Author's Note:

First, I would like to apologize profusely for the six year wait on this story! I've been busy having children and being a mother, but I will try so much harder at updating more frequently. Second, I changed this chapter to match the rest of the story in which Harry is sixteen, not seventeen. I am currently going through the rest of my stories, but this might be the only one I keep. Are there any others that you would like me to continue? Please let me know...

Chapter One:

It was a normal Tuesday evening. The Great Hall was filled with the usual dim of noise as everyone ate and talked to their friends. Suddenly, the doors opened with a bang and everyone turned to see one livid Ron Weasley enter the Great Hall. Behind him came Harry Potter, visibly upset.

"Ron, please, just listen." The red-head whirled to face him. The Great Hall was silent as they watched. None of them had ever seen Ron this angry and most were glad it wasn't directed at them.

"No!" Ron shouted, his chest heaving. He took a deep breath. "Harry, what you did, what you're doing, is inexcusable!"

"Ron." Harry's voice was softer but some of the students wondered if that wasn't worse. Harry had a tendency to get quiet, right before he blew. "I'm helping people. How did that become a crime?" Ron's eyes narrowed.

"It's who you're helping, Harry," he hissed. "Slytherins are cruel, heartless bastards. They don't deserve anyone's help." Some students gasped. Was the Boy-Who-Lived actually helping the Slytherins?

"They're also people," Harry retorted, "caught up in a war they didn't want or ask for. Just like us."

"They're not like us!" Ron shouted. "Every single one of them is evil. They'll pull you in and then they'll kill you!" Harry stared at him for a long moment.

"Don't talk about things you know nothing about," he said softly. Then he turned and began walking towards the doors.

"Harry…" Harry spun to face him.

"Stop it," he hissed. The windows shattered and the lights flickered. "You grew up with parents who loved you. You had a real family. You don't know what it's like growing up, abused. Feeling unwanted and unloved. Becoming a pawn." He paused. "I know what that's like and that's why I'm helping them. Nothing you say will stop me." Ron was speechless. Harry turned on his heel, repairing the windows as he left. The Great Hall was completely silent for a moment. Then all hell broke loose. With all the noise, no one noticed Draco Malfoy or Severus Snape slip out.

Harry stormed down to the lake, his thoughts a jumble mess. He couldn't understand why Ron would react the way he did, yet he could relate to it, considering Ron's history with certain Slytherins. But did he have to question what Harry was doing? Harry was sixteen now, he only had about a year and a half of Hogwarts left, and he was tired of having everyone else make the decisions for him.

There were a ton of people that could help out those who needed it on the light side. Plus, every time he tried to help, he just got in the way. For the most part, the Order members still treated him like he was twelve or thirteen, not a sixteen year old young adult. It aggravated him to no end.

At least with the Slytherins, they were willing to let him help them. They trusted him enough to let him make the decisions and then follow through with it. Before the department of mysteries disaster last year, he never would have thought he'd be where he was today, helping Draco Malfoy and his friends. He never would have thought he'd be able to consider Severus Snape a close friend and mentor. But what happened that night, when it was proven that Voldemort was indeed back, had changed everything…

Harry sighed as he put down the picture he was holding of his Godfather, Sirius Black. It'd been about a month but Harry was no closer to accepting Sirius's death then he'd been when it happened. He could still see Bellatrix aim her wand, still see Sirius fall through the veil, still hear the screams that he later realized had been his own. Blinking back the tears, Harry got out of bed and dragged himself downstairs to make breakfast for his 'relatives'.

They'd found out shortly after he arrived home about Sirius's death, so he could no longer hold that threat over their heads. Not that it mattered anymore. Nothing did. Sometimes, when his uncle beat him, he wished he wouldn't stop. That he would just finish the job and be done with it. Vernon almost had a few nights earlier. He was getting frustrated with Harry's lack of emotion during the beating and had gone non-stop for 45 minutes. Harry was barely breathing when Petunia finally stopped her husband, worried about what would happen to them if they killed the boy.

Walking into the kitchen, Harry soon had the bacon and eggs frying. By the time Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley made it downstairs, breakfast was ready. Vernon must have been feeling especially generous that morning, because he allowed Harry to have a full piece of bacon before kicking him outside to work in the garden.

It was around noon when Harry was finally finished weeding the garden. The sun beat on his back as he headed inside, wiping the sweat off his brow. Taking a quick peek, making sure his aunt didn't see him, Harry dashed upstairs to his room and shut the door. He knew there'd be more chores but he really needed a break, if only for a few minutes.

Looking around, he froze. On his bed was a strange owl he'd never seen before. Slowly edging across the room, Harry took the letter from the bird's leg and opened it.


I know it must be strange hearing from me but I have something I need to discuss with you. Meet me tomorrow night, midnight, at Kings Cross Station.


All Harry could do for a long moment was stare at the piece of parchment. Malfoy had actually written him? And he wanted to meet? Harry waited to feet fear about what Malfoy would do once he got Harry alone, but all he felt was curiosity…and excitement. Hiding the letter under his pillow, Harry fed the owl and watched it fly out his window. Then he set about doing the rest of his chores.

Sighing, Harry sat on a boulder and just stared out at the lake.