Disclaimer: I own nothing. JK Rowling, being the genius that she is, is the owner of Harry Potter and the characters and world I am temporarily borrowing. Thank you, Ms. Rowling.

CHAPTER ONE – PREPARATIONS

The Home of Harry Potter – 12 Grimmauld Place

December 26, 1998

1:00 AM

Harry was tired from a full day at the Weasley's. Christmas was always a major event. It had been hard this year – much harder with two of their number missing. Also hard given that the deaths had occurred exactly one year ago. It was why he was still awake after such a full day, in fact.

Harry shook his head and tried to focus his attention on the task at hand. He had been preparing for this moment for several months. Ever since he had finally killed Voldemort. He had seen how the Weasleys had slowly been tearing themselves apart and Harry couldn't stand by and watch that happen.

The Weasleys had taken him in, made him a part of their family. Not because he was the Boy-Who-Lived, but because he was Ron's best friend and an orphan named Harry. They were such good people.

The war itself had been horribly expensive in terms of human – and non- human lives – but it was the losses closest to him that tore huge gashes in his heart. Sirius was the first of those to fall in the war, but he was all to soon followed by Tonks and Shacklebolt. Then went Moody, Lupin, McGonagall – the list went on. But none had hurt as much as ... Harry's mind automatically shied away from it and he had to fight back tears again.

As Harry reviewed his notes, he again felt dread at what he was planning. What he was going to attempt was hideously difficult. Not just because the base charm he was using was the most complex charm known to the wizarding world but because the special modifications he'd made to the charm to make it actually work in this case had expanded the charm's difficulty exponentially.

He knew that if any of them knew he was trying this they would have pitched a fit. Harry didn't even want to contemplate how Dumbledore would react to this. Despite having killed Voldemort, the Headmaster still viewed Harry as a wayward grandson. Harry felt warmed by that thought – at the same time that it rankled him.

Finally, Harry felt he was ready to begin casting the charm. He sat cross- legged on the floor and took a few moments to use his Occlumency skills to clear his mind, to push the distractions aside and allow him to focus his mind on the task ahead. With his eyes closed, he reached over and grabbed a piece of parchment and a quill. With a practiced flick of his wrist, Harry dipped the quill into the ink and quickly wrote a single sentence on the piece of paper.

He placed the parchment on his lap while he reached out for his wand. He began the complex wand movements and incantations for the charm. His mind was unnaturally focused – as it needed to be – as he wove a spell that would encompass the planet. Harry continued casting the spell for almost an hour, his voice getting slightly ragged. Harry refused to lose focus as he completed the spell.

Finally, Harry gave a last flick of his wand and the final word of the spell dropped from his lips, "... fidelius!" A pulse of magic, powerful and vast, flowed from the parchment in his lap in all directions. It wasn't visible to most wizards and witches, but Harry watched it flicker across the floor and pass through the walls of his room at Grimmauld Place.

Harry looked at the parchment on his lap. If the charm had worked, the single sentence on that parchment would be the only true indication of what had transpired at the Burrow a year ago. As Harry felt the charm beginning to work, he smiled slightly and vowed that the event he had now hidden from everyone – including those present to witness it – would go to his grave with him.

The smiled only lasted a brief moment as Harry blacked out from a combination of exhaustion in casting the spell and the spell's own need for magical energy from the caster to complete its mission. He didn't see the parchment disappear in a puff of smoke.

The last thought he had before darkness claimed him was a memory of that night.