Chapter One

It was with an air of defeat that Harry Potter finally lay back against his bed and closed his eyes. Sometimes the world just seemed to overwhelm him completely, and it was a secret wish of his that he could just sit back and allow it to overwhelm him. It was so tiring, forever putting up barriers against breaking down; forever concentrating on staying strong and stable for those around him.

Of course, Harry knew he wasn't perfect, not by any means of the word. He had had more than his fair share of outbursts, more than his fair share of broods. The past year had been particularly bad, and he had found it increasingly hard to control himself and keep his temper in check.

Harry saw a lot more than he let on and a lot more than the people around him realized, he knew. His mind worked in many funny ways, cataloguing this and that, forever wary. He knew he would never have the brains of Hermione, but he also knew he was by no means unintelligent. If he had the desire, he could rival her skills, he knew.

As he drifted on his bed, in and out of a restless sleep, he knew his mind was still awake and sharp. Sometimes he felt indignant that Ron was forever defeating him at chess. Every other occasion demonstrated how he analysed a frightening amount of things when he walked into a room without really realizing it. He had never in his life gone into a room without looking deeply into its details, and memorising it. He planned ahead, in a way. Planned for the inevitable.

Harry knew now, if he didn't before, that Voldemort wasn't going to go away. The man had murdered his parents, his friends, and now his Godfather to get to him, and he knew nothing would provide a barrier for long against him. Voldemort was coming for him and Harry wanted to be ready for him when he came.

His friends were concerned, mainly because they feared for him, and feared how he was taking Sirius's death. His Godfather though, wasn't what had made him brood as he had done so terribly in the last days of school. He wasn't what had made the smile refuse to come to his face.

Of course, the pain was still there. He lost the only father figure he had ever known, and it hurt, it hurt like hell, but now wasn't the time to hurt. Sirius had been pushed gently to aside. Harry knew that he wouldn't want him to dwell over him.

What had focussed his attention in those last days of school was his future. After years of waiting, he finally knew the reason why his parents were killed, the reason why he was forced to grow up with the Dursleys, and the reason why Voldemort just wouldn't leave him alone. To kill or be killed...the power of those five words had shaken him thoroughly to the core, but after all he had been through, he wasn't going to let simple words defeat him. He now knew his purpose; his responsibility. The days it had taken him to understand and accept this had been long and hard, but they were now over.

It was on the train platform, watching the odd family he had never had standing up for him that had finally made him see sense. He had watched Uncle Vernon cower before the grown wizards and witches, filled with comforting warmth that those people cared about him enough to threaten violence. It had also reminded him that he needed to be protected, and that to be protected, people were sacrificing themselves for him, to put up that barrier between him and Voldemort. That had to stop, and it had to stop as soon as humanly possible.

It was now the early hours of the morning. Having returned from Kings Cross with nothing other than glares sent his way by the Dursleys, he had had plenty of time to think and plot. The most important thing at the moment was to prepare. He knew, as much as he hated it, that he needed the protection others were forcing upon him. He knew even more though, that he had to grow, he had to learn how to fight and protect himself. Voldemort would never go away, and the longer it took Harry to face him, the more people were going to die keeping him away from him.

It had been with this understanding that Harry decided on his course of action. He had three days until the Order checked in on him, three days in which he was fully going to take advantage of. First though, he would need supplies. Tomorrow, when the sun slowly rose above the neat lawns of Privet Drive , Harry would be away to Diagon Alley.