Hello! This is my first attempt at this, so please be nice. I'm not British, so if you have advice or comments on how the characters talk, locations, or anything to do with that, PLEASE let me know. I need a LOT of feedback in that area. This story will be H/G (duh), with some implied R/H, I haven't decided if it will go beyond that….

Summary: The story starts out on Harry's ride "home" from King's Cross Station, after the closing of The Order of the Phoenix, however, it will not be a year 6 story. Instead, it will cover several years (I'm not sure exactly how long yet). For those of you anxious for the H/G action, don't worry – I'm not very good at making it take too long before all that comes about. Don't expect them to jump into each other's arms either though.

Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one that I write of in this story. It all belongs to the wonderful, brilliant J.K. Rowling.


Chapter 1

Home Sweet Home

Scenery scrolled past the small car at an absurdly fast pace, like some sort of surreal film on the television. The colors merged together, and objects whizzing by seemed blurred and distorted, making them difficult to identify.

A young boy, nearly 16 years of age, sat in the rear of the car. His forehead was pressed against the glass of the window, and he was watching the strange film, though he wasn't really seeing it.

His name was Harry Potter, and he was on his way home with his relatives from his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Happiness he'd felt as his friends confronted the Dursleys was quickly fading, as the prospect of another summer at Privet Drive loomed before him, dark and foreboding, once again.

He vaguely noted, with some small amusement, that his uncle had started shouting at him about the threats the Order had made at the train station. He didn't really hear anything Vernon was saying, however, for at the moment, he simply didn't care.

He turned to watch his cousin Dudley, sitting on the seat next to him, trying desperately to take up as little room as possible. Poor Dudley's effort was wasted, however, as he was easily large enough to take up the entire back seat of the car, and thus was leaving Harry little room.

Harry watched his overly large cousin cast him fearful glances with something akin to pity. After all, it must be incredibly hard being that big. Harry wouldn't know, of course, always having been rather small (no doubt due to spending 10 years in a dark cupboard), but still......it didn't look like much fun.

The car started to slow down, and Harry was surprised to find that they'd arrived at their destination: Number 4, Privet Drive. They pulled into the driveway, and Harry unbuckled his seatbelt, opened his door, and got out. His brain dimly registered his uncle yelling at him to get his things inside quickly, as he mechanically opened the boot to do just that.

He managed to drag his trunk upstairs, with much huffing and puffing, and dropped it heavily on his bed to breathe a sigh of mingled relief, bitterness, and grief. 'Home sweet home,' he thought with a touch of sarcasm. 'As if this place could ever be home. I don't care what Professor Dumbledore says, I'll be damned if I'm going to let him keep me here. As soon as my birthday comes, I'm taking the Knight Bus to the Burrow, whether he likes it or not.'

With that comforting thought, he opened up his trunk and started to unpack a few of his things, making a mental note to featherweight charm it the moment he could do so once again.

Unpacking finished, he opened the window for whenever Hedwig should arrive, having let her out at King's Cross to make the journey to Little Whinging on her own.

Shoving his now half-empty trunk into a corner, Harry collapsed on his bed as the thoughts he'd been pushing away for the last couple of weeks came crashing back upon him all at once.

Struggling under the onslaught of so many painful memories, Harry was hard pressed to keep from bursting into tears right then. He angrily pushed the guilt and sorrow to the back of his mind and dried his eyes. Crying didn't help, it only showed weakness, and it was best not to think of it anyway.

Sighing in exasperation, he decided to head down for dinner. He wasn't really hungry, but anything to take his mind off Sirius was welcome right then.

That night, Harry awoke quite late from a particularly nasty nightmare involving Sirius. Shuddering and gasping in a cold sweat, he was thankful he'd managed to keep from crying out. That would simply make the Dursleys angry. He glanced at the illuminated clock face on his nightstand and groaned aloud in consternation - only 2:11 AM.

He thought back to the dream he had just had. It had started out fairly normal, with Sirius falling through the veil in that horrifyingly slow, graceful arc, but then it had shifted strangely. He'd found himself once again in the Death Chamber, only this time there was no battle raging around him on all sides, and Sirius wasn't falling through the veil. He was simply alone, looking at the dais in the center of the room. The veil was still fluttering slightly in that unseen breeze, and the only sounds he could hear was his own breathing and the odd whisper, as of barely detected voices, emanating from the dais. He tried desperately to hear what the voices were saying, to no avail.

Suddenly, the veil shifted, and Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, slowly stepped out.

He looked truly awful - far worse even than when he'd been in Azkaban. His face was quite literally as pale as a ghost's, and his eyes were sunken and expressionless. He was so skinny you could see virtually every bone in his body frighteningly clearly.

Once out from behind the veil, he turned to look at Harry with sightless eyes, making him cringe in shame, guilt, and horror. Then, Harry woke up.

That dream had definitely been strange. Not really like any dream he'd had before. Except.....Harry's eyes narrowed as a thought occured to him. The last time a dream had been like that was when Voldemort was sending him visions for the last year. Was he at it again? It was difficult to tell, as the visions and dreams were very very similar, but over time, Harry had started to get the hang of telling the difference, and now he wondered if the Dark Lord wasn't trying to mess with his mind once again.

He leapt out of bed to pull together his writing implements and start a letter to Dumbledore asking for occlumency lessons. Then he stopped. Occlumency was supposed to defend against Legilimency wasn't it? But Voldemort wasn't using Legilimency was he? After all, you needed eye contact, and as far as Harry knew, he wasn't exactly staring at a pair of red eyes in his sleep.

In fact, Occlumency seemed to have a rather detrimental effect on keeping Voldemort at bay in Harry's mind. Harry leaned back in his desk chair as he considered this. What should he do? He considered writing Dumbledore for a moment, but tossed that away immediately. He wasn't feeling particularly charitable towards the ancient professor just now. Asking for emergency Occlumency lessons was one thing, but asking for advice? Not bloody likely, not after the way the man had treated him for the last year.

Well, there was nothing really he could do right now. He wasn't even sure that Voldemort was behind that dream. After all, the dreams and visions were very similar - he might just be overreacting to a bad dream. He resolved to investigate this further in the morning and went back to bed, though his body refused to do more than doze restlessly for the remainder of the night.


A/N Well there it is. What do you think? Please review, I'm feeling very insecure about this story at the moment. OK........not really, but review anyway! I'll probably get chapter 2 up sometime within the next couple days, expect it to be longer than this chapter was!