A/N Harry Potter and canon charcters are not mine (I wish!). All other characters are my own. I apologize in advance for any translation errors, or treading on anyone cultural heritage.
Voldemort was back. Cedric was dead. Harry felt that these two thoughts were his new personal mantra. Over and over in his head he saw the graveyard, Ced's unseeing eyes, Voldemort's red snake eyes. He was having trouble sleeping, more so than usual. When he did get to sleep, he ended up right back in that graveyard. Harry was tired, all the time. That was maybe why he was having a lot of trouble with his temper. He had always had a pretty long fuse, but lately it was about 2 cm long and quick. Harry was miserable. He knew he had a choice, go completely bat freakin' crazy or to get off his ass and figure out how to defeat Snake Breath.
Harry decided to get off his ass. He was going to use this anger for something to benefit himself.
First he tried listening to the muggle news reports. But for some reason Snake breath seemed to be lying very low. No strange disappearances, no strange explosions, nothing. So hanging around in the bushes trying to sneak a peek at the news was not getting anything done. Hermione's and Ron's letters were regular, but contained very little information. They said Dumbledore didn't want them to tell him anything for some reason. Where ever they were, they seemed to be together without him. That really pissed him off. But he would take that up with them if he ever got out of Privet Drive. Hermione especially, after last year he expected as much from Ron. Ron was his best mate, but he was not the most dependable man to have at you're side. But Hermione had never let him down before now. Part of Harry realized that she had to have a good reason for not keeping him in the loop. But that didn't stop him from being totally pissed off.
The Daily Prophet was absolutely no help. It continued to ignore the fact that Voldemort was back. The Ministry's work more than likely. Harry just scanned the front page every day, surely if Voldemort had stuck his head out, it would be front page news.
Well, Harry thought, I guess I will have to figure this out on my own.
But were to start? Harry wandered the village regularly and had a thought. "I need to be able to practice defense. I also need to be stronger physically and have more endurance. Well, I can't do anything about the magic but I can sure get in better shape the mundane way. The Ministry can't throw me in Azkaban for that".
Harry took a page from Hermione's book. When in doubt, hit the library. Harry started spending the mornings in the library, reading. Mrs. Thompson, the librarian, didn't subscribe to the local line of thought that Harry was a hooligan and helped him find all that the small library contained on self defense and physical fitness. She even showed him how to use the library's internet computers. He researched all kinds of self defense methods. Not focusing on any one school of thought, Harry took something from every one that he could find. Meditation to help his temper, weapon training, hand to hand, whatever he could find to fit his situation.
Harry started running every day. He had always been fast, but now he worked on being strong and fast. Harry also found a small martial arts school that had just opened that summer. Mr. Stormchaser was the owner and he allowed Harry to clean up every evening before the night classes. Mr. Stormchaser was a Yank, middle aged. He was about 6'2", strong but lean. His hair was silver and long worn in a pony
tail. He had copper colored skin but maybe it was a tan. Stormchaser helped Harry get running shoes with the money that he had earned. Harry was also getting a really good lunch every week day before he started work. He also was allowed to work out on the training equipment. Mr. Stormchaser didn't say a lot but help Harry prefect his technique. For some reason, Harry felt like he had known Stormchaser more than just a few weeks.
Harry always had to be home before or at least at the same time as Dudley. If he wasn't his aunt and uncle went ballistic. Somehow, Mr. Stormchaser always seemed to know when Harry should be heading home. Harry was still pretty pissed off at the world, but now that he was doing something, he found it easier to hold on to his temper.
Harry was just leaving Stormchaser's school several weeks into the summer, when he heard a loud crack. He spun into a ready stance with his wand in his hand. That sound was somebody apparating! But there wasn't anybody on the street, just one of Mrs. Figg's many cats. The cat heard the sound too because it shot off in the direction of home like a rocket, so Harry hadn't imagined the noise. Was somebody following him? Mr. Stormchaser came out, as Harry stuffed his wand back into his pants so it wouldn't be seen. "Are you ok Harry?" Stormchaser asked. "Did a car back fire?"
"Yes sir, just as it went around the corner there," Harry lied.
"Time for you to go on home son. And Harry…" Stormchaser said softly. "Be careful."
"Goodnight sir and thank you for everything." Harry turned and started jogging for home.
As he passed the playground, he noticed Dudley and his gang pushing their bikes towards home. Harry hung back, no sense in tempting himself to lose his temper. This summer, Harry had to really hold back on his magic. He could feel it bubbling just below the surface of his mind. It was like a creature just waiting for someone to open the door to let it out. Harry's aunt and uncle had thankfully been ignoring him all summer, but Dudley liked to get his digs in when they weren't around. So Harry tried to stay away from him as much as possible. Dudley said good night to his gang, turned to go down the alley towards Privet Drive. He noticed Harry off to the side of him.
"What are you doing Potter? Spying on me?" Dudley snapped at him.
"No Dudders, just heading back to the house. Beat up anybody up today?" Harry was no longer afraid of Dudley. After meeting Snake breathe in the graveyard last year, Dudders was about as challenging as the Stapuff Marshmallow man. Harry just couldn't resist prodding him when the opportunity presented itself. This too was a new behavior. "I'll teach anyone who gives me lip a lesson no matter what age they are!" retorted Dudley. Dudley on the other hand was terrified of Harry but unfortunately had no brakes on his mockingbird mouth. It was always writing checks his hummingbird butt couldn't cash.
"At least I'm not afraid of the dark like you are!"
"What do you mean I'm afraid of the dark?" Harry asked tensing up.
"You are always crying out in the night. Don't hurt Cedric! Mom! Dad!" Dudders shouted.
Harry had his wand to Dudley's throat so fast the older boy never saw him reach for it. Harry slammed him up against the wall and growled "Don't ever say Cedric's name again. You are not fit to utter it."
Just as Harry was about to release Dudley, a chill filled the alley so intense that the boys' breath clouded between them. Harry knew what it was. Dementors! Here in Little Whinging? How, why? Harry spun looking around. There at the end of the alley, he spun again, another at the other end. "Dudley run you fool! Keep your head down and you mouth shut! Whatever you do don't let them kiss you! "
Dudley collapsed, screaming "NO!!" Well, that certainly was not going to help a darn thing. Harry knew what he had to do. No matter how bad he hated Dudley, he couldn't leave him for the Dementors. Just as he raised his wand, a glowing light came around the end of the alley. A large, no huge, patronus charged the Dementor attacking Dudley. It snatched the dark creature up and proceeded to tear it in half. The Dementor disintegrated. It did not disappear. It disintegrated in to dark shifting dust and then that was gone too. The huge shiny patronus charged the second Dementor and destroyed this one too. Harry looked up at the 12' tall patronus. He knew it was a bear, he thought it was a Grizzly Bear from North America, but he wasn't sure. He had only seen them on the television once or twice. Harry straighten up and the bear nodded at him and disappeared. Just then Mrs. Figg rushed around the corner. "Harry was that your patronus?" she asked. "Harry, Harry are you alright?" First Dementors, then grizzly bears and now Mrs. Figg knows about a patronus? Harry's world had just dropped into a whole new dimension.