A/N: Well here's the second chapter just as I'd promised. Enjoy!


Chapter 2 The Change

On the same mysterious night, as the remnants of magic from the ancient ritual clung in the air, a young wizard was waiting quietly in his dark desolate room. Patiently waiting like every year since his eleventh birthday for the inevitable moment when his clock would turn 12, signalling the end of yet another gruelling year and the beginning of a new age. At present, the clock on his bedside table read 11:55, five more minutes until Harry Potter officially turned sixteen.

Right now he was sitting quietly on his lumpy cot, silently contemplating the events of the past months. So much had happened to him in the course of a few years, when he first set foot on the wizarding world. It seemed like ages ago when he was just an 11 year old boy having received his first Hogwarts letter. How had his first trip to Diagon Alley and seeing magic for the first time enthralled him! And the exhilarating thrill of having rescued his godfather at the age of thirteen from the clutches of the Ministry… All seemed to go so well back then.

But now his childlike innocence of viewing the world as one gigantic playground was gone. He had witnessed first hand that people die in this playground and the consequences of his rash actions do not always turn out the way he wants them to.

He was sitting as still as could be, twirling his wand precisely in his fingers, his brows furrowed in deep thought and his eyes glinting madly in the dark was a testament to how messed up his thoughts really were. No matter in which angle he studied the events in the Department Of Mysteries, he could not deny the fact that he had performed an Unforgivable. Even after being told that casting such a curse would earn him a cell in Azkaban, he had still willingly cast it on another witch.

Yet despite how hard he chastised himself over and over for casting the Dark Arts, he could not help but feel a new found pleasure; he had enjoyed every moment of it. It was as if he were a little boy who had just had his eyes opened to a brand new toy. His lips twitched to an unmistakable grin at the thought; he knew he wanted more of that toy.

The clock now read 11:59, his wand dropped on the floor in a loud clatter as flaming burst of pain erupted in his body. His bones felt like they were being twisted and turned in different directions, his back arching in a dangerous angle. Sickening pops were heard as his bones realigned themselves to their joints.

And as quickly as the pain had come, the spasms ceased. Harry collapsed on the floor, spitting blood that had come when he bit his tongue to prevent himself from screaming out in pain, oblivious to the grey mist that had seeped into his body. His clothes were a tangled mess and the perspiration he had worked up during the ordeal made them stick to his skin. In a couple of struggling moves, he pushed himself off the floor and fell on his bed, gasping for air.

Heart still racing as if he had just ran a 100m sprint, Harry reached up to touch his scar. It was cool to the touch compared to the rest of his body that was still feverish. For a second he was pleased that the acute pain hadn't come from his connection to the Dark Lord. But then his new problem arose. If the Dark Lord wasn't the cause of his pain, what was?

Several sharp tapings were heard coming from his window. In a moment of panic brought on by the pain, Harry grabbed his fallen wand and aimed it at his window. An indignant hoot was heard and Harry, sighing in relief, lowered his wand to open his window.

Hedwig and four other owls entered through the small opening. Before dropping off her parcel and flying to her perch, Hedwig gave Harry and affectionate nip on the ear. The other remaining owls however stood patiently on his desk, waiting for him to remove their burdens.

Harry untied all the letters and parcels that were tied to each of the owls and then tossed them on his bed before retrieving owl treats from his drawer. After the owls had had their quick snack and drink, they all flew out back into the night sky.

Noticing the messy scrawl of his best friend's writing Harry took the letter and opened it.

Dear Harry,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATE! One more year 'til we're all of age! Pig's real busy at the moment so I decided to just send this to you using one of the owls in the Post Office. Everything's going really well here though mum's made me clean the whole attic for following you to the Ministry and not informing anyone. Don't get me wrong mate, I'd follow you wherever you plan to go but what did our actions really do other than get us into more trouble?

Harry's thoughts darken once more at that. So he's blaming me for his punishments? he thought vehemently, having second thoughts in continuing the letter.

Well anyway all is good. Mum's been trying to talk Dumbledore into allowing you to stay with us here at the Burrow or at Headquarters for the rest of the summer instead of staying with those Muggles. But Dumbledore's been adamant that you stay there for the whole stretch of the holidays. Hopefully mum will manage to sway him soon because Hermione will be coming over during the last few weeks! She's also hoping he'd allow you to follow us to Diagon Alley in a few days so that we can buy our supplies together. Hopefully I've failed my Potions OWL that way I don't have see the slimy git anymore. Don't tell mum I told that to you though, she's hoping I'd continue taking it. Fat chance if Snape's teaching it.

Also Ginny's been really quiet after the events in the Ministry. She runs off at any given time and comes back hours later. Mum's starting to get worried but it's probably just a boy. Don't you think so mate? My baby sister falling in love at last. Hope your doing fine.

Ron.

P.S. The gift should come in handy

The letter from Ron did nothing to lighten his further darkening thoughts.

So Dumbledore wants to keep me secluded again this year; so much for we'll come get you as soon as possible, thought Harry, his feelings for the Headmaster sinking to an all time low.

Then there was the remark about Ginny. What could she be up to? He knew that she and Michael broke up just before the end of term. So what could be the reason behind her taking off every now and then? Boys seemed to be a lame excuse for Harry.

Deciding that he'd be able to figure out what was wrong with Ginny when he was in a better mood, pushed the thoughts in the back of his head. Tossing the letter aside, he ripped open the small package that came with it. Inside was an elegant gold bracelet that had his name carved on the inside.

Odd. Harry thought. What'd give Ron the idea to give me jewellery? And this isn't as handy as he'd indicated. Unless of course I encounter a werewolf, in which case I can just stuff this in its mouth.

He was about to put it on when an irrational thought to keep as far away from the bracelet came to his head. Staring at the golden band, he wondered what was in it to give him such an idea. But the longer he stared at the band, the stronger the urges became. Quickly putting the bracelet back in its box before any more thoughts came to mind, he opened the letter he recognised to bear Hermione's neat handwriting.

Dear Harry,

I'm sorry I haven't written much this summer. A lot has been going on lately and I had to clear my head and set my priorities. I hope your doing fine.

Harry stared at the letter in shock. A hundred different thoughts were racing through his head, all in the range of; what's up with Hermione, what's Hermione trying to say and what's happened to Hermione. He read further down the letter to try and find answers to his friend's peculiar statements but his frown just intensified.

I've been thinking about the events that happened in the Ministry and I believe what we did was childish. Harry I know Sirius meant a lot to you but what we did was careless. We didn't even know how to deal with things that happened. I don't know how I should tell this to you but please try to understand what I'm trying to say.

I stand by what I said before we rushed into the Ministry. We should have checked first before we ran after whatever it was we ran after.

Only the thought of wanting to find out everything his friend had to say prevented Harry from ripping the paper into shreds.

We did check Hermione! The bloody house elf lied to us! he imagined himself screaming at her face. His grip on the letter tightening with every word, Harry continued.

I know you're probably thinking that it was Kreacher's fault because he lied to us, but Harry that's not his fault. He's just a simple house elf; he was just following orders. That's what I've been trying to convince you guys since fourth year. If only we'd put our house elf welfare campaign to life, none of these would have happened. That's what free elves get, the right to make their decisions. If Kreacher had had the chance, he might not have lied to us.

It's as much as your fault as it is his. He didn't know any better but you did. I'm not writing this letter to scold you Harry (okay maybe a little); I just want to tell you that your actions, no matter how noble they are, aren't always the best solution to our problems. You're a great guy Harry, a good guy but just like Professor Snape always says, you tend to get a little arrogant. I'm not saying that that's a bad thing, just that we don't always need that. I hope I'm not sounding too harsh when I say this, but I really hope that Sirius's death in your hands has taught you something.

We could have been expelled for that stupid stunt Harry. I have no I idea how you managed to sway me to your plans but rest assure that the next time that happens, I'll put my foot down until you see reason. We can't always be rushing into things all the time, that's just plain idiotic. Learn and let the others do what they think is best. We're just kids and I know that I said that we have to fight for what we believe, that's what the DA was for. But I don't think we're really ready yet. I don't think you're ready to lead us yet either. Not until you get things sorted out. I'm sorry Harry.

Now I know from Ron that Professor Dumbledore has told you that you can't leave the Dursley's this summer so I suggest you stay there Harry. Don't try to run off and get into another fight that'll only get you in more trouble.

If you read this letter and still manage to be my friend, I really wish Dumbledore would allow you to join us at the Burrow in a couple of weeks.

Love,

Hermione

P.S. I hope the gift will help you get a better perspective in life

By now Harry's hand were shaking with rage. That was two of his friends blaming him for the things that they were indirectly involved in. Who were they to scold him? Who was it that had to live with the fact that everyone he loved were now dead? Who were they? They didn't know anything!

According to Hermione she wanted him to learn something from Sirius's death. Oh he did learn all right, probably just not the way she'd hinted. He learned that the next time someone managed to cross him, he'd be better prepared and they had better fear him.

It also seemed that everyone knew that Dumbledore had wanted him to stay with the Dursley's all summer except him. Big surprise there, since when was the last time the old man told him something that had something to do with him?

No longer in the mood to open up his remaining letters in case they too contained some thrashing remarks about his actions, Harry grabbed all that he had received and unceremoniously dumped them in his trunk. Fuming, he slammed his trunk shut, not caring whether he woke the Dursleys up.

Someday he'd show them. If they no longer wanted him to play the good guy and help them with their problems, then he'd gladly stop playing the role. He was feeling kind of tired with how they pictured him anyway. Let's see how they like it when he stopped playing by the rules.


A/N: Thank you so much to those who who reviewed the first chapter. Continue doing so and I'll do my best to give you guys a great story... So till next week again. Read and review

dan4eva