Things were getting bad, and Harry was getting tired. Tired of all the chaos, all the hate, and all the despair that was going on in the world today. He was sick an tired of all the devastation and death that had lurked about since Voldermort’s return two years ago. New disappearances of muggles and half bloods had shot up in both the Prophet and on the muggle news. The Order was working double time to try and track down any lead on Death Eaters and the Ministry was in an absolute state of chaos. It all came back to one person in the end…Voldermort.
On top of this, there was the prophecy. The prophecy that had so haunted Harry’s mind this past summer. The prophecy that explained how Harry would either murder, or be murdered within his seemingly dangerous lifetime. He had still not yet shared with Ron, Hermoine, Ginny, or the twins what the prophecy foretold. He couldn’t, he didn’t want to worry them. He knew they all loved him too much and didn’t want to worry them. He didn’t want them to have that preoccupied air that he so often had these days. He didn’t want them to feel separated from the rest of the world as he did. And yet…as friends, as the closest thing he ever had to a family, he owed them that much. He owed it to them to explain why he was the way he was these days, so they could understand.
“Harry?” asked Hermione tentatively. She peered into his eyes with an unsure look. “Are you feeling alright? You haven’t moved the entire train ride.”
Harry straightened up and gave a reassuring smile that completely wasn’t his; “Oh, yes, yes I’m fine,” he spoke in that voice that was as fake as his smile.
“You do seem a bit preoccupied, mate,” said Ron with a note of concern. Ron and Hermoine had a knack for knowing when something was wrong with Harry.
“No, really, I’m fine, I’m alright,” he said once more in that would-be reassuring voice. They all continued to give him uncertain looks, almost sympathetic.
“We know how you feel, Harry, we know. It can get you down sometimes with all the hate that goes on these days. But you need to realize, there are good people in the world, and they’re doing all they can to defeat Voldermort,” said Ginny. Harry looked her in the eye. She was the only one besides Hermione who would say his name. Harry had a fuller appreciation for Ginny now. She didn’t just have some schoolgirl crush on him, she understood him. She knew him as Ron and Hermione did, and he was deeply grateful.
Harry sighed a depressed sigh and then smiled a genuine smile at Ginny, “Yea, I know,” he said. He became much more talkative throughout the train ride. The four of them talked about how Fred and George’s joke shop business was booming, about the upcoming Quidditch season (Ron said he had a lot more confidence this year and read up all summer about being a keeper), and about how Snape, Harry’s least favorite person at Hogwarts, would treat him this year.
It got darker and darker as the train plowed further and further through the countryside, but for the first time, there was a clear star gleaming sky outside. It seemed as if nothing could spoil the mood, then:
“Well, well, well, Potty boy, the weasels, and the mudblood, what a lovely treat,” said Malfoy who had just entered the cabin looking extremely smug. Ron told Malfoy to go do something that made Ginny gasp.
“Watch your mouth weasel or clean it for you,” sneered Malfoy.
“Watch your attitude, Draco, or we’ll land you in prison right next to your good-for-nothing father,” said Harry. His temper, which had been so hot over these last couple months, was reaching the boiling point. Malfoy’s face suddenly went pale and angry.
“Watch it Potter, or you’ll meet the same sticky end as your dirty Godf-“ Malfoy wasn’t able to get the words out. Harry and Ron jumped on him for the second time in two years trying to hurt him as much as they could. Harry got three punches on his nose before Crabbe yanked him off and began throwing swings. Goyle pulled off Ron in the same manner. He and Harry had both dodged punches and proceed to slam Crabbe and Goyle in their enormous bellies before the felt a spell whiz past their ears, paralyzing them. Hermione had just shot an immobilizing spell at the four of them. She pushed Ron and Harry aside, knocking them to the floor frozen in their positions. Harry knocked his elbow on one of the seats and Ron hit his head on the floor. Hermione shove Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle out into the hall (The three of them shouting threats in protest) and then turned back in anger upon Harry and Ron.
“Honestly, you two! Can you ever ignore what that dungbat says!? You remember what happened last year when you started muggle dueling?” shouted Hermione.
“He insulted Sirius! You expect me to take that laying down? And he called you a mudblood!” shouted Harry in protest, still frozen.
“Honestly, Harry, I would have thought after you’re go with Rita Skeeter two years ago you would have learned to ignore people. That’s exactly what Draco wanted to happen. Urgh!” And with that Hermione plopped down in one of the seats in frustration. Harry had no response to this but couldn’t believe that Hermione didn’t understand that Harry would let no one talk about Sirius that way. Harry and Ron were left frozen on the floor.
“Hermione! Could we get some help here?” shouted Ron in anger.
“No! Not until you and Harry admit you were wrong!” said Hermione. Her face reminded Harry way too much of Professor McGonagall.
“No! I didn’t do anything wrong, I won’t let anyone talk about Sirius like that!” shouted Harry back.
“Well, I’m sure Malfoy felt the same way about his father but I didn’t see him tackling you and punching your lights out,” hissed Hermione. Harry couldn’t find a retort for that, he knew she made sense. But he would never let anyone talk ill of Sirius.
“That’s because Malfoy couldn’t take us,” shot back Ron. Harry and Ginny laughed and Hermione muttered “Boys,” under her breath and undid the spell. Harry and Ron got up and sat back in their seats. Harry noticed that his elbow hurting with exceptional pain and then noticed he had a large gash across it. Apparently, Ginny had notice too.
“Ooooh, Harry! You really got a gash there,” she said with rapt concern on her face.
“Oh,” said Harry as if he had just noticed it, “it’s nothing,” he added dismissively trying to pull his robes over it.
“Yea, nothing, sure. Hold it there, I’ll get some bandages,” said Ginny. She rummaged through her bag and pulled out a length of cloth and wrapped in around Harry’s elbow.
“Thanks,” said Harry, looking at the cut. The rest of the ride was uneventful. The train arrived at Hogwarts and the stars shone bright overhead as Harry grabbed his trunk and Hedwig heading for the thestral-manned carriages.
“Firs’ years, over here! Firs’ years, this way!” came Hagrid’s familiar voice. Harry, Ron, and Hermione waved at him and he waved back, gathering first years and leading them down to their boats. The four of them then proceeded to the thestral-pulled carriages and proceed up to the school. It’s many towers and windows shown brightly against the starry night sky. Harry entered the great Hall and it looked more magnificent than ever. The candles floated dreamily above the long, ancient house tables. The bewitched sky shone brightly with the flickering of the stars. Harry smiled, he was at home.
“POTTER! WEASLEY! GET OVER HERE NOW!” came the familiar voice of Professor Snape, head of Slytherin House. Harry and Ron gave each other frightened looks and walked across the Hall towards Snape.
“Follow me!” he snapped. Harry and Ron followed apprehensively. The stole backwards looks at Hermione and Ginny, who shrugged and gave then quizzical looks back. Snape lead them quickly down into the dungeons into his office, where Malfoy sat with a bloody nose. “Sit!” Snape bellowed. Ron and Harry would have laughed at the sight of Malfoy’s pain, but thought better of it under the circumstances. They sat in the two chairs next to Malfoy. Snape sat opposite them, and if his look could kill, the pair of them would be dead.
“Absolutely amazing Potter! One would have thought that after your last experience in muggle dueling, you would have been taught a lesson! But apparently not! I’ve a mind to ban you from Quidditch for life just as Umbridge did last year!” Harry kept his head down, anger boiling inside himself, his temper reaching that delicate breaking point. “And you Weasley! I’ve known your brothers to run amok, and while dim as you may be, I never expected you to sink to their level!”
Ron’s temper was also approaching explosion as Snape shouted at the both of them. He gave them menacing glares, and Harry was daring to say something about his Godfather, but Snape desisted and gave out their punishments.
“Rest assured that if this had happened after the start of the term you would both loose fifty points each from Gryffindor,” Snape continued in his cold, menacing tone, “However, this lesson in muggle dueling occurred before the start, therefore you shall both receive detention tomorrow night. You will both meet me here at 7:30 sharp. Now get out of my sight.” And with that Ron and Harry hurried out of Snape’s dungeon glad they only received detention.
“That old bloke, he wouldn’t even let us give our side of the story! Malfoy was the one taunting us, he started it!” said Ron.
“Yes, well, Snape’s never been what you would call fair with anyone who wasn’t in his house,” retorted Harry in a disgusted tone. “He seemed more peeved at us tonight than usual,” he added. Ron smiled.
“You know why, don’t you,” he said with a grin. “The Defense Against the Dark Arts class,” they chorused. This made them both grin. Everyone knew that Snape had been after the Defense Against the Dark Arts job for ages, but never got it. One the one hand, this made Harry and Ron happy because Snape was unhappy. On the other, Snape was surlier than usual.
Ron and Harry hurried back to the Great Hall in an effort to catch the sorting, but for the fifth time in six years, they missed it. Hermione and Ginny seemed to be peering around the plates of food looking for Ron and Harry. They smiled when Ron and Harry sat down.
“Thank God,” said Ron, “I’m starving.”
“So what’s the punishment?” Asked Hermione.
“Ah, detention tomorrow night with the git,” replied Ron, “It really wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be, eh Harry?” Harry nodded with his mouthful of kidney-and-steak pie. It could have been a lot worse.
“Well it serves you right,” said Hermione with that McGonagall air again, “Muggle dueling, honestly.”
Harry gave her an incredulous look. “Hermione, if you think that Ron or I was gonna take that crap from Malfoy lying down, you don’t know us as well as I thought you did,” Harry said with a disbelieving tone.
“Well I just thought you two would have a little more sense than to go looking for trouble on the first day,” she retorted. Ron smiled.
“Well, guess you were wrong,” said Ron smiling. Hermione rolled her eyes but Harry could see a grin float across her face. From their on, Harry, Ron, and Hermione talked and joked about the upcoming year. All of them were rather excited to get rid of their old non-N.E.W.T. classes. Harry and Ron were naturally tired of Divination, what with Professor Trelawney predicting their death every class. Ginny noted she was dreading her O.W.L year and Ron, Harry, and Hermione assured her it would be awful. Dinner had been finished and so Harry moved on to dessert eating his favorite Treacle pudding. And finally, Dumbledore stood up to address the school. He looked considerably younger somehow.
“Welcome,” he began, “to another year at Hogwarts. I would like to inform first years that the Forbidden Forest is out of bounds to all students, and even remind returning students of the same,” Harry and Ron shot guilty looks at each other, “Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term,” Dumbledore continued. “I would also like you all to meet our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Tofty,” said Dumbledore as he motioned a hand to his right. There was a polite applause and Harry recognized the old, gray wizard as his O.W.L. tester last year for both Charms and DADA. He appeared very old and had a long gray beard with soft green eyes. Harry didn’t think he would be too bad. Dumbledore continued, “I wish you all good luck this year, and now it is time for bed. Off you go.”
Harry more than happily followed Ron and Hermione up to the Gryffindor common room as Ginny walked beside him. He was quite exhausted, what with the meal and the travel. He and Ron said good night to Ginny and Hermoine and crawled in to their familiar four-poster beds.
“Good meal, eh Ron?” muttered Harry as he lay down.
“Yea,” said Ron sleepily, “good meal.”
Harry was having a good dream. He was flying on his firebolt, back to the Department of Mysteries, through the circular room with all the doors, and into the flight of stairs that ended in the veil. The place seemed kinder and warmer. Harry, no longer on his firebolt, approached the veil.
“Sirius?” he whispered. “Sirius, I know you’re in there. I just want to say goodbye,” he added. At first nothing happened, and then a fierce wind blew nearly knocking Harry off his feet. It ceased and a figure of Sirius shone before him. He looked much younger and the worry that Azkaban gave him was no longer in his eyes. Harry reached out to him, and then woke with a start. He had sweat on his forehead and lay staring up at the fuzzy ceiling. He wanted to go back, to go see Sirius, but could not fall to sleep again.
“It was a dream, Harry,” he whispered firmly to himself, “and dreaming about him won’t bring him back.” And with that he climbed out of his four-poster bed and strolled into the common room, very disappointed. He took a look out the window at the stars that glimmered above in the sky, his mind on Sirius. The closest thing he ever had to a parent, gone. Gone because of his own foolishness. He was fighting them back, just as he had been fighting them back for these past 3 months. But the burning sensation in his eyes came, he was glad no one was there.
“Harry?” came the voice of Ginny. Harry jumped slightly and quickly wiped his eyes.
“Oh,” he said trying to conceal his tears, “hi Ginny. What are you doing up so late?” he asked, afraid she might have noticed his feeble attempts to wipe his eyes. Ginny ignored the question and came to stand next to him. She tried looking in his eyes but he busied himself staring out the window, not wanting to show his tears. Crying meant weakness, and Harry Potter was not weak.
“Harry, we know you miss him,” she said softly, her voice was very soothing, “We know, we miss him too. It’s affected all of us. Your not the same as you used to be, we all can tell, so if you want to talk, we’re here. I want you to know, we’re here for you,” she said in that soothing voice. They were coming back now, Harry tried to hold them off, but it was no use. A silent tear swam down his cheek as he looked out into the night sky, refusing to look back at Ginny. He wished she would look away as another tear swam down his face. He didn’t trust his voice, so he didn’t speak for a while, he and Ginny just stood there. Finally, he spoke.
“I miss him,” Harry whispered in as steady a voice as he could find, “I had a dream he came back, woke up and hoped he was there,” Harry choked out. “It was foolish t-to think he’d come back,” finished Harry, slumping his head in tears. He wiped them quickly and for the first time that night stared into Ginny’s eyes. He noticed they had tears in them too.
“It wasn’t stupid Harry, because he was there. He’ll always be there. Sirius knew how much you loved him, and he’ll always be with you, he’d never leave you,” whispered Ginny. Harry realized she had a point. Harry felt the same way in his third year when he thought his father had come back with the other three Marauders that one fateful night. Dumbledore explained the same thing that Ginny had just explained to Harry. But Harry didn’t see it as enough, he wanted to be able to talk to Sirius, to laugh with him, to sit with him. To do all the things they used to do. But he couldn’t. Harry was still deeply grateful for Ginny helping him. He smiled a weak smile.
“Thanks Ginny,” he said. She blushed. She looked more beautiful than ever.
Harry woke up the next morning exhausted but cheerful that lessons would start to take his mind off all of the recent events. He dressed and headed down to the common room with Ron to find Hermoine and Ginny and waiting for them. They headed down to the Great Hall for breakfast all together.
“Ugh,” said Ron when he got his schedule, “Double Charms, double potions, and transfiguration. That’s a sin.” While he and Ron both received ‘poor’ and ‘dreadful’ on their Divination and Astronomy O.W.L’s (Respectively) they managed to pass with ‘outstanding’ or ‘exceeds expectations’ in their Transfiguration, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Potions (Surprisingly), and History of Magic courses. Harry and Ron were happy about failing History of Magic, now they could drop it. Hermoine, although she had passed, did the same. The three of them couldn’t imagine suffering another year of Professor Binns’ constant, monotonous lectures on Goblin riots and Giant wars. But Hermoine wasn’t listening, he mouth was aghast at the news on the front page of the Daily Prophet.
“What is it Hermione?” asked Ron thickly through his porridge. But Hermione did not respond, she was in shock. Ron grabbed it and looked at the front cover in absolute amazement as well.
“What is it?” asked Harry annoyed. Ron also didn’t respond so Harry snatched it and looked at the cover. It was terrible.
You-Know-Who’s Death Eaters kill ten muggles, 3 wizards in London
You-Know-Who has struck again on the outskirts of London
killing ten muggles and three wizards. The Death Eaters pro-
ceded to the outskirts of London and were confronted by
three Ministry of Magic wizards. The wizards tried to hold
off the Death Eaters but were killed, the Death Eaters then
tortured ten muggles to death.
“This is obviously only the beginning of the terror
You-Know-Who intends to bring upon the world. Rest assured
that the Ministry is doing everything it can to hold off these
terrible crimes,” said Cornelius Fudge in a statement Sunday
night. “We also have other secret societies gathering information
from You-Know-Who’s Death Eaters. We will come out victorious
in this war,” he added.
More precautions are being added to ensure the safety of wizards all over. Aurors and wizard hit-men will be stationed all
at Hogwarts to ensure it’s students’ safety. Headmaster Albus
Dumbledore, who first alerted the wizarding world of the return
You-Know-Who, insisted upon this. “The safety of our students
is our number one priority here at Hogwarts, especially during
these troubled times,” said Dumbledore
Harry finished reading and anger flared up inside him. This was only the beginning, he thought. Voldermort’s reign of terror had only begun. Hermoine and Ron having recovered from the shock, were now looking at Harry intently. Harry tossed the paper aside in fury and began to eat his porridge angrily. He would do anything he could to stop Voldermort and his followers, anything.
Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were giving each other concerned looks at the site of Harry. Anger appeared to have flared up in Harry’s eyes as they had never seen it before. They realized then that his hatred for Voldermort ran deeper than any of them could have.
They bade good-bye to Ginny and headed off for their double charms lesson, where they learned about the disillusionment charm. (Harry knew all to well about this charm, having been escorted to the Order of the Phoenix headquarters under it.) Harry, Ron, and Hermione practiced it on each other, becoming no less than human chameleons. It was fun class, Harry laughed quite a bit, he hadn’t laughed in so long.
They packed up their things and headed to double potions which had turned into torture. Snape seemed even more vindictive toward Harry since last year’s incident with his pensive. On top of all of this, the Gryffindors were still paired with the Slytherins during Potions. Snape’s favorite thing to do, aside from punish Harry, was to make a fool of him in front of his own house. Snape’s tone was more icy than usual when he spoke.
“My N.E.W.T. level courses are much more serious and much more difficult than any of my previous classes. We deal with extremely complex potions that can become fatal if you brew them wrongly therefore, I expect rapt attention to directions. There will be no horseplay or time wasting in this class lest you want to find yourself kicked out permanently.” He eyed the batch of Gryffindors with this last statement and continued, “Some of you may only be here under extenuating circumstances,” he eyed Harry this time, and Harry felt a surge of hatred like no other, “and will keep up with the rest of the class despite your poor potion making abilities,” finished Snape with a slight sneer.
“Today, we will begin making the truth potion, Veritaserum, which I daresay some of you have some experience with,” Snape said eyeing Harry once more. “The instructions are on the board, begin.”
Harry actually went through one full lesson without having Snape breathe down his neck or make snide comments about his potion. Snape instructed them to leave their cauldrons to simmer until their next class (Thursday) where they would be adding more key ingredients. Harry was only too happy to leave when the bell rang, he would be spending enough time with Snape tonight during detention. He, Hermoine, and Ron walked into the great hall for lunch together and sat down with Ginny at the Gryffindor table. Ginny was in a state over her fifth year stresses.
“Urgh! This is going to be an absolutely awful fifth year! Already I have to write a foot of parchment on summoning charms, practice my vanishing spell, and do a diagram on the Devil’s Snare,” said Ginny angrily as the four of them sat down for lunch.
“Yes, well, fifth year was terrible. You’re in for a rough one Ginny,” said Ron.
“I’m just glad mine’s over,” muttered Harry wearily.
“But if you need any help Ginny, we’d be glad,” added Hermione to cheer her up. She glared at Ron and Harry. They were both so tactless at times. Harry seemed to pick up on this.
“Yea, we’re here if you need any help,” he said in a reassuring voice. This seemed to cheer Ginny up slightly as her mood improved throughout the meal. Then, something very unexpected came up towards the end of lunch.
“Harry?” asked Ron in an unsure voice.
“You remember in the Department of Mysteries last year how the Death Eaters wanted the prophecy?” he continued in that unsure voice. This caught Harry off guard. It was the first time any of them had mentioned the prophecy since the incident at the end of last year. Harry nodded.
“Well,” continued Ron, “What exactly did it say?”
Harry had been dreading this question since the beginning of school. He didn’t want to tell Hermione and Ron. He couldn’t, it wouldn’t be fair. It wouldn’t be fair to make them worry like that. And yet…he felt he had an obligation after all they’d been through…he couldn’t lie to them. He couldn’t.
The bell rang for the next period. Harry got up without responding to the question. The remaining three shot nervous looks at each other and headed to their classes. Harry hardly paid any attention in Transfiguration. His mind dwelled on what Ron had asked him. He was torn, he didn’t know what to do. If he didn’t tell them, they were in more danger than they bargained for, what with being best friends with a marked man. If he did, it would worry them to no end.
Harry was surprised when the bell rung. McGonagall assigned the class six inches of parchment on Animagi. Harry hurried out of class to dinner. He ate considerably quickly and left the table rather quickly, prompting Ron, Ginny, and Hermoine to give each other worried looks. They ate quickly and followed Harry up to the common room, which was considerably empty. Harry sat at one of the squishy chairs in front of the fire. The flames flickered upon his face, showing worry and fatigue that a boy his age shouldn’t have to endure. He seemed older, more worn out, like there was some sort of burden.
“Harry?” Ginny asked as the three of them sat down around him. He looked up, surprised to see them.
“Oh, hey. What’s up, why aren’t you guys at dinner?” he asked acting as if everything was normal.
“The question is why aren’t you at dinner, mate?” said Ron. Harry gave a false smile that he gave out all too often these days.
“Oh, I just…wasn’t hungry,” he said nonchalantly. But he didn’t look Ron in the eye as he said this.
“Harry, you’re such a bad liar,” said Hermione, “now tell us what’s wrong. You’ve been acting like there’s a barrier between you and the rest of the world, you won’t let anyone in.” She hit the nail on the head, but Harry couldn’t tell them. But then he had to. Either way, they were in danger. He stared back into the flames, wishing Sirius’ head would pop up to give him advice. What would Sirius do in a situation like this?
“Alright,” he said, “I’ll tell you.”
This is my first fic, I know this chapter seems boring but it’ll heat up, I promise. Reviews, whether good or bad, are appreciated! More is on the way!
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