Act I, Chapter 2: On the Run
Harry stood alone on Magnolia Crescent wondering what exactly he was going to do now. He had just run out of Privet Drive after blowing up his Aunt Marge for insulting his parents. And he felt good. Really good. He had this odd sense of freedom mixed with pride and satisfaction. He hated Aunt Marge, and he hated the Dursley's, and now he had given them a piece of his mind. A tiny bit of payback for all the years of torment. And he was proud of himself for standing up to them. The only problem, he had nowhere to go. The Weasley's were still in Egypt so the Burrow wasn't an option and Hermione was in France. He supposed he could go to Hogwarts, but the school was closed for the summer, and the only person there was another person he didn't want to see: Dumbledore. The man who had lied to him about the Gemini Rune stuck to his neck. So where could he go?
Then the realisation hit him. He was a criminal. He had just used magic to blow up his aren't. Underage magic. He had already received one notice from the Ministry about using Underage magic, now he would be expelled from Hogwarts for sure.
A searing pain ran through his arm, and he looked down to see a black marking start to trace its way over his skin, before vanishing before he could get a good look. Shaking his head to clear it, Harry stared at his arm. The pain was gone, and there was no evidence of any marking, so he assumed it had just been a trick of the light combined with a bout of Phantom Pain.
Well, if he was already going to be expelled, what could a little more magic hurt? He couldn't go back to the Dursley's. He couldn't go to the Burrow. He had nowhere to stay. Unless he made one. But to do that he would need money. And for money, he needed to get to Gringotts, the Wizarding Bank. Harry opened his trunk and burrowed around in it for his money bag. He still had about a hundred Galleons and fifty pounds from his last visit. That should be enough to get him to the Leaky Cauldron, the pub that hid the entrance to Diagon Alley, the Wizarding district of London. Pulling out the money bag and shoving it in his pocket, Harry fished around for his other most prized possession. His father's Invisibility Cloak. Pulling the silvery cloak from the trunks innards, he shoved that in his other pocket before shutting the lid. Holding his wand, he pointed it at the trunk. The shrinking spell was a third-year spell, but he had read about it in his Charms textbook, and he was reasonably good at Charms. The only problem was he had never tried it before.
Taking a deep breath, Harry held his wand steady.
A tingling erupted in Harry's arm, and the trunk, with everything inside it, shrunk to the size of a peanut.
"Yes!" He cried, jumping up and down in the air. He scooped up the shrunken trunk and slipped it into his pocket. Now he just needed a taxi.
The rune on the back of Harry's neck suddenly burned a white-hot pain, and Harry jerked around involuntarily. Standing on the sidewalk was a shaggy-haired black dog. The pain in his arm intensified for a second and Harry raised his wand at the creature. But the pain vanished as fast as it appeared, almost as if it had decided that the dog wasn't a threat.
Lowering his wand, Harry pulled the Invisibility Cloak out of his pocket and draped it over his shoulders. He placed a finger over his lips and winked at the dog, before pulling up the hood and vanishing.
Harry trudged along the road for a few blocks until he reached the train station. Thankfully it wasn't too late at night, so there were still some taxis parked out front. Stealthily removing his cloak, he hoped in one, gave the driver all the muggle money he had and asked him to get him as close to Charing Cross Road as he could. Thankfully for Harry, despite going ten pounds over, the driver brought him all the way to the Charing Cross Tube Station. Harry was surprised, as Uncle Vernon had always said that Taxi drivers were stingy with their fares, but Harry figured that may have been because Uncle Vernon was always rude to them. Also, his excess weight may make him cost more than an ordinary person.
Harry walked up the road and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the familiar sign indicating the Leaky Cauldron hanging off a run-down building. Ducking back beneath the invisibility cloak Harry walked into the pub behind a rather tall witch that looked like Professor McGonagall, the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts. Harry carefully avoided bumping into anyone and made his way out to the brick wall behind the inn. Taping the bricks in the pattern burned into his mind, Harry slowly made his way into Diagon Alley, hoping beyond hope that Gringotts was still open this late. As he walked down the alley, he couldn't help but notice the numerous wanted posters plastered across the walls.
Have you seen this Wizard?
Below it was a picture of the same man Harry had seen on the Dursley's tv.
Sirius Orion Black
Wanted on 14 accounts of Murder!
Known Supporter of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!
Do not attempt to approach!
Notify the Ministry of Magic Immediately if seen!
Fortunately, it seemed his luck would hold: Gringotts was open. Harry pulled off the Invisibility Cloak and slowly walked inside the white marble building. Stepping up to a teller, he tried very hard not to let his voice crack.
"Hello. I was wondering if I could head down to my vault if it's not too late of course." The Goblin at the teller looked up from his paper and stared at Harry with dark beady eyes.
"Harry Potter." The goblin's eyes' went wide, and he turned around and shouted, "Griphook! Mr Potter has finally arrived, please alert Director Ragnok immediately." The goblin turned back to a very confused Harry. How had they known he was coming? Had the ministry alerted them to his underage magic and they were going to hand him over? Harry couldn't help but notice that every other goblin and wizard in the bank was now staring at him.
"If you would follow me, Mr Potter, we've been expecting you." The goblin hoped down from his desk and beckoned Harry through a door in the wall behind him. Harry followed him down a short corridor with marble walls before arriving at a stone door. It swung open silently, and Harry stepped inside.
He was in a large round office, with a roof so tall it had to be enchanted because Harry couldn't even see it. It was lit by five torches in brackets around the walls, and the desk and chairs in the centre of the room seemed to be made from solid gold. Behind the counter was another chair, but this one was high backed and encrusted with jewels. This was a room built to impress, and to intimidate.
"Take a seat, Mr Potter, Director Ragnok will be here shortly," another Goblin, who stood next to the desk said. Harry recognised him as the goblin that had taken him down to his vault in his first year: Griphook. Harry sat down on one of the golden seats. They were much more comfortable than they looked.
"Um, Mr Griphook, have I done anything wrong?" Harry asked as the stone door slid shut behind him.
"It is simply Griphook Mr Potter. And no, not that I am aware of at least. There is simply a rather urgent matter that the Director must speak with you about. In fact, your arrival is somewhat later than we expected, considering we did issue you a summons in the last week of May."
"May?" Harry exclaimed, "I haven't received any mail from Gringotts if that's what you mean by a summons." Griphook frowned.
"That is a serious issue in and of itself, Mr Potter." Standing at the back of the room was another Goblin. He was taller than Griphook and dressed in some type of armour designed to look like a muggle business suit.
"At any rate, it is good to finally make your acquaintance. I am Director Ragnok. I run the British branch of Gringotts International Wizarding Bank Services." Ragnok walked up to Harry and offered him a hand. Harry, trying very hard not to show any weakness of any kind, gripped the hand firmly.
"It's an honour to meet you, Director." Ragnok smiled before moving to sit in the high-backed chair behind the desk.
"Mr Potter, unless I am very much mistaken you received the Gemini Rune on May the 30th of this year. Is that correct?"
May 30th. The day of the Chamber of Secrets.
"May I… May I see it?" Ragnok seemed to hesitate slightly, his voice hitching in what Harry could only describe as anticipation. Harry showed his neck to the Goblin and could easily hear the gasp of amazement that slipped from his lips.
"Incredible," Ragnok whispered
The rune seemed to heat up as the Goblin stared.
"My apologies Mr Potter, it is very rare to see a human with a perfect runic symbol marked upon them, the Gemini Rune even more so. I do not know whether you are aware of this, but the Gemini Rune, of all the Zodiac Runes, indeed of all the runes ever drawn, is the most difficult to produce in its perfect form, as it requires two exact marks upon two synchronised hosts. It is an honour to witness. Forgive me for asking, as it is none of my business, but who marked you? and why?"
Harry felt his stomach sink. Yet another thing that made him different from everyone else.
"I don't know. I woke up with the rune in the Hospital Wing at Hogwarts after I saved Ginny Weasley in the Chamber of Secrets. Ginny has one too. Exact same place, exact same image." Harry told him.
Ragnok frowned again, "That is yet another cause for concern. Unfortunately, I do not think I can help you with that. The other concerns, I can aid you in," Ragnok said, sitting back in his seat.
"You mentioned Miss Ginevra Molly Weasley as the other individual bearing the Gemini Rune. That aligns with our own records. You see Mr Potter, upon yours and Miss Weasley's receipt of the Gemini Rune, our records forcibly updated themselves. It would appear, thanks to the connection you now share through the Gemini Rune, Miss Weasley now has access to your vaults."
"Indeed. She can now access, only with your permission, of course, your trust vault, which has been updated to 2,000 Galleons per year refreshing to account for the second user. She also has access to the Potter Family Vault. However, she, like yourself, cannot legally enter this vault without your legal guardian until you reach the age of majority or seventeen years of age."
Woah. Not only did he have a second vault that he didn't know about and couldn't access without a guardian –whoever that was supposed to be considering he doubted it was his Aunt or Uncle – but Ginny could now use his Trust Vault too. It wasn't that he minded much. It was more that he had a second vault that belonged to his parents that no one had bothered to tell him about.
"It would seem that you also had no knowledge of the Family vault either." Ragnok sighed, "This is going to be a lot of paperwork."
"Just out of curiosity, who is my guardian?" Harry asked.
"One Sirius Orion Black," Ragnok stated, and all the blood drained from Harry's face.
"Isn't… Isn't he a criminal?"
"Perhaps. As far as I am aware, Mr Black was never given a trial. He was simply captured and thrown in prison. I do know that Mr Black was a good friend of your father, as he visited this bank many times with James Potter as both children and adults."
"By why would my Dad be friends with Voldemort's greatest supporter?"
Ragnok grinned, "Another interesting question. Would it perhaps interest you to know that Mr Black was cast out from his family at 16 because he refused to follow its dark traditions? That doesn't seem like someone who would support Voldemort to me." Harry couldn't help but notice that Ragnok said Voldemort's name without flinching.
"You think he's innocent?"
"I do not know what the truth is Mr Potter. But, I would advise you to keep an open mind." Ragnok looked down at his paper.
"I will endeavour to discover why you are not receiving messages from Gringotts and make it a top priority for the bank's security. If your mail is being intercepted or monitored be sure that the culprit will be dealt with. If you wish to learn more about Ancient Runes, I would suggest Riker O'Neill's Ancient Runes of Forgotten Civilisations. It is quite expensive, but it is an excellent read and by far the best source of information on the topic."
"I already have a copy but thank you," Harry said. The book was expensive? But Ginny said she got it at a flea market. That warranted a point in their much-awaited discussion the next time he could see her. That and the vault thing.
"Excellent. If that is all, Griphook will show you to your trust vault. Be sure to come in again sometime before school resumes to see if we have made any progress." Ragnok nodded to Griphook before snapping his fingers. A door appeared in the wall behind him, probably leading down to the vaults.
"Thank you for everything Director," Harry said as Griphook led him away.
"A pleasure Mr Potter. A pleasure."
After a quick ride on the Gringotts carts that had Harry wishing they came with buckets, Griphook led him to his Trust Vault. Harry opened the door with his key and stepped inside. The piles of gold hadn't moved an inch since he had last been inside. Harry had only been inside the vault once before, and at the time he had been rather focussed on marvelling at the sheer size of the piles of money, but now, after everything that had happened that day, marvelling at the gold was the last thing on his mind.
The Gemini Rune was not binding him to Voldemort like Dumbledore had said. Instead, it was a bond with Ginny somehow. He just didn't know how or why. Then there was the whole family vault no one had told him about, but he decided worrying about that could wait till later. He wouldn't even be able to access it until his last year at Hogwarts. Also, someone was intercepting his letters from Gringotts. Not good. Of course, then there was the whole he may have been expelled from Hogwarts and now didn't have anywhere to stay thing. He supposed he could stay at the Leaky Cauldron for the night, but he would have to be gone in the morning. Where would he go then?
Harry was absent-mindedly putting as much money into his pouch as he could so he could be excused for not noticing the small silver box sitting behind the money pile until he kicked it with his boot. It was a small rectangular box, like a jewellery box, and tapped to the top was a note that said, 'Don't let anyone see this! Love Mum.' Forcing the small ball of excitement down, Harry picked up the box and his money pouch and left the vault.
Once he was back on the surface, he exited the bank with a friendly wave to Griphook and made his way to the Leaky Cauldron. The barkeeper, Tom, was more than happy to give Harry a room for the night. He paid in advance and followed the elderly man up-stairs to a room. The room itself was nice enough. A single bed, a desk and chairs, a small wardrobe and a window. It was about twice the size of his bedroom at Privet Drive. As soon as Tom closed the door, Harry pulled out the box and placed it on the desk. He opened the lid, and his heart plummeted when he saw the only thing inside was a small silver amulet. The charm had a symbol that looked kind of like the letter A, but without the cross-bridge and with a circle above the apex. Harry ran his finger over the pendant and couldn't help the frown that crossed his face. He had hoped that it was maybe something from his parents, a letter maybe. But it seemed like good news was not something Harry was going to come by today. The only other thing in the box was a piece of scrap paper that said the word 'Home.' Yawning, Harry ran his finger over the symbol.
"Home?" he whispered to himself as he stared at it. Then, as he said the word. The symbol glowed a brilliant white, and everything around him seemed to blur, the dark colours of the room blurring together, before being replaced by new brighter ones. Then everything came back into focus, and Harry realised he was not in Kansas anymore.
He was standing in a brightly lit room, with white, red and gold painted walls. On the carpet was the image of the Gryffindor lion mid-roar. The room he was in was like an entrance hall. There were four doors around the room, all different colours and all closed. Dangling from the roof was a small chandelier. Slowly moving down the hallway, Harry saw that, mounted on the wall, was a large clock like the one in the Weasley family living room. Except the names and locations were all different. There were five golden arms attached to the clock labelled: Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, Prongs and Jewel. Unlike the Weasley clock, these arms didn't have pictures. The arm marked Moony was pointing at the words, Running on the wild side – whatever that meant; Padfoot was pointed at the word Mortal Peril; Wormtail was sitting on Abroad; and Prongs and Jewel were both pointed at Lost, but it looked like someone had written the word Forever next to it in black ink.
Harry was smart enough to realise that Prongs and Jewel were his Mum and Dad and that Lost Forever was a nice way of saying Dead.
Turning to the left, Harry walked into what appeared to be a kitchen. It was much nicer than Aunt Petunia's kitchen; with a muggle dishwasher, a stove, a large oven, three cauldrons of different sizes, both a walk-in pantry and walk-in fridge, a large dining table and an elegant granite bench with several bar stools beneath it. The only weird thing, there was an open beer on the counter. Keeping a firm grip on his wand, Harry picked up the beer. It was definitely a Muggle brand, but it was quite warm, so it had been sitting there for a while, meaning the last person to use it had left some time ago, most likely in a hurry. Harry proceeded with his wand held out in front of him as he made his way across the kitchen into a large and very comfortable living room, with a large and very nice television mounted on the wall above a similarly large fireplace. On the opposite wall, was a window.
Harry peered through the window and gasped. There was a backyard Quidditch Pitch and a pool just outside. Harry couldn't see past the pitch, but it looked like there was some sort of magical barrier. Harry decided he'd explore it later. He needed to make sure the place was empty first. Turning around, Harry made his way back to the hallway with the clock and turned right. It was a long hallway with a number of closed doors, each with a plaque on it. The first said Laundry. Opening the door, Harry indeed saw that there was a washing machine, dryer, sink, ironing board and a small bathroom inside. The next door was a much larger bathroom. It had a shower, toilet and a rather impressive jacuzzi that Harry promised himself he would use later. It even had a baby change table, that Harry realised with no small degree of sadness was probably where he had lain at one point.
The next few doors were bedrooms with names on them. The first, with a plaque that said Moony was by far the cleanest. There were a number of empty bookshelves, and the four-poster bed looked like it hadn't been used in a very long time. The second bedroom belonged to Wormtail. It was also quite clean, but the level of dust on the furniture, or rather, lack of dust, said that someone had been in there. Padfoot's room had definitely been used recently. The bed was messy, and there was a copy of the Daily Prophet dated to two days before sitting on the desk. There was also a photo frame with three people. Harry recognised the photo instantly, he had the same one in the album Hagrid had given him at the end of his first year. It was of his mum and dad at their wedding, standing next to a man with short-cropped black hair and a small goatee. Harry wondered who the man was, and a part of him hoped that he would return soon so he could get some answers. Back peddling out of the room and closing the door behind him, Harry continued down the hall.
There were three more doors in the hallway. The first said Prongs Jr on its plaque. Harry hesitantly opened it, hoping beyond hope that it was not what he thought it was. The door opened with a creek of non-usage and Harry held back a choke at the sight. A white crib was in the centre of the room, with a mobile featuring small brooms and snitches hanging above it. Several toys, including a small broom, were scattered across the carpet. In the corner was a pile of nappies in plastic bags. Harry slammed the door shut rapidly. He skipped the door that said Prongs and Jewel. He couldn't face what he knew was on the other side of that door.
The last door had a simple plaque of gold that said, Harry. Taking a deep breath, Harry pushed the door open. The room was mostly empty and reminded him of the dorm rooms in the Gryffindor Common Room. There was a large four-poster bed that looked even more comfortable than his bed at Hogwarts, a walk-in wardrobe and a small ensuite bathroom, identical to the other rooms, were accessible via doors in the wall. A window hung above the bed that looked out over the Quidditch pitch. There was a small desk with a single piece of paper resting on it in the corner. With shaky steps, Harry picked up the letter and sat down on the bed.
My Beautiful Boy
If this letter is still sitting on your desk when you arrive at Home for the first time, then something has gone terribly wrong. I can imagine you're probably very confused, and I would be shocked if you weren't. The place your standing in is called Home. It's a place that we built together. Your father, Sirius, Remus, Peter and I that is. It exists within a parallel pocket dimension (that's a piece of folded space-time in case you've never watched an episode of Star Trek or Doctor Who) and can always be accessed through the charm with the Home Rune etched upon it I assume you found in your trust vault. The doors in the main hall go to the four permanent anchors that keep this place from drifting off into the Aether. They go to a) behind the portrait of the floating city in the Sixth-floor corridor of Hogwarts, b) behind the bookcase in the Potter Family Vault, c) an archway in Hyde Park (careful of Muggle's when using that one); and d) in the alley behind the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. You can use each location to get inside by finding the Home Rune, (the same one that's on your pendant) placing your finger on it and saying the password 'Marauders Forever.' It's cheesy I know, Sirius came up with it. If all four of those anchors are destroyed, GET OUT OF HERE IMMEDIATELY! This place will literally be lost forever, you will never be able to get back to Earth.
Now that the technical stuff about Home is out of the way, I wanted to say that, if your anything like me, then you're probably blaming yourself for whatever has happened to us. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! Do you understand me, Harry! Voldemort is the one that killed us, not you. I can only hope that the final moments of my life were spent protecting yours. I think I've found a way to protect you if the worst should happen, but I have no idea whether it will work or not. If you're reading this, I think it's safe to assume it did. I want you to know Harry, that I am so, so proud of you. You are my darling boy, and I want the whole world for you. I want you to grow up, go to school, ace your classes, pull some pranks, find a girl, go on dates, win the Quidditch and House Cup, sneak into Hogsmeade, fall in love, marry that girl and finally start a family of your own. The world is your oyster, and I want you to know that I am sitting here with your Dad in front row seats cheering your name louder than anyone else.
I pray that we managed to take He-who-must-be-hyphenated with us when we went, but, if, as Dumbledore fears, it is your responsibility to take down that sick bastard once and for all, I still want you to live your life. You'll defeat him and all his cronies, and you'll do it with a smile on your face the Marauders way. Then you'll do all the things I said above, and I won't take no for an answer young man!
Just so you know, I have written another letter for that special woman in your life, but it is hidden from you using a complex charm I picked up in the Department of Mysteries. Only the love of your life will be able to find it, so don't even bother going to look for it.
Remus is calling for me, I think baby you just chucked up on him. Just so you know, you are so adorable. So, I'll sign off here. You'll figure out how Home works don't worry. To leave, just hold your amulet and say "Return." It will take you straight back to the place you were when you entered. If you found this place on your own, lock it up before you leave. Just in case. Check behind the clock in the entrance hall and you'll see how.
I love you my darling, and I wish you all the love and good luck I can.
Harry didn't know how long he sat there, staring at the letter as he cried himself to sleep.