Rain was pouring buckets and pounding on his windowpane as Harry Potter stared out of his bedroom window.
The street sign “Privet Drive” was barley legible through what seemed like a watery wall.
Harry sighed. His sixth term at Hogwarts was about to start and he couldn’t decide whether or not he was excited.
If he went to Hogwarts, which was usually the number one place he wanted to be, the whispers and bombarding questions about his fifth conquer of ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’ would fill the halls and the inside of his head. Harry didn’t fancy a repeat of his first year. He was a person who liked to keep to himself-no matter how much attention his actions caused him. He couldn’t help the fact that as a baby he alone survived the very curse that killed his parents and sent the wizard who cast it into hiding; and that every year since his enrollment into Hogwarts he has defeated every re-empowerment the evil wizard has attempted. So what? Could he explain it? No. So why bother?
Then there was no Sirius. Harry'd spent the majority of his summer, not in sadness, but in self pity and anger over the death of his godfather, something he believed could have been prevented had Harry not been a total dolt. He wasn't sure if he could handle his first year without him.
Ah. And there were the results of the O.W.L.S. He couldn’t even fathom the thought of the scores he received-or didn’t.
Yet, if he remained on Privet Drive, he wouldn’t exactly be treated as a prince. True, since the threat of from his Order of the Phoenix group (the secret gathering in an effort to bring down Vold-er…’He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named) over the treatment of Harry had some impact on the Dursleys’, they still refused to treat him as a family member. Instead of shouting orders and giving unpleasant comments, they refused to talk to him unless absolutely necessary. He didn’t mind. He enjoyed the quiet. Not to mention the extra portions of food he was getting at meal times. He was actually filling into his frame quite well.
The Dursleys knew that Harry, being an underage wizard, was not allowed to do magic outside of Hogwarts (he already had two very close calls), but The Order was. And that terrified them, for the Dursleys feared all things magic. People included.
Still, he preferred seeing Ron and Hermione, not to mention getting back on his broomstick and playing Quidditch, over the silent treatment any day.
Harry sighed once again. Professor Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts and Big Cheese of The Order, was allowing owls to be sent out over the summer once more, since the majority of Harry’s threat was locked away in Azkaban, but he was still ordered to write under discretion; for his major threat was still out for his life: Lord Voldemort.
Did you guys not understand Dumbledore? He asked to himself. Letters are allowed. So where are they?
Before he let himself get too angry, he realized it had been raining for almost two months straight, not ideal weather for owl traveling. Let’s just hope Hedwig gets here before term starts.
About two weeks before term started, a wet Hedwig finally returned with a letter from Hermione. Disgruntled and soggy, she flew onto a perch Harry had made for her and shook her feathers, sprinkling Harry with the leftover rain she was saving for him.
Throwing his arms up, he laughed. “Sorry, Hedwig. You know if I had feathers I’d have flown there myself.”
She just turned her back to him and went to sleep.
Harry then turned his attention to the letter:
I hope your holiday is going well. But living with the Dursleys I suppose one can’t expect too much, can they? Anyway, my family and I decided to spend our holiday traveling the United States. We’ve been to Florida, Tennessee, Nevada and Washington D.C. We are headed to California and New Mexico next.
We met some wizards while in Florida. Quite by accident, really. I noticed a group wearing cloaks shouting into a telephone receiver. The cloaks actually gave them away. Floridians do not wear cloaks in the summer, even the tourists.
Apparently, they were trying to get into a Quidditch match, which surprised me because I didn’t know there was such a thing outside of the U.K. Anyway, for “being so kind” as to help them out (I showed them how to get into the game) they invited my family and I to watch with them. I must say, Harry, that American teams are quite brilliant! Hogwarts matches are exciting to me, but what I saw there was nothing short of amazing. Maybe you and Ron will actually sit me down and teach me a thing or two about the sport. Or just lend me your books. Whatever works for you.
I have your birthday present, but the I heard the weather home is dreadful and I don’t want to risk ruining it or Hedwig’s safety. So you’ll have to wait until I see you at the burrow.
Harry smiled and set the letter aside. Leave it to Hermione to write a book. It was then Harry felt a knot form in his stomach. Usually her letters included some sort of question about his health, most of all his scar. She hadn’t mentioned either. Not that he thought he was Prince of the Universe or anything, but it was unlike her character to leave something like that out. And there was another thing that bothered him…Dumbledore had given permission to send out letters, yes but he also warned them about the length of them and she was clearly giving away her destination. This was also unlike her character to ignore orders. Harry was confused.
While in the middle of his thoughts, Pig, Ron’s hyperactive owl entered his window, fluttering madly about his room, trying to find Harry to give him his letter.
“Ruddy owl, I’m over here!”
Pig’s head shot up. Turning to Harry, he flew towards him so fast, he ran right into his forehead and fell to the ground with a thud.
“Thick headed bird.” He mumbled, picking Pig off the floor, rubbing his head.
After untying the letter, Harry read out loud:
Doesn’t this rain blow? I wish I could send more owls, but you know…rain blows.
Anyway, how are you? I’m doing good, the family is doing well; except for the whole Percy thing. Since the Ministry of Magic boo boo over the return of well…Lord, erm, yeah, that guy…he has resulted into not speaking to us at all instead of admitting he was wrong! Git!
Well, I better go. I’ll give you your present when you get to the burrow.
Well, at least Ron has some sense of the rules. Whoa. Did I just say that?
Harry shook his head in delirium.
After he sent his reply to Ron (Hermione would have to wait until he arrived at the Burrow. She definitely was going to get an earful.), Harry turned down his bed and fell asleep.
When Harry woke the next morning, his head ached an unbearable pain. Was it his scar? But he didn’t remember dreaming the night before. In fact, he thought he had a very restful evening considering it was his last night with the Dursleys.
Harry shrugged. Probably just a regular headache. Nothing a couple of aspirin won’t cure. Although I wish Madame Pomfrey were here. She can cure anything.
After he got dressed, he skipped downstairs and hummed in a sing -song tone into the kitchen.
“Good morning, Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia.” He greeted. ( He didn’t see Dudley, his overweight cousin, but didn’t care). Mr. Dursley was sitting at the kitchen table, taking some time from his newspaper to focus his attention on his breakfast. Mrs. Dursley was at the washing the dishes she messed up from cooking.
Every morning, since the beginning of summer, Harry would greet his relatives with the same sarcastic amusement and every morning it was the same reply: Mr. Dursley would slowly lower his newspaper and glare at him with beady eyes and Mrs. Dursley would huff and purse her lips into a line.
He knew he didn’t have to be nice, but the Dursleys knew he did this to tick them off and knew better not to question him. This was becoming one of Harry’s favorite rituals. Kill them with kindness.
He sat down and stuck a napkin in his shirt, smiling. “So, where’s our Duddles this morning?”
Mrs. Dursley walked over to him, holding his plate. “That’s no concern of yours. Besides, since when did you care where he was?” Slamming the plate down harder than she intended, she had a flicker of a thought of what it would feel like throwing it in his ungrateful face instead.
Ah. Harry thought to himself. Fat Camp day. He silently laughed to himself. The last letter the school sent home stated that, even though sports were now involved in Dudley’s life, he was still a considerable amount overweight. Drastic actions were to be taken for the sake of his… “health”. Camp Pride was that action. In Harry’s opinion, fat camp was fat camp. And he loved every tree, every cabin, and every counselor that took Dudley away weeks at a time.
Mr. Dursley grunted and pulled his paper to his face after shoving it full of scrambles eggs. “Going back to that school of yours, boy? " He spat.
“In two weeks.” He answered, brightly. "The Weasleys are picking me up today to stay at their house".
Mr. Dursley grunted out a word that sounded a lot like “freaks” and continued to read his paper.
Harry grinned. “What was that?” he asked, knowing perfectly well he had not misunderstood.
“Nothing.” He grumbled. “Are they coming the normal way or do they plan to ruin my fireplace again?”
Harry paused. He hadn’t thought about that. But after speculating their last visit using Floo Powder, he was positive they’d find a better way. “I guess we’ll find out.”
Before another grunt could emerge, Mrs. Dursley cut him off. “Well, I for one an glad he’s leaving early." She began to pace about the kitchen and put away clean dishes. “That’s two weeks less having to worry about my family’s safety.”
And by “family” she means Uncle Dursley, Dudley and herself. Harry thought bitterly to himself.
“What time are they coming?”
Harry grinned again. “Now.” Shooting up from the table, he bolted to the door.
“Harry, ‘ole chum, how are you?”
Instead of seeing the entire Weasley family beaming in front of him, Fred and George stood, smiling haphazardly.
From the corner of his eye, Harry noticed his aunt and uncle nervously enter the room- a good ten feet from the twins, probably thinking about some disease they might be infected with.
“I’m doing good now that I know you are capable of a normal entrance.” He teased.
George ruffled Harry’s hair. “Harry, Harry, Harry, when will you learn that we’re the normal ones?”
That was an oxymoron if he every heard one.
“Besides, if we apparated, we know your family would have flipped out.” Fred added.
George agreed. “They’re a bit coo-coo if you ask me.”
He said it in a whisper loud enough to where the Dursleys could hear, making a screw like motion using his index finger to his temple.
Mr. And Mrs. Dursley looked as if they could cast a spell of their own on the twins, shooting laser beams from their eyes towards them.
“Anywho, mate, go fetch your trunk. George and I have some new… erm, ‘creations’…to show you.” Fred told him, hinting they had some new Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes inventory.
They didn’t have to tell him twice. Harry shot up the stairs so fast, you’d think he used a speed charm.
Once he was safely out of sight, the Dursleys glared at the twins as they rocked back and forth on their heels, whistling and waiting for Harry to come back down.
“So, Vernon, ‘ole boy. Do you fancy canary creams?” George asked, trying to lighten the mood.
Mr. Dursley was practically boiling from the mere fact that this freak referred to him by his first name. Mrs. Dursley was just as appalled as her husband. The twins were unaffected.
“Canary Creams.” Fred replied simply. “They’re wonderful lemon pastries our mother made just this morning. They were for Harry, but you look like a man of good taste and Harry can have them at any ‘ole time he wants. So how ‘bout one? You too, Penelope.”
“Petunia.” She spat, correcting him.
“Whatever. Anywho, like I said, mum made them fresh this morning for Harry. You can help yourself if you like.”
“Lemon pastries, you say?” Vernon asked, somewhat interested. A flicker of remembrance went through his head over the last time those two left treats…Dudley’s tongue swelled immensely in size. Not about to turn something down that was made for Harry; he smiled.
“Canary Creams. They’re heaven.” George bit down on his lower lip trying to suppress laughter, knowing that one bite from these would turn him into a giant canary.
“They’re in the car, I’ll go fetch them.” George offered, having to excuse himself before he burst.
Harry had come back downstairs with his trunk as George returned with the creams.
“Oh, Harry, you’re back. You’re uncle here was just about to try one of the canary creams mum made for you this morning. You don’t mind, do you?”
Catching on, he shook his head. “No, not at all. Leave the whole bloomin’ box, if you like.” He turned to his family, grinning. “Think of it as a token of my appreciation for all you have done for me this summer.”
The Dursleys stared at Harry for a moment, and before his uncle could udder another sound, Harry spoke first. “Well, I think we need to leave now. I know how your mother gets when you’re late.” He did not want to be around when his uncle turned into a canary. Although the thought of him trying to fly around the room did amuse him.
“Right-o.” the twins agreed.
Fred pointed his wand to Harry’s trunk. “Locomotor trunk.”
The Dursley’s eyes nearly popped out from their head at the site of the trunk levitating off the ground.
So much for their respect of disapproved magic. Harry thought to himself.
“But-I thought-how-why-“ Mr. Dursley babbled. Mrs. Dursley furrowed her brow.
“Only under age wizards are exempt from the use of magic outside of school, mate.” Fred explained, reading his mind.
“Yeah.” George added. “We’re legal.”
Harry flashed his family a smile. His uncle glared at him.
“Two more years, boy. Two more and you’re out of our house for good! Your parents were freaks; you’re a freak and will pass it down to your freak children! Your parents had it coming and it’s a shame you didn’t get killed in the process! Instead I have to deal with your freakish shenanigans and weirdo friends! You are an embarrassment to this family!”
That hit a nerve. It took both Fred and George to hold him back from lashing out at him. Although they were unclear as to why they bothered.
Harry sent his aunt a pleading look; half hoping she would at least stick up for her sister. But she remained quiet.
*“I think it’s you that’s an embarrassment to this family. The worst decision Aunt Petunia ever did was marry you: a nasty, cold-hearted warthog! The second worst was agreeing to bring a micro version of you into this world! You three have no feelings for anyone but yourselves! And one day, when you die, nobody will show up at your funeral because you’ll be known as the family who didn’t care. What you say about me doesn’t matter, but don’t ever talk about my parents or friends like that! You forget that in the two years I have left I will become a fully trained wizard and will be capable of things you won’t have any control over. So don’t piss me off!”
The Dursleys just stared, dumbfounded as to what to say back.
“Wow.” Fred said, looking at George. “If only we can get him to talk to Malfoy like that.”
*author's note: I really hate this paragraph. Ignore it.
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