Chapter 2 : An Unwelcome Visit
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Morning arrived far too early for Harry. Sunlight was already streaming through his open window making it nearly impossible to go back to sleep. Ron, on the other hand, was having no problems sleeping. Harry rolled his eyes at Ron’s snoring before yawning wide and getting out of bed. He expected that Hermione would already be studying what she believed they needed to know before she wheedled them into practicing – or persuaded Ron into practicing as Harry couldn’t yet. None of them wanted issue with the Ministry again.
He was just putting on his glasses when there was a soft tapping on his door. He crossed the room to open his door and was surprised to see Dudley standing as still as a statue. For a brief moment, Harry wondered if Hermione had Petrified his cousin. “Dudley?” Harry followed Dudley’s eyes to the second bed where Ron was still snoring blissfully asleep. His hands slowly crept to his backside as they did whenever another witch or wizard was around. This summer, Harry really wasn’t finding anything funny about the habit because Ron had taken to startling Dudley just to see his reaction. “You can see that he’s sleeping. I’ll talk to him again, I promise,” Dudley’s expression was a mixture of disbelief and what Harry suspected was gratitude.
“Mum says breakfast is nearly ready,” Dudley managed to whisper before losing his nerve and darting back downstairs to relative safety.
Harry turned back to look at Ron with annoyance. Not even after everything his relatives had put him through did Dudley deserve what Ron was purposely doing. Harry had already warned Ron to quit twice before. He knew that Hermione had talked with him, mainly because his ears had turned red.
Irritated because this wasn’t what he wanted to deal with first thing in the morning, Harry decided that Ron had slept long enough. He picked up Ron’s wand and poked him in the chest causing Ron’s snores to stop immediately. “I know you’re listening to me,” Harry told him, ignoring his closed eyes. “And this isn’t my wand – it’s yours. Leave off Dudley already. Remember when your Dad went spare on Fred and George because of the Toffee? What will he do if he knows you deliberately have scared a Muggle who is known to be terrified of magic?”
“Harry’s right,” Hermione added her agreement from their doorway, “I’ve been telling you to stop scaring him. It isn’t funny.”
Ron finally opened his eyes, quailing inside at the furious look on Harry’s face. “You’re scarier than Professor Dumbledore.”
Harry felt his insides freeze at Professor Dumbledore’s name. He spun on his heel, shoved Ron’s wand at a surprised Hermione and stormed from the room. Hermione sighed as she pointed her wand at Harry changing his pajamas into Muggle clothing. She glared at Ron before leaving the room with his wand. Ron groaned. This was going to be a very long day.
Harry’s jaw was clenched tightly as he sat at the table. Aunt Petunia eyed him carefully, wondering if there would be a repeat of Aunt Marge today. “Harry?” she asked hesitantly, unsure if he would even acknowledge her after everything she had put him through.
He couldn’t reply for several long moments and she didn’t try speaking again. She was amazed that he had finally learned to control his magic while angry. Finally he took a deep breath and looked at her. “Do you want me to finish breakfast?”
Aunt Petunia was surprised then felt an unfamiliar emotion as she realized that while she started breakfast, he tended to finish it so she could relax or talk with Vernon and Dudley. “No, I’ve got it. What happened? Unless you don’t want to talk about it,” she added quickly.
Harry dropped his head into his hands. Dudley was already at the table watching his mother and Harry talk. “I’ve talked to him and he should stop – let me know if he doesn’t,” Dudley nodded clumsily.
“You talked to whom?” Aunt Petunia asked, sneaking worried glances at Dudley.
“Ron,” Harry sighed, “I reminded him how little his Dad would appreciate his jokes.”
Aunt Petunia turned her attention back to breakfast. Somehow she didn’t think that the reminder of his father miles away would change his behavior – but a very annoyed friend sharing the same bedroom would matter very much. “I take it you don’t appreciate his jokes either?”
Harry looked at Dudley and Aunt Petunia before answering. “No, I don’t,” he looked at Dudley who nodded slowly this time. He looked back at Aunt Petunia. “I don’t know what my father did to make you dislike him so much, but he shouldn’t have done anything.”
Aunt Petunia gave him a very long look before turning back to breakfast, “Hermione? Would you mind getting the plates? Thank you.” Harry watched Hermione place a stack of plates next to Aunt Petunia who quickly dished out breakfast to everyone. Only afterwards did Aunt Petunia answer Harry. “You thought I was talking about your father? Of course you did. No, it wasn’t your father even though he did get in a fight with Vernon at their first meeting. It was that horrid boy.”
“The horrid boy wasn’t my father?” Harry was confused.
“Oh, I haven’t had to think of his name in years.” Aunt Petunia was silent as she tried to remember his name. “I believe Lily called him Snape.”
Harry exchanged a horrified look with Hermione before hissing, “Snape!” Everything in the kitchen began vibrating until Hermione cleared her throat loudly. Harry took a very deep breath. Aunt Petunia had gone white; Dudley looked torn between eating breakfast and running away from the table. Harry took another deep breath as Hermione answered for him. “Snape killed Professor Dumbledore in front of Harry,” she told Petunia and Dudley before turning to Harry, “and if you don’t calm down, I will Petrify you.” Harry realized she would do it to keep him from doing under-aged magic. Harry held up his hands as he worked on calming down.
Aunt Petunia gaped at Hermione then nodded. She had questions, but it was clearly not advisable to ask those questions in Harry’s hearing. “What are your plans for today?”
Hermione sighed. “I expect we’ll finish packing everything today. There really isn’t that much left.”
Harry picked up another armful of clothes. He dropped them into his trunk then tried pushing them down. No luck. He sighed as he pulled them back out. His books (all of them) and parchments with his quills and ink as well as his Quidditch gear… He wasn’t about to leave any of it behind. He groaned, realizing he’d need at least another trunk.
“Harry?” Hermione stood in the doorway.
“This one’s full,” Harry said, not turning around. “I need another trunk.”
“Well, latch it up,” Hermione stated matter-of-factly, “then I’ll just send it to the Burrow and conjure up another trunk.”
Harry moved a few things about and managed to stick another shirt here and pair of socks there before latching it and stepping out of the way. He watched as Hermione waved her wand at his trunk making it vanish. He could imagine it appearing somewhere at the Burrow. She waved her wand again and another trunk with his initials waited. “Thanks, Hermione.”
She let out an exasperated sigh. “You’re welcome, Harry. Doesn’t Ron realize we need to pack now?”
“I think he’s watching commercials again,” Harry managed to say with barely a straight face.
Hermione rolled her eyes – her thoughts concerning Ron watching commercials where well known to both Harry and Ron. “Harry, I’ve been thinking…”
“That’s trouble,” Harry chuckled.
Hermione looked taken aback for a moment. “You laughed! Are you alright? Are you sure?” She hurried to him placing her hand against his forehead.
“I’m fine, Hermione,” Harry pulled her hand off his forehead as he moved backwards eyeing her carefully. “What were you thinking about?”
“I was studying a few of the wards I suspect Dumbledore used…” Hermione began.
“What about them? They’re active until I’m of-age,” Harry shrugged as he turned to finish packing.
Hermione wasn’t convinced by his reasoning. “You said yourself that the spell Dumbledore put on you stopped when he died.” She poked her forefinger towards him.
Harry nodded slowly as he remembered staying still from shock not the spell after Dumbledore was hit with the Killing Curse. “So?”
“Dumbledore put these spells in place,” Hermione tried explaining.
“So?” Harry tilted his head slightly, wishing she’d get to the point already.
“If Dumbledore’s spell on you disappeared when he died, what about the spells here? Are they still working? Or…” Hermione started ticking off points with her fingers.
Harry rolled his eyes and ignored her as he filled the trunk with his clothes. “We’re leaving tomorrow. So why worry?”
Hermione gasped. “Worry? What if Voldemort attacks tonight? Or even right now?” She frowned as she looked around as if she expected a Death Eater to poke their head out from his closet or from behind the dresser.
“Hermione,” Harry paused in his packing and looked at her. “I doubt he’ll do anything this close to Dumbledore’s death.”
“But…” Hermione broke off, looking extremely worried. “Fine, I’m going to get Ron. We should have everything packed and sent to the Burrow tonight except for what we need for tomorrow. It’ll make everything easier tomorrow.” She gave him an exasperated look before storming from the room.
Harry grimaced – she was right. Dumbledore had cast the spells on this house himself. What if she was correct in thinking that the spells here had gone with his death just like the one that held him in the tower? Had there been any point for him to stay here even this long? Or even to come back? He frowned as he tried to remember Dumbledore’s advice. Dumbledore had wanted him to remain here. He had made sure that his relatives understood the importance of him returning once more to Privet Drive. He had been very emphatic concerning that point. He chewed his lip as he considered. Would Dumbledore have had him return here if it wasn’t safe for him?
He threw the last of his things into the trunk. He started looking around in his different hiding spots and his closet. He didn’t want to come back for anything he forgot. He doubted that the Dursleys would enjoy a visit from him either. Though Aunt Petunia and Dudley had been acting differently, at least while Uncle Vernon wasn’t around. While he was searching under his bed, Ron stormed into the room and began tossing his things into his trunk. Harry gathered a few more things together and put them in the trunk. “Least most of your stuff is home.” Harry told him when Ron slammed his trunk closed.
Ron looked at Harry in surprise, “Yeah, well…”
“Finished?” Hermione asked, interrupting them. “I’ve sent everything else ahead.” Harry moved to the side to let Hermione send his last trunk to the Burrow and watched as Ron’s trunk joined them.
Just as Ron’s trunk disappeared, there were several loud explosions that seemed to rock Harry’s room. Hermione swayed with the rocking floor as Ron tried to keep his footing. Harry wavered for a bit before pulling out his wand and making his way over to his window carefully. He glanced back at Ron and Hermione who were both looking at him with pale faces. He was nearly as certain that his face was as pale as theirs. He flattened himself against his wall and leaned slightly over to glance through the window. He shuddered and quickly leaned against the wall.
“Harry?” Ron stuttered.
“BOY?” They heard Uncle Vernon bellow. “IF YOU’RE DOING ANYTHING…”
“Death Eaters – lots of them,” Harry whispered, trying to ignore his uncle’s booming voice.
“But why…” Ron asked, shaking his head, glancing often at the door which was still open. “What…”
Another explosion rocked the house. His door closed with a slam. Uncle Vernon bellowed again. “BOY! YOU’LL WISH YOU WERE…” They heard his uncle begin pounding up the steps.
“They’re destroying Privet Drive,” Harry swallowed. His mouth was suddenly very dry.
“What about the Muggles!” Hermione protested.
Harry couldn’t blame her; her parents were Muggles. “You’re certain that under these circumstances I can use magic?” he asked dryly.
Hermione nodded. “Positive. Just like I told you how many times that summer, a wizard or witch is allowed to use magic when they fear for their lives or the lives of those around them. They should have given you a medal instead of prosecuting you for using magic.”
“Then what are we waiting for?” Harry asked, making his way across the room. He yanked open the door to look into his uncle’s surprised face before pushing past him. Ron and Hermione followed him, knowing they needed to be close to him. Just in case.
Harry was waiting for them at the back door. “Ready?”
“If either you get yourselves killed, I’ll never forgive you,” Hermione stated as she hugged them both.
Harry grinned as Ron fidgeted. “Right,” Harry opened the door and they hurried out into the evening, intent on bringing down as many Death Eaters as possible before the Aurors or Hit Wizards arrived.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter. When I first began writing this story, I was posting around 1,000 words per chapter and so posted in two chapters what should have been posted as one. I have subsequently added more details to both chapters.
Thank you very much for your constructive criticism!
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