The characters Captain Aislant, Tony Dorfomt, David Rene, and Roger Rene are the property of the author and should not be used for any financial gain without the author's permission. All other major characters are the property of JK Rowling and the author uses them with no permission given or implied from their creator. No money is being made from this work. This is a work of fiction. Reprints of this work in whole or in part should carry the author's name and this disclaimer.
Chapter 1: Summer's End
Late July, 1996
Harry Potter looked up as he heard the tapping on his bedroom window at Number 4, Privet Drive. Hedwig was there, looking annoyed that he had closed the window. Harry hurriedly went to let her in, closing the window after her against the rain.
She had a letter from Ron. Harry opened it and began to read.
You'll never believe what happened to us! We were in an accident, and a bunch of muggles took us to a muggle hospital, but one of them found dad's wand, and it turns out he was a wizard and didn't know it! So dad got in touch with the United States Council of Magic and they got us out of there, and not a moment too soon. Those muggles stick needles right into your skin for everything! They don't know the first thing about healing, either. They were going to cut us open in some kind of surge-ri thing! We're at a wizard hospital in Philadelphia now, and it looks like David and Roger (that's the wizard who found dad's wand and his younger brother) are going to come back to England with us so Roger can start at Hogwarts.
I'm glad Hedwig turned up – she always seems to know, doesn't she?
Well, they're here to give me another potion. Don't let the muggles take you to any hospitals!
Harry was more than a little puzzled at Ron's letter. Why had they let muggles take them anywhere? It was already looking like this was going to be another summer where no one told him anything. Worry quickly replaced his puzzlement – but surely Ron would have told him if anyone had been badly hurt. Harry tried to put his worries aside.
At least the Dursleys, terrified of the threats from the Order members they'd met at King's Cross at the start of the summer, were treating him better. Of course, they also treated him as if he was invisible, but for the Dursleys that counted as an improvement.
Hedwig hooted softly and Harry decided that at least he could write Ron back.
I'm sorry you were in an accident. I hope everyone is all right. Is Roger going to start as a first year? What are they like? I bet your dad is thrilled to have muggles to talk to.
The Dursleys aren't treating me too badly. In fact, they're trying to ignore me whenever they can and that's OK with me. Dudley's gang is still terrorizing the younger children around here.
Will you still be getting back to England on schedule? Please give my best to everyone.
It wasn't much of a letter, but Harry didn't really feel much like writing. He was stuck here while the wizarding world finally prepared for the war that he'd tried to warn them of over a year ago. He'd lost Sirius. He'd lost Cho. He knew for sure now that someday he would face Voldemort and one of them would die. He knew that Dumbledore could make mistakes. He wasn't really sure sometimes what bothered him the most – they were all such different worries.
Harry sent off Ron's letter with Hedwig. It was late, and he needed to try to sleep.
Actually, we're back in England now. Everyone is fine, though Ginny seems a little off since the accident. David and Roger came with us – Roger's just turned 11, so he'll be starting as a first year. Wonder what house he'll be in? David is too old for Hogwarts, but he's trying to find a wizard to apprentice himself to so he can learn magic. I wonder who'll be teaching DADA this year? Maybe you could take over. It was a joke, mate!
Mum and Dad have talked to Dumbledore, and he reckons you can come to stay with us for the last two weeks of August. I know that means three more weeks with the muggles, but only three!
Don't let the muggles get you down!
Harry tried not to get angry. Momentarily he thought about using magic again just so the Order would come to get him again. At least he'd be in London if not the Burrow. Even if it meant staying in Sirius' house… It probably wouldn't even work, he thought sadly. The Ministry was worried about fighting Voldemort now – they might not even notice. For that matter, now that the ministry was friendly again he would be more likely to get the treatment he got in his third year. After all, Fudge had thought a dark wizard was after him then too.
He would just have to endure it. He was stuck here for three more weeks; Ginny was ‘a little off' whatever Ron meant by that, and he had more than a little problem or two of his own! Well, now that Hedwig was back, he should write the Order to let them know how he was doing.
Since he'd just heard from Ron, Harry was a little surprised to find an owl waiting for him when he came up from breakfast the next day. It was carrying an envelope with the Hogwarts seal, and he took it nervously. These must be his O.W.L. results. Inside he found four sheets of paper. One was the usual notice that term would begin September 1st. He skipped past this one hastily. The second was a booklist by subject, which he also skipped past. The third page was indeed his results.
O.W.L. Examinations, Mr. Harry Potter
Charms – E
Transfiguration – E
Herbology – A
Defense Against the Dark Arts – O
Ancient Runes – not taken
Harry read the list with increasing satisfaction, but his mouth dropped open as he read the next line:
Potions – O
He couldn't believe it. He'd thought he'd be doing well to get an 'A' or an 'E'. Snape's absence during the exam must have helped him more than he thought. Almost eagerly, he read the rest of the list.
Care of Magical Creatures – E
That's for Hagrid! Harry thought happily.
Astronomy – A
Given that he'd been distracted by the attack on Hagrid and Professor McGonagall he was surprised he'd done that well.
Divination – D
Arithmancy – not taken
History of Magic – T
Muggle Studies – not taken
Harry's spirits dropped a bit as he read the last four lines, but he forced himself to look on the bright side – that was seven OWLs, and everything Professor McGonagall had suggested he'd need for the NEWT classes for Auror training. He turned to the fourth piece of paper.
Please indicate which of the following classes you wish to take for the coming school year. Students are advised to remember their career advice sessions and that seven classes are recommended.
Harry noted that Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, and Muggle Studies had been crossed off his list since he hadn't even attempted those OWLs. He quickly decided that he didn't want to take Divination or History of Magic. That only left the question of how many classes he should take. He wished he could ask someone for advice, but with Sirius gone… he stopped that train of thought quickly. Resolutely he marked the seven classes he'd received passing OWLs in, folded the paper and gave it back to the school owl, who flew off into the night.
Ron came down for breakfast at the Burrow to find David trying to explain something about magnets and electricity to Arthur; Roger was watching in amazement as Molly directed things around the kitchen with her wand, and there was no sign of Ginny. This had been the routine for almost a week now. Ginny would come dragging in about half an hour from now looking as if she hadn't slept but angrily denying that anything was wrong. Mum, Dad, and Roger would all exchange looks, and no one would talk for a few minutes.
Today turned out to be no exception. Roger wound up breaking the silence this time by asking Ron if they could go flying today. Ron grinned. Roger had taken to flying immediately, and while he wasn't a brilliant flyer, he was becoming a good one.
"Not today, Roger. We're going to… ah… Diagon Alley wasn't it? To get your school supplies; just got the letter today. Mrs. Weasley is doing us a favor and showing us around," David said.
School letters had arrived yesterday, and Ron had opened his with more than a hint of fear – he knew it would contain his OWL results. He'd been relieved to find that he'd managed to pull off seven OWLs, including two O's. His mother had seemed to find that acceptable, if not the cause for celebration Percy's twelve OWLs had been. Of course, she had been a little distracted by Ginny's letter, which had included a Prefect badge.
"Oh." Roger sounded disappointed for a second, then seemed to remember that school supplies would no longer consist of notebooks and pencils. "OH! I've got to get ready!" He dashed upstairs.
Everyone present chuckled at the youth. "I'm not sure I'm ready to see what he'll do with a wand of his own." David sounded resigned to the probable mayhem.
"Can we come too Mum? We could get our school stuff." Ron wouldn't miss a chance at Diagon Alley, and maybe Ginny would feel better if she got out a little more.
"Alright dears, go on and get ready."
Ron brushed soot off himself as he watched Roger, looking as if he'd just had a good broomstick ride, tumbled out of the hearth in The Leaky Cauldron.
"Wow! That was cool!" Roger said. If he wasn't careful, he was going to turn into another Creevey, Ron thought.
David emerged a moment later, looking slightly less thrilled. He coughed, cleared his throat, and muttered something about walking next time.
Mrs. Weasley led the Renes down towards Gringotts – or rather, walked towards the bank with David while Roger dashed back and forth like a snitch, trying to see everything at once.
Ron led Ginny towards Quality Quidditch Supplies. She seemed to enjoy helping Roger with flying lessons – maybe it would cheer her up.
They ran into a pair of Gryffindor fifth years, who headed off with Ginny. Ron spent quite a while staring at the latest broom in the display window – the Nimbus X. He looked longingly at a Chudley Cannons T-shirt that had been signed by the current team, but eventually tore himself away to meet his mother and the Rene brothers at Flourish and Blotts.
"Look Ron! Look! I've got a wand! Willow and a real unicorn hair! Isn't it cool? David got one too! Show him, David!" Ron was a little surprised that David had gotten a wand, but then remembered his plans to find work in their world. He would need a wand sooner or later.
David smiled and pulled a wand out of his pocket. "Phoenix tail feather and redwood, ten inches." He glanced around. "Where did Ginny get to?"
"Right behind you." David jumped and turned to find a grinning Ginny along with the two fifth years Ron had seen her with earlier. He was relieved to see she looked much happier. Maybe she just needed to be with her friends – he knew he missed Hermione. And Harry, of course. It wasn't like he missed Hermione any MORE than Harry.
It was as they were leaving the bookstore that Ron got the sensation that he was being watched. He looked around but couldn't see anyone looking at him – just the usual witches and wizards shopping, strolling and talking. "Constant vigilance!" He said to himself. He hoped he wasn't turning into Mad-Eye Moody.
He might have thought differently if he had seen that David too seemed to be looking around a lot, with a look on his face identical to Ron's.
It was early August, the sun was setting, and Harry was weeding the front flower beds when Dudley came peddling furiously up the street on his bike. He hurriedly stowed the bike in the garage then raced inside as if he was being chased. Harry reached for his wand and flattened himself against the house, sweeping the street to find what could have upset Dudley so much – he had looked terrified as he ran inside. Could this be a repeat of last summer?
Nothing happened for several minutes, and Harry relaxed a little. Whatever had happened to Dudley didn't seem about to happen here. In the meantime Aunt Petunia wasn't likely to forget he had been assigned to finish the flowerbeds.
He had been working for perhaps ten minutes when he saw a police car out of the corner of his eye. He turned in shock as it pulled up in front of Number 4 and a policeman got out. Another man also got out of the car. He was wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and looked about twenty years old. Harry's confusion grew.
The policeman spotted him and pointed at him. "Is that one of them?"
The man in the t-shirt looked at him then shook his head. "No. None of them had dark hair. Or glasses."
"Hmm. Is this the Dursley residence?" the policeman asked Harry.
"Y-yes." Harry was very confused now. What was going on?
"Harry. Harry Potter." He really didn't want to be related to the Dursleys now, whatever was going on.
"Doing some yard work for them? Are they home?"
The policeman nodded and went to the front door. He rang the bell, and Aunt Petunia answered the door. She shot a glare at Harry before turning to the policeman. Clearly she thought he had done something.
"Yes. Can I help you?" She smiled. Maybe she thought they would arrest him, Harry thought.
"PC Worthington, Mrs. Dursley. Is Dudley Dursley here?"
Petunia seemed surprised. "Why… yes, I think I heard him come in. I'll get him. Er… won't you come in?" The policeman and the other man entered and Petunia shut the door. Harry snuck along the wall and knelt under the window, which luckily was open.
He heard footsteps, then the policeman spoke. "Dudley Dursley?"
"Y-yes." Dudley sounded terrified. Harry wondered suddenly if he'd been caught beating someone up.
"Is this one of them?" The policeman asked again.
The man in the t-shirt answered. "Yes, he was the one who was doing the hitting, in fact."
"What? What's going on here?" That was Petunia, shrill and angry.
"About thirty minutes ago this gentleman came across a group of older boys beating up a younger boy. The group fled at his approach, but he got a good look at them. The younger boy stated that he knew one of his attackers, one Dudley Dursley of Number 4 Privet Drive."
"Nonsense! Dudley wouldn't harm a fly!" That was Mr. Dursley. Harry was grinning.
"I'm afraid we have two witnesses that say otherwise, sir. I'm going to have to ask your son to come to the station for questioning. You may come with us, of course."
There was a great deal of shouting, denials, and tears from the Dursleys, and calm but increasingly forceful words from the policeman. Finally when he threatened to put Dudley under arrest the Dursleys gave in, though they insisted on coming to the police station with them. Harry snuck back into the house as the argument drew to a close and crept upstairs. Much as he would have liked watching the whole drama play out, he didn't want to be around Uncle Vernon or Aunt Petunia right now. They were sure to find a way to take it out on him.
Harry was in the kitchen ten minutes later, making himself supper. He heard a series of ‘pops' behind him, and whirled, reaching for his wand. He sagged in relief as he recognized Mad Eye Moody, Arthur Weasley, Tonks, and Remus Lupin.
"All right, Harry? Sorry to startle you." Mr. Weasley smiled at him. "We're here to take you to the Burrow. How quickly can you be packed?"
Harry was startled. "But I thought you weren't coming for another week! Not that I'm complaining," he added hastily.
"Owls can be intercepted," growled Mad-Eye. "And we couldn't be sure when our diversion would come through anyway."
"Diversion?" Harry suddenly understood. "Then Dudley isn't really in trouble?" He couldn't keep a note of disappointment out of his voice, remembering the ‘garden award' ruse from last year.
Remus looked grim. "Oh, he's in trouble alright. We arranged for him to get caught in the act by a friend of Arthur's. Killed two birds with one stone. We'll tell you the rest when we get there – I don't know how long the police will keep them."
Harry hurried upstairs to pack, with some help from Mr. Weasley. Moody performed a Disillusionment Charm on him again, and they flew off, Tonks leading the way with the rest circling.
Harry found himself wondering if this was always how the Order did things – it seemed like an exact repeat of last year, though with fewer people.
By the time they arrived at the Burrow Harry was tired and cold from the long flight, but the smile on his face wasn't going anywhere. Dudley was in trouble, Harry was at the Burrow, and life was good.
He got another surprise when he walked into the kitchen, however. Sitting at the table with Ron and Ginny was a young boy he didn't know, and the man who had been with the police officer. He remembered just in time to avoid staring that Lupin had said a friend of Arthur's had caught Dudley.
"Harry Potter? I'm sorry for not saying hello earlier, but…" He shrugged. "David Rene. I believe your friend Ron has mentioned me? This is my younger brother, Roger."
"Thank you. I mean, I'm glad Dudley got in trouble, I mean because he deserves… um…" This wasn't coming out right. Harry was still trying to catch up.
"Quite all right Harry dear. We didn't like to hear about what he was doing either. Welcome." Mrs. Weasley gave him a motherly smile, and Harry relaxed.
It was extremely difficult to have a Quidditch scrimmage with only four people. It became harder still since Ron wanted to be a Keeper, Ginny a Chaser, Harry a Seeker, and Roger had never seen a full Quidditch game – much less played in one – and was still learning to fly. Still, it was good to just be in the air. After a hard day of drills, the four walked back to the Burrow, exhausted but happy.
Harry felt nothing but happiness as he sat down for dinner. He was pleasantly tired from a good day's flying, he had a Weasley dinner to look forward to, and tomorrow he would be going to Diagon Alley to get his school supplies. Initially the Weasleys hadn't wanted to let him go, but he'd pointed out the Aurors that now patrolled there, and that it was quite possible the Death Eaters thought he was still at Privet Drive. He also pleaded that he needed a chance at a normal life.
This last statement had had the most effect, turning Mrs. Weasley from a gentle opponent into a staunch supporter. He would be going with an escort, but he would be going, and Ginny, Ron, and Roger would be going with him.