Carry On

By: Teenlaunch

Disclaimer: I would not be writing this if I was JK Rowling. Can we move on?

a/n: Alright, I just had to get the prologue out before the last book. I don't know why because fanafiction will never die. I sincerely believe that. But, anyway, here's the first installment of my longest fic yet. Enjoy, review, and expect the rest to be up as soon as possible.

Harry Potter stared placidly at his ceiling. To anyone else, it would have seemed the normal action of the so-called delinquent boy, Potter. However, if someone watched him long enough, they could see his eyes traveling around the room, along the walls, often flitting to another spot altogether, smirking every now and then. This would, of course, draw their attention to the same spots, and if they looked closely enough, they could see human-like shadows zooming around the walls, so dim that they could barely be seen, all wearing bright orange robes. The only reasonable reaction would be to blink and rub their eyes before turning around and walking from the room, muttering about lunatics, unless they were one of the three other inhabitants of Number Four Privet Drive. They didn't approve of his abnormality.

You see, Harry Potter was a not-so-typical seventeen year-old who just happened to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, his only living relatives. Harry Potter was a wizard, a wizard who had become famous because of an act he couldn't even remember, surviving the Killing Curse, Avada Kedavra. His life had been dogged from day one by Voldemort, the most vile and wretched being to walk God's earth in young Potter's opinion.

Harry's life had recently taken a nasty turn at the end of his sixth year. Albus Dumbledore had been murdered. It had taken quite a toll on him. Harry groaned, remembering that McGonagall wanted to meet him in the park the next day with some new information Dumbledore had left behind. He hadn't been active all summer, choosing to wallow in misery, until he was in the company of others where he smiled broadly and laughed along. It hadn't taken him long to realize the change in himself. Though he found that if he was with the right people, he could easily push his feelings aside, unlike most people he knew, even fooling himself into believing he was fine. He had a gift for bottling everything up so that no one could see how he was truly feeling, unless they got him mad.

It was the day before term started and Harry was usually bursting at the seams in excitement, but now Hogwarts was closed. They were in a war, and all Hogwarts' staff was needed. McGonagall had tried to convince Minister Scrimegour the school was safe and they could stay open by adding more security, but he wouldn't hear of it. Harry hadn't minded. He had decided at Dumbledore's funeral that he wouldn't go back for his seventh year even if the school stayed open. McGonagall had accepted this when he told her and had immediately inducted him into the Order. So Harry was officially a member of the Order, much to Mrs. Weasley's displeasure.

The world had turned upside down on him again. And his name now appearing daily in the newspaper was not helping him get over the sudden loss of such a great man. The Ministry didn't seem to mind. The Minister happened to be terribly upset with him. Harry couldn't say that he minded much. Scrimegour's plans were nothing like Dumbledore's and it was being proven by the confusion in the Ministry. Even getting his apparation license had taken a whole three hours due to the congestion throughout the entire Ministry. Luckily the Order wasn't running around in such a chaotic manner.

Harry groped blindly on his bedside table and grabbed a week old Daily Prophet. He flipped through the pages, not really taking in anything, until he came to a small article in the corner of the page that he hadn't taken time to read before.

Small Flaw in Defense System May Cost Millions

The Department of Mysteries, a place of unfathomable questions, many of which remain unanswered. For years wizards have tried to infiltrate the Department in search of treasures. Only two years ago this maze of doors, complex spells, and confusing rooms was subject of a Death Eater raid halted by the Chosen One. Even after many new measures have been taken, there has been a slipup in their tangled web of security. Late last night, a number of new products went missing from a high security vault deep within the Department. While Unspeakables are refusing, as usual, to reveal the items' qualities and uses, a few details have been slipped to the Daily Prophet. The items are about as big as a golden snitch and are almost completely black in color. They were being tested when they disappeared and are considered highly dangerous. The question now is not what they can do, but who took them.

Harry grumbled and stood up. He grabbed his backpack and raced downstairs, sprinting out the door. He'd only just reached the park when Dudley and his gang suddenly appeared. They were laughing uproariously at something Dudley was saying, but they froze in their tracks when Harry walked between them, breaking their ranks.

"Hey, just who do you think you are?" Piers Polkiss sneered. "And where are you off to? This is Big D's neighborhood. You don't blink without his say so! You should know that better than anyone."

Harry stopped and turned around. His fake smile evaporated. "Really? Well, does Big D have a problem with me going to the park?"

Dudley glanced at him. "Huh! I thought you'd be home packing for that freak school. What, they not want you back?"

"Keep to your own business, Dud. At least you half understand it."

The boys started forward, a couple cracking their knuckles, but Dudley stopped them. A vein pulsed in his temple. "I'm making it my business. I make the rules around here. I want to know why you're not going."

Harry fixed Dudley with a glare, feeling an urge to instill some fear in his clueless cousin. "Because the school's not open. We're in the middle of a war. And…Dumbledore's dead."

Dudley gaped at him, ignoring his gangs' murmurs. "Dead? You mean that nutcase that picked you up last summer? He's dead? How do you know?"

"Besides the obituaries? I saw it happen. He was a great man. Dud, I've seen things even Stephen King couldn't dream up. You'd die of fright if you glimpsed my nightmares. When you joke about hearing me moaning in my sleep, Dud…you have no idea…until you do, you should keep quiet about my nightmares."

Dudley blinked and opened his mouth but a loud screech cut him off. A large tawny owl zoomed toward him. The boys laughed as it neared Harry, thinking it was attacking him. It didn't even stop. It simply dropped its parcel at his feet and flew off. Harry glanced at it, and noticed no name was attached. "Dud, if anything happens, contact Minerva McGonagall for me. Do you understand? It's extremely important that you do. Just use my owl." Dudley nodded nervously. Harry bent down and flipped open the box's lid. There were two small items inside. To Harry, they looked like medallions. He reached out and carefully touched one. It started rocking wildly and suddenly flew into the air. It spun around once, and attached itself to Harry's chest with enough force that he stumbled back a few paces. Four straps snaked around to his back. Harry frantically tried to pry it from him, but it stuck tight. He gasped as the ground fell away from him, and everything went black.