Chapter 1: Exploring No .4 Privet Drive
Japanese Proverb: 'The beginning of love is the end of Happiness'
After Harry received a clap on the back from Ron, Hermione said good-bye. Then she did something that Harry had never expected her to do- she leaned in close and quickly kissed him on the cheek.
Harry did not have time to think about the kiss as Fred and George materialized next to him. While George whispered a thanks, Fred at his side nodded his head very fast. Harry was afraid that if Fred continued to do what he was doing, something inside Fred's head might come loose. Then he thought otherwise as he remembered the countless things that the twins had done. He winked at them and then turned to Uncle Vernon.
Harry's uncle, the plump, bull-headed man with no neck, started heading towards the station exit. Harry followed, giving a last wave to his friends. He looked out the window as the car quickly passed the station and then the busy streets lined with shops. As the car continued slowly into the residential district, Harry comforted himself with one thought.
There's no point in worrying about it ... like Hagrid said, what would come, would come...
A look of harsh determination passed his face for a few seconds, before he finished his thought.
And I'll meet it when it comes...
Harry's back ached as he sat upright on the back seat of his uncle's car. Though it was quite an expensive car and had plush leather seats, it really wasn't comfortable for Harry to sit on. He was feeling tense from the events of the past year. He looked out the window and watched the number of shops along the streets decrease while the number of houses increased, until there were only houses on both sides of the road with the occasional corner dairy.
Vernon Dursley looked several times at his nephew in the rear view mirror. The statement on Harry's face was that of a person in great pain and even he did not dare rile the boy. However, it was not because he actually gave a damn about his nephew. No—it was because he was afraid that Harry would lose control of his powers and blow him up like Harry did to his sister Marge two years ago.
Harry had to make two trips to the get all his school things back into his room. His trunk went to the closet in his room as Vernon wanted the cupboard under the stairs free that year to house some of the materials he ordered for the company that he directed. Once his second trip was finished, Harry locked himself into the room and fell onto the bed. He brought up his knees up to his chest and started to shiver slightly as he rocked back and forth.
It's been three days already, thought Vernon as he nervously paced outside the door to his nephew's room.
Today was the fourth day since Harry's arrival back at his house. As much as Vernon loved locking Harry up in his room, he was really quite afraid of what his nephew was doing in his bedroom. Several times that morning, he had knelt down beside the cat flap that he had been using to put meals inside Harry's room. Petunia would usually do this sort of thing but she refused to even look at her nephew this summer.
For the last three days whenever he opened the flap, he saw that the food was still there, uneaten. He was facing a very tough dilemma. If he broke into the room and forced his nephew to eat, Harry might send a letter to Sirius Black, his godfather who was known for murdering good ordinary people, explaining that he'd been forced to do something. However, if he died of starvation the whole of the magical community would come after him. Vernon knew Harry was some kind of celebrity among those he called "the freaks." Also there was no telling what Black would do to him if something happened to Harry.
After pacing for a few more moments, he finally had enough courage to kneel down and check the cat flap. He was simply overjoyed when he saw that the food that had been piled up at the door for the last three days was now all gone. There wasn't even a crumb of that horrible meatloaf his wife had made left on the plate.
Vernon did not know exactly why he didn't just go into Harry's room and give him chores to do but he suspected that it had something to do with the fact that his company's share price had tripled and the dividend that was due to come this week would be almost three times his monthly pay. His delight could be seen as he walked to the kitchen. There was an unmistakable spring in his step as he walked.
Unknown to Vernon, Harry had spent most of the last three out of four days experimenting with something, in his opinion, so wonderful that he could not be bothered to eat. It had all begun with the nightmare he had on the day he got back from Hogwarts.
Four days earlier...
Though Harry had felt that he could meet the challenge of what was to come, he really had no idea that, once back in his bedroom, his optimism would shatter so quickly. Unable to bear the pain of holding back all that he was feeling, he moved to the bed. He tucked his knees against his chest and started to rock back and forth slightly. Shivers passed through his body with each memory that assaulted his mind. Harry didn't know when he finally was able to sleep but he did fall asleep very soon afterwards.
Yet slumber did not hold the key to Harry's salvation from the memories as his mind played the events of the TriWizard Tournament with vivid details. As that horrible scene kept replaying in his mind, Cedric's face was constantly being replaced by other faces that Harry had seen in his life. Try as Harry might, he was unable to wake up from his nightmare until he saw the death of one person that he could not bear to live without.
That was Hermione.
However, once he was awake, he could not remember who the last person who had died was. The pain of loss had awakened him from the nightmare, but it also took away the cause of pain, the fragment of the dream that had ultimately caused him to wake.
Sitting up on the bed, with his blanket covering him from the waist down, Harry considered telling Ron or Sirius about his nightmares. He decided against it seeing as his scar had not been hurting. He did not want to bother them or Hermione to worry about him. Specially since, there was not cause to.
To get his mind off his bad dream, he flicked his gaze to the side of his bed. His bedside alarm clock read 3:00 am. Not wanting to go back to sleep and feeling a bit thirsty, Harry decided to go to the kitchen. In order to avoid awakening the Dursley's, Harry silently got out of his bed and very gently opened his bedroom door.
Half-way down the corridor, he noticed a blue glow coming from Dudley's room through the door, left slightly ajar. After the events of TriWizard Tournament, Harry had taken to heart the advice that 'Mad Eye' Moody, or rather Barty Crouch, had dished out often — "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" — and always kept his wand with him. He reached into his pocket and retrieved it. He shifted his wand from one hand to the other as he moved towards the door. He took a deep breath and poked his head into the room, slowly, attempting to see if — really — he was in danger, without any idea as to what he'd do should he be.
Dudley had grown even larger than the last time Harry had seen him and that was almost a year ago. Harry noted that the double bed in his room looked a bit stressed under his cousin's overwhelming weight, as he lay there on his stomach, sleeping.
Harry was surprised to see the source of the blue glow. It was the new 29" plasma-whatever TV he had acquired while Harry was gone. But the real surprise came when he actually noticed what Dudley had been watching. It was a late night soft porn flick called "Return of the Arse Avenger." Harry, being at Hogwarts all year, had never seen anything like it. Naturally, he was intrigued but after a few minutes of stupid pickup lines and senseless plot, Harry lost interest. He felt his stomach make a low rumbling noise. He was thirsty again.
It seemed odd to him that just because a man showed up at the doorstep of a woman, they would immediately engage in sex. It was unrealistic. He had asked Cho but she hadn't wanted to go the ball with him and he had only asked for a date to the ball — it was far less then sex. It made him wonder if people who made the videos actually knew any girls. Real girls like Hermione, Fleur and Cho, seemed to him like mysteries. Hermione with her odd ideas and love for adventure, and then wearing the pretty blue dress and going to the dance — a very girl-like things to do, since she always seemed to like things the boys do. Fleur seemed like a snobby girl in the beginning, but once he got to know her, she was kind and nice.
Harry realized the only way to stop Voldemort from ruling over his life and ruining his childhood was for him to defeat the Dark Lord once and for all. He would never be able to get involved with a girl otherwise. Hermione was just a friend, but she was in a lot of danger because of it. Harry was suddenly glad that Cho had said no. Otherwise, she might have been targeted by Voldemort.
To do what so many had failed to do before, Harry knew that he would have to be more serious in his studies and probably do a lot of extra work. Extra work could mean that he would need more time for his study. Time he would only get if he stopped going to Quidditch practices — and therefore the end of Quidditch playing! He really didn't want to do that, because it would take away the only way he'd relax and means of getting back to Slytherins, like Malfoy, who took pleasure in making his life a living hell.
Harry was surprised at his own determination to face his parent's murderer. With his nightmare now forgotten and a new resolution for the future, Harry quickly headed to his room. He made sure that he turned the TV off noiselessly as he left. He wasn't sure that was a wise move, as it could very well have woken Dudley up. Even if it didn't, it might have made Dudley realize that he had sneaked into his room, when he had been sleeping. Turning the television back on was a risk that he simply did not want to take. It might have been more trouble then it was worth.
Approaching the kitchen, he stepped on a particularly old, squeaking floor board. His heart nearly jumped out of his chest, almost sure that his aunt or uncle had heard it and would be soon barging out of their bedroom. Harry turned and walked back to his room, as fast as he could, without making anymore noise – his thirst would have to wait.
Lying in his bed Harry tried actively to think of other things to keep his mind off the nightmare and his increasing thirst. Transfiguration ... everything in there. I need to work on Potions — Snape isn't going to continue making life difficult for me; more chances of him shaving his greasy hair off. Harry mentally smiled. Maybe Hermione can help me in Charms and Defense against Dark Arts ... I'm going to need to focus on those. I'm going to be of no use in a duel, if I'm not in those two.
Thinking of Voldemort again was not helping him go back to sleep, so he decided to think of his friends. I wonder if Sirius is okay. I hope Remus knows where to keep him safe. I don't want him hurt. Maybe he'll stay over at Ron's house. It'd be wonderful. I could see him, if I went there. Then Harry's mind turned sour. Or not. Maybe I should send him an owl, telling him to stay far away from this country altogether.
His thoughts then focused on Hermione. I hope she's having fun on her holiday. Harry knew that Hermione's parents usually took holidays when she was home. He was sure she was overseas — far from trouble. He remembered how worried she looked at the station. Harry's hand moved unconsciously to where she had kissed him, rubbing that spot gently. Hermione had surprised him with the peck on the cheek, but it was probably because she was really concerned, he thought. It had to be, he reasoned, Hermione seemed to like Ron, and that broken arm on the Krum doll must have meant something...
His thought trailed to the Weasley clan. I wonder how long before Ron gets his new dress robes. Fred and George, I'm sure, have already been to Diagon Alley for supplies ... Should I owl them about the dream? I guess not. They won't know what to do anyway – Hermione then? ... no. I don't want to worry her again.
Harry's thoughts were getting more and more fragmented, as slumber inched closer to him. It was a while before he finally drifted off to sleep.
Consciousness brushed his mind, and Harry found himself sitting on the edge of his bed. He looked at the grilled window and found that it was still dark outside. Wanting to go back to sleep he turned to where he usually slept. Surprisingly though, someone was already occupying that place.
It was him.
Suddenly, realization struck him. He was dead. Great! The day I decide to be a better student, I die... , he sulked for a moment. He paced back and forth a little, patiently awaiting the arrival of an angel or a demon to take him to his final resting place or, even, the proverbial bright white light.
That idea quickly went out the window when he noticed something about his body on the bed. Hey! Wait a minute ... I can see myself breathing — this is too strange —, if I'm breathing and that is me, then I'm just dreaming ... or something like that. Maybe I should try to wake up.
As soon as that thought passed Harry's mind, he felt himself bolt up on his bed. He immediately jumped straight out of it and stared at it as if it had just tried to pinch his bottom. He felt the need to take a few deep and soothing breaths. Finally, after about half an hour, his heart rate seemed to be back to normal.
Harry was pacing around his bed, careful not to make too much noise. He needed to know exactly what was happening. Telling Ron or Hermione was out of the question since they would just try to get him to warn Dumbledore or Sirius, and he did not want Sirius to worry about him or do something that might lead to his capture. Hermione and they had been worrying about him enough as it was, he did not want to be a nuisance to them.
Harry decided that he'd better try to sleep again in an attempt to take Sirius off his mind. Maybe it won't happen again... , thought Harry foolishly. He has certain that what he was doing could kill him. He had been able to bring himself out of it the last time by trying to wake himself up, but there really was no guarantee that he would be able to get out this time. What if something other than himself had gotten him out of that state? What if the next time he could not do it? What if he was trapped, and people, thinking he was dead, would bury him?
Harry, however, was curious. As his thoughts drifted back and forth between his friends and his own parents, he slowly succumbed to sleep.
Only three minutes passed before he found himself back in the same situation as earlier. Though he briefly panicked, he quickly recovered and attempted to wake up, like he had done before, to escape his dream-like state. When he found himself tangled in his blanket, it felt like only an instant had passed.
From his past two experiences, Harry assumed that exploring whatever it was he was doing wouldn't be of any harm. He actually started having fun going to sleep and waking up, staring at himself as if it were a mirrored reflection, his already messy hair even more messed up with sweat, and his face with a very slight smile. He stared at himself for a long while, every second expecting his body to take a life of its own and scare the hell out him, which, fortunately, it didn't.
I can really see myself as others see me. I have a reasonable face, a toned body, but very few muscles, bright green eyes — which I can't see 'cause they're closed...
Harry gasped at his thoughts. He couldn't get over himself. Keep it up, Harry, and you'll be a regular Lockhart in no time!, he scolded himself —amusement laced his voice. He decided that since it was almost morning, he might as well experiment some more before the slave drivers woke up.
Experiment, he did. And he did it for three days straight. Though he knew he was overdoing it, the fun of whatever it was, was too incredible for him to stop. Harry had no idea how he was doing it, but he had learned it to be safe since all he had to do was think about waking up and he would.
On the first day, he had not tried to leave his room and instead had opted to explore it — though later he would find out that it might have had been impossible for him to actually leave the room then anyway.
At first, it was hard to touch things. Harry would feel excruciating pain somewhat close to that of the Cruciatus curse, for touching — maybe it should be referred to as attempting to touch, since he passed right through objects — objects that were either metallic or of magical nature. The non-magical or non-metallic objects felt like mere pricks of needles, although such pain was constant as well. Six hours of extensive experimentation and the pain subsided to that of a pencil being stabbed into his arm for both magical and metallic objects, while the stinging for other things totally disappeared.
His biggest challenge was passing through the closet door. Harry's mind was racing faster than it ever had. He realised that this power or ability that he possessed would come in handy as a reconnaissance tool. Having the ability to walk though walls should certainly prove useful.
The pain almost made him feel like he was going to black out — but Harry quickly realised the irony in that statement.
How can anyone pass out in his sleep?
Harry quickly stopped trying to get into the closet. He had a weird feeling that if he actually passed out there, while he was still in this dream-like state, he might end up dying. At this point Harry looked at the clock on his bed table, which read 2:02 p.m. Vernon had left food near the door but Harry was not hungry at all.
Harry dedicated most of the eight next hours, slowly building up his level of pain tolerance by gradually putting more of his body through the door. When he finally did pass it, he suddenly realised that the further he got from his real body, the harder it was to get through things.
Harry had always loved to seek his limits: to see what he could, and couldn't do. New things had always strike him as intriguing. He knew that this power would probably be of no use to him, if he was not able to use it properly and to its fullest extent. Harry toyed with the idea to see if he was able to leave the room thinking of his newly gained talent. He wondered if it actually was possible to leave the room. If he couldn't leave the room, what good would it serve?
The pain that Harry experienced when he tried to get through the closet door was actually ten times higher. At first, Harry attributed this to the fact that, for some reason, the closet door was much thicker than the door to his room — it would not be until later that Harry realised that with practice, the pain could almost become bearable.
As he left the room, he could feel the pain approaching again. A hour and a half were required for Harry to figure out that the fastest way to advance from the room was to take two step forward, and one back, rest, and then repeat the process.
Eventually, after two days of experimenting, Harry thought up of a name to qualify what he was doing. He did not have any idea what it was called in reality — or if he had a name for that matter —, but he wanted to have something short to call it. He chose "Moon Walking" because of the fact that he still had to take a few steps forwards and then back a few. Harry imagined that he looked much like the Muggle dancer he had seen on television and, for some reason, he remembered the name of the awkward dance.
Harry had deprived himself from food and water during this time. His uncle had been slipping meals under the door, but Harry was not interested. It seemed like his body was working off energy reserves that he knew not of. Once he did realise that he did not need food yet, Harry tried his best not to snap himself out of the Moon Walking phase. He wanted to see how long Harry would last. Information, he thought would be very useful, if he was able to survive.
At the end of the second day, Harry discovered something quite new. It happened when he was "Moon Walking" and had stumbled into Dudley's room. Harry could see bubbles above Dudley's head — like those in Ron's or Dudley's comic books — as he slept. When Harry entered the room, the white bubble was empty but soon it started to show Dudley's dreams.
Dudley was dreaming that he was on the beach, with several extremely beautiful women, wearing bikinis so small that Harry thought it might have been more decent to not wear anything at all. Suddenly a woman appeared out of thin air and gave Dudley a basket full of hamburgers and a kiss right on the mouth.
Harry did not know what to do first — spill his guts out on the floor in revulsion or laugh his head off.
Oh ... I have to tell Ron about this... , he thought, before remembering how Ron had reacted the year before. Ron had refused to believe Harry point blank that he had not entered his name into the goblet. Accusing Harry of lying to him when in his whole life Harry had never told Ron anything that was not true. He had said nothing, if he had not asked for it, but he had never lied to bent the truth to suit himself.
Because of Ron's had believed that Harry was lying, when all the evidence in his opinion pointed at someone framing him, Harry was afraid Ron would abandon him again. It had been bad enough the first time around, and Harry was not going to do anything to let that happen again. He would hide it from Ron, if need be, but he was not going to make a bit of magic come between him and his friend.
But what Harry was more worried about was how Hermione would react. He was very sure that Hermione would not be jealous of him but she could go on for a long time telling him all about the implications of his unethical practices, such as seeing Dudley's dream, even if it had been unintentional. Harry quickly left the room before he witnessed something he did not want to. He had no intention of invading other people's privacy, even if they were the ones who tried to make his entire life as miserable as possible.
Harry was so lost in his thoughts that he did not notice that he had kept walking after he had went through the door out of his room. It seemed that he had easily become habituated to the pattern of going back and forth. It had become second nature to him. It was not long before he was past the entrance door to the house, and was rapidly approaching the end of the driveway. Before Harry could react to his accomplishment, a thick pink barrier went up all around the Dursleys' residence, trapping Harry within it.
The barrier was largely invisible, but it had a slight pink colouring to it that that could only be seen as the person got closer to Harry. Harry saw it as clearly being pink because he was inside the barrier and therefore he was seeing the active part of the shield. Millions of small, but powerful, sparks of pink energy came rushing towards him, as the barrier held him in place – refusing to let go. As soon as they touched Harry, they would discharge leaving Harry to scream in pain as shots of pure energy wracked at his nervous system. This led to something even worse. The energy bolts would seek out his open mouth in an attempt to discharge there. Like it already tried to do in other orifices. The pain that surged through his body was excruciating and it felt like nothing he had experienced before. The unforgivable Cruciatus curse paled in comparison. His vision started to get blurry very fast and all he could see were large blocks of colours that were diminishing in brightness. His hearing was slowly becoming weaker and then suddenly both his vision and hearing stopped.
As a Muggle female jogger passed right by Harry, admiring the expensive looking house that Harry was a resident in, Harry's last thoughts were, Oh no! I can just see the headlines now! 'The great Harry Potter died in his sleep!'
Thank you section: My previous beta's and people that helped me along the way of writing the story: Molley O'Riley, James, Maginker, Twelve Eyes, Jaime, Jeremie, Constantine, Yumi, Mia, Armand and more. I am sorry, I can't recall them all off the top of my head. Thanks to the readers as well. :)