A/N: This is AU somewhat and for my own purposes, I'm saying that the Harry Potter timeframe has been bumped up, meaning that this is taking place in the summer of 2015. This is mainly due to the fact that this is my first ever fanfiction and I would like to focus more on character development and plot then the tiny little references to match the nineties time period. If you decide to read this, please review. Any constructive criticism is welcome but please, no hate. If it isn't your cup of tea, then kindly hit the back button and read things that you will enjoy instead of leaving hurtful reviews.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything to do with Harry Potter or any other popular references in this fic. If you recognize it, it's not mine, I'm just borrowing some characters for a little while.
Margaret 'Maggie' Graham heaved a great sigh as she finished unloading the last of her boxes from her dad's car. Wiping beads of sweat out of her eyes she wondered not for the first time if perhaps bringing ALL of her books with her to England had been the wisest decision. She was only staying for the summer after all, and it wasn't like her dad wouldn't try and find other ways to occupy her time, however social and out of her comfort zone they may be. On the other hand…. Maggie looked down at the boxes by her feet, she was staying for the WHOLE summer...and what if she got an urge to re-read a book that she hadn't brought with her? Disaster would occur, that's what and besides, she was already in England so there was no use contemplating what-if's and all that could be anyway. Hauling one of the many boxes of her possessions into her arms Maggie mentally shrugged and walked into her father's new house at number 5 Privet Drive.
Her father, Evan Graham, had moved to England over the winter due to a work promotion. He was an electrical engineer who worked long hours and made good money. Having gotten a divorce from Maggie's mom Connie four years previously, and with reassurances from his teen daughter that she would visit him over the summer, Evan had had no problem accepting the job and uprooting his life to move to England. In his six months in the country he had finally gotten used to driving on the left side, and overall had found the sights and the people to be quite pleasant. His co-workers had all been very generous and welcoming, showing him the best restaurants and hideaways that they knew about. The only people who hadn't been receptive to his presence were his overly nosy neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number 4 Privet Drive. Both of the Dursleys, along with their whale of a son had brought over a rather garish fruit cake as a welcome to the neighborhood kind of thing and, while they had started off seemingly pleasant, once Mrs. Dursley had discovered that he was divorced she had immediately cooled towards him. They had left soon after, leaving Mr. Graham with the distinct impression that they were the sort of people he ought to avoid, and a disgusting fruit cake that was immediately tossed in the trash.
Maggie had heard the story of her father's meeting with the Dursleys (and had giggled uncontrollably when she saw the disgusted wrinkle of her father's nose when he recalled "that damned fruitcake") on the car ride from the airport and was not looking forward to becoming acquainted with them at all. She had enough trouble communicating normally with perfectly nice people as it was. Maggie wasn't antisocial, well not completely, but she was rather socially awkward and while she liked the idea of conversing with people and having friends to hang out with, she often failed at properly expressing that sentiment to her peers...or speaking coherently at all really. Her social interaction limit had a fairly low ceiling and when Maggie did speak, it tended to be about subjects that other teens she knew couldn't care less about. Like books, and music (mostly alternative, not that bubblegum generic pop crap) and the weird topics that sometimes passed through her brain and out of her mouth without her consent due to her complete lack of brain to mouth filter and tendency to not realize she was speaking out loud. One time she accidentally asked her crush why men had nipples if they couldn't have children, and the look of "who is this freak" that she got was enough to make her hightail it out of there even if she still believes that it was a valid question (because seriously why?). Still contemplating the mysteries of male biology, Maggie hardly realized when her dad called out her name.
"Margaret….Maggie….Mags!" The sound of her father's concerned voice was enough to snap Maggie out of her thoughts and almost enough to make her drop her box of books in surprise.
"Huh?...What?" The bewildered expression on his fifteen year olds face soothed Evan Graham's concerns about his daughter's lack of response. Chuckling slightly he smiled at his daughter.
"I asked if you wanted some help...lost in thought again sweetheart?" The light teasing tone of her father made Maggie smile and laugh lightly.
"I don't zone out nearly as much as you do old man, and yes some help would be awesome." Nodding his head and with a playful glare at his daughter, Evan left the house to retrieve some more of his daughter's boxes noting in the back of his mind the absence of the Dursleys car across the street and how strange it was that they would be gone on a Saturday afternoon.
While her father was outside retrieving more of her things Maggie slowly and carefully maneuvered up the rather steep, albeit carpeted stairs in her father's new home. She still couldn't believe that she was in England for a whole summer. When she had first heard of her father's job offer she had of course urged him to take it, it was the opportunity of a lifetime after all, but she had missed him every day. Getting to spend an entire summer with him, in England no less, sounded pretty damn close to perfect and she couldn't wait for the summer to really start.
Reaching the top of the stairs and stopping to prop the box between her hip and the wall, Maggie opened the first door to her left, her designated bedroom for the duration of her stay, and immediately fell in love. Her father had decorated it just the way he knew she would like. Various soothing tones of grey popped out at her and the white wrought iron bed with grey bedding looked so inviting she thought she could fall asleep instantly were she to lay down on it. Because Maggie's room was on the corner of the house, there was a large window overlooking the backyard and a small window above her bed that faced the side of number 4 next door. Both windows were open and the white eyelet lace curtains that her father had picked out moved slightly in the summer breeze. White bookshelves stood empty and inviting, beckoning her to fill them with all of her favorite stories. Maggie was suddenly struck with the thought that though she had been here less than twenty minutes she could live in this house forever. A soft chuckle from behind her once again tore her from her thoughts and she spun to face her father, who was standing in the entrance to her new room, a fond smile on his face as he looked down at her.
"You like it?" The bright smile that grew on his daughter's face and the hug that she attacked him with which knocked him back a few steps answered Evan's question easily enough for him. "Sweetheart...I'm an old man remember and you're hug is crushing my fragile ribs." Sheepishly looking up from where her head was buried in her father's chest Maggie loosened her arms from the death grip she had on his waist and backed up.
"Sorry…" the apology came out in an embarrassed mumble that only got worse at the amused look in her dad's eye. "It's just….it's perfect Dad, absolutely perfect." Smiling at the confession Evan swung an arm around his daughter's shoulder and led her downstairs to where the rest of her things were, both content and lost in thoughts of what was sure to be a spectacular summer.
Harry James Potter, The Boy-Who-Lived, leading third of Hogwart's "Golden Trio", whatever you want to call him, sat alone on the Hogwarts Express as it raced through the English countryside. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, his two best friends in the entire world were off performing their prefect duties and any of his other friends who may have felt inclined to sit with him, all quickly scrambled once they caught on to how much the fifteen year old savior of the Wizarding World didn't want them in his space. As much as he didn't want company, the long hours sitting in silence in the train compartment alone offered Harry no distraction from his own mind, and thoughts of his disastrous fifth year at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry filtered unbidden through Harry's psyche.
His godfather, Sirius Black, the only person he'd ever known who had bothered to care for him, to look out for HIM instead of the other way around, and one of the only connections Harry had to his murdered parents, was dead. And it was all Harry's fault. If only he had listened to Hermione, had considered the possibility of Sirius's imprisonment being a trap, had tried to keep Voldemort out of his blasted head. If he had done any of that, then Sirius would still be alive, would still be here, and Harry wouldn't feel like he was drowning. The last two weeks had been unbearable for Harry. Everyone was looking at him with awe-filled eyes because they finally realized that he was telling the truth about Voldemort's return and because of some idiot in the Ministry of Magic being unable to keep his trap shut, they all thought that he was some sort of Chosen One. None of them knew that Sirius Black, a man who had recently been exonerated of all criminal charges, was his godfather. None of them knew how much laughter and love and hope that Sirius Black had brought into Harry's life, and none of them knew how completely and utterly lost and scared that Harry Potter felt without that safe presence in his life. Here he was, not even sixteen, and the literal weight of an entire world was on his shoulders. It was too much of a burden, and he honestly didn't know for how much longer he would be able to bear it. He couldn't even save his godfather, what made them think that he could save an entire world?
The sound of the compartment door sliding open broke Harry from his depressing thoughts and he managed a weak smile at his friends as Ron and Hermione collapsed onto the seat opposite of him, Hermione clutching a thick book and Ron a bag of assorted candies.
"Ay meh." Harry deciphered the garbled words coming from Ron's candy stuffed mouth as some sort of greeting (hey mate) and responded accordingly before turning his attention to his female best friend who was staring at Ron with a sort of revolted fascination.
"Honestly Ronald…"The bushy-haired witch sighed and shook her head ignoring Ron's unintelligible questions and turning her head to face Harry, who she could at least converse with without bits of every flavored bean flying towards her. "Hello Harry, how has the ride been, I'm terribly sorry that we couldn't sit with you but you know that we can't shirk our prefect duties even though we absolutely would if we could and"
"Hermione, stop it's fine really," Harry interrupted his friend knowing that she could continue to apologize till the end of the train ride if she was left unchecked. "I'm fine, and the ride has been perfectly fine too." Hermione searched her friend's face, obviously looking for a lie in his emerald eyes but seemed satisfied, albeit a little suspicious as she nodded her head.
"Well okay then Harry if you're sure, I suspect we'll be arriving soon as it's already almost three." She still didn't seem entirely convinced as to her friends well-being, but when he managed a small smile at her and nod of his head, she cracked open her book on advanced runic theory and began to read, leaving Harry to turn back to Ron, who was still eating.
"Oo un ome?" The question directed at the raven-haired teen was coupled with a freckled hand extending the bag of sweets towards him. Picking out a licorice wand and offering a grateful smile at his friend Harry replied.
"Thanks Ron." At Ron's returning grunt Harry turned his head to the window throwing the compartment into a comfortable silence, broken only by Hermione turning a page, and the crinkle of plastic as Ron dug through the wrappers to find a sweet he hadn't yet eaten.
Ten minutes later, the Hogwarts Express was pulling into platform 9 ¾ and Harry began to feel the first stirrings of panic. It was different, dealing with his grief when he had the love and support of his friends, it didn't seem so impossible when he was with them. He was able to focus on them and forget about everything else but living with the Dursleys?! They hated him, belittled him, made him feel about as unloved and unwanted as it was possible to feel. There was no way that he could get through this with the Dursleys as his only support system for three months. Not only that but with the Dursleys there were no distractions...just Harry and his chores and his mind for three empty months. How was he supposed to do this? He couldn't do this!
"Arry….Harry!...HARRY!" Hermione's shrill voice shocked Harry out of his thoughts and back into his surroundings, forcing him to become aware of the fact that he was breathing heavily and his two best friends were looking at him, trunks at their side, worry clear on their faces.
"Sorry, I'm sorry...it's just….the Dursley's...you know how much I hate it there.." Harry trailed off awkwardly, one hand coming up to rub the back of his head as the other reached for his school trunk. Two worried expressions morphed into those of sympathy causing Harry to inwardly cringe and Ron and Hermione were quick to reassure him that he would be fine.
"Don't worry mate, Dumbledore will have you out of that dump in no time, you can spend the summer at the Burrow...mum won't mind you know she loves having you around."
"Ronald's right, I'm sure Headmaster Dumbledore will get you away from them within weeks." Their reassurances did little to soothe Harry's tormented thoughts, but he offered them a small smile regardless, and exited the train. After trading heartfelt goodbyes with his friends and promises to keep in touch and to see them soon, Harry walked through the divider and back into the muggle world where his "family" were waiting.
The Dursley's looked as they always did. Vernon, the patriarch, resembled a grossly obese walrus. Petunia was still rail thin and had the same pinched expression as ever and Dudley, their only son, still looked like the Pillsbury dough boy's larger and much more unpleasant cousin. They were despicable, judgemental, hypocritical bigots, and Harry hated any time spent in their presence. Unfortunately for him, he was now being sentenced to three months in the Dursley house, in the hell that was number 4 Privet Drive.
"Hurry up boy! We haven't got all day, and we've already had some of your freaks come and talk to us!" Uncle Vernon's purple face and clenched fists were signs that his temper was already at peak point and to provoke him would be unwise, so Harry just nodded silently and walked behind his relatives to their car.
Pulling up at number 4 Privet Drive, felt like a minor blessing to Harry after the rather unpleasant car ride that he had been subjected to. The first half hour had been filled with Uncle Vernon's ranting about anything and everything including him and how much the Dursleys didn't want him tainting their lovely home. The second had been filled with Aunt Petunia's sharp and nasally voice criticizing everyone in the neighborhood including a man named Mr. Graham, who had apparently moved into number 5 after the old owners left. According to Aunt Petunia, Mr. Graham was a raggedy looking man who hadn't been able to hold down a wife in the United States and so had fled to the U.K. His teenage daughter was also supposedly staying with him this summer and Aunt Petunia shuddered to think what kind of miscreant she must be with a father like that. Harry found this piece of information somewhat interesting, as there were no other girls in the neighborhood and he had never met an American before, but before he could think to deeply on this mystery girl the car was rolling to a stop in the Dursley driveway and Harry was snapped back into depressing thoughts of how terrible the summer was likely to be.
Having successfully gotten all of her boxes into her room, and after a late lunch with her father, Margaret Graham sat in her new room meticulously placing all of her books unto her shelf. All of her clothes had already been put into the appropriate drawers and any other personal items were scattered either on the desk her father had provided or strewn across the covers of her new bed. Her ipod had already been plugged into the speaker and the soft tones of "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver echoed throughout the room, loud enough for her to hear over the clacking of books hitting the shelf, but still quiet enough for her to hear the sounds of a car pulling into the driveway next door.
Curious, and admittedly wanting to see if the Dursleys looked as unpleasant as her father had described them to act, Maggie clambered onto her bed and stared out the window above her bed, the one that faced the side of the Dursley's giving her a good view of their driveway. Four people exited the car making Maggie temporarily confused as her father had said that they only had one son but then she figured that the fourth figure was a friend of the boy or a relative come to visit. Vernon Dursley was just as large as her father had said he was and the wife's pinched expression was visible even from her window. She was guessing that the large boy was Dudley, seeing as he completely resembled his father, but the fourth figure was a mystery to her. They had immediately headed to the open trunk to retrieve luggage of some sort and Maggie couldn't see anything else no matter how hard she tried. Until the trunk suddenly closed and her breath temporarily caught in her throat.
He was a boy. A boy who looked no older than her and had messy raven hair. He looked reasonably muscled from what Maggie could tell from her window vantage point and the ease with which he hefted the large trunk from the Dursley's trunk only corroborated her theory...both about him being strong, and about him being a relative staying with the Dursley's. She couldn't tell much else from her distance but she could tell that he was very cute and she couldn't stop the blush that spread across her cheeks at the thought. Just as she was starting to realize that she should probably stop staring at her new neighbors like some creeper out of her window, the mystery boy suddenly glanced up and directly at her! WIth a squeak Maggie tumbled from her place on her bed, hitting the light wooden floors of her room with a groan and mortified by the knowledge that she had just been caught staring at her new neighbor.
Hefting his school trunk, Harry listened to the all too familiar sounds of Privet Drive. Or lack of sound really. Privet Drive was scary quiet pretty much all of the time. As his relatives disappeared into the house without any offers of assistance (predictable) Harry had the strangest urge that someone was watching him. Not finding eyes on him in his initial sweep of his surroundings but then remembering what his aunt had said about new neighbors, Harry glanced towards the upstairs window of number 5 only to find the face of a girl staring back at him. Once he made eye contact the girl's eyes widened almost comically large and she immediately dropped out of sight. Actually huffing out a small, barely there yet genuine laugh at the girl's embarrassed expression Harry entered his relative's house, the fleeting thought entering his head through tormented thoughts of Sirius and prophecy, that the short second he had seen the mystery girl, she had looked rather cute.
A/N: This is the first chapter of my first ever fanfiction. Reviews and constructive criticism are welcome and appreciated as I would love to hear what you like and what I can improve on. I stated on my profile that I wanted a story where Harry meets a completely normal muggle girl. This means that Margaret will not have any secret magical powers or mysterious connections to Harry's past. She's just a girl who can give Harry what I've always felt he needed. A taste of a normal teenage life. I don't know how long this fic will be, but it will at least span the summer until Harry goes back to school. This is supposed to be a rather simple, lighthearted, normal teen summer romance.
Next chapter Harry and Maggie will finally meet :)