A/N: I think I ought to preface the start of this tale by explaining where it comes from and why I wrote it. Back during the "Long Summer" between Harry's fourth and fifth years, I began to write a story called "Phoenix Reborn" and posting it on GryffindorTower. Well, I was too slow to finish it before JKR released OotP and with that book a lot of things changed. A few specifics were that Sirius was now gone, Harry had developed a bit of a temper (even if it was, as I believe, mostly induced by Voldemort's using the Link with Harry and sending him some of his own anger either deliberately or inadvertently), and Ginny had done a complete 180 from how I envisioned her. I, like many fanfic writers, saw Ginny as a sort of paragon of pure love. She knew she loved Harry and that they were destined to be together. The only problem was getting Harry to realize this. Ginny was confident and strong in her love, if occasionally not in herself. This was how I was writing her in PR. Now we know that this is not the case. Ginny has moved beyond her crush on The Boy Who Lived and is growing into her own person. I felt it would be wrong to continue to treat her in a way that was so blatantly against JKR's vision. But I was having problems dealing with this new Ginny, adapting to her so to speak. So, I envisioned this tale and called it Adaptations for obvious reasons. It was originally supposed to be just three or for parts, enough to give me a handle on Ginny and figure out what to do about Sirius, but, as these things have a tendency to do, it grew of its own volition into something that will take at least a dozen, if not a couple more, chapters to complete.
Since I started "Adaptations", the founding feathers took the ashes of GT and built this marvelous site. I signed up and began to enjoy all my favorite writers again. However, "Adaptations" was not your typical H/G fic, in fact it hadn't become H/G at all, and so I didn't think it was what PS was looking for. I began to post it at Fiction Alley and on my own yahoo group (The Professor's Guild, hint hint, plug, plug). Sherry, one of the PS FF, read it there and recognized me from GT. She dropped me a note and asked if I was the idiot who was writing "Phoenix Reborn" and had such a hard time spelling pheonix (see?). We exchanged a few notes and since this story, although it is not a typical H/G, is the gateway to PR which is H/G, she asked if I would like to see it posted here. I was, needless to say, thrilled. Since my old GT beta, Ahmie, is rather occupied (if you're reading this Ahmie, give your belly a pat and say hello from me) the lovely and wise Kalarien has volunteered for the odious task of betaing this mind-bent engineer's work.
Anyways, I am drifting a bit, here is my little tale and I hope you enjoy it. As always, your comments and criticism are always welcome. If I never hear how my writing works from those who read it, how can I ever hope to improve?
Beta's note: Ha, didn't think you were going to get your author's note betaed, did you? Well, as lovely and wise as I might be, I must set the record straight on this "mind-bent engineer's work" and make it known that it was my pleasure to read, not the torture that BJ has made it out to be. After all, if the job was "odious," I wouldn't be doing it. So there.
The drive from King's Cross to Little Whinging passed in complete silence. Not a single word was spoken by anyone, and that suited Harry Potter just fine. He needed to think. So much had happened this last year that Harry no longer understood where he was. Obviously, he was sitting in the back seat of his Uncle Vernon's expensive imported sedan, next to a quite intimidated Dudley, but where did he stand in the real scheme of things? Was he merely a pawn to be played at fate's whim? Was his future already laid out and defined by some prophesy he knew nothing of until a few days ago? Was he the ordained savior of the Wizarding World? Harry snorted at this last thought and beside him Dudley jerked away, trying, if that was at all possible, to get even further away from Harry than he already was. Harry didn't even bother to smile; he had too many other things on his mind.
Eventually, the car pulled into the driveway of Number 4 Privet Drive, and Vernon stopped the engine and got out. The boot popped open at a push of a button on Uncle Vernon's key fob as he unlocked the front door of the house and went inside. Harry looked at his large and rather heavy trunk as well as the empty cage that would hold Hedwig when she arrived - Harry thought it would be safer for her to fly to Little Whinging rather than ride in the car with the Dursleys. He thought for a moment of asking Dudley to give him a hand then he caught sight of his beefy cousin disappearing around the corner of the house and out of sight. No help from there, he reckoned.
With nothing else for it, Harry grabbed the handles of his trunk and began to heave it out by himself. He was shocked when it popped right out and hovered at his side, as light as a feather.
"Thought you could do with a bit of a hand," a gravelly voice growled in his ear and Harry realized that his minders were already back on duty.
With a grin and a murmured "Thanks", Harry guided his trunk into the house and up the stairs to the smallest bedroom. The room was just as cramped as Harry remembered, with the dusty, closed-in smell of a room not often used. The first thing Harry did was to open the window wide so that Hedwig could easily fly in when she arrived. Placing the empty cage on top of the small desk, Harry opened his trunk to unpack. His textbooks he also put on the desk temporarily; he would set them back in the trunk once it was empty. His cauldron, likewise, was set aside for the moment. Harry pulled his socks and pants from inside the cauldron and put them away.
Harry opened the doors to his wardrobe, and then reached into his trunk to pull out his bundle of school robes. He hissed as a sharp pain shot across his palm. Swearing softly under his breath, Harry pulled his hand back and looked at it. A jagged cut was torn diagonally across his palm and blood was dripping down to spatter on the wooden floor. A strange tingling sensation was beginning in his hand, as if it was going numb. Harry quickly wrapped a handkerchief around his palm to stem the blood and looked back into his trunk. The frame of the mirror that had been Sirius' last gift to him sat on top of the pile of robes, surrounded by shards of shattered glass. One particularly jagged piece had traces of blood along one edge. Harry reasoned that he must have cut himself on this as he reached for the robes.
The tingling feeling began to creep up his arm as Harry went into the bath to wash the cut and see about bandaging it. It stung fiercely as he ran water over it to clean away any dirt. Squinting close, Harry carefully checked that no stray bits of glass remained and wrapped his makeshift bandage back into place. The cut was too long and deep to just keep covered; it needed to be looked at if it was going to heal properly. Harry was dreading the idea of asking his relatives to take him to see a doctor when a thought struck him. As long as he was going to be stuck with babyminders, why not make use of them? Going back down the stairs and out the front door, Harry approached his uncle's car, sat on the boot and waited.
After a minute, Harry whispered, "Professor Moody? Can you hear me?"
"Aye, I'm right here, boy, and cut the ‘Professor' nonsense. I never taught you anything."
"What should I call you then?" Harry asked the empty air around him.
"Nothin', you're not supposed to known I'm here at all. But, if ye have to talk, I guess calling me ‘Mad-Eye' is as good as anything. Now what's the problem?"
"I cut my hand on some broken glass. I'd rather not bother my uncle to take me to a Muggle clinic but I think it needs more than a bandage." Harry removed his handkerchief and showed his still bleeding palm to the air in front of him.
"Only home for five minutes and already you've done a right job of buggering yourself up. All right, now hold still." Harry felt his hand grabbed roughly and twisted to a slightly painful angle as Moody examined the cut. "Well, if it's this or sending ye off for some Muggle quack to sew together like a torn pair o'pants, I reckon there's no choice for it. The way you lead your life, boy, you really ought to learn how to do this for yourself." Harry watched as the cut on his hand stopped bleeding and the skin closed up again, leaving nothing but a faint line behind. "There," Moody growled, "as good as new."
"Thanks, Mad-Eye," Harry said. "I better be getting back inside."
If Harry was expecting an answer, he was disappointed. He got off the car and returned to the house to finish his unpacking before going to bed, all the while flexing his newly repaired hand to clear away the last of the numbness.
The next morning broke bright and clear. Harry was awakened by a soft hooting from Hedwig, who now sat on top of her cage looking intently at Harry as he rubbed sleep from his eyes and fumbled for his glasses.
"Welcome home, girl," Harry said. At the bird's baleful glare, he continued, "And don't look at me like that. I don't like it any more than you do but I guess we're both stuck with it, at least for two more summers." Harry went into the bath and filled Hedwig's dish with water. Then he dug in his desk drawer for a couple of owl treats. "At least this year, you won't be locked in your cage all summer. Wish I could say the same for myself."
After caring for his owl, Harry tramped down the step