Usual disclaimer, Harry and co. belong to JKR etc. Paramount Pictures owns Star Trek, it's not me and again, I'm not doing this for profit.
Harry put the finishing touches on his chart. There were 29 more days till he left for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and he was already counting down. He would never get a calendar from Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, so instead of asking he'd made a chart to hang on the wall. He didn't mind, it gave him the chance to try using a quill on parchment. He had only graduated from using pencils to Muggle pens the year before at school, and at home he still used pencil most of the time because he had to use up all the ones Dudley broke the pencil lead in, and couldn't be bothered to sharpen.
Harry liked the quill. The parchment took a bit of getting used to though. It was rougher than the paper in his Muggle exercise books and to start with he kept catching the nib of the quill on it. He'd nearly got the hang of it now. He remembered the time in a school history lesson when the teacher had shown them calligraphy, like the monks had done in the old days when no one else could read or write. The teacher had said you had to make all the strokes downward to get a consistent ink flow, and that's one of the reasons it took the monks so long to write anything. Harry wondered if the monks could have gone quicker if they had been magic too.
Harry looked at his chart; it glimmered in places where it was still wet. He watched the colours changing while he waited for it to dry. Instead of the normal black ink he had bought for school, Harry had used the special ink that said it changed colours as you wrote. Harry had expected it to be a bit like the colouring pencils that had five or six colours in one lead all next to each other, so that the colour pressed against the paper would change as you turned the pencil. He'd thought those were cool until he saw this ink. It changed colour as you wrote, but it kept changing colour once it dried, so each word would cycle through a number of colours as you watched.
Harry pinned his new chart to the wall above his bed where he would see it when he woke up. It would remind him that this was all real; he was a wizard and in 30 days he would be leaving Privet Drive to go to a school of magic. He didn't want any more mornings like yesterday.
Harry had woken up and kept his eyes screwed tightly shut as he told himself It wasn't real, Hagrid was just a dream. You'll open your eyes; there'll be no Owl, no wand, no books on magic and no invitation to HogwartsSchool of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Dudley won't have a pig's tail. It was just a dream and you'll open your eyes and be back with the spiders under the stairs and going to Stonewall Comprehensive in the autumn. Harry had only opened his eyes when he had to get up to go to the loo. When he came back he had sat hugging his knees on the bed and looked disbelievingly at his new stuff until Aunt Petunia had called him down for lunch.
Harry was just about to climb the stairs back to go back to his room after breakfast when he had a better idea upon seeing Dudley in the hallway. He hadn't seen Dudley very often in the five days since his encounter with Hagrid. Dudley had been avoiding him and he wasn't sure if it was because Dudley was now scared of him because he was a wizard or because Harry had taken to oinking loudly whenever he saw Dudley's new curly tail. It was probably a little of both. Harry saw his cousin so rarely it seemed a pity to pass up this chance. He quietly followed along behind Dudley until they were out of Aunt Petunia's hearing. Aunt Petunia had adapted a few old pairs of shorts of Dudley's so that there was a hole in the seat. The first couple of days Dudley had the tail he had complained loudly that it hurt to have the tail squished all the time. Harry stayed hidden behind Dudley as he reached for the pig's tail poking through the hole in his shorts. Quickly and in one smooth motion he grabbed it, pulled it out straight and let go, before turning and running before it even recoiled. Harry grinned as he dashed past the kitchen. Dudley was squealing like a piglet. Harry had never heard him make that noise before; maybe Hagrid's spell had worked better than he thought. Harry hid in the garden for an hour avoiding Aunt Petunia. He knew he'd hear about the prank when Uncle Vernon came home, but he didn't care. Dudley had picked on him for so long Harry was taking his chances when he could.
When Harry deemed it was safe he snuck out of his hiding spot and snuck inside and up the stairs. The memory of Dudley's squealing still fresh in his mind, Harry came sniggering into his room and threw himself onto the bed reaching for his Hogwarts letter to read it through again. It was balanced on the top of a pile of magical schoolbooks sitting on the floor. He had read it about a dozen times a day since he had returned from London. Putting it back down he picked up the closest of his schoolbooks, A History of Magic, and started to read.
Harry read his history book whenever he got the chance for the rest of the week. It was fascinating; especially the Goblin Wars. There had been so many of them and he was trying to reconcile the picture of the goblin bankers he had seen with the fighting goblins in his book.
Harry also liked the chapter about Muggle misunderstandings. There were so many of them, some of which had given rise to Muggle fairy tales he recognised. Snow White's dwarves that she cared for had been goblins; digging for gold they had been the forerunners of the Gringott's goblins; the apple had been doused in a potion called the Draught of the Living Death. Harry wondered if the talking mirror was real too. He had no idea where to draw the line anymore.
Harry's favourite was the story behind the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. The stepmother in this story was a witch too but she and the main witch were in contact through something called the Floo. As far as Harry could understand it, the Floo was a bit like the telephone and a bit like the transporters he had seen on the TV show Startrek that Dudley liked, but it worked through the fireplace.
'Misunderstandings with Muggles occurred far more in the Middles Ages than they do today. These occasions have led to some interesting accounts in Muggle folk-lore or fairy tales, which weren't even written by Fairies at all! One of the most famous occasions occurred involved a witch attempting to return her friend's children to her via Floo Powder. However when the poor witch attempted to put the children into her kitchen fireplace, the children became quite irate, believing the helpful witch to actually be attempting to cook them alive! The witch eventually ended up faking her own death in the flames, using a simple Flame Freezing Charm, simply to get the misguided youths out of her cottage. One must always be cautious around Muggles!'
In those days the oven was the built into the hearth in the fireplace and it had great big iron doors on it so you could fit huge logs into it to burn for a long time. There was a picture of the oven in the book; Harry watched as the doors opened and a smiling witch waved at him from inside. He could see how Muggle children would think the witch was going to cook them!
That story went on to tell how the witch had gone on to start a school for magical orphans; either those whose parents were actually dead, or those whose parents were Muggles and had a Dursley-like attitude to magic. The incident had woken her up to the dangers miscommunication between Muggle and Wizardkind. Harry decided to name his owl after her. He would laugh every time one of the Dursleys said her name; they wouldn't even know that the name also belonged to someone who they thought was a child eating witch. Harry thought it was lucky for Dudley that Hedwig the witch wasn't really a child eater; He would make her a great meal.
Harry walked over to his owl. "Hey girl, I think I've found you a name" he murmured. "How do you like 'Hedwig'?" The owl blinked at him. Harry had discovered that she usually huffed up her feathers when she didn't like something he said. He took blinking as a good sign. "All right, Hedwig it is".
Harry gave her an owl treat, Hagrid had said that he should give her treats when she came back from delivering his mail as a reward for a job well done. "Yer got to show you appreciate 'er. She'll be a good friend if you treat 'er righ'" he'd said. "There's more to lookin' after an animal than feeding them regular'. Yer go' to show 'em you care. Especially post owls. They can do some righ' nasty things to yer mail, if you offend 'em."
She hadn't delivered anything for him yet, but Harry thought he shouldn't let that stop him treating her. She had flown in and out of his window in the evenings, sleeping during the day. Sometimes, if Harry was in the garden, she would swoop down onto his shoulder, nip at his ear, and take off again. Harry guessed she was off hunting; she was always on her perch by the time he woke up the next morning, usually with a fresh carcass dropped under her perch.
Harry had taken to taking the carcasses outside and burying them in the compost heap. After the dressing down he had received from Uncle Vernon after pulling Dudley's tail - 'We keep you for 10 years, feeding and clothing you and this is the thanks we get. You ungrateful little sod' - he was trying to keep Aunt Petunia in a good mood. Harry wanted to ask Aunt Petunia about his mother and Harry's mum wasn't usually a topic Aunt Petunia was happy to talk about.
They had grown up together, Harry mused. There must be something about Lily she could tell him. Maybe she had only said nothing about his Mum because there was no way not to let slip that she was a witch. Now that he knew he was a wizard that wouldn't matter anymore. So far the Keep Aunt Petunia Happy plan wasn't working very well; Aunt Petunia hated having an animal in the house. Luckily Hedwig was every bit as smart as Harry had thought she was. She had stayed to Harry's room whenever she was inside.
Harry sighed. He would have to be extra helpful before Aunt Petunia was in any mood to answer his questions. With that thought Harry stroked Hedwig once more, checked the window was open so she could get out, and headed off to start helping Aunt Petunia with dinner.
A/N: The idea of the witch in Hansel and Gretel being a Hedwig was my pre-beta Bucktavius'. He kindly donated it to the cause. Thanks Bucky!