Welcome to 2014 and my first update on this site this year! I really wanted to update this much earlier, but hell has come down here again. Weather has been awful, I wrecked my car, and now we're supposed to get almost a foot of snow the next 12 hours or so. For those of you readers in the US that are affected by this crazy weather, be safe, please!


Harry looked at himself in the mirror and sighed. He was still tired, even after a full night of sleep. Granted, it hadn't been overly restful, but still. He was always tired, lately. However, he'd already had breakfast, and was now in his formal robes, and trying to tame his hair.

Sirius snorted a laugh when he saw Harry's struggle. "Give it up, kid," he laughed. "Nothing works on Potter hair. James once told me that a hag had cursed all of the Potter men to have that hair after his great grandfather had a deal go bad. Don't know if I believed him, but he was never able to get his hair to work. Neither was Lily with yours."

Harry groaned, and lowered his hands to his sides. He knew that he needed to look the part today, and when it appeared that he had just rolled out of bed, it wasn't exactly the impression he wanted to give.

Sirius understood, though. "Hold yourself properly, look people in the eye, and speak like you expect people to listen to you. That's the best way of handling them today."

Nodding, Harry smoothed his robe yet again. The Daily Prophet had been filled with news on the attacks, so he knew that people were going to be expecting a lot from him today. Just as he opened his mouth to ask Sirius a question, Hedwig flew towards him. Sirius had altered the wards to allow specific owls unrestricted access. It got to be too tiresome to lower certain wards regularly.

"Hey, girl," Harry murmured when she landed on his shoulder, holding her leg out. Then he realized that it was from Hogwarts.

Sirius seemed to read his expression, as he always did. "If you want, you can wait to open it until we get back from the Ministry." He figured Harry did fine, but didn't want him freaked out while they were at the Ministry.

Harry turned the letter over in his hands a few times, unsure. He really wanted to find out how he had done on the exams, and if he still had a future in the fields of his choosing. However, if he did poorly on them, would he be able to put it behind him when they went to his ceremony?

Finally, he decided to see how he had done. It was going to bother him, otherwise. With one finger, he broke the seal on the envelope and pulled out the pages.

Dear Mr. Potter-Black,

Below are the grades that you earned this past spring on your Ordinary Wizarding Levels. The ability to continue a class to the NEWT level depends on your professors. When a decision is made on which classes you will continue, send an owl to the school to inform them of your choices.

Have a nice day,

Department of Magical Education

Harry turned to the second page after taking a breath.

OWL results for Harry James Potter-Black

Passing Grades: O-Outstanding; E-Exceeds Expectations; A-Acceptable

Failing Grades: P-Poor; D-Dreadful; T-Troll

Astronomy: E

Care of Magical Creatures: E

Charms: O

Defense Against the Dark Arts: O

Herbology: E

History of Magic: A

Runes: O

Potions: O

Transfiguration: O

Harry gaped at the page. Had he really done that well? He reread every grade, and felt his heart leap. He couldn't believe he'd gotten five O's, and had passed the rest. It was so hard to believe!

Sirius was waiting impatiently to find out how Harry had done. His son was reading the page multiple times and staring at the page. That could either mean he'd done better than he'd thought, or worse. "Well?" he finally asked.

Harry smiled widely and passed the page to his father. "I think I did alright," he said in wonder.

The older wizard grinned as he looked it over. "Better than alright, if you ask me! I'm proud of you, kiddo."

Harry flushed slightly at the praise, and smiled again. It had been a while since he'd smiled so much, and his cheeks were hurting, unused to the position. That thought almost made him lose the smile, but he realized that he would be able to make it into Snape's class in the fall. He hadn't been overly concerned about it, but he needed that class for almost any field he was wanting.

"Well, after we're done at the Ministry, we'll head to the Burrow for the celebratory dinner," Sirius told him. "I'll finish getting ready, and we'll meet by the Floo in five minutes." He was ready to go, but figured Harry would need the time to focus again on what they were getting ready for.


When they arrived at the overly large and ornate room, Harry took a minute to look around. It was clear that this room was meant to be for special ceremonies. He remembered Sirius had told him that the room they'd be using was meant for all ceremonies, be it swearing in new members of the Wizengamot, the ceremony for new Ministers, or Lords and Ladies, highly important weddings and funerals, and so much more.

It was nothing like the room that had held the trials for Death Eaters, which was the point, he could assume. He followed Sirius to the front row of seats where they sat.

Harry could admit that he was rather uncomfortable. It wasn't the fact that he was in his nicest robes, or that there was a special ceremony for him. Sure, those were on his mind, but he was ignoring them. No, his discomfort came from the fact that the door to enter this room was behind them. Harry had always had a fear of not being able to see people entering a room he was in; the fear dated back from his early life with the Dursleys. It had only gotten worse when he entered the Wizarding world, and found himself either a celebrity or a pariah. He had a price on his head, and there were certainly enough people that were crazy enough to try and attack him in front of a group of people that barely knew him.

Despite his uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, he hid any irritation or fidgeting, not wanting to appear anything other than professional.

The room began filling up, and Harry was distracted from his nerves by all of the individuals that came up to talk to him and Sirius. His father made sure to call each person by their name and mention their position at the Ministry, and he did it in such a way that Harry was able to get the information he needed, without seeming ignorant.

Dumbledore arrived, giving Harry a wink, his eyes twinkling with mirth. Harry always had the feeling that the headmaster was able to read thoughts, though admittedly he was practically radiating tension right then. He nodded at the professor, pleased that there was finally a face that he recognized in the crowd of people.

Finally, most of the seats were filled, and Harry barely held in a flinch when the doors banged open, admitting three individuals.

The first was wearing the outfit of Minister, though Harry had never seen him before. On his right was Percy, and on his left was a young woman that Harry recognized as Penelope Clearwater, Percy's girlfriend in school. Her outfit was slightly different, seeming to be a bit more ceremonial than the others.

The three of them marched to the front of the room, before turning and facing everyone gathered in the room. Sirius leaned slightly to his left, where Harry was, and whispered. "Minister Runcorn. He's the interim until we vote for a new Minister."

Harry gave a minute nod, eyes locked onto the man. He had never heard of this man, and given his past experiences with the Minister, he was wary.

"Welcome, valued members of Wizarding Britain," Runcorn began. "We are here today to recognize the Lordship of the Noble House of Potter, and the heir of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black. Gentlemen, please stand and move forward."

Harry copied Sirius as they stood and walked forward. Harry could feel the importance of the moment, and took a fraction of a second to think about James Potter doing this exact ceremony after Charlus passed. He felt connected to his family in a way he'd never experienced before.

"Mr. Potter-Black. You are now sixteen, which is the legal age to become the head of a House that does not have a living Lord. By accepting this responsibility, you are to care for all members of your house with respect. Do you agree to this?"

Harry could feel all the eyes of the room on him. He brought his right fist across his chest to his left shoulder, which Sirius had told him was a Wizarding tradition that conveyed honesty and esteem. He raised himself to his full height, for once feeling like the pureblood he'd imitated in the past. "I do."

"Part of being a Lord also entails taking a seat on the Wizengamot. Will you agree to serve this country to the best of your ability, to be just and honest?"

"I do," Harry repeated, feeling magic flowing through the room.

Runcorn turned to Sirius. "Lord Black, eight months ago, you adopted Harry James Potter as your son. Will you now, in front of witnesses, name him as Heir to the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black?"

Sirius copied Harry's movement, placing his fist on his shoulder. "I, Lord Sirius Orion Black, do name as my Heir, and Heir to the House of Black, my son Harry James Potter-Black, Lord of the House of Potter." He stood tall and proud. It was clear to all in the room that he'd been born and raised in a pureblood house.

"Do you swear to teach him all that he needs to know in order to become an accomplished and productive Lord?"

"I do," Sirius stated clearly.

Clearwater stepped forward, raising her hands. Harry could feel magic flowing between him and Sirius, as well as the other members in the room. She began chanting softly in Latin. "So mote it be," she finished.

A golden light filled the room, and then in a rush, entered Harry. He could suddenly feel a weight on him, so powerful it was almost physical. However, unlike other burdens he'd born over the years, this one felt welcome. Harry could feel complete, as though a part of himself was missing over the years.

"Congratulations, Lord Potter-Black," Runcorn told him, and gestured to Percy, who brought forth a box. "It is time for the exchange of rings."

Sirius stepped forward and reached inside the box. It was common for the Ministry to retrieve the rings necessary for ceremonies. However, the trick was that no one was able to touch them other than the one they are intended for or their guardian. He pulled out two rings, and Harry slipped off his Heir ring.

"This is the ring for the Lord of the House of Potter," Sirius told him, looking him in the eyes. "Wear it proudly and in good health, displaying to all others the honor that your House possesses."

Harry accepted the ring from his father, fitting it on his left ring finger, and it fit perfectly. He had to love magic, sometimes.

Sirius then showed him a second ring. "I present to you, my son, the ring for the Heir of the House of Black. This will show to all that you are under my protection from now until you become the Lord. Any insult to you is an insult to me, and an honor to me is an honor to you. Wear this ring, and bring pride to our House."

Harry accepted the ring, and put it on his right ring finger; once again, it was the perfect size. "Thank you, Lord Black," Harry said formally. While part of him was laughing at addressing Sirius thus, this was not the place to be blasé. "You do me an honor by naming me as your heir. I will strive to honor both of our Houses for the rest of my life."

A thunderous clapping interrupted their moment. The two of them turned and bowed to everyone present. Then they shook hands with Runcorn, Percy, and Clearwater.

It was a while before they were able to leave the room. After all, everyone wanted to speak with them about the ceremony, or about the war, or about the prospects for Minister, or….well, everything they could think of. Harry sometimes forgot how much people coveted his fame. He wished they could sometimes realize what came along with the fame. If they knew how many times he'd nearly been killed, or the amount of trouble his fame brought him, perhaps they wouldn't be quite so eager to envy him.

Sirius finally told them that they had another pressing engagement, which they did. He led Harry out of the room, and they went to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Sirius knocked on Amelia's office door.

"Sirius!" she said in surprise. "Lord Potter-Black, nice to see you again."

That was going to take some getting used to, he supposed. "You as well, Madam Bones."

"What can I do for you?" she asked, offering them both a seat.

Sirius spoke up first. "Harry is here to register his Animagus form, and to apply for an Apparation license."

Amelia looked shocked for a moment, then shook her head ruefully. "Of course you would teach him both of them early," she muttered, hunting around her desk for the necessary paperwork. "And to wait until after his ceremony was a clever way around… ah, here it is!" she exclaimed triumphantly, pulling out two folders. "Now, normally this would be taken care of by other people, and you would have different testers, but I understand that this is a bit more sensitive, due to your fame. We don't want a special edition of the Prophet going out with this information. Therefore, I'll take care of everything and file it as discreetly as I can, Lord Potter."

"Harry, please," the teen requested. He was only sixteen. Sirius was far more a lord than he was. "And I would appreciate that, thank you."

"Wonderful, Harry. Then, if you would transform for me?"

Harry stood from his seat, and then there was a wolf staring at the head of the DMLE. She chuckled. "Figured you'd be a canine like this old mutt," she grumbled. She stood as well and came to look at him. She examined him closely, then nodded. "Very well, you may rejoin us, Harry."

Harry turned back into Harry and retook his seat.

"Form: wolf. Fur: grey. Eyes: green. Identifying markers: lightning scar," she mumbled as she filled it out. "Now, how is your Apparation?"

"I have practiced for a couple weeks," Harry told her. "I have apparated to different rooms in the same general area, and went to a town a few hundred kilometers away."

She nodded. "Well, we shall test you now. I will apparate to the entrance of Diagon Alley. Meet me there," she ordered.

Harry nodded, and she vanished. Sirius winked at him. "You'll be fine. See you there." He vanished as well.

Harry took a deep breath, and twisted, hoping he wouldn't splinch. That probably wouldn't look that great.

He landed a bit awkwardly, but he had made it intact. Amelia grinned at him, and waved a wand. "Didn't splinch. Very nice," she complimented. "Now, would you be able to apparate to the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade?" she asked, knowing that it was a much further distance.

Harry considered, and nodded. "I think I could do that," he said hesitantly.

She and Sirius disappeared again, and Harry followed soon after.

When he landed, he felt a bit weak in the knees. Sirius steadied him, and conjured a chair. "That was pretty far," the older wizard explained. "Further distances require much more, and it gets easier with practice. We'll get you some food when we get to the Burrow."

Amelia spoke next. "Well, Harry, I'd say you've passed. Go and enjoy your day, I'll owl you your license."

"Thank you," Harry told her, shaking her hand.

She Apparated out, thinking quite a bit about this boy that continued to surprise her.

Sirius snorted at her expression before she left, and turned to Harry. "How about you side along with me?" he recommended.

"Yeah, I don't think I could make it there without splinching myself," Harry said with a groan.

He chuckled slight, and Harry grabbed his arm tightly.

They landed on the outskirts of the property, just outside the wards. Quickly making their way to the home, Harry knocked on the front door, which was opened almost instantly.

"Harry, Sirius, there's no need to knock," Molly told him warmly, nearly crushing him in a hug. "This is your house as well. Come in."

Harry smiled at her, and they went inside. He was shocked speechless for a moment, though, when he saw the kitchen.

Happy Birthday, Lord Potter-Black!

The banner was hanging from the ceiling, and there was a towering cake on the counters. "Mrs. Weasley, you didn't have…"

"Oh, hush, dear," she said sternly, but her eyes were laughing. "Now, everyone else is outside, so why don't you go see everyone?"

He nodded, and left Sirius in the kitchen while he went to the backyard. He was pleased to see not only Hermione and the Weasleys, but also most of the members of their advanced group. Blaise, Theo, Susan, Justin, Anthony, and Lisa had come. Harry hadn't even known that they were invited. He wished that Neville could have made it, but the other Gryffindor had his birthday recently, as well, so he was probably busy.

Ron was the first to see him, and he motioned to the others. "Oi!" he called to get their attention. Then, as though they had practiced this, all the boys bowed, and the girls curtsied. "My lord," they all chorused as one.

Harry started laughing, and had to support himself by propping a hand on his knee. "Knock it off, you lot!" he gasped. Hearing his friends, almost all of them, call him that was too much.

They continued the joke for a few minutes, but by then most of them were laughing too hard to keep it up.

"So, what have you guys been up to lately?" he asked curiously.

That led to a lot of talking. Fred and George insisted on conjuring blankets for them to sit on, complaining that they were tired of standing.

Susan told him about helping her aunt with some of the paperwork she'd been buried under since the trials. Lisa told all of them about another spell that the two of them had created. The fact that she was a muggleborn was what prompted her to create this one. She missed the music that she could listen to over the holidays she spent at home. Therefore, she and Susan had created a spell that temporarily allows electronics to work around magical environments. A consequence of that was that Susan was learning a lot more about Muggle music, as she had needed to keep the tape player for a couple weeks in order to properly test it. Lisa's home simply didn't have enough magic to allow it to be accurately tested.

Harry was fascinated, as were most of the others. "You could make a ton of money off of that, if you could perfect it," he commented, brows raised.

Lisa blushed slightly, and Susan stepped in. "I figured we could. However, I don't know if it'll work better at Hogwarts, which has so many more wards and magic in the air. We'll test it when we get back."

"What is the time span that it works?" Hermione asked, eyes light with curiousity. "Can I see your notes? What's the incantation?"

They all smiled, well used to Hermione when she has the chance to learn something new. "At my house, which has moderate wards, it's still working after two weeks, though I can already tell there's some damage. I don't know if we need someone stronger to cast it, or if that's the best we can do. We're going to get another one and see how it works if we recast the spell every week."

"I'll owl you my notes, Hermione," Lisa said quietly. "The incantation is Conservo Electronica."

Anthony looked like he was chewing on a thought, and Harry asked him about it. "Well, I was thinking, what if I could find a rune that would help. Maybe if you etch a series of runes on the device, it would help to hold the charm in place for longer, so that you don't have to recast it every week."

That led to the question of what runes would work, and where to etch them. In the end, they decided that they would try both methods. They would get a couple more tape players, which Harry agreed to buy for them (being the richest). Susan would see how long the current one lasted, and then recast on the newer one every week until school started. Anthony would work on testing them with runes.

Harry looked around at the others to see how their own projects were going. Blaise opened his mouth to speak, but before he could get a word out, there was a noise coming from the house. He turned, and saw Brianna and Lucian walking towards them. He smiled. He'd invited all of them, but figured they wouldn't all want to come. Whether or not he wanted to admit it to himself, at the moment he was persona non grata at their place. He was sure that Thom stayed away only because of Ica. He did like Thom a lot, who was the calmest of the lot.

He ran over and gave Brianna a hug, and nodded to Lucian, who gave him a curt nod back. He waved the two of them forward, and went about introductions. "Alright, so most of you have met my girlfriend, Brianna, and this is her best friend Lucian. Guys, this is Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Fred, George, Susan, Justin, Blaise, Theo, Anthony, and Lisa."

Everyone said hello, and Hermione complimented Brianna on her new haircut. There was an awkward moment when Brianna looked as though she might start crying again.

Hermione slapped her hands against her mouth, realizing what she had said. Harry just nodded slightly at his friend, and leaned in towards Brianna's ear. "I do think it looks amazing," he whispered.

She gave him a small smile, and forced her tears back. "Thank you, Hermione," she said instead.

Hermione just nodded, clearly not trusting herself to say anything else aloud, lest she stick her foot in it again.

Everyone else was standing around, uncertain of how to react to the situation. Ron was the first to speak. "Were you about to say something, Zabini?" he asked, turning to the Slytherin.

Blaise hid a smirk, able to tell when someone was desperate to change the subject. "Well, I was going to answer Potter's question of any other developments on our projects this summer."

That got everyone's attention, even Brianna and Lucian's. They all sat back down, and turned to the two Slytherins.

Theo spoke up. "This genius here managed to weaponize the Strengthening Solution."

The group froze, and many eyes widened. "How?" Harry demanded, thinking through the instructions in his head.

Blaise was slightly flushed with all the attention, but answered Harry. "Well, I worked it exactly as I should have, and then started cleaning my station. When it was almost cooled enough, I reached for a couple vials, and knocked over a couple lacewing flies that had soaked in dragon's blood into the cauldron while it was still a bit too hot. They reacted with the knotgrass, and turned the potion into vapor. Both of us got a pretty good whiff of it. Same effects as being ingested, but lasted almost twice as long."

Harry's mind was spinning with the information. He never would have thought of something like that, and was already imagining scenarios where it could be used. "Did you owl Snape about it?" he asked.

Now all eyes turned to stare at him, incredulity being the most common. Theo, though, nodded. "It was the first thing we did as soon as I could hold a quill without snapping it. He thought we should send the results to a Potions Journal. He'd never heard of it before."

"Do you think it could work on other potions?" Brianna asked, eyes alight in curiosity. She would have to tell her mother about this.

Blaise shrugged. "It's kind of dangerous to experiment with. Snape also spent two pages lecturing us on improper protocol while brewing."

Hermione snorted, as it was partly what she was thinking. "There are, of course, other ways of figuring that out without inhaling the vapors of potions. Also, I'd recreate the Solution again to make sure that's the affect it has before you contact a journal."

They all agreed with her suggestions, but asked what other ways of testing she knew of, and how she had learned of them. She opened her mouth to answer, but her words were cut off by Mrs. Weasley. "Dinner!" she hollered.

Harry hadn't realized how late it had gotten, but realized that he'd eaten breakfast long before they went to the Ministry, and had stayed for quite some time, not to mention the time it had taken for his testing.

Everyone got up and made their way over to the tables that were set up out on the front lawn, as there were too many people to eat comfortably inside. Harry was ushered to the head of the table, with Sirius and Remus on either side of him. He was pleased to see that Bill, though heavily bandaged, had joined them, sitting between Charlie and Arthur.

Dinner was fabulous, as Mrs. Weasley was the one who had cooked. She had made all of his favorites. The talk ranged from the war and the attacks the day before, to OWL scores that they'd all gotten earlier that day.

Harry wasn't surprised to hear that Hermione had gotten straight O's, though she was amazed. Ron had gotten one O (Defense), two P's (Divination and History), with the rest being straight E's. The redhead seemed rather pleased with his scores. The others started comparing grades, with the twins laughing at the whole thing.

Justin and Anthony were asking Lisa about the music that she liked, which Arthur found fascinating. Brianna was talking with Hermione and Blaise about Potions, and Lucian was speaking with Remus.

The two seemed to be quite guarded with each other, and Harry wondered for a moment if the rumors of vampires and werewolves being natural enemies was true or not. Lucian seemed rather surly, which wasn't saying much. Harry didn't know if he'd ever seen him in a good mood.

When they were all finished with the meal, Molly brought out a giant cake in the shape of a Quidditch field, complete with the goalposts. Harry was struck dumb at the sight, and felt, to his shame, his throat swell slightly.

Sirius seemed to understand that his son needed a few moments, and thanked the woman for her hard work. She waved him off, of course, and asked if Harry wanted to say a few words before they cut the cake.

Harry thought quickly as he stood, clinking his knife against his glass. Everyone shut up and turned to look at him expectantly. He swallowed a couple of times until he was sure he could talk without croaking.

"I feel like the richest man in the world today, and it has nothing to do with titles or vaults. It's because I have people here that care about me, that love me, enough to celebrate on a day that feels a bit less bright than the days before it. Friends, family, and loved ones are what matters." He reached down and picked up his glass, raising it in a toast. "So, thank you, all of you, not just for celebrating for me, but for celebrating with me. That is an honor I can't put into words."

The table all drank deeply with him, and clapped politely. There was surprise on more than one face, having expected a longer speech.

Harry retook his seat, and Sirius gave his knee a squeeze. "Nice job," he said.

Taking a look around at everyone gathered, Harry knew that chances were high that they would lose more of them by the time the war was over. However, he wasn't going to let that happen without a fight.


"Concentrate, Harry," Remus cried, blocking the teen's staff.

Harry gritted his teeth. "I'm trying," he growled back. "Stupefy!"

They were in the Black living room again, practicing. Both of them were holding their staves in one hand and their wands in the other. It was yet another drill that Remus had for him. Attack with one weapon while defending with the other. Continue for ten moves, then alternate.

However, Harry was struggling with the multitasking. He would lose count, and forget to block with his staff while casting a spell. Or he'd get stuck with a spell because he was so focused on striking that he forgot to throw up a shield.

"You had this for almost an hour yesterday," Remus panted, jerking his staff behind Harry's knees, knocking him to the ground. "What's the difference between now and then?"

Harry dropped his staff, but kept a tight hold on his wand. "I'm tired?" he suggested, trying to catch his breath while flat on his back. He raised a shield as Remus sent another hex at him.

"Be tired on your own time," the werewolf snapped. "You want to learn this? Fight through everything. Push back the fatigue, ignore the pain. I'm not throwing anything at you that you can't handle."

Harry growled again, and lowered the shield. He remembered the lessons from Deschamps, and swept his leg around, catching Remus behind the ankles, throwing him off balance. The older wizard didn't fall to the ground, having excellent balance, but it gave Harry enough time to grab his staff, and block the blow to his side.

Another twenty minutes later, they called an end to the drill. Remus left Harry breathing hard on the couch, and brought them back each a butterbeer. "Drink up," he encouraged.

Harry drank quickly, the liquid soothing his parched throat. He sat their staves against the wall, and holstered his wand, glaring at his now empty bottle.

Remus nudged him slightly. "What's going on in that head of yours?" he asked, taking a sip.

Harry sighed, leaning back until his head rested on the cushions. "Just haven't been sleeping well, I guess."

"Why's that?" Remus asked, concerned. They were all aware that Harry often had visions, and he only bothered them with it if it was serious enough.

Harry shrugged, considering his next words carefully. "Just dreams, you know? Been having a recurring one for a while now. It's not scary or anything, just…. I don't know. Confusing?"

"You want to talk about it?" Remus offered. He was worried about Harry. He could tell that the teen wasn't sleeping that well, but their training couldn't suffer much right now. There was no telling how much work they would be able to get done over the school year, and Harry would be headed back in less than a month now.

Harry shook his head, though. "I don't want to talk about it," he muttered, taking his empty bottle into the kitchen to toss into the rubbish bin.

Remus could tell that he shouldn't push it, but he had to say one more thing before he would let it go. "Talk to Sirius?" he asked. "I know you, Harry. You'll deal with this on your own, until you can't." He picked up his things and stopped next to the couch on his way to the Floo. "Think about it, alright?"

Harry just nodded at him, and Remus left through the Floo.

He considered his godfather's words as he took a quick shower to wash off the sweat, and changed. He started cooking dinner, choosing lasagna, as it would force him to focus on the ingredients for a while. The garlic bread was next, and then he fixed a quick salad. Those, unfortunately, didn't take much concentration, and he found his mind drifting.

He'd been dreaming of the Dursleys for a while now. It was never anything like nightmares, or even something specific about them. He just thought about the house that he'd grown up in, and what it would be like to go there again. He was filled with different emotions when he woke, as well. He had started having a sick feeling of desire. Desire to see their pain. To cause their pain. He craved it more than he could say.

Then he would wake, and for a moment, he thought about his years with them. All of the time in the cupboard, starving and eating from the rubbish bin. The endless chores that would leave his hands bleeding and cramping for days after. The ceaseless taunts and careless hits. The occasional frying pan or belt or cane for an imagined offense, or one that either wasn't his fault or that he couldn't control, and that left him too sore to move.

Then he remembered who he was and why he shouldn't be thinking about that. He really didn't want it. Did he?

Sirius could tell that something was off with Harry as soon as he walked into the kitchen, drawn by the wonderful smell of garlic and tomato sauce. Then he stopped as soon as he saw the conflict on Harry's face.

"Everything alright?" he asked, worried. Out of habit, his eyes roamed the room to make sure there was nothing off.

Harry shook himself out of his thoughts. "Yeah," he muttered. "Everything's fine."

Sirius watched as Harry finished setting the table as he himself got the drinks. Eventually, they were seated at their table. However, Harry wasn't eating. Something was tearing him up inside, it was clear as daylight.

Finally, Sirius laid down his fork. "What's going on?" he asked in a quiet voice.

Harry looked up. "Nothing!" he said, a bit louder than he meant to.

Sirius fought down the scoff, knowing that it wouldn't help the situation. "Is it the training?" he guessed. He knew that Remus had been over earlier to work with Harry. "Is five days a week too much for you? I can talk to Remus and…"

"No!" Harry said forcefully. "I need the training. It's not that."

"Then what is it?" Sirius asked again. He was getting worried. Harry wasn't acting like himself, and Sirius had absolutely no idea what was going on. He'd seen Harry every single day this summer, and hadn't seen anything like this coming. He could tell that the youth was tired, but had assumed that it was a combination of training and visions.

"I don't want to talk about it," Harry said, trying to stay calm. He wasn't about to tell Sirius. Forget what Remus said earlier. The first fight he'd ever had with Sirius was because he thought he'd wanted to kill Malfoy. How exactly was he supposed to tell him that, apparently, there was a part of him that wanted to kill three other people, all of them related to him? No, there was no way he was going to mention that.

"Harry, can you just talk to me?" Sirius asked urgently. He could see Harry hiding behind his walls. Who knew how long it would take if he let Harry brood. Again.

Harry got up from the table, tossing his fork onto his plate with a clatter. "I'm going to get some rest," he said abruptly. "Don't want to be tired for Diagon Alley tomorrow."

Sirius watched Harry leave, and sighed, his appetite gone. He could tell that Harry was hiding something from him. What could it be, though, to get such a reaction? He'd see if Remus knew anything, tomorrow, he decided. They were all headed to get Harry's school supplies the following morning. Maybe he'd get some answers then.


Yeah, I know, I'm mean :-) Tell me something I don't know.

Next update will be huge, but I'll try to get it up as soon as I can. I have one more week before I head back to school, so we'll see if I can make it. If not, it won't be much longer.

I have no idea what an actual ceremony in the Potter verse would be, so I just kind of made a mish-mash of different things. I like it, and think it works out alright.

As far as Harry's grades, we knew that he's better than in the books, but he's not a super genius or anything. I think throwing in Es and an A makes it much more realistic. *shrugs* that was my thinking, at least.

I know I promised you another Order meeting, but it didn't fit in this one. I'll have another meeting soon, though!