Disclaimer: This is the first book of a trilogy Everything but the plot and a few characters are J. K. Rowling's, and this story never was, is not, and never will be intended to infringe on any copyrights, trademarks, or other legal declarations of ownership held by anyone anywhere. This and the following novels ares being written merely for the amusement of those who just know that Harry and Ginny are going to wind up together! This is the prequel to Harry Potter and the Philtre of Promise andHarry Potter and the Legacy of EvilThe author wishes to thank Ms. Rowling for creating Harry Potter’s wonderful world, and not objecting when fan fiction writers like himself play in it.
Harry stared at the longer blades of grass that grew under the hedgerow that marked the border of number four, Privet Drive, and took a vicious pleasure in imagining that each one was Bellatrix Lestrange as he cut them to an even height. The loss of his godfather still weighed heavily on his heart, and the imagined revenge against his killer made the boy who lived feel marginally better. Even in the oppressive July heat, he found that hard work—basically mindless physical labour--was the best way to keep his grief at bay. Too much time to think about it and he would find tears streaming down his face and the feeling of a large lump of lead in his chest.
He slashed at another clump of blades, and the cousin of his godfather fell headless to the ground, never to bother good folk again. It had been Voldemort who had saved her from returning to Azkaban Prison with the other captured Death Eaters, though from some of the things she screamed before he took her, it seemed that she would suffer at least a bit at the Dark Lord’s hand. Harry’s smile was more of a grimace as he hoped that her suffering was quite painful.
“You really should not dwell on something like that, Harry. Revenge, though temporarily sweet, can leave a very bad taste in your mouth.” Harry looked up to find Mrs Figg standing on the sidewalk, a net bag filled with tins of cat food in one hand. “That was what you were thinking just then, was it not?”
“Hello, Mrs Figg,” mumbled Harry, his heart not really wanting company at the moment. “I take it the Order is still keeping an eye on me?”
“Even the Ministry of Magic has had to admit that You-Know-Who has returned.” The elderly Squib gave a small shudder and looked around quickly. “You are a target, after all, and we don’t want anything happening to you.”
“I know, I know… Better safe than sorry, keep a watchful eye, all that rubbish. If it is that important, why won’t Dumbledore let me go to The Burrow, so I can at least be with friends? Even with Professor Lupin, Tonks, Moody and Shacklebolt dropping in every few days, the Dursleys are a miserable lot to put up with,” Harry complained.
“I know, dear. That is why I am here--I have a message from Albus for you.” Mrs Figg gave a brief smile as she reached into her net bag and extracted a folded sheet of parchment.
Harry took the message and unfolded it. There, in the usual green ink that heralded a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was the ornate script of Professor Dumbledore.
Your stay with the Dursleys is at an end as of 15 July, when Kingsley Shacklebolt will arrive to escort you to The Burrow for the rest of the summer holidays. Please be packed and ready to depart at eight o’clock of that morning. I shall be visiting you several times thereafter to continue your lessons on Occlumency, and to begin Legilimency as an additional subject of study before term commences at Hogwarts.
“I take it that Albus’ letter contains good news?” asked Mrs Figg, noting the slight smile on Harry’s face.
“Yes, Mrs Figg. I will be leaving to spend the rest of the summer with the Weasleys in two days,” replied Harry.
“That’s nice, though I will miss having to keep an eye on you--keeping busy with that is much more exciting than herding cats.”
Harry grinned as Mrs Figg winked at him. “I wouldn’t worry too much--I’ll be back here at least a short while next year, and for at least a day every year after that, if I understood Professor Dumbledore’s explanation.”
“I would say that is nice, but I know the Dursleys all too well. Makes me wish I was not a squib so I could give them the what for they deserve!” Mrs Figg cast a baleful eye at the house. “Especially that overgrown, vicious bully of a son of theirs. I would cast a spell that would make him so clumsy that if he tried to hit another child, he would hit himself instead!”
Harry laughed at the mental image. “I think I will keep that in mind for when I am able to use magic freely. Merlin knows, he deserves it.”
“You do that, Harry, you do that,” chuckled Mrs Figg. “Stop by to say good-bye before you leave—I will have a plate of chocolate biscuits waiting.” With that, the elderly woman continued down the street.
Harry took his time in packing, folding everything neatly so it would all fit in his trunk. He had gathered the frame and shards of mirror –- the result of his breaking the small looking-glass his godfather had given him -- into an old cigar box he had taken from his uncle, wondering if he could repair it when he was able to do magic freely again. Is the other mirror was still at 12 Grimmauld Place, and if so, can I find it? With Bellatrix Lestrange still at large, is Sirius’ old home still a secure place for the Order? He still had many questions for Professor Dumbledore, and this time, he would persist until he got some answers.
When he had told the Dursleys he was leaving for the rest of the summer, his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had exchanged a look that plainly revealed they would be happy to see him go. That was to be expected, particularly since the members of the Order of the Phoenix had taken to popping in unexpectedly, trying to catch the Dursleys mistreating Harry. Since the first time they found Dudley trying to use Harry for a punching bag, they had made it impossible for the overgrown, overweight boy to even threaten to do Harry--or anyone else--any harm without transforming into a pig for several hours. Because of that, they never found anything amiss other than a severely disturbed family unit given to locking themselves in the loo whenever they appeared. Harry had even had a bit of his own revenge by asking his aunt and uncle when they’d be having pork chops or ham again while within Dudley’s range of hearing.
As he placed the last of his neatly folded robes in the trunk, there was the loud crack that heralded someone having Apparated into the room. Looking up, he saw Tonks’ reflection in the mirror, this time with dark purple hair to match the shirt and long skirt she was wearing beneath her robes.
“Wotcher, ‘arry--gettin' packed for th’ move, are you?”
“That is correct, Tonks--and it is about time, too,” he grinned as the sound of rushing feet and the slamming of a door told him that the Dursleys were once more huddled in the bathroom. “I know I have to return here at least once a year, but a single day is more than enough. I cannot wait to see the Weasleys again.”
“Uh-huh,” grunted Tonks as she sat down on his bed. “Now, that wouldn’t be because o’ a certain friend’s younger sister, now would it?”
Harry’s face pinked a bit. “I will admit that seeing her again will be nice—we have been exchanging posts ever since we got back from Hogwarts. But seeing all of the Weasleys will be nice, too.”
Tonks nodded. “Thought so. She ’as always been a bit taken wi’ you, 'asn’t she?”
Harry blushed a bit deeper red. “She had a crush on me when she was younger. I think she thinks me more of a friend than a romantic figure now, though she upset Ron a bit by telling him who she had been seeing during the school year, and who she intended to pursue when we return to Hogwarts.”
“So why th’ sudden int’rest on your part?” asked the purple-haired witch.
“I--I don’t really know,” admitted Harry. “She has always been Ron’s little sister as far as I was concerned, and I always liked her well enough. It’s just that something Ron said got me to thinking about her. That, and I just felt so bad about all my friends being hurt in the Department of Mysteries, I decided to try to write, so I sent her a post, and she answered back, and--well, that is pretty much where things stand after a half dozen exchanges.”
Tonks smiled. “Maybe that be for th’ best, ‘arry. If you had found someone ‘oo was int’rest’d in you just for your fame, well, things like that usually turn out badly.”
“What, the fame of being crazy? Or of seeking attention? The Daily Prophet may have changed what they’re writing since Fudge was forced to admit Voldemort’s back, but that still doesn’t change what they wrote for the better part of a year,” Harry complained.
“Maybe that was for the best, too, ‘arry. Think ‘bout it--wouldja really want someone that superficial ta be chasin' you if they ‘adn‘t written what they did?”
Harry paused, trying to decipher what Tonks had just said, and, deciding that as twisted as the thought had been expressed, it still made sense, answered, “I guess not.”
“Good,” replied Tonks. “Better you‘ be prepared to face those possibilities.”
“Possibilities?” queried Harry.
“Bloody ‘ell, ’arry, you‘re a celebrity! There will always be those ‘oo want the notoriety of associating with th’ famous--even if it‘s a famous murderer or mental nutcase. They don‘t care for the person, ju