The Sugar Quill
Author: madame en  Story: Calm Before the Storm  Chapter: Prologue
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Harry's summer vacation after fifth year holds some surprises

Harry's summer vacation after fifth year holds some surprises. A little angst, a little fluff, a few laughs. The usual fanfic copyright disclaimers- everyone and everything in here belongs to J.K. Rowling, no money is being made and no infringement is implied. The story itself is mine. My thanks to my beta-reader, Beth, who had to slog through multiple copies of corrupt html.



Calm Before the Storm

By Madame En






"Come in, Harry."


Harry stepped through the headmaster's door and nodded acknowledgement to the various quiet greetings from the portraits on the walls. 'Strange,' he thought, that they no longer feigned sleep whenever he came to see Dumbledore since that horrible night in the Ministry. He pushed the memory out of his mind and gave his attention to Dumbledore. "You wanted to see me, sir?"


"Before you go for the summer holiday, I have a few things to discuss with you that I am sure you would rather not hear right now. I am afraid, however, that it is a necessity," Dumbledore said with a gentle smile. "Sit down, please."


Harry dully pulled up a chair, and watched without much real interest one of the whirling objects on the desk, waiting for his Headmaster to continue. He was pleasantly surprised when Fawkes suddenly flew over from his perch to rest on the arm of Harry's chair. He gently stroked the bird's proffered head, and felt a wave of contentment flow over the numbness he had been carrying in his heart for the past few weeks.


Dumbledore smiled at the phoenix before turning his attention to Harry. "You know you must return for at least part of your school holiday to your aunt's," he began, gazing at Harry steadily from over the top of his spectacles.


Harry nodded in resigned acceptance, and Dumbledore continued. "Now, I have some news that perhaps will make this situation more…tolerable." He unfolded a roll of parchment from the pile on his desk. "This has been sent to me from Gringott's. It is Sirius' will."


Harry started, his stomach lurched painfully, and he fought to choke back his angry exclamation on how this could possibly make his summer more tolerable. Fawkes trilled softly and Harry felt the anger melt away. Pale, but resolute, he nodded for Dumbledore to continue. He almost caught a gleam of approval in the old wizard's eyes. 'Yes,' Harry thought sadly to himself, 'I have learned something from all of this.'


"Sirius has left you his entire estate, with the exception of a legacy to Remus Lupin. You are the sole heir of the Black fortune, which has been frozen since Sirius' incarceration. In light of recent events, the Ministry has been persuaded to release control of it to you."


"I don't want it!" Harry couldn't contain himself any longer. "I have money- I don't …." He stopped short; interrupted by a snort of outrage he realized had come from the portrait of Phineas Nigellus.


Dumbledore regarded him quietly, and waited for Harry to resume his composure. "You must consider that this legacy is the final gift Sirius could make to you. At some point you may find that there is a great deal of good that you can do with that money- good that it has never been used for in it's history."


Harry considered this, and felt the knots in his stomach lessen a bit.


"The estate includes Grimmauld Place, of course, and I would like to ask your permission for its continued service to the Order."


Harry, shocked that this would even be a consideration, blurted out a choked "Of course!"


"Good. I am pleased by your decision, because not only is it useful to our cause, but also because it is one of the few places outside Hogwarts and your aunt's that I feel you are relatively safe. As it remains unplottable, and with members of the Order in residence, I can almost rest easy on that score." He smiled gently at Harry. "This brings us to what I hope will be the most pleasant part of my news. While you must spend the first part of your holiday at Privet Drive, I will send a guard to escort you to Grimmauld Place sometime during the summer. There you will be under the care of your new guardian…"


"New guardian??" Harry interrupted, anger again surging in his heart.


"I believe that you will be very pleased to learn," Dumbledore continued, as if Harry had not even spoken, "that under the terms of your godfather's will Sirius has provided for your welfare in the event that he would not be able to care for you until you are of age." Dumbledore again looked at Harry from above his lenses. "I have the suspicion," he said in a kind voice, "that Sirius felt very keenly that his affairs should be in order so you would not be left as you were when he was thrown into Azkhaban. Of course he did not every fully accept that it was imperative that you stay with your blood relatives even had he been free."


A knock on the door interrupted him. "Ah, one moment, Harry. Enter," he called out, and the door swung open.


Professor McGonagall hesitated at the door when she saw Harry. "I'm sorry, Albus, I didn't realize…"


"No, that's quite all right, Minerva. I think Harry has had enough information for one afternoon." He turned his attention to Harry. "I will see you at the leaving feast, and please, remember what I have told you."


Harry gave one final stroke to Fawkes, then got up and went out the door after nodding to McGonagall. He was down the staircase and past the statue before he realized Dumbledore had not told him how long he had to wait until he could get away from the Dursley's, or who his new guardian would be. He also realized that it didn't really matter to him. Nothing mattered to him.

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