Disclaimer : I own nothing; it all belongs to J.K.Rowling.
I’m just borrowing the characters to play with for a while. This is for
pleasure only, no profit is being made, and no copyright infringement
Harry awoke feeling slightly dazed and
confused. His head pounded, and he groggily tried to piece together
what had happened during the night. Rubbing his temple, he tried to
remember why he felt so lethargic. He’d had a dream…Voldemort was
planning something with Bellatrix. The details were fuzzy, and he
seemed to lose them as soon as he was close enough to remember. There
was something important there…something just on the tip of his
consciousness, but try as he might, he couldn’t grasp it. The dream had
morphed into one of his standard nightmares, and that’s when Uncle
Vernon had arrived.
Harry rubbed his hand tenderly along his
throat; the Silencing Charm on his door must have finally worn off. He
was going to have to get Bill to put a new one on before this happened
again. Bill! He had to get over to Mrs. Figg’s before Bill came over to
the Dursleys’. That way, he could stall Dobby from telling Bill
anything about what had happened. A little more time and distance might
help diffuse the situation.
He put on his glasses and crept
to the bathroom as silently as he could. There were no sounds of
stirring, and he hoped to be done with his shower and out the door
before any of the Dursleys awoke.
Staring at himself in the
bathroom mirror, he could see the vivid bruises in the shape of Uncle
Vernon’s hand around his throat. He’d have to make certain his T-shirt
covered that. Great .
Harry sighed as he stepped into
the shower, enjoying the feel of the hot water spraying over him. He
stood there for a while, easing the tension in his muscles. He probably
should let Professor Dumbledore know about his dream, but he felt
foolish writing just to say he’d had one, when he couldn’t remember any
of the details. He thought perhaps he’d just tell Bill about it and see
what he thought.
Getting out of the shower before he woke
Uncle Vernon and got shouted at for using too much water, he put his
new clothes back on and headed out the door. It was already fairly
sticky outside, and he found himself wishing he’d kept a pair of shorts
with him, as well. As he crossed over to Wysteria Walk, he again had
the uncomfortable feeling that someone was watching him. Looking around
apprehensively, he clutched his wand in his hand and hurried his pace.
he arrived at Mrs. Figg’s, the front door was open, and he could hear
voices through the screen. Recognizing the voice as one of the twins,
he called inside. “Hello.”
Bill came around the corner and swung the door open wide. “Harry, good morning. You’re up bright and early today.”
thought maybe we could work over here for a change,” he said, watching
as Fred and George both entered the room from the kitchen.
“Harry, mate, smashing good to see you,” Fred said.
“Hello, old boy. How goes the battle?” asked George.
Harry looked at the two of them warily. “What’s going on, and what don’t you want me to know about?” he asked.
“Harry, you make me feel like you don’t trust us,” Fred said, holding his hands to his heart.
Harry arched his eyebrow and glared at the three brothers.
right, all right. It’s nothing, really,” Bill said. “Dumbledore has
everyone on heightened alert. Snape says there is something afoot, but
they haven’t included him in any of the planning. As far as he knows,
Voldemort is still not at full strength, so whatever this is, more than
likely it’s only the Death Eaters who are involved.”
stilled, thinking a moment. Something from his dream tickled his
awareness yet again, but he couldn’t get the memory to form. Shaking
his head, he ran a hand through his hair in frustration.
“Everything all right on Privet Drive, Harry?” Bill asked quickly. He’d become far too adept at reading Harry’s moods.
Harry replied, looking up into his eyes and having an internal debate
on how much to tell. “Only, I had a dream last night…well, it started
as a vision.”
The smiles slipped from both Fred and George’s faces. “What happened?” Bill asked, leaning in slightly.
don’t know,” Harry burst out. “I can’t remember any of the details;
I’ve tried. He was talking with Bellatrix Lestrange; they were plotting
something…but that’s all I can remember.”
Bill sighed, placing a hand on Harry’s shoulder. “Are you certain there isn’t anything else? Try and concentrate.”
have been concentrating,” Harry shouted. “I’ve tried all morning to
remember, but I can’t. It was very brief and then transformed into a
regular nightmare. If it were something urgent, I would have sent
Hedwig to Dumbledore.”
Bill put his hands up in a defensive
posture. “Okay, okay. Sorry, Harry, I know you would. It just doesn’t
give us anything more to go on, and it’s frustrating.”
Harry took a deep, calming breath. “Sorry for shouting,” he mumbled. “I’m frustrated, too.”
of nightmares, Fred and George brought this from Remus,” Bill said,
holding up a phial of what Harry assumed was a Dreamless Sleep Potion.
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
Harry took the phial and shoved it in his pocket, averting his eyes from Bill’s probing gaze.
“Come on, Bill,” George said. “You know Harry better than that. The only thing he ever says about himself is that he’s fine.”
Fred said. “I bet he could be bleeding all over the floor and not want
to put anyone through the trouble of having to wipe it up.”
desperately wanted to steer the conversation in another direction. “You
said Professor Dumbledore has everyone on alert. What does that mean?”
“Means a lot of extra shifts and double guards on you,” Fred answered.
“Why is he wasting people on me? I’m not going anywhere, and this is supposedly safe for me,” Harry demanded angrily.
mate, you’ll have to ask Dumbledore that. We’re just doing what we’re
told – for the first time in our lives, I might add. It just happens to
have the added benefit of playing some pranks on you,” George said,
grinning. “What about that load of a cousin of yours? Any chance we’ll
be seeing him today?”
Harry smiled reluctantly. “I don’t think so. Dudley hasn’t been so bad this year; we’ve even had a conversation.”
“No,” Fred said, looking aghast. “What is the world coming to?”
“Well, that puts a damper on our plans,” said George, looking sadly at his sack of Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes.
right, you lot,” Bill said. “I need to get to work; I’ll join you for
lunch.” He turned and headed back upstairs to the room where he was
“So,” George said, removing several cats before he
could sit on an overstuffed couch. “You know, Harry, when you started
dating Ginny last term, you really put a crimp in our style.”
“How do you mean?” Harry asked, staring back and forth between the two of them in confusion.
we’d been testing a lot of our products on that Corner bloke she’d been
dating when we were still at Hogwarts,” Fred said, lowering his voice
“Er…Harry…this is just between us blokes,
right?” George asked, his expression slightly concerned. Fred, too,
knitted his brow in concern.
“You were testing this stuff on
Corner, and Ginny didn’t catch you?” Harry asked, finding that hard to
believe. Ginny always managed to keep one step ahead of him .
well…she did catch us once, but I think she was mad at him at the time
so she let it go,” George said. “Anyway, we thought we could always use
her boyfriends as unofficial guinea pigs, kind of an initiation by
fire, to show them what they were in for. But when she started dating
you, we couldn’t really do that, could we? It would be like pranking
one of our own, never mind our chief investor.”
grinned, their words filling his heart with warmth. Hearing them say he
was like one of their own pleased him more than they would ever know.
“You can still try and prank me if you want, but now that I know what
you’re up to, I’ll tell Ginny on you.”
“What’s this? Famous Harry Potter hiding behind his girlfriend’s skirt?” Fred asked in mock horror.
“Yep. Have you seen what her Bat Bogey looks like?” Harry replied smugly.
Fred and George gulped audibly and nodded, wearing solemn expressions
that looked out of place on their usually jovial faces.
three spent an enjoyable day together and after lunch even got Bill to
join them in the playpark. They again brought the football along and
commenced an impromptu match. Harry was tired but happy as he trudged
along back to the Dursleys’ at dinnertime.
Privet Drive was
quiet, but Harry could smell dinner cooking in the kitchen and heard
the low murmur of voices on the other side of the door. Not wanting to
go inside just yet, he sat on the steps and watched the sun as it began
its descent along the horizon. As he was sitting there, Dudley walked
up the steps and sat down next to him.
Harry looked over at him, but Dudley remained silent, so Harry sat quietly, as well.
“How come you’re out here?” Dudley finally asked.
Harry shrugged. “Dunno, just not ready to go in yet. You?”
Dudley shrugged but was silent a moment more. “I saw Veronica today,” he said at last.
Harry looked over at him keenly, trying to decipher Dudley’s mood from his actions. His cousin was giving nothing away. “And?”
Dudley took a deep breath, as if preparing for a steep dive. “We’re going on a date on Friday.”
Harry grinned and slapped Dudley on the back without thinking to whom it was he was speaking. “Brilliant, mate.”
boys seemed to realize what they were doing at the same moment, and
shifted positions stiffly. “Erm…how did Piers take it?” Harry asked,
deciding to try and keep the communication going.
Dudley shrugged. “He doesn’t know yet.”
“Are you going to tell him before you go?”
“Dunno. D’you think I should?”
considered this for a moment, imagining it was him and Ron in the same
situation. “Yeah, I think you should. He might get mad, but it’ll be
worse if he finds out afterwards. Especially if it’s someone else who
Dudley’s eyes opened like saucers, as if that
thought had never occurred to him. “You’re right,” he said, nodding
absently. He seemed to realize again whom it was he was talking to and
looked Harry up and down speculatively. “You know that game you said
“D’you have any pictures of it, so I can see what it looks like?”
Harry grinned, thinking that his old copy of Quidditch Through the Ages
should fascinate Dudley. It would be like a video game in a book that
played itself. “Certainly. Come on upstairs, and I’ll show you.”
two boys entered the house and clomped up the stairs without telling
Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia they were home. Harry went into his room,
but Dudley stopped outside the door. “Bring it into my room; I have
something I want to show you, as well,” Dudley said, continuing down
Harry dug through his trunk, pulled out the book
and headed into Dudley’s room. He’d never been invited in before; he’d
only sneaked in occasionally when he needed something. “Here you go.”
Dudley picked the book up gingerly, as if afraid the magical images were somehow contaminated.
“It doesn’t bite,” Harry said, exasperated. “I do have another book that will, though.”
looked at Harry, squinting his eyes as if trying to decide if Harry
were joking or not. He began looking through the pages, staring more
intently at each moving picture as he did.
“You play Seeker? It says that’s the most dangerous position. Ever get hurt?” he asked.
Harry chuckled. “Once or twice. The Healer at school fixes everyone right up, though.”
been to the school nurse a few times after wrestling meets, especially
at the beginning. Don’t tell Dad that, though. You really do fly on a
broomstick?” Dudley asked, the wonder in his voice unmistakable.
know. I was amazed by it the first time, too. Hold on a minute,” Harry
said, sprinting back to his own room. Tentatively, he opened his trunk
and lifted out his Firebolt. He made certain there was no sign of Uncle
Vernon as he brought it into Dudley’s room and held it out to him.
“I’ve had this one since third year. My first one got ruined in a
Dudley reached over and tentatively picked up the
Firebolt, looking it over. He lightly ran his hand along the handle
and, seeming satisfied that nothing happened, began examining it more
closely while Harry watched him.
Both boys were startled
when the door slammed open, revealing the infuriated face of Vernon
Dursley. He was nearly purple with rage, and he seemed to be gasping
for air. Harry became slightly alarmed that he might be having a heart
“What is the meaning of this?” he demanded in a strained, subdued voice that worried Harry more than a shout would have.
“D-Dad,” Dudley said, his eyes nearly bugging out of the sockets.
“Get out, Dudley. Go downstairs, now.” Uncle Vernon’s words were clipped and left no room for argument.
Dudley cast a wary glance at Harry before dropping the Firebolt and sprinting from the room.
have had all I’m going to take from you, freak,” Vernon snarled,
stalking across the room towards Harry. “You’ve brought hideous
creatures into my home to threaten me, there are freaks roaming the
yard, terrorizing your aunt, and now…now I come in here to find you
trying to corrupt my boy with your unnaturalness? I WON’T HAVE IT.”
had backed away from his raging uncle and found himself pressed against
the desk; he’d gone as far back as he could go. He put his arms out in
front of him, trying to calm Uncle Vernon down. “It wasn’t like that,”
he said. “We were just talking.”
“Talking about a
broomstick? Since when does Dudley talk to you? He wouldn't unless you
or those Dementoids did something to him. I won’t tolerate this, you
miserable little freak.”
Over the years, Harry had got very
good at anticipating and ducking Vernon’s blows. He was much smaller
and quicker than his uncle and usually didn’t have a problem escaping.
This time, however, he was trapped and too stunned to move in time.
Uncle Vernon’s fist caught him on the side of his head, spinning him
around and causing him to fall against the desk. The pain exploded
along his cheekbone as he crashed to the floor, pulling the contents of
the desk down upon him. He nearly blacked out in pain as Dudley’s
computer hit him in the head and shattered the monitor, embedding tiny
bits of glass in his skin.
He didn’t have time to clear his
head, as Vernon grabbed him by the collar and lifted him roughly to his
feet. Harry’s glasses were broken and hanging precariously from his
face; his whole world was spinning. “Get out,” Vernon spat. “Get out
and never show your face here again. We’re done with you. I don’t care
what was agreed upon, I will not have my family exposed to you for
another day. Get out, good riddance and never return. I should have
done this years ago.”
Harry was stunned and feeling slightly
panicked about what to do. Professor Dumbledore had sent an owl to Aunt
Petunia the last time Uncle Vernon tried to throw him out, but there
would be no warning this time. Should he leave? He’d only been home for
two weeks; certainly, that couldn’t be enough time for the blood
protection to regenerate for another year. Still, he didn’t seem to
have any choice. He hadn’t seen Uncle Vernon this upset in a long time.
His own anger was rising, and he struggled to control it. He jerked
away from his uncle’s grasp and steadied himself by the door.
Uncle Vernon began advancing towards him, Harry drew his wand. He’d had
enough. “That’s enough, Uncle Vernon,” he said, keeping his voice as
calm as he could.
Uncle Vernon laughed somewhat hysterically. “You can’t use that on me, that freak school will throw you out.”
is that what you want? For me to be stuck here even longer?” Harry
asked recklessly. He didn’t care anymore; if he was going to go, he
wasn’t going to go quietly.
“It doesn’t matter, because you won’t be staying here,” Uncle Vernon roared.
his Firebolt off the floor, Harry scooted out of Dudley’s room. He
didn’t want to leave all his stuff, but feared what Uncle Vernon would
do if he tried to collect it. Perhaps it would be better to wait at
Mrs. Figg’s for a while, before seeing if Professor Dumbledore would
sort this all out with Aunt Petunia again. He started down the stairs,
feeling a rough shove on his back. He stumbled and fell down the last
few steps, quickly catching himself and this time ducking Vernon’s next
“Vernon,” Aunt Petunia questioned sharply from the doorway of the kitchen.
“He’s leaving, Petunia. I’ve had enough. He was showing Dudley his…things. You know the way Dudley’s been acting; it’s his fault, and I won’t have it. This isn’t up for discussion.”
Petunia’s face paled at the comment about Dudley. She cast worried eyes
at Harry. For a brief moment, she seemed indecisive before her stony
expression returned. She gave a slight nod, and Vernon whipped open the
Harry turned icy green eyes on his relatives. “Thanks so much for your overwhelming kindness through the years,” he said, sarcasm blatantly dripping from every word.
out,” Uncle Vernon spat, pushing Harry roughly on the back and slamming
the door behind him. Harry landed hard on the stone porch, scraping his
hands in the process. Getting up and dusting himself off, he picked up
his broom and began the trek to Mrs. Figg’s. He was dreading what he
was going to have to tell them and was trying to work out how to
explain while revealing as little as possible. He didn’t want to have
to admit how little his family wanted him. Even though he knew they were all aware of that fact, he didn’t want to have to say it out loud.
The entire side of his face was throbbing, and when he wiped at his mouth, his hand came away stained with blood. Just great
. He was tempted to turn around and argue through the door, but he
really didn’t want to stay here. Maybe it had been enough time, and
this would be a great reason to speed up the process so he could leave
As Harry was walking past the house of his next-door
neighbor, his heart froze in horror when he heard multiple ‘popping’
sounds behind him. Oh, no. No, no, no.
He did have
his wand, for all the good it would do him. He wasn’t certain if his
magical reserve was even strong enough yet to create a shield. Ducking
behind a tree, he peered around to number four and counted at least ten
robed Death Eaters on the front lawn. He had to squint to see them; his
glasses were broken, and one eye was swelling shut.
swallowed the bile in his throat at the sight of the white masks. His
mind began playing tricks on him, flashing back and forth between his
time at Malfoy Manor and the present situation. He shook his head hard,
trying to clear it and focus on what was going on before him. There
would be time for panic later; for now, he had to think. The white
masks were unnerving him, reminding him of his captivity. He thought he
could recognize a few of the masked Death Eaters by limps, or brief
He didn’t have time to get to Mrs. Figg’s
and back with help in time, not even if he used the Firebolt. If the
Death Eaters were here because the wards had collapsed when Uncle
Vernon threw him out, wouldn’t Dumbledore know that, too? Maybe the
Order would get here in time. In the meantime, how was he possibly
going to defend the Dursleys and not get himself captured again, with
only limited use of his magic?
His heart beat wildly in his
chest, and he felt drops of sweat rolling down his face and neck. He
couldn’t let them capture him again; he’d never survive another battle
with Voldemort right now. The idea of being locked up made him shudder.
He licked his lips, tasting the metallic trace of too much adrenaline.
“Haawwy. Haawwy,” a hated, singsong voice called out from his yard. “Come out and play with me.”
Lestrange. Harry felt a familiar surge of all-consuming hatred well up
within his chest. He despised that woman. She’d killed Sirius and had
been the most frequent of his tormentors at Malfoy Manor. You’ll be begging for the release of death when I’m through with you.
“Come on, Haawwy. We’ll be jolly playmates, forever more,” she cackled, striding up to the front steps. “Didn’t we have so much fun when we played last time?” When Harry didn’t respond, he heard her hiss, “Kill the Muggles, but leave Potter to me.”
that moment, Uncle Vernon opened the front door wide and stepped out
onto the porch. “Get out of here, all of you. He’s not here; he’s gone,
and he won’t be back,” he said, his voice wavering slightly.
had to act. He raised his wand and sent a Banishing Charm directly at
Uncle Vernon. It hit him square in the chest and forced him back
inside. Before Harry could get off a second spell to shut the door,
however, he heard Bellatrix screech the hated words in delight, “ Avada Kedavra.”
drained from the brief bit of magic he’d used, Harry leaned against the
tree and watched in sickening horror as Uncle Vernon was hit just as he
sat up from Harry’s spell. He slumped over in a heap, no longer caring
about the magic being performed there.
Bellatrix had turned
towards Harry’s hiding spot. “I think maybe wittle Haawwy is here. One
down, Haawwy; how many more inside?”
Harry remained silent,
his mind working furiously, trying to come up with an idea for what to
do. Bellatrix wasn’t waiting. Raising her wand, she aimed it at his
hiding spot and said, “Diffindo .”
Harry tried to
raise a shield, but it wasn’t strong enough to stop her curse. He felt
his shield flicker and give out before a sharp pain erupted along his
entire right side. He stumbled, but held his position as his vision
blurred and the world seemed to tilt. He held onto the tree, gasping
and trying to fight the murky darkness that threatened to envelop him.
sat in the drawing room at Grimmauld Place, waiting for his father to
enter so they could begin their nightly chess match. His father was the
one who had taught Ron to play chess when he was young, and now Ron
could beat him nearly every game. He and his dad had been playing
nightly, and Ron had grown dependent on their matches. His father was
just about the only one, aside from Harry, who didn’t make Ron angry
He had been snapping at everyone, and he wasn’t
certain why. Everything irritated him, and anyone trying to ask him why
he was irritated…well, that irritated him most of all. He suspected
this is what Harry felt like most of the time…and it really sucked. Ron
had always had a short fuse, quick to explode, but also quick to cool
off. Once he blew, he generally got over it. Lately, though, the anger
just wouldn’t fade. It had been this way ever since their escape from
Malfoy Manor. Stupid Malfoy. It was his own fault; he was the
one who had set the whole thing up in the first place. Whoever got
himself killed from a Disarming Spell, anyway…
he’d been over this in his head a hundred times already. He’d meant to
disarm him, to stop him from attacking. Ron had seen him go at Harry
when it was obvious there was no way Harry could fight back. He’d just
had a duel with bloody sodding Voldemort, for crying out loud. Ron had
to stop him. He hadn’t intended to kill him; it hadn’t been meant that
way. Still…he was a killer now. What kind of person did that make him?
When he was confronted with violence again, as he knew he would be –
they were at war, after all – would he kill again? Would he find it
easier now? Ron continued setting the chess pieces on the board, lost
Ginny sat at a desk in the corner, writing a
long letter, by the looks of it. Probably to Harry; she was dying to
send out that new owl he had sent her. Thinking of that owl made Ron
feel guilty; he should do something nice for Hermione. He’d really been
treating her rather badly these last few weeks. She sent him letters
nearly every day, asking him over and over how he was doing, offering
helpful hints on what he should be doing to make himself feel better.
She was trying to help, but it was annoying him, and he barely answered
one out of every three of her letters. What did Harry have to go and
send Ginny that owl for, anyway? It was just making Ron look bad. He
sighed and continued setting up the chessboard.
Harry’s fault. In fact, Ron had been giving Ginny a hard time lately
about using Pig. Even if he wasn’t always writing Hermione, he wanted
to know he could if he needed. The day Ron had gone to visit Harry had
been good. It was the only time this summer he’d actually started to
feel like himself. Harry had even helped him practice Apparating. He
knew it was his own fault he’d failed the test; he should have revised
more. Still, he’d managed it working with Harry, and he hoped another
session or two would do the trick.
A loud commotion from the
kitchen caught his attention. He heard a rumble of voices, then a
number of footsteps in the entrance hall. Ginny looked up from her
letter and towards the door. She turned to him, questions burning in
her eyes. Ron shrugged and got up, moving towards the door. Ginny got
there first and stopped the twins as they tried to spring past.
“What’s going on?” she demanded.
now, Ginny,” Fred said, trying to get by her. The look of concern in
both his brothers’ eyes told Ron something was wrong. Something big.
Ron was determined that he was not going to be left in the dark again.
Ginny, too, caught on and refused to let go of Fred. George had already moved by them and sprinted for the hall.
“Fred,” Ron said, putting a hand on his arm. “What’s wrong?”
shook his head in exasperation, yanking his arm out of Ginny’s grasp
and causing her to stumble. “Sorry, Ginny; I’ve got to go. The wards
came down on Privet Drive,” Fred yelled as he ran after the others.
and Ginny stood, unmoving, shock and fear written on both their faces.
He watched as Ginny’s eyes filled with tears, and he quickly grabbed
her hand. “Come on, we’ll see if anyone’s in the kitchen who will tell
He pulled Ginny behind him and hurried down
the stairs. She appeared numb; the shock of Fred’s words not quite
registering. In the kitchen, they found their mother pacing in front of
the fireplace, wringing a dishtowel in her hands in agitation.
“Mum,” Ron began nervously, determined that she wasn’t going to shut them out of this. This was Harry.
“Oh, Ron, Ginny,” she cried, pulling them both into a fierce embrace.
“What’s happening, Mum?” Ginny asked. Her voice quavered slightly, but Ron could see the resolve in her eyes.
“Let’s not worry yet-” she began, before Ron cut her off.
“Mum, we know about the wards coming down on Privet Drive. What happened?”
mother sighed, clutching the dishtowel even tighter in her hands.
“That’s all I know. Professor Dumbledore has a way to monitor the wards
at Harry’s house. He made a firecall and said they’d come down and for
everyone to get there immediately. That’s all I know. Why don’t you two
wait upstairs? I’ll come get you as soon as there is any news.”
“No,” Ron said, crossing his arms across his chest. “I’m waiting right here.”
“Me, too,” Ginny said, sniffling. The tears she’d been struggling with were beginning to make silent tracks down her cheeks.
mum seemed to accept that this was a battle she could not win. “Well,
if you’re going to wait here in the kitchen, at least make yourselves
useful and help me clean up.”
Ron groaned as he began
clearing the dinner dishes, although he could admit to himself that it
was better to have something to do while he waited. Time passed
incredibly slowly as the three of them waited in the tension-filled
kitchen. They completed the clean-up silently, lost in their own
thoughts as they all kept glancing apprehensively at the empty grate.
Ron hated sitting around and feeling helpless. Ron knew that
feeling well. He’d spent days pacing in that little room they’d locked
him in, thinking about Harry locked up with a Dementor. He could hear
Ginny sniffling every once in a while and saw his mother squeeze her
shoulders reassuringly now and again. Ron kept pacing. He knew if he
sat still, he’d go insane. He wanted to do something. He was
seventeen; he was of age and should be there helping out. The more time
that went by without news, the more he felt the anger inside him
growing. The rational side of his brain knew that now wasn’t the time
to get into this again, but that side was rapidly being drowned out by
the side that wanted action. What was happening on Privet Drive? What
had happened to Harry?
Harry shook his
head, trying to clear it. He was unsteady on his feet and couldn’t seem
to control the trembling in his limbs. The Death Eaters swarmed the
area, moving ever closer to his hiding spot behind the tree.
It was then that Aunt Petunia appeared in the doorway of the house on number four, Privet Drive.
“Vernon!” Harry heard her anguished screech. No, please don’t let this be happening. He saw the Death Eaters again raise their wands, and he managed to fire a “ Stupefy
” at the one nearest Aunt Petunia. The man stumbled, but didn’t fall,
and Harry knew that he’d drained his magical reserves once again.
Petunia wailed loudly, and he heard her angry voice ring into the
night. “How could you let them do this? After all we’ve done for you.
You just give them what they want and stop this before they hurt my
Diddyums, too.” She broke off, sobbing incoherently. Harry’s heart tied
in a knot. He started to move from his hiding spot; he had to do
something. He didn’t have a choice; he just couldn’t watch and do
nothing while they killed the Dursleys. He had to get help.
was about to mount his broomstick when strong hands grabbed him and
pulled him back behind the tree. He turned in alarm to find Tonks
holding onto him, trying to pull him further up the street. “They
killed him,” he said, his mind feeling numb as Tonks struggled to move
him along. His eyes were wide and dazed; he was dimly aware of a pain
in his side. In the brief moment it took for him to look at Tonks,
another flash of deadly green light was released towards Aunt Petunia,
and she, too, crumpled into an unmoving heap. The tree that had been
Harry’s cover a moment before splintered into a million pieces as a
volley of curses from the Death Eaters hit it. Harry’s mind had gone
numb, a loud buzzing rang in his ears, and he didn’t know from where it
was coming. His side felt warm and sticky and uncomfortably wet. I’m sorry, Mum.
rest of the Order had arrived, and a fierce battle was taking place on
the lawn of immaculate number four. Bright colors illuminated the sky
as their spells flew back and forth at a furious pace. Tonks had
continued to drag Harry away and nearly had him past the next house
when he pulled away. His heart had seized up as he watched Dudley walk
out onto the porch. “No,” he cried, trying to sprint back towards his
cousin but only succeeded in staggering a few steps.
,” Tonks said, and Harry fell over, lying on his side, unable to move.
Although he could have shut his eyes, he didn’t. He forced himself to
watch as Dudley, too, was struck down with the Killing Curse. Harry
vomited right there on the ground.
“Oh, Harry,” Tonks
whispered, quickly pulling him away from the mess. “I’m sorry, kid, but
I couldn’t let you run into that. I have to get you back to Arabella’s.
Moody and the others will take care of this.”
seemed to be dimming, and Harry was having trouble following Tonks’s
words. His tongue felt too big in his mouth, causing him to slur his
words. “Dudley. He invited me into his room.” The intense pain along
his side that had torn into him with every step Tonks took didn’t seem
to matter anymore.
“Harry? Harry, why are you bleeding? Did
you get hit?” Tonks asked. She’d dragged him under a street lamp and
was looking at the damage to his face that Uncle Vernon had caused.
“Stay with me, kid,” she said, running her hands over him and examining
him for any other injuries. She took a sharp intake of breath when she
reached the side on which he’d been lying. Her hand came away dripping
Harry looked up into her shocked gaze before his eyes rolled back in his head, and he knew no more.
Ginny, and their mother were still pacing in the kitchen of Grimmauld
Place and snapping at one another in their frustration. When the fire
in the grate flared green, they all caught their breath and hurried
over. Tonks’s wan face appeared, and she seemed frantic.
“Molly, get Poppy here, now,” she said, and the flame died again.
and Ginny looked at each other in stunned disbelief. That was it? No
news, no information. How could she not tell them anything?
mum didn’t let it faze her. She threw some Floo powder in the grate and
tracked down Madam Pomfrey. It took several attempts, but she finally
located her and directed her to Apparate immediately to Arabella Figg’s
“If they need Madam Pomfrey, that means he’s hurt.
Why didn’t she tell us anything? Mum, I have to get over there,” Ginny
cried, reaching for the Floo powder.
“You’ll do no such
thing. Tonks didn’t give us any information, because she’s dealing with
more important things right now. When she’s certain Harry is all right,
she’ll let us know what happened. Both of you, go up and prepare
Harry’s bed for him; I’m certain they’ll be bringing him back here.”
knew it was another mindless task. They didn’t even know what kind of
shape Harry was in, or if he’d be well enough to come here. But, again,
he didn’t mind; it was something to do. Ron filled the water pitcher
and placed it on the nightstand. He watched Ginny as she proceeded to
put new sheets on Harry’s bed, fluffing his pillow with care and
tenderly adding an extra blanket. She kept swiping at her eyes while
she worked, and Ron wasn’t certain what to say to her to make her feel
better. He wished Hermione were here; she always knew what to say.
“He’ll be all right, Ginny. He always is – he’s Harry,” Ron said at last.
shoulders seemed to stiffen. “Would you put a Warming Charm on these
blankets?” she asked, ignoring his comment completely.
“Warming Charm? Ginny, it’s July.”
eyes flashed in anger. “If he’s hurt badly, he’ll need the warmth, and
I can’t do magic – you can. I want a Cooling Charm on the room and a
Warming Charm on the blankets.”
Ron wasn’t about to argue
with her glare. He quickly did as she asked, shaking his head all the
while. Ginny turned on her heel and marched back downstairs. Ron took
one last look at his own bed, made certain Ginny wasn’t within earshot,
and cast the same Warming Charm on his own blankets. No sense in being
He thought about sending Pig to Hermione with a note,
but he really didn’t have anything to tell her yet, so he thought he’d
better wait until he knew what was happening. Following Ginny
downstairs, he found his mother still pacing in the kitchen. Ron fell
into step behind her as they continued to wait.
“Will the two of you sit down,” Ginny snapped. “You’re wearing a hole in the floor.”
“All right, Ginny,” Mrs. Weasley said. “We’re all worried; let’s not take it out on each other.”
was about to retort when the fireplace once again flared with green
flames. Bill’s face appeared, looking drawn and haggard. “Mum,” he
“Bill, what’s happening? How’s Harry?” Mrs. Weasley asked. Ron and Ginny stood anxiously on each side of her.
sighed. “I don’t have all the answers yet. Everybody from the Order
made it out. We’ll be bringing Harry back to Headquarters after Madam
Pomfrey stabilizes him.”
“Stabilizes him? What’s wrong with him?” Ginny demanded, clutching her mother’s hand.
got hit hard with a slicing curse. When Tonks found him, she didn’t
notice right away, and when she finally did, he’d already lost a whole
lot of blood. It took her a while to get him back to Arabella’s without
being seen. Madam Pomfrey has closed him up and given him a Blood
Replenishing Potion. Those potions are time delayed, and we have to
wait before we can give him the next dose; he hasn’t come around yet to
answer any questions.”
“Tell us what you do know, Bill,” his mother said in a very shaky voice.
near as we can figure, Harry had a row with his uncle, and Dursley
threw him out. As soon as that happened, the blood magic was negated,
and the wards came down. The Death Eaters must have been watching the
house the same way we were, because they were already there when we
“How do you know Harry’s relatives threw him out,
and that it wasn’t the Death Eaters who were responsible for bringing
the wards down?” Ginny asked.
“Harry’s face is pretty beat
up, and not from a wand.” Bill paused for a moment, seeming to hesitate
on how much to say. “We also found bruising around his neck in the
shape of a handprint. When we got inside the house and found Dobby, he
said that he’d thrown Dursley off Harry the previous night. Harry asked
me when he first got here to put a Silencing Charm on his room; it must
have worn off. He’d told me about a nightmare with a connection to
Voldemort earlier today. I reckon he woke his uncle.”
were warned to keep their hands off him,” his mother screeched. “What
kind of person hurts a child for having a nightmare? What is wrong with
that man?” Ron glanced warily at the rage he saw in her eyes and knew
he wouldn’t want to be Vernon Dursley for anything in this world when
she got hold of him.
“He’s never going back there again,” Ginny said, her eyes flashing much like her mother’s.
“No,” Bill said, sighing. “He’s not. They’re dead.”
three of the Weasleys listening at Grimmauld Place stood perfectly
still, stunned by his statement. Ron watched his mother slap her hand
over her mouth, as if trying to take back her angry words.
he finally choked out. Harry didn’t need this; hadn’t he already lost
enough? He could see Ginny covering her face with her hands.
the Death Eaters arrived, they just went in firing, from what we can
tell. Tonks found Harry outside, taking cover behind a tree. He must
have tried to fight them, because Madam Pomfrey says his magical
reserves are depleted again, and there is an owl here from the Ministry
with a warning about the use of underage magic,” Bill said. “Dad went
to the Ministry to straighten it out. Tonks had to petrify Harry when
he tried to run back to save his cousin, but there was nothing he could
do. Unfortunately, that meant he had to lie there and watch the whole
thing. It was while he was down that she realized how badly he was
“Oh, no,” Ginny whispered, as several tears fell
unchecked down her cheek. Ron was mesmerized, watching them fall. His
head was spinning, and he couldn’t seem to grasp onto any single fact.
Harry’s relatives were all dead. He knew Harry hated them, and that
they’d been awful to him. Still, he knew Harry, and he was going to
take this badly.
“That’s not the end of it. Tonks said that before they killed his aunt, she blamed Harry for all of it.”
Ron shut his eyes in a grimace. Damn .
Sniffing back her tears, his mother asked, “When is he getting here? He is coming here to us. He needs to be with us, Bill.”
I said, Madam Pomfrey is keeping a close eye on him, and she doesn’t
think he’s ready to be moved if he doesn’t have to be. The Muggle
authorities are all over the Dursleys’ house, but we managed to get his
stuff out before they arrived. As soon as everyone is back here, we’ll
bring him to you. Dumbledore did say he’d be going there, at least
until he recovers.”
Ron’s mind was moving quickly over all
the information Bill had given, moving the pieces around like a
chessboard in his mind. If Harry’s Aunt Petunia were dead, and the
wards came down before the blood protection had gone into effect…
“Bill, what does this mean for Harry? The blood protection wasn’t activated, and if Harry’s aunt is dead…?” he asked.
sighed and clenched his eyes shut. “It means Harry is an open target.
The last of the protection from his mother’s sacrifice is gone.
Dumbledore has already gone back to Hogwarts to work on a new plan to
keep him safe until term starts.”
“I want to come over,” Ginny said. “Just let me come and sit with him for a while. I won’t get in the way.”
“No, Ginny; it’s too dangerous,” his mother said.
Bill said at the same time. “I’m sorry, Ginny, but it really is still
too unstable here. We don’t know if the Death Eaters know about
Arabella, or if they’ll be back. Just wait up; I’m certain Harry’s
going to need you when he comes around.” With that, Bill disappeared
from the fireplace.
Ginny angrily turned her back on their
mother and stalked up the stairs to her room. More waiting, and, this
time, there was nothing to do to occupy the time.
found himself on a soft featherbed; a warm quilt was thrown over him
and a fire blazed in the hearth. He’d been in this room before, but he
couldn’t remember when. He was warm and sleepy, and felt very content.
A great, shaggy, black dog was curled up next to him, snuggling up to
his side and keeping him warm. His hand rested in the dog’s thick fur,
and he gently petted it. The dog looked up, his dark eyes seeming
bottomless and full of sympathy, as he leaned over and licked at
Harry’s face. Harry pulled away, laughing slightly. He snuggled deeply
into the dog’s warmth and drifted back to sleep.
He knew that dog would stay there, guarding him and keeping him from harm. He could rest for a while.
Thanks so much to Mistral for all her beta work in getting this in
shape. She was surprised I killed the Dursleys, but pleasantly so, lol.
I know some of you saw it coming – I really can’t stand them.