Chapter 1 : Late Night Visitor
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NOTE: With the exception of any original characters my mind may create, no one else belongs to me. All characters and places belong to the brilliant J.K. Rowling. That said, this is my first fan fic so be kind, or honest, whatever you want. Read, Review, Enjoy!
A hot wind swept down Privet Dr, lending no relief to the sweltering mid-summer heat. While most slept soundly in their homes comforted by their cool air machines, one teenager remained awake, abandoning the stuffy air in his small bedroom to climb onto the roof where it remained only a few degrees cooler than inside. He ran his hands through his sweaty hair, lightly brushing the lightning shaped scar he wore upon his forehead. Adjusting the round glasses which framed his emerald eyes, he brought the book he’d been given closer to his face, trying to read in the moonlight.
Harry gave up with a heavy sigh. This wasn’t helping him stay awake and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could fight the grogginess that always came over him when it was so hot outside. Tossing the book aside, he wondered how Hermione had finally convinced him to read Hogwarts: A History. Climbing to his feet and taking a stealthy walk around the roof to revive himself, he silently cursed his uncle who had closed off the vents going into Harry’s room so that the rest of the house would receive more of the synthetic cold air. He didn’t know but often wondered what he had done to warrant the treatment he’d received his whole life. It was a problem he often tried to figure out the answer to, but he didn’t have much of a chance this time, becoming distracted by the familiar image of a snowy owl flying toward him on her way back from hunting. Smiling widely, he held out his arm so that she could easily land. Hedwig, always careful not to dig her claws in too deep, latched on quickly before walking up to his shoulder where she perched herself and cooed quietly in his ear as if asking why he was still awake at such a late hour.
But no matter the hour, Harry couldn’t fall asleep; the incident at the Department of Mysteries was haunting his conscience. If I don’t sleep, I don’t dream, he silently answered the owl’s unasked question. The dream, or nightmare rather, was always the same- a flash of imagery that included Neville’s bloody nose, Luna helping Ginny walk on a broken ankle, Ron being attacked by brains, Hermione’s unconscious body, and ending with Sirius falling through that dark veil. He shuddered to himself just remembering it all and felt a sudden flash of anger. All of it, every bit, was his fault because he’d let himself be tricked by Voldemort and those working with him. The famous Harry Potter had gotten his friends hurt because he just had to play the hero again. And what had happened? Sirius and the others had needed to come save him instead, resulting in the death of his godfather.
"Harry Potter!" a small voice shouted in excitement, knocking him out of his fevered reverie. He was so startled, he lost his footing and landed hard on his back before sliding helplessly to the edge of the roof. He desperately grabbed for the gutter and caught it with both hands, leaving him to swing helplessly a few stories above the ground. "Harry Potter must hold on! Dobby is helping!"
And sure enough, the funny little head of Dobby the house elf appeared above him, clad in three large unusually shaped hats. "Hi Dobby." Harry said tiredly as he hung from the roof.
The elf rubbed his knobby little hands together. "Harry Potter lets go now."
"Are you sure?" He asked looked down. He knew the fall wouldn’t be great enough to kill him, but he couldn’t help but wonder just how many bones he could break if Dobby screwed this up.
"Harry Potter must trusts Dobby now sir."
And so he did. Carefully letting go of the gutter, he found himself floating in midair until he was once more able to feel the springy roof beneath his feet. "Thanks." Harry said as Hedwig hooted angrily from the window ledge. "I’m okay." He assured both her and the elf.
"Dobby is very sorry sir! Dobby did not mean to surprise Harry Potter, Dobby was sent with a message. Professor Dumbledore trusts Dobby and no one else to delivers Harry Potter his letter." He said proudly as he presented the envelope.
Holding it up in the soft glow of the nearly full moon, Harry recognized Hermione’s small, neat writing. "This isn’t from Dumbledore."
"No sir, Professor Dumbledore only asks Dobby to brings a message from Harry Potter’s friends. Professor Dumbledore says Harry Potter will be happy to have news on his birthday." Dobby answered with a wide smile.
"Well, come on, let’s go back inside before the neighbors wake up." He began making his way through the window, the small elf following close behind him.
"It is too hots in here sir." Dobby said looking uncomfortably around the room as he tossed the book Harry had forgotten on the bed.
"Sorry about that." Harry said, wanting to tear open the envelope but having the decency to try and wait for the visit to be over.
"Dobby can fix it." The elf answered, once more rubbing his hands together and ending with a sharp snap. Harry was amazed as the temperature dropped instantly and he began to see his breath puff out in the air in front of him.
"Too cold I think." He said through his suddenly chattering teeth, as the frigidness mingled with the sweat and turned his skin cold and clammy.
Dobby made an adjustment and the room evened out to a comfortably spring-like coolness. "Harry Potter likes this better?"
"Yes, thank you very much." Harry smiled and stretched away the sleepiness that the heat had brought over him.
"Dobby will leave Harry Potter to his letter. Dobby must be getting backs, sir, as we is preparing the castle for the students to return. We is very busy now, cleaning and scrubbing. Dobby likes being busy all the time and must gets back."
"Well, I won’t keep you. Thanks for bringing this to me, and I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself."
"Dobby is excited to have Harry Potter back at school soon." The small elf looked down shyly, the three hats he wore swaying on his head. "Happy Birthday!" he added before disappearing with the snap of his fingers.
Alone in the room at last, he let go of the small bit of patience he had and tore into his letter. As soon as the envelope was open, Hermione’s voice floated out of it quietly surrounding him as she began.
"July 30 8:00 p.m.
Ron and I and the rest of the Weasley’s just arrived at the usual place. We had expected to use an owl to get this to you, but as I’m sure you know by now, Dumbledore showed up with Dobby. But speaking of OWL.s, have you gotten your grades yet? I know WE haven’t. I shall have to speak with Dumbledore the next time he’s here. We were supposed to get those weeks ago. I know you were expecting a letter from Moony or Tonks, but they agreed to let us tell you the good news. I’m sorry I haven’t written more over the summer, I wanted to but they had told us it wasn’t a good idea. But that’s over now! Oh, hold on. Ronald wants to say something."
"Hey Harry mate. Can you believe how she begins a letter? Personally the longer it takes to get back our OWL results the better. I wanted to write too, of course, but mum and dad said we could put you in danger, having owls swooping all over your house now that You-Know-Who is looking for you. But boy do I have a lot to tell you! So much has happened, but I think it’d be better in person, now that we’re so close to seeing each other. Anyway, how are the muggles treating you? A fair lot better I expect after the Order talked with them end of last year."
Harry closed the envelope there and took a minute to reflect. True, Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had been better to him, for about two weeks. They of course made sure Harry wrote "his freaks" every other day, but they monitored what he put into the letters, breathing down his neck as he wrote. There was no way for him to mention that his food portions were getting smaller by the day as Vernon and Dudley made themselves fatter. Or that he was getting the occasional smack around for not doing chores in a timely manner. It seemed that this year, when Harry most wanted to be left alone, they were always there. Uncle Vernon especially had turned meaner than he ever had, never once all summer calling him by his name. It was always "Boy" or "Idiot boy" or "Freak" and there was always something Harry was doing wrong that deserved discipline; being too loud, being too quiet…. breathing.
If only he could do magic to emphasize the point the Order tried to make when they’d threatened the Dursleys. But no, Harry could face evil wizards, centaurs, death eaters, trolls and dementors, but the muggles he has to stay with he can not lay a hand on, or wand in this case. If only you could see me now Ron. He thought bitterly. Big strong Harry Potter, forced to scrub toilets and getting beaten if they aren’t spotless. Harry looked at his arms which were covered in small finger shaped bruises and scratches from being grabbed and thrown around by the massive man. If only Vernon weren’t so much bigger than him, he might be able to fight back.
And then he smiled with remembrance. It had been two weeks, but the memory still held great satisfaction. He had been out back mowing the lawn and wrapped up in thoughts of his friends and why they hadn’t written him. Distracted he had accidentally mowed over part of Aunt Petunia’s garden. A very small part, he had thought that no one normal would notice. But Vernon had been on him in an instant, as if he had been watching for Harry to screw up. The shouting red faced man had been storming toward him and seeing the garden hose on the ground, he’d pictured it wrapping itself around his uncle like a snake, stopping his tirade in it’s tracks before he could inflict harm on his nephew. Harry had reached behind him, had felt his wand in his pocket. He never went anywhere without it. And then suddenly, though he could have sworn to himself that he hadn’t said a spell, hadn’t even pulled his wand out, the hose had tangled itself around Vernon’s feet, tripping him so that all his mass landed hard and bounced slightly as he fell to the ground. Harry had watched in amazement as the thing wrapped itself around and around the terrified man. And then he had run and hadn’t come back until well after he was sure the family had turned in for the night. Vernon hadn’t bothered him for three days after, and they had been the best of his summer thus far, left alone in his small room. He smiled again in the present moment, remembering the fear in his uncle’s eyes that day. Of course, when no further occurrence took place, Vernon had regained his false sense of bravery. With a sigh, he opened the envelope again, hoping for the good news Hermione had alluded to at first.
"Hope you’re doing alright with those horrible people. Hermione keeps pushing me and I keep telling her aghh-"
"Ronald is done now. Anyway, Harry, as I’m sure you won’t get this till after midnight, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Mad-eye told us that we could tell you to expect them at your house tomorrow. You’ll be coming here for the rest of summer again! Lupin has insisted he go with to bring you here, so expect him at noon. I know you may be sad being back here with all the memories, but at least you get to leave the Dursleys’ house and we miss you so much! Oh-"
"Jeez, Hermione sure knows how to bring up bad stuff. Girls. You just can’t explain them."
"Please, if Ron would try to explain anything his head would explode. Girls are not that complicated. He’s just a slow learner. Besides, to scold me on poor topics when he goes and brings up those muggles… Anyway, see you tomorrow, Harry. I can’t wait."
"WE can’t wait. Now it’s my turn to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY, mate! See you tomorrow!"
Hermione and Ron"
Harry smiled in real joy for the first time in awhile. His best friends couldn’t even "write" a talking letter without fighting with each other. At least he now knew they weren’t mad at him, that the order had kept them from sending letters. He had been so scared that they would blame him, hate him even for what they had all gone through. That didn’t seem to be the case and a sense of relief washed over him. Now he only had to worry about how much he blamed himself.
Glancing at the clock, he realized that it was in fact about a quarter past midnight. He began packing immediately, both in anticipation and as a welcome exercise to stay awake. It didn’t take long since he hadn’t unpacked most of his school things in the hopes that he would be leaving sooner than usual, so he cleaned Hedwig’s cage next. Finally with nothing left to do and the clock showing it was only just past two thirty in the morning, he reluctantly picked up Hogwarts: A History and began again from the beginning. He made a mental note to never again say he was bored around Hermione lest she suggest another big boring book.
NOTE: Please stay tuned. Thanks for reading!
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