Another year of darkness had passed by for the wizarding world. What little light there was on the dark street seemed to be dimmed by the troubled times. Only a gray shade of what it should be.
A young man wandered silently down the walk, his hands shoved into his pockets, and his head hung low. He was alone, his was pace slow and rhythmic. The shadows of night played against his body as he moved, tracing dark features over his grim face. His raven hair was unkempt and mirrored the surrounding gloom and the shadows on his face. The only contrast to the dark was the vivid green that shone in his eyes.
Though he was young, Harry Potter had recently come of age, and was now an adult. He was a powerful wizard, who held many admirable traits. Yet this had not spared him from a life riddled with tragedy. Still, he held a spirit within him that would not be conquered, perhaps only restrained by the events of his life. Now Harry had a purpose though, and it was to that end that his mind was fixed. Dumbledore had shown him this path. He wondered whether Dumbledore had known he would die. Perhaps that was the reason that he had taken Harry to retrieve the locket, to prepare him for what he would have to do after Dumbledore was gone. He had already tracked down the locket, and with the help of Ron and Hermione he was close to finding another. Tomorrow, they would be searching an orphanage here in London for Hufflepuff’s cup. Dumbledore had prepared him well it seemed.
It was with these thoughts that Harry wandered through Muggle London. His late night walks had become a frequent event. For many years Harry had dreamed of leaving his family and the Muggle world behind, but the growing pressure within his own world often grew to be too much. So many people had preconceived ideas of who he was, expected him to be “The Chosen One” who would save them from Voldemort, never realizing that he was only a young man who had been chased by sorrow since before he could remember. A person who had never asked for this life. True he was powerful, but that can only take you so far before the only thing left is the naked soul.
Still, not everything in his life was hopeless. He had his friends, indeed he had the best friends anyone could wish for. They were more like his family, something Harry deeply appreciated. In fact Harry had long ago come to the conclusion that they were his strength, the thing that kept him going. After so much pain and loss it would be easy for anyone to give up. The thing of it was that Harry, who had experienced these things, had grown to cherish what he did have more than most anyone could understand. After all, without sorrow there can be no joy.
Turning down another street, Harry continued through the dense night. Sounds echoed distantly telling tales of moving cars and late night travelers, but these noises, too, seemed stifled by the gray gloom of a troubled world. Even Harry’s footsteps were muffled in the puddles of darkness. But this did not trouble him. It was easy to find peace in this silence, perhaps not comfort, but peace. A shroud that blocked out his troubles even if only for a few bitter moments. All too soon it ended. Two resounding cracks disturbed the melodic quiet of this late night stroll.
Turning with great speed, Harry had drawn his wand and disarmed his unknown foes. Cautiously, he moved toward the assailants bearing down upon them with his wand. Looking over the dark cloaks at the faces of the two young men Harry released the tension with a breath of relief.
“Fred, George? Tell me something that only I would know." Harry demanded.
"Well you're a prat for one thing." said Fred, holding his hands up in surrender.
"And another is that you have a map that once belonged to your father, but was given to you by us." added George.
"Okay, sorry about that. What are you doing here?” Harry said as he returned his wand to it’s hiding place beneath his cloak.
“Well how do you like that? He attacks us and then asks what we’re doing here,” Fred stated as he rose to his feet.
“Honestly, it’s like he hasn’t got any proper manners at all,” George responded indignantly while Fred pulled him up.
“You would think he didn’t like us or something the way he behaves,” Fred continued.
“I am hardly going to take advice from you two on conduct. Besides I already apologized. Anyway you did sneak up on me, should have learned your lesson from the last time you tried that,” Harry said with a wry smile creeping across his face.
George and Fred nodded their heads in agreement. “True enough mate,” George added, “actually we were looking for you.” The thick air had finally become too full and began to spill over in the gray haze of night. A few patters of rain tapped the ground around the three friends and began to beat against their cloaks.
Holding his hands out to let a few drops splash against his palm, Fred continued.
“Yes indeed Harry old boy, we were looking for you. We’re heading over to the Leaky Cauldron this evening …”
George filled in his brothers thought, “ And we were wondering if you might want to join us for a bit.”
Harry looked pensively at the twin redheads in front of him. He was well aware of the fact that this may well be a thorough prank of theirs and they were setting him up, but it had been some time since Harry had actually allowed himself any sort of pleasure. Not since Bill and Fluer’s wedding, and that wasn’t something he was allowing himself to think about. Because that made him remember one of the few enjoyable parts of his life over the last year, and that only added to his sorrow. So maybe he deserved a night out, even if it was only so he could be the brunt of a joke the twins were planning, at least it would be funny. As long as it doesn’t get too out of hand.
“All right then, I think I’ll tag along. Is anyone else coming along? Hang on, how did you know where to find me? I’m sure no one is following me, so how did you know?” Harry asked, fixing them with a suspicious look.
Fred and George looked at each other as if they were holding a conversation without speaking. They nodded their heads in agreement and turned back to Harry.
“Well it’s like this Harry,” started Fred.
“Don’t be angry, as it wasn’t our idea, but,” George continued.
With an exasperated sigh, Fred looked Harry dead in the eyes, “The watch we gave you for your birthday, it’s charmed.”
“Mum said that it might be a good idea if there was someway to keep track of you, and Dad agreed,” George put in before Harry’s anger could rise.
Fred continued to explain what had happened, “The whole thing was Ginny’s idea, actually. She thought that you might be in for more trouble and you know her. Anyway she found the charm, and told us about it, and that you hadn’t replaced your watch from the Triwizard Tournament. So we took care of the rest. We should have told you about it though, sorry mate.”
Harry’s mouth was drawn tight and his brow was furrowed with the thought of being lied to again, but the mention of Ginny quelled his anger quickly and he allowed himself to cool off. “It’s all right. I wish someone had told me, but it is a great idea. Anyway I’m up for a bit of fun, why don’t we get going?”
As the rainfall increased the three young men looked around to be sure no one was watching and Disapparated with three small pops.