The sun shone down upon Privet Drive brightly one day in mid July, welcoming the residents to step outside their homes and bask in all its glory upon their pristine lawns.
However, not everyone of Privet Drive had noticed the sunshine outside or the cool summer breeze that swept through the air. This person was Harry Potter. He was a perfectly ordinary 16 year old boy… well, unless you count the curiously lightning bolt shaped scar that resided upon his forehead, yet well hidden beneath an ever-growing and untidy mop of black hair.
Harry had received this scar the night both his parents had been killed. They had been murdered at the hands of the darkest wizard ever known to the wizarding world, the world to which Harry Potter belonged.
However, the dark wizard known as Lord Voldemort, or 'He-who-must-not-be-named' had failed at his attempt to kill Harry because of Harry's mother, Lily. Lily Potter had sacrificed herself in an attempt to save her son from such a fate as she, and by so doing, protected Harry with a blood bond that at the time was unknown to Voldemort. So when Voldemort struck Harry with the fatal 'Avada Kedavra' curse, the spell backfired leaving Voldemort stripped of his powers and a mere bodiless entity.
Since then Lord Voldemort had been slowly regaining his power, whilst his followers, known as Death Eaters, rejoined their master's side. Last year, Harry had been tricked into the department of mysteries by a vision that he had received by Voldemort of him torturing Harry's godparent Sirius Black. Along with his friends, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny and Luna; Harry had gone to the department of mysteries in an attempt to what he thought was a rescue mission. However, they were set upon by Lord Voldemort's Death Eaters and very nearly killed, only when The Order arrived with Sirius did they realise the trap that had been set for them, I trap in which cost Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, his life.
For almost a month now Harry had been replaying the events that took place at the ministry over and over again in his head. Thinking how foolish he had been to believe that Sirius was in trouble and then how stupid it was of him to endanger his friends and his own life by gallivanting off to the Ministry of Magic. Most nights he would cry himself to sleep, muttering how sorry he was that he had cost Sirius his life, that it was all his fault.
When Harry did eventually get to sleep, he would suffer from nightmares of watching Sirius fall through the veil over and over again, and when Harry would reach the veil he'd pull it back only to reveal the decayed and rotting face of his once handsome godfather, saying, 'Why Harry? Why do you always have to play the hero?' at which Harry would choke between sobs, 'I'm sorry Sirius, I'm sorry!' To which the rotted flesh would form a smile before widening and uttering a high pitched, cold, merciless laugh. The laugh of Lord Voldemort.
For many nights now Harry had awoken from the same re-occurring dream in a cold sweat and his scar prickling slightly.
Harry however, being in the low, self-pitying mood that he was in, found that the nightmares served as his punishment and that he deserved to have them, after all he had cost Sirius his life, and compared to that what were a few nightmares?
On top of all this, Harry also had the over-hanging weight of the prophecy upon him. Before the end of last year, Professor Dumbledore had revealed to him what the prophecy had said, after the record of it at the department of mysteries was smashed.
Harry still hadn't come to terms with what it meant yet, he was still grieving for Sirius and his mind was so full of other things that the last thing he wanted was to begin contemplating that he either had to be victim or murderer.
He also hadn't heard much from the wizarding world this summer, despite Dumbledore's actions of last year when he had admitted his mistake in keeping things from Harry, it didn't seem as though much had changed. Every letter he had received was pretty much the same:
How are you? I'm fine, I went to the south of France with my parents, it was lovely. I wanted to send you a postcard but thought better of it since well… you know…
Ron and I are at Headquarters, there seems to be lots going on however we're still not allowed to sit in on any of the meetings and no one seems to want to tell us anything of any importance, and what we do know we can't put in any letters in case they are intercepted… but don't worry, we'll be sure to fill you in on all that we know when you do get here. Which by the way should be pretty soon.
Harry, I just wanted to say don't punish yourself over what happened last year, I know it's hard, we all miss Sirius, but I know he wouldn't want you to mope around all summer, he'd want you to live life, get out there and do things…
Anyway, hope to see you soon,
Hey mate, things are really boring around here. Mum won't let us in on any of the meetings still and because Fred and George have joined The Order now we can't even use any of their Extendable Ears! How are you? Hope the Muggles are treating you right? Otherwise we'll come right over and get you, and maybe set Moody on them!! Listen don't worry too much about you know… what happened before at the Ministry. Nobody blames you, so you shouldn't blame yourself either, ok?
Well see you soon mate,
Ps) Mum and Dad say that they'll be picking you up sometime before Saturday, but they'll owl you before.
After passing through the barrier of platform 9¾ last year, Harry had been told to owl the order at least once every three days to tell them that he was ok and that the muggles (Harry's Aunt and Uncle) were treating him ok. Harry had resigned to writing them at the very last moment, before he worried that the whole Order might arrive if they didn't hear from him. Every note was the same: I'm fine. He had also told Hedwig not to await for a reply, he didn't want them to be sending him messages back, just so long as they didn't come storming through the house in search of him, he was fine.
However, Harry was not fine at all. He had barely eaten anything that his aunt Petunia slid through the cat flap that had been placed in his door to pass his food through, and the only times he left his room was to go to the bathroom or cook the Dursley's their breakfast. The Dursley's it seemed, were happy with this arrangement. In their opinion the less they saw of Harry the better the day would seem. Not that Harry minded, the last thing he wanted now was attention, all he wanted was to sink into shadow, and never be found again.
Now however, Harry's room was basking in sunlight and any hope of shadow to hide in was lost. Harry groaned. He was sprawled on his back on top of the covers of his bed, wide awake, just staring at the ceiling, watching as Sirius fell in slow-motion through the mysterious veil. His thoughts were disrupted however when their was a rush of wings and the hoot of a tawny owl as it glided into the room, landing softly on Harry's bed. Slowly Harry raised himself off the bed into a sitting position, taking the rolled up newspaper from the Tawny's grasp. He placed a Knut inside the owls pouch before it took off again outside the open window.
Harry picked up the paper and unfurled it, he glanced down at the front page as his eyes became round like saucers behind his wire-rimmed glasses.
'MASSIVE BREAKOUT AT AZKABAN AS DEMENTORS JOIN YOU-KNOW-WHO!'
Below the headline were the mug shots of three of the Death Eaters to have escaped. To the left was Antonin Dolohov, next was Rodolphos LeStrange, and lastly Lucius Malfoy. Harry's heart sank still lower, all that had happened at the end of last year had been in vain, the Death Eaters that they had helped capture had now escaped, and what's worse was that now the Dementors had joined Voldemort too. Sirius had died for nothing.
Suddenly another owl came sweeping through the open window, Harry recognised it immediately as Pig. The small owl buzzed around Harry's room excitedly, obviously thrilled at being used to deliver another message. Harry stood on top his bed and snatched at the letter held in Pig's claws, who obviously didn't want a reply as it flew back out through the window again.
Harry, expecting to read Ron's scruffy scrawl as he looked at the parchment was surprised to see the loopy, neat handwriting of Professor Lupin:
Be ready to leave by midnight tonight, we're coming to get you.
Having nothing else better to do Harry decided to pack his trunk even though it was only lunchtime. He even folded-up all of his clothes and placed them neatly at the bottom of his trunk, before resting all of his spell books and homework on top. He quickly scrawled a note on the back of the parchment that Lupin had used saying:
Ok. I'm sending Hedwig ahead.
Then he attached the note to Hedwig and watched as she took off out the window. He dragged his trunk towards his door and placed Hedwig's cage and his Firebolt next to it. He looked longingly at his Firebolt, Dumbledore had sent it back to him along with six owls carrying it, only last week. The Firebolt was the broomstick that Sirius had given him in his third year at Hogwarts, he let the tears stain his face before breaking down completely and collapsing to the floor, still clutching the broomstick. Soon he was asleep again.
'Why Harry? Why do you always have to play the hero?'
'I'm sorry Sirius. I'm sorry!'
Unaware of what time it was, Harry awoke from the nightmare that had plagued him since the beginning of summer. He was drenched in a cold sweat and his scar tingled painfully, but he brushed away his tears angrily. He had no business crying, this was what he deserved.
Finally he found his alarm clock, it was 8pm. He gingerly got to his feet, immediately wishing he hadn't as his head began to spin and his scar burst open. The pain was excruciatingly painful, like nothing he had ever felt before, worse than when it had hurt at the ministry. He came crashing back down to the floor, his head banging against the solid floor.
'…you have done well it seems', came the familiar high pitched and cold voice of Lord Voldemort.
'Yes, my Lord, thank-you master.' Their face was hidden in shadow by their dark hood
'What of the Aurors?
The masked face of Bellatrix LeStrange was thrown into view as Harry watched from the eyes of Voldemort himself.
'Obliviated, my Lord.'
Voldemort's lipless mouth formed a grotesque smile. 'Bella, you shall be rewarded.'
'Thank-you master, thank-you!' Bellatrix grovelled in front of Voldemort's feet as she kissed the hem of his black robes and bowed before him.
The usually sleek blonde hair of Lucius Malfoy appeared to be dull and knotted, his face grimy and his fingernails caked in dirt.
'My Lord.' He replied grovelling before the feet of Voldemort before repeating LeStrange's actions and kissing the hem of his robes.
Voldemort regarded him for a moment or two before kicking him in the side away from him. Lucius rolled away from him and recoiled into a small ball before gingerly stooping into a very low bow.
Lucius slowly got to his feet and winced.
'You failed me before Lucius. You should be grateful that I even bothered to release you from Azkaban!'
'Yes my Lord, I am Master!'
Continuing as if Lucius had not said anything Voldemort said, 'However, I am in a good mood. You shall prove your loyalty to me and that you can be trusted once again by completing this simple task…' Voldemort seemed to pause as if deciding to continue or not. '…you will find out what was in the prophecy between myself and Potter. If you fail, the consequences will be severe. Do I make myself clear?'
Lucius hurriedly replied, 'Y-yes my Lord.'
'Good. Do not give me reason to doubt your service to me again, and use any means necessary'
'Yes Master.' Lucius replied with again a very low bow before sweeping away, out of Harry's view.
The vision faded and Harry was brought back to the confines of his bedroom. He wheezed for air as bile rose inside of his throat seeking exit, and before he knew it he had been sick and passed out again on the floor.
A/N: I've already written up to chapter 17 so far, so updates should be pretty regular for a while. Hope you enjoyed this, and don't forget to review!! :D Sam.