A/N: Ok, here is a small plot bunny you might like.

Disclaimer: We don't own anything but the plot.

Summary: At the lowest point in his life Harry meets someone that's always willing to lend a hand.

In For the Long Haul

It was cold and raining at that lonely crossroads as a young man with a vintage motorbike stopped shivering in the night. The road was stretched onward and upward and he was completely lost. He gazed into the inky blackness, very unsure of himself. The bike revved a couple of times, it's lone headlight doing nothing to keep back the encroaching darkness.

The young, teen-aged rider wore only a pair of goggles and the rain dripped from his matted hair, seeping down his neck and under his riding leathers. He made a slumped and dejected figure in the night.

Harry James Potter sighed, chewing on his bottom lip. He really didn't know what to do. He was just 16 that summer when he left Britain. He really shouldn't have, but there was nothing keeping him there anymore. That spring his last close link to his parents was dead. He did have friends that he could consider as close as family, but it wasn't the same. He always felt like he was a stranger, looking in but never truly belonging. A guest for awhile, then it was a life alone, as usual.

When he had gotten the notice from the goblins that his godfather had made out a will, he had been requested to appear for the reading. Harry knew he had to attend. Of course, everyone who thought they had a say in his life objected. 'It just wasn't safe for him to go' they all protested.

Harry snorted. Of course it wasn't safe! He did, after all, have a psycho-pathic terrorist and his insane band of merry sycophants hell bent on total world domination and his death, not necessarily in that order.

Once at Gringotts, the goblin bank, Harry discovered , to his shock, that his godfather Sirius Black had left most (well except for that which was entailed) of his worldly goods to his favorite and only godson, including the Lordship of the Ancient and Noble house of Black and one piece of advice - Get Out of Britain! Go! Have fun, meet a few pretty girls and live life! Harry's parents died so that he might live, and from what his godfather had observed, Harry wasn't living.

That was why he was now stranded in the middle of nowhere; in the middle of the night in pouring rain, somewhere in the heart of the United States. He hadn't told anyone where he was going, except of course, the goblins. They had helped with his escape and itinerary.

Suddenly, a low rumble echoed off in the distance as the beam of headlights topped a hill in the distance. Harry had just enough experience in his travels to recognize the sound of a semi heading his way. He heard the sound of air brakes as the rig slowed to a stop beside him.

The passenger door opened and the driver called out, "looks to me yer havin' a bit of trouble, there. Need a lift?"

"What about my bike?" Harry asked, pulling the neck of his leather jacket tighter.

"It should be fine where it is,just move it clear off the road," the driver said as he offered a hand. "Big Joe's the name."

Harry did as instructed, then smiled as he climbed into the cab. "Harry."

"Well, Harry is this my rig, Phantom 309," Big Joe said as he switched gears. "This big rig and I have seen a lot of miles together."

Harry listened as Big Joe bragged about his rig. He judged the big man to be well into his mid 40's, early 50's.

"So what's a fella like you doing at that crossroad anyhow? By the sound of your accent, you're a Brit, right?"

Harry sighed. He knew he couldn't tell Big Joe much about the Wizarding World, but what he could tell he did. He told how his parents had been killed and how he had been raised by his mother's family who didn't really like him much.

"A shame, that," was Big Joe's comment. "Let me tell ya son, family is what you make of it. All the family I have left is this rig."

Harry paused for a moment as the big Mack seemed to purr under him. "I thought I had a chance of family until last spring when my godfather was also killed." He went on to explain the terrorist attacks and how their leader had set his sights on Harry.

They talked into the night. Big Joe seemed to be a good listener. He never made any judgment or chastised Harry for running.

"Don't blame ya, son," was all he said. "Don't seem right to have a kid yer age fightin', 'specially in a war. Well now, all I can say is you gotta do what's right for you, an' don't let anybody tell ya any different. You seem like a fine young man with a good head on your shoulders. You'll come out right in the end."

Big Joe pulled into a truck stop and ground to a halt. "Well, son. This is as far as I can take ya. I have to make a turn just up the road. Remember what I told ya, never back down from a fight. Your parents wanted you to live your life, but life isn't worth it if you are always lookin' over your shoulder."

Harry smiled. "Thanks."

Big Joe dug into his pocket and flipped him a dime. "Here. Have a cup on me as you wait for the tow truck ta bring in yer bike. Remember what ol' Big Joe told you."

Harry watched as the big rig roared off into the night and the tail lights faded in the distance.

The truck stop looked like most of the mom and pop diners seen, with a few rigs parked in the large gravel parking lot. Neon lights flashed as he walked under the sign over the door.

An elderly waitress helped him call a tow truck for his bike after she took his order. Harry looked curiously at the dime Big Joe had given him.

"So tell me," Harry asked, quietly, fingering the dime. "about Big Joe and Phantom 309."

"Now where did you hear about him?" she asked before she noticed the dime he was flipping in his hand.

Harry laid his dime on the counter. He knew a ghost when he saw one. After all, he went to school of magic and it had plenty of ghosts and spirits, but none of them were quite like Big Joe.

"I think he gave me a ride tonight," Harry said as he slid the dime to her. "Gave me this and told me to have a cup on him."

She sat down her coffee pot and looked at him for a moment. "Well, it was about 40 years ago. . . ."


It was wet and cold as a lone figure stood at the crossroads. The rain had stopped. The figure was wearing a long, dark cloak. He was tapping an odd wooden stick against his thigh as he peered into the inky stillness.

The rumble of a semi roared as two beams of light shone down from the hill it had just topped. Air brakes sounded as semi rig came to a stop. The driver opened the passenger door and the figure stepped in.

"Hello Big Joe."

"Hello Harry. Been awhile."

Harry pulled back the hood of his cloak and shook out his damp hair. "I stopped you tonight to say thank you for your help."

Big Joe smiled as he revved up his engine. "I didn't do much, 'cept listen, son."

They talked on into the night as the big rig rumbled down the road. Harry told him how Big Joe's advice made a difference. He'd gone back to Britain to finish his education and fought the war. Harry told how it had been difficult as at first he hadn't known who to trust, but told Big Joe he had been right about family.

Then their talk turned to other things. Harry explained that he'd just bought a big rig, a Peterbuilt, as he liked the style and how he could get it customized.

"I even named the rig, Lightening 309. After everything that has happened, I found I needed time on the road to find myself, so I decided to be a long haul trucker, like you," Harry said quietly.

"Well son, this is as far as I go," Big Joe said as he pulled into a truck stop.

"I know," Harry said with a sad smile as he pulled out a dime. "I saved it, you know. I didn't have the heart to spend it. No one ever helped me the way you did."

"So this is the end of the line?" Big Joe asked. "For me and Phantom 309?"

"Only if you want to be, Big Joe," Harry said as he pulled out the elder wand.

Harry watched as big Mack pulled out of the parking lot and roared off into the night. He watched as the red tail lights made a turn in the distance before he turned to the diner. He thought about going in but shook his head as he walked back into the inky darkness. The road was waiting.


This is what happens when GF writes while listening to old country music! - Frau

Hey! I needed a break and I had been wanting to listen to Red Sovine again and "Phantom 309" just happens to be my favorite C/W song. So there! -GF