Chapter 1: Chapter 1- Harry's Monday

Hello to anyone reading this,

This is my very first attempt at fanction.

I hope you enjoy the story. My only request is that you REVIEW!

Chapter 1

It was a dreary Monday morning and the Great Hall was slowly filling up with the tired students. Harry walked to the breakfast alone, with Ron sleeping in and Hermione running off to the library to check up a mundane fact on another one of Snape's challenging essays. Harry noticed everyone's gloomy faces - this was no surprise as the Ministry has decided to enforce more educational reforms that made becoming a wizard much more difficult. Voldemort's untimely return made Fudge embrace the cruel, yet effective policies of Barty Crouch Sr.

Looking up at the head table, Harry saw that there were several gaps. Dumbledore's throne-like chair was empty; it has been this way for the past two weeks. No one is aware of the whereabouts of the Headmaster. McGonagall was absent too; this was understandable since she assumed Dumbledore's responsibilities. And finally, Harry noticed that for the third Monday in a row, Snape was absent. The absence of his potions master worried Harry. Snape has been on a very short fuse lately, his vindictiveness palpable and punishments severe. Poor Neville was to help Filch patrol the corridors for one whole week and have personal detentions with Snape for another week.

Harry finally sat on the table, facing the Slytherins. The Slytherin house must truly be evil. While the majority of the students were unhappy, the Slytherins seemed to gather their strength from the general dismay of the students and staff. One noticeable difference between the Slytherins' gleeful moods was the pale, pointy face of a boy sitting at the far edge of the table. Draco Malfoy was grey, his usually proud gaze seemed to have disappeared and he was no longer surrounded by his cronies, Grabbe and Goyle. The two dunderheads were unable to pass their OWL's and this resulted in them getting expelled. Draco's reputation was badly tarnished by his father's fiasco at the Ministry last summer. Lucius was abandoned by Voldemort and was reportedly tortured by Fudge's men. Narcissa was not seen for months, and there are rumours that she has left England. Draco was left in a mess alone, with his own house ignoring him and the other house displaying nothing short of hostility.

Harry stared at the blonde. A year ago, Harry would have been slightly worried by Draco's grey face. Now however, Harry felt a dark pleasure fill his heart every time he saw Draco downcast. After all, this was the person whose father led the mission to capture the prophecy for Voldemort; and this was the person whose aunt killed the last person he could consider a parent.

Sirius' death was the last blow to Harry's emotional well-being. Harry was isolating himself from everyone, even Ron and Hermione. Harry's meals became irregular and he was losing weight at a freighting pace. What is worse is that there seems to be no light inside Harry's eyes. Harry has given up on life. The only thing keeping Harry alive is Dumbledore's promise for the secrets on how to defeat Voldemort.

Harry's eyes met with Draco's. While Harry grimaced, Draco's expression did not even stir. Harry's hard gaze was met with Draco's empty gaze. Harry almost felt pity, just almost.

'Harry!' It was Ginny and she was rushing to the table, her red hair flying. Harry quickly looked at Ginny, recognizing that feverish look she had only when she saw him.

'Hello, Ginny.' Harry's answer was a little cold, yet this has not perturbed Ginny.

'Listen Harry, I was wondering what you are doing tonight, I really thought we could...'

'Gin, I told you that I am not interested in you that way - you are like a sister to me.'

'But Harry, I...'

'I think we should keep a distance between us, I really have to go now.'

Harry quickly got up; once again looking at the spot the blonde Slytherin was sitting at mere moments ago. The spot was now vacated.

Shaking his head as if to clear it, Harry sighed, preparing himself for another boring day of classes. Today included both Transfiguration and Potions. Joy.

He still had fifteen minutes before the start of the first class. He remembered that he was actually in a decent mood when he woke up – well as decent as he could be. Seeing Malfoy made him recall the past summer's events. Trust Malfoy to ruin his day without even opening his vile mouth.

Harry walked outside, choosing the refuge of his favourite spot by the like. Incidentally, this was the spot where his father tortured Snape all those years ago. Banishing James out of his mind, Harry sat down against a large birch tree, his back rather uncomfortable.

He remembered Lupin sitting much like him. How did Remus manage such a feat for hours at a time? Harry decided that it was the werewolve's keen interest in learning. He wished he could be half as dedicated to learning as Lupin was. His marks were suffering considerably – Harry had no one but himself to blame for this. His decision to not study was probably unwise and poor-thought, not to mention reckless, counting the looming presence of a professor such as Snape.

He knew he should get up before long, after all McGongall was almost as unforgiving as Snape. Sighing deeply, Harry stood up, his green eyes glancing over the vast expanse of the Black Lake. He then turned on his heel, his schoolbag swinging in the chilly wind and departed back to the castle.