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Harry could hear a mind piercing scream. His chest tightened. It sounded very familiar. He started running towards the voice, however the harder he ran, the farther away it sounded. Out of breath, he stopped and looked around. The grounds were dark and all he could see were long trees, looming over him as if they wanted to ensure that he would not find his way back.

Suddenly he heard leaves rustling and creaking. He turned around. In that instance, he wished he hadn’t. Voldemort’s red snake-like eyes were watching him. A sadistic smile on his (if you could call it that) face. ‘You’ll always be too late, Potter.’ Voldemort lifted his wand and uttered ‘Crucio’.  Harry’s nerves were on fire. ‘You’ll always be too weak.’ Voldemort hissed.  Harry did the only thing he could do. He screamed.

With a jolt, he awakened. His muscles ached and his nerves were still burning. It wasn’t as bad as in the dream, but he still couldn’t move.  Drowsily he looked around, taking in his surroundings. He was back at the Dursleys. He stretched out his arms and reached out for his glasses. The room was dark, and in the corner, he could make out some of Dudley’s old broken toys. His throat felt hoarse and he wished he had a glass of water.

 It had been a couple of weeks since he returned to Privet Drive. The Dursleys hadn’t taken kindly to being threatened after the end of his fourth year at Hogwarts. The moment they had arrived at number 4, Privet drive he had seen the way Vernon’s face first had turned red and then a sickish purple. Vernon had taken a step forward, took a swing with his meaty fist and gave him a black eye.

‘Don’t you or those other freaks ever dare to threaten us!’ he had bellowed. 

He had seen how the veins in Vernon’s forehead had bulged and Harry had briefly wished they would explode, and Vernon would die. That, however, was not the case. Vernon had turned around, grabbed the first thing he saw and smashed it against Harry’s ribs. It just happened that that was his beloved Smelting’s cane. Harry had not been able to breathe anymore, and the pain had spread through his whole body. He couldn’t remember what had happened after that except that he woke up in his room.

Since then his door has been bolted shut and he could only get out twice every day from his room to go to the bathroom. Every once in a while, his aunt would slip him some water and stale bread through the cat flap. He guessed he was lucky because it was not as bad as it had been the years before he went to Hogwarts.  He thought his aunt had probably taken pity on him because the day after that beating, he had found his trunk and Hedwig in his room.

 Downright bored out of his mind the past couple of weeks, Harry had read all the books he had been gifted through the years by his friends. After re-reading Quidditch through the ages for the nth time he was sure he could quote the book from memory. And that brought him back to right now. He looked blearily at the alarm clock on the nightstand next to his bed, it showed him that it was currently 4 am. He put Quidditch through the ages away and stared up at the ceiling.

Harry pondered on some thoughts, but each time his mind strayed back to Cedric’s lifeless eyes staring at him, accusing him of not being able to save him. His throat constricted, Cedric was really gone, and Voldemort was really back. He wanted to ignore it. He wanted it to be a dream but it seems even his dreams were not safe anymore. He felt terrible anguish strike his heart. He remembered how powerful Voldemort was. How could he ever face Voldemort? He couldn’t even properly fight back in the graveyard! 

Suddenly, he felt angry. Why had no one helped him prepare? They had not with the tournament or with his fight against Voldemort. Dumbledore must have known there was something fishy happening. He had said that professor Moody was one of his oldest friends, for crying out loud. He surely should have noticed something was wrong with him. Thinking about Dumbledore only made sure that his blood started boiling. He just knew that the professor was hiding something. He seemed to know everything, and Harry still had not forgotten nor forgiven him for the way the professor had treated him when the goblet had spit out his name.

That stupid goblet had ruined his life. It had turned Ron on him and ensured that he was mocked and hated by everyone in Gryffindor. Sure, they had turned around in the end and supported him, but this was only after he had won the first task and risked his life. He couldn’t help but feel bitter about it. 

It didn’t help that he hadn’t received one letter from his friends. He couldn’t let Hedwig out of his room or open his window so he couldn’t send one of his own, but he would have noticed if an owl had come carrying a letter. They don’t care about me, Harry thought. The thought left a bad taste in his mouth. However, he did not want to go down that road right now. 

He let out a sigh and stood up from his bed. He walked to his trunk and rummaged around looking for an old notebook and a pen. After a while he found them, and he went back to sit on his bed. He chewed on the end of the pen. Voldemort has chosen him as his enemy and he wouldn’t stop until he was dead, that much was clear to Harry.

Sometimes, he did want to die and join his parents. His heart ached when he thought of his parents. Even dead they helped him stay alive, he thought remembering the events in the graveyard. He couldn’t let them down after they had given up everything for him. Furthermore, Harry was not as keen on the idea of dying because of Voldemort. He let out a sigh. He didn’t know where to start but he knew he needed a plan.

He knew he wasn’t too shabby of a student. He was rather sharp, but years of abuse because of getting higher marks than Dudley had made him a rather lax student. He just did enough to scrape by in his classes. This would have to change if he ever wanted a chance to survive Voldemort.

He would need to be cunning. He needed to know everything about Voldemort. He would need to unleash his inner Slytherin.