Harry had suffered yet another restless night… his dreams had been disturbed with images of the events at the Ministry a few months before. In fact, he hadn't had a good night's sleep since that first night back from Hogwarts.
He knew that he must be waking up screaming during the night, but the Durselys never said anything about it in the mornings. Harry was positive this was more to do with their dislike of all things "abnormal" than with any concern for his health. Hoping this morning would be no different, he started to make an effort to get up.
The glare from the early morning sun streaming through the gap in his curtains made him squint, as he felt round for the familiar hard frames of his glasses. Instead his hand came to rest on what felt like a small curiously feathery ball. Harry soon realised this was not the case, however, when the ball bit him.
"OW!" he exclaimed, pulling his hand away in pain. Upon finally finding his glasses, he put them on and turned to see who this early morning attacker was.
Standing on his bedside table, hopping from one little leg to the other, and looking very pleased with himself was Pig.
After removing Ron's letter, he picked up Pig and opened Hedwig's cage to place him inside, and Hedwig shuffled over to make room. Harry suspected that Hedwig had come to like Ron's overactive little owl, though he would never voice this opinion to her; Harry liked his ears as they were thank you very much.
How are you? Are the Muggles treating you any better this year?
Can you write a bit more often, mate? Hermione's letters are driving me mad! She keeps asking what I think of her! Stuff like is she really too bossy? Do I think she is fun to be round? I mean If she wasn't fun to be round we would let her know wouldn't we?
So please give me somebody sane to write to will you?
Oh, and Ginny says hello and wants to know how you're doing?
Scribbled underneath Ron had added,
Sorry mate, I know you don't like to be hassled, but Ginerva was pointing her wand at me!
"She'll kill him!" thought Harry, once he had finished reading the letter for a second time. This new bit of information really was too good to pass up, and a large grin formed on his face, as he planned how to use it for the best effect.
Reaching the kitchen door, he stopped himself and took a few deep before entering the kitchen to ask his uncle if it would be all right to reply to Ron.
"What do you want to write to him now for? You're not trying to tell him anything, are you?"
"No, Uncle Vernon."
"Because he wrote to me."
"Less of your attitude boy, and you better be quick about it! I have to be in the office early today," replied his uncle. Who then begrudgingly removed the safe key from his pocket.
"Thank you, Uncle," and before his uncle could change his mind, he took the key from his uncles outstretched hand and got his writing things out of the safe, and sat down to write.
"Not before you make our breakfast, you stupid boy!"
Eventually, Harry's waiting was over and he cleared the Dursley's breakfast table, so that while his uncle was preparing to leave, Harry could quickly scribble his reply to Ron, before letting his uncle check it to make sure he was not "Telling him anything"
Good to hear from you.I can't write much as I have a lot to do, but tell your mum I'm ok, I know she will be worrying.
Hermione will be fine, you know what she's like. Though I would answer her questions carefully, you don't want to end up on the wrong end of a Hex!
Oh and tell Ginerva! to write to me herself, if she wants to know how I am, and not to hijack your letters.
After checking the letter for any nasty little lies, his uncle thrust it back at Harry, before adding, "Now send it before I change my mind, and don't even think of going out tonight. I think we need to explain the rules again."
After running upstairs to send Pig back with his reply, he returned to the kitchen and started on the list of chores his aunt handed him.
Finishing his jobs just before lunch, he decided to make a start on some of today's newspapers before going for a walk
Opening the local papers first, he started to skim the articles finding nothing much of interest, other than an interview with the pensioner whose house had blown up. He turned his attention to one of the national papers, which again had nothing of interest, although they had obviously picked up on the pensioner's story and had run a near exact copy of the original story apart from getting the town wrong.
Finding nothing in any of the other papers he was about to give up when something caught his eye, and he started flicking urgently through the papers. Finding what he was looking for, he spread the papers out in front of him, ignoring the tut of disgust his aunt gave him and started to read again.
When he looked though the papers again he spotted half a dozen reports of strange explosions. The fire brigade was putting it down to things like faulty gas cookers but it was one witnesses report detailing a faint green mist that made his mind up. Without stopping to tidy up the papers, he ran out of the house, slamming the door behind him. He ran for the only quick contact with the Wizarding world he could think of.
Reaching his destination, he knocked on the door. Getting no answer and his impatience growing, he knocked again, this time much louder. "Come on, come on!" he muttered, whilst jumping up and down to try and see through the window at the top of the door, "MRS. FIGG! MRS. FIGG! It's Harry! I need to tell you something!" Still getting no answer and starting to worry he moved to the front window and pressed his face against it to try to see in.
"AND WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?"
Harry looked up to see a girl of about his age, whose make up and dress sense reminded him of Lavender, standing on the doorstep of next door but one to Mrs. Figg's.
"I am looking for Mrs. Figg. Do you know where she is?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"I've known her for years, I was wondering if the was anything she needed anything doing."
"Years? I haven't seen you round before, so why should I believe you?" She now leaned back against her door and crossed her arms, smiling slightly.
"I go to boarding school, so I am only home in the summer." Harry was beginning to feel slightly uncomfortable under the gaze she was giving him.
"TIFFANY! ARE YOU COMING IN OR NOT?" somebody from inside shouted.
"Yes Dad, in a minute!" Rolling her eyes she returned her gaze to Harry. "The old bat's not due back until tonight. Her…" and here she used a word that Harry had not heard even Ron use, "cats have been trying to get in all day. Anyway, I've got to go in now. Maybe I will see you around?" And with that she winked at Harry and went inside.
Not entirely sure what to do now, Harry just sat on the wall in font of Mrs. Figg's house. He wasn't sure how long he sat there feeling deflated, but when the wall started to get uncomfortable, he got up and started walking towards the end of Wisteria Road and then on towards the park.
He really needed to let someone know what he had found out, but he knew he would never be allowed to write. Anyway, he had no intention of letting his uncle know anything, he would just have to try and sneak out tonight. He spent rest the afternoon just wandering round the park thinking about his friends, and what they were up to. He wondered whether they knew anything they were not being allowed to tell him and this brought back some of the anger he had felt last year, and he spent the next hour stomping back and forth muttering about not being trusted before he calmed down and started to head back to Privet Drive.
On his way out of the park he walked past a young boy, who was sat near one of the statues that were dotted around the park, when he suddenly had an idea, and walked over and spoke to him for a few minutes. As he walked away, he slipped a piece of paper deep into his pocket, and hoped he could slip it onto Hedwig without his uncle noticing.
He was about to take the passage that led though to Privet Drive, when he spotted his cousin. Harry noticed Piers wasn't there, although Dudley was talking to that girl from earlier and he looked upset about something, unlike the girl, who when she saw Harry smiled and gave him a little wave. Not wanting to attract any more attention from her or Dudley, who was turning round to see who she was waving at, he quickly nipped into the passage and set off running, not stopping until the door of number 4 closed behind him.
Later as, Harry was serving up tea, there was a slam from the front door and the THUD, THUD, THUD as Dudley ran up the stairs. His aunt, looking worried, shouted after him to, "Come and eat," but the only reply she got was, "Not hungry," so she returned to the table and picked at her tea, while all the whilst constantly looking towards the stairs.
"Let him be, Petunia. He's probably had an argument with one of his girlfriends."
Turning his attention to Harry, his uncle said, "Our talk will have to wait, boy. I have to work on a contract, and I do not want disturbing. Is that clear?"
"Yes, Uncle Vernon," said Harry. He left the kitchen to go up to his room, but not before he heard, his uncle shout after him.
"If this comes through Petunia, dear, we will be able to take Dudley on that holiday we talked about."
Reaching his room, and lying down on his bed, Harry knew he was meant to be upset that they would not take them on holiday, but just could not bring himself to care. No holiday could compare with staying at The Burrow with Ron and Ginny anyway. He spent a pleasant hour relaxing on his bed and daydreaming of summer days at the Burrow -- ones in which prophecies and Voldemort did not exist.
He dreamt he was sat in The Burrow's lounge playing a game of Wizard Chess with Ron when there was a knock at the door.
"Ginny get that will you? Me and Harry are playing," said Ron lazily.
"Get it yourself, you lazy git!" Ginny snapped.
"MUM! Ginny won't get…"
"BOY! I SAID I DID NOT WANT DISTURBING! ANSWER THIS RUDDY DOOR NOW OR SO HELP ME...."
Snapping back from his daydream Harry bolted down the stairs before who ever was at the door, knocked again.
KNOC.... Harry ripped the door open and stared at the person beyond.
A/N: Once again many thanks go out to my beta's, Imogen, Pooca and LadyChi.
It's been *cough* years since I was at school, and have had plenty of time to swap any good grammatical habits I had for bad ones. And they hardly ever complain, sweet nice people that they are. J LOL! We'll forgive you, just this once. ;)