School had been out for two weeks, for the boy with messy black hair and a lightening shaped scar. Two weeks which he had spent with no contact from his friends, while living with the Dursleys. He was almost sure someone had tried to call him, but Uncle Vernon had yelled and hung up, not even revealing if the person had been a male or a female.
He had changed quite a lot in the last few weeks. None of it for the good. His usually bright green eyes had lost their light and were sunken, surrounded by dark, sleepless circles. His usually thin frame had become dangerously thin, with the weight of his grief and guilt crushing his appetite. If his relatives had noticed a change in him, they didn’t mention or ask about it. In fact it seemed as if his Aunt Petunia had more chores than ever for him to do. Harry actually welcomed the work, as it kept him from thinking about Sirius, who would still be alive if it wasn’t for him.
Perhaps things would have been different if Harry had been receiving letters from his friends, or if he had not been sent directly back to Privet Drive. At the Dursley’s the loneliness had set in and without anyone to talk to it burrowed itself deep into the heart of the boy-who-lived.
He had survived in spite of facing Voldemort, the darkest wizard ever born, and protecting the Sorcerers Stone, in his first year. He saved Ginny, his best friend’s sister, and defeated a Basilisk, before once again defeating Voldemort. These things he faced with the true bravery and heart of a Griffindor. Even when he thought the dark wizard, who killed his parents, had escaped prison to come after him, he stayed true to his nature and was prepared to fight him.
Of course he learned that Sirius Black was not a dark wizard, but his godfather, who could save him from the Dursleys, only to lose him, as he fled from the Ministry. Still as things were, Harry had not given up hope. He had his friends and the thought that one day he could leave the Dursleys and live with Sirius to sustain him.
When his fourth year came he wasn’t expecting to have to fight for him life so completely, but after being transported by the Tri-Wizard cup to a cemetery, that’s exactly what happened. Voldemort re-birthed himself with the help of Harry’s own blood and then tried to kill him. Once again Harry escaped, though Cedric Diggory who had been transported with him had not been so lucky. Harry had felt much guilt over the death of his schoolmate, but with the support of his friends, worked through it. He was more determined than ever to stop Voldemort.
Finally last year, his fifth year had come and along with it the worst times of his life. He was almost expelled and had to face Umbridge, who wanted nothing more than to get rid of Harry. Voldemort started invading his dreams and because of it Sirius was killed. Harry blamed himself completely for Sirius’s death, and now he had no one to distract him from his self-deprecating thoughts. His dreams were plagued, but this time with visions of his own making. He slept little each night afraid to see Sirius falling through the veil in his dreams.
Harry didn’t know, but several times Hedwig had gone to see his friends hoping they would have a letter for him, but they never did. They always apologized, and after tried to convince someone who could help, that Harry was in trouble. Why else would his owl keep coming with no message to deliver? The answer was always the same. It was not safe for him to leave his relatives yet, and the post could be intercepted. Ron had gone so far as to ask the twins to help him, but now as members of the Order they refused. Harry had no way of knowing how worried his friends really were.
It had been Hermione who tried to call him. She had finally gotten tired of following the rules, to the detriment of Harry, and picked up the phone. Ginny spent most her time in her room writing letters to Harry that her mother never let her send. They all knew his tendency to brood and blame himself and were frustrated that they seemed to be the only ones worried. This time it would seem that Dumbledore was giving Harry too much credit.
Harry woke up the same as he had every other morning since returning to Privet Drive, tired and depressed. He looked toward the window and saw several owls waiting for him to take their burdens. He hadn’t even realized it was his sixteenth birthday.
They hadn’t been given permission to send Harry anything, but Ron, Hermione, and Ginny all agreed that they could not let Harry’s birthday pass with no word. As usual Harry found Hedwig laden with a gift from Hermione and a short note.
Happy Birthday. I hope you are all right. We are all really worried about you. They won’t let us write you at all. I had to sneak out in the middle of the night to send you this. Please don’t be angry. We miss you.
Harry crumpled up the paper and threw it at his overflowing waste basket. He didn’t take the package, but instead sent Hedwig back to Hermione’s and told her not to leave until Hermione took back her gift. Pig was there too carrying a small package and two letters.
Happy Birthday. I don’t have time to write much. Mum will kill me if she finds out I’m sending you something. Hope to see you soon.
This letter too went straight into the bin. He hesitated before opening the other letter. It was longer than the other two and from Ginny. He shooed Pig out of his room with the package still attached to his leg and told him to go home. He was surprised that her letter would be the longest. He felt something like a smile stirring inside him, but it faded as quickly as it had come. He opened the letter.
I hope you are doing all right. If only you knew how many letters I have written you that I wasn’t allowed to send. I am grounded until tomorrow for trying to send you a letter a week ago. If they don’t let you leave soon, or at least let us write to you, I am going to find a way, no matter how much trouble I get into. You are probably feeling abandoned, and I can’t blame you. I know I would be angry at once again finding myself cut off from everyone and everything that means something to me. I also know you are probably blaming yourself for everything that happened at the Ministry. Harry, you can’t let it destroy you. Blame Voldemort. He deserves it, and you deserve to be with people who love you, when you are hurting. Hedwig keeps showing up waiting for letters to bring you, and after each time she comes we beg mum and dad to let us come to you, but they always say not yet. If they find out about this, I will be grounded forever, but I had to let you know, you still have friends. We want to see you. Please don’t give up.
P.S. Try and have a happy birthday
Harry folded her letter neatly and slipped it inside his trunk. He didn’t know why her letter had made him feel better, but it did. She understood exactly how he was feeling, and instead of pretending his birthday was the most important thing, she had written to him about what was really important.
The final owl Harry recognized as belonging to Hogwarts. Harry took the letter and the owl left. His owl scores had arrived and he didn’t even care. Instead of opening his Hogwarts letter he stuck it in his trunk.
The days passed slowly for Harry. He would do his chores and then return to his room until someone called him down to cook or clean something else. Over the next two weeks he read Ginny’s letter at least once a day. For some strange reason it gave him a small measure of comfort. School was just over two weeks away when Harry received a letter from Ron.
Dumbledore finally said you could come stay with us. Isn’t it great? Hermione’s going to be here too. Someone is going to come get you on Monday at noon if that’s okay. Write back and let us know. Here’s to seeing you soon.
Harry crumpled the letter up and threw it all the wall. He had already given up on leaving the Dursleys before school and now Ron was writing him as if nothing was wrong. As if he should be happy that some old man had just given him permission to be released from his prison. He didn’t want to be around a bunch of happy people. He looked in the mirror and realized he looked terrible. If he went to the Burrow, they would all fuss over him and talk about him behind his back. Forget that, he thought.
Forget it. I might as well stay here until school starts. I wouldn’t want to put anyone else at risk, and besides I might not be safe any where else, since I can’t even be trusted to receive simple letters from my friends. See you Sept. 1st, I guess.
P.S. tell Ginny I said thanks
Harry sent the letter off to the Burrow with Hedwig. He realized then that it had been several days since his last shower. He had a feeling that someone might come check up on him anyway, so he decided he better at least try to look presentable. Sure enough that evening there was a knock at the front door. Harry ignored it and stayed in his room, but he couldn’t ignore the knock at his bedroom door.
“What?” Harry called.
“Can I come in?” she asked.
Harry sat up. He hadn’t been expecting to hear the voice that came from the other side of the door. It was Ginny.
“I guess.” Harry replied swinging his legs over the edge of his bed.
The door opened slowly and Ginny stepped inside. The only light in the room was coming from the lamp on Harry’s desk. Harry was glad it was dark, so that she couldn’t get a good look at him.
“I guess you got my letter.” He offered.
Ginny nodded and sat on the bed next to Harry. She looked around his room, which was just short of being a disaster. His clothes were all over the place.
“Harry, you should have written us. I knew you were upset, but even in this light I can see you look awful. You have to come with us to the Burrow.” She said putting her hand on his shoulder. Her eyes widened momentarily in shock. He was just skin and bones. “If you want, I’ll talk to everyone first, and convince them not to bother you about how you’re doing.”
For the first time since she had come in, he looked up at her. She saw for the first time how empty his eyes had become, and it was all she could do not to cry.
“How do you always know what I am thinking?” He asked.
Ginny shrugged. “I don’t know, but what I do know is that you have to get out of this house, and spend some time with the people that care about you.”
Ginny stood and began gathering up his things and putting them in his trunk. It was then that she noticed two things. One was that he had saved her letter and the other was that he hadn’t opened his Hogwarts letter. She knew it was important, but she decided first to get him to come to the Burrow and to worry about the other stuff later.
“Who came with you and why did you come instead of Ron or Hermione?” Harry asked.
“Professor Lupin is downstairs and I came because I wanted to, and because we figured after your letter you weren’t as upset with me as you were with everyone else.” Ginny started. “Do you have any other stuff you need for school?”
Harry shook his head. “I still say I should stay here. You are all safer without me.” He told her.
Ginny shut his trunk and crossed over to Harry. She took his face in her hands. “Listen to me Harry. The truth is I feel safer with you around. Please come with me to the Burrow.”
He looked into her eyes and saw only the truth. She really did want him to come. “All right, but you have to talk to everyone first.”
She smiled. “I’ll go home and have a talk with everyone and Monday morning I’ll be expecting you. You can use floo to our house from Mrs. Figgs house. If you don’t show up before noon, I’m going to come after you myself. Is that clear?”
“Yes ma’am.” Harry said giving her the closest thing to a smile, he had shown in weeks.
“Do you want to talk to Professor Lupin tonight, or should I tell him to wait until you come to the Burrow?” Ginny asked.
“I can’t talk to him yet.” Harry told her.
“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.” Ginny said.
She bent down slightly and hugged him. He felt himself putting his arms around her. He was surprised that Ginny would be the one to make him feel better. She left him alone again and shut his door behind her. He laid back down on his bed and stared up at the ceiling.
Why did he feel so glad that it was Ginny who had come to see him. She was being so nice and he liked how she knew just how he was feeling without asking.
Ginny headed downstairs and rejoined Remus. He looked at her hopefully, but she shook her head. Once they were outside, she started crying, angry tears.
“We are calling Dumbledore and he is going to come to the Burrow tonight.” She said.
“What’s this about Ginny?” Remus asked.
“What do you think?” Ginny started. She wasn’t normally so forceful with adults, especially those not in her family. But this was different. She was so angry about what the supposedly knowledgeable adults had done to Harry. “Harry looked like death. He was barely skin and bones. I don’t think he has had a goodnight sleep in weeks and all the happiness was gone from his eyes. All of you think you know what’s best for him, and instead you are slowly draining the life out of him.”
“Surely, it can’t be all that bad?” Remus asked, though he knew Ginny wouldn’t lie, not about this anyway. “Harry is a strong person.”
“It’s probably worse. I couldn’t see him very well.” Ginny told him. “Even the strongest person will be crushed if the weight is enough. I almost didn’t recognize him. He’s like a shadow of the Harry, we have all come to love.”
Inwardly Remus cringed. If he was really as bad as she was describing, he might never be the same. He hoped they hadn’t made a mistake. When they arrived at the Burrow Ginny’s righteous anger was still boiling and Ron read it all over her face.
“What is it Ginny?” He asked.
She told him about Harry and how he had acted, and soon Ron’s anger joined her own. Ginny was a formidable force on her own, but with Ron on her side they couldn’t be ignored. Ginny told her mother about Harry hoping to appeal to her instincts. Once Molly was on their side it was decided and Dumbledore was summoned, top priority to the Burrow.
The twinkle was taken out of his eyes when he arrived to find three very upset Weasleys and a very concerned Remus Lupin. Dumbledore knew only one thing could have so many people in such a state.
“What has happened?” Dumbledore asked.
“What has happened?” Ginny shouted. “You should know. You’re the one who caused it.”
“Ginny,” Molly said quietly, “That’s enough.”
“It would seem what the children have been warning of us all summer was a need for concern, Albus.” Remus stated. “Apparently Harry has been having some real problems coping with all that has happened.”
“Problems coping?” Ron exclaimed. “Ginny said he’s near starved himself, hasn’t been sleeping, and he acts as though he’s in a room full of dementors. On top of that he probably hates us.”
Could it really have gotten that bad, Dumbledore thought?
“I’m sure things aren’t as bad as they seem. When is he coming?” Dumbledore asked.
“Why aren’t you taking this seriously?” Ginny cried. “He wasn’t going to come at all. I managed to convince him to come on Monday only by promising that I would make sure all of you won’t fuss over him. You’ve ruined him.”
Ginny ran from the room and out the kitchen door. Ron chased after her.
“There is nothing that can be done until he arrives. I will be here and we shall see if things are as bad as she says.” Dumbledore started. “Perhaps her fondness for him is making things worse than it seems.”
“I don’t think so, Albus.” Molly said. “It is true, she cares deeply for Harry, but she would not exaggerate about his. If anything she may have over looked things out of her caring for him.”
“We will see. I will be back Monday morning.” Dumbledore said.
Secretly he was as concerned as they, but there was nothing to be done about it until Monday.
Ron found Ginny in the garden crying. He sat beside her and put an arm over her shoulder. “Harry will be all right.” Ron said.
“I hope so.” Ginny replied. “You didn’t see him.”
“Once he’s here, things will get better. Mum’s cooking will fatten him up a bit and he’ll feel better in no time.” Ron told her. “We’ll cheer him up.”
“He doesn’t want cheering. He wants understanding. Ron when he comes, you and Hermione can’t start in on him. You have to leave him alone and give him time.” Ginny said. “He doesn’t want to have a bunch of people smothering him and telling him how happy he should be.”
“All right, Ginny.” Ron said. “Now will you come back inside?"
Ginny nodded and she and Ron walked back to the house. Their mother was the only one left in the living room. Ginny secured her promise that she would withhold her concerns when Harry arrived. Ginny sent a letter to Hermione and then went to bed.
Sunday morning Harry was presented with a list of chores to be completed before he could leave the next day. He mowed the yard, and weeded the flower beds. He was also instructed to clean the house from top to bottom, and make sure all the laundry was done. He was tempted to take his time so that he wouldn’t have to leave, but instead he finished as quickly as possible.
By Sunday evening Harry had started to regret his telling Ginny that he would come stay at the Burrow. He didn’t doubt that she would try to keep her word, but he just couldn’t imagine that his friends would give him the space he wanted. He fell into bed that night and drifted into a fitful sleep.
He awoke at dawn on Monday morning. He showered and dressed in his least ill fitting outfit. He went downstairs and sat at the kitchen table until it was time to fix breakfast for his relatives. When they had eaten and he had cleaned the dishes, he realized he could wait no longer. Harry had no doubt that Ginny would drag him to the Burrow if he failed to show up.
He fetched his things from his room and dragged them downstairs. He said goodbye to his aunt and cousin, who made no reply and headed to Mrs. Figg’s house. He stood on her porch and knocked on the door. She opened it at once and ushered him inside. Harry went straight to the fire place and threw on the floo powder Mrs. Figg held out to him. The flames turned green and he stepped inside.
“The Burrow.” Harry said, and he was gone.
Write a Review Harry Potter and the Dagda's Harp: Chapter 1 The Lonliest Boy