I've got a beta now. A huge thank you again for investing so much time in this, Tsurai no Shi!

I'll start to repost all chapters soon. For now I have only reposted the first Chapter. Chapter 5 and 6 are already waiting in the wings.

Chapter 1

Harry lay on his bed in the smallest bedroom at Number four Privet Drive and once again brooded about the crap that claimed to be his life. It did not pass muster, completely insufficient, he'd require the cards to be reshuffled. After the fiasco at the end of fifth year Dumbledore had finally divulged the contents of the prophecy to him, to kill or be killed, which was quite morbid in and of itself but rather more unsettling was the doubt whether or not he really had a free will in this.

Was his free will merely limited to how well he could prepare himself to become a killer or prepare himself for his own death?

While after the death of Sirius he felt the desire for revenge more than ever, Voldemort forced his hand in this. After his entrance in the wizarding world at eleven, he had had hopes for a better life, a magical life, full of wonder. His thoughts had not been filled by revenge.

He sighed. It was not to be. Dumbledore had sacrificed his happiness and childhood for the greater good and Voldemort forced his hand, anyway. Due to his recent loss it it had become indeed personal. Voldemort had killed more than Sirius at the Ministry, he had killed his last threads of childhood. He would not really be out for Voldemort for some delusional ideas of the greater good.

The light sight of the wizarding world looked at him as the means to defeat Voldemort once and for all. The chosen one, the weapon. They did not care about him, Harry, they wanted him to save them all, so they could feel safe, ignore the threat and go on with their lives. Few people had the courage to take a stand. Harry resented them for this.

Could he still decide his own destiny, meet the end of the conflict on his terms? Up until now he had blindly stumbled around, jumping into foolish self righteous adventures for the perceived good.

There is no good and evil, there is only power and those too weak to seek it.

Well, even given the source there was some truth in it. There was no absolute good or absolute evil, there were merely shades of grey. He, Harry, certainly was not absolutely good. The hate, and the thirst for revenge were proof of that.

Given that he had to kill Voldemort made sure of it. He wanted to survive and the good little hero would not, he had to die before Voldemort had a chance to kill Harry.

He wanted a chance at the bright side of life which was denied to him by Voldemort and to an extent by the order as well, for his protection and the greater good, of course.

"No more," Harry muttered to himself. "I will meet destiny on my own terms."

That said, Harry began to think once more. He had been brooding since that night in Dumbledore's office, at first overcome by grief for his godfather, then wallowing in anger and helplessness at the unfairness of it all, then drowning in resignation of his presumed fate.

He had aged a lot since then. He shed his childhood like a snake shed an old skin with the final resolution to take his life in his own hands. There would be no more greater good.

His eyes hardened and with a decisive poise he left Privet Drive for a walk in the park. What would need to be done? He could no longer afford to let others make decisions that were his to make, to keep him in the dark.

He looked down at his threadbare sneakers, his too large jeans. While he was not vain, his clothes were those of a self sacrificing idiot who cared little about himself. It gave those who saw fit to walk all over him a valid point.

Why should they respect him, if he didn't even take care for himself ? And while he assumed that the final confrontation would come and might end his life, it should give him even more reason to make the best of it. He had truly gained a new outlook on his life.

It might also give him a better angle at making allies. Not all purebloods sided with Voldemort, but surely they would never throw in their lot with an underage slob. He winced at the thought at the image he must give off to others. An awkward teen with a temper who looked like a beggar.

Dumbledore had indeed done him a disservice by first leaving him with the Dursley's and then throwing him in the wizarding world without any idea what to expect. He did not believe this was due to an oversight by the headmaster any longer.

The headmaster with his all knowing twinkle did rarely anything without a reason. His ignorance of the wizarding world had served the headmaster well.

His knowledge had always been too limited to question the established opinions of those around him. His first contact to the wizarding world had been Hagrid, who kind hearted as he was, really was not the best source for knowledge about the wizarding world.

With his wand snapped after third year, he now lived on the outside of the wizarding world and of course he was fiercely loyal to Dumbledore. Hagrid had greatly influenced his opinion of the headmaster.

But the headmaster with his kind grandfather attitude was not all caring. After he had disposed him at the Dursely's doorsteps, he had not once checked on him before Hogwarts or tried to make living with them in the summer more bearable.

Again, his thoughts had gone on a rampage off topic on their own. Step by step he would have to take control over his life. He would have to begin with people's perception of him. Subtle changes while still playing his cards close to his chest.

This afforded some cunning. He snorted. The Sorting Hat had wanted to put him in Slytherin, for Merlin's sake! He had to have some of those qualities after all.

Killing off a Dark Lord certainly counted as ambition. Cunning and ambition in and of itself certainly were not evil but rather a necessity when it came to his task. Only his naive eleven year old self had believed that and then the thought of Slytherin as the symbol of evil had somehow stuck to his mind.

"Well played old man," he grumbled. Had it not been for Hagrid and Ron with their narrow minded perception of Slytherin as evil, the Hat would have put him in Slytherin.

Malfoy's attitude had not helped either. He felt no regret for being sorted into Gryffindor. Life there surely was far more pleasant. Like that he had not to share a dorm with Malfoy. That had to be a plus.

Harry wondered how to go about changing his appearance. He would prefer to be walking through the wizarding world like a beggar for the last time.

Maybe he could ask Hermione to loan him some muggle money? He felt rather reluctant to go to Dumbledore for this. For a start, he could buy some nice muggle clothing and then in Diagon Alley he would get robes.

Harry blinked. Apparently he had been sitting there for hours without realizing time passing by. He slowly got up and marched with his new decisive walk back to the Dursely's. He stopped at the kitchen to raid the fridge.

He had hardly ever dared to do so before. During his childhood he had learnt to expect dire consequences and then he had been too resigned to defy the rules set by the Dursleys. He would no longer allow them to starve him. Right now he was hungry though. For the first time since Sirius had fallen through the veil he was aware of his stomach grumbling. .

Maybe he should get to Gringott's so he could eat out sometimes to treat himself to real meals. For now he quickly made himself a sandwich. A few slices of bread, cheese and ham would not be missed with the amount Dudley ate.

When he had his own money he would buy food for himself. Aunt Petunia's cooking certainly left much to be desired and their was no need to seek a confrontation with his relatives on top of everything else. So far this summer they had left him alone and he would rather it stayed that way.

Upstairs he went to his desk and started to compose his letter to Hermione, all the while munching on his sandwich.

Dear Hermione,

How are you. Around here there is not much to tell, in a letter anyway. The Dursley's are their usual selves. They have left me alone, thankfully, no chores this summer . I guess Moody left quite an impression on them.

However, food tends to be sparse and for the sake of Dudley's supposed diet I suffer Aunt Petunia's cooking. I've been thinking: Could you send me some Pounds? I loathe to ask for this but I'd really enjoy to give me a treat and eat out once in a while. And well, I have become rather self conscious about my clothing. I would really like to buy something that actually fits. Of course, I'll pay you back.

Love,

Harry

That sounded about al right Let her think he was getting vain, wanted to impress some girl or whatever. He did not feel like explaining himself to her further. She would soon remark the changes in him herself. Let her draw her own conclusions.

He smiled and send Hedwig off with the letter. By now it was past midnight and still his mind would not settle. It felt good to plan. For once he did not feel helpless. He was no longer passive. However, he would need his strength. So he went to bed, and after what felt like an eternity he fell into a light slumber. For once he was not kept awake by dread, but rather felt too alive to fully fall asleep.

Sometime early in the morning sleep must finally have over come him, for when he was awoken by a knock on the window it was noon. He sprang up and for once felt refreshed. He gazed at the window, then jumped up and let Hedwig in.

Hermione had send him an envelope. He pet Hedwig and in search for some owl treats ripped the envelope open. Inside were two hundred pounds.

Well, this was a good start he guessed. He hid the letter and the notes under the pillow and headed for the bathroom. It took him only twenty minutes till he left the house.

He went for the mall which was quite far off, but taking the bus and paying with hundred pound notes would draw attention to him. He was, after all, the good-for-nothing nephew of Vernon Dursley who attended a school for criminals.

It took him half an hour until he stood in front of a clothing store which had a variety of different styles. He was new to the rules of fashion, as he had never really pondered on his appearance before and felt overwhelmed by the the racks of clothing surrounding him.

He wished for an outfit that demanded respect that made him look older perhaps, nice but powerful enough to keep people on their toes. In the end he chose simple black pants, a tight green t shirt and a light black jacket which was for sale. In the next store he got some simple black leather shoes, which luckily were also for sale. All in all, his new outfit was nothing special, but it was all he could afford for the moment.

After all he still needed to buy something to disguise his scar and a ticket for the train for his outing to Diagon Alley and to his own consternation he had no real estimate of prices in the muggle world. He had never owned any muggle money, before.

Harry felt increasingly self conscious as he entered the drug store. Helplessly, he stared at the rows of lined up products. A young man who appeared to be around a couple of years older than him went up to him.

"Hi. My name is Joe. Can I help you?" he asked, giving him a once over and Harry was suddenly glad that he had immediately put on his new clothes.

"Yes, actually... " he said "You see I've had a make over ..." The clerk waited for him to continue, his eyes fixed on his face. "I'm looking for something to cover this up." Harry pointed at his scar. Joe peered at his forehead.

"Well that doesn't look too bad. It looks kind of cool actually, gives you something ..." he stopped abruptly.

Harry grinned. "Well , thank you. I'd rather cover this up though. It makes people stare at my forehead."

"Of course," the guy nodded.

Harry looked at him. He was well built, lean, clothed completely in black and had a friendly face which at the same time looked closed off.

Joe had apparently noticed his look and smirked. Harry blushed slightly and then Joe went off somewhere in the back. A short time later he came back with what he explained to be a cover up stick and some powder make up. Joe looked thoughtfully at him.

"Would you like me to demonstrate?"

"Yes, please," replied Harry.

"OK, hold still ," nodded Joe. He held up the stick.

"This, you put directly over your scar. " He drew the stick over the scar and held up a mirror. "You can no longer see the scar but you see that something is covered up. Therefore, you cover your forehead with this powder," he explained.

Harry watched in fascination as almost all traces of his scar disappeared. He thanked the man and grinned widely.

Joe gazed at him calculatingly. "How old are you, by the way?"

"Fifteen, why?"

"Oh," the clerk seemed undecided and then asked suddenly shy. "Would you like to hang out some time?"

"Sure," Harry smiled.

"Great, well I'm about to be done for today. I would like to hang out but I've promised a friend in London to come over. So maybe tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow ? I'm not sure that I can come down here tomorrow. But could you give me a lift to London? I wanted to go there by train but as you are going anyway..." Harry trailed off hopefully.

"Sure." Joe nodded. "So, you'll take this stuff?"

"Yes, it's brilliant!" Harry decided. After all, it would often be useful not to be immediately recognized, even though his scar was already covered up for now.

"I'll go ring this up for you and then we can leave," he said.

The car ride was nice, though Harry tensed up in anticipation as they neared the Leaky Cauldron. Finally, Harry said, "Um, you can let me off here."

"OK. So see you soon?" Joe winked. Harry nodded and somehow got the feeling that he had missed something important.

He did not dwell on it though and said, "I'll just drop by the store."

Ten minutes later Harry anxiously entered the Leaky Cauldron. Would he be recognized or were decent clothes and the lack of his scar enough to hide his true identity. He quickly approached Gringott's, went to the nearest free goblin and wordlessly held out his key. It was weird and liberating at the same time to for once not to be stared at.

At his vault he took out an extremely large amount of money and converted a thousand pounds. He had much to buy and wanted to spoil himself a bit for once. Nobody had ever done so for him. He was rather proud of himself in a weird way, proud to be able to spoil himself.

His next stop was Madam Malkin's where Harry ordered every day robes in emerald green, dark blue, black and grey. He also took a new cloak. He went for a simple design but exclusive fabrics, as he reasoned he had had no chance to develop a style of his own or even good taste in clothing. One could not go wrong with simple, right? He hoped he would look dignified. At least he would not look ridiculous, like Lockhard.

He also got some dragon hide boots. He was assured that his robes would be ready within the hour and went to Flourish and Blotts. It was high time he got acostumed with the traditions of the world he was supposed to save. While he waited for his robes, he treated himself to some ice cream at Florean Fortescue's.

When he excited Madam Malkin's he had spent 34 Gallons and was clad in an unobtrusive dark grey robe. His purchases had been put in a feather light bottomless bag.

He went for Knockturn Alley to look at books there. It had shook him quite hard that he knew hardly anything about the other side, the so called Dark Side and their views. In fact, he had never chosen a side. He needed to form an opinion of his own after all. And the dark side had not invented itself with Voldemort, of course.

Finally in a book store he found a book which seemed like a good start. A Guide for the young Pureblood and several books which discussed the principle of the Dark Arts. The clerk had not looked at him twice. It paid off to blend in with one's surroundings. Nevertheless, he decided not to press his luck and he quickly left for the Leaky Cauldron.

When he was twelve, Knockturn Alley had seemed to him like the eptimone of evil. Now he acknowledged the thick liveliness of despair that hung in the air.

Knockturn Alley was not necessarily evil, merely a place where the unfortunate and poor dwelled and conducted their obscure businesses away from the Ministry's eyes. A part of the wizarding black market. It compared rather to what Harry imagined muggle slums to be.

Finally he left the wizarding world via Diagon Alley and took the train from Kings Cross to Surrey and arrived back at Privet Drive. After putting his purches in his trunk, he went off once again to get some food from the snack bar near the primary school.

It felt good to have money to spent. That night he slept peacefully with a smile on his face.

The next day he decided to see Joe at the store around noon to see, if he would like to share lunch or dinner with him somewhere. After all now that he had the money he only needed some company to transform his current situation into a bit of a holiday.

Harry suddenly realized that the last few days he had not been filled with grief over Sirius death. He felt guilty. How could he simply put the memory of his godfather aside like that? Oh Merlin, how he missed him!

Somehow he then realized that he could honour his memory far better when he himself truly lived and remembered not the dead man behind the veil but the fun loving reckless living one.

And he could almost see his godfathers face saying, "Now play, have fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do, cub ," with that dog like bark in his voice, while grinning like a maniac.

If McGonagall or, Merlin forbid, Snape said, "Don't do anything, I wouldn't do," that would certainly put severe restraints on him, but Sirius' comment in his mind was an invitation to mischief.

Now Harry himself grinned like a maniac while tears were running down his checks. Sirius would never truly leave him, he would always be there when he remembered him like that. Life was going on, waiting to be lived.

He arrived at the mall and went to the bathroom first to wash his face a little. However, upon entering the bathroom he promptly bumped into Joe.

"Hi," Harry said.

"Harry," mumbled Joe, who still stood extremely close to him and peered at his face.

"You 've been crying," Joe noted. Harry nodded.

"Listen, I'm OK really. I just came by to ask, if you'd, um, like to have lunch or dinner with me today."

"Sure, though I have still two hours to work," Joe replied apologetically but he looked truly happy to see Harry.

"Great. I'll just walk around a bit. I still need some stuff anyway," Harry replied and went off to get more muggle clothes.

He would most certainly not be wearing clothes like this walking pig he had for an uncle. Vernon? Vermin. That was quite fitting. The wizarding world would not realize anyway, whether what he wore was considered decent by muggle standards and he wanted never to be put anywhere near the same category of decent as Vermin anyway.

Finally, Harry found some Asian styled silk button ups with dragons and snakes stitched into them. Well, they may not be standard, but surely they were high quality. He would definitely not wear dress pants, nice black pants were fine. He also bought a leather jacket. He adored his new muggle outfit as much as the wizarding one. Who k new that this could be so much fun.

At last, Harry settled down on a bench with four plastic bags in front of him and waited for Joe to get out of work , who did a surprised double take when he came out of the store and took in the amount of bags in front of Harry.

"You sure have been heavily shopping," commented Joe.

"I'll be back at school in Scotland in September. I know I wont get anything there," Harry explained, which was certainly true since Hogsmeade offered hardly enough muggle clothing to put off a halfway convincing disguise as a muggle. He had not even considered getting himself something instead of Dudley's rags there.

Some wizards and witches apparently had so little contact to the muggle world that they did not even realize that usually men did not wear dresses, that is if they did want to avoid drawing attention to themselves, of course, which was the point of a disguise. But somehow wizards and witches just did not get it right. They mixed centuries haphazardly together, or the man at the Quidditch world cup, wearing a woman's night gown.

"Shall we?" inquired Joe.

"Yeah, where to?" asked Harry.

"Any idea?" asked Joe.

"I've never been going out around here. I have no idea where to go."

Joe looked surprised. "Oh. How long have you lived here?"

"Since I was one. My parents died and I went to live with my mother's sister and her family ."

"And they never took you anywhere?" asked Joe, bewildered.

"Hell no, my aunt despised her sister who died and got her saddled with me, though I really was more like a work slave than a burden to her," Harry shrugged.

"So now they send you off to Scotland for most of the year?" questioned Joe sharply, his voice quivering in anger.

"Err, it is were my parents went to school. They had paid the fee in advance," Harry assured him, "It's al right, I guess." Joe still looked a little shell shocked.

"That's at least something," he said and guided Harry with an arm around his shoulders to his car.

"So anyway, where to?" Harry wanted to know.

They ended up in a cosy looking pub twenty minutes away. Harry looked around, the interior looked light and friendly. Several tables on the side were a little out of the way. On one of those tables apparently was a couple intent on sucking their faces out as Ron would put it. They went over to one of those tables secluded in the corner on the other side of the room.

A waiter came to their table with the menu

"Rick!" exclaimed Joe, standing up to give the guy a hug. Harry smiled at the waiter who seemed to know his knew friend.

"Wont you introduce me to your friend?"

"Harry this is Rick. Rick this is Harry."

"Hi!" Harry smiled and the waiter left.

"So ..." said Joe to Harry as Harry skimmed the menu.

"So?" Harry looked up and smiled goofily. Then he looked at the menu again.

"Do you know what you want already?" Joe asked after several minutes.

"Yeah, I think so," Harry said. Joe waved Rick over and Harry ordered an steak with western potatoes and salad And Joe ordered a Caesar Salad. Both ordered an ale, which Harry then regarded quite distrustfully.

"What was that in the bathroom today about?" Joe wanted to know. "Was it your relatives?"

Harry looked up and said "Well, kind of." Joe's eyes got quite a protective glint in them and Harry hastily added.

"Well not my Aunt's family. My godfather had died recently. He was supposed to get custody over me and all."

"Oh." Joe looked helplessly for something to say. "You really have bad luck."

"I'm not the safest person to have around; I guess," Harry nodded.

"Oh, don't you think it's you!" Joe exclaimed. Harry smiled.

"It was actually a fun memory," Harry smiled, "He was a fun person to have around."

Joe hugged Harry and Harry hugged him back, feeling his lean body against his chest.

"You know, I really like you," said Joe, caressing Harry's hair.

"I like you too," Harry said, smiling up at him.

Joe locked eyes with him, his face closing slowly in. Harry blinked owlishly at him, completely unprepared for what happened next. Surprisingly to Harry, Joe lips suddenly touched his. Harry stayed completely still as those lips tenderly moved around his, until Joe started to teasingly lick Harry's lips.

Wide eyed, Harry jerked back.

"Huh, that was unexpected."

"Unexpected? "Joe quirked an eyebrow.

"Em" Harry said. "I didn't think you'd kiss me."

"You said you liked me."

"Yeah, I do." Harry paused.

"I didn't think you meant like that," Harry mumbled, turning the colour of a ripe cherry. Joe started to look increasingly panicked.

"Oh, I'm sorry I thought you were gay, too. He hid his face in his hands. "I mean, I thought we were on a date. You asked me out to dinner, you hugged me..."

"Uh," Harry mumbled embarrassedly "I guess, I'm extremely clueless with those things. I always suck when it comes to that."

"You're not mad?" Joe asked uncertainly.

"No, it was just... unexpected." Harry smiled shyly.

"So you're not gay?" Joe wanted to know, gnawing nervously on his lips..

"I wouldn't know," he admitted pensively.

"What do you mean?"Joe asked, confused.

"I went on only one date with a girl that I really liked. It was a real nightmare."

"Oh," Joe said. "You are only fifteen after all. That's not completely unusual."

"Maybe not, but I don't think I was ever interested in any one else, either. I guess it never crossed my mind that I could also look out for guys. So I really have no clue," Harry answered helplessly. "I didn't want to lead you on or something."

Joe smiled. "You're a cute guy. It's al right You'll find out on your own time."

Harry stared dubiously at him.

"I guess."

They ate and Joe asked, "So, will you tell me about your nightmare date? "

"Huh?" said Harry "It's kind of embarrassing I kind of fancied her in fourth year already and when I asked her out to a school party, she already had a date.

Then her boyfriend had an accident and never came back and I guess, I kind of reminded her of him or something, because I had seen how the accident had happened. One day after a club she simply kissed me and she cried and it was wet and really quite horrible. I just stood there like petrified and she ran away.

Then I asked her on a date in the village one day. We went into this disgusting cafe and she told me that this was where Cedric and she had always gone and she wanted to talk about him and how his accident happened.

Next to us sat other couples from my school and I, uh, felt really felt pressured and I told her that I had promised my best friend to meet her later on, but of course she could come along. She accused me of really fancying my best friend, which was ridiculous and then she ran off, and that was that," Harry rambled.

"So it was all wet and really quite disgusting?" Joe grinned.

"Um, yeah." Harry nodded emphatically.

"So with that vivid description, how would describe my kiss?"

"Huh, it wasn't wet. I mean, you didn't cry and, uh, it wasn't disgusting. " His flush darkened. "I really do have a way of putting my foot in my mouth, don't I?"

"That's not what I usually hear when I kiss someone. "Joe smiled slightly and scratched his neck.

" Wouldyoumindkissingmeagain?" Harry muttered under his breath.

"What?"

Harry looked up. "Kiss me, again? "

Apparently, he was not supposed to cease blushing that day. Joe closed in and Harry hugged him, hiding his flaming face in Joe's neck. Then he looked up and Joe cupped his face in his hands. Harry closed his eyes.

He felt lips against his and started slowly to kiss back. That did feel nice. He sighed and opened his mouth a little, when he a slim tongue slipped into his mouth. The tongue began to softly rub against his own and he moaned, tugging Joe closer.

Experimentally, he slipped his own tongue into Joe's mouth. Had he known that kissing felt so good, he would have kissed Malfoy, instead of - where did that thought come from? There he was kissing this really nice guy and he thought of Malfoy. Joe ended the kiss and Harry stared bright eyed and breathlessly at him.

"Wow," he said dazedly.

"So wanna go on a date with me?" Joe, chuckled.

"I have no idea why you'd want to date little clueless me, but... yeah I guess so," Harry smiled, "Though this cannot go on beyond this summer, OK?"

After dinner Joe drove Harry to the Dursley's, where after a shy kiss good night Harry hopped out of the car with his purchases.

In the following weeks Harry kept busy. He spent a lot of time with Joe, who also introduced him to martial arts. They went to lessons three times a week and Harry suspected that they would help his duelling a lot, as it increased his endurance and helped him discover weaknesses. It also gifted him with a grace that had been missing from his movements.

He also read through his new books. A Guide for the Young Pure blood proved to be an eye opener. Beneath the sneering nasals the book seemed to be drenched in, there was a great deal of essential information. There were many Pureblood customs the ignorant quite unwittingly trampled with their feet. Harry learned that buried deeply in the depths of hate for muggles and muggleborns was the fear of exposure and the next witch hunt, which really made a lot of sense now that he pondered it.

In the Middle Ages the witch hunts had decreased the number of witches and wizards dramatically. Even then Muggles had over powered the magical community by mere numbers. As a result the magical community had invoked the statute of secrecy to protect themselves from muggles.

Wizarding folk had hardly changed their ways since that time, while muggles had progressed dramatically. The gap in the numbers of muggles and magicians had drifted further apart. With the inbreeding in Pureblood society, the wizarding society steadily decreased in numbers, while muggles in comparison reproduced like rats.

Muggles had produced more nasty weapons than most people in the wizarding world could image. Pictures of Hiroshima, Vietnam and other wars flickered across his mental eyes. Wizards had the Unforgivables to do their worst at their disposal, which really paled with the ruthless tendency of muggles for mass murder. If muggles ever became aware of the magical community, the wizards would not stand a chance.

He didn't even need to question, whether or not the magical community would be perceived as a threat. Of course they would be, not because muggles were evil, but out of fear. While they were no longer in the Middle Ages and some muggles might be quite taken with the idea of magic, enough people would not take the news well at all.

A prime example were the Durselys, of course. Even more open minded people would fear the power they did not have and in the end people would demand that the threat be eliminated.

This insight certainly was no reason to kill off muggles left and right. However, it gave him a new perspective about the war and the conflict of Salazar Slytherin's refusal to let muggleborn students into Hogwarts.

Those students had been a constant threat of exposure to the wizarding world, were they to continue living among their families, who at that time still believed in the existence of magic, even if their imagination derived far from the truth.

Never before had Harry heard of Slytherin's reasons for hating muggles and muggleborns. Was his reason long buried in the depths of history and abandoned for mindless racism? Harry could not help but feel that while Slytherin himself had had some valid points, it was the root of the major problems of modern magical society.

Blood purity weakened the magical race, as they were forced to marry distant relatives at best. They had difficulties to reproduce at all and fewer children each generation were magically strong. The magical community needed the fresh blood of muggleborns that purebloods denied so stubbornly to mix with.

Another argument which purebloods held against including muggleborns in their society was, They don't know our ways, which was certainly true, as there was next to nothing done to introduce muggle raised children to the magical world; as he knew from experience.

Harry realized that his knowledge of both worlds was rather limited, as after he began Hogwarts at eleven he had been locked away at the Dursley's more than ever. He needed to at least get a firm grasp of muggle history and an overview over science.

However, wizards and witches knew next to nothing about modern muggle society. Arthur Weasley, with his admiration for all things muggle was frowned upon and Harry realized that in spite of his fascination Mr. Weasley really knew very little about muggles and their way of life. Harry certainly was no muggle lover, but he strongly believed that wizarding society should keep up to date with the happenings in the muggle world.

For the first time Harry looked across the allegorical fence when it came to the war. He had always known that it concerned the whole of the wizarding and muggle world but until now he had not grasped at the sheer madness of it all, and for all involved. Voldemort was attacking muggles.

Before long, Voldemort would expose the magical community to the muggle world. No memory charms would help against the Internet. The more reports they got, the more people would doubt and then the time would come when governments would target magical people. They would truly not care that the magical community was divided into "muggle lovers" and "Purebloods", but shoot and ask questions later or not at all.

They'd make magicians into guinea pigs, the freaks they could not understand. Again they would be blamed for all like in the Middle Ages. Harry wholeheartedly agreed to secrecy.

Even if he hated muggles, which was not the case, it would simply not work. Magicians would be extinct. Who knew which of their weapons the muggles would throw around and if even the muggles could survive in the toxic residual of a magical against muggle war. Harry shuddered. As if the muggles needed his kind to commit mass murder.

Harry decided then and now that the magical world needed a new side. He saw no reason why his stand should not appease the less radical purebloods, as well as the more casual sympathisers of muggle society. The wizarding world seemed to basically lack a middle ground, which he planned to fill.

He knew Voldemort cared truly neither for the muggle or the wizarding world. He was insane and too filled of hate to care. But few people wanted total destruction. He would create the middle ground where purebloods and "blood traitors" could compromise and unite as a common force against the threat to them all.

Harry grinned. His eyes were gleaming. These were indeed ambitions worthy of a Slytherin, but it would need a cunning he had not yet found within himself and yet he had to. It was the only way. But he would not have to do it alone. He would have powerful and cunning allies.

At the mall Harry decided to buy several children's books on physics, technology, electricity and genetics. He also bought some adult books on the same subjects and an overview on history. He also bought a book that documented the history of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a lot of gruesome photos. He would have to show them. Muggles were dangerous, unless left alone.

A week before the start of school Lupin, Tonks and Moody turned up to escort him to Diagon Alley so he could get his school books. He had not bought his school books on his previous visit to Diagon Alley because he aimed to conceal that he had been there alone. They would not like that and from then on keep a much sharper eye on him. As nobody went in with him when he went to Madam Malkin's, he could pass off his new robes as part of the recent order. All went over smoothly and after three hours he was returned to Privet Drive.

His last week he mainly spent with Joe who looked quite sadly at him when he said good bye on August 31st. Harry internally was a nervous wreck, because soon he would have to set plans into motion to achieve his goals.

His summer had been like a dream of a simpler life. Joe and he had had an easy going relationship. He did not knew what to say. He sobbed into Joe's arms, who would never have an idea of what had his friend in such a state of despair.

"I'll miss you," Then he ran. He knew he could not let Joe take him to King 's Cross.

For one Joe would be seen by one of Voldemort's lapdogs, and how should he explain to him that he simply vanished through a ticket machine?

So many secrets, so many lies. He would never introduce a non-magical person to this hidden world. All in all, they were even better off not knowing of the wonders and terrors in this world. He had told Joe he could not stand saying goodbye at King 's Cross and he would call a cab. He did indeed call the Knight bus instead.

He entered platform nine and three quarters, his head held high, his green eyes taking in the parting families at the platform Even at the platform the magical community had once again divided itself into two factions. Those siding with muggleborns and halfbloods on one side and on the other side mostly upper class purebloods. Harry himself had not yet been recognized as he finally blended in.

Harry got himself on the train and found an empty compartment. He knew his friends would find him sooner or later and Malfoy would make his traditional annual visit to his compartment as well. Predictably, but rather sooner than later Draco Malfoy appeared in front of his compartment.

It really was business as usual, the sneer on Malfoy's face, their usual stand offs would follow, there was nothing new to it. To Harry this was rather tiring.

Now in sixth year they still behaved in their usual patterns. Nonsensical. Harry himself felt that he had much bigger fish to fry. He wondered, whether part of Malfoy's animosity was due to injured pride, when he had turned down his friendship. He knew now that he had gotten in the middle of the sons of two sworn enemies. He should have kept his cool and stayed out of this. The only excuse he had was that he had only been eleven years old at the time, which then should apply for Malfoy as well. He decided to break with a six year old tradition that day.

"Malfoy," he acknowledged neutrally.

"Potter," hissed Malfoy, his sneer turned into a frown. He seemed to wait for an outburst, a snide remark, a taunting, any reaction at all.

"Well, since you don't seem inclined to leave, you might as well take a seat." Harry smirked at Malfoy's dumbfounded expression. It was so much more fun to throw him off than to react predictably. Malfoy still made no move, but instead looked Harry up and down.

"Who are you and what the hell did you do with Potter?" he drawled then.

"Well," Harry drawled back, "You might be surprised."

Malfoy plopped down in the seat opposite to Harry's. They sat in a contemplative and not quite comfortable silence for several long minutes. Several distinct expression flickered hardly recognizable across Malfoy's face. Consternation, suspicion, frustration and curiosity Harry realized that they were on a crossroad which could gain him a new ally. Because in first year Malfoy had offered his hand in friendship, he decided to return the gesture. What did he have to lose, after all?

He stretched out his hand and drawled playfully, "Harry James Potter. It would be my pleasure to get to know you after all," locking eyes with Malfoy in the attempt to convey the sincerity of his offer.

Malfoy looked baffled and Harry decided not to laugh at the utterly gob smacked and disbelieving expression.

"What's the catch? After first turning down my friendship in first year and putting my father in prison last year you suddenly want to be my friend. Or is this a mere mockery?" Draco snarled and balled his fists. Harry looked at him and smiled his first sincere smile for Draco Malfoy.

"Well, I might say that the expression on your face alone would have been worth it, but Malfoy, the last time we've tried this we were eleven years old."

"You've put my father in jail," accused Draco. Harry inclined his head.

"One might say so of course, but I am more inclined to think that he put himself in jail or rather it was his actions that got him put in jail." Malfoy scowled at Harry.

"See you around, Potter," he finally said and left.

Some time later Hermione and Ron joined Harry in his compartment.

"Harry!" Hermione squealed and squeezed the air out of him.

"Hermione," he gasped "It's good to see you." Finally she let go off him.

"Hey, mate," said Ron, waving a little in Harry's direction.