The Quetzal's Fire

Harry Potter

I'm trying to start a Harry Potter fanfiction message board. Email me or go to my homepage link and sign up for my totally subjective admittance process. As always: idiots need not apply. Fools, of course, are more than welcome.

A/N: WELL. This time I fully intend to git 'er done and write a goddamned story, not just snippets. I'm not sure who can hold me accountable, but, uh, yeah. But this is gonna kick ass. I'll write an outline too, but I want to run this pilot, as it were. Yes, I (had) jacked the title from U2. Yes, the new album is good. Yes, they're my favorite band, and, yes, George W. Bush sucks. How we got there I'm not sure, but it's true. Anyway:

Part One: When the Jacks Have Gone to Bed

It was, without a doubt, the biggest mistake Harry Potter had ever made. The trip to the Department of Mysteries undid his life. Harry kept going over June's events despite the fact he knew it couldn't be healthy. Four Privet Drive didn't provide any diversions against Harry's nightly replay of Sirius Black's death. The bereaved was keeping in touch with Ron, Hermione, and an occasional Order of the Phoenix member, but the Boy Who Lived was merely being kept alive as per Albus Dumbledore's orders.

The dream was always the same: Sirius appeared in the door, blasting away at Lestrange with his wand. Then there was the inevitable Black trash talk—then Harry watched, paralyzed as one can be only in dreams, as the only father he had ever known tumbled into the pit that spelled doom. Afterwards, Harry awoke and the guilt pummeled his chest.

Harry avoided sleep because of the guilt. The lack of rest was taking its toll on Harry: there were pronounced bags under his eyes, he blinked constantly, he was pale, he had headaches; he was simply miserable. Harry's depression was not manic, nor was he suicidal. He didn't need grief counseling. The eternally brave Harry Potter just needed a shoulder to cry on. All he had nearby, however, was a bird and three unsympathetic savages.

The young wizard had taken to climbing out onto the roof of the house's garage from his window. If the smog wasn't bad, Harry could see the stars; that was just about the only therapy he got: gazing towards space, watching a poor man's movie.

On this particular night, the 15th of July, Harry could see the stars.

Where are you, mate? Harry's mind wondered. We've been missing a good laugh, you know. The best part of my day is looking at the sky. All of a sudden, Harry realized why the night kept him going: there was a rather large star blinking to the north. The dog star-

"Sirius," Harry breathed. A grin appeared on his face. Harry realized how tired he was and crawled back into his bed for the best sleep he'd had in months.

­­­

The following morning, however, Harry's brief spate of tranquility ended with the coming of The Daily Prophet:

DEATH EATERS STRIKE FIRST

Long-anticipated retaliatory action happens last night

The Dark Mark appeared over the skies of England for the first time since You-Know-Who's brazen comeback. The Mark was far larger than it had ever been recorded to be, with some wizards mistaking it for a newborn star. (It had to have been Sirius! thought Harry angrily.) The scene north of Manchester (I'm practically in Manchester!) was one of chaos and confusion as the Dark Lord's servants slaughtered three muggles in the street, then disapparated...

…memories modified…

…Dumbledore declines comment…

…Minister promises "counter strike"…

…memories of widespread fear…

…clear desire to avoid mistakes of the past…

"Yeah, sure," Harry muttered. "'Avoid mistakes of the past'… please… they could've done that a year ago…" But that wasn't the point. The main thing was that Voldemort was very, very close to Harry. No doubt Ron or Hermione had read the Prophet and seen that Harry was in immediate peril… then he remembered that he'd be safer at Privet Drive than at Grimmauld Place or the Burrow because of Dumbledore's magics.

Harry sighed and flipped to the quidditch scores. The Cannons had, as usual, had continued their history of epic choking. Their seeker had been bludgered off of his broom five inches from the snitch with his counterpart on the Wimbourne Wasps just a yard behind him- the score was 100-10 Cannons just before the Snitch had been caught. The Cannons' seeker, despite the fact he was playing at home, didn't receive any medical attention until fifteen minutes after the match had ended. The team was now on the brink of being demoted to the second tier.

There was some good news, though- the Tornados had been eliminated from winning the league table (Bet Cho's going to cry about that, thought Harry with grim satisfaction) and the Wasps were clear favorites to wrap it up and reclaim their former glory, being ten points ahead of the competition with one week left. Harry scanned the front page again and headed downstairs for breakfast.