Chapter 4 : Scruffy Urchin
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Harry had just carried a bucket of soapy water outside, with the intention of cleaning the back windows, when there was a loud Crack!
“WHAT THE BLAZES!” yelled Uncle Vernon from inside the house.
Harry ran inside, wand out. He rushed into the living room, only to find Hermione and Tonks standing over Uncle Vernon who was lying on his back in the middle of the floor.
“Wotcher, Harry!” said Tonks with a wide grin.
“Hi,” he replied, stuffing his wand back into his back pocket.
“Well, I’d better be off,” said Tonks. “I’ve left your trunk in the lobby, Hermione.”
“Hm?” said Hermione, looking up from Uncle Vernon whose eyes were still moving furiously. “Oh, right. Thanks again, Tonks.”
“No problem,” she said, Disapparating away with another loud Crack!
“Um, I think I should explain something, Hermione,” said Harry carefully. “Uncle Vernon has said we can stay, but only so long as no magic is performed around him.”
“Ah,” she said, leaning over her victim. “Hello, Mr Dursley. I’m sorry I jinxed you, only you were getting a little over-excited. I only put a mild full body bind on you, and I’ll release you in a moment so we can be introduced properly.”
Hermione flicked her wand and instantly Uncle Vernon began waving his arms and legs around. He also began cursing loudly.
Aunt Petunia, who had been cowering in one of the easy chairs, hurried over to help pick him up from the floor. Hermione attempted to help but was brushed away at once.
Harry groaned inwardly as Vernon continued to silently mouth obscenities at them.
“That’s better,” said Hermione lightly, lowering her wand. “Harry? Won’t you introduce me to your Aunt and Uncle?”
“Er, sure. Hermione, this is my Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia. Um, this is my friend Hermione Granger, from school.”
Hermione grinned at them.
“I’m so sorry for performing magic in front of you," she said sarcastically. "I will of course abide with your wishes and abstain from performing further magic unless there is an emergency. Of course,” she added with a little satisfaction, “I’ll need to refrain from performing the counter-spell to that silencing charm.”
“What?” cried Aunt Petunia. “No! This is too much!”
It was clear that Hermione intended to pay Uncle Vernon back a little for his mistreatment of Harry.
“Hermione,” ventured Harry gently. “I think you should remove the silencing charm. Neither of them have been treated particular well by wizards, and baiting them more isn’t going to help.”
Hermione’s face fell at once. She suddenly looked stricken that Harry should have to admonish her like that.
“I’m sorry, Harry,” she said quickly, performing the counter-charm wordlessly. “Please accept my apologies, Mr Dursley.”
Vernon didn’t seem to have noticed that he could shout or even speak properly again.
“Come through to the kitchen and I’ll make some tea,” suggested Harry.
They had only got to the door when Uncle Vernon found his voice again.
“You didn’t say anything about a girl staying?!” he yelled.
“So what difference does that make?” asked Harry. “She can stay in the guest room. It’ll only be for a few nights, after all.”
Without waiting for a response, he ushered Hermione through to the kitchen and out into the rear garden where they could talk quietly.
“I’m sorry, Harry,” she said. “We Apparated almost on top of him. Tonks thought it was too risky to Apparate outside.”
“Not to worry,” he said with a smile. “I’m afraid you’ll just have to get used to the shouting.”
“Well, I’ll try.”
“Tonks said she would leave him upstairs for now in his travelling cage.”
“He won’t like that.”
“He’s been in a bit of a mood, Harry. I think we should leave him to calm down a bit.”
“Yes, I often do the same with Uncle Vernon,” said Harry with a grin. “I wasn’t expecting you to arrive just yet. How did the wedding go?”
“I didn’t go, Harry.”
“Why ever not?”
“It just didn’t seem right. Anyway, I think they’ve changed the date again.”
“Just because I couldn’t be there, that’s no reason not to keep Ron and Ginny company. Besides, I’d have thought you would want to stay longer with your parents. How are they, by the way?”
“Oh, just the same,” she said, turning away. “They asked after you.”
“That was nice.”
“I’d have liked to stay, but the truth is I just couldn’t settle. I’ve been a bundle of nerves ever since the funeral, you-know?”
“Me too,” Harry admitted. “Anyway, I am glad you came early. I’ve been trying to make sense of a few things.”
“Really? You have an idea where we should start to look?”
“Yes, but we shouldn’t talk about that out here. Hermione, you’ll need to be very careful around here. I know I’m protected here, but you may not be.”
“I understand, Harry.”
“I wish I did.”
“It’s just amazing that Dumbledore could do anything so powerful.”
“How do you mean?”
“Harry, the moment you stepped outside, you vanished. I can’t see you at all!”
“What? No, that can’t be right. I’m not invisible!”
“You are to me,” said Hermione with a grin.
“But the neighbours have seen me. Some of them even cross the road to avoid me!”
“I suspect that anyone looking for the wizard Harry Potter can’t see you. Perhaps people looking at that scruffy urchin who lives at Number Four aren’t affected.”
“Hey!” said Harry, laughing. “I thought you couldn’t see me!”
“Only outside, Harry,” she reminded him, also laughing.
“Come inside and have a drink,” he suggested.
“Go on, I want to see if I can see you from out here. Pick up the kettle, Harry.”
Harry did as he was told and waved the kettle around before filling it with water at the sink. Hermione came inside again.
“Nothing looked out of the ordinary at all, Harry.”
“What, not even flying kettles?”
“The kettle didn’t move, Harry. It must have been Dumbledore’s protections again.”
“Well, I knew it had to be something good to stop Voldemort trying to find me.”
“How long do you want to stay?” asked Hermione. “Can you get away before your birthday?”
“I’m not sure. It’s hard to explain, but I have this weird feeling of expectation. It’s like I think I’ll just know when the time is right, only before that happens I’ll have to put up with all these butterflies in my stomach.”
The kettle clicked off and Harry poured boiling water into the teapot. He proceeded to take four sets of cups and saucers out of the cupboard.
Harry smiled seeing Hermione’s raised eyebrows.
“Lupin gave me some advice before he left,” he said quietly, loading up the tea tray. “Come on, let’s have Round Two.”
After tea, Harry and Hermione carried her trunk up to the guest bedroom. Harry soon realised that his promise that they would not to perform magic may have been a little rash.
“What on earth have you got in here?” complained Harry from below.
“Stop complaining or I’ll make you carry the heavy end!”
“Hey, I’ve already got the heavy end!” he muttered.
Eventually they managed to get the trunk into the guest room and dropped it at the foot of the bed.
Hermione sat on the bed while Harry just collapsed onto the trunk.
Seeing her looking down at the sheets, Harry said, “Um, sorry. I think Aunt Petunia decided not to risk the good linen.”
“This is fine, Harry. She’s probably heard how sleeping witches can often make fabric colours fade!”
“I’ll see if I can find some extra blankets for you.”
“Oh, I’ll be fine. I do wish there was a desk, though.”
“Aunt Marge isn’t the sort to want a desk. She’s the only one who stays in here usually. You can use mine anytime, just so long as you can stand the mess.”
“Show me your room, Harry?”
“Um,” he said, suddenly remembering the state of his room. “Mess might be a bit of an understatement.”
Hermione laughed and said, “Oh, just how bad can it be? Come on, I want to see if Hedwig is back yet.”
Hermione laughed as Pigwidgeon flew maniacally around her head. Hedwig looked on disapprovingly and Harry wasn’t too surprised when she took off and headed outside to escape the bedlam.
“Oh, calm down. You’re making me dizzy!”
She held her hands up and caught the tiny owl.
“So, you’ve been sharing with Harry, have you?” she asked with a smile, stroking the owl gently. “I wonder which one of you made all this mess?”
Harry just rolled his eyes and continued to stuff his discarded clothing under his bed and out of sight.
“You know? This is almost the room I imagined you living in,” observed Hermione thoughtfully, looking at his old calendar on which he had marked off the days to his return to school last summer.
Harry, who had moved on to tidying his desk, stopped gathering up handfuls of parchment and stood up straight.
“You okay, Harry?”
“I’m not sure,” he replied. “Ever since I had that memory I’ve been feeling odd.”
“From Professor McGonagall. She visited me earlier and gave me a memory that Professor Dumbledore left for me. I still can’t remember what it is, but she thought the message would be in more than one part for security.”
“That makes sense,” agreed Hermione.
“Well, after I summoned the memory from her, she forgot she’d even had a memory to give me, but she remembered she had to give me this,” said Harry, holding out the glowing crystal bottle.
“This is glowing just like the bottles in the Hall of Prophecies, Harry.”
“Yes, but this one seems to be glowing brighter. I’d like to look at it but I think we’ll need a Pensieve.”
“Oh, right. I suppose we should wait if reading the memory counts as performing magic.”
“Well, actually I’d say that the Pensieve is the magical object so we wouldn’t need to actually perform magic to use it.”
“So, can we try? I’ve always wanted to see what a memory looks like every since you first described it. I’d be especially interested in seeing Dumbledore’s memories first hand,” she said enthusiastically, “unless you think it might be private?”
“Hermione, you know I’ve shared everything with you and Ron. We could look at it now but we need the Pensieve.”
“Er, Harry, so what’s that stone bowl up there, then?”
“What?” he said, turning to see where she was pointing. “How on earth did that get here?”
“Must be magic,” Hermione said with a wide grin. “So, can we have a go now?”
Frowning, Harry went over to his wardrobe and carefully lifted down the heavy stone bowl.
“This wasn’t here this morning,” he said seriously, placing it down on his desk. “Could Tonks have left it here?”
“No, I’m sure she would have said.”
“Yes, she would,” Harry agreed thoughtfully, allowing his fingers to caress the ancient stone.
Harry looked up and saw Hermione was watching him carefully.
“Okay, let’s look at the memory,” said Harry and immediately held up his hands to stop Hermione from interrupting him. “I think we should bar the door so we don’t have any interruptions. Pig? Will you stay and keep watch for us? Just peck us if you need us to come out, but don’t touch the bowl yourself, okay?”
Pig hooted happily and flew up next to Hedwig’s cage while Harry closed the window and drew the curtains closed. Hermione meanwhile had jammed Harry’s desk chair under the door lever handle.
Harry took out the glass bottle and held it up for a moment. The glow was very distinctive in the half-light. He removed the wax seal and poured the contents into the bowl.
“Harry, how will we get the memory back into the bottle again?”
“Er, one of us will have to break his word,” he admitted. Hermione snorted and then bent over the bowl.
Harry remembered his own fascination the first time he looked into the Pensieve.
“Okay,” he said gently. “The sensation takes some getting used to but it’s perfectly safe. Just allow the mist to touch your face.”
Hermione moved closer but hesitated. Harry smiled seeing the nervous grin on her face. She held out her hand and groped around until she found his and clasped it for reassurance.
Then the tip of her nose barely made contact with the surface of the silvery mist. Instantly, Hermione’s entire head seemed to vanish leaving him plenty of room to plunge his own head into the mist.
Harry found himself standing hand-in-hand with Hermione. A cool white mist was all around them.
“Hermione, you can open your eyes,” he said encouragingly.
“Come on, there’s something over there.”
They walked a few paces until they walked onto a plush red carpet. A few feet further on they passed a hat stand with Dumbledore’s tall hat and favourite travelling cloak, and then a side table with several bowls of sweets.
Harry reached down to try one of the sweets but Hermione slapped his hand away.
“It would be polite to wait until you are invited, Harry.”
Harry chuckled and led her further on through the swirling mist clouds. Finally, they both saw the outline of a familiar figure. They smiled at each other and hurried forward.
They froze, instantly obeying Dumbledore’s booming voice.
“This memory was prepared for Harry James Potter and no-one else! Please leave before you come to harm.”
“Hang on!” protested Harry. “I’m Harry Potter! This memory is for me!”
“You must come alone!” boomed the voice out of the mist. “Be gone!”
Suddenly they were hurled backwards. Harry and Hermione blinked as the bedroom came back into focus. They were both sprawled over the bedroom floor.
“Sorry Hermione, I should have realised.”
“No matter,” she said pleasantly. “Look, you might as well go back now.”
“Oh, okay then.”
Harry got up and plunged his head into the mist, fully intending to rebuke Dumbledore for his rudeness towards Hermione, except this time his nose collided painfully with the bottom of the stone pensieve.
“Ow!” he cried, straightening up and rubbing his nose.
“It vanished, Harry! The memory went as soon as you put your face in it.”
“That’s ridiculous,” said Harry, stepping back.
“You must have absorbed it somehow.”
Harry faltered, wondering why the room was growing dimmer. It seemed to be spinning around now, too.
He barely heard Hermione yell, “Harry!”
He wondered for a moment why she was lunging for him. Then the floor seemed to jump up at him, and he knew no more.
Harry opened his eyes and looked around. He seemed to be floating on a fine white mist. He lay still for a moment, trying to get his bearings. Unfortunately, the sky seemed to consist of nothing but the same mist.
He made to sit up from his lying position, but found that he had come upright.
Harry then felt himself sink slowly down through the mist until his feet came to rest gently on red carpet.
“Ah!” said a familiar voice. “Welcome!”
Harry struggled to find his voice.
“Mr Potter, my name is Albus Dumbledore. I am, or was, Headmaster of Hogwarts. You may call me Professor or Sir.”
“Please, Mr Potter, take a seat.”
Harry just stood there staring at Dumbledore. The shock of seeing his Headmaster again had rooted him to the spot.
“Very well,” said Dumbledore pleasantly, rising from his chair. “First of all, Mr Potter, I’d like to congratulate you upon surviving to this point. I planned for us to have this little conversation a few days before your Seventeenth birthday.”
Dumbledore smiled, perhaps recognising the dumbfounded look on Harry’s face.
“Ah, you are perhaps wondering how it can be that a mere memory is able to interact with you? You see, the clever thing is that your mind is-”
Harry shook his head slowly and Dumbledore halted.
“No?” said Dumbledore, sounding a little disappointed.
Harry’s shock was quickly becoming replaced with anger. He clenched his fists in a vain attempt to control himself.
“What ever is the matter, Mr Potter?”
“WHY DID YOU STOP ME?!”
“I beg your pardon?”
Harry wasn’t listening at all now. All his pent-up emotions seemed to surge up within him.
“I could have helped! Why did you have to put a full body bind on me? You allowed Malfoy to disarm you! I could have saved you!”
Harry paused to take breath.
“Mr Potter,” said Dumbledore gently, “we have never met. What you see before you is a mere memory of myself.”
“Stop calling me that!” demanded Harry. “Call me Harry. You’ve always called me Harry.”
“Thank you, Harry. Please, take a seat; unless you’d rather shout at me some more? I’m flattered of course, but don’t you think you should be getting past this?”
Still fuming, Harry sat down in the handsome leather armchair and Dumbledore sat again too.
“You will have realised, Harry, that you are at present within one of my memories. Actually, it would be truer to say that my memory is within you now.”
Harry nodded shakily, noticing that the Dumbledore opposite him looked several years younger than he remembered him.
“From my perspective, Harry, I have just returned from Privet Drive having left you in the care of your Aunt and Uncle. As this memory will not be updated, I will know nothing at all about the intervening period.”
“Oh,” said Harry.
“Don’t worry, I’m not remotely curious to know what happened,” said the Professor.
“I’d have thought you’d be curious to know if Voldemort is still after me or not,” said Harry darkly. “He is, by the way.”
“Voldemort will be quite irrelevant to our discussions, Harry,” said Dumbledore lightly.
“What about Snape? He murdered you, right in front of me. You were wrong to trust him, just like I always told you.”
“What do you want me to say, Harry? I do not claim not to make mistakes. I happen to believe in giving people a chance to redeem themselves. I accept that there are always risks with this approach.”
“Risks?” exclaimed Harry.
“Indeed. I assume this Snape is the same individual I am considering appointing to my staff?”
“Oh, well. Perhaps I was betrayed; and perhaps I was not.”
“How can you say that?”
“Harry, my trust is irrelevant now. I am here for your benefit, not mine. How many of your friends and advisors will betray you, I wonder?”
“Leave my friends out of this. I know who I can trust!”
“As sure as I, perhaps? Or perhaps even as sure as your parents were of their friend, Sirius Black?”
Harry scowled at Dumbledore.
“Sirius didn’t betray my parents. They switched secret-keepers at the last moment. Peter Petigrew betrayed them.”
Dumbledore merely shrugged and said, “My point remains the same.”
Harry looked away, still angry at Dumbledore’s suggestion that one of his friends might betray him.
Eventually, the silence between them dragged on and gradually his anger subsided. After all, this wasn’t the same Dumbledore he had known.
“Um, Professor?” asked Harry. “How come we can interact if this is only a memory? In all of the other memories I’ve seen, the people in them just ignored me.”
“Oh, it’s just a trick, really. You see, I have merely anticipated the questions you will ask and recorded my answers. If you ask something I didn’t anticipate, then I imagine I’d be stuck for an answer.”
“I see. Do you think you would have recorded any more recent memories like this?”
“It seems likely, Harry.”
“Harry, may I ask you something? I should point out that as I am only a memory, your answers might be considered as wasted.”
Harry smiled and said, “Ask me anything.”
“Thank you, Harry. Tell me, precisely how old are you?”
“I’ll be seventeen in just over a week’s time.”
“Good. Where are you living now?”
“I’m still at Privet Drive.”
“Ah, so your Aunt and Uncle never moved?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“How have you felt recently, Harry?”
“Strange,” Harry replied honestly. “It’s like I’m expecting something to happen. Will that go when I wake up?”
“No,” Dumbledore said apologetically. “I’m afraid you will need to stay a few days longer and your feelings will be important to the process.”
“Professor, why did you ask me to return here again? I mean, is it really worth it just for these last few days?”
“Oh, yes, Harry. You see, the protections I placed upon you will expire when you come of age.”
“Yes, but I still don’t see why I can’t go now.”
“You could leave now, but you would miss out on the protections I intended you to have as a man.”
“Harry, how would you describe yourself in wizarding terms?”
“What are you good at? What do you enjoy at Hogwarts?”
“Flying,” Harry answered at once. “I’m good at that, but I’m just average at most things.”
“Average? Is that how others describe you?”
“All that stuff in the papers is just rubbish. I had help or I was lucky.”
“Harry, you seem to forget. I have never spoken a word to another soul nor have I read a newspaper since you were a baby. Please, tell me.”
“Most of my friends say I’m good a Defence Against the Dark Arts. I learned quite a bit when I was entered in the Tri-Wizard Tournament.”
Dumbledore raised his eyebrows and said, “Go on.”
Harry swallowed the pang that hit him whenever he thought of the Tournament, very much aware the Dumbledore was watching him intently.
Harry willed away the vision of Cedric and proceeded to describe how he taught the DA members but seemed to dwell on the things he had difficulties with.
“Do you often need your friend Hermione to show you how to perform charms?”
Harry realised he’d been speaking rather a lot about Hermione’s efforts to help him.
“Well, it depends,” Harry answered coyly.
“Well, Harry. Thank you for that. I expect you’d like to know why I placed this memory for you to enter?”
Dumbledore paused to consider his words carefully.
“Let’s just say that from my perspective, I knew that there was a very real possibility that my living counterpart might not live to see you even enter Hogwarts, let alone see you Graduate.”
Harry looked down.
“I needed a method through which I could give you certain information. I should also say, that it was my intention not to give you too much too early.”
Harry did not reply.
“Ah,” said Dumbledore. “I assume from your expression that I erred at some point.”
“Oh, well. You are still alive, so the situation can perhaps be rectified.”
“Professor, I think you told me everything eventually.”
“Really? Harry, do you have your wand?”
“Well, would you mind bringing that book over to me? It’s on my desk.”
Harry started. He hadn’t noticed a desk there at all before that moment.
He got up and collected a weighty volume that had been placed right in the middle. He brought it back and offered it to Dumbledore.
“No, Harry. That book is for you. Take a look at the subject,” he suggested.
Harry frowned and looked down at the front of the leather bound book. The title was embossed in gold lettering.
“Wandless Magic Grade One by Albus Dumbledore,” Harry read aloud. He looked up and said, “I didn’t know you wrote any textbooks, Professor.”
“Oh, what a shame. Actually, I wrote that book while I was waiting for you to appear. I’m afraid I got rather bored at times. Fortunately, perhaps, I haven’t resorted to writing my memoirs just yet.”
“Professor, wouldn’t more advanced defensive magic be more useful?” suggested Harry.
Dumbledore clicked his fingers and instantly ropes appeared out of thin air and tied themselves tightly around Harry’s ankles. He was then hoisted unceremoniously into the air.
“Okay!” shouted Harry. “I take it back! Wandless magic might be just as useful as more advanced defensive magic!”
“Thank you for not dropping the book, Harry,” said Dumbledore with a smile. “When you wake I’d like you to read the first Chapter and try to understand the theory. Don’t worry about attempting any of the exercises just yet. We’ll do that when we meet next.”
“Professor, can I control when that will be?”
“That would be a rather good idea, Harry,” said Dumbledore, clicking his fingers again. Harry felt the ropes release him and he plummeted towards the carpet, but hit only white mist that completely enveloped him.
“Well, I only promised not to do magic inside the house, didn’t I?”
Harry receives a copy of the first volume in a series of unpublished spell books written by Dumbledore.
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