Chapter 1: How to Cope

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Harry Potter the Boy who lived, that was how everyone in the wizarding world thought of him. He was the one they placed all their hopes in. But Harry didn't want to think about that, he didn't want to think about the prophecy Dumbledore told him about at the end of last year. He didn't want to think about the future. He didn't want to think or feel at all. He just wanted all of it to stop. Every time he started to think he saw Sirius' face as he fell through the veil and a fresh wave of tears cascaded down his face.

He was back at Number 4 Privet Drive and the Dursleys were leaving him alone. He was thankful for that; at least he could lie in his room without fearing Dudley or Uncle Vernon laughing at his tears. He misses Sirius terribly, his heart ached every time he thought of his godfather. Harry still blamed himself for Sirius' death, if he had only worked harder on occlumency it never would have happened. Every time he thought this, a tiny little voice in the back of his mind told him that Sirius would have died eventually just because he cared so much about him. Everyone Harry loved as a parent died. He was all alone, he had no real family.

Another small voice at the back of his mind, a stronger one, reminded Harry that he was not alone. He had Ron and Hermione. They were his best friends. They had been through everything together. Harry picked up his photo album that Hagrid had given him at the end of his first year at Hogwarts. He looked at the moving pictures of his parents and Sirius smiling at him. Even though his heart ached for them, he always felt better when he could see their faces. He turned to a photo of Ron, Hermione and himself and laughed because the Ron and Hermione in the picture were arguing.

Harry really missed his friends. They had been writing him every few days, but since the owl could be intercepted their letters were short. The letters usually told him to remember they care about him and to close his mind before he went to sleep. Every time he read the words 'close your mind' he would remember how stupid he was to let Voldemort trick him like that. He would always blame himself for allowing Voldemort to manipulate his mind and for dragging Sirius away from safety. But that pesky voice at the back of his mind told him that it wasn't entirely his fault. It reminded him that the only person to blame for all his sorrow was Voldemort. Voldemort had taken his parents when he was only a baby, had forced him to live with his aunt and uncle who hated him and were horrible to him. Voldemort had tried to kill him on several occasions, had tried to kill Ginny Weasley and his servants killed Cedric Diggory and Sirius, the only parent figure he had ever known. Harry decided to listen to the voice. "It's all Voldemort's fault!" Harry said through clenched teeth.

The words from the prophesy floated to the surface of his thoughts, "The one with the strength to defeat the dark lord will be born as the 7th month diesâ one cannot live while the other survives." Harry had been terrified at the thought that he would have to kill or be killed. He didn't want to become a murderer. The more he thought about all the lives that Voldemort had taken or destroyed: his family, Sirius, Cedric, Neville's parents, the list was endless. The more he thought of all these lives torn to pieces, the more he realized that he wanted to be the one to bring down Voldemort. Harry realized the only way to make sense of his parents and Sirius' deaths was to destroy Voldemort before he could hurt any more families.

For the first time in the month since Harry had been back at Privet Drive, he felt alive. He got out of bed and went downstairs to eat, finally hungry for once. His aunt Petunia was in the kitchen and jumped slightly when Harry walked in. Harry had been like a ghost since he returned, rarely moving from his room, not sleeping and when he did sleep he would wake the house with his nightmares, and he rarely ate. Harry ignored his aunt and took and apple and some cheese from the refrigerator.

"Um, Harry?" Aunt Petunia asked softly, she didn't want to upset him and have that awful man with the scary eye come to the house. When Harry turned to look at her she continued. "We are going to visit Aunt Marge tomorrow, with what happened the last time we thought it better if we go alone." Petunia said trying to gloss over the incident where Marge got Harry so angry by insulting his parents that he blew her up to the size of a killer whale and the Ministry of Magic officials had to come and deflate her and modify her memory.

"Where am I going while you are gone, or are you letting me stay here by myself?" Harry asked her knowing he had a better chance of Professor Snape professing his undying love to him than to be left alone in their "perfect" house.

"You'll be staying with Mrs. Figg; she has graciously agreed to watch you for the day." Petunia Dursley told him, as if to tell him that he should be grateful to have someone willing to watch him. "She will be arriving tomorrow morning right after we leave."

"Wait!" Harry shouted in a state of shock, "You mean I don't have to go to her house?" He asked unbelieving his luck. He hated all of Mrs. Figg's cats.

"Well, we, umm" His aunt started, not knowing how to continue without upsetting her nephew. "You're not allowed to leave the house" letting it hang while looking around for Uncle Vernon who would get very upset if he overheard her talking with Harry about such things. "That man said you either had to be here or be with me at all times."

"Dumbledore said that?" Harry asked surprised that his aunt was brave enough to talk about it since she hated and feared magic so much. She had always treated Harry like sludge because of his magic ability.

"Shhh! Be quiet before your uncle hears you!" Petunia whispered. "Now be good and stay here when we are gone, we don't want a replay of last year." She shuddered at the memory of Dudley and the effects of the Dementors.

"Fine, I won't go outside." Harry said , even surprising himself with how nice he was being to his aunt before heading back up to his room with his snack.

Once back in his room, Harry decided to start his homework for the summer holidays. Since he had been so catatonic for the last month, dwelling on Sirius' death, the thought of all his homework had never crossed his mind. He had a 4 foot essay for Snape due on the "Proper Way to Brew a Potion," as well as essays for transfiguration, charms, herbology and history of magic. Harry started with his transfiguration essay on "How to Detect and Animagi." He had almost ruined the parchment when he cried after remembering Sirius in his dog form chasing the train at Platform 9 ¾ at the beginning of last school year.

After putting the rest of his assignments on hold, he decided to actually read the Daily Prophet he had been getting. Hermione had scolded him last year when he had only been reading the front page. It seemed the Daily Prophet finally believed that Voldemort was back. There was even an article about the fight in the Ministry; luckily nothing was mentioned about his friend or him. Harry hated being in the paper, he hated being famous. Who wanted to be famous because your parents were murdered and an evil madman was trying to kill you? There was an article about the Death Eaters that were captured at the Ministry. Harry felt slightly better knowing that Lucius Malfoy was rotting in a cell at Azkaban, at least until the Dementors turned on them. Harry had no doubts that it would happen. If Professor Dumbledore said something was going to happen, it would, it was as simple as that.

Thinking about the Death Eaters reminded Harry of how Sirius died. Bellatrix Lestrange had stunned him and he fell through the veil. Harry wasn't sure which death eater he hated more, Bellatrix Lestrange or Peter Pettigrew. Pettigrew, aka Wormtail, had cost him his parents' lives, framed Sirius and killed Cedric Diggory. On the other hand Bellatrix killed Sirius, the only parent figure he had left, and she was evil. Harry knew that Wormtail was just a sniveling, scared wizard who wanted powerful friends, who would turn on those friends in a second if he thought it would help him. But Bella, she enjoyed serving the Dark Lord. She takes pleasure in torturing and killing, where as Wormtail is terrified of it. As much as Wormtail had cost him, Harry knew the one he wanted to see dead was Bellatrix. As Harry thought about it, he realized he really did want Bellatrix dead. He didn't want here behind bars again, she had been to Azkaban and survived, no she deserved death.

Harry had grown up a lot in the month since school had ended. He was only 15, almost 16, and he had to be the savior of the wizarding world. He was no longer the naive kid he used to be, he was now a warrior, a fighter in the upcoming war. He was going to learn everything he could next year at school, anything that would help him defeat Voldemort and his death eaters, anything that would help him avenge the deaths of his parents, Cedric and especially Sirius.

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