Disclaimer: All honor and glory belongs to the great J.K. Rowling who created this wonderful world. All characters are owned by J.K. Rowling. No profit is being made, no credit is claimed…I am merely a trespasser playing for my own enjoyment, and hopefully yours.
Author’s note: This is what happens when you over-feed a plot-bunny. A great big thanks to all who have encouraged me in this endeavor, and the biggest thanks of all go to Musings, my wonderful, patient Beta.
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Swish-swish, Swish-swish, Swish-swish. An enormous car bore down on the highway, slowing quickly to avoid a collision with a large truck. It then sped up again, and when a free spot of lane came by, the behemoth swerved left into the lane and accelerated.
Swish-swish, Swish-swish. A pale, sweating boy stared into the dark brown leather that covered the headrest of the seat in front of him, willing himself not to throw up his meager lunch. Swish-swish, Swish-swish. The narrow windshield wipers obediently swiped away at the rainstorm that had been overhead for eight days. Tufts of unruly, jet-black hair leaned against the cool of the passenger side window glass, only to be jerked away at the loud barking of the driver, who would not tolerate any freak messing up his perfectly clean windows.
The heat had been merciless for the first weekend of Harry Potter’s summer holiday with his cousin, aunt and uncle; and the daily temperatures of nearly 32 had shown no sign of letting up. That is to say, it had been very warm and sunny summers’ day until Harry found out that he would be forced to work at his Aunt Marge’s out-door wedding ceremony and reception, clearing tables, and taking out garbage. It had begun to rain very hard the moment he’d received the announcement from Uncle Vernon.
Harry hunched over in his seat, silently cursing that day last week, growing angry as his mind flashed back to the moments marking the start of his present misery. He had been cooking breakfast for the Dursleys at the time.
‘But Uncle Vernon, I’ll miss the memorial for my Godfather,” said Harry defiantly as he scrambled the eggs and expertly flipped the bacon. Even though he didn’t know if there would be a memorial for Sirius, he wanted there to be one, and even if he had to arrange it himself he would do so in order to get out of the reception. “His friends won’t like that at all. If we could come back the same day as the wedding then I would be on time and that would be okay. But Professor Lupin wants me to spend some time with him, and I don’t think he’ll take too kindly to your holding me against my will.’
Mentally Harry made a note to send a letter to Ron, Hermione and Ginny to see what they thought could be done to get him out of this place , and if they had thought of plans for a memorial service for his Godfather. He would do anything to avoid his Aunt’s wedding, including trying to get Vernon to strike him: evidence of physical injury from Vernon and Harry knew his friends would rescue him as soon as they knew what happened.
Vernon snorted loudly like a pig, his habitual reply whenever Harry said something he couldn’t answer immediately. He turned the page and kept reading the paper as if Harry wasn’t even there.
‘In fact,’ Harry continued as he tipped the perfectly cooked food onto a plate and carried it to Vernon’s seat, placing it in front him, ‘Professor Lupin is likely to take me away anyhow, and you couldn’t stop them. Besides, Petunia won’t let you throw me out. Even though she doesn’t like me, or my Mum, at least she’s true to her word and won’t toss a blood relative out into the streets, even if she only does it out of some sense of duty. Not like you or your sister.’ He turned quickly back to the sink to wash the dishes. It was just as he reached the sink and plunged his hands into the hot soapy water that Uncle Vernon started shouting.
‘THAT’S ENOUGH OUT OF YOU, BOY!’ Vernon bellowed, tipping his eggs onto the floor, turning more red and purple by the moment. He stood up and slammed the daily paper onto the table, stomping the floor with his foot. Harry grew hopeful. One black and blue mark and he would be out of this awful place for the summer. He stood his ground and waited for Vernon to attack. ‘YOU’RE COMING WITH US REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU WANT TO BE THERE OR NOT! NO! I DON’T CARE WHO DIED, YOU WILL NOT INCOVENINCE MY SON’S BIRTHDAY OR ME! IF MARGE WANTS YOU TO WORK FOR HER, YOU’LL WORK FOR HER! AND DON’T YOU DARE MOUTH OFF TO ME, YOU LOUSY, UNGRATEFUL SON OF A-’
An enormous clap of thunder boomed overhead, rain coming down suddenly with a giant ‘smack’ against the screened windows, making both Harry and Vernon jump. Vernon’s face quickly composed itself into an uncanny imitation of a dried up prune, and the large purplish face sneered as he stared into Harry’s eyes.
He glared up and down the entire frame of the young man standing in front of him. ‘Oh yes, I thought you might pull something like this.’ Harry’s face went blank, a look of shock and confusion in his eyes. ‘Ho! Don’t think I didn’t realize it was perfectly sunny a minute ago. I-am-on-to-your-foul-tricks!’ He jabbed a thick finger hard into Harry’s chest punctuating his words. Vernon stepped close to Harry and began to speak in a low and threatening tone: ‘I’m warning you now boy, any precipitation at my son’s birthday, or my dear sister’s wedding, any at all, and I’ll starve you,’ He grinned maniacally at this and continued to threaten Harry. ‘Yes, and force you to use you-know-what to feed yourself before you DIE, and I’ll stop those ruddy owls from ever getting to you. I’ll shoot every single last one of those… effing birds. And if those stupid freaks show up I’ll have the police come here quicker than you can possibly imagine.’
Swish-swish, Swish-swish. The giant car swerved into another lane and sped up even faster. Harry clutched his stomach tighter and groaned inwardly. Ever since the rain had started, and Uncle Vernon threatened to starve him if he didn’t stop it, Harry had been fed only half a cup of soup per day ‘To remind you what’s coming if this rain isn’t stopped’.
He tried to call his friend Hermione from Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry on the telephone but their answering machine had him given a cheery ‘we’ve gone on holiday’ message, and he didn’t want to tell anyone but her. He was sure that the storm had magical origins. It had been completely sunny a moment before the crack of thunder started it all. If he was a betting man…well, if only he could talk to Hermione. She was the smartest witch in the school, and he felt sure that she could figure out if it were even a reasonable assumption that Voldemort could see what Harry saw.
The thought of it had haunted Harry. All week long he had thought of nothing save for whether or not the most feared dark wizard in a century was able to somehow spy upon him and force Harry out of hiding. After all, if Harry even used the smallest spell, the Dursleys would throw him out, and then it would only be a matter of time before Voldemort would find him.
While living at Privet Drive, Harry had to keep his Wizarding abilities quiet, not only due to the Decree for The Restriction of Underage Wizardry, but also because Uncle Vernon would have had Harry and all of his Wizarding supplies locked in the cupboard under the stairs for the rest of the summer. The rain hadn’t stopped, and that was quite a problem, as Harry hadn’t been fed anything except for soup and felt dizzy and weak all the time. His growling stomach was an ever-present problem, it hurt, it was full of acid and of course, Harry couldn’t stop worrying if Vernon had stumbled upon the truth of the situation or not.
Harry’s stomach twisted as he pondered this question over and over again: if Vernon was right and he – Harry – was making it rain, then Voldemort wasn’t the source of the rain. This theory had a problem: he didn’t feel any energy draining from him. He remembered a lecture from his Charms professor explaining how African Wizards would meditate for days before they could even get the rain to begin falling. And Harry did not feel anything even remotely like the side effects his professor had described that would be associated with such an undertaking a true atmospheric rain charm. This left Harry with one theory: What if Voldemort could hear what Harry heard? What if he was seeing Harry’s life through the link they shared, as he had sometimes dreamed of Voldemort’s life? Harry involuntarily retched and closed his eyes as the car swerved again, changing lanes and taking him further away from the relative safety of his Aunt Petunia’s house.
There was only one being on the planet that could perform such powerful types of magic, and had a mental connection with Harry’s body. The pain, the horrifying feeling of possession had been truly an unbelievable experience. Harry had truly become a veteran of the war on that day. For just a few weeks ago, Tom Riddle had taken custody of Harry’s body, had made him speak and had filled his guts with a snake, and it was an awful feeling. At the time, Harry thought the only release would have been death. Harry shuddered violently at the memory of it, he remembered begging for death. Twisting in his seat and trying hard not to retch too loudly he tried to quell his darkest fear: that Lord Voldemort, the most feared and powerful dark wizard in the world could certainly cook up a rainstorm.
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CRASH! Thunder echoed around a strange looking house in Ottery St. Catchpole, a small rural farming community in south eastern England, almost in triumph at having locked the red-haired inhabitants inside on what should have been a nice summer day. The bad weather had sprung up exactly one week ago, and was showing no sign of letting up. On the second floor of the house a young girl suffered through a headache. Leaning over the edge of her bed she grabbed her homework log for Muggle Studies and began the exhausting search for her quill. She’d just remembered leaving it on the desk when the rain began to pound in earnest, clattering full force against her window and making it impossible to keep her headache at bay. The girl cried out in frustration, threw off her quilt and in one swift movement ran over to her door. She quietly slipped out into the hall down to her brother’s room.
In the darkened hallway the thunder echoed off of the walls and lightening flashing only served to intensify Ginevra Weasley’s headache. She trailed a hand down the wall and closed her eyes, feeling her way over to her oldest brother’s room. The room was small, only a desk and two beds were lined up against the wall. A large window overlooked the garden and woods. Ginny smiled at the familiar sight, even though it was storming, it was home.
“Bill?” she asked at the open door.
A tall, long-haired wizard spun his chair around from the desk where he had been working. “What is it, Ginny?”
“Can you put a Silencing Charm on my room? I have a terrible headache and I’ve got to finish this assignment.” Ginny turned puppy-eyes at her older brother.
“Sure thing, pumpkin, I can do it now.”
The two made their way back down the hall and into Ginny’s room. Bill tapped his wand against the window, the noise stopped, and rain streamed against the window pane. Next he charmed the walls and her doorway. “Someone will have to come and get you when it’s lunch time. I’ll remind someone before I leave for work.”
Silence filled the room. “Thank you, Bill,” Ginny sighed in relief and watched him close the door. She stared out of her bedroom window, moodily looking at the rain outside. The silence was helpful, but the headache was still going strong. And she didn’t want to venture out into the hallway again, the noise alone was enough of a deterrent. ‘Sure,’ she muttered to herself as she wrapped a quilt around her elbows and shifted the warm pillow her Mum had charmed. ‘This is just perfect! I have to work tomorrow and this stinking headache is still keeping me from doing my homework!’ Ginny sighed and made a mental note to save up for her own bottle of headache relief potion.
Checking her homework list next to her desk, she crossed off her assigned log entry and went back to her bed. Propped up on pillows and snuggled under her blanket again she began to write.
3 July, 1995
Today marks the first week of my internship with Madam Corella’s catering business. It is still raining, and the Fubuster’s out-door wedding ceremony and reception might be moved to an indoor venue in town. Madam Corella owled, (attached, see appendix 1) and gave details regarding this shift of plans. I will begin work at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. My responsibilities will include, but not be limited to signing in gifts brought by the guests, and obtaining their addresses for mailing out thank-you cards; supervision of set up for the main buffet and associated staff, and assisting Madame Corella in any other way requested.
I have finished reading the elective reading assignment for this independent study, “Feeding an Army” by Sgt. Collsworth. The text covers typical procedures for cooking for large groups, storing large quantities of food and his experiences in the military service prepared him to operate one of the largest restaurants in London. I have written a report focusing on the ways in which non-wizards cope with preparing food for groups of over 150 people. I hope to gain 11 more hours of observation time tomorrow. Even if it does rain, Madam Corella assured me that I will get an opportunity to observe the set-up and take-down of a major catering event, during a stressful period of time. I will be able to monitor employee reactions to stresses and see how their ability to accomplish their goals is affected. I will also be able to observe the wedding planner and head chefs during a potential business disaster.
Ginny hoisted herself out of bed, placed her Muggle Studies log on her desk, and retrieved her most treasured book and, perhaps, her most prized possession: Fair Folk: Lore and Current Customs. She opened it on her way back to bed, and tapped the blank pages three times with her index finger as she settled back in bed and placed her heat-charmed pillow behind her aching neck. The headmaster of Hogwarts had created the book especially for her, and had given it to her at the beginning of her third year. She smiled as ink pooled onto the page and words began to stretch out across the parchment, lines criss-crossing and looping around themselves until they formed the archaic runes that encoded her life’s deepest secrets. It was an unbreakable code. Not only had no one thought of using this language in about 300 years, but it also had the added benefit of being a book enchanted by the most powerful wizard of the age.
Welcome Ginny, you last wrote 41 lines at three in the morning on 3 July. Since then this book has been untouched.
The words stretched out before her eyes and she let out a sigh of relief. No one had touched it. This was the reason Ginny loved this book, it was protected and charmed to keep track of anyone who tried to read it or cast a spell on it. After her first year, Ginny was taking no chances with her diary. Ginny began to write again, this time relaxing against her pillows.
Raining again, I’m hoping it lets up for the wedding tomorrow. Mum is still railing against me having a summer job with muggles, but I can handle myself just fine- I still don’t know why she thinks I can’t handle this. Well, I do know that she’s proud. I think it’s the worry-wart in her making things sound worse than they are. I know she’s worried that Tom will begin crashing wedding parties and starting out soon with public attacks, but I know better than to let that git frighten me from living my life the way I want to.
Harry will be at the wedding, too. Dumbledore told me not to tell him that I’m working there, and asked me to get an honest assessment of his mindset. I don’t like that. The last time he kept Harry in the dark awful things happened to him. I hope Harry isn’t mad at me when he asks me to take him back with me and I can’t.
I worry that something horrible is happening to him…Ron and I haven’t heard from him in a few days, it’s almost been too long. Mum says if I don’t see him tomorrow we’ll go after him together, and bring Fred and George to do horrible things to the Dursleys. I don’t know what’s going on in The Order thanks to Mum’s fantastic parenting skills.
Hermione and her family are off on holiday in Italy. I just received a letter from her detailing every last picture in some museum she visited with her folks that had a large collection of magical pictures, and she even got her parents in to see it. (Ron stole it; I think it’s under his pillow) I do hope she gets back in time for Harry’s birthday – Dumbledore agreed that Ron and I might be able to visit him at the Dursleys for the day and I, for one, am already making preparations to --
At that moment her door creaked open. Assuming it was Fred offering a Blood Blister Pod or something equally horrendous, Ginny quickly shut her diary. “Fred, please go away, she said tiredly. I’m trying to relax a bit.”
‘Ginny?’ asked the voice of her brother George, who stayed safely hidden behind the door to her bedroom. ‘Ginny, I knocked and knocked – there was no answer, have you used a Silencing Charm on your room? Good work; that storm is really howling up the rest of the house. Any how, I had to deliver this message.’
Ginny didn’t respond. Instead she crept slowly over towards the door, her hand gripped tightly around a small phial of Slipping Solution. George continued speaking, unaware of his sister’s movement. ‘Don’t get mad at me here, I’m just the owl okay? Mum said to get downstairs now, and to stop your homework for lunch.’ Ginny slowly crouched down by the door, and opened the phial, and poured it out carefully under the door.
The sound of slipping feet and frustrated cries echoed down the stairs over the sound of the pounding rain. A smile crept across Ginny’s face. Finally, a decently useful potions assignment from her most hated professor. She would have to make a good bit more of this later, but at least there was some solace to be taken through it: the next person to interrupt her would fall flat on their backsides, only next time they would be facing the wrath of her vicious rabbit slippers.