For Harry James Potter, that summer had passed in a haze of blank, barren numbness. He had spent the majority of it in his tiny room at the Dursleys, brooding over all that had happened the previous year. He was sick of everything, sick of either being the wizarding world's scapegoat or hero. And he was sick of always making decisions that landed him or the people he was associated with in a world of hurt.
Every night, he suffered from either insomnia or nightmares. The insomnia had him tossing and turning, staring up at the ceiling while his mind went around and around in a loop. When he would finally fall asleep, the nightmares hit, and they would be of either Cedric's death, his parents' dying screams, Sirius's death, or Dumbledore telling him what he should have known years ago - the fact that he would have to either become a murderer or be murdered.
As the days went by, those first three sets of nightmares caused him to feel paralyzing grief and guilt, but the last set ... they were what caused him to feel something acidic pounding through his veins, flying through his nerves like electricity. And what he felt was pure, unadulterated anger at Albus Dumbledore.
How the hell, Harry continuously thought, how in the bloody hell did Albus Dumbledore think that he could have waited so long to tell Harry something that he had every right to know? And why, oh why, did he pick the most inopportune time to tell him, when he did finally divulge the information? Merlin, Harry had just watched the only father figure he had ever known leave his life forever, falling, falling, falling ... never to return. And Dumbledore had found it convenient to then say, "Oh, by the way, if you don't kill this maniac, everyone else you love will die, and there'll be nothing you can do about it. You'll have failed the entire wizarding world."
And it was now, as he stood face to face with the very man himself several weeks later after just having left the Dursley home, that he couldn't contain his fury anymore. Thinking back over the events of the past half hour, he felt his hands curl into fists as he stood in the summer air, glaring at Dumbledore with what he knew was an expression of complete and utter venom. To be perfectly honest, he had had no idea of what to say to the man before this day. But this ... what had just taken place in his cursed relatives' home ... the display Dumbledore had just put on ... now, he found he could say what he needed to.
"What is it, my boy?" Dumbledore asked, his voice that benevolent calm that Harry had grown to hate with a seething, burning passion. "What is troubling you?"
"Didn't you ever hear the expression, sir," Harry said in a soft voice, but it was shaking with undiluted anger, "that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones?"
Dumbledore continued to gaze at him serenely, not seeming fazed at all by Harry's posture and glower. "Please elaborate, lad," he said.
"Okay, your wish is my command," Harry said, every word laced with callous sarcasm as he felt his nails dig into his palms. "I'll tell you exactly what I mean by that statement. You, Professor Dumbledore - you had the nerve, the gall, to walk into that house, the house which you yourself sent me to, and reprimand the Dursleys for how they treated me? What gave you the right to do such a thing?" He was gritting his teeth so hard now that they hurt. Then, he did his best to mimic Dumbledore's unflappably calm tone as he continued mockingly, "When I left you on your aunt's doorstep, I knew I was condemning you to ten dark and difficult years."
Harry deliberately stopped speaking then, looking into Dumbledore's face to discern any sort of reaction. He felt a smirk tug at his lips as he saw the twinkle slowly fading from Dumbledore's eyes. "Harry ..." he said quietly, in an attempt to reason with the boy.
"No, Headmaster Dumbledore." Harry's voice was frigid. "No. I'm the one that gets to speak now. You've said your piece. Now I get to say mine." More satisfaction filled Harry as he watched even more of Dumbledore's self-assuredness melt away. "You see," he continued, "I've been doing a lot of thinking this summer, and you know what? I'm not as much of the soft, gullible idiot that you like to think I am. I've read between the lines of that warm, heartfelt little speech you gave me, and I've figured out the secret you thought I was too dumb to realize."
"And what have you discovered?" Dumbledore said lowly when Harry paused, his voice tinged with defeat.
"Well," said Harry, mock-bowing his head in pretend thought, "I've realized that as well as being The Boy Who Lived, and the wizarding world's scapegoat or hero depending on the day of the week, I'm also Albus Dumbledore's Weapon To Get Rid Of Lord Voldemort. What did it matter if I had an awful childhood? After all, you just told off the Dursleys. Did you really think I would be enough of a fool to think of you as my savior, that you just stood up for me when you were the one who put me there in the first place? Once I got to Hogwarts, you liked to put me through little tests, didn't you? You wanted to mold me into the perfect shape, the perfect consistency, so I could take out Voldemort when the time came. And do you know what other conclusion I came to as I sat in my room the past few weeks?" You're glad Sirius is dead, because he was the only one who didn't adhere to your cunning plans."
"No, Harry!" Dumbledore said, and desperation seeped into his tone. "I swear to you, child, that's not how it is ..."
"How dare you call me that! I'm not a child, thanks to you!" Harry finally dropped the low voice, and now he was yelling, screaming like he hadn't done for a while now. "I think that's exactly how it is! And you know what? I'm done! I'm done with your hypocrisy, with your egotism, with your presumption that you think you know me at all! I'm done with you and that flock of sheep that obeys your every command, those sycophants you call the Order! I will make my own way now, Headmaster," he snarled, allowing as much disrespect as he possibly could into the last word. "You thought you could make it up to me by lecturing the Dursleys? I'm afraid you were wrong. Dead wrong. Goodbye, Professor Dumbledore."
And then, he turned and began to run, leaving a stunned Dumbledore in his wake. He knew he wouldn't get far - Dumbledore was able to use magic in the summer, after all - but he knew that this action would let him know, in no uncertain terms, that the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry had a fight on his hands. Harry Potter might still be the Boy Who Lived, and the wizarding world's scapegoat or hero depending on the day of the week, but he would no longer be Albus Dumbledore's weapon.
And that, he would stick to until the day he died.