Harry was sitting on his bed in number 12 Grimmauld Place, listening to the soft snores of his best friend and roommate as he stared out the window. He couldn't sleep, again, as he kept recalling Cedric's death. A small voice in the back of his head kept on telling him how it was all his fault that the kind Huffelpuff had been murdered by the Dark Lord, no matter how many people told him otherwise.
With a sad sigh, he slipped out of the covers and padded out of the room. There was no way he was going to get any sleep now anyway, so he could just as well make himself useful. Being as quiet as possible, Harry snuck down the stairs towards the library with the idea of research. There had to be something there that could help him take down the newly resurrected Dark Lord, he was sure of that. The Black library was a cluster of dark and light magic after all, and held many books that would belong in Hogwarts' restricted section.
"Let's see what we can find I guess," he muttered as he slipped into the dusty room filled with ancient books and tomes.
Slowly, he let his fingers touch the many ancient tomes lining the bookshelves, fingering the aged leather as he searched through the many dubious titles. He frowned slightly as he let his eyes wander through the large collection of knowledge. In all honesty, he had no idea what he should be looking for. Where did he look for Voldemort's weakness? Was there even such a thing? There had to be. Everyone had a weakness, and so, he would look at every corner of the world to find it. He would not stop until Lord Voldemort was no more.
With renewed determination, Harry grabbed several promising looking books and sat down in one of the heavy chairs in the back of the library. He'd read every single book in there if he had to, but he would find what he was looking for. Of that, he was certain.
. . . . .
Harry was halfway through his fifth book of that night when Sirius walked in. The last of the Black House watched his Godson with curious eyes before he walked over to one of the other bookcases and grabbed three of the oldest books in the room before bringing them over to the boy and dropping them on the coffee table next to the chair.
"You've got more chance to find anything in these," he told the teen.
Harry jumped a bit and stared up at his Godfather, blinking a few times to focus his tired eyes before looking down at the new books. He frowned a bit, but nodded all the same as he put the book he was currently reading away and grabbed one of the ones Sirius had brought. Sirius would indeed have a better idea where to look for the information than Harry did, but he had been reluctant to ask his help. Harry was worried that if he found something, it would be deemed too dangerous by his guardian and he would be forbidden to act.
"Couldn't sleep?" the ex-convict asked.
Harry shook his head and looked at his Godfather with a pained, guilt ridden expression.
"I keep dreaming about Cedric."
Sirius nodded in understanding. He was about to say that it wasn't Harry's fault the boy had died, but he was aware that it wouldn't help the green eyed boy in the slightest. Harry would always blame himself for the actions of Voldemort, simply because he had survived while others had not. Only 15 years old and already heavy on the hero-complex and years of survivors guilt.
With a sigh Sirius sat down in the chair next to Harry and grabbed another book from the small table in between them. Harry looked up at him again, and Sirius gave a tired smile that made him seem years older than he actually was. Azkaban had not been kind to him.
"So," the older man said, grinning.
"What exactly are we looking for here?"
Harry gave a small smile in return and chuckled. He was so lucky to have Sirius with him. Honestly, he wouldn't know what to do if he ever lost his only link to his parents, the only true family he had left.
. . . . .
"You look tired sweetheart," Mrs. Weasley noted during breakfast.
Harry looked up from where he was poking his eggs and bacon to notice everyone at the table, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Remus, Tonks, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, the twins, were all staring at him with concerned expressions. He sighed and tried to give the Weasley matriarch a believable smile, but it ended more in a grimace that only seemed to worry the woman more.
"I just had a bad night's sleep," he mumbled quietly.
"That's understandable Harry," Fred said, an understanding smile on his lips.
"Yeah! Even we could hear Ron snoring!" George snickered.
"Hey! I did not… I-I didn't, right Harry?"
The Weasley twins howled out in laughter at the nervous reply of their younger brother, and even Harry couldn't help but chuckle at his best friend's flustered expression. Feeling a bit cheered up, Harry finally took a bite of his food, much to the relief of Mrs. Weasley.
While more cheerful conversation started flowing around the table, Mrs. Weasley looked at the empty seat at the head before glaring towards the hallway. Harry noticed her look and looked away from where he was listening to Hermione explaining the importance of studying for the O.W.L.'s in their coming year at Hogwarts.
"Sirius still hasn't come out of the library," Mrs. Weasley grumbled before she turned to Harry.
"What were you two doing there so early anyway? and with all those Dark Magic books no less!"
"Research," Harry replied dismissively.
He knew they wanted to know more than that, but he didn't feel like telling them. Why should he anyway? they had all kept him in the dark for the entire summer about the Order! Let them know how it felt to be left out for once. His friends had felt bad about it of course, and they had apologized several times already, but they all had their mind full with the oncoming trial and worried enough about him already. He'd have to do this with just Sirius as help. Not that he was complaining or anything, it gave him the perfect opportunity to spent time with his Godfather and get to know him.
"Well," Remus said slowly.
"Whatever it is you're researching, I hope you find it."
"So do I," Harry mumbled in reply.
As silence fell over the table once more, the green eyed teen stood up from his seat, his half-empty plate completely forgotten. He had wasted enough time already and he needed, desperately so, to find a way to stop Voldemort. He wanted to leave the room, but a tug on his arm had him pause. Looking at whoever had grabbed him, he found Hermione looking at him with a worried expression.
"We can help you," she spoke softly.
"All you have to do is ask, mate," Ron added smiling.
Harry smiled at his two best friends and nodded. With a nudge from his head towards the hall, both other teens stood up as well and excused themselves from the table to follow their friend. The trio quickly made their way over towards the library, where Sirius was still buried in a large mountain of books. When they entered, the older man looked up and smiled. Silently, he motioned towards the smaller stack of books, indicating those hadn't been read yet and Harry quickly set to work while Ron and Hermione looked through the titles.
"So, uh, what are we looking for exactly?" Ron asked.
"Anything that can help us take Voldemort down," Harry replied.
"Can you be a bit more specific?" Hermione asked him with a raised brow.
"Not really," the Boy-Who-Lived shrugged.
"We're looking without much to go on here," Sirius explained.
"A spell, a ritual, a potion,… Maybe even some information hinting towards a possible weakness of the Dark Lord would be a great help. Some alternative to war. Preferably in a way that won't cost any more lives I'd say."
Hermione and Ron frowned, but they still nodded. Both picked a book from the stack and set themselves in the couch across from the chairs Harry and Sirius were occupying. In silence, the four of them set to reading the heavy old tomes in hopes to find some piece of undefined information.
. . . . .
Harry rubbed his eyes and closed yet another book with a deep sigh. They had been looking for a whole week already and still nothing useful had been found. Looking up at the couch where his two friends were still sitting, he noticed Ron had fallen asleep. It wasn't that surprising really, Harry noted with a glance at the grandfather clock in the corner of the room, it was already past 1 am. Hermione was still focused, determined to help Harry find whatever it was they'd need to stop Voldemort. If Harry was being honest with himself, he had to admit that he was losing faith in a peaceful way out, or any way that didn't involve a near impossible to win battle between Light and Dark.
A knock startled Harry out of his musings and he looked up just in time to see Ginny walk into the library. She was frowning as she approached. Ron, who had woken with the knocking, sat up slowly and looked at his sister tiredly.
"Gin?" he asked, voice heavy with sleep.
"Mum wanted me to come get you guys," the redhead witch told them.
"She says you all still need to sleep every now and then."
Hermione looked up as well and smiled at the younger girl, gently closing the ancient book she was reading and setting it on the ever growing 'read' mountain.
"You're right," she told her.
"We won't get anywhere if we don't rest enough."
"Works for me," Ron muttered.
He and Hermione slowly rose from the couch and looked at Harry, who was still deep in thought with a thick leather book in his lap. The frown on Ginny's face deepened as she walked up to the Wizarding World's only hope and put a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"Are you ok Harry?" she asked in a whisper.
"M'fine Ginny," Harry replied dismissively.
"You guys go on ahead, I'll just be a minute, promise."
The younger redhead didn't seem like she was going to leave it at that, but Ron quickly grabbed her arm and started leading her out of the room. Ginny wanted to object, but a quick shake of Hermione's head had her pause and follow after the duo silently, sending one last worried glance back at Harry.
Just as they reached the door, it swung open and Sirius came rushed in, making the four teens jump in surprise. He immediately zoned in on Harry and walked past the others as if they weren't even in the room. His face was split in a large grin and his black eyes shone with excitement. Harry could almost see his animagus form wagging his tail. In his hand, he held a small object wrapped in brown paper, but Harry could still see a soft golden sheen coming from inside.
"Harry! You'll never guess what I found when I was cleaning up my mother's junk!"
The others walked closer, all curious what it was exactly that Sirius had found. Harry too put his book aside to look at what his Godfather was holding in his hand. His eyes widened as he recognized what was hidden in the folds of the dusty brown wrapping paper.
Ron and Ginny both frowned, not entirely understanding what was so special about the small object, but Hermione easily recognized it. A soft gasp came from the intelligent witch as she took another step closer, brown eyes wide in disbelieve as she stared at Sirius.
"Th-that is impossible!" she whispered.
Sirius' grin widened and he closed his hand in a fist, protecting the small sliver of hope for a peaceful future. The smile almost seemed dark now, as if he was remembering less than happy things.
"You obviously never met my mother."