30 June, 1994
He's at it again.
I woke up from the nightmares again. Vernon wasn't happy. He doesn't dare lock my stuff up anymore, though. Not since we realize there are wizards watching the house. They don't do anything to stop him. They never have. He may have just realized it, but I knew all along. But I can't really bring myself to care anymore.
I thought about it. Wizards were always coming up to me when I was younger. They must have seen how ragged and nasty I looked. But did they do anything? No, hell no, they didn't.
Now they're actively watching the house, and they still do nothing. It's what I've come to expect.
Not a word from my "friends", if that's what they are. Not a word from Dumbledore either. Not a whisper in the newspaper. Voldemort's back, he used my blood, and I'm locked away in this cage.
I wonder what I did to deserve this. But then, as soon as I do, the question goes away. Because nothing has changed. I've always been in one prison or another. Nothing new here, let's move on.
-From the diary of Harry Potter
Hermione Granger sighed and closed the battered notebook. She had been pouring over these four notebooks for a week, ever since they were discovered underneath Harry Potter's bed. How could one boy hold some much pain, so much anguish? How could he have carried on, none of them suspecting a thing?
Five years after the death of Harry Potter, Hermione was still trying to find answers. His final expression haunted her dreams: The expression of a soul finally at peace.
She remembered the first time she'd ever seen him, crashing into his train compartment asking about a toad. The first thing she'd noticed was his thousand yard stare. Like his eyes were blanks. If the eyes were the windows to the soul, nobody was home.
She didn't think much of it at the time. She was only eleven after all. But later ... Ah yes, it was always easier to notice things later. Later, later, later ... when it doesn't really matter anymore. You can torture yourself with what you should have seen for hours and hours and never get anywhere.
He had been quiet. That was the second thing. Oh sure, he did a fine job of pretending to be perfectly friendly. He did a fine job of wearing a public mask. But in those rare moments when he thought nobody was looking, she'd seen the thousand yard stare come back. Nobody home again. It was like he was a hollow shell.
But again, she did nothing. Nobody did anything. And that must have hurt most of all. But who knew? Because he never said anything either.
After he had died, Hermione had turned him into sort of an obsession. She had gone to Warwick University, near Coventry, and spent hours and hours buried in psychology papers and studies of childhood development. Finally, she had figured out what was wrong with him. He had reactive attachment disorder. And it made her want to kill the Dursleys. Because it was ultimately their fault he was dead.
He hadn't been able to bond with anyone, because whenever he cried, Vernon would stash him in the cupboard under the stairs. That had all come out yesterday, in day two of the trial. Not that it really did any good. They held it in courtroom ten, the same room where Harry had been put on trial for repelling the Dementors. They called primary school teachers from Harry's younger days. They had Obliviated them afterwards, of course. Harry was a troublemaker. The reason he was wearing such baggy clothing was he had to earn better ones. Vernon had read about it in some weird magazine or other. Got a troublesome kid? Make him earn stuff. For each day of good behaviour, earn a shirt, earn a toy, whatever. Each day of bad behaviour, lose the shirt, the toy, etc. Sounded utterly barbaric, but the teachers bought it. And that was the reason nobody ever did anything to help him. They bought every pathetic lie the Dursleys told. They should've instituted that policy with Dudley. But it was barbaric to do it to a little kid like Harry who just sat there with his thousand yard stare and didn't volunteer anything.
The trial really didn't accomplish much, at least not yet. The Ministry of Magic had to be seen to be doing something. Five years later, a rule of accidental death still didn't mean much. The populace still wanted answers.
Dumbledore had done his best to stop it from happening, but the trial had gone on regardless. He had to recuse himself, obviously. The school Headmaster can't be trying one of his students ... Even if it was posthumously.
Even more important, the school Headmaster couldn't be trying the daughter of his greatest defender for murder. No, Ginny Weasley definitely wouldn't be questioned by Dumbledore.
1 September, 1995
First day of school ... Train trip went like usual. Nobody noticed the bruises. I've gotten real good at hiding them.
They took me to Grimmauld Place ... Can't trust Ron and Hermione anymore. No real surprise there. Went to that stupid trial, didn't care much. Fudge is still burying his face in the sand, Dumbledore is ignoring me, Sirius thinks I'm my father and calls me James. So nothings' really changed.
Sitting here up in the Gryffindor dorm, wondering why I bother anymore ... And avoiding Ron and Hermione. The questions, always with the damn questions. "How are you feeling, Harry? Why don't you tell us anything, Harry? Want to play chess, Harry?" They call themselves my friends, but what the hell is a friend supposed to do?
-From the diary of Harry Potter
Day three: Hermione threw on a set of robes and Disapparated from her parents' back garden. Her life was on hold, basically, until this matter was resolved one way or another. So she hadn't done anything about finding a job, a house, nothing. She wanted to help him, even though it was too late.
Oh sure, said a snide voice in her head. Your life's on hold. Good for you. What about Ginny, huh? Huh? What do you think her life's been like, having killed the boy she loved? Huh?
And as usual, she felt a fresh spasm of guilt. Yeah, she was living and breathing the history of Harry Potter. She had done nothing for the past four days except read his diaries. And she hadn't handed them in for evidence. She would hand them in when she was finished with them.
It was pure chance that she found them, actually. She remembered something he'd let slip about a loose floorboard under his bed. So she'd gone to Surrey four days ago, before the paper blared about a hearing into the death of Harry Potter, and found four notebooks stashed under there: One for just about each year in the magical world.
That was pretty interesting in and of itself, wasn't it? Just about everyone, herself included, figured what he'd done was a spur of the moment thing. That it was a crime of passion type of thing. But finding the notebooks under the floorboard injected a grain of doubt. He obviously knew how to sneak out of the castle. And he'd obviously done so-the notebooks proved it. And he couldn't have done so after the incident. This meant he'd done it before ... Which meant...
She shied away from that thought. It was the pink elephant in the living room, the corpse hanging from the ceiling. Shhh, shhh, we will not speak of these things, for here there be tigers. Yes, big ones with hungry teeth.
She appeared in the Ministry atrium and walked quickly to the lifts, heading for Courtroom Ten. And she was not thinking about suicide. No sir. She was calm and collected.
The courtroom was packed. Every Tom, Dick and Harry thought they needed to have a piece of the action. Photographers were perched like magpies in the gallery, shooting everything and wafting purple smoke over the crowd. Reporters clumped together like eager puppies in the front rows. Ministry workers and ordinary members of the public filled the rest of the seats. Because today was the biggest witness of all: Albus Dumbledore.
31 October, 1995
Another Halloween: Another year of not knowing quite how to feel. Umbridge is terrorizing the school, Hermione is pressuring me to start some sort of DADA group, and she is still asking me questions. More fucking questions. Can't these people just leave me the hell alone?
I don't know what to do anymore. I thought things would be different here in the magical world. But I realized after second year that it really isn't. Hero one day, dark lord the next. And now, insane and possibly dangerous, according to Ron's brother, Percy.
I can feel myself shutting down, day by day, week by week. No more pain, no more sadness. I just float along, high and wee, like so and so said about the balloon man. Who cares about Voldemort? He only wants to kill me. I have met the enemy, and the enemy is me.
-From the diary of Harry Potter
"Let's have some order in this courtroom!" boomed Amelia Bones, banging a gavel on the bench. "Order! or this will be a closed trial!"
Gradually the mutterings and camera flashes stopped and quiet descended on the crowd. Albus Dumbledore was sitting regally in the witness chair, wearing his usual garish robes and pointy hat. The chains clinked menacingly in the silence, but did not bind him.
"Very well," Bones continued, screwing her monocle tighter into her eye and scanning the thick sheaf of parchment in front of her. "Interrogatory hearing into the circumstances surrounding the death of one Harry James Potter, entering into day three of the proceedings."
"Witness: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, acting in his capacity of Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and in loco parentis of the subject. Lead interrogator, Amelia Susan Bones, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Chastity Bernstein, head of the Department of Wizarding Child Services, and Rufus Scrimgeour, head of the Aurors."
She paused and pointed at each person named, then continued, addressing Dumbledore.
"You are Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore?"
"Yes, I am."
"You were the Headmaster at the time of the incident?"
"You also took it upon yourself, as head of the Wizengamot body at the time, to place Mr. Potter at his relatives' home?"
"Can you please tell the court what led you to make this decision?"
Dumbledore sighed heavily and folded his hands under his chin.
"My answer is that my priority was to keep him alive. He was in more danger than perhaps anyone but myself realized. Voldemort had been vanquished hours before, but his supporters-and, as you might remember, many of them are almost as terrible as he-were still at large, angry, desperate, and violent. And I had to make my decision too with regard to the years ahead. Did I believe that Voldemort was gone forever? No. I knew not whether it would be ten, twenty, or fifty years before he returned, but I was sure he would do so, and I was sure too, knowing him as I have done, that he would not rest until he killed Harry.
"I knew that Voldemort's knowledge of magic was perhaps more extensive than any wizard alive. I knew that even my most complex and powerful protective spells and charms were unlikely to be invincible if he ever returned to full power.
"But I knew too where Voldemort was weak. And so I made my decision. Harry would be protected by an ancient magic of which Voldemort knows, which he despises, and which he has always, therefore, underestimated-to his cost. I am speaking, of course, of the fact that his mother died to save him. She gave him a lingering protection Voldemort never expected, a protection that flowed in his veins to the day he died. I put my trust, therefore, in his mother's blood. I delivered him to her sister, her only remaining relative."
"Did you know what his home life was like there?" The head of child services, Chastity Bernstein asked.
Dumbledore looked a little uncomfortable. "I was aware, yes, that his situation was not ... ideal. However, he was alive and well."
Bernstein looked disgusted. "He was alive and well? Whenever he cried as a baby he was stuffed into a cupboard under the stairs. He was beaten for doing better on a test than his cousin. He was only fed bread and water for the most part. You call that alive and well?"
Dumbledore had the good sense not to answer that. Bernstein huffed, but subsided back to silence.
"Would you have done anything, if you had become aware of the true severity of Mr. Potter's living conditions?" Bones asked.
Dumbledore looked even more uncomfortable. "I would've done my best to improve them," he said diplomatically.
"Would you have removed him?" Bones asked, not dancing anymore.
"No," Dumbledore said. "He was safest there."
There was a silence. Nobody needed to make the next point. Harry Potter was dead. So evidently he wasn't.
Bones moved on. "When he first arrived at Hogwarts, was there anything different that might set him apart from the other first years? Other than his status as the Boy-Who-Lived, I mean."
"Not to my knowledge. He was neither as well nourished or as happy as I would've liked, but I assumed he was doing as well as he could be, under the circumstances. He had formed a strong bond with Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley, and he seemed to be adjusting well to school life."
"Did he ever mention anything regarding his home situation to you or any of the teachers?"
"No, he did not. He seemed to be thriving at Hogwarts, and many teachers reported him to be an apt pupil."
"What about the allegations we heard yesterday from Frederic and George Weasley about rescuing Mr. Potter from a room with bars on the windows prior to attending his second year at Hogwarts?"
"We assumed they were making up stories, trying to rationalize their use of a flying car," said Dumbledore, looking ashamed. "We didn't suspect they might be telling the truth."
From the gallery, Hermione saw Fred and George, staring daggers at Dumbledore, their usual cheery grins nowhere in evidence. Their sister was not present. She had been under self imposed exile at the Burrow ever since that terrible night. Hermione hadn't laid eyes on her in the past five years. None of the Weasleys, really, except in passing, wanted anything to do with her.
"So basically, it would be safe to say that you didn't know anything, you didn't see anything, and you didn't hear anything, right?" interjected Rufus Scrimgeour with a tiny amount of sarcasm.
"I had suspicions that they weren't adequately caring for him, but, again, he was safest there," said Dumbledore, now looking a little peeved.
"Let's move on to the incident in question," Bones said, glaring briefly at Scrimgeour. "Tell us the circumstances surrounding the incident from your perspective."
"As you are no doubt aware, Mr. Potter and five others entered into the Ministry based upon information received by Mr. Potter that his godfather, Sirius Black, was being held in the Department of Mysteries, being tortured by Voldemort. Upon arriving at their destination, however, they discovered that the information was false and that they had been led into a trap to force Mr. Potter into retrieving a prophecy regarding himself and Voldemort.
"The students then engaged a dozen of Voldemort's followers before members of the Order of the Phoenix, including Sirius, arrived to render assistance. Sirius was lost through the veil in the Death Chamber, and Mr. Potter pursued Bellatrix Lestrange to the Atrium.
"Voldemort then arrived, and became aware that the prophecy had been broken. I duelled him, and he attempted to possess Mr. Potter after I proved to be too tough of a match for him in a last ditch attempt at causing the death of the boy, then when he was unsuccessful after Mr. Potter had thrown off the possession, he Disapparated with Mrs. Lestrange.
"I sent Mr. Potter back to Hogwarts while I brought Minister Fudge up to speed on current events. I informed him of the prophecy. He left my office, where I assumed he went to his dormitory.
"I did not see Mr. Potter until the next evening, when he came into the Great Hall for the leaving feast. He appeared in the hall, brandishing his wand. I was too stunned to react before six Killing Curses shot out, hitting apparently random students."
There was a heavy, oppressive silence in the courtroom as a tear tracked down Dumbledore's cheek into his beard.
"Several students then attempted to subdue Mr. Potter with binding hexes and stunners. He ducked and dodged each one, before a small cutting curse, apparently aimed at his wand hand to cause him to drop it, hit him in the side of the neck."
"And who sent that final curse?" Bones asked softly.
"Ginevra Weasley," Dumbledore whispered.
24 December, 1995
Back at Grimmauld Place: I'm sitting with Buckbeak. Nobody will look at me, since they heard I might be being possessed by Voldemort. Ron is looking at me like he did back in second year. Like I might jump up and attack him any minute.