hummed, protectiveness seeping into his voice.

“He talks about you a lot,” Drew said with a quiet, solemn voice.

“I miss him,” Harry sighed. “I miss you. I miss you all.”

“I know you do,” he nodded his head in understanding. “We all miss you too.”

The two stared at each other with kindness and sorrow as silence engulfed the room. Drew looked upon the tired illuminated face and knew how much of a toll this experience was taking on the young man already. He had not seen this look in a long time; not even the missions he has been sent on in the recent years caused this level of exhaustion. Through the mirror, he could feel some hesitancy from the other. He wondered what was plaguing the younger as he watched Harry’s eyes grow distant and a blank expression replacing the tiredly content look.

“How are things going, Harry?” Drew asked straight away, wanting to get to the bottom of things.

“Honestly,” sighed Harry as he focused back to the present, “It’s not going great. I can’t be left alone at all with at least three people intruding my space each day. From sunrise to long after sunset, there is noise throughout the entire house. The children of the family are trying to get to know me, and some of the prejudice is seeping in already with their Gryffindor background. I reckon they’ll try and convince me to believe certain things before I go to Hogwarts.”

“That does sound like quite a headache. But just take each conversation you have with them as if you were collecting intelligence on a target. Treat it all like a job if that will help you get through. And most importantly, pretend to be nice,” a smile appeared on Drew’s face as he talked.

“I will. I’ve already collected some more personal information of how relationship stand, yes from a more bias viewpoint, within the walls of Hogwarts in our year level. Not anything too new, just more of the Gryffindor superiority and all Slytherin students are evil bullshit,” he scoffed with a slight agitated tone. “I’ve already had to tell myself today to get used to it because of where I am staying and who I’ll be interacting with in the future.”

“Like Dumbledore,” nodded Drew, understanding the message behind the left out words.

“Like Dumbledore,” Harry hummed in confirmation.

“How has it been dealing with the old man so far?” he asked after a second of silence.

“Incredibly hard, a lot of self-restraint is involved with each word I say. Although I have put him in his place a few times since my arrival. I believe he is starting to understand I am not going to be his little puppet he can control during this war. He hasn’t considered me while making decision, instead choosing to delegate matters without my consent,” he answered with a shrug.

“There’s not much you can do except let him do that at this point in time,” said Drew. “He needs to learn to trust you and know you are the real deal.”

“I know,” he sighed. “He has already demanded that I take my O.W.L.s before I go to Hogwarts. He’s made a schedule that includes several people teaching me certain subjects for the exam. Not that I need the help, as you already know. It’s wasting their time honestly. And mine. Let alone the teaching is taking place here at the Weasley’s residence or at Hogwarts.”

“Unfortunately you are going to have to put up with it for only one more month, then you’ll be at Hogwarts. I’m sure you’ll have more time and space once you are there,” he said in comforting tone.

“I’ll have more than time and space at Hogwarts,” he laughed. “But I did suggest perhaps staying at Grimmauld place so the Weasley’s residence isn’t being disturbed as much.”

“What?” Drew asked in shock. “What did you suggest?”

“Going to study at Grimmauld place during the month,” Harry repeated with some hesitancy.

“Why?” he asked, straightening up in his chair.

“Part of me felt bad for Mrs. Weasley; her house is already so crowded. And I knew in the back of my mind that no one resides in that place,” he continued, noticing the shift in the conversation’s tone.

“You know why no one resides there, right?” Drew asked in a stoic tone.

“Because Sirius Black is in Azkaban,” nodded Harry, his tired body becoming alert with tension.

“And you know no one can access it since he is in prison, correct?” he continued asking in disbelief.

“I knew that, yes,” he confirmed with a nod.

“And no one asked your plan of gaining entrance to a place in lockdown?” he asked with confusion.

“I may or may not have mentioned that Sirius Black was wrongfully convicted and he should be released,” Harry said sheepishly with a low voice as he turned his eyes away from the mirror.

“You said what?” he asked in utter shock, his voice low and dangerous.

“I-I, it didn’t mean to slip out that I knew that during the Order meeting,” he said with shame.

“During an Order meeting as well?” scoffed Drew in disbelief. “So now everyone knows that you know more than you should? Harry, what were you thinking?”

“I’m sorry Drew,” Harry looked at the man with genuine sorrow. “It’s just that it’s been hard hearing Dumbledore take control as if he is some type of God to be worshipped. And I just wanted to cause a little bump in his road, hopefully derailing him in the process.”

“It’s too late for your sorry, the information has been said already,” Drew sighed as he pinched the bridge of his nose. “Harry. Harry you need to watch what you say in the future. If you keep this up and Dumbledore decides to use illegal means to extract information from you, then that could potentially expose us, all of us. You need to be more careful, Harry.”

“I’m sorry sir,” Harry’s emotions left his face and voice, a cold front taking over. “I will do better sir.”

“Don’t let your emotions get in the way of this from now on. I strictly want you to treat this as your mission. Infiltrate the Order. Infiltrate Hogwarts. Search for Horcruxes. Report to me. And we will strike Voldemort when the time is right,” Drew said seriously.

“I understand my mission sir,” he nodded, years of training taking over as he spoke and listened. “I will not let my emotions get in the way sir.”

Sighing heavily, Drew studied the face in front of him. Darkness surrounded the now blank facial features. He could tell that the younger one felt ashamed in his error. And while he too was shocked at the slip, he could partially understand why he would do what he did. Harry could be very antagonistic, as he learnt over the years. He fought for the right, he fought for the fair. So dealing with Dumbledore so often would be getting to him, more than he was probably comfortable with. Drew just knew he needed to take control of this situation before it got too out of his hands to fix.

“I will let you sleep,” he finally said after letting everything sink in for the two of them. “Don’t beat yourself up, kid. I will talk with you Friday night after the shopping outing. Behave yourself like I know you can.”

“Will do sir,” Harry straightened up and nodded.

“Good night Harry,” Drew said with affection, a kind smile that reached his eyes appearing upon his face. “Miss you, brat.”

“Good night Drew,” he allowed himself to smile, knowing the other wasn’t raging mad at him. “I miss you too. Take care of Grayson for me.”

Drew nodded to Harry, signalling he would, before placing the mirror down and disappearing from Harry’s sight. He too put the mirror back on his bedside table. As soon as he retracted his hand, he non-verbally cancelled the ‘Lumos’ spell on his wand. He placed his wand away before sinking back in the mattress below him. Exhaustion taking over his body from head to toe. The pitch black room engulfed him in a strangely comforting way, the silence deafening for once. And while his mind tried to replay the conversation over again in his head, his body enticed him into slipping away into unconsciousness before realising it. Perhaps it was the shame for messing up, or perhaps he was emotionally drained. But Harry slept well compared to the sleep he had on the first night he had arrived.

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