Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, in fact, I believe Harry Potter might own me, that is how obsessed I am. Oh yeah, I don't own any of the other characters, places, or things, that are familiar to you.
Special Thanks to Enarra for correcting my gramatical errors (esp the tenses!).
I am going to assume that everyone is familiar with HP's story, including events in OoTP...
Calendar: Since 4th year ended around the end of June (3rd event was 6/24 near finals), I figured the same would be for 5th year. I placed Sirius's death the middle/end of June and HP & co leaving Hogwarts June 29/30.
After 5th Year, Beginning of Summer 1996.
Chapter 1 "Something, Anything"
Something, Anything. That was all he wanted. Anything to take his mind off of the events of last year. He didn't even have any chores to do this summer. After the 'threats' the Order members had given the Dursleys at King's Cross Station, they had left Harry alone, only seeing him at meals. For the most part, they ignored him, pretending he wasn't in the room. He wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not. He wished he had chores to do, if only to get his mind off of what had happened.
It was the beginning of July. He had been 'home' from school for less than a week. Just a few days and the only thing he had done was try to come up with ways to stop himself from thinking about the past.
Usually he hated summer break. Hated being away from the place he would like to think of as home even though Dumbledore would have most likely chastised him for that thought due to the wards on his aunt's house. Hated being separated from his friends and fellow Gryffindors that he had gotten to know these last five years. However, this year a part of him was relieved to be away from school. As always, he was overjoyed to be away from the glares and sarcastic comments of Professor Snape, his most hated professor. He was glad that he did not to have to continue hiding things from his best friends, Ron Weasley & Hermione Granger. Things such as the prophecy, made before his birth, which Professor Dumbledore had finally told him about. He was glad that Dumbledore finally told him why Voldemort had tried to kill him fifteen years ago on Halloween, and why he had been trying to kill him practically every year since he started at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at the age of eleven. But part of him had to wonder 'Why now?' Why, after all the time that had passed while Dumbledore procrastinated, did he have to pick the night that Harry's Godfather died? He had already felt like he was at the breaking point. Sirius...Sirius was gone for good, nothing would bring him back. Dumbledore told him this, Remus echoing the thought. Even Hermione & Ron had tried to get him to accept Sirius's death.
Accept it. HA! Like he had any choice now. He had even tried talking to Nearly-Headless Nick to see if Sirius could come back as a ghost.
No. He wouldn't think about that night any more. There had to be something he could do, besides just contemplating, wishing that things had been different.
At this point Harry got up from his bed and started pacing. He thought about looking through the photo album Hagrid had given him after his first year of school. But now that he knew the man who was standing beside his parents in so many of those photos, it would only bring more pain. Sirius. Sometimes Harry thought that he missed Sirius more than he missed his parents. After all, it is hard to miss something you don't remember. He had only been with his parents until a little after his first birthday. He didn't remember being hugged or kissed by them, didn't remember lullabies being sung to him before he went to bed. His only memories were the voices he heard when dementors were near. Sirius, however, he remembered. He remembered how Sirius had tried to be there for him. How he had given Harry advice during the Triwizard Tournament. How Sirius had talked with him. Sirius had cared for him, and not just because he thought he was just like James or because he was 'The Boy Who Lived.'
No. He wasn't going to think about that night. Still pacing, he searched his room for something, anything to do. To focus his thoughts and energy on something else. He briefly considered writing to Ron or Hermione, but he knew that if he started communicating with them, Hermione would write back asking questions about the very subject he was trying so hard to avoid. He knew that writing Remus would have similar results, if not worse. He was sure that Remus was trying to deal with everything that happened. Harry was partly afraid that if he wrote to him, Remus would either not write back because he blamed Harry for Sirius's death or he would write back about what he was feeling and how he was working through it. Harry didn't think he could handle either scenario. He had a difficult enough time with his own emotions of sorrow and guilt; he didn't need anyone else's emotions interfering.
He could work on homework, but at this rate he would be finished by the end of the week. He had already spent the past few days working on his homework to keep from thinking about everything. He wouldn't be surprised if he finished before Hermione. At this thought he laughed softly for the first time in what felt like weeks, imagining her reaction if that happened.
Thinking about homework, his mind drifted to thoughts of Dumbledore and his other classmates. It felt good to get away from the prying eyes of his classmates, now that everyone knew he was telling the truth about Voldemort being alive and back. The Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, had seen Voldemort with his own eyes that night at the Ministry, and since he was no longer denying Voldemort's return, no one else was either. In the past he had always looked up to Professor Dumbledore, trusted him in a way that he didn't trust anyone else. Granted, he wasn't always open with him regarding what was going on, especially this last year. At the time he had felt that Dumbledore didn't really care. Now he knew how much Dumbledore cared for him and he was thankful that he didn't have to watch Dumbledore's eyes, usually twinkling, but now most likely filled with concern and apprehension, following him, worrying about him and how he was handling not only the death of the only parental figure he had ever known, but also the revelation of the prophecy. Harry might have been able to act like everything was fine and convince his friends that everything was fine, but he was pretty sure he couldn't fool Dumbledore.
'Maybe because everything isn't fine', Harry thought. Once again his whole world had been turned upside down. Last time, it had been a good thing, as it was his introduction to the wizarding world. This time, it was the loss of the one adult he had thought could care for him, not just The Boy Who Lived.
At this point, Harry gave up on finding something to distract his thoughts from Sirius, and, lying down on his bed and closing his eyes, he let himself be pulled into the black hole of his thoughts and emotions.
He started thinking about the conversation he'd had with Dumbledore regarding Sirius' death. Of course, Harry still felt responsible for his death. The main reason was that he hadn't learned occlumency as he should have. If he was honest with himself, he would have to admit that he hadn't been trying all that hard. He had been too upset at not knowing what was going on, too upset that it was Snape who was trying to teach him. Snape was difficult enough to learn from in Potions, but having no control over him seeing into Harry's memories was much worse. Of course, maybe he should've used that as an incentive to learn, to keep the greasy git out of his memories. His best friend Hermione had mentioned that he might have a saving-people thing, so how could he not feel responsible when it is because of him that Sirius was in the Department of Mysteries in the first place. Harry also knew that Dumbledore had a point. Many circumstances led to the events of that night. Everyone could have or should have done things differently; this was just the way things had played out. Some would say that it had to happen this way. That it is all a part of the pattern of the grand design (1). And maybe everything had happened for a reason. It might be the coward's way to deal with this, attributing everything to fate or destiny, but barring the use of a time-turner to go back in time, Harry didn't know what else to do. He couldn't even keep his thoughts from that night for more than twenty minutes at a time. Merlin knew how much Harry wished things had been different, how he wished Sirius could be with him now. Harry missed him and needed him so much. Then again, if he was here, would Harry be missing him? Would he be thinking about how much he needed an adult in his life that cared for him? He never realized how much he cared for Sirius or how much it meant to Harry that Sirius cared for him until Sirius couldn't be there anymore. Mostly Harry simply mourned the lost opportunities that Sirius had represented. Sirius, because he was on the run as an escaped prisoner, had never been a part of Harry's everyday life. He was there if Harry needed him, through letters and the occasional fire call. And it was comforting to Harry to know that there was an adult who cared for him, perhaps even loved him, even if it was because of who his Dad had been. That was what Harry missed the most. That and the hope that someday Sirius would have been exonerated of all charges and Harry could live with him, finally getting an idea of what it felt like to be part of a family that was his own.
Harry's thoughts were interrupted by a tapping on the window. He looked up found himself staring into the eyes of an owl that he had never seen before. It didn't even look like one of the school owls (not that he had seen all of them, but they were usually recognizable). At first he was a little nervous; now that he knew of the wards on this house, he wondered exactly how they worked. What kept someone from sending him an owl and having the owl give away his location? Or from sending something by owl that was meant to harm him, a curse or a portkey or something similar. Deciding to trust Dumbledore's wards, Harry opened the window to let the owl in. As he started to take the parchment from the owl's leg, his hand began to shake. He knew that handwriting. It was almost as if, just by thinking of Sirius, he conjured him up. Well, not Sirius himself, but Harry had no doubt in his mind about who the letter was from. After giving the owl some food & water from Hedwig's cage, Harry sat back down on the bed to open the letter.
End Chapter 1
1 Pattern of grand design from the song "look through Heaven's eyes" from The Prince of Egypt
Revised/Reposted 12/10/04 Thanks Enarra