This chapter is dedicated to Orca, who was the first person ever
to read my Harry Potter fan fiction. Your kind comments and your
stories have been an inspiration to me.
Harry stared up at the stars, looking through the open window from
the spot where he lay on the floor in his darkened room. He had let
Hedwig out to hunt and stretch her wings for a while. At least Hedwig
was benefiting from the long talk Mr. Weasley and Mad-Eye Moody had had
with his uncle, even if he wasn't.
Not that he couldn't, he mused.
His door was no longer locked, and he was free to come and go as he
pleased. He could read the paper and watch the telly, but he didn't
really want to be around his uncle, aunt, or cousin. There was just no
point to it. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia were still too angry about
last summer's events to talk to him, and Dudley had become so scared of
him that he absolutely refused to come near. As soon as Harry would
enter a room, everyone else would get up and leave. It had been that
way ever since he had returned from Hogwarts several days ago.
aside from doing chores, watching the news, and taking long walks in
the daytime, he was content to stay in his room studying, doing
homework, or polishing his Firebolt. What he really wanted was to go to
the Burrow, but he was still waiting for permission from Professor
Dumbledore to do that.
Harry paused at the thought of
Dumbledore and wondered if he had told Mr. and Mrs. Weasley about the
prophecy. He also wondered if Dumbledore or Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had
told Ron and Hermione. Thinking about his two best friends, Harry
realised that he didn't want Ginny, Luna, and Neville left out in the
cold, either. He pondered the idea of sending them a letter for a
moment. Surely Dumbledore would have informed them by now, he thought.
Then he realised that writing the letter would give him something to
do, which would get his mind off Sirius, even if only for a little
A tear escaped Harry's eye as he remembered his
godfather. All of Harry's hopes for having a home away from the
Dursleys had been dashed to pieces in an instant. He cringed inwardly,
thinking the worry selfish, but he couldn't avoid facing it. He missed
his godfather desperately and yearned to be close to him, if only for
one last time.
Harry got up and turned on the lamp on his
desk, anxious to start work on the letter. Not seeing any blank
parchment on his desk, he went over to his trunk and rummaged through
it until he found the longest blank parchment of the lot. He pulled out
a quill and a bottle of ink and settled back on the floor, wondering
how he was going to put this all into words. He mused for a while, and
then dipped his quill into the ink and began to write.
soft, scratching sound of quill on parchment filled his room for the
next several hours. He wrote a record of everything that had happened,
from his possession by Voldemort at the Fountain of Magical Brethren,
to his conversation with Dumbledore in the headmaster's office, and
finally, Trelawney's prophecy.
A shadow of smile came across
Harry's face as he realised he was nearly finished. Harry reminded Ron
once again that he did not want to keep him in the dark, hoping that
Ron would read between the lines and remember not to do that ever
again. He paused for a moment and then included a request that Ron tell
his parents about the prophecy, and to pass the letter on to Hermione,
Ginny, and Luna. After allowing the ink to dry, he rolled the letter up
and left it on his desk to await delivery by Hedwig.
the time until her return, Harry grabbed another piece of parchment out
of his trunk and began to write a similar letter to Neville. This
letter would not include all the details of his possession and a few
other things which Harry felt Neville didn't need to know. He did feel
that Neville needed -- and had a right -- to know about the prophecy,
however, and did his best to include all the details.
another hour of writing, Harry heard the soft whisper of wings. He
looked up to see Hedwig perched on the windowsill. She had a mouse in
her beak and was eyeing her cage a bit sleepily. As Hedwig took wing
again and flew to her cage, Harry saw the bright colours of a sunrise
beginning to paint the sky. His eyes followed her as she alighted on
her cage door and then jumped in. He grimaced a bit as he watched her
eat. When she finished her mouse, Harry stood up and walked over to his
desk. He picked up the first parchment, took it over to her cage, and
tied it to her leg. He smiled guiltily as he noticed the owl's sleepy
glare. "Sorry, Hedwig, but I need you to take this to Ron as quickly as
possible. He's at the Burrow." After eyeing him for a moment more,
Hedwig hopped onto the cage door and then flew out the window into the
brightening morning sky.
Harry walked over to the window and
watched her fly away, hoping that Voldemort would not try to intercept
her. He remained there until Hedwig at last disappeared from view, lost
in the vastness of the horizon. Remembering that he needed to finish
Neville's letter, Harry settled himself back onto the floor, picked up
his quill and began writing again.
Hedwig swooped noiselessly through Ron's open window, wheeled about and landed on the chest of a still-sleeping Ron.
screamed Ron, waking as he felt the sharp talons on his chest.
"Gerroff!" He shoved the offending bird off his chest, sat up and
looked around his room, wondering what had awakened him. In a moment,
he noticed the glare that Harry's owl was giving him from the footboard
of his bed. "Sorry, Hedwig," he said. He yawned and stretched and
blinked his eyes against the daylight streaming in from his window.
another yawn, Ron got up and took the scroll off Hedwig's leg. He
immediately sat back down on the bed and opened the letter. A loud
ruffling noise and some falling feathers distracted him as he began to
read. Looking back at the owl, Ron noticed that Hedwig continued to
glare at him angrily. Muttering epithets about obnoxious owls under his
breath, he got up and pulled an owl treat out of Pigwidgeon's cage to
give to her. Hedwig took the treat without so much as a nod of thanks
and flew out the window in a majestic blur of snowy white feathers. Ron
looked at Pigwidgeon and just shook his head.
Ron sat back
down on his bed, and unrolled the scroll once again. "Blimey," he
muttered, noticing the length of Harry's letter. Hoping nothing was
wrong, he began to read. He couldn't imagine what could have possessed
Harry to write such a long letter, although by the time he was done, he
"Bloody hell," he commented in a voice that was both
awed and fearful. "Poor Harry," he muttered under his breath, as he
stared at the parchment with a scowl on his face, wondering what to do
next. After a moment of thought, he decided he needed to speak with his
mum and dad about it. Checking his clock, he noticed that it was almost
time for his father to leave for work. He jumped off his bed, hurried
out of his room, and ran down the staircase.
"Oof," Ron said as he ran into Ginny at the bottom of the second flight of stairs.
where you're going!" yelled Ginny from the spot on the floor where Ron
had knocked her down. She had obviously just come from the shower and
was busily wrapping her towel back around herself.
Ginny," muttered Ron absentmindedly. "Oh, here," he continued as he
dropped the parchment on top of his sister. "Harry asked me to pass
this on to you. I've got to see Dad before he goes." He quickly turned
away from Ginny and headed down the stairs.
"Stupid git," said
Ginny, upset that Ron hadn't helped her up from the floor. She sat up
slowly, still hurting from her impact with the floor, and saw the
parchment Ron had dropped to her. Ginny immediately recognised Harry's
writing and noticed that the letter was quite long, perhaps the longest
parchment she had ever seen him write. Her brows knitted together in
concern. Anything that caused Harry to write a letter that long had to
be bad. She rolled the parchment back up and headed into her bedroom,
determined to read the letter as soon as possible.
aside her towel and changed quickly into a pair of Muggle-style jeans
and a loose-fitting blouse, her usual uniform for working in the
garden. She sat cross-legged on the floor at the foot of her bed, her
back propped up against the footboard corner, and unrolled the
There are some
things I need to tell you about that happened at the end of term and I
haven't done that yet. I don't want you and your family and Hermione to
be in the dark like I was last summer. It's not a good place to be...
frowned as she read Harry's comment about being kept in the dark. She
cringed when she read about how Dumbledore had distanced himself from
Harry due to worries that Voldemort would try to take over the young
wizard's mind. By the time she reached the part where Voldemort had
been thrown from Harry's mind when he thought of being with his
godfather again, she was in tears.
She was stunned as she read
Harry's description of the prophecy. As she wondered what Dumbledore
meant by the power that Harry had, she realised that it was love: the
very thing which had been pushed out of Harry's mind by his frustration
with his situation, his friends, and his mentor. By isolating Harry at
such a traumatic time in his life, Dumbledore had played right into
Voldemort's hands. A sharp intake of air passed through Ginny's lips as
she concluded this. She sat for a while in silence with the parchment
still open on her lap, wondering what to do.
In a few minutes,
the silence was broken as the door to her room swung open and Ron
quickly walked in and snatched the parchment out of her lap.
"Haven't you heard of knocking?" Ginny yelled at the form of her retreating brother.
Gin," Ron said breathlessly. "Dad wanted to see the letter before he
left for work," he added, as he ran down the hall to the stairs.
huffed at him, but didn't move from her spot on the floor. She was too
preoccupied with Harry's predicament. Love was what would keep
Voldemort out of his mind, but where was Harry going to get it from?
Merlin knows it was in short enough supply last year, she thought, as
she remembered Harry's angry and frustrated state. Being stuck with the
Dursleys over the summer was likely just going to make him angrier and
Dumbledore didn't seem to be much help, either, what with sending him
straight back to Privet Drive after all that had happened.
sighed, and then a thought hit her like a wave. Harry needed to be in
love. He needed something beyond a crush or an infatuation. Definitely
not Cho, she thought, wrinkling her nose in disgust. She wistfully
thought about being the object of Harry's love herself, as her
childhood crush returned in full force.
"No," she muttered
quietly; she didn't want to go through that again. She put the idea out
of her mind, but a tiny bit of her worried what her subconscious would
do with this information. She had never truly gotten over her crush;
she had resigned herself to the fact that she was just Ron's little
sister and that Harry would never see her in any other light. His
forgetting about her possession by Tom Riddle merely confirmed what she
had already suspected.
She sighed again as she got up from the
floor and made a mental note to discuss her theory with Hermione when
she came to the Burrow in a couple of weeks. Ginny walked over to the
window and looked out, seeing that it was a perfectly cloudless, warm
summer day. Perfect weather for gardening. As she peered out over the
garden, she wondered what Harry was doing back at number four, Privet
"Argh!" Harry screamed
as he awoke from his nightmare, feeling claws gripping his chest. He
shook his head and opened his eyes, but he continued to feel the claws.
As he came to his senses, he saw Hedwig perched on his chest, her large
yellow eyes gazing into his.
He laughed to himself. "Paying me
back for this morning, eh?" he muttered sleepily. Hedwig replied with a
dignified hoot. He placed his hand up to Hedwig's lower breast and
pushed a bit, which clued her to jump onto his arm. Holding Hedwig
thus, Harry raised himself up and looked for Neville's parchment. If
Hedwig felt good enough to do this to him, he could at least reward her
by handing another job off to her. He spied the parchment on his desk
and reached for it. "Hedwig, take this to Neville for me, would you?"
asked Harry. Hedwig hooted in protest. "Oh, all right, you can wait
until tonight," he said as he stretched and yawned. "Off with you,
then," he said, and Hedwig flew straightaway to her cage.
got up and walked to the window, looking out into the glorious blue
sky. It was still reasonably early in the morning, but after that
nightmare he didn't want to go back to sleep. Anything was better than
watching his godfather die again. Harry sighed as he looked out the
window. He longed for someone to talk to and absentmindedly wished
Ginny were with him, along with a couple of chocolate Easter eggs. Oh
well, thought Harry, as he looked out the window and wondered what
Ginny was up to.
He turned away from the window after a moment
and decided that he might as well get the yard work done before he
showered and changed. Mr. Weasley and Mad-Eye Moody's little talk with
his uncle has ensured that Harry was no longer forced to do chores
anymore, but he had surprised his aunt and uncle by keeping to the
usual schedule. At first he had done it out of boredom and habit. Then
he found that the work got his mind off his problems, and there was
definitely something to be said for anything which could do that. As a
result, he continued with what he used to think of as a punishing
schedule of chores, only now he took more care with everything he did
since he was no longer doing it for his aunt and uncle. He was doing it
for himself. He pulled a pair of ratty shoes on and tied the laces.
After a quick look at the now-sleeping form of Hedwig, he got up and
quietly left his room.
As he turned from shutting his door, he
spied Dudley's large form scampering into his room clutching an armful
of breakfast. For some reason Aunt Petunia wasn't cooking anymore, so
Dudley had taken to raiding the larder every morning and bringing the
food to his room, where Harry presumed he either watched the telly or
played video games all day.
The bolts clicked into place as
his cousin slammed the door shut. Harry paused as he walked past
Dudley's door. He thought about tormenting his cousin for a moment, but
dismissed the idea from his mind. He couldn't blame Dudley for wanting
to stay away from him. Last summer they had both come within a hair's
breadth of having their souls sucked out of their bodies by Dementors,
entities Dudley couldn't even see, much less imagine. Dudley's only
offence was that he had been in the same general vicinity as Harry
Potter. Harry shook his head as he remembered the incident and decided
it was probably safer for Dudley this way. It definitely made Harry's
life more tolerable.
Having decided against tormenting Dudley
-- a good deed for which Harry was certain his uncle would never reward
him -- he made his way down the stairs to the kitchen. As he entered,
his Uncle Vernon lowered the paper and glared at him.
off as usual, I see," muttered Vernon as he turned his eyes back to the
paper. "Now I assume you'll want your aunt to make breakfast for you."
I thought I would wait until after I finished the yard work before
showering and changing. As for breakfast, I can make that myself," he
responded, and pulled out some eggs and bacon from the refrigerator.
had expected some form of sarcastic retort from his uncle. Not hearing
one, he looked at his uncle, who seemed surprised. When he saw Harry
looking at him, Uncle Vernon quickly buried his face back into the
Harry grabbed some bread out of the pantry and
dropped it into the toaster. As he looked around the kitchen, he
noticed something else amiss. "Where's Aunt Petunia?" Harry asked,
noticing that she had been keeping a low profile ever since his return
Uncle Vernon cleared his throat noisily. "She's
having a lie-in. She's a bit sick." He hadn't even bothered to look up
from the paper.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" asked Harry before he had time to think about what he was saying.
"Yes, there is," snapped Uncle Vernon as he slammed the paper down on the tabletop. "You can leave her alone."
winced as he watched his uncle rise from the table. He noticed Uncle
Vernon was working hard at keeping his tongue in check. In a moment,
his uncle was out of the kitchen. In another moment, he was out of the
house, finally on his way to work.
Harry sighed and wondered
why he had even bothered to ask. He grabbed the slices of toast and
dropped them on a plate. He spread some jam on them and ate them while
cooking the eggs and bacon. No need to be formal about things, he
thought, especially when nobody wanted anything to do with him. That
was the way it had been every day this summer so far: Dudley hiding
from him, Uncle Vernon avoiding him, and Aunt Petunia lying in. In the
evenings, Uncle Vernon and Dudley would head out after Harry went to
his room. He assumed they were going out to eat, since Aunt Petunia no
longer cooked. He shook his head in frustration and turned his
attention back to breakfast. After the eggs and bacon had cooked, Harry
ate them straight out of the pan; there would be less for him to wash
With the warm food filling his stomach, Harry washed
the dishes quickly. He thought about his aunt, wondering what could
cause her to be confined to her bed since his arrival from Hogwarts. He
felt a bit guilty about not having checked in on her. Knowing his aunt
would rot before Dudley would lift a finger to help her, Harry went up
to her bedroom and gingerly knocked on the closed door.
"Who is it?" answered Petunia sweetly.
me," replied Harry nervously as he opened the door a bit and looked in.
He saw his aunt sitting up on a large, frilly bed. Her face appeared
taut and nervous, not that that was in and of itself unusual, but Harry
thought he also saw something else in her eyes. Something he thought
resembled a look of fear.
"Oh, it's you," she said with obvious disappointment in her voice. "Well, what do you want? Breakfast, I suppose."
already had breakfast. Actually, I just wanted to see if there was
anything I could do for you," Harry said quietly, mentally kicking
himself for having bothered with his aunt.
"Yes, there is," replied Petunia coldly. "I need you to leave me alone."
ma'am," replied Harry, thinking that he would have no problems
fulfilling her request. He pulled back from the doorway and quickly
closed the door. As he heard the door click shut, he shook his head,
regretting having even tried.
He spent the remainder of the
day cutting the grass, trimming the hedges and weeding the flowerbeds,
stopping only for a short lunch. He finished early enough to allow him
to eat a quick supper and clean up before his uncle could get home.
he heard his uncle's car pull into the drive, he went back upstairs and
settled down in his room. He pulled his Potions textbook out of his
trunk and sat down on the floor to begin working on the summer homework
Snape had assigned them. He remembered Professor McGonagall's promise
to help him become an Auror, and he did not want to disappoint her. As
Harry opened the book and began reading, his thoughts started to drift.
wondered what he was going to do. There were questions he needed
answered, and he wasn't sure if he trusted Dumbledore to answer them.
He needed to know why the Cruciatus Curse he had thrown at Bellatrix
Lestrange had not worked. He also needed to restart his Occlumency
training. At this point, Harry realised that he needed to talk to
someone; the question was, who?
As he pondered the question,
he evaluated his options. He didn't think Professor Lupin or Professor
McGonagall would know enough about the Dark Arts to be able to help
him. The person he really wanted to talk to, Barty Crouch, Jr., was
currently sitting in a jail cell in Azkaban sans soul. Harry
thought for a moment about Mad-Eye Moody and wondered how he would
react if questioned about using the Dark Arts. Given his reputation,
probably not at all well, concluded Harry.
Of all the people
he could talk to about the Dark Arts, that left only Professor Snape.
Harry thought about Snape for a moment, wondering whether or not he
could talk to him. His anger at Snape had lessened considerably since
his tirade in Dumbledore's office, after he realised everything that
Snape had done to help when he and his friends had mistakenly gone
after Sirius in the Ministry of Magic. Snape could have done nothing,
yet he had come through exactly as a member of the Order of the Phoenix
should have. Snape's warning to Dumbledore had saved not only Harry's
life, but the lives of his friends as well.
Harry sighed as he
realised once again the mistake he had made by looking into the
Pensieve in Snape's office. If he wanted to talk to Snape, he would
have to apologise for that. Thinking about the memory of Snape being
publicly ridiculed, he couldn't believe what a git his father had been.
It had been no wonder that Snape wanted to conceal what Harry's father
had done to him.
Harry felt a small amount of empathy for his
Potions Master -- he knew well how it felt to be ridiculed. Dudley had
made sure of that. He shook his head to clear his thoughts. He would
deal with Snape when he got back to Hogwarts. There was no sense in
worrying about it now, he thought as he turned back to his studies.
a few more hours of studying, Harry suddenly became aware of a
hyperactive ball of feathers flying around his head. When he looked up,
his suspicions were confirmed: Ron's owl, Pigwidgeon, was flying madly
around the room. Harry put his arm out for Pigwidgeon to land on, but
the tiny owl just continued to flutter around Harry's head, hooting
nervously. Seeing this wasn't working, Harry reached out to grab
Pigwidgeon, much like he would a Snitch. After a few tries, he finally
caught him and pulled the parchment off his leg. Rising from the floor,
he put the little owl in Hedwig's cage so he could get some water and
some food. He then unrolled the parchment, anxious to see what Ron had
your letter on to Mum, Dad, and Ginny just like you asked. Hermione is
due here in a few weeks. I'll be sure to give it to her as soon as she
arrives. Luna will take a bit longer. She and her dad have gone off to
Scandinavia to hunt for that short-billed ack or whatever it is. They
won't be back until the end of the summer.
for telling me everything, and don't worry, I don't care what
Dumbledore says, there is no way I will ever keep you in the dark like
that ever again. That was a rotten deal. Sorry about that.
the way, Mum had kittens when she read your letter. I haven't heard her
scream so much since before Fred and George left. She was rather upset
with Dumbledore. She's sent him an owl demanding that he allow you to
come for the rest of the summer. We should know in a day or two when
you can come over.
Dad was bloody upset about
the letter, too. He said he was going to discuss it with Shacklebolt
and Tonks as soon as he got to work, and he also mentioned something
about owling Moody. He looked really worried when he left.
Anyway, keep your chin up. Don't let those stupid Muggles get you down. I'll write back as soon as I know something.
tried to smile as he finished reading the letter, but it just wasn't in
him. He felt bad about making Ron's parents worry so much, but then
again, they had put their necks on the line just by being his friends
and he felt they needed to know about this.
He tossed the
scroll into his opened trunk and decided he had better get some sleep.
He took off his shirt and trousers and crawled underneath the covers.
He watched Pigwidgeon fly out of his room into the night, and realised
that he had left his glasses on. He pulled them off and set them on the
bedside table. Before he knew it, he was asleep.