Disclaimer: HP and Crew belong to J.K. Rowling and all Affiliated Corporate Types. If any or all of them sue because I misappropriated their property, they can become the proud owners of a five dollar bill, a meal card, a pile of dirty laundry, and my roommate, because that's all I have.

Author's Note (IMPORTANT!): I have seen the movie. Twice. That's pretty much it. I got the rest of my info from the Harry Potter Lexicon (great reference site, by the way), a grouchy HP fanatic (who answered questions after complaining and telling me to read the books), and other people's fanfic (thanks, guys!) So if I got it wrong, I apologize.

THIS IS THE FUN PART! HAVE YOUR FLAMETHROWERS AT THE READY, BECAUSE I EXPECT NOTHING LESS THAN HUGE ATOMIC FIREBALLS FROM EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU! (But if you actually like it, hey, even better. I just want the FEEDBACK.)

(Yes, I will try and update this regularly.)

Prologue

The wind blew across the walls and between the towers of Hogwarts, shrieking and sending drafts down the halls. Professor Dumbledore was in his office, because it had a highly effective fireplace and because the manuscript he was carefully going over was too fragile to be moved very much or very far. He lifted his head and set his magnifying glass aside when he heard sharp, business-like steps approaching the door. The latest addition to the Ministry of Magic's Department of Magical Catastrophes blew into his office, her brown hair ringing her head like a halo. "Hermoine Granger," he said, standing up.

"Any luck?" she said, marching forward, and seating herself briskly on one of the plush office chairs.

"Not as of yet. How bad is it?" he asked, concern on his face. "It's getting critical. Two more Acromantulas escaped through the holes just today, and there's a report of a basilisk somewhere around Hogsmeade."

"It won't get far in this cold," Dumbledore said, sitting down.

"But it's all falling apart, can't you see that? Every department's running itself ragged, casting forgetfulness spells, muggle repelling charms, reinforcing magic boundaries, we've got an entire committee making nothing but portkeys with all the traveling the Ministry's been doing trying to keep our world seperate," Hermoine said, her voice pleading, her eyes starting to tear up, her shoulders bent with the strain.

Dumbledore nodded once. "I've been in here the past few days, going through every manuscript I can think of, looking for answers."

Hermoine looked up eagerly. "And?"

Dumbledore shook his head kindly. "I would have sent an owl immediately, you know that." Her face fell. Dumbledore patted her shoulder kindly. "Every citizen of the wizarding world is doing his or her best. You must have faith."

She sniffed, nodded, and rose to her feet. "Have you heard from Harry?"

Dumbledore paused. "All he would tell me is that he was looking into a few things on his own."

Hermoine nodded and walked out a bit more slowly than she came in.

Meanwhile, in a flat on Diagon Alley, a form entangled in bed covers crashed to the floor. The ghost-like figure managed to struggle to its feet and made a lunge for the window. He threw open the curtains and, after a few moments of clawing, freed himself from the pale blue fabric.

Harry Potter kicked the sheet aside and took deep, calming breaths. The familiar moonlit view out the window helped soothe him, and he smiled a little. After living under the stairs at the Dursley's all those years, having something as ordinary to most people as a window in his room never ceased to amaze him. The pain in his scar, triggered by his nightmare, wasalready fading.

Falling back on his training, he closed his eyes and tried to fix what little he could recall of the dream in his memory. There had been a doorway, standing alone in darkness… a circle of black robes, with him at the center… something about floating, and stones… and a woman, someone he didn't know but it felt like she fit in somehow. Over all the images was the strong feeling of betrayal. He sighed and rubbed his eyes. That's the trouble with being an Auror. You start to see darkness everywhere, and it becomes harder and harder not to let your suspicion get the better of you. He grinned wryly to himself. If he wasn't careful, he would end up as paranoid as Moody.

He tossed his sheet back on the bed and sat down on the edge, feeling the springs creak beneath him. He glanced over at his clock, saw that he had only gotten two hours of sleep, and groaned. Still, his ever reasoning mind told him that his scar just wasn't something he could dismiss outright (although his fatigued body had quite a different opinion on the matter). He dutifully sided with his mind and gave his pillow a good-naturedly resigned sigh before crossing the room and picking his shirt off the chair.

Maybe Ron was still down at the Caldron, he thought as he pullled the shirt over his head. They could talk about it, to give him an idea of what he should do (although something niggling at the back of his mind told him that whatever he decided, he should go through with it quickly).

"Doorway...black robes...darkness...stones...and a woman, a strange woman..."

The servant to Lord Voldemort waited impatiently as the link blathered on. The thing was nothing but a nusiance to the servant. Still, if the servant wanted to get inside Potter's head, the link was the only way to accomplish it.

"What sort of woman?" the servant asked, absentmindely.

"She comes by train. Tonight," came the answer.

"That isn't an answer," the servant said, with an edge of menace.

"The tool. The tool comes tonight," the link droned on, oblivious to the tone.

"The tool?" the servant repeated, brushing all items off a nearby table with a sweeping arm and unrolling an old scroll. The servant ran a finger down one column, paused at a certain spot, and looked up again. "Tonight," the servant repeated, rolling up the scroll with a smile.