Summary: 'In the past decade, the indications have been that wizard kind is living through nothing more than a brief calm between two wars' as Firenze said in Divination class, fifth year … In Harry Potter's 6th year, will this 'brief calm' end and the 2nd war finally begin? Will he have the power to become the murderer or the murdered? … All that can be said is Harry's sixth year proves to be his most difficult yet, with his connection with Voldemort growing stronger everybody and his worst nightmares haunting him at every turn. Ootp spoilers.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Forewords: Yes yes I know, the title is sooo original, but I just couldn't come up with anything in the spur of the moment, and I thought this would be my version of the 6th book … obviously. This is my first story depicting Harry Potter and his life so please bear with me. It will improve … I hope. I'm also very, very sorry for starting another story, especially seeing as I haven't even gone halfway through my other story. I just got a few ideas in my head about the sixth book and I thought if I wrote something, I might as well post it up for others to read. I don't know if I will continue this for a while though. 'Diametrically Opposed' is taking up quite a bit of time.
"BOY, KEEP YOUR RUDDY BIRD QUIET! IF THAT OWL WAKES THOSE NEIGHBOURS… !"
The 'boy' - otherwise known as Harry Potter - woke to the usual sounds at his relative's house, number Four Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey; his Uncle Vernon screaming at him from the bottom of the stairs and his Aunt Petunia busy cooing over Harry's cousin, Dudley, who was wailing childishly in return, because he wanted more bacon.
"I'd say they were already awake from the sound of your bellowing," grunted Harry as he climbed out of bed, not bothering to brush his untidy mop of raven black hair. He knew it would irk the Dursleys by looking so dishevelled, but he was no longer worried about being punished after the little talk his relatives had had with his friends at the end of school.
In fact, he was no longer worried about many things - not even the fact that the owl in question was really hooting in his room. This in itself is quite unusual, but you see, Harry Potter is unusual. At the moment he may seem to be an average boy, living in a slightly less than average home. But don't let appearances deceive you. Underneath all those baggy clothes and broken glasses (yet again), his life was drastically different than the rest of the occupants in this house, and neighbourhood, as well. This unusualness wasn't the Dursleys' horrible treatment towards Harry, but the reason for it.
It is this reason that is quite peculiar. It is, in fact, because Harry is a wizard; an abnormal freak in the Dursleys' eyes.
For eleven years, they had hidden Harry's true heritage from him, hoping to stomp out what they called 'abnormal behaviour'. But finding out the truth proved to be inevitable for the Dursleys. Harry Potter belonged to and would always belong to a world filled with magic and wizards and witches. After being the only survivor from the Killing Curse - with only a lightning shape scar to show for it - and supposedly killing the Dark Lord Voldemort at the age of one, the name 'Harry Potter' was an icon; a household name in the wizarding world. He himself only found all this out in his first year when he turned eleven years old. Since then, he has attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, just like his mother and father before him, and was to be entering his sixth year at the end of this summer.
Unfortunately his life hasn't been all that cheery; far from it. Every year at Hogwarts, something always (not altogether good) seemed to happen to Harry, but it wasn't until the end of the last term that Harry had lost the most important thing in his life - his godfather, Sirius Black.
Death always occurred around Harry. His parents had been murdered trying to save him at the age of one, the same incident that had made Harry famous, and then in his fourth year, Voldemort had killed another student called Cedric Diggory as well. It was the last death, however, that had stung the most. Harry had never known his parents, and hadn't exactly been close friends with Cedric either, but Sirius was the one person in the whole world that he was especially close to. Losing Sirius had been the most painful thing to bear through the past few weeks and what made it even worse was Harry's ongoing guilt of being the one who had foolishly caused it to happen.
Harry sighed, shaking his head fiercely as though to rid himself of all those morbid thoughts. His nightmares were enough to handle without having to think about this all day as well.
It was these nightmares that troubled Harry the most. Almost every night for the past week, Harry found himself reliving his most horrible and heart-breaking memories. Harry had lost count of the times that he had seen Sirius' murder - the once handsome face betraying nothing but slight shock as he fell through the veil, the one who only moments before was laughing and mocking Bellatrix Lestrange.
Harry involuntarily clenched his fists at the mention of her name. How many times had he tried to kill her, torture her, in his dreams? But every time, it was like he was back in the Pensieve, and he was only a bystander - unable to do anything except watch on in horror, pleading silently to get out. There was no doubt in Harry's mind who was behind all this and why. It was obvious, just like last year with the corridor, Voldemort was delving into these memories in the hopes of breaking Harry. A person could only handle so much before they broke, and Harry had already passed his limit. He couldn't tell how much longer he would last before Voldemort succeeded.
Especially last night, Harry added silently, shivering as he stood up. Last night had been the worst; a combination of Cedric's and Sirius' deaths and then his own parents. However, the last wasn't his memory. It was Voldemort's. Up until now, Harry had only heard his parents last moments before they were killed – courtesy of the Dementors - but because of the connection Voldemort and he shared, he could now see what had happened as well, something he desperately wished he could block out. To watch his parents die for him, unselfishly protecting him for a reason they couldn't comprehend, but were willing to risk their lives anyway …
… it was too painful to express in words.
Harry stifled a groan and wiped his eyes sleepily as he was brought back to the issue of the Dursleys. Although he had once again found himself being forced to stay here for the summer holidays, Harry now knew the reason behind this and it had managed to slightly soothe his anger problem, which had caused him many problems the year before …
… He was still a little angry though.
Taking one particularly bad-tempered look at the door, Harry turned back to his bedside table to grumpily snatch his glasses. Putting them on so his room was now in focus, he then pulled out some of Dudley's old hand-me-downs and changed quickly, before stomping out of the room.
As he walked down the stairs, he could hear Uncle Vernon ranting about the usual … Grunnings, his drill company … Harry … the newspaper … Harry … owls … and Harry.
Lately though, Uncle Vernon was careful never to mention any of these complaints in front of Harry, as he was terrified of Harry's new friends … especially Mad-Eye Moody, or the 'bloody Cyclops' (as Uncle Vernon called him) who had threatened the Dursleys to treat Harry nicer this summer.
That was what had made the summer drastically different for Harry. No longer did Harry have to cook dinner or do all the chores in the house. No longer was his school trunk locked up in the cupboard under the stairs. No longer was he denied food. He was still ignored, of course, and had to do some chores around the house, but they weren't half as much as they used to be.
It was most unfortunate that Harry could no longer bring himself to care about this new behaviour towards him though, or take advantage of it. In fact, he probably wouldn't even have cared at all if they had gone back to their original behaviour. As far as Harry was concerned, if it couldn't change the fact that his godfather Sirius (and last link to a real family) had died, then it was meaningless to him.
It was with this depressing thought that he trudged into the kitchen, where the Dursleys' conversation was cut off abruptly and was replaced with a disapproving silence.
Although Aunt Petunia pursed her lips at seeing Harry's hair, she carefully chose not to reply. She huffed instead and passed another serving of scrambled eggs to Dudley ("Here you go, Diddy. You need your strength.")
"You eat your breakfast boy, then I want you to do some chores around the house," Uncle Vernon commanded angrily from behind the newspaper he was reading.
"Fine," Harry replied coolly, setting himself at the table beside Dudley and reaching out for some toast. "But I need to reply to my friends first. You know the one with the ma- uh … extra eye." He decided at the last moment not to say magical. Those kinds of words tended to make Uncle Vernon hyperventilate these days.
Harry waited with bated breath for Uncle Vernon's reaction, who (by the looks of things) was not at all happy. He had lowered his newspaper onto the table revealing his now red podgy face, and was tightly gripping his fork as though it was Harry's neck. Dudley was looking on in interest, his eyes darting back and forth from his uncle and cousin as he shovelled down the eggs.
Dudley was to be disappointed however, because after a few moments of silence, Uncle Vernon cleared his throat and with a visible effort forced his mouth into a grim smile as he answered Harry a few seconds later.
"Well then, you better do that. Don't want any of them coming around, no, especially not him … what would the neighbours say?"
Aunt Petunia gave an inhumane shriek. "Of course we can't let them come here!" she exclaimed in horror, looking out the window as though 'they' were about to appear. "Why, it would be worse than next door's affair last week!"
She was referring to a little problem of yet another one of their neighbours. This time it was an unexplained guest at 4:30 in the morning. ("That is far too early for the milkman." Aunt Petunia had smirked triumphantly.)
Harry decided not to mention that 'they' were already here in the neighbourhood, under Invisibility Cloaks, watching Harry and guarding him from Lord Voldemort, just like they had last year. He doubted it would make the Dursleys feel much better knowing they had his abnormal kind protecting him. They would rather him be killed, Harry knew for sure. Just last year after finding out that the same 'crackpot wizard' that had killed his parents was still alive and after Harry, Uncle Vernon had even tried to kick him out of the house, not that Harry minded. If it were purely up to him, he would have left the Dursleys' presence years ago.
Already tired of being with them, he mumbled a response as he shoved the last bit of toast in his mouth and rose from the table, mentally sniggering at Dudley's frightened reaction as he accidentally bumped his shoulder. Ever since the incident involving the Dementors where Dudley and Harry had nearly been 'Kissed', Dudley had become even more terrified of Harry and his 'freakishness', as Uncle Vernon liked to put it. In Dudley's opinion, Harry was to blame for the attack, no matter how many times Harry had tried to deny it.
After reaching his room and roughly pulling his door closed, Harry fell back down onto his bed. He hadn't really wanted to write to anyone … it was just an excuse to get out of chores. He hadn't really wanted to do anything much lately, except sit around and mope. If it was possible, Harry's room had become even messier than the previous year as a result of this newfound laziness. Numerous letters addressed to his friends lay half finished on his desk, with letters addressed to him spread haphazardly across the floor.
Harry's gaze lingered on that odd and rather untidy assortment of letters for a few moments as he had a sudden thought that one of his best friends Hermione Granger would go spare if she saw them all bunched up like that, especially seeing as many of them were from her. He snickered, his mood lightening a bit. Knowing Hermione, she probably organised all of her letters into folders or something.
In addition to these letters from her and his other best friend Ron Weasley, Harry had also been receiving constant letters from members of the Order asking his well being, and sometimes even letters of apology from the wizarding public. Consequently, there were always a number of owls hanging around the house, which meant that Uncle Vernon was constantly on Harry's back to remove them. He was particularly nasty to Harry's own owl Hedwig as she was the only owl that stayed around long enough - hence the reason he was yelling so loudly this morning.
Harry vaguely heard the front door opening and Aunt Petunia calling out goodbye to Uncle Vernon. A wave of relief swept over him as he remembered that today was Monday, so Uncle Vernon would be returning to work. As an owl came flying shortly afterwards through the window, Harry let out a groan, knowing that a yell was sure to follow. He wasn't disappointed. Uncle Vernon's voice could be heard hissing directly under his second floor bedroom window a few seconds later.
"GET THAT OWL OUT OF MY HOUSE NOW BOY! DON'T THINK THAT I WILL ALLOW SUCH NONSENSE WHEN I'M NOT HERE."
Harry stuck his head out the window and snidely replied, "I will as soon as I'm done with my letter, sir. I wouldn't want to hurry it now, would I?" he added. "He might think something is wrong."
Uncle Vernon paled considerably to Harry's satisfaction and only managed a weak nod before scuttling away to the car.
Harry pulled his head back in, smirking and collected the letter from the owl, who proceeded to fly over to Hedwig's water bowl. He unrolled the parchment and immediately recognised Moody's hasty scrawl.
As I have said to you before, remain in your house as much as you can, and try not to leave it unless there is an emergency. We still have guards watching over you at all times, but after hearing some new things (no, I cannot tell you) I can't guarantee that you will be safe if you attempt to go walk-about.
Professor Dumbledore has asked me to inform you that you will be remaining in your relatives care for the majority of the holidays. He gives you his apologies, but says that as you know the reason behind it, you should understand.
Once again, if you don't write within three days of this letter, I will be coming to speak to you and your relatives personally. Remind those Muggles, who I hope have still taken heed of my warning.
A scowl replaced Harry's smirk as he reread the first and second part of the letter … remain in your house … no walkabout … this was sounding more and more like a cage, and less like a house. It was true that he had cut back on his outside time this summer, preferring to spend it indoors lounging around, but cutting it out entirely was just too dreary to imagine.
And spending the majority of the holidays here? Surely, Dumbledore would let him stay at the Order or something, wouldn't he? Up until now, Harry had always spent at least two weeks away from the Dursleys and that hadn't done any harm yet. He had to admit that he wasn't entirely excited about returning to Hogwarts for once, but a whole summer without seeing anyone did not sound too appealing.
Sighing, he scribbled a hasty reply to Moody, ensuring him that he was fine, and the Muggles were treating him better than ever. Harry didn't bother to mention the dreams or the sudden surges of emotions he would sometimes experience as well. The most recent had been in the bathroom, where he had started to laugh wildly. Dudley had been brushing his teeth during this, and was given quite a fright watching Harry writhing on the floor in laughter. According to Dudley's cries that night, Harry guessed it hadn't proved his situation to be any better with Dudley. If anything he had become more scared in Harry's presence, thinking him to be a raving loon.
After tying his letter back onto the owl and watching it fly away, Harry looked over to his calendar, where only 14 days had been marked off with red crosses. Two weeks? That's all he'd spent at the Dursleys? There was still over a month left until school, not to mention the results of his OWL's (which had completely flown out of his mind until then) and his sixteenth birthday.
Sighing again, Harry slumped back down onto the bed, landing on an old issue of the Quibbler (Luna had sent him a free subscription for a month).
What was he to do for more than a month? No magic, no fresh air … what else was there to do? he thought desperately. No wonder Sirius hated it … don't think about it, don't think about it, he chanted quickly, forcing his mind elsewhere.
As he picked up the Quibbler to chuck onto the floor, his eyes caught sight of the main headline ('Heliopaths' and where to find them!') and remembered back to the ridiculous story that he had once read about Sirius.
Sirius! Harry jerked up into a sitting position as something suddenly occurred to him. That's it! He could help clear Sirius' name!
Even after the battle in the Department of Mysteries, the Minister Cornelius Fudge had refused to believe that Sirius Black was innocent. As far as he was concerned, there was no body and he just didn't want to admit that they had jailed an innocent man for 12 years. He just couldn't afford another blunder as Fudge was already under an enormous amount of pressure from the rest of the Ministry for denying Voldemort's return for so long. He might even lose his position as Minister because of it.
Harry laughed sourly to himself. Finally Fudge would get what he deserved - but it just wasn't enough anymore. He wanted Sirius to be found innocent no matter what the consequences. So, he would write a letter to Fudge about Sirius and if he wouldn't listen, he'd send it into the Daily Prophet. They loved Harry right now and were determined in making it up to him for all of last year's negative comments towards him. They wouldn't refuse another exclusive interview with the famous 'Boy-Who-Lived', he thought bitterly.
Once this entered his mind, Harry rummaged through the top layer of belongings in his trunk for another parchment and quill. It took him only another few minutes to find an inkbottle and then he set to work, pausing only every few moments to re-dip his quill.
For the first time in the five years since he had discovered the wizarding world, Harry was not upset with his solitary life at the Dursleys.
It would help his godfather to rest in peace in his 'next adventure'.
A/N: Well what do you think? Any good or was it complete rubbish? I would love some feedback so please review!