Please note the world of Harry Potter belongs to JKR. I'm only playing with her creation. Also the story image was a free download I found. Thank you to whomever it belongs. I will remove it immediately if asked.

Author's note:

As with all my older works this is being posted from my old site to help tide people over till my new works are ready. I would say this story represents a clear step forward in my writing. It is better structured and is much better at getting my point across than any of my other old works. It still has a number of things I would do differently if I were to write it now, but again I am past the point of editing these old works. Still I hope you all find it enjoyable to read and I hope it is worth a review or two from you. Because while your thoughts won't help this work, they will help my next works. I thereby challenge anyone who reads, like it or loath it, to leave a review. I will do my best to respond to all signed reviews.

Also, I'm perfectly aware that with the title of the story and a quick google search you can find the whole thing. Certainly I can't stop you from doing so. Just know that I while I have not taken my works down from the old site, I no longer check anything there. If you want an answer to a question you're going to have to contact me here.

Hope you like it.

Authors' note#2:

I suppose I should have expected this as my old work is going up. It was a very different life and more than five years since I said I was done with fan fiction. Now I'm back writing again. I'm on a new site with a new penname. A simple google search of the titles of my old work will direct you to mugglenet and the penname of huskers. So, I might as well say that yes, I use to post on mugglenet under the penname of huskers. Please read the bio there that directs you to find any new work as well as my old work here under the new penname of Sorcerer's Muse. Yes, I am one in the same. If you have any doubts that I am the same person and that all the work posted here is indeed mine, please go to mugglenet. Look up huskers' page and send an email with an appropriate code word of your choosing. I will then post that code word on my profile here to prove that I am the same person. Note, I will not post anything vulgar or inappropriate.

As always, thank you for reading my work.

Sorcerer's Muse

And one more: When trying to hide from the past, it just seems natural to me for Harry to use the name James Black. Hiding is one thing. Completely dishonoring his parents and Sirius is altogether another.


Chapter 1 June 2008

Harry James Potter hurried up to the shiny new truck that had pulled to a stop a short distance ahead of him. He reached the door just as the driver leaned over and opened it for him. Harry slung his backpack off, and dropped it in the bed of the pickup before climbing into the cab of the truck and shutting the door.

"Thanks," he said to the driver.

The man nodded to him and pulled back onto the narrow winding road without saying anything. They rode in silence for a few miles before the driver turned to him. "Where you heading, friend?" he asked.

Harry reached into his pocket, pulled out the folded newspaper ad and held it out so the man could see it.

The driver glanced at it for a second and nodded. "I'm actually heading right by there, won't be a problem to drop you off."

"I've been walking for the last three days, how much further is it?" Harry asked.

"'Bout 50 miles," the man replied.

Harry nodded at the man's answer.

"So, you got a name?" the driver asked after a few moments of silence.

"James. James Black," Harry answered quietly while staring out the passenger window of the truck's cab.

"Bill," the man said holding out his hand.

Harry turned back to the older man. "Thanks, Bill," he replied shaking his hand and then turning back to look out the window. As they traveled, the pine and aspen trees of the forest started to encroach tighter and tighter against the edge of the road. Around every bend, there was another lake or bog, and the scenery seemed to pull them back in time. Wildlife became more abundant, with Harry spotting a moose deep in one of the bogs and then, craning his neck out the window to follow the flight of a bald eagle as it rode the thermals in search of prey. As the eagle disappeared from his view, he settled back into his seat and the two of them continued to ride in companionable silence for about 20 minutes before either spoke again.

"It's beautiful up here," Harry remarked as the road they were traveling moved up and traversed a ridge, the ground falling steeply away on either side to long narrow lakes in the valleys.

"Yep," was all he got for an answer. After another few miles Bill spoke again. "Where you from, James?"

Harry was quiet for a moment before he replied. "England."

"We get people from all over up here. Think the lodge has one from Russia, another from Australia right now. There was even one from Bermuda last winter, if you can believe it. He lit out pretty quick after his contract was up." Bill laughed at the memory of the man from Bermuda.

Harry looked over at Bill, a curious expression on his face.

"The cold of a northern Minnesota winter didn't really agree with him," Bill said with a last chuckle.

"How cold does it get?" Harry asked.

"Coldest day last winter was 58 degrees below 0."

Harry blanched. "Centigrade?" he asked.

"Cripes no, son. Fahrenheit, I think I'd move to Bermuda myself if it hit 58 degrees below centigrade." Harry stared at Bill and then both of them started laughing.

"Suppose that was pretty stupid," Harry said once he stopped laughing.

"No, just a product of where you were raised."

"Yeah," Harry answered quietly.

Bill noticed the pain fill Harry's brown eyes before he returned to starring out the window again.

Harry checked his reflection in the side mirror of the truck. Sometimes he barely recognized himself with the glamour spell over the lightening bolt scar on his forehead and the brown tinted contacts he wore instead of the wire frame glasses of his youth. His hair, however, was still the same untidy black mop it had always been.

The two of them rode in silence the rest of the way to the lodge. When they got there, Bill parked the truck and turned to James again.

"So you're looking for a job then?" he asked.

Harry turned to him. "Yes."

Bill nodded at him. "That's good, because we're full up for the summer on guests. It's a long walk back to town, and I'm not heading that way for at least a week."

Harry just stared at Bill for a moment before breaking into a sheepish grin.

"Westmark is my last name. My wife and I own this place, been in our family for just over a hundred years. I got need of a general handyman, and wait staff for the dining hall. Those are really just titles though. Some days the handyman ends up waiting tables and the wait staff is out fixing the roof on one of the cabins. Pay isn't great for either position, but you get room and board out of it."

Harry nodded at Bill. "Is this how things work up here? I kind of thought I might have to apply, maybe interview or something," he said.

"Generally yes, but since I'm the boss, and I like you, I think we can skip the formalities. Besides that, something tells me I really can't go wrong with you. I can also see that you're hurting from something and this place is good for things like that."

Harry stared at the floor of the truck, willing the tears that were always close, but only Hermione had seen, not to come now. Bill's words seemed to echo back and forth in his mind and nothing he could do could stop them. He was hurting, but he didn't think anything was going to help with the pain this time. Not after she had betrayed him. What had been the tiniest flicker of hope in his chest had died the day Hermione had finally told him why Ginny hadn't visited him. He had known at that instant he had to leave. Leave England, the Burrow, all of it, it all had to go. He didn't think he would ever live again and it was too late to die.

"Whatever you want to pay, I'll accept. And I'm willing to do almost anything," Harry said, finally looking up and meeting Bill's eyes.

"Come on then," Bill said as he climbed out of the cab of the truck. "I'll show you to your room and you can tag along with me for the rest of the day."

Author's note:

I'm still looking for someone interested in doing some art work for me. I would like a cover image for my newest HP fanfic. Please send me a PM if you are interested.

Sorcerer's Muse