My Pile of Ashes

A/N: Hey everyone! Here's my new story. I hope you all like it. I've been writing on it for a while. Sorry about not updating my other story in a while. If you'll read my profile, you'll understand why. If you don't feel like reading it, then I haven't written in a while because of several things. One is that I have writers block. It's very evil, I know. Grr...

Also, my grandma recently had a mini-stroke. Actually, she had one last month, and another this month which almost lead to a heart attack. As most of you know, my grandpa died recently so this blow was a bit hard for me to handle. My grandma's okay now, though. She's up and about as usual.

I hope you all don't hate me for writing another story. I just couldn't shake this muse off my shoulders. Please enjoy the story!

Disclaimer: I don't own any characters except one. Don't sue me!

Characters will be OOC

Chapter One
: What a Tangled Web We Weave

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Harry Potter was sitting in an empty compartment on his way back to Hogwarts for his 6th year. Hermione and Ron were, like the year before, sitting with the rest of the Prefects at the font of the train. Harry found that it didn't bother that much this time. In fact, he preferred being alone.

Harry would've had an okay time being in the compartment by himself if it weren't for an unexpected and unwanted visitor. "Aw, poor Potty; sitting here all alone. Where's Weasel and Mudblood?" Malfoy mocked concern. Harry clenched his fists. "Ron and Hermione are with the rest of the Prefects, where you should be," Harry replied. "Yes, well, I - What on earth is that?" Malfoy asked.

Harry followed Malfoy's gaze to his sleeve which had rolled up, revealing his very bruised up arm. He immediately pushed it back down. "Nothing." Harry said quickly. "Oh yes, brilliant liar, you are." Malfoy said sarcastically before turning on his heel and leaving. Harry let out a sigh of relief. At least he hadn't said anything about his face.

Harry must have fallen asleep because when he woke up they were nearly at Hogwarts. He carefully changed into his robes, being especially careful around his ribs. Right as he was done the train stopped. Harry gathered his things and slowly but painfully walked out. As Harry stepped off the train and went to find a carriage he wondered if Hemione and Ron had already found a carriage.

He sought out his own carriage, preferably one with the least amount of people. He found one with what looked like two 2nd years and one 3rd year. 'Good enough.' He thought.

The ride in the carriage was a long and awkward one. The three in there with him stared as if he might blow up at any moment.Harry found this extremely annoying. He was very grateful when the ride ended.

As Harry was walking into the castle he heard a female voice call him. "Harry! Over here!", it yelled. "Hermione, Ron!", he greeted excitedly. When they both saw his face, though, they gasped. "Harry, what happened to your face?" Hermione asked in alarm. "Yeah mate. It looks like someone hit you with a bludger bat." Ron exclaimed, eyes wide. "Er...I'll explain later." Harry said before walking as fast as he could to the Gryffindor table. Hermione and Ron quickly caught up.

"Harry, did your uncle do this to you?" Hermione said very quietly after they had all sat down. Harry's head snapped in her direction. "He did, didn't he? That bastard!" Ron commented.

"Look, it's not that bad! I'm alive, aren't I?" Harry said, getting annoyed with them. Before they knew it they were already engaged in a heated discussion. So engaged that they didn't even notice when the Sorting Hat sang it's song and food appeared on the table. "Look, can we just drop it? I'm really tired and I'd like to go to bed." Harry said wearily. Hermione sighed. "Alright, but we're going to talk more tomorrow. The password is 'Licorice'.", and with that Harry was off.

Harry grabbed his pajamas and gently lifted his shirt over his head. He carefully ran his fingers over his ribs and winced as a bolt of pain shot through them. 'Probably broken.' He thought to himself, sighing. He'd have to find a spell to fix them, or steal some potions from Madame Pomphrey. 'But for right now,' He thought, 'How bad can they hurt?'

Harry crawled into bed, making sure to clear his mind. He had been doing that ever since he got back to the Dursleys. He didn't want anyone to actually see what had been going on over there, and he didn't want of his friends dying because of him. Clearing his mind actually helped to calm him down a bit, too. He wasn't as angry as last year. Of course, it never really helped his nightmares.

That night, like most nights, Harry had another nightmare. He woke up with a start breathing heavily, although this caused him pain. He looked around wildly before realizing where he was. He then glanced at the clock. It read 6:00 AM, which caused Harry to sigh. He had gotten into the habit of waking up around that time.

Harry decided to get dressed an go downstairs. When he got there he sat down in a chair in front of the fire. He stayed like that for a few minutes before Hermione walked out of the girls dormitory. "Harry?" She asked. Harry simply continued to look into the fire. Hermione sighed, sitting down next to him. "You had a nightmare, didn't you?" It was more of a statement than a question. Harry just nodded very slightly.

They sat there in silence for a while when Ron came downstairs. "Hey mate, hey 'Mione. Let's go eat!" He exclaimed. Harry laughed. There were some things that would never change. "Let's go eat before Ron has an aneurysm." Harry said playfully. Hermione just smiled and rolled her eyes.

When the trio got down to the Great Hall they noticed that not many people were there yet. All of the teachers were there, though. "Hey, did anyone catch the new DADA professor's name?" Ron asked as they sat down. Both him and Harry looked to Hermione. "What're you looking at me for? I was busy getting on to Harry." Hermione stated. "Well, I guess we'll find out later." Harry said, eyeing the new professor. He had short, light brown hair, cold brown eyes that were staring ahead, and a very stern expression on his face. All-in-all, he looked as approachable as Snape. Even less so.

The professor turned his cold eyes onto Harry and he instantly disliked the man. Harry found himself returning the glare. "Harry?" Hermione questioned. "I don't like him." Harry replied in a hard voice. "Yeah, he does look a bit harsh." Ron agreed. Hermione nodded.

Harry flinched as he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked back and saw Dumbledore, eyes twinkling as usual. "Harry, my boy, may I have a word with you?" He asked. "Sure" Harry replied, wondering what he had done. He slowly got up, determined not to show how much pain that simple movement caused him. Dumbledore eyed him carefully.

When they were out of hearing range from other people, Dumbledore began to speak. "First, I would like to tell you that you will continue Occlumency lessons this year with Professor Snape. That is, if you promise not to go looking through his things." Dumbledore said sternly. Harry looked down, feeling two emotions at once. One was embarrassment; at being practically scolded by Dumbledore for doing something so stupid. The other was dread. He was now terrified of Snape. "I promise, sir." Harry said sincerely.

"On another note, Harry, I'd like to ask you what happened to your face." Dumbledore asked with concern. Harry's breathing hitched. What was he going to say? "Er, I got into a fight." That wasn't exactly a lie. He had gotten into a fight, except in this one only his uncle made the hits. Dumbledore didn't seem to believe him but he let it slide anyway. "Um, when is my Occlumency lesson?" Harry asked, trying to change the subject. "If I'm correct, it's tonight at 8." Dumbledore replied. "Oh, okay." Harry said, surprised. He didn't expect the first lesson so soon. "Don't be late, Harry.", and with that, Dumbledore walked off.

Harry walked back to his seat in a sort of daze. How come the Occlumency lessons were so soon? What if Snape saw some of his memories? How could he live with himself after that? He just knew Snape would torment him with them, especially after Harry looked into the Pensieve. "Harry, are you okay?" Hermione asked timidly. "Yeah." He replied slowly. He stared at his timetable, which someone had placed in front of him. 'Great,' he thought. 'Potions first.'

Harry was very glad that he got excepted into the potions class, but did it have to be the first class of the day? At least Hermione would be there. Sadly, though, Ron hadn't made it into the class. He seemed kind of happy about not being in Snape's class, though.

By the time students started filling into the Great Hall Harry was getting ready to leave. "Harry, it's only 7:00 and classes don't begin until 7:30." Hermione pointed out. "Yeah, well, I'll walk slow." Harry said, stalking off.

Walk slow, he did. His ribs seemed to hurt with every step move that he took. He finally got to the Potion's classroom with 15 minutes to spare. He sat down at a desk in the back, glad that no one was there. That was soon interrupted, though.

"Making trouble, Potter?" Snape sneered. "No, sir." Harry replied quietly. He unknowingly rubbed the spot on his arm where Snape had grabbed him so hard it had left a bruise. "Why are you in my class so early?" He asked, clearly not believing Harry. "Er..." Why did he come down here so early? "I'm waiting, Potter." Snape said impatiently. "To get away from all the people." Harry murmured. "Why? You're famous, you love people. Plus they all worship you. What could be better?" Snape asked snidely. "Tell me, would you like it if people kept gawking at you like you might explode or something?" Harry replied in a forced calm voice. Before Snape could answer, though, students started walking through the door.

Harry was having a hard time concentrating on his potion. He kept thinking about his upcoming Occlumency lessons with Snape. He had expected to take Occlumency again, but he was afraid of what Snape might find. 'He won't find out. You've been practicing all summer. There's no reason why he should find out.' Harry kept trying to reassure himself, but it wouldn't work.

Harry was brought out of his thoughts when he heard Hermione yelling something and an explosion. To his horror, he saw that it was his own potion and it was flying everywhere. Most students ducked under their desks to avoid getting hit. Unfortunately Harry was too slow and some splattered on his upper arm. It wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't a Burning Draught.

Ignoring the pain in his arm he quickly turned to check on Hermione. She had her wand out, shielding herself. "Are you alright?" asked Harry. "I'm sorry, Harry! I would've conjured up a shield for both of us but this was the first spell that popped into my head! Are you okay? Did any get on you?" Hermione said all of this in a rush. Harry knew she was fine if she could talk that fast. "Er, I'm fine, really." Harry replied back.

Hermione was about to chastise Harry about something or the other when Snape spoke. "Is everyone alright? Good." Then he turned to glare at Harry. "Thanks to you Potter, you could've gotten everybody seriously injured! For that, detention at 8 tonight." After that was said the bell rang. All of the students scrambled to get out, including Harry. "Potter, stay after." Snape said. Hermione shot him a half-sympathetic, half-'you-deserve-it' look before walking out of the room.

"You wanted to see me, sir?" Harry asked cautiously. "Tell me, what was so important that you almost go the whole class killed.?" Snape sneered. "I was-I was thinking." Harry replied. "Thinking? If you ever face the Dark Lord let's hope that you don't space-out like you just did. You might get us all killed that way." Harry looked down.

"Did any of that potion get on you?" Snape asked suddenly. Harry looked up surprised.That wasn't a normal Snape question. "No. What gives you that idea? Oh." Harry said, following Snape's gaze. His robe sleeve was soaked with blood. Snape sighed, and odd thing for him to do. "Let me see your arm." He said, grabbing his wand. "No, that's okay. I-I'm fine. I'll live." Harry said, backing away. He was about to head out of the door when Snape slammed it shut with his wand.

"You're not leaving until I see your arm. Unless you want to go to the Hospital Wing." Snape said menacingly, knowing that Harry didn't want the latter. Harry sighed. There was no way he could get away.

He slowly walked up to Snape's desk and gently rolled up his sleeve. Harry could feel Snape's eyes on him. He looked at his own arm. It was covered in cuts and bruises, plus the burn which Snape quickly healed.

"It seems that the same marks on your face appear on your arm as well. Why is that?" Snape asked sternly. "I, er, I got into a fight." Harry replied, remember what he had told Dumbledore earlier that day. "A fight? With whom?" Snape asked, raising an eyebrow. Harry suddenly grew angry. "Why are you interrogating me? It's not like it matters anyway. Just leave me alone!", and with that Harry grabbed the handle of the door, yanked it open, and walked out.

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