Chapter One:  Relative Power

“Harry, what are we going to do?” Hermione pleaded, more scared then she had ever been. “How are we going to take them all on?”

“Yeah, mate!  We’re not just talking Voldemort here; there’s Dumbledore, the Order and Fudge.” Harry gave him an incredulous look. “I know he’s a moron, but he has power, Harry and that makes him dangerous.” Harry nodded.

“I know, but we have to do something. We can’t let any of them get their hands on this power. There is a muggle saying, ‘Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.’”

“But Harry, this power is not absolute.”

"No, but it is 20 times that of anyone else’s.”  Harry stared into the purple gelatin in the cauldron before him. The one that just minutes before had shown him what was to come. It was a future of madness triggered by his coming of age as well as his gaining and loosing his full powers.

It had shown him Dumbledore’s plan, to take his powers by claiming that he was too young and too unbalanced to handle them.  The Ministry will agree, for “The Great Albus Dumbledore” said so, and if there is any who question either Dumbledore or the Ministry, the Order will make sure they are dealt with accordingly.  However, it also showed Fudge, who will also try to take his powers claiming that as Minister he should be the one to get them.  The fight will go on but in the end, Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry will win out. He will come to claim his prize, all in the name of the Light, of course. He will cast a soul-binding spell that, with a little help, will drain Harry of his magic and his sanity.

“There has to be a way!”  Harry chuckled. He knew that tone.  Soon she would be dragging them to the library.  In 3… 2…1.

“Come on you louts, get up!   We have research to do!”  Hermione banished the poison along with what was left of the ingredients.   She then grabbed Harry and Ron and pulled them out the door.  To their surprise, she stopped in the hallway outside the door.

“Come on.  If you’re going to drag us off to the library, then let’s go!” Ron said impatiently.

“Honestly! We’re outside of the Room of Requirement; why in the name of Merlin would we have to go all the way down to the library?”  She shut the door, put her hand on the wall and closed her eyes.  She opened them quickly when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

Harry whispered, “Remember no paintings, no connection to the outside world but this door!”  She nodded and then focused. Imagining a library where all the answers they needed could be found, she made it an island inside the castle, connected to nothing but the door.  It took a bit out of her, but when it was finished, she took a deep breath and opened the door. Her heart fluttered--it was like a dream--there were books as far as the eye could see.  She felt a tear trickle down her face.

Harry squeezed her shoulder. “You will have your library someday ‘Mione, I promise you.” She nodded and squared her shoulders.

“Alright,” She headed towards a chalk board that covered an entire wall, “First things first.” She wrote on the board as high as she could reach ‘Questions’ and beside it a column called ‘Answers’.

“What do we need to know?”

Harry moved toward the board, hand beneath his chin. “We already know who my most powerful ancestor is, but it would be nice to have concrete proof; that and maybe a list of who else is lurking in my family tree might help. Not that they’re any more powerful then Gryffindor, but you never know.” Hermione nodded, breaking Harry’s statement into separate questions.

Harry turned around as Ron said, “We also need to find a safe place for him to go.  From what we saw in the potion, he will be incapacitated for a while, so we need someplace where nobody can get to him.”  Hermione nodded and added it to the list.

Then Hermione said, “We also need to find out about other powerful wizards and their inheritances.  That way we will know what to expect.”   On and on it went.  For more then an hour they came up with a list that covered most of the board.

“Alright, that’s all I can think of, but if something’s bringing up more questions, we can always add them.”  Ron and Harry agreed. “Why don’t we start on the first question, then stop in a few hours to gather what we’ve learned.”  The boys nodded in agreement.  “Ok, let’s get to the research.”  Hermione looked like a kid in a candy shop as she dove into the stacks of books. Ron just looked resigned as he headed towards another stack. Harry did the same.

Three hours later found them back at the board with piles of books on a nearby table. “Ok, let’s see how we’re doing by answering this question. Who are Harry’s ancestors?”

Harry answered automatically. “Godric Gryffindor is definitely my ancestor,” Harry picked up a large rolled parchment, “It has his full line on this. But this is nothing new.  I, along with the rest of the world, already knew that.” Hermione added it to the answers column.

“Alright next question….” Ron, who had been quiet, interrupted but did not lift his head. He kept staring at a large book he had in front of him. “Hold on there a minute ‘Mione. Um… this is a bit odd and I don’t quite understand it, but…I think we are wrong.” He hefted up the book and carried it to a blank part of the board. He started drawing symbols in a circle at irregular intervals, mumbling as he did so. When he was finished, the circle was covered and glowing slightly.

“Harry, come here mate.” Harry approached cautiously. “What did you make Ron?”  Ron looked very proud of his drawing. He ignored his friend’s question and said instead.  “Put your hand on the center of it.” When Harry hesitated, Ron grabbed his hand slapping it in place at the center of the complex drawing. The circle glowed brightly and then started to stretch, causing the circle to deform but not break. Harry went to stand back but found that his hand was stuck and no matter how much he pulled, he could not get his hand back.

He looked at Ron frantically but he was too focused on the circle to notice. It was getting larger and the symbols were moving in all directions within it.  Hermione gasped.  Harry turned to look at her as much as he could. She was standing by the table about 8ft away from the wall.  She was definitely seeing something but was too shocked to speak.

For ten minutes, while the spell worked the only sounds were three tiny gasps and one “Merlin”.  Harry was getting exasperated. Then suddenly the wall released him causing him to fall, sprawling on the floor. He got up looking with concerned eyes at his friends who were now standing side by side clutching each other as though their lives depended on it.  “Guys?” There was no response.  “GUYS!”  Ron moved, his eyes never leaving the board and  reaching out with an arm, gripped Harry’s arm tightly pulling him around. “Wha…?” Then he saw it.

A tree…no, more precisely, a FAMILY tree.  His family.  At the bottom were his and his parents’ names. Then it continued up to what were presumably his grandparents’ names.  He continued up the tree seeing the names but none of them stood out. Then he saw it; the name he had expected half way up the tree, Godric Gryffindor.  Harry smiled, then looked at his friends still gobsmacked. “What? You knew that Gryffindor was in my family.”

Hermione, obviously still distracted but trying to get a grip on herself turned to him.  “Harry, look again.”  She pointed to another branch of the tree.  Harry followed her direction.  His mouth dropped open.  Salazar Slytherin. “Oh. Ok that is not totally a surprise. I am a parselmouth. I…I guess I can deal with that.” Hermione’s arm then moved pointing to another branch. Harry’s stomach started to twist. There on another branch not too far from Slytherin’s, was Rowena Ravenclaw.  Harry paled as her arm moved again, pointing to a branch a little higher up the tree and pointed to…Helga Hufflepuff?

“Alright, so I’m related to The Founders.  Now I see where all the power I am going to get is coming from. I can deal with this. I can. I can…”  His rambling was cut short when Ron’s hand grabbed his hair, roughly pulling it back. To relieve the pain, he had to tip his head up. “Ron! What?” He did not see what had his friend at such a loss.  However, the hand kept pulling his head back like he wanted him to look at the very top of the tree. Oh.  Maybe he did.

Merlin!  His knees gave out.  He went crashing to the floor.  Merlin.  Merlin. Merlin.  Merl…

---------------------------Harry James Potter--------------------------

 “Harry!”

 “Harry!”

 “Uhh… What happened?”  Harry opened his eyes to see his friends looking down at him.

 “You fainted, Harry.”

Harry gave them a goofy grin. “You wouldn’t believe the crazy dream I just had. I dreamt that I was related to…”

“Yes.”

“And then I was related to…”

“Yes.”  Harry had that sinking feeling again.

“And…”

“Yes.”

Very softly “And…”

“Yes Harry.” They sounded sympathetic.  Harry was grateful that they were there to help him through this.  But wait, if it was true that he was a descendant of the Hogwarts Four, then that also meant that…”No…” Harry shook his head almost violently.  “No…Not true.”

“Harry, I’m sorry but it is true.” 

Harry turned his head. “I think I’m going to be sick…”

“Harry, breathe.” Hermione was rubbing his back soothing him. “In. Out. In. Out.”

“Come on mate, you can’t freak out again.  We have to figure out what we’re going to do about this.”

After a couple of minutes and a calming draught that Hermione, ever prepared, had in her satchel, Harry was able to get up and look at his powerful family tree.

“What am I to do?”

Hermione opened her mouth to reply when the clock struck midnight .  “I think that the best thing to do is to sleep on this. Things always seem clearer after a night’s rest.”  She sounded so sage and wise. You would never have known that just a few moments before she was shocked speechless.

After gathering all their belongings, they headed for the door.  Harry reached out grabbing his friends. “I know it’s stupid that I am saying these things but we can’t tell anyone, can’t even talk about anything regarding this outside these rooms.” His friends nodded.

“We understand Mate. With all you found out tonight, I am surprised that you are vertical; I understand paranoid.

”OH!” Hermione reached into her bag and pulled out some notes. “I don’t think that I should be having these then.” She placed them on a nearby shelf and then paused to look around with one last look of longing.  She then reluctantly shut the door.