Author's Note: I got inspired for this fic when I finished book 5 and from one of my favorite episodes of Buffy, "Villains." I hope everyone enjoys it, especially those fans that hate Wormtail and mourn the loss of our beloved Padfoot.


Chapter One: Regrets and Revenge

It was a very humid afternoon in August. None of the Weasleys had set foot outside all day. Although the heat was excruciating, it worked well to Harry's advantage. That way, he would be left alone --- and alone was exactly what he wanted to be right now.

Harry was sitting by the pond in the Weasleys' garden. He'd been back at The Burrow for almost two days, but he'd barely spoken to the to the Weasleys. Hermione was there as well; she'd arrived at The Burrow earlier that summer, only Harry hadn't talked to her much either. Nothing they could say could help him change how he felt.

Sirius had died nearly two months ago, yet the pain of his death was still fresh. Harry still couldn't believe that it was true; part of him still thought that Sirius would escape from the ancient doorway. Any day now, he'd turn up at the Burrow, alive and well, with a fantastic story of what was behind the veil.

But that would never happen. Sirius was gone.

Spending the first half of the summer at the Dursleys' hadn't helped his grief in the slightest. True, they hadn't mistreated him out of fear that the Weasleys, Professor Lupin, or any other of the Order members would find out. Instead, they'd simply ignored him. Harry was used to his treatment, but it infuriated him nonetheless.

I'm glad they don't know about Sirius, Harry thought grimly. If they had said anything about the world being better off without "freaks like him", I would have cursed them --- consequences be damned!

Being at The Burrow should have helped things, but it didn't. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and Bill weren't at the house much; when they weren't busy at work in the Ministry, they were attending meetings of the Order of the Phoenix. Fred and George were busy running their new joke shop in Diagon Alley, which had been quite successful since their spectacular exit from Hogwarts the previous year. Ron, Hermione, and Ginny had been trying to cheer Harry up as much as possible by offering to play games like wizard chess or Quidditch, but he hadn't wanted to be around them.

None of them seemed to be sad about Sirius. and if they were, they seemed to be hiding their emotions very well. In fact, nobody mentioned him at all. Perhaps they didn't want to talk about his death just yet; nevertheless, it only made Harry angrier.

What's wrong with everyone? he wondered bitterly, picking up a stone and throwing it into the water. Am I the only one who cares that he's gone?

Sirius was gone. and the fact that it could have been prevented more than once had been haunting Harry during the whole summer.

It was his fault. If only he hadn't fallen for Voldemort's trap so easily. if only he hadn't stopped learning Occlumency. Why hadn't he just swallowed his pride and asked Snape to start teaching him again? Had he done either of those things, none of this would have happened.

However, Harry didn't blame himself all of the time. Bellatrix Lestrange was the one who had killed him, and not a day went by without him cursing her to a slow, painful death. Only she wasn't the only one Harry blamed for his death.

To the rest of the wizarding world, Sirius was still a dangerous murderer, while Wormtail, the true murderer, was remembered as a martyr. Wormtail had betrayed his parents. Wormtail had killed Cedric Diggory. Wormtail was the one who had brought Voldemort back. Wormtail was still very much alive.

The mere thought of it made Harry sick to his stomach.

That lying, two-faced, cowardly murderer! he thought angrily, throwing another stone into the pond. If it hadn't been for him... I'll bet he's relieved. Now that Sirius is gone, he won't have him to fear anymore.

If it hadn't been for him, Sirius wouldn't have wasted twelve years of his life in Azkaban. He wouldn't have had to be locked up in Grimmauld Place to begin with. Not only would his life had been happier, he would still be alive.

Harry felt another stab of guilt. And that's my fault as well. Why didn't I just let Sirius and Lupin kill him back in third year? His body would have cleared his name.

But I had to play the hero again, didn't I? I convinced them to just turn him over to the Dementors, but he got away.


Ginny was walking towards him. "Harry, come inside. It's torture out here!" she said.

"No. no, I'm fine out here," he muttered, turning away from her.

She scowled at him. "No you're not! Your face is sunburned all over!" she added, pointing.

He touched his cheek and felt it sting. "Oh. I didn't notice. It's nothing, really."

"Mum has a lotion that can get rid of it. I'll show you where it is."

"Look, I'm fine!" he snapped. "Leave me alone."

But Ginny wouldn't hear any of it. "Come on," she said impatiently, pulling him up to his feet. "If you stay out here, you're going to be as red as my hair."

*** Ginny led him to the loo and pulled a red bottle out of the medicine cabinet. "It's Sunburn Screen," she explained, handing it to him. "Just put it on the burn and it'll be gone in five seconds. I don't why Muggles keep using stuff that takes days to work."

"Thanks," Harry grunted. He poured out the white lotion into his hand and rubbed it all over his face. Within seconds, the burn faded away.

"Hermione's playing chess with Ron in his room. how about we go watch them?" she suggested. "One of us can play the winner."

Harry shook his head. "I'm not really up for chess right now."

Ginny frowned. "You've been avoiding us."

Harry stared at her. "What? No, I haven't!" he lied.

"Yes, you have! You've barely said anything to Ron, Hermione, or anybody since you've been here!"

"Well, I haven't really felt like talking much lately," he snapped. "So what? Would you feel talking to people if someone you cared about had just died?"

She stared at him. "That was uncalled for," she replied coolly. "I'm trying to help you --- we all are. The least you can do is make it easier for us. I miss him too, you know."

"How can you?" he asked. "Up until last summer, he was just a murderer to you and your family, except for Ron."

"That was before we knew the truth!" she said indignantly. "Before we really got to know him! I didn't know him as long as you did, but I thought he was a good person. So did everyone else! We all miss him!"

"If everyone misses him so much, than why don't they ever show it?" he asked harshly.

"What did you expect to happen?" she shot back. "Should the world end because he isn't here? In case you haven't noticed, Harry, they've been avoiding the subject because they think you're not ready to talk about it yet. And considering the way you're acting, I think they may have a point!"

Harry looked at the ground, feeling extremely stupid for not realizing this sooner. "I'm sorry," he mumbled.

"Well, you ought to be," Ginny replied flatly.

Neither of them spoke for a while. Then Ginny said, in a softer tone, "We were there when he died --- me, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna. I didn't actually see it; none of us did except for you and Neville. Still, we were there, weren't we? That counts for something."

"Yeah. it does," Harry said quietly.

"Then talk to us instead of isolating yourself!"

"You wouldn't understand," he sighed.

"Try me," she said simply.

Harry looked at her. He would have really liked to tell her about how he felt. How it was unfair for Sirius to die when his life hadn't been the happiest; how his name hadn't even been cleared; how he was furious that Bellatrix and Wormtail had got away with it scot-free, since many people in the Ministry hadn't known the truth.

And most of all, he would have liked to tell her and the others about the prophecy --- the prophecy made that he would either have to kill Voldemort or die by his hand --- it had been eating away at him all summer. It would have been such a weight off his shoulders if he could tell everyone.

But he couldn't. He couldn't just tell the people he cared about that his destiny was planned out for him and expect them to accept it right away. he hadn't even fully accepted it yet. If they ever found out, they'd never look at him the same way again. His relationship with his friends was one of the few normal, dependable things that he had left in this world, and he didn't want to lose it.

Before he could say anything to her, there was suddenly a loud knocking at the door. "Harry?" Ron's voice called out. "Ginny? Who's in there?"

"Oh, honestly!" Ginny hissed, opening the door. "Can't anyone get any privacy in this house?"

"Sorry," Ron apologized, poking his head out. "But it's important --- you won't believe." He froze as his eyes fell on Harry. "Er --- what are the two of you doing in the loo together?" he asked awkwardly.

"I got sunburned and she was just showing me where the Sunburn Screen was," Harry explained.

"Right," Ron said, still eyeing the two of them curiously.

"So what's going on that's so important?" Harry inquired.

"Oh, yeah," he said. His face suddenly bore a mixed look of anger and anxiety. "You're not going to believe this, but Dad and Bill just got back from the Ministry, and you'll never guess who they brought with them."

"Who?" Ginny demanded.

"It --- it's Percy. He's back."

To be continued.