He's Back

A Harry Potter Fanfic


Overview: Hogwarts, 6th year. Drama, Angst. The gang returns to Hogwarts for their 6th year, but things are off to a rocky start. Harry is still getting over the events of the Dept of Mysteries and has all his friends on edge.

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and other related trademarks and copyrighted materials are property of their respective owners. Use of such properties is for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute a claim on such properties.

Authour's Notes: There's no shipping for this story, sorry.


It was Harry, Ron and Hermione's sixth year at Hogwarts. The looming threat of Voldemort was still a very real presence, but with the return for the school to Dumbledore's capable hands and the departure of the hated Umbridge made the coming school year a much more pleasant prospect for incoming students. Moreover, Harry's Quidditch ban was overturned, so Gryffindor had its star Seeker again. Even the DA was reformed, with Dumbleldore's blessing, as a legitimate club where students could practice their Dark Arts defences in addition to class. All was well with the world.

Or so it was thought.

Three months into the term, Harry's moodiness became even more pronounced. He was alternately withdrawn and waspish, making daily interaction with him a game of chance. Even his closest friends tiptoed around his mood swings, opting to give him his space to cope with his destiny with Voldemort and the death of Sirius on top of all the typical teenage trials at Hogwarts.

It was at one of the weekly DA meetings where Ron approached Hermione and pulled her to the side. Harry was on the far side of the room, working on the Stunning Spell with some of the newer members.

'All right, let's go, people, Death Eaters aren't going to just line themselves up for you to Stupify them,' Harry was saying to the class. 'Let's try and get some spells to land, shall we?'

'Is his mood any better than this morning, or is this going to be another cruddy DA Meeting?' Rone whispered.

'Harry,' Hermione called out, 'We're wondering if you're in a better mood this eve–'

'Shut up,' said Harry irritably.

'Another cruddy session,' Hermione said, sighing in concert with Ron. Harry's moods were starting to get to her, too, and it was only by supreme effort of will that she stilled her own irritation out of support for Harry.

'He's like this for Quidditch, too. Making the new players tear their hair out,' said Ron.

'I know, but what can we do?'

Just then, the door opened, and Percy entered with Dumbledore, disapproval written all over his face. Hermione gasped in surprise, quickly looking at Harry, then Ron. It was a toss up as two which of the two were more unhappy at seeing the Weasley they considered a traitor. Ron left Hermione's side, stalking up to Percy.

'What are you doing here?' Ron demanded, a scowl drawn over his features.

Percy answered with that irritating tone of superiority which, to Ron and Harry's eyes, was quite undeserved. 'I'm here on behalf of the Ministry. The Minister has asked to be apprised of activities here, despite the lack of proper ... oversight.' Percy glanced sideways to Dumbledore, who simply stood there with his fingers laced.

'As you can see, Mr Weasley,' said Dumbledore, 'The students are merely applying the theory taught to them by previous Dark Arts instructors and led by a student who has, shall we say, some experience at defending himself.'

'Precisely my point, Professor,' said Percy. 'We feel that it ought to be an instructor supervising this class. If you will not accept a Ministry wizard or witch, at least have Professor McGonagall, or Professor Flitwick, oversee the students.'

'Harry's doing a fine job, Perce,' Ron interjected hotly. 'Professor Dumbledore said Harry was in charge, so Harry's in charge.'

'The Ministry would like me to address this now.'

Hermione sensed imminent explosion as both Harry and Ron converged to Percy. Ron's jaw flexed from grinding his teeth, while Harry glared at Percy with such coldness, Hermione was surprised not to see Percy encased in a block of ice. She moved closer, hopeful to restrain any physical violence that might happen.

'Is that you, or the Ministry, saying that?' asked Harry in flat tones.

'In this capacity, mine is the voice of the Ministry, Harry.'

Whatever Percy had learned in the Ministry over the past year, looking down at people and addressing them from a puffed up superiority was one skill he could have done without, Hermione thought.

Dumbledore took the moment to break in. 'And what would the Ministry suggest?' he asked mildly.

'On my desk, I have a guidebook that is very instructive,' Percy began in a lecturing tone. It suddenly struck Hermione that if this is what she sounded like, it was little wonder that Harry and Ron frequently rolled their eyes and tuned her out. Percy kept talking. 'It says that children are not capable of understanding how to curb their behaviour of you teach them how to hex and jinx. These are experts in the field, and I think we should listen to them.'

Even Hermione bristled at the suggestion she was a child unable to handle the responsibility of self-defence. By now, the entire class had stopped to watch the brewing fight. The castle's bell tower began to strike, signalling that eight o'clock had rolled around. Harry half-turned to the room clock, before turning back to Percy.

'I have a Quidditch practice to run tomorrow, so I'm going to make this short,' said Harry. He advanced on Percy, his expression hard. 'Ron, Hermione and I, as well as Ginny, Neville and Luna Lovegood have seen more about defending ourselves against the Dark Arts than you'll ever see. I've fought Voldemort,' — Percy winced slightly at the name — 'and survived, four times now. I prefer not to take instructions from someone who's never been as disarmed by an Expelliarmus, nevermind having the Killing Curse thrown at him. The next time you come here to spy on our meetings and I hear the voice of the Ministry come out of your mouth, you're going to find my foot down your throat, Weatherby.' An icy silence stretched for a moment before Harry barked, 'Class dismissed!' and stalked out without another word.

Ron was still glaring darkly at Percy, when his estranged brother turned to him.

'Ron, you should consider your friendships,' Percy said, 'as I warned you last year. It's still not to late to–'

'What, turn my back on family and friends?' Ron sneered.

'To join the Ministry in trying to–'

'Have its way no matter how pigheaded wrong it is?' said Ron cuttingly. 'No thanks, Percy. I'd rather be on the wrong side of the Ministry with Harry than be on the "right" side with you. I'm going to walk out this door and forget we ever had this conversation. I'm ashamed to share any blood with you — but more than that, I'm ashamed you were ever a Gryffindor.'

Ron, copying Harry, shouldered his way roughly past the Ministry-sent spy.

Hermione gave an inward sigh, and took charge now that Harry and Ron had left the session. 'All right, see you all next week, same time. If you want extra practice, come find me or Ginny Weasley, and we can help you with your counter-Jinxes. Thank you, all.'

Percy watched students filing out, most of them looking puzzled at the level of raw emotion between the Harry and Percy. As the room emptied, Hermione waved her wand, returning the room to a classroom-ready state for the next day's lessons.

'You may tell Cornelius Fudge that my decision shall not be altered by your presence, Mr Weasley. Harry will remain in charge of this class,' said Dumbledore with quiet gravity.

'Very well, Professor. A good evening to you, then.' With a stiff nod to Dumbledore, then Hermione, Percy walked out with a straight back. Dumbledore merely gave Hermione a soft smile before heading in the opposite direction to his office.

As the last of the chairs neatly tucked themselves under their respective desks, Hermione looked around the room, sighing. 'Nox,' she intoned somewhat sadly, turning the lights down for the night. 'I wish Harry would just get over it,' she murmured to herself.


'How was it?' Ginny asked, spotting Hermione coming through the portrait into the Gryffindor tower.

'Don't ask,' said Hermione wearily.

'Bad again, eh?' said Ginny, frowning.

'Percy came around, spying for the Ministry,' Hermione said, causing Ginny to sit up in surprise. 'Harry pretty much told him to shut up and get out. Ron wasn't too happy, either.'

'I can imagine.' Ginny frowned. 'You'd think after last summer, the Ministry...'

'... Yeah. Anyway, I have some reading left to do.' Hermione headed for the stairs to the girls' dormitories. She was barely a few steps up when she found Ginny tugging on her sleeve.

'Hermione, you think it's time yet?'

This was the question everyone was wondering, and they all looked to Harry's best friends for the answer. Was it time to just take the bull by the horns and kick Harry's arse out of his funk? The question had Hermione losing sleep for a few weeks now.

'I think– I think we need to see,' Hermione said after a momentary pause. 'I don't know, Gin. I wish he'd just...'

'Well, if he doesn't snap out of it soon, I'm liable to kick him myself,' Ginny hissed, as a second year squeezed between them to get to the common room. 'Aren't you tired of it yet?'

'I think we owe it to Harry to give him space, and–'


'Why should we give Harry some space?'

'Yes,' said Ginny. 'If you, his best friend, can't answer that, how can the rest of us know?'


'Is there something going on between the two of you?'

The non-sequitur came so abruptly that Hermione just blinked in surprise. Ginny was looking at her intently with her brow raised in question.

'Absolutely not!' Hermione exclaimed.

'Then why?'

Merlin, thought Hermione, Ginny's damned insistent today. 'He's got problems,' she began, somewhat unconvincingly. 'You know what happened.'

'Yes, I know all about them,' Ginny said briskly. 'But it's starting to get to be my problem, and the Quidditch team's problem and the DA's problems. I'm saying that they should stay his problems,' She delivered her opinion with an edge that Hermione was unused to hearing from the more fun-loving Weasley.

'I understand,' said Hermione quietly.

'Do you?' Ginny said with meaning.

'Yes. Anyway. I have homework.'

Ginny nodded once and headed back to her own homework by the fire. As Hermione watched her friend go, some of what Ginny said began to take root in her thoughts and squirmed around uncomfortably.


The next day was Gryffindor's Quidditch practice; the late fall winds were unusually mild, the sun was out and for once, the Slytherin team didn't try to steal their pitch time or come out to jeer. But for all these things, they would have traded for Harry — their team captain — to be in a better mood.

Ron and Ginny did their best to shield the new players from Harry's irritation, but there was only so much they could do. As junior members, the others just had to deal with it and try not to grumble too loudly within earshot of Harry.

Harry ran them hard, channelling Oliver Wood's spirit from days past. At the end of their practice, the team limped into the locker room, showered quickly and went off to rest their aching backsides. (Even Cushioning Charms only work so well.) Ron was tired as well, but sought out Harry after the practice; Ginny's irritation was brimming over and Ron thought he'd have a better chance at a talk with Harry. Though, he wouldn't have minded seeing Ginny have a row with Harry, he admittedly privately.

'Harry, you have a minute?'

Harry was at the chalkboard, drawing out lines for different attack and defence patterns, muttering entire debates as he considered the benefits and drawbacks of each plan. At least, Ron hoped he was muttering about Quidditch.

'Ah, Ron, good. Listen, I need you another 5 yards in front of the goal posts,' Harry said, semi-distracted with his arrows and diagrams.



'Harry, you're making a real dog's dinner of the Quidditch team,' said Ron. So much for diplomacy.

Harry turned around, brow furrowed — though Ron couldn't tell if that was confusion or irritation that he was expressing. 'Fine, stay five yards behind the goal posts, then.' Definitely irritation.

'That's not what I'm talking about.'

'Yeah, I was joking,' Harry said sarcastically.

'I know you were.'

'Well, you aren't laughing at it,' said Harry with a touch of accusation.

'That's 'cause I'm brassed off at you, and it wasn't bloody funny,' said Ron, working to keep his voice from sounding too irritated.

Turning around fully, Harry faced Ron; this time, his annoyance was anything but subtle. Ron recognized this face from last year, only this time, he was almost just as annoyed with Harry being so damned moody and driving everyone batty.

'Ron, if you came here to practice a Cheering Charm on me, can we pretend it worked and that I'm cheery?' Sarcasm dripping from Harry's tone scarred the floor of the locker room.

'Listen to me, you git. I know you think there are a hundred other people who can play Keeper–'

'I don't think that–!' Harry protested, though more out of being contrary that really feeling it at the moment.

Ron raised his voice and spoke right over Harry:

'... and whether you're right or wrong, I have the position right now, and I love it. I love playing Quidditch. Even though I empty my stomach before a game, I live for defending those goalposts; and the high I feel from playing is so huge, I can't sleep until two in the morning after a game day. I love playing Quidditch — and you used to, too.'

After weeks of more or less getting his way, Ron's bold attempt to get Harry back to his normal self came as something of a little surprise. Ron could see that Harry was struggling with something — his conscience, Ron hoped. Taking a breath to calm himself a bit, he finished:

'I came to tell you that Hermione wants us to do our Potions essay tonight; that Ginny was going to try and work on some drills with the other Chasers this weekend. But,' said Ron, underscoring the point as diplomatically as possible, 'I came to tell you: You're making a right dog's dinner of the Quidditch team.'

Without waiting for a response, Ron took his broom and left the locker room, leaving Harry to his troubled thoughts.