A/N I have added to the first chapter. Please read that first.
Blue. That was the first thing he noticed. Blue water that seemed to go on forever. The sun had just began to peek over the horizon and as Harry went to cover his eyes he slipped off the wooden pier he had been laying on. Being unable to swim Harry began to panic, the water was deep enough that he couldn't touch the bottom and the waves were strong enough to keep him from catching the end of the pier.
Harry was starting to lose hope as a hand caught his and dragged him up onto the pier. He collapsed as soon as he was sure he was safe. He was breathing hard, still panicked from his close encounter. As he started to become more aware of his surrounding he noticed that he was still mostly unclothed and, more importantly, alive.
"What are you doing out here?" An unfamiliar voice with an unfamiliar accent asked. A man was standing there with fishing gear and a lawn chair thrown around him on the pier. He was clearly older, having grey hair and a physique that was a little fatty, like he had once had a muscular body, but had been affected by age. He was obviously taller than Harry and had a small pair of glasses on his head.
"Nothing," Harry answered quickly, not knowing how to explain his situation.
"That sure didn't look like nothing, you were drowning before I saved your sorry ass." The man stated.
"I can't quite explain what I'm doing here," Harry started, "where is 'here' anyway."
"You're in Virginia, right by the coast, where did you think you were?" The man questioned.
"I was in England last time I checked, I don't know how I got here. Can you help me?" Harry asked desperately.
"Well, I suppose I can help you at least a little. You might also want to get some clothes on, it's the middle of October, you should be wearing more than just boxers." The man stated, "My name is Jeff, I'll do my best to help you, but you still haven't told me who you are yet."
"Uhh…" Harry wracked his brains for a name, "you can call me James, James . . . Black!"
"Well, James, let's get you some towels and clothing." The man led Harry up a trail from the pier through a small forest path to a gravel parking lot. There was a single vehicle there, a black, four-door truck. Jeff put his fishing stuff in the back saying, "Usually I'm the only one out here at this time, I like getting here earlier for the best fishing results."
Jeff pulled a towel out of his back seat and ushered Harry into the front seat with the towel to get dried off. "I always keep an extra towel, you never know when you might need it." He laughed and continued, "it came in real handy right now."
"Thank you." Harry muttered.
"No problem," was his response. Jeff got into the driver's seat and started the car. "You can get a change of clothes at my house." Jeff stated. The drive was quiet and seemed to go by quickly.
As they arrived at Jeff's modest one level house and went inside Harry noticed an underlying tone of loneliness in Jeff's voice and actions.
As Jeff unlocked his front door and let Harry in, Harry noticed several photos of Jeff and a woman who seemed to be a few years younger than Jeff. Harry assumed that the woman was Jeff's wife and wondered where she was.
As both the men got into the house Jeff noticed Harry staring at the numerous photos on the walls, "That's my wife, my beautiful Elizabeth, she passed away from cancer last summer. I guess you could say I'm doing you a favor for her, she always loved taking in strays and helping them."
"Thank you," Harry said softly, "I'm sorry for your loss, I know it must have been hard on you."
"I had already lost both my sisters and we never had any children so after she was gone I was very lonely." Jeff explained, "But fishing became my newest hobby to help me not be so lonely."
Harry had been following Jeff up the stairs as he was explaining and he almost ran into Jeff's back as he stopped at a door. Jeff opened the door to what looked like a bedroom. "This is my room, I have some clothes that you can use for now. They might be a little big, but they should work for now." Jeff pulled out jeans, a plaid shirt, and a pair of boxers for Harry.
"Thank you," Harry repeated for what seemed like the thousandth time.
"No problem." Jeff responded, "once you're dressed I can take you shopping for some clothes that will fit you."
"That's alright," Harry pleaded, "You've already done enough, you don't need to do anything more."
"Nonsense." Jeff rebuffed, "You can stay with me until you get back on your feet I have enough to this much and you can help keep me company. I still get lonely you know."
Harry knew that he had lost this battle and decided to go along with Jeff.
Jeff took Harry shopping for essentials and while they were there they started talking about how old Harry was.
Harry told Jeff that he was seventeen years old and that he hadn't finished school yet. Jeff decided that he would put Harry into the local high school as a senior student. Harry protested at first, but when he saw how determined Jeff was he accepted that he would end up going to high school.
Jeff worked fast and by the next week Harry was enrolled in Virginia Heights and attending classes. Harry had trouble with most of his classes at first because he had never learned regular school things at Hogwarts, however he quickly learned and started to get low A's and mid to high B's in most of his classes. His best grade was in PE, he was used to running for his life and had learned that he needed to be stronger to survive. He enjoyed PE class and was always doing his best there.
Near the end of the year several different military branches came to try and recruit students to go into the armed forces. Harry didn't know what he wanted to do with his life so he decided to check out the recruitment tables.
He wasn't interested in the Army branch, he didn't want to be a foot soldier like he had been made in the Wizarding war. He also rejected the Air Force because it reminded him too much of the fact that he could not go flying whenever he wanted. When Harry saw the Navy it reminded him of the first thing he remembered of the United States and decided that he could try that.
When Harry got home he showed Jeff a flyer for the Navy asking his opinion of what he should do.
Jeff told him, "The Navy might be a good choice for you, but if you want a challange you should try the Marines, the work is harder and might fit you better."
"I guess I'll try it." Harry responded with.