Prologue

It was the summer after Harry Potter's 5th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Dursleys, Harry's muggle relatives, were treating him a bit differently this summer. Harry's uncle Vernon had gotten a large pay raise and decided that they had to show off to the neighbors. Vernon and his wife, Petunia, hired a gardener and a lawn-care professional. This left Harry with much fewer chores than he had in previous years. Vernon decided that since they couldn't make Harry do as many chores as he had done in summers past, he had to go get a job and pay for his own food.

This didn't bother Harry at all. In fact, he was thrilled. Getting a job would mean time away from the Dursleys, and paying for his own food would mean that he would get to eat a lot more than he usually did. Of course, the Dursleys still made Harry cook breakfast for them and clean up around the house, but that was all he was around to do.

Harry got a job at a diner that was just four streets away from Privet Drive. He worked from three in the afternoon until midnight every night except for Sunday. He enjoyed his job at the diner, as he had always found a sort of release in manual labor. He worked behind the counter, taking orders and giving people their food. The customers were all very nice to him and most were very patient and understanding when he messed up an order. Harry made six pounds an hour and he got to keep all the tips he made every night. All in all, he made pretty good money.

Harry updated his state of dress by purchasing new muggle clothing and getting rid of Dudley's hand-me-downs. Harry managed to get his aunt to take him shopping for new clothes. After all, he if he didn't dress nicely, he might not be able to keep his job. So she took him to some of the cheaper clothing stores in London. Harry had fun trying on different clothes and flirting with the workers at the stores. He bought several pairs of jeans and dress pants. He bought sweaters in greens and grays and reds. He even went to an eye doctor and got contacts. He even managed to get away from his aunt and go to a tattoo parlor. There, he got his ear pierced and decided to pierce his tongue as well. He even got a tattoo on his back: a beautiful depiction of a pheonix on his lower back.

Harry loved his new look. He got his hair cut and spiked, which looked much better than his usual "just out of bed" look. He started doing exercises at night before bed and jogging to work every day. He filled out and gained some muscles that he didn't have before. Harry enjoyed jogging and started doing it during the day when he had nothing else to do. On Sundays, Harry would spend his spare time re-reading all of his text books from previous years and some new ones that Hermione had sent him. He paid close attention to his Potions books and started understanding why he wasn't doing so well in class. He started practicing Occlumency every night before bed and had less nightmares than before. He waited patiently for his time to leave the Dursleys house, content that the time would come, and that his summer had gone surprisingly well.