Disclaimer: All honor and glory belongs to the great J.K. Rowling who created this wonderful world. All characters are owned by J.K. Rowling. No profit is being made, no credit is claimed…I am merely a trespasser playing for my own enjoyment, and hopefully yours.
x x x x
Monday 8, July 1996
Dear Ron and Ginny,
I'm writing to both of you because this day has been unbelievable. Let me start at the beginning. Dudley had his birthday party last night, as all of his friends were still in different schools when his real birthday in was in June. Vernon and Petunia went out to tea at a friends' house. (I know, hard to believe that sort has friends!) and Dudley threw himself a party. There were about twenty boys, and all of them were drinking. If that wasn't bad enough, they were also smoking cigarettes in the back yard, and doing rails of cocaine off of the edge of the sink in the bathroom. (that's a seriously hard drug in the Muggle world.) The music was loud, and the police came to tell them to turn it down, and instead they arrested Dudley, and Piers, his friend. They tried to blame it on me, but as I had been locked in my bedroom with no way out, the police didn't buy it. Today Aunt Petunia had to take a pill and lay down in her room with the lights off, Dudley is in custody, and Vernon had to stay home to make phone calls to very expensive lawyers to get Dudley off of charges. From what I've heard he could be facing five years in jail! Two reporters have shown up at the door, and the neighborhood garden club president actually yelled at Petunia.
Having the greatest laugh of my short life,
Monday 8 July, 1996
Ron's laughing too hard to write so I'm taking over for him. Dad said that Tonks called the police on Dudley. She said it was too good an opportunity to pass up. She said that cocaine is a class A drug in the Muggle world and a heavily restricted potion ingredient in most of the world. She said it's an incredibly serious offense. Our fingers are crossed that Dudley winds up in jail a long time. Let us know as soon as you find out! Fred and George will be happy to send him 'care packages'. Have you heard from your Aunt Marge? How is her health, by the by?
Having a good laugh,
P.S. Dad wants to know if you remember what the police had worn on their belts.
The second Saturday of July was perfectly sunny and bright. The heat had returned, and it was unbearable. Other than that, things were perfectly normal at Number Four, Privet Drive. In fact, it had been so normal that Vernon Dursley could be seen snoozing behind the paper in the living room window. His spoiled son Dudley had his PlayStation hooked up to the television and had been gleefully killing aliens all afternoon. That is, until he found out that his cousin was working in the yard, where usually he loved to waddle by, intending to torment Harry with cold, frosty drinks, nifty toys, and other such things that Harry had no hope of having.
Today, however, Harry had noticed that Dudley was in an unbelievably foul mood. Apparently the community service was getting to him.
For the last week, since "the incident", Dudley and Piers could be found cleaning the local park on community service, and an officer from the local police station was always there to supervise them. At home Aunt Petunia had been forced to place him on restriction: he was unable to see any of his friends or torment any of the neighborhood children. As a result, Dudley couldn't help but resort to torturing his cousin as much as was humanly possible, given that he had only 20 hours in a week for leisure, which was generally spent eating. The greatest piece of justice to the situation, Harry thought, was the fact that Vernon had had to call in every single personal favor he had for Smeltings to allow Dudley to return to classes in the fall.
The best moment by far, though, had been the call from Aunt Marge, who was stuck reading the news paper in a hospital on her honeymoon. Harry had remembered it was rather odd that Ron and Ginny would write to him the day after the wedding, curious about his Aunt's health. That was until she had called to speak to Vernon the day after Dudley had spent in the clink. She had seen Dudley's name in the paper, and had called to make her opinions on the matter known. .
Aunt Petunia handed a rag and spray bottle at Harry. "Dust in here, and then come and see me when you've finished." She turned to go when the phone rang; Vernon struggled out of his easy chair and stomped over to the receiver to answer it.
"Dursley residence," he said gruffly. "Oh, hello Marge!" Harry stood in the doorway to the parlor, debating whether to dust as his Aunt had asked, or whether to go upstairs and see if Hedwig was back from her hunt.
"What's that? You're ill? What's wrong?" Vernon's face drained of color in a most unnatural manner and he clutched the telephone. "Your stomach was pumped? What the devil did you eat?"
Harry decided to pretend to dust the windowsill.
"You were poisoned!!?"
At this, Vernon had gestured to Harry, pantomiming that he wanted to write something down. His uncle was not very talented in this, being so large that his arms could not meet in the middle without serious strain, but managed to get his demand across any how. Stifling a laugh, Harry pulled a piece of paper and a pen off of the coffee table, brought it into the hallway and handed it to Vernon, who began scribbling on it rapidly.
Reading from where he stood was a bit of a trick in his glasses but he managed to make out the words "SonDuretaFoundationHospital'. Harry's mind clicked again. Were Ron and Ginny psychic? How did those two know Marge would be sick? Harry tuned back into Vernon's voice, which had taken on a rather panicked tone. He had written "Dog- minder" in big letters with a telephone number beside it on the paper.
'Yes, yes I know. I'll let them know….Of course. I'll go see to it myself.'
There was a moment of silence while Vernon continued writing on the bit of paper. Harry had become very interested in dusting the mantle piece, as Vernon began sputtering.
'Well, he's just a boy. Boys will be—' He fell silent again, pulling at his moustache. 'Yes, Marjorie, you're quite right, as usual. That's why Mummy always put you in charge of—'
This was worthy of note. If Marge was so sick on her honeymoon as to be hospitalized with surgery a possibility, and heard about Dudley all the way down of the coast of Spain…Harry suppressed a grin, and looked for something truly in need of cleaning. This was going to be good. He could feel it down into his toes.
Vernon put the telephone down, went over to the stairs and called to Dudley, in a stern voice. "Your Aunt has a few words to say to you and I expect you'll listen well if you know what's good for you."
Harry spotted the mantle piece over the fireplace, covered with photos of Dudley and Vernon. It was perfectly dusty and in need of attention, although what followed was a disappointment. There was great deal of silence on Dudley's part, some shifting of his considerable girth back and forth from foot to foot which made the floor creak beneath his fat feet, and considerable repetition of "I'm sorry" and "yes Ma'am".
Harry finished his chore and ran upstairs quickly, grabbing the daily paper out of the bin on his way by. Once in his room he took a bit of parchment and penned off a quick note to Ginny.
Tuesday 9 July, 1996
Tell Tonks that this article is for her scrap book. Also tell your dad that I didn't see anything on the police other than the usual get-up. Vernon's still on the phone, only this time to a lawyer who can get Dudley off. I don't know how much, but they're paying a lot of money to fix this. Dudley's in court today, I'll write more later, as soon as I find out.
Oh, and as it turns out, Marge had to get her stomach emptied at the hospital today…. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?
Laughing even harder than I was yesterday,
Birthday ends in Drug-bust
Late in the evening on Sunday, 7 July, two minors were arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, possession of alcohol, serving alcohol to minors, possession of cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute. Dudley Dursley age 16, of 4 Privet Drive and Piers Polkiss age 16 of 18 Magnolia Crescent are currently in police custody awaiting a pre-trial. The parents could not be reached for comment. Both attend Smeltings School for Boys, the headmaster who also refused to comment.
The only recourse in Mr. Dursley's mind was to make sure that Harry had much harder work to do than Dudley. The sun had been mercilessly beating down on Harry's shoulders, beginning at six-thirty on Friday morning as he had trimmed the verge and then, of course, the lilacs and the hydrangeas that his Aunt Petunia had planted when her son Dudley was born. At ten o' clock Harry removed his shirt, grateful to no longer be surrounded in wet sticky cotton. He put the unwanted article of clothing beside him on the ground, (it was at least useful in swatting insects away) and, on hands and knees, he began to weed the front walkway flower beds.
All day long, on and on it went, every day since he had been back at Privet Drive for the summer holiday excepting the day of the wedding and the day Dudley was in custody. No matter how inane or pointless the varied tasks laid out before him, if he stopped for even just a minute, Petunia Dursley's astonishingly long neck and pointy nose would invariably peek out of the nearest window or doorway. She would then, of course, launch into a furious diatribe at Harry, screeching about the ungrateful attitude he had towards the good clothes she put on his back. Harry knew that she was taking out her anger on him, but it made him very angry at her. He wasn't the idiot who developed a drug habit. He wasn't the fool who had embarrassed her family to the neighborhood. He worked hard and kept his nose clean.
Just like Sirius had told him to.
Harry gulped in the early morning sun. Dark feelings began to cloud his thoughts, followed closely by the frustration that had been mounting steadily since Dudley's arrest. If Tonks had been watching the party, couldn't she have just taken him away from the Dursleys, just for the evening?
Harry scowled, and looked at his to-do list. Squinting at Petunia's narrow handwriting he read 'weed all flowerbeds'.
And so while Vernon Dursley snoozed nearly all day long in the air conditioned recesses of the living room – head hidden behind a newspaper, slouched in his easy chair – Dudley would play video games. Harry on the other hand, was working, and had tried very hard to keep control of the magic in his blood that had been killing the flowers in Aunt Petunia's gaudy garden. It was Petunia's lurid Mum patch that had been at his fingertips that had suffered the most damage.
It had been a tenuous balance that took a tremendous amount of concentration. Harry knew he was angry, and knew that if he were to use magic even by accident the authorities would catch him and then he would be in really big trouble. Harry never meant to lose control of the magic in his fingers. When he was a small child, it just happened. Usually it would happen in ways that he wasn't expecting, and therefore had no sure way of keeping the outburst at bay.
At two in the afternoon, Harry tripped over the edge of Dudley's remote-control car. He had been driving it into the sides of Harry's trainers for fun. When Dudley waddled off to replenish his fruity ice, Harry failed to control his anger, and killed three patches of Petunia's iridescent mums, his anger getting the better of him at last. Several patches had withered black upon contact. A patch of daffodils and several begonias later, Harry looked up just in time to avoid being sideswiped by a large brown owl, and a letter was dropped on the ground next to him. Swearing under his breath, Harry scrambled to throw his shirt on top of the letter, in case Dudley came back outside. Fortunately, Harry had been the only person present in the yard at the time, as it was ten minutes to three and the Dursley's favorite television Game Show, 'Do it or Die Trying' was on at three o' clock. Harry had no doubt they were eating before it started.
He picked up the shirt, letter and all, and carried them over towards a tree and put them down, surreptitiously sliding the letter open while he walked over. As he glanced at the letter he swore again, although not under his breath.
Dear Mr. Potter,
It has come to the attention of the Ministry of Magic through our intelligence channels that an aging charm has been used at your residence, at thirty minutes past two in the afternoon. As you are well aware, underage wizards and witches are not permitted to perform spells outside school, and further spell work on your part may lead to expulsion from said school. This is a matter of dire security to the Magical community at large. We ask you to remember that any magical activity that risks notice by members of the non-magical community (Muggles) is a serious offense under section 13 of the International Confederation of Warlocks' Statute of Secrecy.
Harry swallowed thickly, his throat closed in on itself and he gripped the edge of the letter. Slowly he opened his eyes again, and peered at the letter.
This counts as the third warning that you have received from this office. As your record was cleared of charges of inappropriate uses of magic last summer, this letter is a final warning. If the Ministry has to send notice of this important, well-known decree again, you will be brought up on charges by the Ministry, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the laws. Enjoy the rest of Your Holidays!
Yours Sincerely, Mafalda Hopkirk Improper use of Magic Office Ministry of Magic
Harry wondered what side of the war Mafalda Hopkirk was on. Just last summer Harry and Dudley were attacked by a pair of Dementors, ranked among the most frightening dark creatures on earth. Harry had used magic and saved their lives, and ever since Vernon and Petunia were so rudely awakened to the painful realities that came with associating with The–Boy–Who–Lived, they were quite twitchy about anything to do with magic.
Angered, yet incredibly grateful that Petunia was not looking, Harry slid the notice into his shirt and dropped it on the ground by the tree. Trying very hard not to think about being brought up on charges before the Ministry of Magic again, Harry started to work once more, burying over where the flowers had died with fresh mulch.
As the day wore on, the sweltering and shimmering heat waves tortured Harry's skin while Aunt Petunia fastidiously removed non-existent dirt from her shady, air conditioned kitchen. Nearly all day long she'd been seen gossiping on the telephone while Harry fought off mosquitoes and gnats while he swept the patio and horse flies the size of Vernon's car as he washed the driveway and the front walkway. While he mowed the lawn, at twenty past three in the afternoon, the sun turned his exposed back bright red. Even while the hose was on as he washed Vernon Dursley's sensibly colored, enormous company car, sweat dripped off of his forehead, running down into his spectacles, and down the front of his chest, streaking his skin with mud. He was finished clearing the gutters at six.
Harry looked down at his new, wonderful, state-of-the-art watch, and saw that it was quarter past six in the afternoon. Originally, Aunt Petunia had purchased the watch for Dudley's birthday. It was completely programmable, it had a thermometer, several games to play when you were bored, it was also waterproof, and preferred by scuba divers in the British Navy. The only reason Harry had the watch was that it was red and yellow and Dudley claimed he hated the colors. Harry suspected that Dudley was mad that his parents had finally been unable to protect him from being punished for something. The events following the party, particularly the investigation as to where he had come into such a quantity of drugs had made Dudley swear that he hated his mother and father. So it was Harry's theory that he actually gave it to Harry, just to make Petunia as angry as possible. Harry, on the other hand, loved the watch, and the Gryffindor colors were a nice bonus, too.
Hungry, tired, and his muscles twitching in agony, Harry was finally finished hosing down the front walkway and the driveway. Slowly dragging his feet and dreading going back into the house (for he far preferred to be out of the way of the Dursleys, even if it meant heavy labor), Harry wound up the garden hose neatly on his arm, and went around to the garage to put it away. He carefully picked up his warning from the Ministry of Magic, still inside his tee shirt and tried to muffle a laugh as he watched Dudley waddle around the corner of the house eating frozen fruity-ice. Dudley had been forced to quit cigarettes and was now so large that even his father was attempting to enforce some sort of diet regimen.
'I'm about to finish up here, and go inside,' said Harry, half way into the garage. Right in front of the dust bins, Harry spun around on the ball of his left foot, stopping quickly in front of Dudley's enormous body. He waited a moment, looking into the lifeless pools of mud that passed for Dudley's eyes so that his cousin could take in the full effect of the recent growth spurt. 'So can you please make sure that you stay well away from me, as I might just give into temptation and turn you into a worm?'
Dudley promptly let out a very loud, high-pitched noise, and ran back out of the garage. Like his parents, after his encounter with the Dementors of Azkaban he was easily frightened of anything even remotely magical.
Harry suppressed a grin at Dudley's surprised yelp. Harry placed the hose onto its hook on the side wall of the perfectly organized garage and turned towards the door that led from the garage to the back yard.
He could already hear yelling all the way out in the back yard. Dudley had surely run to Aunt Petunia, yelling about the most recent threat of magic. Snorting with laughter, even though Harry knew he was in trouble, he did not care. Harry had come into contact with Voldemort again, and considering the nature of his more recent nightmares, facing Vernon Dursley had recently turned into a walk in the park. Harry, quite simply, had had enough of the Dursleys.
Harry sat down on the freshly mowed grass and laid back. How could this be safer than the Burrow? Why did Dumbledore think that this was okay? Sure, hard work was great exercise, and he was eating again. Well, that could be debated. Dudley was eating a lot of vegetables, and that meant that Harry was eating a lot of vegetables.
Harry frowned. If it wasn't for Mrs. Weasley's food packages, he'd be starved now. It wasn't even fair that Dumbledore relied on the Weasley matriarch to feed Harry on the sly. Harry pounded his fist into the ground. It was bad enough that Dumbledore jailed Harry to the Dursleys. It was bad enough putting up with Petunia's rage. It was bad enough putting up with Dudley's childish antics. But it wasn't right of Dumbledore to drag the Weasleys into it. Just by virtue of their kindness to him, they were being used, too.
Harry stopped this train of thought immediately. He felt guilty enough about putting the Weasleys in danger. He sat up and ran a hand through his sweaty hair. As he did so, he caught a whiff of himself. Yeetttccchhhh.
Pushing his tired body up off the lawn and dusting himself off, he squared his shoulders and slid his glasses up his face. Darkness had begun to fall over the neighborhood. Determined to show Petunia that he did not care one whit what she did to him, he strode over to the porch.
As Harry came up to the porch, he spotted Vernon and Dudley seated at the kitchen table. Vernon was sitting with his eyes level, staring at the evening paper. Harry took a breath and watched as his Uncle Vernon calmly sipped his tea. Drinking the last bit he put his saucer and cup down, and Harry watched as he began re-folding the evening paper. Within a minute, the paper was scrunched into the dust bin, and Vernon was irately kneading at his mustache. Harry watched him do this through the screen door, until Vernon looked right at him.
'You!' Vernon Dursley bellowed at Harry. 'Get in here! And don't walk on the floor!'
Harry opened the door and walked in. He rolled his eyes and gave a sigh of impatience. 'Uh, no that's quite all right. In case you haven't noticed, I'm very dirty after having just spent the whole day landscaping your yard, and I'm going to go and have a shower.' Dudley gaped at the scene unfolding before him. Only in recent weeks had Harry begun to stick up for himself, and Dudley clearly was fascinated by the process. Harry continued into the house, irreverently stepping on anything but the daily paper that Petunia Dursley had so carefully laid out, until he was stopped by Vernon's thick hand on his shoulder. Harry ducked under and came back up, just in time to get clocked hard on the chin. He ducked again, fended off one punch successfully and tried to leave. He was stopped by Vernon's hand on his trousers.
'You stay right here, boy! You'll not threaten my son like that!' Vernon was bending double from reaching to snag Harry. 'Lousy ungrateful son of a—nearly DIED because of your existence-'.
Another struggle ensued, during which Harry stepped out of the over-sized trousers, completely knocking Vernon on his rear in the process. Satisfied that he had obtained his goal of freedom, he removed his trousers from his fallen uncle's hand and walked into the hallway, past his old cupboard, and headed upstairs to the bathroom in nothing but his boxers, while Aunt Petunia screeched something incoherent about her clean floors. Uncle Vernon was still lying on the kitchen floor, shouting at the retreating back of his nephew.
x x x x x
Hot water flowed from the tap in the shower and Harry sighed with relief as the pounding heat massage jet of the Muggle showerhead did its job on his aching back. It had been a very long day indeed. And despite the tenuous feelings of satisfaction he'd gained from his recent encounter with the Dursleys, Harry was still troubled. The rest of the summer was ahead of him, and Harry felt his prospects of getting away to the Burrow, to his real friends and family, were – at best – improbable. With all of the horrendous memories and nightmares he was experiencing, Harry felt useless and restless, and this was far worse than any punishment Petunia could heap upon him. Since the War had started for real, Harry's scar had ached dully, throbbing slowly on his forehead.
The dreams – which had returned with a vengeance – were by far the worst. While Harry could not escape the last moments of Sirius' life, watching him fall slowly, slowly backwards towards a black veil, his more recent nightmares of Ron being attacked by brains, Hermione hit with a curse and Ginny limping through the Ministry of Magic had proved to be far worse than Sirius's honorable passing. Allowing the water to run for a few minutes longer than he should, he scrubbed at his head furiously with the Muggle-made soap and grimaced as it ran into his eyes. Nothing was going right today – not even his precious few minutes of hot shower water. He turned the water up to full blast, and stood there in the pounding spray brooding. At least they leave me alone in here.
Worse yet, Harry felt as cut off from the news in the world than he had been last summer. Harry had no chance of hearing any of the daily broadcasts on the Wireless Wizarding Network (for obvious reasons), and he couldn't risk having the Prophet, or even the Quibbler, delivered to him. Of course, the television was off limits. After last summer, Vernon and Petunia had made Harry trim the Hydrangeas such that not even a house elf would be able to hide behind them.
Shuddering with anxiety that something had happened since the last time he had heard from the only people who treated him decently, Harry struggled with his guilty conscience and started to rinse out his hair. If only he hadn't been so stupid. If only he had used the enchanted mirror that Sirius had given him after Christmas… Then the Weasley family wouldn't be in danger. Harry thought for a moment, if Ron hadn't even been friends with Harry, Ginny would have never been possessed by Riddle's diary, Mr. Weasley wouldn't have been bitten by Nagini.
Harry shut the water off, feeling like a truck had steamrolled him. He thought of Mrs. Weasley's Boggart. He had been amongst the dead. She had seen him as one of her own. And then he had gone to the Ministry and put Ginny and Ron right where the images he'd seen from the Boggart could have become a reality. And she still wanted to keep him for the summer.
Harry walked into his bedroom while he toweled his hair. The first thing he noticed was that Hedwig was sitting on top of her cage, clicking her beak and looking at him fondly. 'Hey Hedwig!' he said happily. A quick look at the dresser and relief flooded his body when he saw the small pouch tied to his magnificent snowy owl's leg.
Harry been determined to stay in contact with his friends as much as possible but had known his aunt and uncle would have thrown fits if they'd had multiple owls winging their way to and from Privet Drive. In the end it was Hermione who had come up with, or rather had knitted a way to accommodate this obstacle: a mail pouch. That way, when Hedwig would go out hunting she could gather correspondence from his friends.
Harry walked over Hedwig and handed her an owl treat murmuring several words of praise for a job well done. Hedwig ruffled her feathers and clicked her beak, indicating her approval. Quickly Harry crossed the room to his desk and, still in his towel, opened the first of several letters. The first was a long, newsy letter from Luna Lovegood, describing her failed attempt to find a Crumple-Horned Snorkack, followed by a rather detailed description of Neville Longbottom's Grandmother's hat. Apparently the two had been visiting one another.
Ron's letter was equally interesting:
Ginny said to say thanks for the letter; it's good to hear from you. I've been helping out Fred and George at the shop. We've had more customers here since school let out than Zonko's in Hogsmeade had all year, and that's according to Magical Business Weekly. They've been living here, saving to buy a house on some land where they can 'experiment more freely.' They're usually at The Burrow though, letting Dean and Seamus work the counter. They're staying up in their old room; all sorts of odd explosions at all hours of the day
So to be perfectly honest with you, when you come to visit I don't recommend that you accept anything they offer you– parchment, quills, the usual, and be especially careful if they hand you something of yours, and claim that they 'found it lying around'. Mum went spare when they developed a kitchen chair with a mind of its own. I think it's still running around somewhere.
Harry laughed out loud, imagining Molly Weasley shrieking to high heaven while being carried off by one of her kitchen chairs.
But Mum isn't too worried about them anymore. Of course, I'm sure she'd prefer it if they worked at a less dangerous profession, but they've done well for the family.
Anyway, there hasn't been any real news lately, but Bill and Charlie are here and they said to send you their hellos, and we all hope you can visit soon!
Harry smiled faintly, also hoping he would be allowed to visit soon, too. He finished drying off, threw on a pair of his shorts, and flopped on his bed. At ten thirty he heard the Dursleys make their way up the stairs and into their bedrooms. At eleven, Harry decided it was finally safe enough and pulled out some reading, deciding to finish up his Charms text. During the summer holiday, keeping his nose into a grindstone was his only comfort, the only magic he could do. If he received decent grades on his OWLs, he could be an Auror, and that meant doing well on the rest of his classes.
But he just had to become an Auror. He didn't want to do anything else. And there was no guarantee of him being able to play professional Quidditch. And that meant he had to study during the summer. God forbid, but if anyone found out that Harry actually didn't mind doing homework on summer holidays…
Of course, it was different during the actual school semester, when he was actually inside Hogwarts castle his mind was usually found on the Quidditch pitch. No, it was a good thing that Ron, his older brothers Fred and George did not know that Harry was willing do schoolwork. They no doubt, would certainly find it very amusing, and harass him continually for being a know-it-all, just like Hermione. It was bad enough being the famous Harry Potter, The Boy-Who-Lived, or – more fitting – The-Boy-Who-Faced-Down-The-Dark-Lord-Before-He-Could-Hold-A-Spoon. No, best to keep his new academic habit a secret unto himself, rather than face the utter humiliation that would no doubt be heaped upon him via owl-order-catalog.
At two in the morning, his stomach gave off an extremely loud grumble. He put his Charms book away and crossed off another day's assignment in Hermione's schedule book. He pried open the floor board under his bed and pulled out a carefully wrapped package and pulled out one of Mrs. Weasley's delicious, life-saving meat pies.
At the first bite the guilt hit him again, just as it had in the shower, only harder. Twisting inside him, dark and frightening. He didn't want her to be mad at him but she probably couldn't tell him if she was. He remembered her yelling when Arthur and Sirius had filled him in on what was going on in the wizarding world last year. Even now he could see that she didn't want him kept in the dark so much as she wanted to shield him from the dangers.
Maybe if I just write to her and apologized for what I did last year?he thought to himself. Getting all of us into trouble at the Department of Mysteries?At least that would be something.
He couldn't make it any better. But perhaps a letter would at least give him a chance to tell her everything she deserved to hear. Harry immediately grabbed a quill and some parchment. It took a few tries until it seemed okay. He sighed and stretched his arms, then held an arm out to Hedwig. With a low hoot she flapped over to him and held still while he attached the scroll to her leg.
'Take this straight to Mrs. Weasley,' he said urgently, 'and be careful. Okay, girl?'
Hedwig turned and her eyes met Harry's. She held his gaze; nipped his eyebrow, and gracefully rose up and out of the open window into the night. Harry watched as she glided past the streetlights, up into the air, and out of sight and his heart sank even lower. He hated it when she was away; she was his only friend in the world at Privet Drive.
Harry shook himself out of his thoughts. After drink of water and one quiet trip to the loo, Harry finally felt sleepy enough to put his head on the pillow. In the faint orange glow of Privet Drive, trees and bushes were gently tickled by the soft breeze. The light wind rippled the lush green lawns, all neatly trimmed to the same height, in all the same places, exactly as a well-thought-of suburban neighborhood should be. As the wind softly blew the curtains back into the upper bedroom, Harry passed out, finally reaching the state of exhausted, dreamless sleep..
Later that same morning – before the birds had started to sing, before the edge of the world turned green – Molly Weasley jerked awake. Looking across the bed she noticed that her husband was missing, the blankets had clearly been stolen once again, and there was an owl tapping at her window. A large, snowy-white owl named Hedwig. Molly sprang out of bed, ran over to the window and opened it. Hedwig flapped over to the back of Molly's dresser and landed.
With shaking hands she relieved the magnificent creature of its scroll...