Prologue

I'm so lazy. I've decided to combine all of these chapters into one…then use the second chapter to start the time travel. So for all of you guys who've read my story, DON'T BOTHER READING THIS CHAPTER! It's not new. Well, actually, I corrected the spelling of Trelawney's name…so if you want to read this all over again for that reason, then feel free.

Harry sat at the window of his bedroom staring at the rain outside, the droplets of water smoothly gliding over his window. Uncle Vernon had put up the cell bars up again, in attempts to seclude Harry inside of his room once and for all. But, what hadn't processed through Vernon's mind was the fact that if a wizard actually, desperately needed Harry to get out, they would use magic. A flick of a wand could easily lead Harry to freedom.

"BOY COME DOWN HERE!" his uncle suddenly cried from downstairs. This statement was followed by a frustrated yell.

Startled, Harry opened the door and rushed downstairs.

"HURRY UP!"

Harry reached the living room and his mouth fell open. The scene that met him was one that Harry could not have imagined. Uncle Vernon was running around (something that never happens), while Aunt Petunia was jumping one the couch (she usually uses her neck to strain, not her legs), and Dudley was waving his Smeltings stick in the air. They were chasing some kind of ball-shaped thing that had some sort of pair of wings attatched to its stubby body.

As Harry drew closer, he could see that it was an owl. Ron's owl. Apparently, the it was zooming over their heads, excited to have delivered a letter. Harry had a strong urge to take a picture of this momentous occasion of chaos, but he saw the look on Uncle Vernon's face.

"IF YOU DON'T GET THAT BLASTED OWL OUT OF THIS ROOM, I WILL PERSONALLY MAKE YOUR LIFE A LIVING HELL!" The veins on Vernon's oversized neck popped out like balloons.

Harry quickly rushed over and proceeded to call the owl.

"Pig!" He yelled at the owl. "Pig, just give me the letter!"

The owl zoomed down and almost knocked Harry over, then dropping the letter in his hands, "Pig", as the owl was called, flew upstairs to his room.

Harry immediately followed the owl, not wanting to be in the same room as his uncle. As he trudged upstairs, his uncle started yelling in as much fury as when Harry mentioned the "m" word (magic) in his house.

"RUDDY OWLS…FLYING INTO EVERYTHING…NO FOOD FOR A WEEK…BLOODY SCHOOL–—!"

Harry cringed at the thought of no food a week. Although his relatives hated him, he had always gotten two measly bowls of grubby, cold soup. Of course, "no food" was merely an exaggeration. "No food" meant two stubs of carrots a day. Well, Harry thought, at least I have the food under the floorboard. The cakes were already stale, and most of the snacks were past their expiration date, but everything was better than the food that his aunt and uncle gave him.

Harry shook his head and tried to look on the bright side of things. He ripped open his letter from Ron.

Harry,

How's your summer so far? Wait, cross that out. We know the muggles' been treating you badly. The Order just wants you to know that we're picking you up tomorrow at 2:00 pm to go to Diagon Alley. Better get our things before the crowd of Hogwarts students get here. We know you aren't coming to Hogwarts, but The Order needs to pick up some supplies. Fred and George can't wait to see the look on your Aunt's and Uncle's face when we apparate into your living room. They're bringing a WizCam.

Hermione wants to say hi. She's been working on spells all summer. She knows that you don't have much access to books there, and she thinks she might teach some hexes to you when you go on your mission. Professor Lupin's told us what it is already. As much as I want to tell you mate, I can't in case this letter is intercepted. All I can hint is that you're gonna love it.

When we visit Gringotts tomorrow, don't forget to bring more money than usual. You're gonna need a tux for Bill and Fluer's wedding. Don't forget to get them a gift too.

Well, Dad's driving me mad with this whole "clean your room muggle style" thing. I'm not even half done.

See you soon,

Ron

P.S. Don't tell your Uncle and Aunt about us coming here. It's a surprise.

"Yes!" Harry cheered. Finally, the moment he had been waiting for his whole summer. He finally could relax in the Burrow with his friends.

Harry rolled over in bed and stared at the ceiling. The summer had been long, longer than any other summer. It was the summer when he had started his training to defeat Voldemort. Professor McGonagall had made him stay at Hogwarts for most of the summer vacation. With Dumbldore gone, Hogwarts was open and guarded all year long to take in refugees and such. Harry had trained with Professor Lupin, Snape, and even some passerby Aurors. Dumbledore's portrait gave him tips on fighting during his stay. He learned how to unleash and control his power. He found out that he could do magic that no other wizard or witch could do.

Harry continued with his lessons in Occulemcy once he had control over his power. Once he mastered that, he continued to learn Legilllimens, to which he gleefully pried out many memories of Snape's past. And to his joy, Harry learned many pranks that his father had brilliantly pulled. Mischievously, Harry thought of ways that he could pull similar pranks on Malfoy. That is, until he remembered that he wasn't going to attend Hogwarts next year. He had alreading exceeded NEWT requirements.

Oh well, Harry thought, at least I can dream.

Harry sighed and started to pack, folding his clothes neatly into a stack in his trunk. He suddenly realized his stupidity. What kind of wizard am I? Harry chuckled to himself. He waved his hand and his precious belongings were packed. Wandless magic was another one of his abilities.

Harry flopped on his bed again, thinking about tomorrow and all his friends. He thought about the people in Number 12 Grimmald Place that adopted him like family. He thought about the Burrow and all the magical wonders that he had not yet discovered. He thought about the good things in life and he slowly fell into a deep, deep sleep…

Tap Tap. Rap Rap. Knock Knock. BAM. BAM. Swoosh.

"ARGHHHHHH!" Harry yelled as he awoke in his bed, dripping wet. Aunt Petunia pursed her lips into a thin line and looked down at him with a bucket in her hand.

"Get up. It's 6:30 and you need to make breakfast," she said as she clomped away.

Mumbling incoherent words, Harry roughly picked up his glasses and placed them on the bridge of his nose. He quickly washed his face and marched downstairs. He pointed his finger at the stove and muttered his choice of breakfast. "Bacon and eggs, fried." Two seconds later, four plates of bacon and eggs appeared. He added knives and forks, and then sat down to eat.

His aunt and uncle came in, accompanied by a waddling Dudley.

Aunt Petunia looked at him suspiciously. "How did you make this food so quick? I only woke you up two minutes ago."

Uncle Vernon choked on his eggs. "Is this homemade, boy?" he asked, his voice the same as Petunia's.

"Er, you see, it'll be much faster if I––" Harry started.

"YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT I'M EATING FOOD MADE BY–BY–BY–YOUR KIND WITH YOUR STUFF?" Vernon roared.

"Er, yeah."

Harry watched both nervously and humorously as Uncle Vernon's face started to turn purple.

Then, he exploded.

"BOY, YOU CAN SAY FOOD GOODBYE! NO MORE FOOD FOR TWO MORE WEEKS, AND YOU ARE LOCKED IN YOUR ROOM UNTIL THE END OF SUMMER, DO YOU HEAR ME! AND WHEN THE TIME COMES TO GO TO THAT BLOODY SCHOOL OF YOURS, YOU ARE GOING TO GET OUT OF MY SIGHT! NOW MAKE US A PROPER MEAL THE WAY THAT YOU WERE RAISED TO MAKE IT!"

Vernon huffed. Harry thought he could see faint traces of steam coming out of his ears. Normally, Harry would retort with a sarcastic comment, but he decided that the Weasleys apparating in their living room would cause enough fury. Thinking about life in the Burrow, Harry got up, and before Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon could see his smile, he turned his back on them and pulled out the frying pan.

1:51 pm. It was almost time. Harry fidgeted. Even the Boy-Who-Lived was nervous. He knew that Fred and George were going to pull some kind of prank. He just didn't know what.

The last prank was disastrous. It ended with Dudley having a four foot long tongue (which Uncle Vernon blamed Harry for), several ornaments smashed (which Uncle Vernon blamed Harry for), and pure chaos (which Vernon blamed Harry for). It was quite funny, excluding the fact that Harry starved for a month before he was fed a "proper" ("proper" in a sense of two-smelly-meals-a-day proper) meal.

Harry, knowing Fred and George, knew that the prank would be way out of line. Harry, knowing Uncle Vernon, was likely to be underfed more than usual. Harry, knowing himself, was likely to protest and get beaten by Dudley's cane.

1:59 pm. One more minute. One more minute and Harry would be able to see his friends again. One puny more minute.

30 seconds.

20.

10.

5.

4.

3.

2.

1.

Crack.

"ARRRAGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!" Uncle Vernon yelled from the living room. Harry could hear laughter exploding from the living from, and then a thump. He then saw a click and a flash. Then, after all the sniggers died down, Harry heard two identical voices emerging.

"Brilliant, Fred. Now we have blackmail material. Wait 'till Lee gets a load of this!"

"Ahh…the beauty of blackmail, George. The beauty of blackmail."

Harry walked out of the kitchen and into the living room. He stifled his laughter as the scene came into view. Dudley (as always) was clutching his trousers for dear life. Aunt Petunia had fainted, and Uncle Vernon's meaty face was splotched purple and white from shock, his mouth hanging open, obviously speechless. Harry turned and met four teenagers, all with flaming red hair.

"What's up, mate?" Ron clapped Harry's back. "How was the summer?"

Harry then proceeded to tell Ron about Pig's visit and his uncle's and aunt's reactions.

"Blimey," Ron commented after Harry finished. "Sorry about that."

"Done chatting, boys?" Fred butted in. "Gotta go. Mum will be home in an hour."

"Where is she?" Harry asked, knowing fully that Mrs. Weasley had not gotten a job.

"Off shopping; going to by some gnome seed. She read in Witch Weekly that it helps take care of gnomes like that." Fred snapped his fingers.

"Yeah, and she has to have us spread it out before Dad comes home. Dad'll freak if he finds out what we're doing."

"Loves them, he does."

The boys stopped talking and turned their attention to Harry.

"Gotcha trunk packed?"

"Yeah. It's upstairs." Harry replied.

George took out his wand and muttered a spell.

"Accio Harry's trunk and owl cage."

Harry's trunk zoomed out from upstairs and landed neatly at George's feet. The owl cage (with Hedwig) followed. While George was busy carrying the luggage, Fred turned around to face Dudley.

"Oh and before I forget, here's a little good-bye present." Fred handed Dudley a ribbon-wrapped box. Fred and George exchanged the all-too-familiar identical evil grins.

Uh oh. Harry thought.

"Here, put this on." Ron whispered into his ear and handed him a hat.

"What's this?" Harry asked.

"Protection."

"Protection from wh—"

Harry never got to finish his sentence. Fred and George started counting down loudly.

"THREE!" Fred shouted.

"TWO!" George yelled.

"ONE!" They both bellowed.

The box in Dudley's hands exploded, emitting a loud boom. A sudden stench filled the room and brown goop splattered on everything except them. Dudley looked like a big blob of chocolate Jello.

Except it wasn't Jello.

"Have fun with the cow dung! New Dungbombs, 5 sickels a piece!" Fred called as they apparated one by one. Fred went first, then George, then Ron. Harry went last and the final sentence that he heard came out of his uncle's mouth.

"POTTER COME BACK HERE!"

Harry, Ron, and the Weasley twins apparated into The Burrow. Immediately, they began rolling on the floor, laughing until tears came out.

"That…was…priceless!" Ron managed to choke out. They continued laughing harder than ever.

Harry was the first to calm down, but his voice was still winded. "What (huff) were those? (huff) I've never seen those kinds of (huff) dungbombs before. Usu(huff)ally, they just give off a smell."

"We invented it. Got the idea from the original kind, that we did." George panted.

"All…part…of…the…Weasley'sWizard…Wheezes!" Fred added, still laughing.

After all of them had settled down at the table, George took out his camera.

"Hold on. I forgot to take a picture." George disapparated.

He reappeared moments later.

"Yes!" He cheered. "I got them while they were cleaning it up. Harry, you should of seen it! Your uncle was furious! When I came back, he tried to hit me, but I dodged it and he landed in a pile of dung! Couldn't let that picture pass."

They all burst out laughing again.

A few minutes later, a new voice appeared. "What's all the commotion?" The girls had come down.

Fred and George looked around and saw everybody staring at them.

"Okaaay, now to get these to the 24/7 WizCam Pharmacy One Minute Photo Center!" George said, breaking the silence.

"Yeah, don't want the lovebirds to miss out on their precious reunion." Fred cackled, and before anyone could respond, they disappeared.

Several minutes passed and no one talked.

"Well…" Ron hesitantly started. But Hermione broke him off.

"Harry! How've you been? We would've gotten you earlier, but we thought you might've wanted a break from traveling so much, you know, with the training and all. I've looked up the Gravattell spell and—"

"Hermione, some of us are trying to make Harry feel more at home. I mean it's his first day here. I think we should go play some Quidditch." Ron tried to sound reasonable.

"Well, of course he needs a break. It's just that he doesn't have enough ti—"

"Wait, aren't we going to Diagon Alley today?" Harry asked, thoroughly confused.

"Nah. We just told you that in the letter in case your aunt or uncle was looking over your shoulder. We wanted you here for another day, mate! Anyways, Quidditch sounds better, don't you think Harry?"

"No, Harry needs to learn spells."

"No, Harry needs some Quidditch."

"No, spells."

"Quidditch."

"Spells."

"Quidditch!"

"Spells!"

"QUIDDITCH!"

"SPELLS!"

"QUIDDITCH!"

"Guys?" Harry butted in.

"SPELLS!"

"QUIDDITCH!"

"SPELLS!"

"QUIDDITCH!"

"Guys?" Harry tried a little more loudly.

"SPELLS!"

"GUYS!" Harry yelled.

"What?" Both of them snapped.

"Quidditch, Hermione. No offense." Harry said. Then, seeing the look on Hermione's face, he added, "It's just that, I'm exhausted from this summer and a ride on my broom will be just the thing I need to cool down."

"Fine. Have it your way. I'm going to go look up more spells. Hmpfh." Hermione turned around and strolled away, her chin in the air.

Ginny, who had been silent the whole time, finally said something. "I'm going to go join Hermione. I really don't feel like playing Quidditch." She sighed and followed Hermione upstairs.

"What's up with Ginny?" Harry asked.

"I don't know. I guess she's still a little uncomfortable around you Harry. She's just scared that you might die on her. She still has feelings for you, mate." Ron shook his head. "I know that Hermione's my girlfriend and all, and Ginny's my little sister, but I just don't understand them!"

"I don't either." Harry agreed solemnly.

They both fell silent again, each immersed in his own thoughts.

Once again, Ron broke the silence. "Still up for Quidditch?" He asked, startling Harry.

Harry laughed. "Yeah. Come on, let's go get my broom."

An hour later, the boys came back in, sweaty and tired. They flopped down on the chair and Harry summoned some juice with his hand.

"Ahh, thanks Harry." Ron took one swig of his juice, and emptied it.

Harry shook his head, failing to suppress a grin. A faint click sounded and Harry and Ron turned to see what it was. The clock, that was supposed to be on the wall, but that was now lying on the kitchen counter (Mrs. Weasley had the habit of carrying it around these days), moved one of its hands. Apparently, the hand that had "Molly Weasley" carved upon it moved from "Shopping" to "Traveling" to "Home."(Last year, everyone's hand had pointed to "Mortal Peril", but Mr. Weasley had changed the sensitivity level.)

"Mum's home." Ron just said.

The door swung open and a plump woman, around the age of 45, stood in the doorway. She walked in and dropped what she was holding, letting out a big puff of breath as she did.

"Gnome seed's here." She announced to no one in particular.

Harry just smiled when she finally noticed him.

"Oh, good! Harry, you're here!" Mrs. Weasley smiled. Then she turned to Ron. "Ron, I need you to call Fred and George—"

Just then, Fred and George appeared. "No need to, mum." George stated, wearing a familiar evil grin. Fred bore the same face.

Mrs. Weasley sighed and held up her hands in mock defeat. Over the last few months, she was already worn out by duties from the The Order. She had given up on trying to set Fred and George straight. The old age had come to her. "Whatever it is, I don't want to know." She busied herself at the sink.

George leaned in towards Harry and held up a package. "Got the pictures Harry. Now you can get your way, the old fashioned method." He looked around the room, making sure that no one except themselves and the group were listening. His eyes stopped at Mrs. Weasley, who was washing a cup, humming a tune. "Blackmail" he mouthed.

Mrs. Weasley drew out an old rag mop and charmed it to mop by itself. Then she noticed the boys and their not-so-real innocent faces. She shook her head and cleared any thoughts of what her children were up to.

"I see you're done chatting." Then her face turned mock stern. "Now you can help me spread out the wonderful gnome seed!" The family (not counting Harry) groaned. "Don't use that tone with me, young men. You promised to help me with the garden last month."

"Mum, that was just a bribe to get you to stop bothering us for playing Wizard's Chess." Ron moaned. Immediately, he knew he said too much.

"Hmpfh." Mrs. Weasley thrust the gnome seed into Ron's hands. "You," she pointed to Ron, "need to spread most of the seed." She looked at Harry. "Harry, dear, you can go up to Fred and George's old room and sleep. You've had a long day."

"No, it's okay Mrs. Weasley. I'll help them." Harry assured.

"Okay, Harry, dear. If you feel tired, don't be shy to come in and have a rest." She turned around to face Ron and the twins and her face became stern again. "Ron, Fred, George, I want every centimeter of the garden covered." With that, she left the kitchen.

Ron groaned again. "Evil woman," he muttered.

"What was that?" Mrs. Weasley yelled from the other room.

"Nothing."

"Gnome seed is evil." Ron collapsed on the battered couch as he said this. "Mum's mad." Although Harry couldn't say it out loud, he silently agreed.

"Ahh…all done, boys?" Mrs. Weasley came into view with several cups in her hand, filled with some blue-coloured liquid. "Just thought you might like some Pepper-up Potions to help you stay awake for the evening."

They each took a cup and drank it in one gulp. Immediately, they felt better. As Mrs. Weasley eyed her children and Harry she went back to her previous activity–chopping up vegetables. "Dinner's ready in an hour," she reminded.

"Ahh, can't mum. We've to go back to our shop, eh Fred?" George asked.

"Aye George. Amos Diggory, the old snoot, wants to see the new Retching Rolls we invented." Fred replied.

Mrs. Weasley made a face, but did not scold them. "Okay, but you have to promise to stay with us for tomorrow's dinner."

"Uh…" They looked at each other with skeptical glances. "Bye mum!" Both of them said in unison. They disapparated.

Mrs. Weasley sighed and muttered a word that suspiciously sounded like, "Twins." She went back to cooking dinner and set the table with her wand.

Ron and Harry shrugged at each other and went upstairs to take a shower after that hard afternoon of labor. Harry let Ron go first as he waited in the hallway, reading one of Ron's "Windex, the Mad Muggle Monster" comics.

Soon, everyone was seated inside (it was about to rain) and about to eat. Ron was holding up his knife and fork, looking hungrily at the food that was already piled high on the table. Harry, who never really had a proper meal, was also staring at the food, refusing to break eye contact until it reached his mouth. The rest though, were talking happily about their day. Bill and Charlie Weasley (who back came back from work while the gnome seed was being spread) were having their annual Harry-comes-back-so-we-have-to-have-this-silly-table-fight fight with the outdoor picnic table that the Weasleys had eaten on in the summer of Harry's fourth year.

"C'mon, Mum! What are we waiting for!" Ron asked impatiently. "The food will cool down soon and it won't taste as good!"

Harry silently agreed to this but kept politely quiet.

"RONALD ARTHUR WEASLEY! YOUR FATHER HASN'T EVEN COME HOME YET AND ALL YOU CAN THINK OF IS FOOD!" By now, everyone had stopped chattering to look at them. "HE COULD BE DYING OUT THERE FOR ALL WE KNOW! YOU-KNOW-WH—VOLDEMORT—COULD BE DOING ANYTHING THESE DAYS, AND ALL YOU CAN THINK ABOUT IS WHEN TO EAT DINNER!" Mrs. Weasley's face was red from screaming. She didn't scold them when they committed pranks, but this was a totally different matter. Mrs. Weasley actually said "Voldemort", which, if you knew Molly Weasley for a long time, was not good. She was either very scared or very mad. Right now, it was a mixture of both.

In the midst of all the yelling, the clock on the kitchen counter had ticked again. This time, Arthur Weasley's hand switched from "Work" to "Travelling" to "Home".

"Hullo!" A cheery voice shouted. All eyes were now focused on the figure emerging from the living room. He had flaming red hair, like his children, and bright blue eyes that were now brightly gazing around the room. Mrs. Weasley stood stock still, her face blank. Everyone started looking between the two, waiting for reactions.

"Er…did something happen?" Mr. Weasley asked, puzzlement showing in every newly-appeared wrinkles on his face. To everyone's surprise, she burst into tears.

"Oh Arthur…the war…Voldemort…Dumbledore…gone…you…dead…I couldn't…." She said through her sobs.

Mr. Weasley looked bewildered for a moment, but then his face turned soft. "There, there, Molly, nothing to worry about," he said as he awkwardly patted her back. "We'll manage through. I know we will. Come on, let's go eat dinner."

He led her over to the table and set her down gently while confirming to the rest of them, "Dinner is served."

It was quite unusual for dinner to be eaten silently in the Weasley home, but today was one of those exceptions.

Ron also lost his appetite.

Harry yawned from his bed, and sat up, enjoying the sunlight that was just creeping in. He pulled on some black trousers and a shirt, after he took a shower. He yawned again and tried unsuccessfully to smooth out his hair for the one-billionth time.

He slogged downstairs and tried to smell the familiar smell of breakfast cooking. He sniffed the air again and tried to determine if his senses had gone wrong or if that was—candles?

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HARRY!" Everyone burst out from his or her hiding places. Almost every person he knew from the Order was there. Tonks had accidentally come out from one of the tables, knocking it over. She waved her wand and levitated it back in place while still clapping and hooting with the rest.

Harry just stood there, stunned.

"What are you, body binded?" Ron laughed. "Come down here, mate!"

Harry rushed downstairs, mouth still agape.

"Close your mouth, Harry, or pixies will fly inside." Hermione giggled.

He closed his mouth, but his voice was still stuttering. "I-I-Its m-my birthd-day?"

Hermione looked at him strangely and said, "Of course it is silly!"

It was Ron's turn to gape, now. "You FORGOT your birthday!"

Harry looked sheepishly. "Erm…well…I never really got to celebrate it. Basically, it was just you sending over presents, while Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia ignored me."

"Well, I never!" Mrs. Weasley looked horrified. "Harry, dear, let's hope this can count as 17 years of missed love."

Harry blushed. "You really don't need to do all this. It's ok, really."

"Nonsense!" Mr. Weasley cutted in. "You're part of the family!"

Mumbles and yells of

"Yeah,"

"Yup,"

"Of course,"

"Uh huh,"

"Certainly," could be heard as everyone in the room agreed.

Harry grinned at this statement. Everyone cheered and whooped at this.

"SO WHAT THE HELL ARE WE WAITING ABOUT? GO CUT THE CAKE ALREADY!" Someone in the back yelled. A plop and "Damn!" could be heard as the crowd revealed it to be Mad-Eye Moody, who had just dropped his eyeball.

Prying his eyes from the disgusting sight Harry's eyes lit up at a huge birthday cake, enough to fill thirty people. Across the top read, "Happy Birthday to Harry Potter, with love from his 'family'."

My family, was all Harry thought about that night, after all the jokes, presents and cake. All the time, from when Ron was secretly licking the icing off, to when Harry was unwrapping a magically enhanced all-way walkie talkie from Hermione ("Muggle thing," she explained to Mr. Weasley.), Harry was savoring one thought, one single thought that had lasted from dawn to dusk, one thought that had Harry smiling all night, one thought that said, my family.

Harry stared at the ceiling of his unnecessarily large room. He was officially going on duty for The Order tomorrow. He was officially going to start on his mission to defeat Voldemort. The man had no love, no friends, and no family. Harry was beginning to feel sorry for him, when he stopped himself. What am I talking about? This is the man that killed innocent muggles and is the result of me being an orphan. This "man" is the reason why I can't live a normal life! Harry shook his head. All these thoughts were giving him a massive headache. He decided to go to sleep.

What seemed like a minute later, someone shook him awake.

"'S the matter?" he said, sitting up, eyelids threatening to close themselves.

"Harry! Hurry up, mate! The train leaves in an hour!" The same voice said.

Harry sat up, meeting the nervous eyes of Ron Weasley.

"Why didn't you wake me up sooner?" He snapped furiously, grabbing random garments as he did so.

"Mum did. She tried to wake you up at 8:00, but you wouldn't budge, so she let you sleep in for a little more time. After all," he snickered, "she decided you were wiped out from the prank Fred and George pulled on you yesterday. She was gonna wake you up a few minutes later, but she forgot. Fred and George's latest invention had accidentally gone off in the bathroom. Shrieking Shoes." By now, Harry was already done dressing and brushing his teeth, very annoyed at the trouble the twins caused him. But, Harry decided, we do need a few good laughs now and then.

He made his way downstairs where an exasperated Mrs. Weasley met him.

"Those two," he heard her mutter, "Honestly! After all that has happened you would think that they would've learned!"

Harry sniggered, capturing Mrs. Weasley's attention.

"Harry! You're awake! Everyone else has already eaten. Your plate is on the table." She pointed to a large plate filled with eggs, toast, pancakes, bacon, and many other delectable items.

Harry's eyes widened. "I can't eat all of that! I'll explode!"

Mrs. Weasley tutted. "Look at your stomach," At this point, she lifted up Harry's shirt, much to his embarrassment. "Skin and bones! Your ribs are sticking out, dear, and that's never a good sign. Really, what do those muggles feed you?"

Harry blushed and quickly made over to the table, stuffing his mouth with food. After eating half the plate, he had pushed it away, his stomach complaining about the overdose of food.

"Is that all you're going to eat?" Mrs. Weasley tutted.

Harry smiled sheepishly at her.

"Fine. But, mind you, you're going to regret not eating more." She said as she cleared the plates away.

Harry shook his head and ran upstairs to gather his stuff. When he came back downstairs, everyone was waiting for him in the hall.

"Sorry for keeping you waiting." Harry muttered, giving them a lopsided grin.

"It's okay, mate." George said, thumping his hand on Harry's back.

"Yeah, anyway-" Fred added.

"We were-" George continued.

"kinda hoping-" Fred grinned.

"that we would be late-" George copied the grin.

"so we could-" Fred rubbed his hands together.

"have an excuse-"

"to ride-"

"the new Ford Angelina!" Both of them yelled, waving their arms in the air.

"There's a new one?" Harry asked, bewildered at this new information. "After second year?"

"Mum doesn't know." Ron explained. "She thinks when Dad is outside, he's talking to gnomes. But, he's actually building on the car."

"Now, now, kids." Mr. Weasley raised his voice to show warning. "We don't want your mother to—oh hello Molly."

"Hello Arthur, dear. What's wrong? What don't you want me to know?" Mrs. Weasley inquired, staring suspiciously at the twins, who were smiling innocently at her. Too innocently.

"Oh, nothing Molly. Oh! Would you look at the time! We'd better get going! Come on now, children," Mr. Weasley laughed nervously as he ushered the kids out the door.

Mrs. Weasley narrowed her eyes at them, but she let it go. After all, what could happen on the first day of school?

The scarlet engine puffed furiously, impatient to go. The Weasleys, Harry, and a couple of selected Order members ran up to the train and started taking numerous bags out of the trolleys they were pushing. They quickly made their way to one of the entrances and heaved trunk-by-trunk up to the steps of the train.

"Hurry up, kids!" called Mr. Weasley franticly, motioning to keep the next bag coming. "We've got about two minutes!"

Finally, the last bag went up and the train whooped. Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny clambered onto the steps once the train started moving. Harry waved to the group of adults and twins as they disappeared into dots. The twins, with their expensive material, started to break into a run after them. They amazingly caught up with the train ("New shoes they bought," assured Ron later) and threw something at Harry. With his reflexes, Harry caught it as they rounded the corner.

The four made their way through the narrow aisles while Hermione and Ginny looked for empty compartments. Lagging the back, Harry showed Ron what he caught.

The object was a gray ball of some sort. Ron recognized it. "It's what they've been working on all summer!" Ron said excitedly. "Called Gumbostones! I've always wanted one! They sodden anything they are placed on with Gumbo-like substance! Brilliant, they are!"

Harry, not really the one for pranks, gave the Gumbostone to Ron. Ron tucked it in his pocket, making sure that the activation knob was off, so his pants wouldn't get filled with the gooey mixture.

Hermione and Ginny had stopped moving and were now tugging their trunks inside a compartment. Harry helped Ginny, who blushed on contact, and Ron helped Hermione. When they were all inside, Hermione pulled out a book and Ginny pulled out a The Quibbler magazine. Ron and Harry started playing gobstones.

After being squirted for five times already, Harry decided to stop. "I stink." he said to Ron, who agreed.

"We both do."

They cast cleaning charms on themselves and put away their game. Harry leaned back and started to fall asleep. Before he did so, the compartment door slid open.

Instead of the usual Malfoy and boys visit, Pansy Parkinson and her girls were standing there, along with, as Harry noted, Malfoy's goons in the back.

"What do you want?" Harry asked coldly, receiving a glare from the Slytherins.

"Just wanting to let you know," Pansy sneered, "that you are losers and Slytherin is going to win the house cup this year."

"In your dreams." Harry retorted.

"In yours. Wait, potty doesn't have dreams, does he? He can't get an hours sleep at night without crying, 'Mummy! Daddy!'" Pansy resumed a smug look on her face.

"Why you—" Ron started, but Ginny cut him off.

"Get your Slytherin, spoiled, nasty butt out of here," she said softy, but menacingly.

Pansy smirked. "And why should I?" she asked.

"Because," Hermione spoke, "you're going to find yourself on the floor and with hex marks if you don't."

Pansy frowned. "Who asked you, Mudbloo—"

She never finished that sentence, because at that moment, two had their wands out and pointed straight at her throat, while Ginny stood up and tripped her. The boys cast "Expelliarmus!" simultaneously, and although she didn't have a wand in her hand, she flew back to the train wall. Her Slytherin cronies helped her up and pointed wands at them.

"Leave them," came the Pansy's voice as soon as she could stand.

Reluctantly, they lowered their arms. Pansy made a movement to motion that they were going.

"But, mark my words," Pansy spat before she left, "the Dark Lord will vanquish you, Potter, and your Mudblood and Mudblood-loving fools. The Dark Lord will vanquish you and Draco will become the right-hand man. Let's see who'll be on the floor then."

With that, the Slytherins disappeared with a snap of the compartment door. Hermione shook her head while Ron comforted, "Don't worry, Harry. You'll get rid of You-Kno—Voldemort," he changed as he saw look from Harry.

The train slowed as they reached Hogesmade and the group of four realized they haven't even changed into their robes.

"Out, out!" Hermione said, pushing Ron and Harry out the door and throwing them their robes.

Ron grumbled about "girls" and "no respect for men" as he and Harry made their way to find another room. They changed as the train stopped.

Hogwarts, here we come, thought Harry.

"Mort-tal—tality." Harry said. His voice broke at the second syllable. Mortality, Harry thought, what a perfect password. With all those that had died and Voldemort coming to get more, "Mortality" was a reminder of how short life can be. Life, thought Harry as he outwardly sighed.

The gargoyle opened slowly. The stone dragged against stone creating a petrifying sound that Harry didn't even flinch at. It was the first time Harry ever really observed the great gargoyle. The statue was a bird, a great bird. The wings were spread out and its breast was huffed up. The scaly claws of the bird were sharp and made of silver, glinting in the light and having the deadly-silent impression. The bird's eyes were piercing gold and made anyone under fifteen cower under its gaze. The gargoyle is opening slower than normal, Harry realized. He knew why though. It was one word.

Dumbledore.

Hogwarts was dead without Dumbledore.

The gargoyle had moved and Harry began the silent wait up the revolving stairs.

The joy, twinkling sensation that Dumbledore had always brought with him had disappeared. The bright colors of the four houses had been replaced with an almost everlasting black. Both students and teachers had retreated into a shell—a shell that can only be broken when Hogwarts got their headmaster back. Harry, too, felt the disheartening effects of the absence of the headmaster. Torches that littered the hallways flickered on and off. The portraits that adorned the walls seemed quieter. The walls were cold and dark.

And oh, how he hated it.

Harry stepped in front of the large doors that seemed to sneer at him. All traces of warmth, the Dumbledoreness that had occupied the office, every nook and cranny, was gone. If Harry had known better, he could have well said that this was Snape's office.

The filthy bastard, Harry thought when the Half-Blood Prince's name was mentioned. It was all his Snape's fault that Dumbledore died. He killed him. Murdered, slayed, executed, cursed, unlifed, Avada Kedarved, slau—

"Mr. Potter." A stern voice interrupted his rant. Harry looked up from the dirt speck he had been glaring at. Minerva Mcgonagall, previously looked up upon, was now the same height as Harry. She moved aside and gestured for Harry to step inside the office. Harry obliged.

The room was exactly the same as he remembered it. Nothing had changed. The portraits were still snoozing quietly in their frames, the little trinkets were still buzzing occasionally, and the papers that had (somehow neatly) littered the desk was still there. Every single one of them in the same position. It seemed that Professor Mcgonagall had taken Dumbledore's death to heart, and had left everything in its place in his honor. The only thing different was a neglected perch beside the desk. Feathers laid here and there, but Fawkes, resident pheonix and Dumbledore's faithful companion, was nowhere to be found. It made the room seem even colder.

"Mr. Potter," started the professor again as she moved to sit in a conjured chair beside the desk. Harry noted that the real chair, often seated by the former headmaster, was still in the center. He also wondered how on earth Mcgonagall was able to work on the desk if she wasn't sitting directly in front of it. His mental question was suddenly voiced.

"My dear Minerva," came from one of the portraits, "How in the name of Merlin are you supposed to work in that position? Must I tell you over and over that this office belongs to you now, and so therefore the desk is completely yours to scratch around on."

Professor Mcgonagall rolled her eyes and replied confidently, "Albus, there are many important papers on here; if I am not careful, the Light side could lose some valuable knowledge."

The voice came again, this time laced with amusement, and said, "It does not give you any reason not to sit in my chair."

The transfiguration teacher could not find any reply to this and instead avoided an answer by stammering (which Harry found hilarious) that they should get down to business.

"Ahh...yes," the voice said, "Harry!"

Harry found the source of the voice in a newly made frame, and his throat felt suddenly dry as his eyes found the familiar twinkling ones of Dumbledore's portrait. But, he reprimanded as he turned away, a portrait is only a copy of the real thing, a painting filled with one's personality and memories. His heart, like in the beginning of the summer when he had first met the portrait and doubted it, protested again that the painting was as close to Dumbledore as you can get.

Harry turned and smiled at Dumbledore (Portrait, he kept reminding himself, Dumbledore's portrait.) and greeted, "Professor Dumbledore."

The former headmaster chuckled lightly. "As always, Harry, call me Albus."

Harry found it uncomfortable to call a dead man that was at least 150 years old by his first name, but heeding the respected man's wishes, agreed rather reluctantly.

"Now," Professor Mcgonagall said, "Harry, have you any leads on the Horcruxes yet?" Although she was talking to Harry, her attention was focused on a pile of papers utop Dumbledore's desk.

Harry shook his head. "No, professor."

"Understandable," the professor said sharply. She daintily picked up the first page of the stack of papers as if the parchment was about to explode any second. Grabbing it firmly between the hands, but not too hard, she read off outloud:

Dear Minerva,

If this letter should get to you, poof out of mid-air, or otherwise appear spontaneously on the day before Hogwarts starts, then I have passed away before Harry's seventh year. I am truly sorry, but I knew I would somehow die in the Second War. I would also like to acknowledge that you and the rest of Hogwarts should not make a big deal of my death. This is a war. Sacrifices must be made.

I suppose I should tell you why I am writing this letter.

If all my plans were to go correct, then later this year, Harry had gone with me to fetch a Horcrux, most likely the locket. I hope that the trip had gone well and we both came back safely. (Here Harry bowed his head) But, hopes do not always come true, and if you are reading this letter, then I have most likely perished in that mission.

However, a few days ago (which is in the middle of Harry's sixth year) I came across the knowledge of another Horcrux. Apparently, Tom has decided to make another Horcrux. An eighth uncompleted Horcrux. When I was searching through an old Potions text, I came across a riddle:

"Four leaders joined in hand,

Forming symbols of one band.

Those four friends stayed in duece,

Until the brave and sly broke the truce.

Tis night when half broke half,

A fist split a path,

Each took a different light,

Walking down the separate lanes of fright.

But each stood strong,

Until one day,

When the roads crossed each other's way,

There was no stopping,

And both faced

Their true destiny that await.

In the end the outcome was not fake,

Lion won against the snake,

And the bone and ash remained still,

In the heart of the lion's mill.

The mill shall awaken at the dead of night,

Year of the double and planets align,

Is when sly's bones shall be revealed."

The book was published in the 15th century and the prediction was made in the 14th century. As you know, Tom loves to hide his souls in something fairly important in his life. I believe this riddle talks about Salazar's bones and Tom is his last known descendant.

I wish you good luck.

Farewell,

Albus Dumbledore

Ps. Come to my will reading, with Harry. I'm sure you will find something interesting there.

Harry sat still for a long time. So there was an eighth Horcrux. An eighth one that Dumbledore didn't bother to tell him about before. Suddenly, he felt a strong anger at the old man. He had specifically told Dumbledore that he did not wished to be treated as a—

"I know what you're thinking, Harry," someone interrupted him. It was Dumbledore's portrait. "After fifth year, I knew not to keep you from anything. But, alas, I was faced with a dilemma. I knew that you would go after the eighth Horcrux, Harry. It is a dangerous mission, and you need all the help you can get." It sighed. "I was afraid you would go without all the necessary information. So that's why I made you believe there was only seven Horcruxes. There's something different about this mission. I just didn't have time to investigate."

Harry slowly nodded his head. He could see why Dumbledore had hid this from him, but he was still mad. After all, Dumbledore had promised to tell everything. With a voice a little to the cold side, Harry asked, "So, are there any more secrets that I should rightfully know about?"

Dumbledore's portrait shook its head and Harry breathed out a sigh of relief. He didn't know how much more stress he could take.

Mcgonagall had been watching the interaction with a piercing stare, and when both retreated, she interfered. "Albus," she asked, "who's helping in the mission?"

The question hung like a guilty man's head.

Finally, the portrait answered. "I suppose we should start with Harry's closest friends," it said, "Miss Granger will be a great asset to our mission, with her quick logic and brain and Mister Weasley has the strategy, and can plan the mission." Seeing Mcgonagall's affronted look, it added, "As much of a professor you are, Minerva, you have got to admit, those two have qualities that you do not possess. It would be foolish not to include them in this."

Mcgonagall glared at it, and hotly retorted, "Then what am I doing here?"

"Many things," came the reply, "You are one of a kind, Minerva, we need you because of your impressive Transfiguration knowledge, as well as your knowledge of old rituals.

Mcgonagall turned slightly pink at the statement, but her expression still remained slightly strict as she turned to Harry. "Mr. Potter, you may leave. Tomorrow, at eight o'clock, we will discuss the mission. Bring Miss Granger and Mister Weasley," she paused, then added, "and Miss Weasley if you wish."

Harry nodded and pulled himself up from the chair. As he was turning the doorknob, Dumbledore's portrait called out, "Will reading! Next Saturday at noon!"

Harry smiled and made his way down the revolving stairs.

As he turned a corridor, he noticed a hawk owl flying above him, in the opposite direction. Shrugging, he decided that it was one of the student's.

He failed to see that the owl clutch a letter baring the cleverly covered Order of Phoenix symbol, or that it flew straight into Dumbledore's office without even saying the password.

He failed to hear the shriek that pierced out, as the gargoyle closed with a snap.

"Ron! Hermione!" Harry shouted.

The two turned around from their snog! Haha..jkjk. They made their way over to where Harry was standing. Several other seventh years stared at Harry, a few asking, 'where've ya been, Harry?' or 'Haven't seen you around, mate.' Harry just waved them off, grabbing his best friend's shoulders, leading them down the corridor in a sprint-walk.

"What? Harry?" Hermione made out, puffing as she struggled to match Harry's pace. Ron looked half curious, half annoyed, although not panting as hard as Hermione. Harry payed them no heed.

The trio reached a familiar fruit bowl painting. Harry absentmindedly tickled the pear and they all clambered inside. Harry quickly shut the door with a loud BANG and locked it with a locking charm. Several house elves looked quite vexed at this, but didn't say anything. Harry started pacing rather frantically.

"Uh, Harry?" Hermione questioned worriedly. "Are you ok?"

"ARGH!" Harry suddenly yelled. He banged his hands on his desk. Hermione was about to fret, when Harry continued. He was shouting so loud that the sound bounced off the walls like rubber balls. "I HATE Voldemort...I absolutely HATE him. He DOES NOT deserve to live. ARGH!" He clenched his fists, then unclenched them. Then, he threw his hands up in the air. Breathing deeply, he sighed, "Why me?"

Surprisingly, it was Ron who answered. "Because, mate," he said, "You're the only one who's strong enough. You're the only one who has enough courage. If we were chess pieces, you would be Queen, symbolically speaking."

Harry wondered when in the passage of time had Ron become so philosophical.

"We need you," Hermione added, her eyes deep. "And you need us."

Harry sighed. As much as he wanted to give this all up, to be a normal kid, he knew he had to go on. He had to fight for his friends and his family. Images flashed across his mind. His parents, Sirius, Ron, Hermione, Remus, Tonks, Luna, Neville, Dumbledore, Ginny—And oh god, Ginny. Ginny, Harry breathed. He imagined her spread eagle across the floor, eyes dead, brilliant red hair fanned out in luscious folds, lips parted, no breathing, no colo—NO, Harry reprimanded himself, You must NOT think that way. He had to fight.

He sat down and rubbed his temples. Then, he stared at Ron and Hermione's reassuring looks. They have to know, thought Harry.

He rubbed his hands together for warmth.

"Ron," he started, "Hermione. I have something to tell you. It's about Trelawney."

Hermione started. "If its about that old bat, Harry, I don't think—"

"No," said Harry, "it's serious. Trelawney had a prophecy, a few years before I was born A/N: not sure."

Both Hermione and Ron looked confused. Harry inwardly wished he had a camera. But, he solemnly quoted,

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord shall be born as the Seventh month dies,

Born to those who thrice defied him.

And the Dark Lord shall take him,

and mark him as his equal.

But he shall have the power that the Dark Lord knows not.

One shall die at the hands of the other,

For neither can live while the other survives.

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord shall be born as the Seventh month dies."

Ron was standing there with his jaw hinged open to an extent Harry didn't know was humanly possible. Hermione, however, sat ontop the kitchen table with her finger on her chin and eyes pointed to the top right part of the ceiling. Harry knew that look. It was her almighty "thinking" look. It was the Hermione look.

He waited.

"So," Hermione started, finally coming back to Earth, and fixing her gaze onto Harry. "I'm assuming you're the 'one'?"

Harry nodded.

Ron, however, was bewildered. "Hermione, what does that mean?"

Hermione, surprisingly, wasn't as annoyed as she usually was when someone couldn't keep up with her. She explained, though keeping her eyes on Harry for confirmation, "I suppose the first line, The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord shall be born as the Seventh month dies, means that the subject of the prophecy, meaning Harry, would have to be born 'as the seventh month dies.' The seventh month is July, and as July dies...Harry's birthday is at the end of July, July 31, so he's born as the seventh month dies.

"The second line, Born to those who thrice defied him, would mean that...Harry's parents had avoided Voldemort three times. A/N: after constant nagging from Harry, both Hermione and Ron now said Voldemort's name, though Ron still is a bit hesitant at times

"The third and fourth lines, and the Dark Lord shall take him, and mark him as his equal, is referring to the night when Voldemort came into Godric's Hollow. (Here both Hermione and Ron's eyes flickered to the scar)

"The fifth line...the fifth line is vague. But he shall have the power that the Dark Lord knows not. It's pretty much self explanatory, except for the question, 'What is the power?'

"The sixth and seventh lines," Hermione hesitated. Both she and Harry were tense.

Ron looked back and forth. "What?" he demanded. "What about the sixth and seventh lines?"

Harry stepped in. "Ron, One shall die at the hands of the other, for neither can live while the other survives. Ron, it means either I have to kill Voldemort, or die trying."

Er, it's been what, 3/4 years? Well…a few more weeks shouldn't hurt. I'll have the next chapter up by Christmas/New Year's. Feel free to curse me to death.