Professor Albus Dumbledore sat in his office at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with his Pensieve on the desk in front of him. Normally his blue eyes, set behind half moon glasses held a very characteristic twinkle, and today was no exception. Today a new prophecy had been told to him about his most precious charge, Harry Potter.
Not two hours ago Professor Trelawney had asked to see him. The old headmaster suspected that she was angry about his decision to keep Firenze on to “assist” with divination. However, the batty divination teacher had simply come up to thank him for standing by her during the reign of terror of Dolores Umbridge. Her heartfelt thanks had surprised him almost as much as what had happened next. In the middle of her rambling thank you she had sat bolt upright and her voice had taken on a gravely tone.
Dumbledore reached for his wand and gently gave the silvery substance of the pensive a gentle stir. The substance whirled around in the stone basin for a moment before it rose up and formed the familiar shape of the divination professor. The silver figure began to speak in a voice not her own.
The time of the boy whose destiny has been foretold is nearly upon him. When boy no more shall he be called his fate he must embrace. In order to survive the trio of the Griffin can be no more but must be reformed as four. Brother and sister shall one-half be. The other like brother and sister must love. But love of a brother or love of a sister cannot be enough. For two more loves must be formed for the dark one to fall. The man foretold shall be the one, for prophecy must be completed, but the three who follow the one they love must be united or failure will result. Kill or be killed it must be he. The time of the boy whose destiny has been foretold is nearly upon him.
As the figure finished speaking it disappeared back into the stone basin. Albus Dumbledore, widely considered the most powerful wizard in the world, sat back in his chair. Not for the first time in his life he felt powerless to influence the events surrounding a certain boy. A boy that he felt was more than a student. A boy he would be proud to call a son.
A single tear rolled down the aged cheek of the headmaster and disappeared into his snow-white beard.
Harry Potter hadn’t eaten since he had been back with the Dursley’s. Harry had been back at number four Privet Drive for nearly eight days and he considered them to be some of the worst days of his life. Even in the depths of his depression over having watched Sirius die and the crushing guilt he felt over the circumstances of the death he recognized that he needed help.
He had slept almost constantly since he had been back, only getting up to use the loo. He had finally showered when he noticed that he was really beginning to stink, not that he cared really that he stank, but it was reflex. On the way back from showering he stumbled and had to catch himself on the wall to keep from falling to the floor. As he caught himself he lowered his gaunt form to the ground and sat with his eyes closed and his head back against the wall waiting for the dizziness to pass.
At the same moment that Harry was fighting the dizziness in the upstairs hall, Ginny Weasley was stepping out of the floo at Mrs. Figg’s house. She stepped away from the fireplace and began brushing the soot off of her t-shirt and jeans. As she was finishing the fire flared green again and out stepped her brother, Ron.
“Bloody hell, I hate floo travel. I can’t wait to apparate,” he said as Ginny handed him the clothing brush she had been using.
“I don’t really mind it except for the soot,” she said glancing around. Mrs. Figg was not at home today but had given Molly Weasley permission for the two of them to use the fireplace to visit Harry.
“That’s because you’re so small. You fit easily,” Ron grumbled. It was true however; Ron had hit six feet sometime at the end of the last school year and showed no signs of stopping while Ginny hadn’t grown an inch since she had reached five foot four in her third year at school.
“Whatever…let’s go.” She led the way to the front door and stepped out into the bright summer sun. She looked nervously down the street trying to see if anything looked out of the ordinary. The only thing that seemed strange to her was the unnatural similarity of all the houses on the block. Even the lawns seemed to have grass the same length.
She wrinkled her nose.
“Which one is it?” she asked as her brother came out and looked at the rows of houses.
“Umm…it’s number four,” he said as he peered at the numbers on the houses. “Over there.” He pointed to his left across the street and a few houses down.
They crossed the street and went to the door Ron had pointed out. They knew that the Dursleys were out of town for the week so they didn’t bother looking to see if there was a car in the drive. As they entered the yard they felt a slight pull as the wards protecting the house allowed them entry. But when Ron went to open the door he felt something grip his wrist.
“What’s wrong ickle Ronniekins?” a voice whispered.
“Argh...” Ron yelled and pulled his hand back like something had burned it.
Ginny giggled. “Fred? That was a good one.” She reached out to touch where his shoulder should be. “Are you disillusioned?”
“Fred's at the shop. You lot here to see Harry?” They nodded. “Good, I’m worried about him. None of the minders have seen him since he got here. Hold on, I’ll open the door,” he said before he muttered the charm under his breath.
They entered the unnaturally clean house and looked around at all of the pictures of Dudley.
“Ron? Where are the pictures of Harry?”
“There aren’t any, Ginny. These people hate him. They pretend that he doesn’t exist.” Ron had a sad look on his face. “They treat him like a servant…no that isn’t right; I think that it’s more like a slave. He used to talk about staying in a cupboard under the stairs.” At that they both turned and looked at a small door set under the stairs.
“ No…” Ginny said in a small voice.
“ Yeah…” Ron said in a whisper. He took a step foreword and unlocked the cupboard.
As he opened the door tears started running down Ginny’s face. She could imagine the polite eleven year old she had seen at platform nine and three-quarters so many years ago huddled in the small cupboard lonely and frightened. She turned away and wiped her hands across her eyes angrily. How could someone do that to Harry? Sweet, kind Harry? Her eyes went to the stairs and she started towards them. She turned and saw Ron still staring sadly into the cupboard. He turned and went over and hugged her.
“Remind me to thank mum when we get home,” he whispered.
She nodded and started back up the stairs. At the top she turned into the hallway and stopped.
“Harry?” she whispered.
She turned and yelled at Ron, “GET HELP!” as she ran to where Harry was laying unconscious in the hall.