Ends and Means

Hey everyone. This is my second fan fic! Yay! To be honest I have as yet no real idea what's gonna happen in this story. It's a kinda spur of the moment thing. I just had this random impulse to type something today, so I've started this story. I do have some random scenes in my head for this story but I'm still coming up with a way to link them all together in order to produce a decent story. So bear with me folks. Btw, I don't own any of the Harry Potter ideas or characters. They belong to J. K. Rowling. This takes place after OotP and HBP and DH will most likely be ignored completely. Well, happy reading and please review. Ideas are welcome too!

Chapter 1: Summer Holidays Suck

Harry was furious! No, he was beyond furious. He was thoroughly pissed off! For the past four weeks of summer holidays, he had been forcefully isolated from the Wizarding world. He hadn't received a scrap of news or a letter from any of his friends simply because Dumbledore thought it 'necessary' that he remain in the dark. His friends in the Wizard world ignored even his birthday. Not one present or card had been sent and Harry had been forced to spend his sixteenth birthday with only his faithful owl as company. This period of disconnection was like slow torture to Harry.

Not content with doing nothing, Harry had thrown himself into his studies, trying to drown out his restlessness and grief with school work. He was also given numerous chores by the Dursleys, which usually left him no energy for thought. Unfortunately, the wretched anguish over the death of Sirius and Cedric continued to haunt him in his sleep. Nightmares were always waiting for Harry every time he closed his eyes. Horrible images of faceless people laughing as green light consumed a shocked Cedric or a startled Sirius was lost between the shifting folds of a black veil. As they died, they would stare at Harry who watched from the sidelines with eyes filled with accusation and betrayal.

Their voices would whisper mercilessly, 'Why didn't you save us? Why didn't you do anything? We died because of you! You killed us!' over and over again, clearly audible despite the maddening laughter of countless dark figures.

Overcome with grief and guilt, Harry would always wake up screaming and sobbing inconsolably. He would then spend the rest of the night wide-awake, too frightened to fall asleep again. This was now a nightly ritual for Harry as the deepening black smudges under his eyes could attest to. He had also lost some weight as his sorrow made him too nauseous to eat sometimes, not that the Dursleys gave him much in the way of sustenance. In fact, the Dursleys barely gave Harry any food nowadays, 'punishment' for always interrupting their sleep with his screams.

Shoving thoughts of his painful holidays aside, Harry read through the letter in his hand for the fifth time.


I know that the past few weeks must have been hard for you. Sirius' sudden death was a blow to us all but I know you must have been devastated by it. I apologise that you were not allowed to attend his funeral but I believe it was much too dangerous, especially now that Lord Voldemort no longer has to hide his return to the Wizarding World. I sincerely hope you do not still blame yourself for Sirius' demise. It was not your fault in anyway and I know that Sirius would have been happy to die trying to protect you.

Onto more important matters, though I know you found it difficult I would like you to continue trying to learn the art of Occlumency. Surely you now realise the necessity of you acquiring this skill. Professor Snape has generously agreed to teach you once more and I expect you to do your best this year.

Time is of the essence, so you will be picked up tomorrow at exactly midnight and brought to headquarters so that you may spend the last two weeks of holidays practicing your Occlumency. These lessons will then continue once you return to Hogwarts.

Until we meet again,

Albus Dumbledore.

Letting out a primeval growl Harry tore the letter apart, throwing the shreds carelessly at the wall. Occlumency lessons with that bastard, Snape! How could Dumbledore even suggest such a thing after all that had happened the year before? As if he needed more stress at the moment. Couldn't he just be given a little reprieve to pull himself back together again? But no, 'time is of the essence'.

In order to release some of his anger, Harry lashed out at his wooden desk with his foot. This of course, only resulted in him cursing as he clutched his now throbbing foot.

"Damn it!" he cried as he collapsed onto his bed. He lay there for a while and just stared at the ceiling, silently seething.

"What am I going to do?" he sighed once he had calmed down somewhat. A soft hooting was the only answer. He turned his head and smiled over Hedwig who was perched worriedly on the edge of his window.

"Thanks girl," he whispered. "I'm glad you're with me."

She chirped in response and then buried her head in her wing. Following her example and as it was quite late already, Harry allowed himself to fall into an exhausted sleep.

Harry awoke just before dawn and stretched sleepily, ignoring the slight pulling sensation this action caused on the skin on his back. He had no idea why his back always felt like that whenever he stretched. He had the same feeling ever since he could remember. It was as if he had a scar on his back that was being stretched but Harry had checked his back repeatedly and there weren't any visible marks. So he had just shrugged it off years ago as nothing to worry about.

Harry felt good this morning. For once he hadn't had a nightmare, though that would probably be because he had been too exhausted both physically and emotionally last night to dream or at least remember his dream. He quietly got out of bed and after chucking on a loose pair of jeans (Dudley's) and a navy sweater that was far too big for him (also Dudley's), he began his morning exercise regime. First he did some easy stretched to warm up his muscled. Then he did a hundred push-ups and sit-ups followed by a fifteen minute jog on the spot. Lastly, he warmed down by doing some more stretches and other flexibility exercises.

Harry was quite proud of his level of fitness. The first time he had attempted this exercise routine, he had collapsed after doing only fifty sit-ups, ten push-ups and a five-minute jog. Now he could do all that without even losing his breath.

Noticing that it was well past dawn now, Harry left his room. After relieving himself in the bathroom, he silently padded down to the kitchen and began to prepare breakfast for his relatives. After frying several rashes of bacon and cooking the eggs, Harry set the table. By the time he was done, his Aunt and Uncle were already seated in their places with Dudley soon joining them. Harry served them, not even bothering to ask if he could have some too. Whether he got to eat or not depended on the Dursleys mood and asking them would only serve in angering them. So Harry remained quiet and left their presence once his job was done.

He went back upstairs and began to shove his stuff back into his school trunk. He wanted to be ready for when he was picked up tonight and escorted back to headquarters. The less time he had to stay here at Privet Drive, the better.

Harry spent the rest of the day reading through his textbooks. He had already finished all his assignments and homework at the start of the holidays (he had been that bored) so he had been methodically going through his subject texts for something to do. He had gotten through all of them except his Potions book, which he now had his nose buried in. It was quite interesting reading actually and he desperately wished he had some potions ingredients on hand so he could try brewing some of the more obscure concoctions. He continued studying Potions throughout the day, pausing only when his Aunt gave him a random chore to do. Soon it was dinnertime and Harry was beckoned away from his book by Aunt Petunia's demand for him to cook dinner. Ignoring his hunger (he hadn't eaten a thing today), Harry prepared an exceptional meal comprising of roast pork, potatoes, steamed vegetables and gravy. As like this morning, Harry served the Dursleys then left the room not once uttering a word. When he reached the top of the landing, Harry kicked himself for forgetting to tell his relatives that he was leaving tonight. Walking swiftly back into the dining room, he cleared his throat quietly.

"What is it that you want, boy?" Uncle Vernon growled. "Come to demand some food? Insolent brat! You have to earn your food just like everyone else at this table does. You can forget about breakfast tomorrow too. Until I see you working, I'm not gonna give you a scrap."

Biting his tongue to stop himself from answering back, Harry patiently waited for his Uncle's spiel to end.

"I'm not here for dinner, sir," Harry cut in when his Uncle paused to take a breath, "I just came to inform you that I'm to be picked up tonight and I won't be returning until next holidays."

Aunt Petunia showed no signs of interest over Harry's announcement and Dudley didn't even stop his eating frenzy. Uncle Vernon's face however, turned a putrid puce colour as he weighed up the idea of wizards coming into his home against the fact that it meant getting rid of Harry for another year. Obviously the latter notion won, as his Uncle just grunted and resumed devouring his meal.

Harry exited the room once more and went to take a shower. He then dressed once more in his (or rather Dudley's) jeans and put on a black long sleeved t-shirt. After making sure he hadn't forgotten to pack anything, Harry dragged his trunk and Hedwig's cage down into the entrance way, ready for when he left. Realising he still had at least two hours to wait, Harry pulled out his Potions book and started reading once more. He didn't even notice the Dursleys skirting around him as he sat leaning against his cupboard; he was so absorbed by his reading. By 11:30, the Dursleys were asleep upstairs and Harry had been forced to move into the kitchen with all his stuff so he could turn on a light without awakening his relatives. At exactly midnight, Harry heard a faint pop sound from the living room. Slipping his book back into his trunk, Harry pulled his wand out of his pocket and cautiously made his way towards the noise. A shadowy figure was barely visible against the dark backdrop.

"Who's there? Show yourself!" Harry demanded, his wand held up defensively in front of me.

"Mr Potter, I have more important things to do than answer your stupid questions. Put that wand away and hurry up and grab your pathetic belongings so we can get out here," a deep voice snapped.

"Snape?" Harry exclaimed in bewilderment. What the hell was Snape doing picking him up.

"You will address me by my proper title, Potter, regardless that we are outside school.

"Sorry sir," Harry submitted. He led Professor Snape into the kitchen, where his things and Hedwig were waiting patiently.

Snape reached into his robes and withdrew a bicycle handlebar.

"It's a portkey, Potter so stop smirking and grab it," Snape hissed.

"Sorry sir," Harry replied bemusedly. He reached and took hold of one end. A minute later, he felt a strong tug on his navel and his world soon became a tunnel of black as he felt himself being transported across space, Snape at his side.

He was just starting to feel sick when the journey ended and he landed gracelessly with a loud THUMP. His head smacked into something hard and his vision blurred and went black. The last thing he heard before the darkness consumed him was a muffled scream…