Content Harry Potter Miscellaneous
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Chapter 11: What Have You Done?

It was a normal Wednesday at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Students were going to classes, complaining about homework, eating in the Great Hall, practicing Quidditch, and conducting themselves more or less as students had in the halls of Hogwarts for hundreds of years.

The staff, too, was having a fairly normal day.

Most of them, at any rate.

Minerva McGonagall was not.

She had been sitting in her office, reading the essays of her third-year Transfiguration class, when Armando Dippet had come bursting into the portrait of her great-grandmother on the wall and informed her that she was needed in Dumbledore’s office. Immediately.

Naturally, she got up at once. One did not refuse the Headmaster of Hogwarts. Especially when that Headmaster used a word like "immediately." It was not a word Albus Dumbledore used lightly.

She gave the password at the gargoyle ("Chocolate Frog") and was transported upwards to the familiar office.

"As I said, Cornelius, I will come as soon as I am able," Albus was saying as she entered the room. He was kneeling by his fireplace, talking with Cornelius Fudge, who seemed extremely upset about something. "Ah, Minerva, please come in." He turned back to the fire. "I will see you in five minutes, Cornelius, if that will do?"

"Of course, of course," said Fudge, sounding highly frazzled. "Do hurry, Dumbledore, this is rather important..."

"I am aware of that," Albus said with that ever-so-gentle tone in his voice that nonetheless made people listen to him. "Five minutes, Cornelius."

"Yes... five minutes..." Fudge’s head dithered for a moment, then vanished.

"What in heaven’s name is so urgent, Albus?" Minerva asked in amazement.

"Sit down, Minerva, this news may be a bit unsettling to you."

Minerva took a seat and waited.

"Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban."

Unsettling, he said.

That is a severe understatement.

"How?" was the first word she managed to articulate, after a few moments of simple open-mouthed shock.

"That is what I hope to help determine, Minerva. Cornelius says that the dementors report Black was in his cell yesterday when they brought food, but not today when they did so, and even his best people can find no magical traces of any kind in the cell or on the island."

"So he had no assistance," Minerva said, thinking aloud. "No one helped him."

"Or if he had help, it was non-magical. That is always a possibility."

"Come, now, Albus, no Muggle could find Azkaban, let alone free a man from it."

"Perhaps," Albus said quietly, "but a Muggle guided, or controlled, by a witch or wizard could."

The Imperius Curse. It floated, unsaid, between them.

An Unforgivable Curse, which only the Darkest of wizards would use. As if we needed any more proof that Black was guilty. Minerva shivered.

Then she had a disquieting thought.

"Albus — does Sirius Black know where Harry is?"

"That is my second order of business, Minerva: to make certain that Harry Potter remains secure in the care of his aunt and uncle. I have had no indications otherwise, and the wards I raised on the house would deny entrance to anyone who wished Harry harm and notify me immediately that such an entrance had been attempted. So I fully expect to find Harry safe at Number Four, Privet Drive."


Expectations are such dangerous things.

Albus Dumbledore had accomplished his first mission, inspecting Azkaban fortress and the island on which it sat without discovering anything magical except a faint and fading Apparition trace. There was no corresponding Disapparition, which frankly had him baffled. Who would Apparate to Azkaban, and how had they left if not by Disapparition?

Nonmagically, he had noticed odd markings on the bolt of Sirius’ — no, I must not think of him in that way. He is not the man I took him for, and distance is necessary if I am ever to heal from the hurt he dealt me — of Black’s cell, then. They almost appeared to be teeth marks. He had one of the Aurors copy them for further study.

There were also tufts of gray and black fur caught in some of the joints of the bars surrounding the building. He made certain that samples were taken of these as well. Something about this is extremely strange... and I do enjoy a good mystery.

Once satisfied that nothing else could be learned at Azkaban, he had moved on to his second piece of business — a routine check on Harry Potter.

He felt a touch guilty as he stepped onto the Dursleys’ property. He had promised Vernon and Petunia, in his letter, that they would be left alone, that no "freaks" would invade their lives.

But this is something of a special occasion. Harry may be in danger, and by extension, their family. They need to know about it, and know now. A letter might arrive too late.

Almost automatically, he cast the magic-viewing spell over the house.

And recoiled, completely stunned.

His wards, so carefully constructed, were simply... gone.

And something else had taken their place.

Dumbledore forced himself to calm. Let me look at this logically. Lack of logic is too often the downfall of wizardkind.

The wards are gone. Not broken, not breached, but gone. What could have caused that to happen?

He pondered a moment, then shook his head in bafflement. Not enough information. Move on to the second problem.

What is that other piece of magic?

Item: it is incredibly complex.

Item: it was cast by two people.

Item: it was cast within the last two days.

Item: like my wards, it affects some person, or persons, within this house.

Item: unlike my wards, it does not involve the house itself.

Item: I have never seen anything like it in my life.

Item: I am wasting time. I came here to check on Harry, and I have not done that.

Something highly unusual has obviously happened here. I must find out what it was.

He rang the Dursleys’ doorbell and waited.

"Go away!" shouted a woman’s voice from inside. "Whoever you are, go away, I don’t want to see you!"

A child began to cry within. "Oh, shut up," the woman’s voice snarled, and there was the sound of a slap.

Dumbledore checked quickly behind him to make sure no one was watching, then Apparated into the room where the noises were coming from — the living room of the house, as it happened. Petunia Dursley was sitting on the couch, staring at the wall, while her son Dudley sniveled on the carpet, a red handprint blossoming on one cheek. "How did you get in here?" she demanded, whipping around to face him.

"By magic. Allow me to introduce myself; I am Albus Dumbledore. You may recall the letter I left with your nephew Harry."

"Oh, him." Petunia’s flash of annoyance passed, and her voice sank into something of a monotone. "I suppose you want to see him."

"Yes, I would like that."

"Can’t oblige you. He’s not here."

"Not here?"

"Not here. Gone. Vanished in the middle of the night. Night before last, I think. We’ve had more important things to think about."

Dumbledore sank into a chair, feeling as if he’d been hit from behind with a Body-Bind.

Gone. The word rang dully in his ears. Gone for more than a day, and I never knew...

Petunia continued without noticing. "What with Vernon not getting his promotion, it should have been his, the other man’s not nearly as good, and then being arrested for assault and battery after he hit his manager..."

She sniffled. "And now he’s been framed for embezzlement... he’s never stolen a thing in his life, not a thing, it couldn’t have been him, and now we’re to be turned out into the street, they’ve taken everything, what will become of my Dudders, ohhhhh..." She broke out into sobs herself, wailing far louder than Dudley had.

Something in Petunia’s litany triggered a response in Dumbledore’s half-numb brain. So much trouble, to fall on them so suddenly. Within the last two days. And undeserved, if she’s telling the truth. I wonder...

"Mrs. Dursley, I believe you have been cursed," he said.

Or he tried to.

What came out of his mouth was "Is this not a lovely day?"

Petunia ignored him.

He tried again. "Your son seems very healthy" emerged, when he had been meaning to say "Has anyone worked magic in this house lately?"

I cannot seem to ask her, or tell her, about this magic.

And only one working I have ever heard of excludes even the knowledge of itself from its victim.

Vernon and Petunia Dursley have been placed under the Curse of the Righteous.

Who could have done that — and why?

Never mind that now. There is a more important subject at hand.

"Mrs. Dursley, what can you tell me about Harry?" he said loudly, cutting through her sobs.

Petunia looked at him with loathing. "Unnatural brat," she spat. "Like his parents. Oh, I took him, I didn’t want his death on my hands, if you were telling the truth in that letter, but I wasn’t about to pretend I liked him. And he had to learn. He had to learn his place."

"What place was that?" Dumbledore asked quietly.

"He had to learn," Petunia hissed, "that he did not belong here, in our house, with normal people. He was a freak, and he should have been grateful for what he got. But no, that girl spoiled him, and we had to be harsh with him after she left."

I do not like the sound of this.

But what does a girl have to do with anything, I wonder?

"Harsh with him?" he repeated aloud.

"Yes, harsh." Petunia’s tone was suddenly defensive. "But we never harmed him. He was always fine, always able to make more trouble, if that’s what you’re after. He could certainly scream loud enough. It took him nearly two hours to stop, the last time."

"Two hours after you did what?"

"After we shut him up, of course. He was attacking Dudley, there was nothing else we could do."

"And where, exactly, did you shut him up?"

Petunia’s face contorted. "You’ll have it out of me, one way or another, I’m sure," she said in disgust. "I might as well spare myself the trouble and just tell you. In the cupboard, there, under the stairs. That was where he slept. And a waste of good space, too."

Dumbledore pressed his lips together, thinking, with a pang, of the laughing little boy he remembered, alone and frightened in a tiny, dark space...

"When, exactly, did you last see your nephew, Mrs. Dursley?" he asked, intending to fix a precise time before which the abduction could not have happened.

"11 April, the night he tried to rip out Dudley’s hair. Vernon put him in his cupboard, he screamed for nearly two hours, then he quieted down."

Something doesn’t add up about that...

"11 April? Are you certain?"

"I’m positive, it was a Sunday. Why?"

"I am wondering," Dumbledore said in his coldest tones, "how you are so sure it was the night of 12 April when your nephew was abducted, since you claim not to have seen him since the previous night."

"Oh, we heard him," Petunia said, waving a dismissive hand. "Whimpering in there, all that day, quite annoying really. But he had to learn. He’d been naughty. And we were very busy that day. There just wasn’t time for him."

Dumbledore restrained himself from attacking the woman with his bare hands.

She has no idea what Harry meant to you, he reminded himself. Or to the rest of the magical world.

Besides, she has already been punished beyond anything you can do. Even you, with all your learning, have never cast the Curse of the Righteous.

Another thought emerged, and to his astonishment, it was tinged with a blush of hope.

No Death Eater would, or could, have cast that curse.

Who with the required nature to cast such an aptly named curse would be interested in cursing the Dursleys so very thoroughly? Whom of a magical nature have they harmed? Only Lily and Harry...

So the curse was cast by someone who cared for Lily, or who cares for Harry, or both.

Would it be beyond hope that the same party — no, parties, there were two, remember — was his abductor?

Perhaps I can pick up some personal traces from the magic.

He rose, then remembered something. It’s probably not important, but I admit to some curiosity.

"Mrs. Dursley, you mentioned a girl who ‘spoiled’ Harry. Who was she, and how did she know Harry?"

"His babysitter. Granger was her name, Gertrude Granger, though she called herself by some foolish nickname, Trouble or Anger or something. She had a sister the boy’s age, or so she claimed." Petunia sniggered. "A sister, twenty years younger? She must think we’re all fools to believe that."

So that makes this Gertrude about twenty-one. A young adult, not a teen.

"Her parents died last August, I never did find out how it happened. Both at once, though, and it wasn’t a car crash or anything like that — she just came home one day, and there they were, dead..." Petunia shrugged. "She got custody of the girl eventually, she offered to babysit one day, and soon the boy was spending more time with her than he did with us."

A young woman alone, with a child Harry’s age in her care. And they seem to have bonded. How interesting.

"She was a slut," Petunia said, savoring the word. "I saw a strange man in her kitchen once — saw her hugging him in public a day or so later. He could have been the father of the girl, they looked quite a bit alike. Then she tells us she’s moving, and not two weeks later, the night before she leaves, she announces she’s married — to a different man. I saw him, too, out in the car waiting for her. He’s a fool if he expects anything from her."

"Would you recognize the men if you saw them again?" Dumbledore asked, almost automatically.

"Of course. I never forget a face."

"Excuse me for a moment, please," Dumbledore said, and stepped into the hallway, where he leaned against the wall and tried not to look at the cupboard door.

I must restrain myself. This situation has the potential to spin far, far out of my control if I lose my grip for one moment.

Stop trying to trick yourself, Albus. It’s already out of your grasp. The best you can do now is damage control.

He cast the magic-viewing spell again. The Curse appeared, looking to him like a tangle of threads, enormously complex and multicolored.

Show me your caster, Dumbledore said to it. Show me who made you.

The tangle began to spin. Out of the whirls of light appeared two faces. One, a young woman with bushy brown hair and a wry smile, Dumbledore did not recognize. The other, he did, and although he had not been expecting it, he realized he should have been.

I am a fool.

He stepped back into the living room. "Mrs. Dursley, only a few more questions, and then I will leave you in peace. Can you tell me who this is?" He cast an image of the young woman in midair.

"That’s her," Petunia said, smirking at the picture. "The Granger slut. Probably left the neighborhood when we rumbled her little game."

"And this man, have you seen him before?" Dumbledore displayed the other image the Curse had yielded him.

"He’s the one I saw in her house. And she drove away like a bat out of hell the next night, and didn’t come back until morning — and he was with her when she did." Her expression indicated she had no trouble imagining what the young woman had been doing that night. "And a black woman, too, someone the boy seemed to know..."

Dumbledore disregarded the last sentence. His mind was too busy grappling with the implications of what he had just learned.

I knew the curse was cast by two people. Now I have their names.

Gertrude Granger.

A young woman with immense magical power, whom I have never met, or even heard about.

And Remus Lupin.

Whom I have met — whom I thought I knew — and who, if I recall correctly, lives not too far from here...

"Thank you, Mrs. Dursley, you have been most helpful. May I wish you better luck in the future." Not that my wish will do any good, with a curse like that hanging over her.

"You’re quite welcome," Petunia said automatically, returning to staring at the wall.

Dumbledore Apparated directly to Remus Lupin’s house, thinking of it as it had been the last time he had seen it. Small, a bit shabby, but not terribly uncomfortable...

He arrived safely, if a bit messily, materializing with a loud crack in the middle of the living room.

"Hello?" he called out. "Remus?"

There was no answer. The house seemed deserted. And something was odd, or out of place, but he couldn’t pinpoint it.

Dumbledore walked slowly through the ground floor, looking around, noting the only partially repaired door to the closet in the front hallway. All the furniture was in place, but everything of a personal nature seemed to be gone. There were no photographs, no knickknacks, no books lying about. No books at all.

That’s what seems so odd. Remus loves to read. There should be books everywhere. There always were.

He walked into the kitchen. A manila envelope lay on the table, addressed in Remus’ handwriting to "Whoever Finds This."

Feeling a chill, Dumbledore picked it up. This can’t be what it looks like...

He undid the fasteners and pulled out the sheet of Muggle paper within.

Whoever finds this:

Congratulations, you’re the new owner of number 17 Oxman Road. The deed is in the safe upstairs in the master bedroom. The combination is 12R-46L-1R. Said safe also contains the keys and title to the car parked in the driveway of this house. The papers are all complete, except for your signature. Sign them and enjoy these things in good health. I no longer need them.


Remus Lupin

Albus Dumbledore let the paper fall to the table.

"Remus, what have you done?" he said softly.

But he knew the answer already.

He’s disappeared. He’s taken Harry, and this Gertrude Granger and her sister — Muggle-born witches most likely — and gone into hiding somewhere.

This explains why the wards collapsed — Harry was no longer living in that house, so they were unnecessary. And they were not triggered because the person who entered the house intended Harry no harm.

I must remember that. I must always remember that.

Another thought intruded on his mind.

Last night... wasn’t it a full moon?

Yes, he answered himself, but what has that to do with anything?

The teeth marks on the bolt of Black’s cell. Don’t forget to have them looked at by a werewolf expert. And that fur, too.

But that makes no sense. A werewolf could not possibly do anything so sophisticated, so complex. It is impossible.

This morning, you would have said it was impossible to escape from Azkaban, or to abduct Harry Potter...

He couldn’t argue with that.

He picked up the letter and folded it, sliding it into a pocket. I will take care of this myself — the less talk there is about this, the better.

So, now the rest of the magical world must be told this admittedly rather unpleasant news.

I am not looking forward to informing Minerva of this. After she recovers from her heart attack, she will probably beat me senseless, then throw me from the roof of the school. Or at least, I would prefer that she did so, because what she will actually do will be far worse.

She will say, "I told you so." Loudly, repeatedly, and worst of all, truthfully.

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