Chapter 2 : "Ten and a Quarter Inches Long, Swishy, Made of Willow"
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Harry awoke with a start. He had just been in Madam Puddifoot’s with Luna, talking
about Sirius and Cedric. But just as she opened her mouth to order another tea with
radishes, a voice quite unlike her own issued forth.
“Get up, boy! For the first and last time in your life, you have visitors.”
Scrambling to find his glasses , Harry sat up just in time to see the hulking, bear-like
frame of his uncle disappear into the hallway. Despite his just-woken stupor, he managed
to shed his nightwear and don a tattered pair of jeans and a shirt with surprising haste.
On his way out of the room, he glanced in the mirror just long enough to ensure that he
had not forgotten any essential articles of clothing.
He heard a familiar growl wafting its way upstairs even as he raced down the hallway.
The voice came into sharper relief once he was on the stairs.
“So we’ll be taking the Potter boy back with us as soon as he’s…”
“Professor Moody!” Harry exclaimed as he rounded the corner into the living room. The
faces of Kinsley Shacklebolt, Nymphadora Tonks, and Arthur Weasley looked up,
smiling, at his entrance. Moody wore what was for him a fairly cheerful grimace. Even
his Uncle Vernon seemed pleased by the news he was receiving.
“Like I told you last year, Potter,” Moody began, “I’m not your teacher, never was. Only
that living bit of filth taught you that year,” he continued, darkly. But it seemed that he
realized his menacing tone, because he immediately lightened. “Call me Moody, Potter.
And we’re here to take you away from this place.”
“You hear that, boy? You’ll be taking your unnaturalness from our home,” Uncle
Vernon interrupted, positively beaming now. “Well, what are you waiting for? Get your
things and get out!”
Without another word, Harry bolted from the room, back up the stairs, and into his
bedroom to pack all of his belongings, which took a relatively short period of time. After
cramming his assorted spellbooks, dark detectors, clothing, and robes into his dilapidated
suitcase, he grabbed Hedwig’s cage and headed back out the door. The task of lugging
his now heavy trunk down the hallway may have been daunting, but upon reaching the
stairs, Harry found himself facing an entirely new obstacle.
Suddenly he remembered a certain charm Professor Flitwick had performed on Professor
Trelawny’s luggage the year before. Harry had his wand halfway out of his pocket when
he remembered also the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Wizardry,
which had gotten him into a very tight spot nearly one year ago. He very carefully
replaced the wand in his pocket and padded down the stairs and toward the living room.
From the door way, he motioned for Tonks to come over.
“Hey Tonks, could you help me get my suitcase down the stairs?”
“Sure thing, Harry,” Tonks replied. “No need to show me where the stairs are,” Tonks
followed up, seeing Harry starting to lead her out of the room. The corners of her mouth
formed into a mischievous smile and her voice dropped to a whisper as she added, “I
remember from the last time we broke in here.”
Harry returned her smiling, remembering when Tonks had written a letter that sent the
Dursleys to the fictitious prize-giving of the made-up “All-England Best-Kept Suburban
Lawn Competition.” Instead, she, Lupin, Shacklebolt, Moody, and a torrent of others
from the Order had shown up to take Harry to Grimmauld Place, his godfather’s house…
The conversation next door woke Harry from his thoughts.
“But really, what do you use compoders…”
“Computers,” Uncle Vernon corrected him disdainfully.
“Yes, that is to say, computers. What exactly to you use them for that you could not do
with a bit of parchment and a quill?”
“I think the conversation might have to wait until another time,” Moody interjected. “I
think Potter is waiting for us.”
“I don’t see him,” Uncle Vernon cut in rather rudely, adding swiftly, “not that I object to
Harry came out from behind the door frame, but didn’t feel like explaining to his
bewildered uncle Moody’s magical eye, which could see through solid objects. The need
to explain vanished, however, when a loud yelp that Harry recognized as being Tonks’s
voice came from the other room, followed by a crash and the sound of shattering glass.
“What the bloody hell?” yelled Uncle Vernon, starting up.
“Mr. Dursley, just stay there,” Mr. Weasley said, ushering him back to his seat.
“Whatever that was, Tonks’ll fix it up right and you’ll never know that anything was ever
Uncle Vernon didn’t look very inclined to let any barbaric wizard “fix it up,” but backed
into his seat anyway, possibly intimidated by the three wizards surrounding him, shaking
their heads in agreement.
Harry looked up as Tonks reentered the room, followed closely by, to Harry’s surprise,
Aunt Petunia, who beckoned him over with a meek wave of her hand. “Harry, could I
have a word with you?”
“Uh, sure,” Harry replied, not really knowing what else to say. For the first time since
arriving at Privet Drive, Harry thought he saw some mild affection in his aunt’s eyes as
they stepped out into the hallway.
“Harry, I… well, I wanted to apologize for how you’ve had to live here all of these years.
Vernon can be absolutely unreasonable about some things sometimes. I’m also sorry for
how cold I’ve been with you about my sister. The truth is, I was always… I was always a
little jealous of her.” This last sentence hit Harry like a steamroller. He stood there,
rooted in place, mind reeling, as Aunt Petunia continued. “I always used to read these
fantasy books; I loved those stories, and when she actually got to live in one and I
didn’t… It just made me a bit bitter, but I always still loved her.” As he looked into his
aunt’s anguished face, an entirely new and strange emotion spread through Harry: pity.
“The night she and your father died, Dumbledore left you with us, on our front porch.
When I found you and the note about my sister, I screamed and fainted. Luckily, Vernon
was nearby, and brought us back in the house. It took some doing, but when I woke up, I
convinced Vernon to do what the note said: ‘take care of the bundle in the basket.’ But
you weren’t the only thing in the basket,” continued Aunt Petunia, shaking and looking
somewhat teary. “This is your mother’s wand,” she said, drawing a long, thin box from
her pocket. “I expect they’ll be telling Vernon this in the other room, and that he’ll be
delighted to hear it, but you won’t be coming back here any more. I think that you should
be the one to take care of this now.”
With that, she handed him the box and hurried away before Harry could say a word. He
stood there, dumbfounded, staring at the package in his hands. Only when Tonks’s voice
called him back into the living room did he remember that he was getting ready to
leave… “for good,” a voice in his head added.
As Harry entered the living room, his uncle leapt up and jubilantly exclaimed, “Out you
go, boy, you and your unnaturalness, gone forever!” He laughed merrily as he got up to
show the group the way to the door.
Tonks rolled her eyes as she pulled a miniature Firebolt model out of her pocket.
Pointing her wand at it, she muttered, “portus,” and looked up at the others in the room.
“Wotcher, Harry! Alright, everyone, let’s move out.”
As Harry, along with Tonks, Moody, Kingsley, and Mr. Weasley, took hold of the model,
he felt a familiar tugging sensation behind his navel, and was yanked forward by the
This being his sixth time traveling by portkey, Harry was used to the sensation, and was
only slightly jolted by the landing. When he opened his eyes back up, he was in
Grimmauld Place, approximately five feet away from a werewolf, whose eyes were fixed