Content Harry Potter
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Standard Disclaimer:

Perhaps it was the loud crash or the bloodcurdling scream that alerted Alyx that something was wrong. In either case she reluctantly rolled out of bed and slipped on her robe. She scowled seeing the condition of her slippers and once again smirked at the thought of what she did to get rid of that blasted llama that kept chewing on her slippers.

It should be noted at this point that Alyx is now banned from most South American countries and Peru has a death warrant out on her for her decimating their national animal. And while she is inordinately proud of the mayhem she's caused, she still hasn't matched Bob and his wonderful George Bush Sock Puppet attack on the Queen of England.

The scream came again and she hurriedly tied off her robe and rushed from the bedroom onto the stage. Now you might be wondering why her bedroom is just off the stage. Good, keep wondering because we don't intend to tell you.

"What are you doing?" Alyx shouted. She needed to shout over the screams and moans of a large group of people who were tied to their seats around the fire. Bob stood before a bonfire casually tossing items onto the fire. He lifted up an unopened package of twinkies and tossed it on. One of the men in the back of the group moaned piteously and a woman wept.

Bob tossed the season five Buffy CD set onto the fire and three people fainted. Then he turned to Alyx. "Yes? Did you need something?"

"What are you doing? You're supposed to be writing the disclaimer not torturing people you picked up off the street!"

"These aren't any people I picked up... these are the nerds that run that website that let our work be stolen," Bob hissed angrily.

Alyx's eyes lit up and she turned to the audience. "Erm, we don't own anything, really, even my slippers are rentals! Oh just read the chapter."

She whirled back to face the group of people and calmly picked up a cell phone and a pocket protector, then tossed them into the fire. Someone screamed and another woman fainted seeing her iPhone iBurn.

The pair of crazed author's laughed maniacally. "Terms of Service being ignored eh? Not for much longer!" Bob said with a cackle.

Mutant Storm
Chapter 02

Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix (July 1st)...

Hermione sat in one corner of the kitchen sipping her tea and watching as some of the Order members who lived in the house came down for breakfast. The revelations of Harry's past had polarized the Order. A few came down solidly on an anti-mutant footing, but many more opted to support Harry, no matter what his heritage. A few were undecided.

Molly and Ginny were among the undecided, while Ron leaned heavily against the mutants. Ron's attitude didn't surprise her. It did disappoint her. She realized that he was once again reacting to a situation that Harry found himself embroiled in, not because he had facts or logic, but because he was jealous of Harry being special, again.

No matter how hard I've tried, he still gets jealous of Harry, she thought with a heavy heart. Harry is special, but not for the reasons that Ron thinks. He knows next to nothing about mutants, except for the few low rumors that have filtered into the wizarding community, and his jealousy of Harry being the center of attention is getting to be too much!


She looked up to see Ginny staring at her, her hand touching her shoulder lightly.


"Tell me about mutants. What makes them different?" the younger girl asked.

She knew Ginny was trying to understand about Harry, and mutants in general, but so far all she'd heard was fictional stories from Ron. Hermione was getting exceedingly annoyed at the young red head. His bigotry and jealousy were shining through and she was finding herself repulsed.

She frowned for a moment, trying to find the words. "Have you ever heard of something called DNA?"

When Ginny shook her head, Hermione leaned back in her chair and realized that she was attracting the attention of others. Taking the time to explain might work to allay some fears.

"All right, pull up a chair and I'll try to explain this. DNA is a Muggle term. Muggles, lacking magic, use science to understand why things are, and DNA is one of those things they discovered.

"Everybody has DNA, Muggles, wizards, mutants, everyone. When a baby is conceived, the DNA from the mother and father are combined together. For example, my mother has bushy hair like I do, and my father has flat hair. That means that the little tiny piece of DNA that describes my hair was inherited from my mother.

"What the Muggles have learned is that DNA is made up of millions of things called genes. Each gene describes something about us. Whether we'll be tall, or short, fat or skinny, have blue eyes or green. In all likelihood, there exists in each of us a gene that says we're wizards. Think about that. One tiny piece of you so small you can't see it without the aid of a Muggle machine determines whether you're a wizard or a Muggle."

She paused and watched as people considered what she was saying.

"So, I got my red hair from my Dad and Mum?" asked Ginny uncertainly.

Hermione nodded. "Yes, common traits will reinforce each other. Both your parents have red hair, so the odds increased that you'd have red hair."

"And mutants?"

"Mutants are like Muggles; they can't use magic. But they have one gene that's different from Muggles and this gene gives them powers. The problem is, until the power manifests itself, it's impossible to say what that power will be. No one has done the research to figure it all out. They do know that one gene determines if you are a mutant or not, but they haven't figured out what determines the powers the mutant has.

"Most mutants develop their power at puberty, but a few develop their powers after puberty, usually during their teenage years, and they seem to be triggered by periods of great stress.

"Professor Dumbledore mentioned that Harry's aunt was a powerful telepath. That's a general term which covers a lot of mental abilities. She could read minds, or be able to move objects with the power of her mind. Possibly even both. The stronger a mutant, the more chances they can do a lot with their powers."

She looked around, noting a few confused expressions, but most seemed to understand. She needed one more thing to drive the point home.

"Mrs. Weasley, would you help me for a moment?" she asked.

"What do you need, dear?"

"Would you conjure two identical clear glass salt shakers and fill them with salt please?"

Molly blinked, but she complied with the strange request. A minute later, she handed the requested items to Hermione.

Taking them, Hermione put one shaker down, then unscrewed the lid of the other. Carefully, she removed one single grain of salt and placed it on a plate. Pointing to the grain, she then asked Mrs. Weasley to turn it black.

"I don't understand," Molly began.

"Please? Just turn it black? It will make sense in a moment, I promise," pleaded Hermione. Most of the Order was watching with interest and she didn't want to lose their attention.

Molly frowned, but waved her wand, turning the grain of salt black. Smiling her thanks, Hermione carefully put the black grain back in the open shaker and put the lid on.

"This is me," she said, holding up the salt shaker without the black grain. "Inside this bottle are thousands of grains of salt. That is my DNA. Compared to any normal witch, pure blood, half blood or Muggle born, there is very little difference. There is information in here that details the color of my eyes and hair, my gender, even how my bones are built. And somewhere in here is one tiny little piece that says I'm a witch."

Hermione put her salt shaker down and picked up the one with the black grain in it. "This is Harry. Like me, his DNA is inside the bottle, but there is one grain of black salt in here. One grain. That's all it takes to make Harry a mutant wizard and me just a Muggle-born witch. By now it should be obvious just how tiny the difference between Muggle, Wizard and Mutant is."

Hermione turned a hard eye on Ron.

"I want to be sure everyone understands something. Mutants are still human. Harry is still human. He's a wizard and he has at least one extra ability that doesn't involve magic. In my mind, hating mutants because they're different is no different than hating the Muggle-born because you're a pure-blood, or hating Muggles because they have no magic.

"Some Muggles are afraid of mutants because of what they represent. Some think they're the future of humanity, and others think they are out to destroy it. The truth is probably much simpler. Nature is constantly testing and changing her designs, and we are creatures of nature. Mutants represent a possible change to the human race, just as we do."

Ron glared at her and stomped from the room.

She shook her head and sighed, disappointed and more than a little hurt by his attitude. She knew there was every chance that Harry would not talk with them if he returned, and she was feeling especially alone because of Ron's stubbornness.

"That tiny change can result in something so dramatic?" Ginny exclaimed.

Hermione nodded. "He's still human, though some people would argue that he isn't. But he's no less human than you or I."

Ginny nodded thoughtfully, then sighed. "He's going to be very angry with us, isn't he?" she asked, her expression unhappy.

Hermione looked at her hands on the table. "I think he will be. I lied to him. I let my belief in Professor Dumbledore cloud my judgment."

Molly watched the two girls talk, frowning at them. She could understand Hermione being upset, but she didn't think it would be as bad as they were making out. And she didn't like Hermione placing the blame on Professor Dumbledore. Sure, the man had made a few mistakes, but still, he was Dumbledore!

"It will be all right, Hermione,. We'll apologize and he'll forgive us," she said, trying to reassure the girl and her daughter.

"No, Mum," Ginny said, surprising her. "I don't think it will be. Harry isn't a very forgiving person. In fourth year he barely spoke to Ron because Ron was being a git. Harry gives trust easily enough, but he doesn't forgive when that trust is broken. I think in some ways he still hasn't forgiven Ron for fourth year."

"Ginny's right, Mrs. Weasley. I know Harry well enough. He won't scream at us in anger like he did last summer, he'll just cut us out. We won't exist to him anymore," Hermione said quietly.

Ginny shook her head, refusing to contemplate the possibility that Harry might never talk to her again. The fact that she hadn't been one of his friends to write him was of little comfort to her. "So what can mutants do, Hermione?" she asked.

The older girl took another moment to collect her herself. "It depends. Imagine if you could cast only one spell. That would make you like a mutant. Some are able to levitate objects, others can blow holes in things, and still others run very fast, or fly. The ability varies from mutant to mutant. If Professor Dumbledore is correct, then Harry's mother was a strong witch who had a weak mutant ability that she hid as being magical. And his aunt is a very strong mutant with only an average magical ability. The letter said Harry was a strong mutant, and we know he's a strong wizard. That's a powerful combination."

"It is indeed, Miss Granger," a voice from the doorway said.

She looked up to see Dumbledore standing in the doorway.

"Harry is a very powerful wizard. In some ways I think even more powerful than myself."

"Oh, no, Albus. He's just a boy," protested Molly.

He moved over to the table and sat down. "Yes, Molly, he's just a boy, who at the tender age of thirteen cast a Patronus capable of chasing off over a hundred Dementors. Not even I can do that."

Dumbledore swished his wand, causing a cup of tea to appear in front of him. "What Harry will grow into is hard to say. He has always shown much promise."

"Unfortunately, I'm no longer sure Harry's future includes us," Ginny said unhappily. The truth about his home life had blown away her illusions of the Boy-Who-Lived, leaving behind only Harry in her mind. It had been a painful and frightening revelation to discover that the Boy-Who-Lived was a myth. In one way it saddened her, because she recognized it as a passing of her childhood. But in another, she welcomed it. Her feelings had crystallized; she no longer wanted the myth, she wanted her friend and, perhaps someday, more.

"That depends," said Remus sadly. "If he's like James, then he'll be unmoved by any apology. Lily would eventually forgive someone, given enough time. The only person I know that fought with Lily was her sister, Petunia, and I know for a fact that their fight caused her a great deal of pain."

"Do you think he'd accept mail from us?" Ginny asked hopefully.

Dumbledore frowned and shook his head. "Not right away, I think. Perhaps if you gave him a week or two. Professor Xavier's school is reputed to be one of the most advanced Muggle schools in the world. Harry is undoubtedly still trying to get used to the new environment and learning to deal with an aunt and uncle who obviously care for him."

Xavier's School for Gifted Children, Westchester County, New York...

He ran around the corner and hid behind a burned out hulk of a main battle tank, panting and struggling to catch his breath. The building behind him was burning fiercely, and the one closest to him was just a hollow shell of itself. From up the street he could hear screams and a heavy thumping sound. His enemy wasn't far away and he wasn't going to be allowed to hide for long.

The thumping grew heavier and the ground vibrated under his feet. He peeked out from behind the tank for a look. It was coming for him!

"Reducto! Reducto! Reducto! Reducto!" Harry shouted, stepping out from behind the tank. He knew other, more dangerous spells, but the Reductor hex had a simple incantation, which meant he could cast a lot of them quickly. That Harry's Reductors were acting more like high explosive charges than a simple blasting spell was something he didn't know was unusual. He wrongly assumed that everyone was capable of the effect.

The pattern of spells lanced out from his wand and three of the spells hit the Sentinel in the knees. The huge machine slid off its legs at the knees and crashed to the ground. It lay silent and immobile for a moment, then a panel opened in the head and a small black object ejected out, bounced in Harry's direction and landed nearly at his feet.

From the control room, Logan watched Harry turn transparent. The grenade exploded a second later, spewing fragments in all directions.

Harry staggered back, temporarily blinded by the bright light of the explosion. In his phased state he was safe from danger, but he had forgotten about the light!

"Freeze simulation," Logan said quietly.

All movement and sounds stopped in the Danger Room.

"Harry," Logan said over the loudspeaker. "You're a wizard and a mutant. You could have shielded against that grenade, or teleported away. Instead, you stayed and took it in the face. What were you thinking?"

Harry wiped the tears away from his eyes and looked up at Logan in the control room. "I wasn't thinking. I got too caught up in the fight."

"You're relying too heavily on your phase state," the older man said bluntly. "You need to treat everything as a threat until proven otherwise." Logan shook his head and glanced at the wall clock. "All right, you're due to work with Jean in a bit. Go grab some lunch and catch up with her. Remember, I want you out with me running the grounds after dinner. We'll talk about this more while we run."

Harry nodded and waved. Logan was a tough instructor; he was also blunt and used language that would tie Hermione into knots. Harry found the change refreshing.

The Danger Room rippled; the ruined street vanished and a door appeared.

Logan grinned as he watched Harry leave the room. The kid has a lot of spunk, he thought. He'd taken everything Logan had thrown at him and merely gritted his teeth. He couldn't help but admire the kid. Not many people his age would be so focused.

Of course, he mused, not many teens his age had a wacko with a private army out to kill them, either.

The last few weeks had been hard on Harry. He was coming to grips with the idea of having an aunt and uncle who really cared what happened to him, and coming to understand that a teacher could be tough, but still likable. Logan worked Harry brutally, getting him into shape as well as helping him learn to defend himself.

It had only been a few weeks, but already he was starting to see some improvements. Running the grounds after dinner no longer left him panting and feeling like he was going to throw up. The other training was helping him also.

Jean and Xavier had given him a head start by performing a memory transfer of science and math skills. Xavier also gave him a smattering of philosophy and history, as well as a foundation in ethics and literature.

Scott worked with Harry to bring him up to speed on basic math and science. The memories provided him with a basic understanding of the fields. Scott helped by showing him how to apply what he learned and then to build upon that foundation.

In the afternoons, he taught his aunt magic, which improved his own understanding and casting abilities. He taught her mostly Charms, Transfiguration and Defense. The other topics he wisely refrained from actively teaching. That didn't stop Jean from reading, especially potions, which she was certain would have medical applications.

One thing that surprised Harry was the fact that he was allowed to do magic in the States. The Department of Magic, the American equivalent of the Ministry, didn't have an underage restriction law. That meant he was free to practice as much as he wanted, as long as he observed the law involving secrecy of the wizarding world.

That being the case, Logan had smoothly integrated his magic into his combat training.

He had worked through those thirty wands he'd taken from Grimmauld Place with Jean until they found one that was suitable for her to use. Professor Xavier had promised a trip to Salem at a later date, where they could get a better-fitting wand for her. She had tried Harry's Phoenix core wand, but it was too overpowered for her and difficult to control. The hole in the kitchen wall was testimony to that.

Jean was helping him come to grips with his past, as well as helping him learn to control his mutant abilities.

Surprisingly, he had a touch of telepathy, which Jean and Professor Xavier coaxed out of him. Between the two they were able to help him begin building a set of mental shields that no magic could penetrate. The telepathy was part of a legacy talent from his mother. Lily was a strong empath and he had inherited a minor ability in both of those mental skills. It was his empathy that had been making him ill at the Dursleys. His talent had picked up on all the animosity and was manifesting it physically.

Jean was also working closely with him to help him overcome his nightmares. She was initially surprised and frightened by their intensity and frequency.

"Harry," said a voice.

He looked up from the sandwich he was making and smiled. "Hi Aunt Jean, Uncle Scott."

Jean walked in with Scott right behind her. "You slept better last night," she said neutrally.

He nodded and went about making sandwiches for Jean and Scott. "Yes, second night in a row without a nightmare. I don't think the problem is entirely beaten, but it's getting better. It felt good to wake up in the morning and not be exhausted."

He turned and handed each their lunch. "How are you coming on your Charms?"

Jean grinned around a mouthful of food.

"She's driving me nuts, Harry. Last night she spent half the night playing with that coloring charm. She must have changed the colors in the room twenty times," Scott complained with a grin.

Harry laughed. "You're lucky. In Britain, we're taught these spells and then told we can't perform them unless we're in school. I was put on trial for defending myself and my cousin from a pair of Dementors last summer, all because I used magic outside of school."

Scott shook his head.

Jean nodded slowly, recalling what she had read from Harry's Monster Book of Monsters. "Foul things."

"Foul things? Crazy government for employing them. I don't know how we're going to manage over there," Scott quipped.

"Manage over where?" Harry asked, his eyes narrowing suddenly. A cold feeling developed in the pit of his stomach.

Jean glared at Scott, then motioned for Harry to sit down.

"Honey, please let me talk before you get upset. Nothing is decided, so I don't want you to worry. The Professor has been thinking about expanding the X-Men and his school and he's been thinking about opening a base in Britain.

"None of this is decided," she stressed, "but it was thought you could finish up your education and during the summers you'd be able to train with us. Scott and I would move there. It would be easy with my dual citizenship. I'd have to find a job, of course, but it's been talked about."

Harry sat stiffly. "How can I go back there?" he whispered, then he looked at her bleakly. "You know what they did to me."

Jean stood from her chair, walked over to him and wrapped both arms around him. "I do know what they did to you. But going back and facing them and telling them you won't accept that behavior anymore would do you a world of good. You don't have to forgive them. You don't even have to like them anymore. But for your own sake, you should confront them. If you don't, it will eat away at you for the rest of your life."

Harry leaned into her embrace and tried to master his emotions. He nodded stiffly and she kissed his forehead.

"Has the Professor picked out a place yet?" he asked.

"No, he hasn't." Scott replied. "What are you thinking?"

"My G-G-Godfather, he told me that he was leaving everything to me. His family was very wealthy and I think mine was also. If we could check with Gringotts, the Wizarding Bank, we might find a property we could use."

Jean and Scott shared an amused look. "We never considered that. But would you be willing to let us use something your family left for you?" Jean asked.

Harry's expression turned somber. "I will always honor my parents and my heritage. But you two are all the family I have left. Sirius died trying to save me. If he left me something the Professor could use, it will feel like his death had some meaning."

He paused and lowered his head. "I don't want to think about where I was headed. You two and the X-Men saved me from that."

He looked up at the pair, his eyes filled with despair. "If it weren't for you and Professor Xavier, I'd either have turned into another Voldemort, or killed myself," he whispered.

"But you don't still feel that way, do you?" Jean asked, watching him carefully. She and Xavier were both aware that something had happened to Harry that made it very difficult for him to control his emotions. Xavier thought it might be related to the so-called Occlumency lessons, but no one knew for sure. The one thing that was certain was that some subjects easily invoked an extreme reaction from him and his ability to contain and control his emotions had been damaged badly.

He shook his head. "No. I still sometimes get very angry, but I can see now what I was doing to myself. Sometimes it seems I have no control over my emotions at all. A lot of people did things that made my life harsher than it needed to be. But that wasn't my fault and I'm not accepting the blame for it anymore. I didn't kill my parents, Voldemort did. Dumbledore and Snape are responsible for Sirius' death. And Muggles are responsible for how I was raised."

Jean frowned. "You sound like you're talking about revenge."

He smiled, but shook his head. "No, just survival. I have no intention of going after Voldemort, Bellatrix or the Dursleys, if that's what you're worried about. They've taken too much from me at this point. I'm not about to let them turn me into a killer just because some fraud spewed out a prophecy. It probably isn't even real."

"And Snape and Dumbledore?" Jean pressed.

Harry's eyes began to glow with magic. "I won't do anything to those two either, except maybe ignore them utterly. But I'm not going to let them walk all over me anymore. I promise you, Aunt Jean. I'll even give you a wizard's oath. I'll not start anything with any of my old 'friends'. But if they start with me, or fall back into their old methods, I will end it."

"You can't ask more than that, Jean," Scott said. "He has a right to defend himself."

Jean crossed her arms and looked at the both of them warily. "We'll see," she replied softly.

Harry nodded soberly and tried to change the subject. "So, did you do your Charms homework?"

Jean grinned. She loved learning about magic. She had been initially surprised to see how extensive a collection of books Harry owned on the subject, many of them defense related. While he helped her with the beginner spells, he was also busy ripping through his texts, learning to cast without a wand or an incantation. She had tried to copy his example, but found she lacked the power to cast without a wand to focus her magic.

She nodded. "I have, but I'm a little lost about this one wand movement. It seems to me that the jab and the point are the same movement." She made a gesture with her finger and his eyes tracked the movement.

Harry made a reaching gesture with one, blurred hand, and a can of Pepsi appeared in it. "They are the same movement. But the point has a target associated with it, while the jab doesn't," he replied before opening the can.

"So, basically a point has a target, and that's why it's usually the last movement in an incantation?"

Harry frowned for a moment, then nodded. "That's basically right, but you'll find that some spells end with a jab that require you to jab in the direction of a target. It's a blurring of the movements, if you ask me," he replied, then he smacked his forehead with his open palm. "Blimey! Listen to me! I sound like bloody Hermione!"

Jean and Scott fell silent, watching his reaction. During his first few days at the manor, Harry would get very angry just thinking about his 'friends'.

He lowered his gaze and took a deep breath, then sighed heavily. He wasn't going to let them ruin this! They had ruined enough of his life, but no longer.

Jean suppressed a soft smile. She was pleased to see him visibly recognize the danger signs and control his emotions. Since his arrival, there had been a few frightening panic attacks, complete with flashbacks. Fortunately, there was usually plenty of warning before it got that far.

He looked up at Scott. "Logan and I will be running this evening after dinner. Are you going to join us?" he asked in a normal tone.

Scott nodded and poked at his belly. "I don't suppose it would hurt."

"Very good, Harry. I thought mentioning your friend might upset you again," Jean said softly.

Harry shook his head. "No, the Professor is right. It doesn't pay for me to get angry at people who aren't here."

"What will you do when you're confronted with them, face to face?" Jean asked.

Harry shrugged. "I'm not sure. Ignore them probably and make new friends. I can see the logic behind completing my education, but after that? I don't think I'll want to stick around."

"What do you mean?" asked Scott.

Harry leaned back in his chair and sipped his soda. "Think about it. The wizards live in a world that closely resembles late Victorian England. They rely on a magical form of gas lighting for their homes, or candles. They go out of their way to avoid using any sort of technology. Even their version of the radio is done entirely with magic.

"It's an isolated world, separate from the Muggles, and they want to keep it that way. Petunia and Vernon wouldn't let me partake in their Muggle world, and I thought the wizarding world was my only option. But you've shown me in these past weeks that I can have my magic and my MTV. Hank seems to think that with the proper shielding, I'll be able to own a TV and not fry it when I cast a Lumos.

"The computer that Professor Xavier gave me has hundreds of textbooks saved on it. I'm walking around with a library the size of a notebook and I can reference the information anytime I need to. There's nothing like it in the wizarding world. I won't even mention the Internet. Each day the Muggles pull further ahead of them and they haven't a clue."

Harry turned to look at them both and his eyes burned with intensity. "Why would I want to go back to Victorian England when I can have Star Trek and the Hubble Space Telescope? I'll bet you anything that the wizarding world will think of Mutants as another form of Muggle and consign us to the trash heap with them. I might have had only vague understanding of what DNA was, and what made us mutants, but they have no idea."

"So what will you do then?" Scott asked curiously.

Harry looked down at the table. "Honestly? I don't know. Hogwarts doesn't teach us to live in the Muggle world. What I'm learning from you, Aunt Jean and Professor Xavier is teaching me what I need to know. I've been helping Hank with his experiments and I find the whole process fascinating. I don't have to decide today what I want to do, right?"

Jean smiled. "No, you don't have to decide today."

Later that evening, Jean, Scott and Logan were in Professor Xavier's office, talking.

"I'm telling ya, the kid has what it takes. He's got guts and he learns from his mistakes. I've never seen him make the same mistake twice. He's prime X material," Logan said hotly.

Jean opened her mouth to reply, but Xavier jumped in.

"I'm not concerned about turning him into another X Man, Logan. I just want to make sure he's capable of surviving his battles."

"Well, I'm just saying, the kid has what it takes," Logan grumbled. "Besides, I think he could be really useful to us."

"Noted," Xavier replied with a smile.

"Professor, about his battles. I am coming to think that Harry will probably not fight for the wizarding world. He is very reluctant to return there. In a way, we've done him a disservice by taking him from that world. He's learned about music videos and space missions. I saw him watch, entranced, during a rerun of Top Gun. The airplanes fascinated him. The Dursleys limited his exposure to the normal world so it's like he's discovering it right under our noses. The wizarding world has none of that stuff and he's becoming increasingly reluctant to give it up," Scott said.

"Yes, Hank mentioned that Harry had spoken to him about getting electronics to work around magic. Hank seems to feel that a carbon-polymer shielding... Hang on a moment. Harry's approaching the door. Something is very wrong."

The door opened and Harry staggered into the room. His scar was bleeding and he weaved drunkenly, one hand pressed up against his scar.

"Voldemort," he gasped. "Shields falling... I can't hold him. He wants to know where I am... help..."

Jean immediately reached out with her mind, connecting to Harry. She could see his shields crumbling from some external attack that crashed against his shields like waves on a beach, and causing him tremendous pain. Without thinking she poured energy into his shields, bolstering them. A moment later, she could feel the presence of Xavier, shoring up Harry's shields right beside her.

The attack lasted only a few moments longer before it ceased. Harry's eyes rolled up and he fell limply. Logan and Scott leaped to catch him before he hit the floor.

"Put him on the couch," Xavier ordered. Jean rushed from the room to fetch her medical kit.

"What the devil was that?" demanded Logan.

"That was a magical attack by this Voldemort of his. Harry is still learning how to shield his mind and he will soon master a technique that will keep these attacks out. Even now, he managed to hold this creature off long enough to get help," Xavier replied with satisfaction.

Jean returned a moment later, carrying her medical bag. She fussed over him for a while before leaning back on her heels. "Well, it's over. I don't think I can remember seeing someone with a pain threshold as high as his, except perhaps for Logan. His tolerance for pain is abnormally high."

Harry opened his eyes and Jean turned her attention back to him. "How are you feeling?"

"Tired, and like I've been hit with a Bludger," he said weakly. "Voldemort knows I'm missing. He was trying to find out where I am. I think he was surprised that I nearly kept him out."

"You did keep him out, Harry. Another week of training and I think you'll be able to keep him out if he attacks again. How do you suppose that he found out you're missing?"

He sat up and rubbed at his aching temples. "Snape, I suppose. Dumbledore uses to Snape to feed information to Voldemort, but I'm not so sure Snape is working for Dumbledore."

Xavier frowned. "Yes, I've seen the memory of his lessons. He wasn't attempting to teach you anything useful."

"Go get some rest, Harry. I'll look in on you later," Jean ordered.

Harry nodded. "All right. I have some books to read. Maybe they'll relax me enough so I can sleep."

Malfoy Manor...

"Crucio!" snarled the strange-looking man.

Snape fell to his knees, screaming in pain.

"You told me the boy never learned Occlumency! You told me his mind was weak and could never keep me out!" Voldemort said, then he twisted his wand, increasing the power to the curse.

Snape quivered and howled on the floor, soiling himself.

"I want to know where the brat is!" Voldemort said.

Snape writhed on the floor, to the amusement of the assembled Death Eaters. Most of those captured at the beginning of the summer had been given a pardon, thanks to a generous contribution to Minister Fudge's reelection fund from the Malfoy family.

Voldemort released the spy and walked around the man on the floor for a few moments, staring at him. "First, you lie to me about his learning Occlumency. Then you come here, telling me the boy has run, leaving the protection of his Muggle Aunt, but you don't know where he is. What good are you, Severus? I would have thought by now you would want to please your Lord."

"I do want to please you," gasped Snape. "If the brat has learned to shield his mind, he did not learn it from me. It is true I do not know where Potter has gone, but the wards around his family have dropped. You could take that sanctuary away from him."

Snape hoped the information would be enough. Anyone who knew him would not be surprised by this. Snape worked for himself, after all. He followed the direction he felt would most ensure his survival. Voldemort had a hold on him, but he was constantly working on ways of freeing himself from that hold.

"Yes, that would hurt Potter," mused the Dark Lord. He turned to Bellatrix. "Bella, take a cadre of my servants and go teach Potter's family that it does not bode well to defy me. Show them my displeasure."

Bellatrix rushed up, bowed low and kissed the hem of his robe, before backing from the room.

Voldemort watched her leave, then turned back to Snape. "You will return to Dumbledore and inform him that I am searching for the boy. Tell him nothing about my other plans. Nothing!"

"As my Lord commands," Snape said with a whimper.

Several hours later, the Little Whinging Fire Brigade were called to handle a fire on Privet Drive. Unfortunately, the family living at number four did not survive the blaze.

Xavier's School for Gifted Children, Westchester County, New York (July 7th)...

Harry looked up at the darkened control room and frowned. Logan was supposed to be setting up for today's training session.

"He's not going to be able to make it today, Harry," said a voice.

Harry turned to see Scott standing in the doorway.


"Yeah, something came up and he had to go look into it. He might be gone a few days, so I'm going to handle training until he returns."

Harry shrugged. He didn't mind his Uncle handling training for him. In fact, it would make for an interesting change of pace. While his Uncle Scott was every bit as athletic as Logan, Scott had been mainly overseeing Harry's academic training, helping him with his math, sciences and other fields.

"Your Aunt tells me you're quite a flier on a broom. How about if we see if you can translate that broom skill into something more mundane?"

"Flying?" Harry asked, his interest peaking immediately.

Scott nodded and then he tapped a few keys on a hand-held controller. The room shimmered and changed, revealing a small airstrip and a small jet nearby.

Scott walked over to the plane, with Harry following eagerly behind him. "This is a two-seat jump jet with supersonic capabilities. It's identical to the jets we use when the Professor sends one of us out to investigate something. We save the Blackbird for missions requiring a larger group.

"We're going to use this simulation for an hour or two, so you can get used to the controls. Then, if I think you've mastered the basics, we'll try it out in the real thing. Oh, and when we're done today, I'll give you a controller like this one, so you can call up this and a few other canned simulations in the Danger Room. It's not as good as what we can do in the control room, but we have a few canned simulations we use for training, like the jet trainer."

Harry nodded eagerly as he climbed into the front seat. He watch Scott strapping himself in, then he copied his movements. Scott lowered the canopy, then began to describe the controls and what they did.

Four hours later, Harry walked into the kitchen, smiling happily. Scott staggered in behind him, looking as though he'd been run through a wringer.

"What happened to you?" exclaimed Jean.

When Scott sat down on a chair and groaned, Harry gestured and handed him a can of cold soda he'd teleported from the fridge.

Scott popped open the can and drained it in one long swallow, then he placed the empty can down on the table and looked at Jean. "Harry. Harry happened to me."

Harry's smile faltered a bit. "It wasn't that bad," he muttered, blushing a bright red.

Scott snorted. "You know Logan is on the West Coast looking into that report about a possible Sentinel sighting, so I thought I'd introduce Harry to the flight trainer, then maybe take him up in a JJ2. Jean, your nephew isn't a good flier, he's a natural. He picked up the controls in the simulator in less than an hour, then we went out to use a real JJ2.

"He was doing maneuvers I didn't know you could do with those jets. He pulled more G's than I've seen anyone else pull and it didn't even bother him. Me? I feel like I've been beaten with a baseball bat!"

Jean laughed. "Well, I did warn you he was good on a broom. Speaking of that, we're going to have to get to Salem soon so I can get a broom for myself. I can't keep using his Firebolt."

"And a fitted wand, Aunt Jean," Harry prompted.

Jean smiled. "Yes, a fitted wand also."

"Are those jump jets expensive?" Harry asked.

"Very. Why? Do you want one for yourself?" Scott asked, grinning.

Harry laughed. "It's not as crazy as it sounds, Uncle Scott. If I can solve the electronics problem, I could shrink it down to something that could fit in my pocket. Imagine being able to carry around your own little escape plane."

Scott blinked in surprise and his expression grew thoughtful. "Would would you be able to return the jet to normal size, even if you didn't have magic?" he asked intently.

"Sure. A simple finite rune would to it. I never took Ancient Runes, but even I know that's how to cancel a spell without using a wand." His brow furrowed in thought. "I suppose with the right runes you could even shrink something without being magical. That's the advantage of rune magic. You don't need a wand or even a wizard to power the spells."

"What are you thinking, Scott?" Jean asked.

He turned to look at her. "Think about it. We could shrink virtually anything from jets to trucks and store them for easy carrying, then use them in the field. I think Harry just hit on an idea that makes solving the electronics problem that much more important. I'll mention it to the Professor and see what he has to say."

Jean turned back to Harry. "That's another thing we have to talk about. Your course selections for next year. I do not want you taking any courses with that Professor Snape."

Harry blinked and if possible, his smile broadened. "I am so going to enjoy watching you explain that to Dumbledore. You won't get any argument from me about it. That man hated me before he even met me."

"Then it's settled. When we return to Britain, we'll try to find out which class he is teaching and arrange for a private tutor to cover that topic."

"You know, I could just not take Potions," Harry said slowly. The only reason for Potions, in his mind, was to be an Auror and he wasn't sure he wanted that anymore. Especially with Fudge as Minister.

Jean leaned forward and ran a hand against his cheek. "I know sweetie, but it's best that you learn as much as you can."

Harry nodded reluctantly, then he turned when a scratching came at the window. He stood and opened the window, letting Hedwig back in. His owl chuffed a few times and landed on his shoulder, where she stuck out a leg for him to remove a letter.

He unrolled the scroll and as he read, he absently stroked Hedwig with one free hand. The owl preened under the attention, much to Scott and Jean's amusement.

"Who did you write, Harry?" asked Scott.

"I wrote the Salem Academy of Magic. Aunt Jean needs to learn how to Apparate. So I wrote the school asking if they had summer classes. Apparation isn't difficult, but it will take at least a few days for her to learn," he replied.

"What's Apparation?" asked Jean.

"It's one of the ways that wizards travel, Aunt Jean. It's a lot like my teleportation. Once you learn how to Apparate and get your license you'll be able to move around quickly."

Jean leaned across the table, looking intrigued. "What other methods of travel do wizards have?"

Harry glanced at Scott, who seemed interested in the conversation as well.

"Well, there's the broom, of course, and flying carpets, but those are illegal in Britain. My ex-mate's father had a car charmed to fly and Sirius owned a motorcycle that flew. Then there are Portkeys and the Floo network. Oh, and we can't forget the Knight Bus." Harry said, ticking the methods off on his fingers.

"You make it sound like you don't like Portkeys and the Floo network. What are they and why don't you like them?" asked Scott.

Harry picked up Scott's empty soda can. "Imagine reaching for this can and suddenly you find yourself pulled to some location far away. Portkeys can travel internationally and come in a variety of types. But the biggest problem is that it is so easy to turn an ordinary object into a Portkey. You have no clue it's a Portkey until it activates.

"Back at the end of fourth year, a friend and I both touched a trophy cup that had been spelled to be a Portkey. We were pulled hundreds of miles away, to a cemetery. My friend was killed by the same man that betrayed my parents to Voldemort, and I was forced to partake in an evil rite which gave Voldemort a body again.

"I don't like Portkeys. I'm not afraid to use one, but I'm always uneasy that the destination won't be what I thought it would be."

Jean remained silent. She'd seen the event Harry described when she had viewed his memories. It was one of the key events that continued to haunt him.

"And the Floo thing?" prompted Scott.

Jean had explained a lot of Harry's life to Scott, but some details she held back, hoping that Harry would openly share them with Scott, once he began to trust him. Trust was something he didn't give easily anymore. He almost instantly trusted her, but only because she looked so much like his mother. And right now, he was relying on her trust of others to decide when and where to give his own trust. She knew this was a critical time in his life and his faith in her and others was still fragile.

Harry smiled. "The Floo network is something you need to see to believe. Basically, they've hooked up a bunch of fireplaces and by tossing some powder into the fireplace and saying the address, you're moved from fireplace to fireplace until you arrive at the right address. It's dizzying, to say the least. I've never been able to use the Floo and land properly. That's why I love my teleporting. No more Floo or Portkeys for me."

Scott nodded thoughtfully. The details of the wizarding world fascinated him. He was amazed at the lengths they went through to avoid the use of technology.

Satisfied, Scott reached into his pocket and withdrew the hand-held Danger Room controller, then slid it across the table to Harry.

Harry picked it up, looking very pleased.

"All right, Harry; rules. First, in your room you will find two books. One is on the basics of flight. It includes most of the current FAA rules for VFR and IFR flying. However, the FAA doesn't normally license pilots for what amounts to small scale fighter planes. If you want an official license, you'll need to get jet rated on something like a Gulfstream G. I think if you do want that kind of license, you'd best get a British license, not an American one. You'll find that I've also left a series of math and physics problems tied into flying and aircraft design. They're similar to the same type of math we've been doing already, and I expect you to do them all.

"The second book details the flight characteristics and systems of the standard jump jets, including the single seater JJ1 and the twin seater JJ2. Study them. The more you know about what you're flying, the safer a pilot you'll be. I'll quiz you on them, so you better know the information.

"Second. You are to put at least forty hours of simulator time in this month. I want you to split that time between ground classes and air time in the simulator. I'll be combining your math and physics classes into the flight classes to save some time. Actual flying time can happen only when one of us can act as a check pilot. You are not to fly solo until I say so.

"Play your cards right and you'll be checked out in a JJ2 and ready to solo by the end of July. But if I hear you're slacking off in your other studies, I'll ground you. Understand me?" Scott said in a serious tone.

Harry looked down at the controller, then up at Scott. "I'll do my best in my studies, Uncle Scott," he said softly, trying to hide his surprise. He wasn't used to having a strong male parental figure. Even Sirius was more like a friend than a parent. Scott was different. He outlined a reasonable set of requests, told him what the ultimate goal was, and warned him what would happen if he slacked off.

Harry stood and held the controller close to his chest. "I'm going to go check out those books," he said, then turned and walked from the room.

Jean looked at Scott carefully. "You look beat."

He sighed and leaned back slowly on his chair. "I never knew a teenager could be so exhausting. I still don't understand how he managed some of those maneuvers in the plane. My sore spots have sore spots."

"He's really that good?" she asked incredulously. Scott wasn't one for extravagant compliments.

"Let me put it this way. He could probably fly through lower Manhattan, at fifty feet, and never hit a thing," Scott said tiredly. "I think our biggest problem will be keeping him on the ground. I bet he'll learn the Blackbird systems in record time, too. Maybe all new pilots should be required to fly brooms first, if Harry's abilities are anything to go by."

Laughing and shaking her head, Jean reached across the table and picked up the parchment Harry had left behind. "According to this, I could take the Apparation class near the end of July. It might not be a bad idea to bring Harry along and let him learn this also."

Scott nodded. "Yeah, it would also give him a chance to relax and maybe have a little fun. We've been working him pretty hard since he arrived."

"I know we have, but he's been enjoying himself despite the hard work. I don't know if you noticed or not, but he practically glowed with pride when you complimented him on his flying."

"He's a tough kid, Jean, but I like him a lot. I know he's not ours, but it's beginning to feel like he is. Did you know that he came to me the other day, asking for help with some math problems? He was so hesitant and nervous about it, but when he saw I wasn't going to yell at him or anything, he settled down nicely." He shook his head. "I think I know how you feel about him. I mean he doesn't look much like your sister, but he's your last link to her. I can't help wondering if we shouldn't make our relationship with him more formal."

Jean sucked in her breath and stared at him for a moment. Then she stood up, walked to him and knelt down next to his chair. "What do you mean?"

Scott rubbed the back of his neck and looked at her. "I'm not sure. I mean, he's nearly grown up now, but maybe we should offer to adopt him? Of course, by the time it works its way through the system he may be an adult.

"He's a great kid who's had a crappy life with a lot of adults making it even worse. When we went to go get him, I thought the whole thing was crazy. Now that I know him, I care about him, you know?"

Jean's eyes filled with tears and she leaned against him. "Thank you," she whispered. "I think it would make Lily happy to know her son has a family he can count on."

She stood and caressed his cheek. "Go take a soak in the whirlpool bath, work out a few of the kinks and maybe later we'll see what other kinks we can discover."

Scott smiled broadly before he stood and left the room.

Harry's Room...

Harry stopped and frowned at his trunk. Hedwig had made her way to his room and she, and her cage, which sat atop his trunk, both glowed softly.

"This is annoying," he muttered. He had been noting the strange glow around objects and people since coming home from school. Jean had tested his vision and, other than needing his prescription updated, and switched to contacts, there was nothing wrong with his vision. He thought it was tied to his ability to sense what people were feeling, but now he knew better.

Professor Xavier had explained to Harry that he was an empath, like his mother. It was something they called a legacy talent, sometimes passed from mutant parent to mutant child.

The glow troubled him until he discovered an old text that described Mage sight. The problem was, it described it, but didn't say how to control it or if it could be controlled. And while magic didn't bother him, he found being able to see magic a touch disconcerting.

Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix (July 8th)...

Albus Dumbledore walked tiredly into the room and looked around. He sighed, seeing so many empty chairs. A large number of the Order were away at the moment. He knew better than to try to deceive himself. They weren't away on missions. Many had left to consider whether or not to remain in the Order at all.

Those that remained did so because they were committed to the cause, if not loyal directly to him.

The Weasleys were still here, as were Tonks and Remus Lupin. Minerva McGonagall, Alastor Moody and Kingsley Shacklebolt were also present. To make up for the loss of numbers, Dumbledore decided to allow the two youngest Weasleys and Hermione Granger to sit in on their meetings, making them 'associate members'. They would attend meetings and offer opinions or ideas. Hermione and Ginny would be used for research purposes, but none of the three would be allowed to perform any field work for the Order.

Dumbledore sat in his chair and waited while Molly Weasley ran around, fussing over people and passing out drinks to everyone. Finally, she took a seat next to her husband and nodded to Dumbledore.

He sighed. Tonight's news would not go over well.

"This morning, Severus Snape returned to the castle after undergoing many hours of torture at the hands of Voldemort and his followers. The Dark Lord is now aware that Harry has left the safety of his relatives and is seeking him. According to Severus, the Dark Lord was most unhappy about the fact that he could no longer enter Harry's mind, probably due to the distances involved. Severus is recovering, but I expect he will remain in the infirmary for at least another day, perhaps two.

"Also, last night Bellatrix led a group of Death Eaters against Harry's relatives. I regret to say there were no survivors."

He paused and waited for reactions.

"Should we contact Harry and inform him?" asked Molly in a worried tone.

"I have considered it, but I am unsure how such news will be received," Dumbledore replied.

"Harry won't react much at all to the news, except to see it as another failure on our part to protect people from Voldemort," Remus said, to the shock of most everyone.

When Molly glared at him, he scowled back. The two had been at odds since Sirius' death, mostly over how to handle Harry.

"Professor Lupin is right, Mum," Ginny said. "Harry didn't want them killed, but he hated them. One of the things he told me before he left to return to his relatives' home was that he wasn't sure he'd protect them if Death Eaters attacked."

The thought of Harry Potter, savior of the wizarding world, turning a blind eye to someone in peril shook them to the core.

"Maybe this is our punishment," Ginny said softly.

Everyone turned to look at the young girl.

"Ginny?" Arthur said.

She looked at him, her eyes full of misery. "I used to think that Ron would get together with Hermione, and I would get together with Harry and we'd be one big happy family. Harry would save us all because he's our hero. It's what we've come to expect from him, after all. It's what he does. He hates being thought of as a hero, but he can't help what he is.

"But that isn't happening. Hermione and Ron are barely talking because Hermione's pointed out what a bigot he is. Harry's gone and even if he comes back he'll probably not forgive us. Even if he does forgive us, can we forgive ourselves for what we've done to him? I'm not sure I can. He was changing when he left school, becoming someone different, someone harder, and it's really our fault that happened. The Boy-Who-Lived was dying before our eyes. He became just Harry."

Ginny pointed at herself, then Ron and Hermione.

"We all knew that Harry hated his relatives. He never called them family. Never. We all relied on you adults to see that Harry was taken care of, but you never did anything about it and we never said anything about your lack of action.

"We did nothing and I don't think I can ever forgive myself for that," she finished in a whisper.

"Now, Ginny," Molly started.

Arthur stopped her with a shake of his head. He leaned closer to his daughter and smiled reassuringly. He knew his daughter better than any of his children and knew that she still held hope that someday Harry would notice her. It was one of the reasons why she had worked so hard in the last year to burn away the image of the Boy-Who-Lived and started looking at Harry.

"We all made mistakes when it came to Harry, Ginny. If he will allow it, we will try to make it up to him as best as we can. All we can do right now, however, is try to learn from what we've done and pray we never put someone else through the same thing," Arthur said.

"Harry's reactions are the least of our worries at the moment. From what I've learned, the Ministry has discovered that Harry's relatives are dead and they are now seeking him as well. It appears that Lucius Malfoy has stepped forward, stating that he'd be willing to be Harry's guardian. I've managed to block that by pointing out that I am Harry's magical guardian. I also reminded the Minister that Lucius is a pardoned Death Eater and therefore ineligible to be his guardian, but that will stop the Ministry for only so long. They know he wasn't in the house on Privet Drive when it burned down and they want answers," Dumbledore said.

"Then they need to learn about his leaving the country," Remus said thoughtfully. "And about his other Aunt assuming guardianship over him."

"One of us is going to have to go to him and explain what's happening, but who would he trust?" asked Tonks.

The group fell silent. Everyone wanted to volunteer, but no one knew if Harry would believe them.

"Professor McGonagall should go," Hermione said finally. "She's an authority figure that he respects. He knows she had no control over where he was placed when he was little, and he knows she was a friend of his parents."

Professor McGonagall looked surprised, then she shook her head. "No. That would have been true perhaps before last year. Now, I don't think he'll trust me, either."

"Why is that, Professor?" asked Dumbledore intently.

"Lee Jordan approached me after the end of the term, telling me how disappointed he was in me. It seems that Madam Umbridge was using an illegal blood quill during detentions. Harry received more detentions than any other student last year, mostly with Umbridge. And when he tried to complain to me about them, I cut him off before he could explain what was going on. I told him to keep his head down and his mouth shut. He did over one hundred hours of detention with that damned quill. I don't know how he managed to hide it from anyone," she said whisper.

Hermione had the grace to blush and look down at the table.

Dumbledore noted her reaction and turned to her. "Miss Granger? You knew about this?"

"I helped him treat his hand with essence of Murtlap, Professor," she said in a small voice. "It helped with the pain and kept infection from forming, but did nothing for the scarring."

Dumbledore sighed heavily. "I see. Anything else I should know about?" he asked.

Hermione blushed again and looked down at the table, ashamed of her actions now.

"The scar on his hand. It's very clear, even from several feet away," Ginny said. "It says, 'I must not tell lies'. That was what he had to write for saying Voldemort had come back."

Dumbledore pulled his glasses off and laid them on the table. He wiped at his face tiredly. He was coming to understand just how badly he had failed Harry last year. It worried him. He needed Harry; his mistakes from last year would severely compromise the trust he needed Harry to have in him.

"Beggin' yer pardon Professor, but I think the lad will listen to me," Hagrid said, then his expression darkened some. "Unlike sum others 'ere, 'arry won't think I mean 'im harm."

Dumbledore stared at the half giant for a bit, then he nodded. "Very well, Hagrid. Come see me when we get back to the school and we'll start getting you ready to visit Harry in America."

"Are you really going to allow Harry back into the school, Headmaster? He's a mutant," Ron said darkly. "I don't want him in my dormitory."

"Ron!" Molly, Ginny and Hermione all exclaimed, causing the young man to flinch slightly.

The Professor looked at Ron, his expression disappointed. "I'm sorry you feel that way, Mr. Weasley, but should Mr. Potter return to Britain, he will be allowed to continue his education. I know for a fact that Harry is not the only mutant who will be attending school this coming year."

With that, Dumbledore stood and walked from the room, leaving everyone staring at his retreating back in shocked silence.

Xavier's School for Gifted Children, Westchester County, New York (July 12th)...

Harry yawned and stepped into the danger room. Logan had returned a few days ago and they were back on their normal schedule.

He was surprised to see Professor Xavier, Scott, Jean and Logan waiting for him. Around the room were several couches for everyone to sit.

He stopped and eyed everyone suspiciously. "What's going on?" he asked warily.

Xavier held up a hand and smiled at him. "Rest easy, Harry. Today we're going to do something different. I know that you've been working very hard with Scott and Logan. We're very pleased with your progress, and I'm certain that your shield training has advanced to a stage where your mind is protected from a magical invasion. So today, we want to see if we can define the limits of your mutant abilities.

"A mutant must understand their abilities and, more importantly, their limitations. Your Aunt is a powerful mutant and her telekinetic abilities are some of the strongest I have ever seen. But even with that, her mind isn't powerful enough to hold up something the size of the Blackbird for very long before she collapses. Knowing your abilities teaches you what you can and can not do," Xavier lectured.

Harry thought about it for a moment, then he nodded. Jean patted the empty spot on the couch next to her and he walked over to sit next to her.

"We've seen your ability to teleport, and your ability to perform what looks like a partial teleport, where you become insubstantial. You also seem to have no problem teleporting objects to you, assuming that you know exactly where they are and what they look like."

Harry nodded in agreement.

"Harry, can you teleport your jump jet manual to you?" Jean asked. "I know it's become one of your favorite books."

Harry held out a hand and there was a barely discernible puffing sound. His manual appeared in his hand.

"Excellent! Now, let's try something harder," Xavier said. "There is a big black book on the right end table in my office. Can you teleport that to you?"

Harry held out his hand and nothing happened. He looked up in concern. "I don't understand..."

"Relax Harry. Let's see if we can understand what is happening. The book in question is bigger than most, it weighs about ten pounds."

Harry concentrated, but nothing appeared.

"It's jet black, leather cover with gold lettering," Jean offered.

Still nothing appeared, except beads of sweat on Harry's forehead.

"The book is titled Blackbird Technical Specifications, Details and Advanced Modifications and Proposals," Scott said.

The book appeared in Harry's hand a second later. His other hand shot out quickly to steady the heavy volume.

"Good work. You may keep that book for your studies," commented Xavier. "We've now learned that in order to teleport an object you've never seen before, you need a detailed description. That's useful to know. How are you feeling?"

"A little tired, sir, but otherwise I'm fine. It felt like I was groping around in the dark, trying to reach something just out of my grasp."

The three adults exchanged a glance, then Xavier moved his chair a little closer to Harry.

"Have you wondered if you can teleport someone?"

Harry scowled. "I don't know, Professor. To be honest, I'd be afraid to try it on a person first. What if I don't do it right and they don't come with me? Or what if I only bring a piece of them along? I could really hurt someone that way."

Xavier nodded. "Valid points indeed. So, let's test the idea first with Samuel. Scott, would you bring in Samuel?"

Scott grinned and left the room. He came back a few moments later with a black rat in a cage.

Seeing it, Harry frowned.

Jean saw his look, then it dawned on her. "Oh! Pettigrew! We're sorry, Harry. Perhaps we can find another test subject."

"What's going on?" asked Logan.

"You remember when I told you about some wizards having the ability to change their form into one of an animal?" Jean asked Logan.

The heavily-built man nodded.

"The wizard that betrayed my sister, Harry's parents, could do that. His form was a rat."

Scott started to turn, but Harry stopped him. "No, Uncle Scott. I'll be alright. I can use Samuel. After all, it's not Peter, he's just a rat."

Scott nodded and placed the cage on the table.

Harry stood and looked down at the cage for a moment, then he looked around. "How about something simple first. I'll hold Samuel and teleport across the room?"

Seeing the adults nod at him, he reached into the cage and gently removed the rat.

"Hello, Samuel. How about we go for a little ride?" Harry said softly.

Stroking its fur to calm the little creature, Harry then vanished, only reappearing at the other end of the room. He carefully examined the rat, then smiled, seeing Samuel was just fine.

"Excellent, Harry! You've managed to do that without making smoke or any noise," Xavier said from the other end of the room.

Harry vanished from the far end of the room and reappeared amidst the others. He grinned. "It's become a lot easier since you showed me those meditation techniques, Professor."

"That's because the abilities are linked," replied Xavier. "You are a weak telepath, but you have enough ability to build a set of shields that magic won't penetrate. The mental discipline required for those shields helps you visualize your target destinations. I'd be willing to bet that it even helps you retain what you study easier. Now, put Samuel back in his cage and see if you can teleport Logan to the other side of the room."

Harry nodded and put the rat back in the cage, then he turned to face Logan. "Ready to try this?"

Logan grinned and put a cigar in his mouth. "Sounds like fun, Merlin," he muttered around the stogie.

Harry looked at him strangely. "Merlin's dead; has been for fifteen hundred years."

Jean, Scott and Logan stared at Harry in surprise.

"Merlin was real?" exclaimed Jean.

"Of course he was," Harry stated flatly. "He was the last known descendant of the race that built Atlantis."

Jean blinked in surprise and mumbled to herself about reading Harry's history books.

"All right, then let's use Wiz, since Merlin's taken," Logan commented.

"Wiz?" Harry asked in surprise.

Logan shrugged. "It's a good X-Man name."

"I thought we agreed Harry wasn't to be trained to be an X-Man," Jean said with a frown.

Harry held up a hand. "It's all right, Aunt Jean. The name is kind of neat. And I may not be an X-Man today, but it's a better goal to shoot for than being an Auror. Even if I don't become an X-Man, it's still neat, kind of like an honorary title."

Jean frowned, but Logan, Scott and Harry grinned. Jean looked at Xavier.

Harry turned to stare at the two, perplexed. "You know, I can almost hear you two. I can't quite make out what you're saying, it's like a murmur that isn't distinct."

Xavier moved his chair closer. He looked up at Harry quietly for a moment. "You may be able to develop that talent. But that's a topic for another time. Logan, if you will?"

Logan stepped up and grabbed Harry's arm.

"Let's go for a trip, Wiz. And don't go leaving any part of me behind, if you know what's good for you," he said with a growl.

"I don't suppose I can leave his grumpy mood behind, can I?" Harry complained. The others laughed and Logan extended one claw, waving it under Harry's nose.

"Don't even think it, Wiz," he warned. "It's part of my charm."

Harry rolled his eyes, then vanished, leaving a large cloud of smoke behind. At the other end of the room, he appeared with Logan, who grumbled as he began to pat himself, checking to see if anything was missing.

"I didn't leave anything behind," Harry said with mock hauteur. "Not even your grumbling. A pity, that."

Logan looked at him and extended his claws, his eyes alight with humor. "I can fix that stuffy attitude for ya, Wiz," he threatened.

Harry laughed and teleported back across the room, leaving Logan facing a blank wall.

"Hey! Logan! We're over here!" he called in a loud voice.

The others chuckled while Logan walked over, muttering under this breath. "Wise ass kid."

"All right, he can teleport others. But what about range? How far can he go?" asked Jean.

"I teleported from school to... erm... this place in London by accident," Harry said.

Everyone turned to look at him.

"This place in London? Isn't that a little vague?" Scott asked.

Harry looked down at his feet. "It's under a spell. I can't talk about it."

"Harry, may I?" asked Jean.

Harry nodded and looked at her.

A moment later she turned away with a slight frown. "I was able to see the place he's talking about, even the location, but the spell is preventing me from saying where it is. It is an interesting effect. Strangely enough, I don't think it's perfect. I think I could locate it on a map and program a GPS unit with the coordinates."

Xavier shook his head. "Magic has its limitations and the biggest flaw is that, by ignoring normal people, they have allowed technology to overtake them," he said, then paused for a moment. "Well, his school is in central Scotland, so that's a distance of several hundred miles, at least. Impressive,"

"I don't think the distance matters, Professor," Harry said softly. "Teleporting is a two step process. I first turn incorporeal then I step through a... I suppose the best way to describe is a tear in the world that I make. I don't think I'd want to try going through that tear solid."

"So, jumping to this place in London would be no problem for you, Harry?" asked Scott.

"No, I don't think so. It seems that distance doesn't make any difference to my teleport. Do you want me to try?"

The four adults exchanged a look.

"Go for it, Wiz," Logan said, shrugging. After all, the kid knew more about his abilities than anyone else. If he thought he could do it, Logan didn't see any reason to hold him back.

Harry nodded and started to concentrate, then he stopped for a moment. A second later his trunk appeared at his side. He knelt down and opened it, then he started to move all the old stuff out of the trunk.

"Harry, what are you doing?" asked Jean in confusion.

He grinned. "The place I'm going is where I got my books. My Godfather told me he was leaving his house to me. Before you came to get me, I was jumping to the Black family library every few days and taking books. I'm sure they know by now that some books have been going missing, so I won't have a lot of time. I'm going to arrive, throw open my trunk and grab as many books as I can."

"All right, but be careful," Jean said worriedly.

He nodded and finished emptying his trunk onto the table.

With one hand resting on his now empty trunk, he vanished from the room.

He reappeared in the Black family library. The room was still as dark and dingy as he remembered. He opened the trunk and turned it to face the stacks and shelves of books. He was thankful that he had practiced the space expansion charm on his own trunk; now it could hold a lot of books.

"Pack!" he commanded, waving his wand.

Books started flying off the shelves and into his trunk. He grinned, knowing Granger would kill to be able to read some of the volumes. And Dumbledore would kill to keep him from reading them.

Elsewhere in the manor, an alarm started to scream. Harry looked up, startled, then frowned and cast several sealing spells on the door, including two that he'd learned from the Black books in recent weeks. He could hear the sound of pounding feet, but by then trunk was full. He shut the trunk, placed his hand on the top of it and vanished from the room just as someone started pounding on the door.

Harry reappeared in the Danger Room with his full trunk and a rather large smile.

"Everything went well, I take it?" asked Xavier.

Harry shook his head and chuckled. "Hardly. I think they must have increased the wards on my library. All sorts of alarms went off when I started taking books. But I managed to fill the trunk and get out before anyone spotted me."

"Seems like a lot of trouble for a bunch of magic books," Logan said.

Harry smirked. "If you call close to a thousand a 'bunch', Logan. I put an space expansion charm on my trunk last week when I was experimenting with that spell. So it can carry a lot more books than you'd expect."

Jean's eyes lit up at the chance to dig through so many books on magic.

"Someone's approaching the manor," Xavier said, cutting off the conversation. "He's magical, but I don't sense him meaning any harm."

Harry suddenly looked worried. "Someone magical?"

"I'll go meet with him," Scott offered.

Xavier nodded and Scott slipped out. Harry, as a precaution, teleported his trunk up to his room.

"While we're waiting, may I look over your shields, Harry? It has been a few days," Xavier asked.

Harry nodded and turned to face him. Jean moved to sit next to Harry, while Xavier examined the shields he'd built.

"Very impressive, Harry," Xavier said finally. "You'd even give a normal telepath problems with those shields. I think we can move off that topic in our nightly sessions and onto other matters."

"Yes, sir," he replied, as the door opened.

Harry turned and stared. "Hagrid?" he exclaimed, then he jumped to his feet and backed away.

"I'm not going back, Hagrid, and you can't make me," he said. He had his wand out and ready.

Hagrid blinked and then smiled. "Here now, I'm not here to take yeh back, Harry. All sorts o' things have changed back home, thanks to yeh. The Order is in a bad way at the moment, but tha's not yer fault. No, Dumbledore sent me to warn yeh. The people in the Order may feel bad about what's happened to yeh, but others in the Ministry are lookin' fer ways to take advantage o' it."

"Dumbledore didn't send you here to drag me back?" Harry asked, watching the giant man carefully.

"If he had, I wouldn' have done it!" Hagrid said, sounding greatly offended. "Drag yeh back against yer will? I'd not do somethin' like tha'!"

Harry stared at him for a moment longer, then nodded to himself. No, Hagrid might respect Dumbledore a little too much for his liking, but he cared for Harry and wouldn't hurt him if he could help it.

"Harry, would you introduce us to your friend?" asked Jean softly.

Harry noted how she stressed the word friend and realized she'd come to the same conclusion. "Right. Sorry about that. Aunt Jean, Uncle Scott, Logan, Professor Xavier, I would like to introduce you to Rubeus Hagrid, Professor of Care of Magical Creatures and, of all the people I know in Britain, probably the only one I can still consider a friend."

Hagrid grinned broadly. "Just call me Hagrid. It's easier."

Harry waved his wand and transfigured a chair into something big enough to hold Hagrid.

The half giant laughed and grinned at him. "No underage laws here, eh? Good enough, Harry, thanks!" he exclaimed, then sat.

Hagrid turned to Jean. "Yeh are the spittin' image o' yer sister. She was one o' the finest witches to ever attend Hogwarts and a good friend. I miss her still."

As Harry moved a little closer to her, Jean smiled. "Thank you, Mister Hagrid. I take it things have changed in Britain, then?"

"It's just Hagrid. Don't know about no Mister. Always think they mean me Dad, bless 'is soul. And aye, lots o' things have changed," Hagrid said, then he turned to look at Harry. "A lot o' people didn' want yeh to go to yer Aunt, Harry. Professor McGonagall was most upset when Dumbledore placed yeh there, an' even more upset when she learned how yeh had been treated by 'em.

"I won' make no excuses fer what Dumbledore did, Harry. He is a great man, but as I've come to learn, the greater the man, the greater the mistakes they can make." He shook his huge head sadly.

"The Ministry is now lookin' fer yeh, what with the Dursleys bein' dead an all," he continued.

Harry shot to his feet. "Dead?" he croaked.

Hagrid blinked and shook his head. "Didn' I mention tha' already? I thought I had. Seems they was visited by some Death Eaters. They was dead before they burned down the house."

Jean looked torn. Petunia was her sister, but she was still very angry over her treatment of Harry. She looked at him then, and her concern flared. He stood a few feet away, shaking his head in denial. Despite his anger and his hatred of them, he never wanted them dead.

She stood and walked over to him, wrapping her arms around him. "It's going to be all right, Harry," she whispered in his ear.

"I hated them, but I never wanted them dead, Aunt Jean," he said in an anguished voice. "I swear I never wanted them dead. I only threatened them so they'd leave me alone."

Scott joined them and placing his arms around both of them. Xavier looked at the family, then over to Hagrid.

"Hagrid, you've had a long trip. Can we convince you to stay for a while? I think Harry and his family will need some time to sort things out."

Hagrid stared at Harry, his distress obvious. Clutching his umbrella, he nodded. "Of course, Professor," he replied.

They met with Hagrid several hours later in Professor Xavier's office. Jean, under Harry's watchful eye, expanded a chair so that Hagrid could sit.

Hagrid stared at the big chair for a moment, then he grinned at Jean. "I see Harry's not wastin' any time. Dumbledore said you was a witch tha' hadn' been trained. Harry's fixin' tha', eh?"

"He is, and is a fine teacher," Jean said as she sat down on the couch. She smiled when Scott sat down beside her.

Harry conjured a tea set and one extra large cup, which he handed to Hagrid, then he took a seat on the couch next to Jean.

"Hagrid, what's happening back in Britain?" Harry asked.

"The Order is a right mess now. It turns out tha' a good many members knew you wasn' bein' treated right an' Dumbledore was tellin' 'em to keep their mouths shut about it. I think tha' Dumbledore felt tha' growing up with the Dursleys would toughen you up. News tha' you was a mutant sent 'em into a tizzy fer a while. Some are still upset about it," he replied.

"It doesn't seem to bother you, Hagrid," Xavier commented.

Hagrid shrugged. "No reason why it should. I'm not fully human myself. My Dam was a full giant. She ran away shortly after I was born an' my Dad, bless 'is soul, raised me. Mind yeh, not all wizards are as understandin' as I am. Some will be downright surly, includin' some yeh once thought were friends."

Hagrid slurped at his tea for a moment, then he leaned back on his chair, which creaked ominously but held together.

"I don' rightly know nothin' about mutants. But Harry is the son o' two o' the finest people I ever knew. They weren' afraid o' me when they was little an' they treated me like an equal after they left school. Young Harry has done the same fer me, even helped get me out o' Azkaban Prison at the end o' his second year, bless 'im."

Hagrid grinned broadly at Harry, then turned back to Xavier.

"Some o' us aren' too happy with Professor Dumbledore right now. But he seems genuinely concerned fer Harry an' sorry fer what he's done.

"On the other hand, tha' idiot Fudge is makin' all sorts o' noises. It's known tha' Harry wasn' in his family's home when it burned down. Lucius Malfoy tried to make a grab fer custody o' Harry, but Dumbledore managed to stop tha'. The Ministry doesn' know about Jean or about her bein' a witch an' havin' custody o' Harry. So they are tryin' to grab him fer 'emselves. Fudge thinks tha', with yer help, he'll keep his job."

When Harry stood and walked to the window, a silence descended in the room. Finally he turned to face Hagrid.

"So, Malfoy bought his way out of prison then?" he asked.

Hagrid nodded and Harry's expression darkened.

"All of them?"

Hagrid nodded again. "From wha' I understand, Malfoy bought 'em all pardons with a very generous donation."

Harry sighed and shook his head, then he turned to Jean. "And you want me to go back there?" he asked incredulously.

"I know it won't be easy, Harry. The Ministry will find themselves facing a huge problem if they try to take you. First off, they don't have any way of holding you, not with your abilities. And Professor Xavier pulled a few strings with the State Department. Because I have dual citizenship, you've been granted it as well, as a minor. And mind you, over here, you're not an adult until you're eighteen," Jean replied.

Xavier moved his chair closer to Harry. "When the U.S. Department of Magic realized that Harry Potter was seeking sanctuary here in the States, they pulled out all the stops. What this means, Harry, is that until you are eighteen, you are considered to be a U.S. citizen. When you turn eighteen, you can opt to either continue holding a dual citizenship, or pick one of the countries as your own. It also means that if the Ministry tries to move against you, the U.S. Department of Magic will lodge a formal protest."

"Why do I get the impression that I'm being ganged up on?" Harry protested. "I thought you said you wouldn't force me to go back."

"We're not trying to force you back. If you want to stay here in the States, we'll get you set up in a school. All we're trying to do is get things set up so that if you do go back, there are safeguards in place that didn't exist before," Scott said, then he looked at Jean for a moment. When she nodded, he turned back to Harry. "The biggest safeguard is one we haven't talked about. The only reason we didn't discuss it with you is because we were unsure how you'd take it. Harry, Jean and I would like to adopt you."

Harry stared at him for a moment, his eyes growing huge. "Adopt... me?" he whispered.

Both Jean and Scott nodded and smiled hopefully.

"You could keep your name if you prefer, or you could be Harry James Summers, or Summers-Potter or Potter-Summers, whichever you like best," Scott offered.

Harry nodded jerkily and tried to wipe away the tears that appeared. It was like a dream come true. Someone actually wanted him!

"Harry, even if we file the paperwork today, it could take as long as a year for everything to happen," Jean said softly. "Scott and I want to do this very much, but only if you're willing."

"Yer mum an' dad would be proud. Yeh've finally found a family," Hagrid said, sniffling and reaching for a handkerchief.

"Here, big fella," Logan said, tossing Hagrid a box of tissues. "Knock yourself out."

It took several minutes for everyone to calm down enough and when they did, all eyes were still fixed on Harry, waiting for a response.

"I'd like that very much," he said, suddenly shy. After so many years of hoping someone would want him, it had finally happened and it left him nearly speechless.

"I'll contact the lawyers, Scott. The papers will be filed immediately," Xavier said.

"Thank you, Professor," Harry replied for the three of them.

Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix (July 12th)...

"Well?" asked Dumbledore, once Moody entered the room.

The old Auror shook his head in annoyance. "Nothing! Any magic lingering from those broken locking charms is being drowned out by the wards. I can't get a signature off it."

Dumbledore frowned. He had hoped he'd be able to get something from that spell signature. "How many books were taken this time, Alastor?" he asked.

"According to our count, we're now more than thirteen hundred books short, covering every topic - dark arts, light arts, Ministry proscribed books, everything!"

"Well, at least we know it wasn't Miss Granger now," commented Remus. Hermione and the young Weasleys had been with Remus when the alarms sounded in the building.

Moody gave him a hard stare then turned back to Dumbledore. "What do you want us to do, Albus?"

"We cannot discount the possibility that another Black family elf is taking the books and hiding them, or that Voldemort has found a way of accessing the building enough to get his hands on the library. There are other properties owned by the Blacks, and other elves as twisted as Kreacher was.

"I had hoped to keep those books out of enemy hands, but it seems that we can't. Therefore we have no choice but to move the books. We must remove them from headquarters as soon as possible," replied Dumbledore.

"How?" demanded Moody. "There are still over ten thousand books in that room!"

"I'll summon some of the school's elves to move the books to a secure room in Hogwarts."

"I don't like this, Albus. I think we should make plans to move headquarters in case these breaches continue. This place is supposed to be safe!" grumbled Moody.

"I know, Alastor, and Severus has assured me that Voldemort is not the one behind these thefts, although he freely admits that he isn't told everything. Make your plans, but let's hold off doing anything until we absolutely have to."

Moody nodded unhappily.

"How are things in the Ministry?" asked Remus.

"Tense," Dumbledore admitted. "Fudge may have killed his career with those pardons, but I'm afraid that the next Minister might be even more uncooperative. There are several good candidates waiting in the wings while Fudge teeters, and even more bad candidates. In the meantime, Fudge has managed to convince himself that if he can find Harry, he can salvage his position, so he has intensified his efforts in that regard.

"Malfoy lost a lot of prestige when he was sent to Azkaban as a known Death Eater. Everyone knows what he is, but that doesn't stop people from taking his money. Right now, he's hedging his bets. He bolsters Fudge with money and gives to others who would be prime candidates for the position. The only good thing I can think of that is coming from all this is the fact that the Malfoy fortune is shrinking rapidly."

The three fell silent, considering the news. It wasn't the worst, but it was by no means good.

Author's Note:

UPDATE! The stolen file has been removed finally. Probably thanks to your assistance. We'll return to regular author's notes next chapter.

LiquidFyre, we're setting you up for a full body waxing... :D

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