--A/N-- There was a bit of confusion with the last chapter, so I thought I might clear it up. Chapter three was flashing back to the summer before sixth year. Throughout this story I will be flashing back to certain scenes in Harry's life, to see how and why Harry joined Voldemort. These chapters will be noted as 'Flashback One', Flashback Two' and so on. I'm sorry for any confusion that it might have caused. (Also, none of the characters in this story see these flashbacks, they are merely for your benefit.)

And I am sorry that this is so late in coming. I got terrible writer's block. I had no idea of where this story was going or how it would get there. But I do now...sorta...I think...maybe...

Disclaimer- Of course I own Harry Potter. That's why I'm sitting here typing a Harry Potter fanfiction, on a five year old computer, in a room the size of Harry's cupboard, with about twenty dollars to my name. Yeah. Note the sarcasm.

/--/ means italics

'--' means thoughts

"--" means speech

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." - Edmund Burke

Emeralds of Ice

They all knelt there, knowing that they really /did/ care for Harry, but also knowing that Harry's biting words were true.

All of them had had their suspicions of Harry's homelife-why he never wanted to go back to the Dursleys for the summer, why he never spoke of how they treated him, why he begged so vehemently to stay at Hogwarts for just one summer.

There were other signs, too.

How Harry always seemed to flinch when anyone even barely touched him.

How he was always very soft-spoken as if he were afraid that if he were too loud something terrible would happen to him.

And then there were the scars.

They had all noticed them, and some of them had even asked Harry about them.

Quidditch, Dudley, childhood accidents. Those were his answers. Answers that were good enough for them. Believable even.

Except for the tingling sensation in the back of their minds. Like something about those answers was...off. Like they weren't the entire truth.

But none of them had thought-or had the nerve-to ask him more thoroughly about them. They all, without discussing it with anyone else, had made the same assumption that if what they /thought/ was happening was /actually/ happening, then, surely Harry would have said /something/, wouldn't he?

Though, the truth was, they were afraid of what the /real/ answers might be.

Of course, now it was too late.

Of course, now they realized that they should have pushed him to tell the truth. Then, maybe, this could have been avoided. Maybe...

"I am so sorry, Harry," Hermione whispered to him, her tear-filled eyes locked onto his steel gaze. "But you're wrong. We did care. We still do care. Though, maybe it wasn't enough. I'm sorry. I...I guess I wasn't as good a...as good a friend as I thought I was. If I were, then, then, maybe, I could have seen what was happening sooner, and, maybe, I dunno, stopped it somehow...could've helped you, maybe...I...I just could've done /something/. I am so sorry, Harry, I am /so/ sorry."


--A/N-- Again, I am deeply sorry about the long wait. The next chapter will, hopefully, be out much quicker than this one did.

As always, please review!