Title: Harry Potter: Rogue

Summary: After 2 days of staying in his bedroom after coming home after the DoM fight, Harry decides he doesn't like Dumbledore's plan and decisions that have affected him so painfully. So Harry decides to run away, live on his own, train, and go after Death Eaters and Voldemort. In the process, he learns a few lessons, like maybe he does need some friends, both for loneliness and to help teach him things. Who does he pick and how does that affect him? Living on their own and living their way can make a person grow up very quickly, which has its own effects. Note: this is an H/G story.

Genre: Post-OotP, Alt-6thYear, A/U

Rating: PG13

Harry Potter: Rogue
Chapter 1: Thinking and Planning

(Sun 30 Jun 1996)

Harry Potter, supposed saviour of the wizarding world, had been home from his fifth year of school for two days. He had done little since his arrival, other than review the events of his previous school year -- what he had and had not done, and especially what Dumbledore had revealed to him last week in the Headmaster's office after the fiasco at the Department of Mysteries. Fiasco was definitely the best way to describe what had happened: He had been tricked, attacked, gotten his friends hurt, possessed by a Dark Lord, and lost the closest person to a parent he could remember. Each one of those hurt, though each in a different way.

Two days of lying on his bed thinking about everything had been miserable, but it had helped him sort though his emotions. They had swirled from grief to hatred to fear to despair, but had settled on anger. Anger at his loss. Anger at himself for being fooled. Anger at what Destiny had decided to stick him with. Harry found himself getting the angriest, almost to the point of accidental magic, thinking about his conversation with the Headmaster after the battle. The more he thought about it, the more he decided that parts of it just did not add up. He was appreciative of the old man finally telling him things, things that he should have been told long ago, but that was not the main problem. When it came down to it, Harry was really quite displeased because he finally realized how many mistakes the old man had made at his expense. To make it worse, he had not even once asked if Harry had an opinion. Life was always, "Do things the old man's way, and do them without knowing why." It felt like he was being treated like a tool or maybe a weapon. He pounded the mattress several times in his extreme frustration.

As he started thinking about this conclusion, his head seem to explode in pain. Grasping at his forehead, he panted to avoid crying out and incurring the wrath of his Muggle relatives. Nearly ten minutes later, he felt that the pain in scar had receded down to its normal level of a dull ache. Voldemort had been very angry, although Harry had been unable to discern why. Apparently, Voldemort was making an effort to block the connection on his end too after the Department of Mysteries episode. And this was another thing, why couldn't the Greatest Wizard of the Age figure out why this happened to him and how to stop it? At least it was not as bad as his possession had been. How was Harry supposed to defeat Voldemort if he couldn't even be in the same room with him without his head exploding?!

The reminder of his destiny brought back all of the thoughts he had been going over for the last two days. Harry hated what had happened to him and he hated his life as it was now. He was so angry he would have gotten up and thrown things around except that he had finally learned from his mistakes of the previous year. Fits accomplished nothing, and he did not want to increase the problems he already had with his uncle.

But anger was a good motivator, and it reinforced his decision that he needed to do something different. Dumbledore's way was not working for him. He needed his own way, a way without that bumbling meddler in it.

With all of the problems still in his head, he got up and found some parchment and his quill. Dipping it in ink, he began to write. Item after item went on the list. When he was done after nearly ten minutes of furious writing, he had a list of grievances, and they numbered twenty. He could argue that not everything on the list was one hundred percent Dumbledore's fault, but he had a major role in each of them, and was entirely responsible for most of them. The more he thought about the items on the list and how they had hurt him, the angrier he got. As his ink bottle started to vibrate on the desktop, he decided he needed to take matters into his own hands. One thing was certain, he was going take care of himself and that old man was going to have no part of his life. It was not a complete plan, but it was a starting point. Now he just needed to figure out how he was going to do it.

Glad for some -- any progress at all -- on his problems, he got up, buried his problems temporarily, and went downstairs for the first time since he'd been home. Fortunately, Aunt Petunia let him eat dinner with her family. Afterward, Harry returned to his room to begin dreaming of his own version of his future.

(Mon 1 Jul)

As Harry lay in bed after waking, thinking about what the day might bring -- besides chores -- a speckled owl brought an official looking letter to him. He untied the letter to let the owl leave, and noticed it had the seal of Gringotts on it. He wondered why he was getting a letter from Gringotts. Seeing the letter reminded him to send off a one-line "I'm fine" message to Lupin. Harry wrote the letter quickly and attached it to Hedwig. "Hold on a second, girl, just in case I need to add one more." She hooted and stayed. That set, Harry returned to his post.

Opening the letter, he got a surprise.

Mr. Harry J. Potter,

We are sorry for your loss of Sirius E. Black. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, but we would like to talk to you at your earliest convenience for the reading of the Last Will and Testament of Mr. Black. Please ask for Gorbag when you visit our institution.

Gringotts' Last Will and Testament Dept.

Obviously a form letter, Harry thought, but he wondered what it was for. He supposed Sirius must have left him a few Galleons or something, and had it on record with the Goblins. He sent Hedwig off to Lupin.

Harry glanced at the clock. It was still early in the morning. His aunt hadn't given him any chores to do last night, so in light of yesterday's thoughts and decision, he decided he could take matters into his own hands in at least this one way. Getting dressed, he rummaged around in his trunk for his Invisibility cloak; grabbing that, his money bag, and his old school hat, he went downstairs. No one else was up yet, which suited him fine. Putting on his cloak, he slipped out the back door, went over the back fence into the neighbor's yard, and walked to the park. Seeing no one around, he took his cloak off and hid it away under his robes. He also put his hat on to cover his forehead as best he could, as the hat was now a bit small.

Hoping for the best, he stuck out his wand, and about five seconds later, the Knight Bus banged to a stop in front of him. Stan was not there; the conductor was someone new. He considered that a good thing as it definitely lessened the chances of him being identified. Climbing on, he paid his fare and took a seat until the bus came to Diagon Alley. Doing his best to remain inconspicuous, he made his way to Gringotts.

Once inside, Harry pulled out his letter as he walked up to a goblin at the desk. "I need to see Gorbag if you please. I have a letter." Without saying a word, the goblin pointed at a door on the side, it read "Last Will and Testament Dept." Harry went through the door and asked again.

He was ushered into the office of the fattest goblin he had ever seen. The teeth still seemed menacing even on the otherwise jolly face. "Mr. Potter, please have a seat. I see you have received our letter. Shall we begin?"

Harry nodded, still not sure what was going on as the goblin pulled out a single piece of parchment.

"It says, and I quote: I, Sirius E. Black, leave everything I have to my godson Harry James Potter. Not a single Knut is to go to any of my relatives, especially if they are named Narcissa or Bellatrix. That being stated, Harry, I would be pleased if you would give something to Nymphadora Tonks (and be sure to call her that when you give her the gift). Remus Lupin could also benefit from something. I know you're almost of age Harry, but please look to Remus for advice; you can trust him. I would also suggest you let our 'special friends' continue to use the house, but if you need it as a place to live, feel free to kick them out. They have other places they can socialize. I hope I went down fighting, or as the result of a great prank. Harry, I'm sure this is killing you, so please don't worry about me; rather, go out and do the biggest prank you can. I love you, Kiddo."

The goblin now looked at Harry, who had tears in his eyes. This made his godfather's death so much more real, and yet, he truly appreciated the advice. Looking up at Gorbag, he asked, "What exactly am I getting besides a house?"

Gorbag handed him a small book of the Black assets. Harry flipped through it amazed. "That much?"

"Yes, the Black holdings were quite extensive, and were almost equal to the Potter holdings."

"I don't know what the Potter holdings are. When can I find out?"

"By Goblin Law, any time after you're fifteen, so: now, if you want."

That shocked Harry. He could have known for almost the last year. "Yes, I want to know. Now, if it's not too much trouble."

"Certainly Mr. Potter. Please wait a moment." Gorbag waddled out and was gone for a moment. He came back with another book and handed it to Harry.

Harry looked at it, and was further astounded. "Can you please tell me who manages all of this?"

Gorbag answered, "There are several Goblins who do the job; there are also several other Goblins that Mr. Black had manage his fortune. It is a full-time job for all of them."

Harry wasn't sure how to deal with that much wealth and holdings. Finally, he said, "If it's possible, I would like them to continue for now."

"Certainly, Mr. Potter." Gorbag looked pleased at the show of confidence.

"Gorbag, do you know about what an Auror makes in a year?"

"It depends Mr. Potter, but I believe the general range is from twenty-five thousand Galleons at the beginning, to about fifty thousand Galleons for the senior Aurors."

Harry thought for a moment. "I'd like two bank drafts for fifty thousand Galleons please, one to Tonks and one to Lupin, the ones mentioned in the Will." Gorbag wrote a note. "Also, can you tell me who would have known about the Potter holdings, and could have told me about them last year?"

"Yes. While most of the holdings are in a trust until you turn seventeen, all the gold has been available to you since you turned fifteen. That, as well as your small trust fund, and your annual school tuition payments, were set up by Albus Dumbledore."

Harry closed his eyes and mentally added item number twenty-one to his grievance list. "May I see both vaults, please?"

"Of course, Mr. Potter." He touched a stone on his desk and another goblin came in. Harry recognized him. "Griphook, please take Mr. Potter to both his family vault and the Black family vault."

"Yes, sir. Follow me, please."

Griphook took him to a cart and down they went, much deeper than last time Harry had been here. Harry also noticed that the vaults were much further apart.

"This is the Black vault. There is no key; you just have to touch the door. It now recognizes you as its legal owner." Harry noticed that Griphook had gotten out of the car and stood on the ledge, but he did not come forward.

Touching the door, it started clicking, then, slowly and noisily, it opened. The vault was filled mostly with money, though there was a small pile of jewels. There was also a key the size of his hand with a black diamond in the big end; it was sitting on a pedestal.

"Griphook, do you know what this is for?" The goblin looked in the doorway and only shrugged. Pocketing the key, he walked out and the door closed on its own behind him.

"This way to the Potter vault." They got back into the car, but it went very slowly past several other doors, maybe a hundred yards down the track. Here was another vault door.

Harry touched this door, and it too opened. The Potter vault was also mostly money, some jewels, and another pedestal with a key, this time with a ruby. There was also a letter under the key. He opened and read it.

Dear Harry,

If you're reading this, we're sorry, as that means something has happened to us and we are not able to explain this in person. This key will take you to Potter Manor if you touch your wand to it. You'll also find that if you're already at the Manor, it will take you back here to the Potter vault with the pedestal. The key will stay with you as long as it is in your possession, but if you ever lay it down or store it away for twenty-four hours, it will automatically return to the pedestal so it will never be lost for long. When you get to the Manor, find the portrait in the master bedroom study. Nathaniel will tell you all about the manor. We're very sorry something happened and can't do this ourselves. We love you dearly.

James and Lily Potter

Another connection to his parents. Harry wanted this so badly, but he also wasn't sure how many more emotions he could handle today. Picking up this key too, he put it and the letter into another inside pocket.

"Griphook, can the vaults be opened from the inside, should a Portkey bring me here?"

"Yes sir, but only during business hours. If you open the door by touching it, a car will soon come." The casualness of the answer made Harry wonder if Griphook already knew what the key was for but did not want to answer, or maybe could not he thought.

Another thought came to him. "Griphook, can the contents of my trust vault be moved here?"

"Yes sir."

"And can the contents of the Black vault be moved here too? Or both of them to a bigger vault?"

Griphook continued in his calm manner. "The trust vault is small, so yes, we can move it here. However, it would take one of our largest vaults to hold both fortunes, unless we changed most of the Black fortune to our largest paper notes of 997 Galleons. Even then, it would be tight and we might still need the next bigger sized vault."

Harry had never heard of paper notes. "Please convert the gold in the Black vault and have them combined into a single vault." Harry started filling his money bag when he had an idea. "Do you have a bigger bag? I'd like to exchange some of the Galleons for the notes. I need to make a few large purchases."

The goblin had one, and loaned to Harry. After filling that bag too, they left.

On the cart ride back up, Harry had another question. "Can I exchange Galleons for some Muggle money? I'd like to get a few things at a Muggle store too."

"If I may suggest, Mr. Potter, we can get you a Muggle credit card for those purchases. It is backed by a Muggle bank that does business with Gringotts. We'll automatically pay the balance from your account."

Harry picked up the credit card, though he still got a small amount of Muggle cash anyway. He also picked up the two bank drafts for his friends.

With the thought of some new clothes for once, Harry headed out into Diagon Alley. He saw a "bush hat" in a store window. Liking the look, as well as seeing that the large brim would hide his scar better, he went inside.

After he found a hat his size in black, on the way to the register he also saw a coat made of black dragon hide for sale. The proprietor saw him looking at it and smiled.

"A very nice coat; it is both stylish and practical. It will block all minor spells, and almost all medium level spells too. If that's not good enough for you, it will also reduce the damage of the major spells. There's nothing like dragon hide for protection."

Harry was intrigued. "Interesting, but why doesn't it do more? I know that very few major spells will hurt a dragon."

"Excellent question, young man. I see you paid attention in class. The answer is because it's just the hide. The magic of the dragon does the rest of the blocking, but you can't get that in a coat."

It would take most of a 997 Galleon note, but Harry liked it. After asking about a place that sold magical trunks, he pulled off his black robe, shrugged on the coat, then put his robe back on to mostly hide it. The new hat went on top. He'd been careful to face away from the man while doing all of that. If the man recognized him, he didn't indicate it.

Going down the street, Harry found the shoppe that sold trunks. It took him nearly an hour, but he found a seven-compartment trunk like Mad-Eye's. However, this one was complete with a small apartment, and was self-sizing with a tap of his wand. With a tap changed it down to the size of a walnut, its weight shrinking proportionally, he it put into his pocket. That device had cost him five full 997 Galleon notes and a 251 Galleon note. Still, he was happy and knew he could live out of it for a while if necessary.

As Harry left Diagon Alley, his hunger got the better of him, so he stopped at a Muggle restaurant. He took off his robe as it was out of place there, so his stylish coat got a few interesting looks; otherwise, he was an anonymous happy person. Also in the Muggle world, he got some new clothes after two hours of what seemed like hard work.

Leaving the store, Harry slipped down an alley. Hiding behind a dumpster, he touched his wand to the Potter key for the first time.

The Portkey took him to a large foyer with a fireplace: obviously, the public entrance to Potter Manor. It was very nicely decorated, though quite dusty. There were double doors on opposite sides of the room, as well as a few windows up near the high ceiling to let in light. There was also a large, ornate chandelier. Harry thought it would be dazzling once it had been cleaned and polished.

Opening one set of doors, he saw the lawn outside, and some hills in the distance. Weeds and wild flowers could be seen among the tall and scraggly grass. Closing these doors, Harry turned his attention to the other set. They opened noisily into the house.

It was like one of those mansions he'd seen on the telly. Large, richly decorated, almost too nice to live in. It was also quite dusty and all the windows were dingy. Still, when cleaned up, it would be magnificent. Exploring, he found practically every type of room imaginable, including a large library. This was just what Harry needed. He had a lot to learn and was going to miss the library at Hogwarts -- though he would not have told Hermione that.

Going upstairs, he found over a dozen bedrooms, including the master bedroom. Actually, it was a full master suite, which included a study, walk-in closets, and a full bath. The suite was larger than an entire first floor of the Dursley home. Though coated in dust like the rest of the house, Harry felt like a king in here.

In the study, he found what he'd been looking for: a portrait. It was the only talking portrait he'd found so far.

"And who might you be?" the portrait asked.

"I'm Harry Potter. Are you Nathaniel?"

"Aye. Son of whom? Though I really shouldn't have to ask by how you look. Still, I must know."

"Son of James and Lily Potter. They died fifteen years ago when I was a baby, so they didn't have the chance to tell me about this house. I just found out about it."

"Aye, I felt their passing," the portrait said sadly. Then he brightened, "But we have a new master, and that is good."

"We? Who else is here?" Harry had not seen anyone else.

"Sadly, just I am left to guard the house. There used to be four elves to keep it all up, but they were freed when your parents died. This has been the longest the house has been left unoccupied, and I am just accustomed to thinking of a full staff."

Domestic help was something Harry hadn't expected to have to find. Although, he wondered if Dobby and maybe Winky could be persuaded to come. "Tell me, Nathaniel," which seemed like an overly long name to Harry, "is it possible to live here undetected, so no one outside the property can find me?" He hoped a Fidelius Charm was already in place.

"I'm sorry Harry. While the entire property is Unplottable, it is too big to be put under a Fidelius Charm. Your father tried and could not do it."

"What if I tried multiple charms?"

The portrait paused with an odd contemplative look on his face. "I do not know. I do not think anyone has ever tried that."

Harry decided he'd have to visit the library below so he could read and research that.

"You might try the library on the first floor," Nathaniel told him, as if reading his thoughts. "On the pedestal inside the door, you'll find the catalogue which lists everything there. It can also help you find the book. The instructions are on the inside cover."

Hermione would kill for that, he thought. "Say Nate, where am I? I have no idea which part of Britain I'm in."

The painting changed to show a map of Great Britain, with a star for the Manor. "You're in Northern Wales, Harry."

Harry saw that he was some distance from London, and that it was too far to fly to Hogwarts easily. Still, the beginning of a plan started to form in his head as he considered living here.

Looking at his watch, Harry noticed that it was getting close to closing time for the bank. "Thanks for the info, Nate. I'll be back later." The portrait bid him good-bye as he hurried to the library. The catalogue helped Harry quickly find a book on "Hiding Charms". He also found a book on Glamours nearby. Taking them both, Harry touched his family Portkey and found himself back at his vault, with the door closed.

Pulling his wand out and lighting it, he walked to the door and touched it. It did slowly open. About ten minutes later, a Goblin Harry didn't recognize showed up in a cart and took Harry back to the surface.

Expecting not to be fed back home, he grabbed a bite at the Leaky Cauldron before he caught the Knight Bus back to the park. Donning his Invisibility cloak again, Harry snuck back through the neighbor's back yard, over the fence, and into the Dursley's house. Fortunately, the kitchen was empty, so he didn't scare his aunt when he took his cloak off.

However, he did find them all at the dinner table. One look at his uncle made him cautious.

"What are you doing sneaking in the back door boy?!" Uncle Vernon growled. "And where have you been all day? There are chores waiting for you." He got up and started to advance on Harry.

"Wait a minute," Harry told him. "I'm trying to do something that you'll like, and that will help you."

"Right, like I believe that, boy. What were you really doing? Stealing things?" Vernon accused him.

"No, I was trying to make arrangements to leave." That shut the man up. "Look, if you will give me a week of no chores, I'll leave here forever."

"Forever? No more coming back during the summers, and no more of your filthy kind coming here?" Harry nodded. "And where will you be staying boy? Or do you have money you haven't told us about?"

"I'm planning on staying with friends, those redheads that came to visit here a few years ago," he lied. "Just a week, let me come and go as I need, and I'll be gone." He could force the issue, but he knew that if Vernon Dursley thought it was his idea, it would be a lot easier on Harry.

"Very well boy, one week. You be gone by next Sunday night, or you'll be sorry you were ever born," Vernon blustered.

"As I already wish that at times; I think we're in agreement." Harry left his stunned uncle as he went upstairs. Actually, Harry thought he could be done sooner, but kept that to himself.

Remembering his need from earlier in the day, Harry wrote a short note and gave it to Hedwig to deliver. He hoped this problem would be easy to solve, because if this did not work out, he was not sure what he was going to do in this one area. Harry knew he could manage, but it would detract from his other goals.

With that task started, he picked up the Charms book to read about the Fidelius Charm. By the time he went to sleep, he was quite pleased with his day.

(Tue 2 Jul)

Harry awoke to a normal sound of summer: Ron's owl, Pig, flying around his room. The owl had two notes, one from Ron and one from Ginny. He took them both off and put them on his desk to be read later. To keep Hedwig happy, Harry tossed Pig back out the window to send him home

As he was getting dressed, a small crack caused him to jump and turn around. He found Dobby the house-elf standing there with a note in his hand. "Harry Potter Sir! I is so glad you is writing me and asking me to come see you, Sir."

"Thanks for coming to see me so quickly." Harry tied his trainers to finish getting ready. He had considered going to Hogwarts to find the elf, but was not sure he could get in without Dumbledore knowing, and that was the last thing Harry wanted right now. "Say Dobby, are you still a free elf?" The elf nodded vigorously. "Then I'd like to offer you a job. Would you come work for me?"

"I'd be happy too, Harry, Sir. Can Winky come too? I is still needing to look after her, Sir."

Harry smiled. "Yes, that would be even better. I have need for two elves. How about ten Galleons a month and one day per week off?"

"Oh no, Sir! Not a Galleon over two, and only one day off per month. That is still more than twice what I make at Hogwarts, Sir." The elf boasted.

"OK, two Galleons a month, but you must take two days off per month," Harry insisted. "Please Dobby, I want you and Winky to be part of my family."

That did it. "Thank you Harry Potter, Sir. You really is the bestest wizard ever."

Harry smiled at the elf. "Thanks, Dobby. Get Winky and we'll go."

"Yes Sir! I will be back with her in a few minutes." The excitable little elf left.

Harry went downstairs to grab some toast for a quick breakfast, which Aunt Petunia grudgingly gave him. So he would not be gone too long, Harry took the meager breakfast back to his room, lest the elves come looking for him and cause trouble. While he waited, he pulled out his broom, Invisibility cloak, and new hat.

As he finished off the last of his toast, the two elves popped back in. Winky still did not look totally normal to Harry's eye, but she did look better than the last time he had seen her. "Winky, I'm glad you could come. Did Dobby explain everything to you?"

The little female house-elf brightened. "Oh yes, Master Harry! I am very happy to be your elf."

Harry could not help but smile at her, and he could tell she liked that. "Very good. I consider you part of my family now. I won't bind you to the House of Potter, you'll only be my employee, but in every other way, you should consider yourself part of my family for as long as you live."

Winky had tears in her eyes now and Harry wondered if he had done something wrong, at least until she told him, "Thank you Master Harry. You make a good and kind Master. I shall enjoy working for you."

"You're welcome. So, let's go see the house. If each of you will, uh, grab onto one of my legs, I can take us there." They hastily walked up to him and grabbed on, trusting him implicitly. Harry felt silly, but he did not know how else to do this. Pulling out his Manor key, he took the three of them to the Manor. This made Harry wonder if the key would work from inside Hogwarts. He supposed he would find out.

After a tour, the elves were very happy since there was so much work to be done. Harry gave them some money to get more Floo powder, cleaning supplies, food, and anything else they might need. He also gave them the instructions to clean the kitchen, small eating area, master bedroom, foyer, and library first. He'd be spending most of his time in those rooms.

Several missing skills had come to mind last night while he was studying, so he went to the library to get a few more books, especially one on Apparation. Despite all the dust, he enjoyed looking through all the books for the rest of the morning until Winky called him to lunch.

The afternoon was spent reading about the Fidelius Charm, and in walking around the outside of the house to get a feel for its size and boundaries. His Firebolt also came in handy to fly around the property to see what was there, as well as find out how big it was. Harry found a Quidditch pitch, stables, and even an empty swimming pool. Ron would be thrilled at the Quidditch pitch when he got here.

At the end of the day, he used his key to get back to Gringotts. There, he noticed he was in a slightly bigger vault now, and there were many crates of paper notes. Still, he was able to open the door, and ten minutes later a goblin in a cart showed up. Harry got a quick bite to eat in the Muggle world before taking the Knight Bus back to the park. It was beginning to become his normal routine.

During the ride, he wondered if he could put the Black pedestal at the Dursleys, then use that key to get there. On the other hand, Harry also considered he wouldn't be at the Dursleys much longer. Another problem: he was not sure how to get the pedestal there. He was reasonably sure he could shrink it down in the vault undetected, but he couldn't enlarge it at home without violating the stupid Underage Magic law.

Back at the Dursleys, Harry found a new letter from Hermione that some owl had dropped off. Reading it, Hermione told him multiple times Sirius' death was not his fault. She also said he should talk to someone to help him get better, as she knew he was sad at losing Sirius. Harry was sad about losing his godfather, but he was also too busy right now to dwell on it. Besides, Sirius wanted him to pull a big prank in honor of him, and that is sort of how Harry saw his plan: a big prank on Dumbledore. He laughed to himself about that. Harry would have been surprised if could have heard how evil his laugh sounded.

Ron's letter was short and much the same, but in Ron's style. Harry figured those two had been talking to each other.

Ginny's letter was very different from the other two. While she also told him it was not his fault Sirius was no longer with him, she said she missed him too, though assuredly not as much as Harry did. Then she encouraged him to live for Sirius. That advice got him to thinking that he needed to search the library tomorrow for a book on becoming an Animagus. Sirius would find that funny and an honor. The rest of her letter went on about what was happening around the Weasley house. She was having a lot of fun with Ron and his protective nature, telling him she was going out with Dean, though she just made it up on the train to get a rise out of her brother. That seemed very funny to Harry for some reason.

That made him think that maybe he was making a small mistake by trying to do everything alone. Living on his own was going to be a bit lonely, since he didn't have a family. Though Harry thought he could live with that, he also knew he was going to need information, inside information about what was going on. He really only had five people among his school friends to consider, the five that went with him to the Department of Mysteries. The question was: who was suited for his plans. He considered each one carefully, and ended up throwing out all the names but one. His final choice surprised him a bit.

He also considered that he really needed someone who was an adult too. Someone who could tell him about how the world worked, and hopefully tutor him as well. The library was great, but he could not talk to a book. His starting list here was much shorter, and his final choice of who to approach seemed reasonable, but he was unsure. Best to take care of his friend first, and the adult later.

Harry didn't need to write anyone for a couple of days, so he put that off and finished reading his Charms book. The most surprising thing he found was that he should be able to do spells in an Unplottable area and not get into trouble with the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery. Apparently, the Unplottable Charm was just strong enough to mask spell work. So from in there, he should be able to cast the Fidelius Charm around the house, and then he could cast seven more Fidelius Charms, all slightly overlapping, and hide the rest of the property. The only catch was that it would take several days, as he probably could only cast one or two a day due to how much magical power the Fidelius Charm took to cast.

He needed to have those hiding charms as Dumbledore probably knew where the Manor was. Nate had shown Harry how to set the security wards on the house, and Dumbledore was on the access list, or he had been at first. Harry removed everyone from the list but himself and the elves, so only the three of them could Floo or Apparate to the foyer, or go into the house uninvited. Now, the most Dumbledore could do was to Apparate to the front gate, and knock on the front door. By tomorrow evening, that would be reduced to only finding the property. Harry went to bed early to get lots of rest for his work tomorrow.

(Wed 3 Jul)

Harry skipped the grudging breakfast his aunt offered him and keyed directly to the Manor with his books in hand. He first asked Winky for some breakfast. While she worked on that, he found a book on becoming an Animagus, and added that to his reading stack. Harry ate a quick breakfast, while also reviewing the Fidelius Charm one more time.

Fixing the boundaries of the house carefully in his mind, he started the long spell to hide the house. As he finished it, Harry felt a large drain on his magic, while he also felt a little something added to himself. According to the book, that meant he was successful. Before he collapsed, Harry went into the little dining area where he'd had breakfast, and one of the few areas that was now clean. Sitting down, he laid his head on the table and took a nap. Dobby woke him up a couple hours later when lunch was ready.

After a big lunch, Harry scoped out the area from the house to the front gate. With those boundaries in mind, he cast the Fidelius Charm again. Once more, he felt success, and now he was so tired he barely made it back inside the house. Napping for the rest of the afternoon and a hearty dinner gave him enough energy to return back to Privet Drive. Before he left, Harry tried a glamour to hide his scar, and that worked well. He wanted to see if he could hide in public by a means other than merely covering up. Tired but satisfied, he returned back to the Dursleys via his usual way.

From his experience today, Harry knew he'd only be able to do two of these charms a day. That meant he would need three more days before he could leave the Dursleys. That was longer than he wanted, but within acceptable time limits.

Knowing he needed to report in at least twice more, Harry started writing his letter. A two-liner to Lupin stated he was fine and that the Dursleys were mostly ignoring him. He sent a slightly longer "I'm fine" letter to Hermione, and almost a duplicate to Ron. He doubted that would get them completely off his back about the subject of Sirius' death, but hopefully it would slow their diatribes down.

His letter to Ginny would take a lot more time. This he needed to word carefully, as well as to plan his actions well. Harry also realized he probably needed to be seen by his minders soon so they would think everything was normal. Deciding that washing Uncle Vernon's car was not too hard, and would allow him to plan while he worked, Harry went out front and did that in the last light of the day. It was not the best job he had ever done on the vehicle, but it was cleaner than when he had started.

Unfortunately, Uncle Vernon was not happy with that, and grabbed his arm when he came back in. "What did you do to my car, boy?" he said in his most menacing voice.

Harry shook himself out of his uncle's clutches. "Trying to keep up appearances. You do remember that there is always someone watching the house, right?" His uncle looked shocked. "So I need to be seen at least occasionally. Don't worry, I didn't do anything to your precious car except remove some dirt."

That calmed his uncle down a little, or at least he sounded calmer, though his face was still quite red. "When are you going to be out of here, boy?"

The word "boy", especially because of the way his uncle used it, had become Harry's least favorite word and set him on edge. "Probably Saturday night or Sunday morning. Don't worry. "I'll keep sending the I'm fine letters going until I leave, then I'll send them an I've moved letter when I'm gone." He really didn't plan to send the I've moved letter for quite some time, but it was not wise to say that out loud. When his uncle did not immediately say anything, Harry turned and left for his bedroom.

After another hour of careful thought, he had changed his mind on Ginny's letter, and made hers a very short one, but for a very different reason.

Even though it wasn't quite ten, Harry went to bed because he was so knackered from the spell work, and he had more to do tomorrow. He fell asleep thinking about his plan and all the problems he was going to cause Dumbledore; Sirius would be so proud of him.

A/N: Oh, I almost forgot to mention that this story is 20 chapters long. I'll post as fast as I can convert the story to a format that likes.