(Disclaimer: Harry Potter and any other characters from the Harry Potter series of books are not my characters, I just borrowed them for the purposes of this story. I don't plan to make any money with this story, and I don't want to print it either, except for personal backup purposes. The other characters however are mine, and I'll do with them as I please. Although I'm going to do that with JK's characters too I guess, but yeah, don't sue me.)
(A/N: Tanas is pronounced tay-nass, Saera is pronouned as seer-a. Sorry but I hate it when I don't know how the hell to pronounce character names? Especially when it's a good story! Not that I'm saying mine will be, just, well, yeah. Whatever. On with the story!)
Harry Potter lay staring up at the familiar cracks in the ceiling of his bedroom at number 4, Privet Drive, trying in vain to stave off the headache that had slowly been building since that morning. His Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had taken his rather obese cousin to an amusement park, to reward him for losing 20lb, which wasn't any big deal in Harry's opinion, as Dudley still had to turn sideways to get through doors. This suited Harry just fine though, he wasn't jealous anymore. In fact, he thought, this is the quietest it's been since i got back to this hell hole. It wouldn't be so bad if it was always like this. Although, I wouldn't lock myself in my room.
Harry wanted out of his bedroom. According to his calendar, he'd been locked in his room for about 8 days now. His Aunt usually let him out twice a day to go to the bathroom, and the rather pathetic meals that were shoved roughly through the cat flap in the door three times a day were barely enough to sustain Harry, after all the rich Hogwarts food he'd gotten used to again. His last meal had consisted of a glass of smelly milk, two burnt slices of toast, a lump of charcoal that Harry guessed was supposed to be bacon, and a fried egg that was burnt on the underside. Needless to say, Harry felt quite ill after consuming that meal. It wasn't as if he had a choice though.
Lack of edible food wasn't what was concerning Harry at the moment though, in fact, in his list of priorities, getting some decent food inside him was quite far down.
Harry leaned over the side of his bed and used Sirius' old broken knife to prise up the floorboard that covered his secret stash, where all of his most prized possessions were kept out of the Dursleys sight. This is where his invisibility cloak, the photo album of his parents that Hagrid gave him in his first year, any cakes and pies from Mrs Weasley, and letters from his friends were kept. There were a few other trinkets in there too, but Harry scanned the contents of his hiding space until his eyes rested on a letter that was addressed in a different handwriting than any of the others. This letter was also quite fabric-like, from the amount of times it had been unfolded, folded, smoothed out, crumpled up, and as Harry yet again unfolded his letter, it could be seen that there was even a small tear where one of the major creases had finally given way.
It wasn't the messy scrawl of Ron's handwriting, or even the neat script of Hermione's hand, but instead a series of loops, angles, squiggles and curves, that fit together to form the handwriting of a certain individual that Harry had come to respect greatly in his time as a prisoner of the Dursleys.
Everyone here keeps saying how I should give you more time to settle in, but I don't care what they say! I know that if I had to put up with those awful muggles, I'd be glad of a letter! So I decided to write to you. That's not the only reason though! you don't get off that easily.
Before I say anything else, I must tell you not to throw this letter away without reading it, i've spent hours thinking of what to put on this stupid piece of parchment, and the least you can do is read it all the way through! That's if you even open the envelope... but assuming you've managed to get the envelope open, and opened this letter, and wont throw it away, I can get started with the juicy stuff!
Don't you EVER blame yourself for what happened to Sirius! It wasn't your fault, none of it was! You had very good reason to believe that Sirius was in danger and you did what anyone would do for someone they loved. Sirius also did what anyone would do for someone they loved, he heard that YOU were in danger and wanted to come save you. He died protecting you, just as you would have died to protect him! That's the way he'd have wanted it to be. Of course he didn't want to die in the first place, but if he had a choice don't you think he would have chosen to die in battle, protecting you? Can you Siriusly think of any other way he'd rather have died? The more you think about him, the more he is in your heart, the more he will protect you. I know about Tom possessing you (extendables) and i know that it was your emotions that saved you! Sirius saved you. Even though he died, his spirit lived on inside you and he protected you. He's not gone until you forget about him, and I know you. That will never happen.
When you saved me... if you had died, would you want me to blame myself? I already know the answer, and it's NO. Well don't do the same now! Sirius would want you to remember the good times.
Talking about good times... I have a proposal to share with you from Gred and Forge. They have told me that if I promise to use them in the most creative way possible, They'll give me a bumper box of their gags for when we're back at Hogwarts! I know it sounds silly, but I was thinking of how I could use them, and I thought of you. Well, more specifically i thought of Sirius. I miss him too, we all do... and I thought that if you wanted to help me with these pranks, it would give him a good send off. Sirius loved pranks, so what better way to say "see you later!" than to turn all the Slytherins orange for a week?
You'll know when it gets less painful. The day you can open my letter, and smile at my blatant hidden "Siriusly" is the day you can turn around and say that you accept that he's dead. It's also the day where you will be able to laugh at Sirius more like you used to, instead of it hurting every time you think about him. He wouldn't want you to hurt because of him Harry, and just remember that you have lots of friends to help you through this, and I swear on the bumper box I'll be there for you whenever you need me.
Harry once again stared at the letter, reading it over in his mind as he contemplated what Ginny had said, and to Harry's surprise, he snorted at the blatantly hidden "Siriusly". He quickly sobered again, when he realised what it meant. He couldn't be over Sirius' death already? Shouldn't he be mourning for months, barely consolable? Stumbling around, constantly remembering the look of surprise on his godfather's face as he fell backwards through the veil? Harry's eyes rested on the last paragraph, as yet again in his mind, another piece of the puzzle worked itself out and he realised that he was no longer angry at any part of Ginny's letter. It was as if, since he'd received the letter, each day a new part of himself was released from the feelings of anger and bitterness he'd been trapped in since his godfather died. He felt refreshed, lighter, as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders. She's right, he thought. Sirius wouldn't want me to be miserable all the time. In fact, he'd be sitting there asking me what was wrong with me, and he'd be telling me to write her back and accept the pranking offer, before she gets fed up of waiting and asks someone else.
Harry spun round on his bed, searching the room for the voice he swore he'd just heard, but there was nothing.
"Hello?" he said quietly, not wanting to appear insane by shouting. There was no reply. Harry looked around his room once more, listening for any sound that would indicate another presence. His eyes settled on Dudley's old wardrobe, the only hiding place he could think of that anyone could fit inside. Cautiously, he moved towards his wardrobe, silent as a mouse and still listening out for any strange noises. As he got closer to the wardrobe, Harry's hand began to shake as he reached out towards the door handle, and he mentally counted down from three...
Harry flung the wardrobe door open, then threw himself across his room, and peeked out from the other side of his bed to find... nothing. There was nothing inside his wardrobe except a few oversized hand-me-downs his Aunt Petunia had given him last year that didn't fit Harry yet. Puzzled, Harry stood up from his hiding spot, turned slowly on his heels, searching the room for a presence that was not his own. No matter how hard he looked, there was nothing except Hedwig, who was perched on Harry's bed, preening herself.
More confused than ever, Harry stepped over to his window, and looked down into the perfect gardens of Privet Drive to see if he could spot anyone that might have been directly under his window, but even as he did it he knew it was no use. Whatever he'd heard had been in the same room as him, he was sure of it.
Resigned to the fact that he must have imagined the voice, Harry returned to Dudley's old broken desk, still carrying his letter from Ginny, and set himself the task of replying to her. There was no way Harry was going to let Ginny know just how much her letter had helped, that would just be too embarrassing...
The first time Harry had read Ginny's letter, he had been so angry he had almost torn it up, but he couldn't quite bring himself to do it at the time, after all, she'd meant well. He'd settled for crumpling it up into a small ball, and kicking it across his room, from where he'd rescued it a few hours later when he'd calmed down a bit. He thought back to that day, and how angry and bitter he had been, and how well he was doing at keeping his emotions under check since then. Snape would be proud, he thought to himself, and then snorted again as he imagined the look on Snape's face if the son of his worst enemy actually managed to learn occlumency on his own. The more he thought about the idea, the more it appealed to him...
Harry sat down at the broken desk, and pulled two sheets of parchment, a bottle of ink, and a quill in front of himself. First, I'll send a letter to Hermione asking her to send me some good books on occlumency, that should scare her a bit. I'll write Ginny's afterwards.
I've been thinking I probably should have tried harder last year to learn occlumency, and I was wondering if you happen to know any good books on the subject? Nothing complicated yet, maybe just a book giving me some hints and tips, Snape didn't really tell me how to do it to be honest, he pretty much just broke into my mind and expected me to defend myself. I know it's no excuse, I could have looked up some books in the library, but then I figured he's a teacher, he's supposed to teach me. I've decided I still need to learn occlumency though.
Sorry for being so angry all the time last year, I know it wont get me anywhere now. I want to make sure I'm ready this year. Ron wont like me studying a lot, but maybe he'll study more too.
Once Harry finished checking over his letter to Hermione, he set out the other piece of parchment, and wrote Dear Ginny at the top of the page, and tried to decide what to reply to her. It was then that Harry realised that he really didn't know Ginny very well, and she had only really started taking to him properly earlier in the last school year. All Harry knew about her was that she was near the top of her year, and that she was good at the spells learned in the DA. Although, he thought to himself, she has to be pretty Gryffindor if she was willing to come help save Sirius.
Thanks for the letter you sent, but most of all, thanks for coming with me to the Ministry. As you now know, without you guys there, I probably would have been taken by Death Eaters, instead of being stuck with these muggles. I'll take the muggles any day! Your letter helped sort a couple of things out in my head, there's a lot more clouds still in there but i think time is the only thing that will help with that. I think the pranking idea is brilliant, I'd love to help you, although after Gred and Forge's exit last year it's going to be difficult to top them! We can try though. School was much more fun when we had their pranks to look forward to.
I'm doing better now, really I am, and I think you're right. Sirius is with me whenever i see something and think of him, and that will never change. He said something similar to me in my 3rd year about my parents always being there, inside me, so I know he'd approve of what you've said.
How is your ankle? I hope it's all better now. Have you gotten far on your homework?
Well, Harry thought, That seems alright, and she did put "Love Ginny" on hers... and with that, Harry folded up the two letters, addressed them to his friends, and approached Hedwig, who was just finishing off preening herself.
"Hedwig, I need you to take these two letters, if you don't mind?"
Hedwig shot Harry a nasty glare, and pointedly stared at the perfectly arranged feathers she'd spent so long fixing, then reluctantly held out her leg with a look that plainly said, "you owe me something nice". Harry tied the letters to Hedwig's leg and gave her a piece of Pumpkin Pasty that was left over from that morning when he'd raided the stash of pies under his floorboard. Hedwig looked at lot happier when she'd finished eating, and gave Harry an affectionate nip on the finger before spreading her wings and taking off through the open window.
Harry then resumed his earlier position on the bed, staring up at the many cracks in his ceiling, thinking of what to do next before the Dursleys got home. He was glad he'd replied to Ginny, and at least he'd asked for help with the occlumency... but there had to be something more he could do... and to Harry's dismay, he found that although he had dealt with his emotions regarding Sirius, he was still left with the empty hollow feeling he got when he thought of the prophecy, and that his life must include, or end in murder.
Well at least it's not a question of whether or not I should do it, Harry thought. It's pretty clear what I'm expected to do, it's just a matter of whether or not I'm good enough when the time comes. Harry jumped out of bed, ran to his trunk and started searching for any and all of his schoolbooks, and put them in a pile stacked next to his bed. Well, if I'm going to survive, then I'm going to have to learn a lot, and where better to start than my old schoolbooks? With a sigh of dismay, Harry noticed that the book at the top of the stack was Potions, and he grabbed the book, flopped onto his bed, and settled down for a few hours of reading.
It wasn't long before the sun began to set, and the beams of light streaming through Harry's open window revealed a too-thin teenage boy, lying on his bed, with an open book on his chest, snoring quietly as his head lolled to the side... and standing near the foot of his bed, there was another, more transparent figure, watching said boy, with a small smile on her face. Suddenly she turned.
"He is not ready, he wont understand!" she whispered furiously to thin air. "You'll destroy him, he'll destroy himself!"
The transparent girl looked sadly towards the boy in the bed, and then around the room as if looking for something.
"Tanas!" She whispered, "Tanas! I know you can hear me, don't ignore my warnings! He will not be ready! You only have the one chance to do this right... you must wait!"
"Saera, you underestimate the boy... and you underestimate us. What we are waiting for has already begun to happen, and trust me, when the time comes, he will be ready."
An old man stepped out of the shadows, and into the path of the setting sun. Like the girl, he too was transparent, but even though he looked to be no more than a common ghost, there was an aura of power that flowed around the man, almost as if the objects around him were changed merely by his presence.
"Tanas, there's only a couple of weeks left! There's no way he will meet the requirements in time!"
"Ah Saera... you forget what it is to be young, these things move much faster than many people would like to believe... and even as he sleeps, his mind is thinking of the possibilities!" Tanas said with a grin that spread across his face.
"You're not cheating are you? Sending him dreams? You more than anyone should know that's not allowed!"
"Yes Saera, although don't you think I also, more than anyone, deserve to break my own rules once in a while? For the greater good of all beings, of course!"
"Well, when you think of it that way..." Saera trailed off, and looked back to the boy on the bed.
"Please Tanas... just promise me... Will he be ready? I've grown quite fond of him." she said.
"Yes. He has to be."
With those words, the old man waved his hand in a diagonal sweep in front of him, and there seemed to be a door appearing out of thin air in front of him.
"Are you coming, Saera?" asked Tanas.
"No. I'd like to stay with him." Saera replied.
"In that case, I must warn you. Don't attempt to contact him again, he must not know about you. You know it's against the rules." and with a small smile, and a short wave, the old man stepped through the portal he'd just created, and was no more.
"I'm sorry Harry, but you're on your own with this one. I hope you find your way." and with that, the transparent girl conjured a chair that was just as transparent as she was, sat down with her eyes still watching Harry, and as the last of the sun's rays disappeared below the rooftops of the houses across the street, the girl faded until there was nothing to suggest she'd ever been there.
Meanwhile, on the bed, Harry shifted himself into a more comfortable position, and didn't even stir as the book he had been reading slid to the floor with a loud thunk.