Chapter 1: Lord of the Manor

Harry Potter was looking over the grounds of his new home. The sun was two hours from setting and Harry was marveling at the work that he and his servants had put into restoring his new home. Harry was never one to let others do work for him, even if it was now required of him. Still, there was no rule that he couldn't supervise the work while actually assisting in completing it. Still, even as he marveled at all the hard work put into this place, his heart full of pride he couldn't hinder the dominant emotion he was feeling right now. loneliness.

Harry realized of course that he had no one save himself to blame for it but still, that didn't mean he enjoyed it. Harry had not seen Ginny now going on four years. in truth he had never intended to be gone this long, nor did had he thought when he left that it would take him this long to get his life in order but in the end (hopefully) his family would agree when they learned exactly why he had left and what it had taken for him to accomplish this feet. As he surveyed the grounds again he hoped that the Weasley's and Ginny would accept his invitation to dinner, but more importantly. he hoped that they could find it in their hearts to forgive him, for everything.

I couldn't face them four years ago. especially Ginny. Harry thought to himself. Now, I have to finally face my demons, and tell my family exactly what occurred that day.

"My lord." A voice called out behind him. Harry turned to see who was addressing him.

"Yes Alfred?" Harry inquired.

"You wished to be informed the moment your owl returned sir." Alfred informed his lord as he carried Harry's majestic looking snowy white owl named Hedwig into his lord's quarters. Hedwig was back from a very important task, a task he only trusted to his most loyal companion. Harry turned around, walked to Alfred and retrieved the owl.

During his journey Harry attempted to send Hedwig away so he could be alone to wallow in his misery. Unfortunately for him, depending on one's point of view, no matter what Harry said to her, how many times he tried to rid himself of her, Hedwig always came back to Harry. For a time Harry considered locking her up in her cage but finally relented when he realized that she would always find some way to be by his side. He knew that she had always been there for him, as any good friend would be, and could not help but be moved by her loyalty to him, even if he himself had not shown her the same loyalty upon his departure. It had been one of the first things to help bring him back to the man he was before leaving Hogwarts.

Harry was eagerly awaiting the letter he held in his hand. It was a letter that would determine his & his family's future (hopefully a good future). Harry opened, and then read the letter. He slowly and meticulously scanned every word and sentence, wanting to not take anything out of context. When he was finished he folded the parchment, placed it on a nearby table, took a deep breath and said to Alfred, "Inform the cook that we shall be hosting dinner for twenty-two Friday."

"Twenty-two for Friday, and the numbers sir?" Alfred asked, paper and pencil in hand.

"Fifteen adults, seven children." Harry replied.

"Very good sir. Is there anything in particular you'd like made for this meal sir?" Alfred inquired.

"I leave the meal in the cooks exemplary hands. Just tell him to make sure that everything is perfect." Harry emphasized.

"Of course sir." Alfred then left the room to begin making preparations for Friday's meal.

Harry waited till the butler was gone for several minutes before he consulted his friend. "So girl. exactly how mad are they at me?"

Hedwig gave his owner a low hoot.

"That mad huh? I had hoped my meeting with Arthur would have helped my case some but I dared not to think otherwise. He was initially not very thrilled to see me. I should just be satisfied that they agreed to come to dinner then."

Hedwig gave a louder, more cheery hoot this time.

"I know that it is my own fault for leaving. but you saw me girl. I was in not in any frame of mind to be around them. I could barely stand to look at myself after what I did that day, how could I look at them. or her, either of them knowing what I did." Harry said to Hedwig.

"I just hope, and pray, that one day they can forgive me, because I know I can never forgive myself."