AUTHOR'S NOTES: The first chapter of the untitled sequel to 'The Strength Within' is here! Short, I know, and as I have said, I'm looking for a co-writer to help me out. So...

To any interested parties, I give you the first chapter with this contest: Read, review if you like, and if you think you might want to help me write this sequel, write the next part and email me. Best stuff gets the gig, or--if I find someone in the meanwhile--a one-shot story featuring you and your favorite Harry Potter character.

Tthanks, y'all!


James Potter sat alone in the study, head in his hands, trying to think. The past year had been one of the worst since Harry had started. Now Dumbledore was dead; killed by Severus Snape.

A creak on the steps made James look up and he saw that it was Harry heading to the kitchen. He watched in silence as Harry carefully headed to the fridge and poured himself a glass of milk. James smiled as he watched Harry pull out a plate and fork before cutting a piece of the cake Lily had made earlier. It had taken some long months for James to accept Harry's blindness. When James and Lily first saw Harry around the house after coming home from the hospital, they were amazed at his determination. Harry never complained and never gave up.

After Harry went back upstairs, James thought about going to bed but he couldn't stop thinking about everything that had happened. There was so much—too much—going on to think about sleep.

"Daddy?" Mallory tip-toed into the study and sat on the sofa, tucking her feet underneath her. "You can't sleep either?"

James nodded as he ran a hand through his messy hair. "You, too, honey?"

Mallory shrugged. "Tobias and Harry are up talking. Mum's up as well. I guess none of us can sleep after what happened. I can't believe that Dumbledore's really gone. It's just wrong."

James stood and went to sit next to his only daughter who leaned against him. James put an arm around her and held her until Mallory finally nodded off. Picking her up, James carried Mallory upstairs and nudged the door open with his foot. Putting her to bed, James left the room, closing the door and going downstairs to his and Lily's bedroom after checking on Tobias and Harry.

Lily was sitting up in bed, reading when James came in. "Mallory finally fell asleep. Tobias and Harry are in bed but I don't think they're asleep," James said as he stripped down to red boxer shorts with blue hoof prints all over them. (A gift from Lily for his birthday.) Climbing in bed next to Lily, he added. "It's going to be a long night for a long time, I think."

Lily nodded as she set her book aside. "Life will never feel right again now that… That Dumbledore's…"


"Yeah," Lily whispered. She snuggled down and lay across James's bare chest, sighing. "Do you think things will ever be right again?"

James shrugged as he put an arm around his wife. "Not unless Voldemort dies, Dumbledore comes back to life and Harry regains his sight. Otherwise… probably not."


The next morning, Harry got up early and dressed quickly before Tobias got up and headed downstairs finding Sirius waiting at the kitchen table for him. "Slughorn told me about introducing you to Jennifer Waldenmeyer," he said, succinctly.

"Do you want to come with me?" Harry asked, smiling.

Sirius stood and pulled on a cloak before he and Harry went to the Floo fireplace to travel to Hogwarts.


Jennifer Waldenmeyer breathed in the familiar scent of potions and ingredients as she entered the Potions classroom at Hogwarts Castle. Her cane was held loosely at her side, but she didn't need it here. She remembered the room perfectly from when she was a student.

Hearing the store room door open, Jennifer turned as she heard Horace Slughorn come in. "Good morning, Professor," she said, cheerfully, holding out her hand.

Slughorn shook her hand happily. "My dear Jennifer! I am SO glad you could come! Absolutely delighted."

"Well what did you want to see me about?" Jennifer asked, sitting on one of the desks. "Trouble with a student, I suppose?"

"As a matter of fact, yes," Slughorn said, getting down to business. "Don't suppose you've heard of Harry Potter, have you?"

"Ahhh, yes," Jennifer replied, nodding. "Friend to Neville Longbottom, The Boy Who Lived, yeah?"

"Indeed," Slughorn said, going to sit at his own desk. "A year ago Mr. Potter had some prolonged exposures to the Cruciatus Curse. It cost the poor lad his sight."

Jennifer sighed. "Poor kid. I mean I started doing magic without being able to see, but to be suddenly blind… How's he doing?"

"Better," Slughorn replied. "It's not so much the functioning Harry needs help on. You see, it's…"

"Learning how to defend himself?" Jennifer asked, pleasantly.

"Precisely," Slughorn replied.