The Beginning of the End

Summary – Sixth Year at Howarts. Voldemort manages to overcome the blood protection at the Dursleys. Harry & Tonks have fallen in love. They are placed under the Fidelius Charm and traing ensues. Harry is a Metamorphmagus. But during an outing, the Dark Lord attacks. What happens when Harry is hit with the Killing Curse? Powers increase. And is Sirius really dead?

Pairings – H/T, R/Hr, N/L, C/G.

Rating – R.

Caregory – Romance/Action/Adventure.

Spoilers – SS/PS, CoS, PoA, GoF, OotP.

Disclaimer – This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Chapter 1 - The Long Road Home

The Weasleys and rest of the Order members stood still till the Dursleys were no longer visible. Each one of them were in there own worlds seemingly aware of nothing else. But one thing that everyone of them had in common was the concern on their faces. Earlier they had put up brave fronts while regarding the Dursleys, but now the worried expressions on their faces would easily lead one to doubt their sanity.

But nothing was wrong about these people. They were not concerned about the weather or other mundane things. They were concerned about the mental health of a certain individual. This person was the one making the faces of these people marred with worry. This person was Harry Potter.

For many people, he may have been the Boy-Who-Lived. He may have been the one to survive a Killing Curse. He may have been who defeated the most evil Dark Lord till date when he was merely a year old. But for them, he was just, plain Harry. He was loved by these people not for what he was, but because how he was. A good-natured human being who cared for everyone.

The women - Molly Weasley, Ginerva Weasley, Hermione Granger and Nymphadora Tonks almost had tears in their eyes. The men - Arthur Weasley, Ronald Weasley, Fred and George Weasley and Remus Lupin all looked sad. Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody was his usual gruff self, his magical eye spinning in all directions scanning the crowds for any sign of danger.

They waited like this for almost ten minutes when at last the silence was broken by Moody in his gruff voice.

"Molly, Arthur we should get going".

As one, everyone woke up from their respective trances and hurried to get home.

The ride from King Cross to Little Whinging was spent in a silent manner. The Dursleys, being terrified of the warnings given by the Order members, were silent, though fuming internally. Harry sat with his cousin Dudley and his owl cage in the back seat while his aunt Petunia sat in the front besides uncle Vernon who was driving the car. Harry would have laughed madly at the expressions on their faces had he been in the mood to do so.

Recently, his godfather, the infamous Sirius Black had fallen through the Veil of Mystery situated in the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry of Magic. Lord Voldemort had tricked Harry to believe that his godfather was trapped in the building and so Harry with five of his friends had gone there to rescue him. As it turned out later that this was just a trap to lure Harry there so that Lord Voldemort could kill him. So instead of saving his godfather, Harry had to be saved by the Order. Sirius had joined the battle and was duelling his cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange. But during this Bellatrix had struck him with a curse and he had gone flying through the Veil which was behind him.

This may not have been much of a concern for anyone except Harry. This was because he blamed himself for the death of his godfather. Everyone kept telling him that he was not to blame. Part of him agreed that this was true. But the other part would not agree. He was grieving the death of the only real family he had. His parents had been murdered by Lord Voldemort when he was just a year old. The rest of his life was spent with the Dursleys and a small part at the Weasleys. The Dursleys for that matter had never treated him like family. They hated him for being 'abnormal'. The Weasleys on the other hand treated him like their own family and he was grateful for that. But they would never be like his real family.

When he had met Sirius, he had felt that he was meeting someone who cared for him and Sirius had proved this by caring for him. He was pleased that he had met his godfather who almost sufficiently filled the void of his parents. He was someone whom he could turn to and not feel ashamed by it. Sirius was the parent he had always wanted to have. But now the void was back in place after he had lost Sirius.

They finally arrived at No. 4, Privet Drive and Vernon parked the car in the driveway. Harry was jerked through his musings as everyone filed out of the car. Vernon opened the boot of the car and Harry heaved his trunk out. Once inside the house, he carried his trunk up to the smallest bedroom, his cell he reminded himself, and settled himself on the bed. He removed some random clothes from the trunk and got changed and decided to just lay still.

Tonks, Lupin and Moody decided to escort the Weasleys to the Burrow. After reaching the house, the children rushed with their trunks to their respective rooms and the elders sat around the kitchen table. After some time Arthur and Moody went outside to the shed to discuss some Ministry matters and Molly went up to her room to get settled. Remus and Tonks settled in comfortable silence once again. The loss of Sirius had hit both of them hard. Lupin had lost his best friend once again and Tonks had lost her favourite cousin.

"How will Harry hold out, Remus?", Tonks finally broke in.

When Remus saw her, she had tears running down her cheeks and her eyes were blood-shot. He gave her a wry smile and replied, "As good as can be expected."

"This is not fair for him."

"I know."

Silence fell once again as each one was immersed in their respective thoughts. Tonks began pondering on the events since the day she had met him. She had seen him during his first year when she was in her seventh. At that time he looked like the scrawny little kid lost in an unknown environment, which was not far from the truth. When she had seen him last year he did not look anything like it. He did not look scrawny or little anymore. Years of playing Quidditch had made him quite the looker. She was sure that he must be having quite nice muscles under the baggy second-hand clothes that he wore.

Part of her felt like she had known him all these years and her heart belonged to him. Why she felt this she had no idea. She had this feeling since the day she had come to retrieve him. Whenever she had met him during the previous year her feelings had been the same. She had dated many boys till now but none of them made her feel so. She chastised herself for thinking this. She was older than him and not young to have a silly crush on him. But she wondered whether this was indeed a crush or was it more. Stop it she ordered herself, He is younger than you. She didn't want to be the one corrupting a minor. But he is only six years younger another voice said. Now she felt she had lost it. If she kept arguing with herself she would become barmy. She had to admit to herself that she never thought of him as the saviour of the world or the boy-who-lived. To her he was just Harry; 'her Harry'. Wait a minute. Since when did he become 'her' Harry?

Remus had been watching her for some time now as she debated with herself. As she came to the end of her argument she couldn't keep the blush that graced her cheeks. She tried to cover it using her metamorphmagus skills but the damage was done. Remus had seen the redness and began chuckling to himself.

She glared at him and asked, "What's so funny?"

"You", he replied between fits of laughter. "You like him, don't you?"

She once again felt the redness creep to her cheeks but managed to control it better this time.

"What are you talking about?", she retorted angrily.

"You know something? Sirius was at least correct about one thing in his life."

"And what's that?"

"You've got it bad."

Tonks was now so horrified that she was gaping like a fish. She opened and closed her mouth a few times but was unable to form any sentences. At last she gathered her remaining courage and glared at him.

"One word Remus and I will show you what exactly an auror can do."

Remus held up his hands in silent resignation. The kitchen door opened and Molly entered and began bustling to make preparations for dinner, effectively ending the argument. Dinner that night was a quiet affair. Except some mundane conversations here and there, the mood was quite sombre. Tonks, Remus and Moody excused themselves after dinner, thanked Molly for the wonderful meal and returned to their respective homes.

Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was seated at his desk in his office. Fawkes, his phoenix was sitting on his perch and trilling softly. As he sat pondering on the events of the previous year, he couldn't stop but feel guilty for the death of Sirius. He wondered whether not keeping secrets from Harry would have been beneficial. He knew Harry would go to extreme ends to save people whom he cared. But at the same time he had to wonder whether letting Severus Snape teach Occlumency to Harry was a good decision. The bitterness between Harry and Snape was not unknown. He had hoped that Snape would set aside his childhood grudge against James, Harry's father, and teach him properly. But the result had not been achieved. Alas, he thought, Too many mistakes for an old man to make. He had to admit that despite Harry's young age, he was more matured than anyone he had known. He only hoped that the trust between them had not been damaged too much to repair. He vowed never to keep secrets from Harry again. Unfortunately for him, this came a little too late. Looking around the office, he saw the various artefacts that he had spent many hours repairing. He only hoped that he never again stepped to the receiving end of the young man's wrath. He also wondered whether staying aloof from him was a good choice.

He was brought out of his musings by a sharp knock on the door.

"Come in."

Professor Minerva McGonagall entered the office with a worried expression on her face.

"Ah… Minerva, to what do I owe this visit?" Albus asked gesturing her to sit.

"Albus, its Harry. Do you think its best to send him to live with those things?"

He sighed. "Minerva, unfortunately that is the safest place for him to stay."

"But Albus, we can surely…"

"I am doing what I can Minerva. I know that is not the best place for him to stay at the moment, but it is the safest place for him to stay. I have also arranged for Order members to keep a close eye on him. Also I have given him my word that I will not be keeping any more secrets from him."

She snorted at this. "You were a little too late I believe.", she said looking at his possessions.

"I am afraid that is indeed true.", he said his eyes twinkling merrily.

They were interrupted by a knock on the door.

"Enter. Ah… Severus please take a seat."

Severus Snape, the potions master entered and sat at the other seat in front of the desk.

"Any news, Severus?"

"The Dark Lord is currently… unwell. His physical condition from that encounter at the ministry is improving. But he is very weak. Apparently, possessing Potter has greatly hampered his strength.", Snape reported.

"Good, good. Anything else?"

"He may question my loyalty once again. Since majority of his inner circle is currently in Azkaban, a raid on the prison once he gets well can be expected. Other than that, he has ordered others to start recruiting new members. The school may even held spies in the form of students. He doesn't mark the younger ones, but any help inside the school will be welcome."

The Headmasters expression became grave. "We will discuss this further when everyone is present. For now, we must rest. Good night, Severus, Minerva."

The two professors rose and started for the door. After Snape had gone through, Minerva waited for a moment, her hand on the handle as she turned around and said, "Take care of him Albus. He needs us now. He may be the one to end the war, but don't use him as a weapon. Think of him as a person who has his own life and feelings. He is young but you must make him strong. He depends on us Albus. You have to rebuilt his damaged trust. Only then this war can be truly won. Take care of him."

Albus nodded solemnly as she left his office.

Tonks apparated back to her apartment that night and changed into her pyjamas. She had kept wondering about the conversation she had with Remus. Did she really feel that way for Harry. Did she really like him or was it lust. She cancelled the second alternative immediately. She had so many men to lust upon, then why only Harry triggered her feelings. She was unable to get these thoughts out of her head as she went to sleep that day dreaming about a boy with emerald green eyes and unruly, raven black hair.

Harry woke up about midnight drenched in cold sweat. Another nightmare, he thought gloomily. Hedwig had gone for her usual nightly wanderings. Once again he had seen Sirius falling through the Veil as he had fallen that day. He had been unable to get more than a few hours of sleep every night since that dreadful day. Nightmares of Sirius falling through the Veil were becoming usual these days and he usually woke up more than once from them. Others such as Cedric dying and Voldemort's rebirth also made guest appearances.

Why did I have to be so stupid, he asked himself for the umpteenth time since that day. Why couldn't I have agreed with Hermione?Why didn't I check the mirror first?, he berated himself. I am sorry Sirius. Please forgive me. Please comeback Sirius. I am sorry. The Dursleys hadn't bothered to call him for dinner that evening and he wondered if any of the warnings given by the Order would be considered by them. Why did his life had to be like this? Why couldn't he just be normal like everyone else? Why did he have to be the one to save the world from a stupid egotistical megalomaniac? Because only you can do it. You have the power to do it. The power to vanquish the Dark Lord. The Power the Dark Lord knows not… Harry cried himself to sleep that night.

The following morning Harry woke up little late feeling refreshed but very hungry. Fortunately he didn't have any more nightmares last night and he slept peacefully for once. Hedwig had still not returned. He showered quickly and went down to get some breakfast. He saw that his aunt had already prepared breakfast and Vernon and Dudley were already seated and inhaling their dishes. He helped himself to some toast and bacon while none of his relatives paid any attention to him. Once finished he got up to wash the plates and carried them to the sink. The time passed during breakfast in silence was more than agreeable to him. After finishing he returned to his room to see Hedwig sitting at his table and cleaning her snowy feathers. She hooted softly after seeing him. He gave her some owl treats and filled her water dish. She hooted her thanks and began nibbling on the treats.

Harry sat on his bead watching his faithful friend. She had always stayed with him for the past 5 years. He remembered the joy he felt after Hagrid had bought her for his eleventh birthday. The friendly half-giant was his first friend in the wizarding world. Hedwig was by far the most beautiful owl he had ever seen. Once she finished eating he held out his hand to her and she flew over to him. He began stroking her lovely feathers as she hooted to show her approval.

"You are beautiful girl", he said to her.

She puffed out her chest dramatically in pride as he chuckled slightly. He began thinking once again about his life as he kept stroking her feathers. He knew he didn't have any real family but he had plenty of friends, loyal friends that would throw their lives for him. Ron, Ginny, Hermione, Neville and Luna were only a few of the many who stood by him and accompanied him to the DoM. He could also count the rest of the DA members who would stand by his side. His life had not been perfect, but the recent years had been good to him. He held out his hand again towards the cage and Hedwig flew to cage to rest.

He opened up his trunk once again and decided to go over the happening of the previous year. He had to learn from his past mistakes so that at least the he wouldn't repeat them in the future. He knew the contents of the dreaded prophesy now and thought that any errors that can be avoided should be avoided. He decided to read the journal he had maintained since last years holidays when he was left alone.

A/N: Yay, my first story is out people. A gift on Boxing Day. Constructive criticsm is welcome. Please review.