Disclaimer: Yes, yes, J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter. We WISH we owned it, but tragically, we were beaten to the punch. So J.K. owns everything relating to HP Except Snape-he's mine ALL MINE!-Serpent No he's still J.K.'s you do not own Snape, how many times must I remind you??-Lion Well, I spend more time with him anyway…-Serpent

Author's Note:  This story is jointly written by Ashley (Serpent) and Dana (Lion), and as you can guess, we do not belong to the same houses.  We have put our differences aside however, to bring you this (and hopefully other) Harry Potter stories.  This is the culmination of our speculation on the events that may occur in Book Six. Caution: If you have not read Harry Potter Books 1-5, this story will both spoil your reading experience and confuse the living daylights out of you. Otherwise, we hope you will enjoy it, and if you possess the predisposition…I can teach you no. Just stop. No one wants to hear from you. And I suppose they would much prefer to hear from you? Well, Harry IS from my house…enough. Either way, we hope you enjoy this!

Chapter 1: Defending Dudley

          All of the houses on Privet Drive in Little Whinging, Surrey were the same.  They had the same perfect lawns and all contained the same normal people.  In fact there was only one person in the neighborhood who was not normal, the bespectacled boy who occupied the smallest bedroom of number 4 Privet Drive, Harry Potter.  Harry was not normal because he was a wizard, and not just any wizard but one of the most famous wizards in the world.  Unfortunately for him, the other occupants of number 4 despised anything remotely magical.

            Harry was sitting on his bed, with his head resting against the wall, reading a book entitled Advanced Countercurses by Hengist Hinckleberry.  The tome had been given to him last Christmas; at his feet were a number of other books containing jinxes, hexes, curses and countercurses. They were all gifts from Harry's favorite Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Remus Lupin and his godfather, Sirius Black, but Sirius was dead now, as Harry painfully reminded himself.  He had spent his whole summer reading these books; consequently he had already read through each of them many times and had committed them to memory.  Harry was quite surprised to receive a number of books on Advanced Transfiguration and Potions from his head of House, Professor McGongall.  The potion books baffled him most of all because even McGongall had admitted that his potions grades were dismal and Snape was unlikely to accept him into his NEWT level class. 

            Realizing how late it was getting, Harry shut his book and climbed into bed. With a last thought of Sirius, Harry closed his eyes and tried to rid himself of all emotion, as he done every night since his godfather's death.  Nights when his Occlumency was successful, Harry was able to sleep peacefully; when he failed he was forced to relive memories of the deaths of his parents, his friend Cedric and, of course, Sirius.

            Harry awoke rested, having avoided his usual nightmares, but as soon as he opened his eyes thoughts of Sirius plagued him once again.  He put on his glasses and dragged himself downstairs for breakfast.  The summer had been passing with far less confrontation than Harry was used to in the Dursley household.  Perhaps the idea of Mad-Eye Moody waltzing across their perfect lawn and into their spotless house was simply too much for the Dursleys to bear, thought Harry with a slight smile.  Although his time at the Dursley's was never enjoyable, Harry didn't mind them ignoring him, and when they were forced to speak they always answered him in clipped phrases, looking around furtively.

            Later that afternoon, while Vernon was at work and Petunia was at the store, Harry was doing his best to avoid his humongous cousin Dudley (which is not an easy feat in such a small house) and his horrible gang.  Harry was in the backyard, reading up on the Inky Stink Jinx, while his cousin and his cronies were inside stuffing their faces with food that was definitely not on Dudley's diet and planning their next attack on another unsuspecting, small helpless child.

 Harry had to read the same passage three times because he couldn't concentrate over the shouting coming from the living room.  He had finally had enough and got up to throw a few choice words at Dudley and his gang.  Harry fleetingly thought that his uncle's claim that he attended St. Brutus's School for Incurably Criminal Boys might work out to his advantage for once.  When Harry reached the back door he was able to distinguish the shouting.

"…We've had just about enough of you Big D!!"  Harry silently walked in the door and could now view the scene.  The gang surrounded Dudley, it seemed as though they had decided it was time for a change in leadership.  Harry watched the scene with a hint of satisfaction; the cousin that had always bullied him through childhood was finally on the receiving end.

"You can't attack me, I'm the leader!" Dudley wailed

"Not anymore, what are going do duddikins!"

"Yeah, cry to that horse you call a mother so she can feed you some more?"

"We're tired of taking orders from someone who has paste for brains."

"Or maybe you'll go that nutter cousin of yours" they screamed mockingly.

"Oh… Harry" they cried in an overly feminine voice, " I know I used to beat you up and lock you in the closet and chase you up on the roof and invented Harry Hunting, and hated you're stupid parents for dying and sticking me with you but please save me!!"

At the mention of Harry's parents in the conversation he immediately made his presence known in the room.  He marched right up next to Dudley forcing his icy green stare on his cousin before rounding on the first of Dudley's tormentors.

"Right Piers, you really loved Harry Hunting didn't you.  Not that you could have caught me on your own, like the eight-year-olds you use as targets now."  Piers shrunk at the dangerous look in Harry's eyes.  The others laughed at Piers being so easily intimidated by the scrawny boy.  Their laughter quickly died when he turned on the next.  "And you Gordy you're one to talk about mothers, yours still probably changes your underwear, that is if you change them at all."  He fiercely turned on Malcolm who now stood silent.  "If Dudley's got paste for brains, I wonder what that says about the vacuum in your head.  Sometimes I wonder how you remember to breathe."  Petunia chose that moment to return from her from her shopping and froze in the doorway as she surveyed the scene before her.

"You all think you're so funny, but you're worse than he is.  At least Dudley has loyalty."  At that moment, Harry noticed his aunt standing in the doorway, her eyes glazed and staring fixedly at him.  The three stunned boys took that opportunity to sneak out behind Petunia's back through the still open door, closing it behind them. Petunia dropped the groceries on her flawless floor and softly muttered, "… so much like Lily, so perfect, where was my letter…"

            "Mummy…a-are you a-alright?"

            Petunia shook her self back to reality and bent to retrieve her discarded bags, with a final meaningful glance toward Harry, she ushered Dudley into the kitchen.