Hi there everyone! I'm back, and I am very, very excited because I now present the first chapter of the New Year, as well as the first chapter of the fifth book! I can't believe that I have gotten so far in just a few years, and I have all of you guys to thank for it! I know this chapter is a bit late, as I was hoping to have it posted sometime last month, but I figured better late than never, right? And I tried putting as much focus and heart into this chapter as I could, so I really hope you guys like it, I'm a little nervous about it. As always, if you guys have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to let me know about it, I will gladly read them all. And please, REVIEW! Like I said, I'm a little bit nervous about this chapter, as I'm taking a slightly different approach to it, and I'm hoping you guys like it, but if not, just let me know anyway, and I'll do better to improve for future chapters!
Anyway, here is the first chapter of "You Were Always There: Part Five," so enjoy!
Disclaimer: All things Harry Potter are not mine!
Chapter One: Cold Shadows
"Mia! Mia, are you even listening?"
Mia Thatcher was snapped to full attention, nearly falling out of her seat in the process as she whipped her head around and stared at the small group of people who were looking at her expectantly. Her wide blue eyes met the inquiring gazes of Cindy Jones, Mary Willows, and other girls from her neighborhood that went to the local secondary school together. They were all settled in casual afternoon wear, the majority of it being designer t-shirts with jean shorts, or tank tops with frilly skirts, due to the extreme heat that Little Whinging was currently experiencing. This particular day was the hottest out of the whole summer, with temperatures reaching to about ninety-seven degrees, bringing along a sweltering thick cloud that settled over the area. Mia herself was wearing a pair of shorts, simple tennis shoes, a mint green t-shirt and a thin, almost silk-like jacket she had bought in the beginning of summer. She was currently a guest in Cindy's house, where her hostess was holding a gathering between all her friends, which were most of the girls in the neighborhood, and Mia was starting to wish she hadn't accepted Cindy's invitation to come over.
It wasn't that she didn't like Cindy, not at all. They had been good friends when they were little, and Mia first came to Little Whinging, but as the years passed, the two girls just grew further apart, and their interests, as well as their own personal experiences, were so vastly different now. Mia had not really spent much time with anyone her age in her neighborhood since she was eleven or twelve, when she started going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There, she had made her true and most treasured friends, ones that she knew would always stick by her, and vice versa. Cindy was nice enough, but their relationship, whatever it was, never had the chance to fully blossom, especially after Mia had met her dearest friend, Harry…
Feeling her chest clench a bit, Mia shook her head and gave an apologetic smile to the girls, shifting her position away from the window, where she had been gazing out into the street below, curled up on the ledge, just staring out into the sunset. Cindy's room was a brilliant shade of red, with all kinds of fashionable clothes strung about, department store jewelry on her nightstand, her desk cluttered with new C.D's, and a flower patterned bed set with matching fold out chairs around her desk, where some of the girls were sitting, painting their nails and flipping through teen magazines.
"I'm sorry guys," she said as she adjusted herself. "What were you saying?"
"We were just asking what your school is like," asked a petite blonde girl named Lucy said from her place at the end of Cindy's bed. "The one that you go to during the year. Is it nice there? You never told us the name of it."
"It's nothing too special, to be honest," Mia replied with a shrug of her shoulders. "It has a nice wide open space, but it's just like every other school, really. Same classes, same people, the usual."
"Oh come on Mia, there has to be more than that!" Mary urged, reaching forward to rest her elbows on the mattress. "Are there any cute guys there?"
"Are they athletes?" asked a redhead.
"Do you fancy any of them?" Cindy put in.
"Well, there are a lot of good looking guys there, I guess, and yes, there are athletes," Mia responded, doing her best to keep her answers to their questions as vague as possible. "And no, none of them have really caught my eye."
"I really wish my parents would send me to a boarding school," Lucy sighed. "Sometimes I just can't stand Stonewall High, yours must be so exciting."
"Not lately," Mia mumbled under her breath.
"But I find it hard to believe that there's no one you like, Mia," Mia stated.
"Of course not, not when there someone else catching her attention," Cindy said with a smile.
"What?" said Mia.
"Oh stop playing dumb Mia, everyone here knows you like Harry Potter!"
"What?" gasped half of the girls in the room, their eyes going wide with shock.
"Well, some of us, anyway," Cindy corrected.
"You like Harry Potter?" Mary demanded.
"But he's a criminal! He goes to that special school for boys like him!" Lucy gawked.
"He is not a criminal," Mia said firmly, her eyebrows furrowing. "He's anything but."
"But why would his aunt and uncle send him there if he wasn't dangerous?" the redhead asked. "Even Dudley says so, he's violent and unpredictable."
"The only thing that comes out of Dudley Dursley's mouth is nasty dung and lies," Mia stated, swinging her legs around so they were planted on the floor, a frown on her face. "And I don't like Harry, not in that way—we're just friends."
"You two seem awfully close for people who are just friends," Mary pointed out with a smirk. "Even your cheeks are a bit red."
"No they're not," Mia argued, even though she could feel the pinch in her skin. "He's my best friend, and that's it, nothing more."
"Then where has he been lately? Why haven't you two been hanging out with each other?" Cindy said, placing her magazine down in her lap.
"He's—he's been busy."
"Not lately," Mary countered, shaking her head. "I've seen him a lot recently, just wandering around the streets, it's weird. Did you guys have a fight?"
"No," Mia replied softly. "Not really, the end of last term was a little tough for us, that's all."
"I thought you two went to separate schools, though?" Mary asked.
"We do, we just send letters to each other all the time," Mia answered.
"I really don't get how you can stay friends with someone like that Mia, much less like them," Cindy said to her. It wasn't in a mean way exactly, Mia could tell that Cindy was just voicing her thoughts, more cautious than the others have. "He's a bit of a loner, I think the only friend he's ever had was you. People who isolate themselves like that…well, it can cause some disturbing behavior."
"The only reason Harry never had friends was because of Dudley and his thugs, you know that," Mia said. "I was the only one who stood up for him."
"And that's great and all Mia, but you have to admit, there's something not right about him," Mary put in.
"So what if he's a little strange? As far as I'm concerned we're all a bit strange in some way," Mia said. "Look Harry has had it tough, more than most people would ever understand, and it doesn't help that rumors and gossip spreads around about him, especially when he can't even defend himself."
We know how much you care for him Mia, we're not saying that's a bad thing," Cindy said. "But if you care so much, then why has he been ignoring you?"
Mia fell silent at that, locking her jaw tight as her fingers curled on her knees. She knew the answer to this question, but how can she possibly hope to explain it to these girls without completely giving away the life that she lived? The life that she lived in a world that, to them, was nothing but fairytales? Mia wanted nothing more than to confide in someone her sorrows, worry and frustration, but the one person she could always do that with hasn't looked her properly in the eye for weeks now. Taking a deep breath, Mia sighed as her fingers loosened on her knees and she stood to her feet.
"I should probably go," she muttered.
"You don't have to go, Mia," Cindy objected, guilt creeping into her expression. "We didn't mean to make you upset—"
"It's fine, Cindy," Mia assured her with a tiny smile. "I'm the one who's ruining your fun here. There's just a lot on my mind right now, and I don't want to be the kill-joy of the party. I really appreciate you inviting me over, I did have a good time. I'll see you guys around, okay?"
Despite their pleads for her to stay, Mia insisted that she take her leave, suddenly feeling very compressed in the spacious bedroom. She gave both Cindy and Mary brisk hugs and waved to the others as she made her way out of the room, down the stairs and through the front door, out into the quickly settling night. Once she stepped out of the loving embrace of the air conditioned house, Mia was instantly struck down with the blazing heat that was drifting through Little Whinging, even though the sun was almost through with its decent over the hills. She could feel the irritation and sweat start to form by the nape of her neck, but she ignored it as she started walking down the street, stuffing her hands into the pockets of her jacket. She knew it was too hot even for the silk-like material, but it was the only way she could go out with her wand, which was safely tucked away in the waistline of her shorts, underneath her t-shirt, the outline of it hidden by the jacket. After everything that had happened last month, there was no way she was setting foot out of her house without some form of protection.
As she walked, Mia's mind became abuzz as she thought about all the things that have happened since her return home to Privet Drive, as well as the party she had just walked out on. Yes, she and Cindy no longer had things in common, and they lived such different lives it was hard to see a close friendship starting, especially in these times. Although, Mia wasn't sure she wanted to start a close friendship anyway. The only reason she accepted Cindy's invitation in the first place was because she was feeling down and—to be honest—lonely. As much as she didn't want to admit it, Cindy and the other girls were right…Harry has been ignoring her.
Ever since the start of the summer holidays, it was as if a dark shadow had settled over Harry, and it was with good reason too. A good friend and fellow schoolmate was murdered right before his very eyes, and then he was forced to duel the man who orchestrated all of it. On top of that he had to deal with the jeers and mockery of Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, helpless and alone in a terrifying situation. What really set Mia on edge was how Voldemort had spoken of the night he met his downfall, on Halloween nearly fourteen years ago. He described how he came upon Harry's home in Godric's Hollow, how he had killed James Potter first, after he yelled for his wife to take their son and run. But Lily Potter did not get away—Voldemort told her to move to the side, but she did not, begging him to kill her instead and spare her only son. Her pleas fell on deaf ears and she had been the next victim of the Dark Lord. Yet when he turned his wand on Harry and spoke the killing curse, it reflected right off of Harry and back onto himself, destroying his body and power, forcing him to flee and leaving Harry with nothing but a scar on his forehead as a reminder of what had happened. The idea of Voldemort recounting this tale as if it were nothing, as a means of torturing Harry, made Mia so angry she wanted to kick something. Speaking of how you murdered a couple right in front of their own son…that was sick and a level of evil that Mia didn't think could exist.
It had done something to Harry, and Mia could see it even before they came back home. His eyes held something in them that wasn't there before, a sort of dark haunted look that he kept well hidden at the best of times. They were no longer fully pure or innocent as they had been in the past, but Mia knew that after having an experience like that, what else could she possibly expect? The only thing was, not too long after they arrived back to Privet Drive, Harry started acting distant towards her. He was a little more quiet than usual and, unlike that one night at Hogwarts when he was so open about his grief and what had happened in that graveyard, now he was silent, avoiding the subject like the plague. They tried going back to their usual summer routine, just spending time together at the park they had claimed as their own, having lunch at her house, spinning Brian around on the tire swing in the backyard, and even using the sprinkler when the weather started becoming blistering hot. But no matter how much fun they tried to make it, they knew nothing was the same, and that they would never be the same again. Along with trying to return things to normal during the day, every night Mia would sit in the living room watching the news on the television, listening in for any reports about missing people, mysterious murders or unnatural, unexplainable disasters, anything that would give an Intel on Voldemort's return, or what he was up to.
But there was nothing. Not one single strange or weird report of the sort came through the Muggle news, on any station for the past month and it threw Mia for a loop. Voldemort, the most feared wizard of all time was back, and there was no sign of tragic disaster or random disappearances. What was that about? What was Voldemort up to?
Mia and Harry expressed their common concerns at first, but as the days passed by, Mia started seeing Harry less and less. He would say that his relatives were keeping a close eye on him and didn't want him out too much, which was believable, but Mia had a feeling that something was off. He suddenly tended to not be home when she called, and whenever she tried getting his attention through the window, the curtains were always drawn. One day she spotted him walking through the streets, and when she went up to him to ask what was wrong, it was as if he immediately shut himself off, shrinking back into himself and avoiding her stare. From his vague answers to her questions, Mia realized that Harry wanted to be left alone—he was just too polite to say so. She hated the fact that he was withdrawing himself from her, it even hurt her a little knowing that he was pushing her away at a time where he shouldn't be alone, but there was nothing she could do. The harder she tried, the father away he would go, and she didn't want to make things worse than what they were. After letting him know that she was there for him when he needed her, Mia dejectedly walked away, her sorrow consuming her.
In her time spent alone, Mia would write to her other two best friends in the wizarding world, Ron Wealsey and Hermione Granger. She wrote to them of her concerns for Harry, the way he has been avoiding her like the plague, and asked if there was any news on what was going on in their world that she might have missed. Strangely, their answers were always very vague, and they told her in their letters that they could not tell her too much of what was going in, in case their letters got intercepted, and that they promised to fill her in when she saw them again. While their letters were annoyingly frustrating at times, they also brought her comfort, knowing that she still had friends willing to talk to her. She had even written a couple letters to Sirius Black, Harry's fugitive godfather.
"I know this must be painfully frustrating for you both, not knowing what's going on," he had written to her. "But things will turn out okay soon. Hopefully if things go according to plan we can work on getting Harry out of there, and you too if you'd like to come along, which I know you do. Don't worry Mia, he's just going through a lot right now, he'll come around soon. Don't take it to heart, he still needs you, he probably thinks being alone is what's best right now."
Despite the comfort the letters brought, it didn't do too much to help. It had been awfully lonely without Harry, and the situation did get worse only a week later. Mia's parents had been curious as to why she was so interested in the news, and being friends with the Weasleys, they knew that something wasn't right. They knew about Cedric's passing, but most likely not how it happened and what had transpired after. Mia had no choice, sifting under her parent's suspecting gaze, and she ended up telling them what had happened. How Cedric was killed, and that the very wizard who killed Harry parents was back. To say they were shocked would be a severe understatement—Catherine looked very close to fainting and a hard gleam passed through Ben's eyes. Mia didn't go into too much detail about what exactly this means, since she honestly didn't know herself, but she gave them the basic rundown of how serious it was, and that there was a very strong possibility that whatever came ahead would hit very close to home. The conversation after that was a very long, very serious one, and it made the night seem to drag on. When Ben hinted at the thought of them moving, Mia instantly and angrily objected.
"What do you mean move?" she had said. "We can't leave."
"Mia, what you're talking about is very dangerous," Ben said, his eyes narrowing in a way that made a little voice inside her head tell her to watch it. "I know we're not wizards here, but if what you say is true then that means we could be at risk, just from the fact that we know Harry."
"Are you saying it's his fault?!" Mia ground out.
"We're saying nothing of the kind, and don't you use that tone with your father," Catherine scolded. "All we're saying is that we need to consider our options."
"We shouldn't be considering anything," Mia argued. "Harry needs us, we can't just up and leave him alone."
"I'm not putting my family at risk either," Ben said, his voice rising with authority. "And whether we decide to leave or not is not up to you, Mia. You're mother and I need to talk and see what's best for all of us."
"Voldemort will find us if he wants us," Mia said. "We need to stay here, where we have friends who can protect us! I don't want to leave! I won't!"
"You'll do as we say," Ben countered firmly.
"I won't leave him behind," Mia said, her face reddening. "I thought you guys cared for him—it's obvious I was wrong."
"Amelia!" Catherine exclaimed, but Mia was already storming up to her room.
Mia had already regretted fighting with her parents by the time dinner was done that night, but she was still too upset to go downstairs. The thought of leaving her home, Harry, her friends, school, everything she had grown to love…she couldn't bare it. This was who she is, she wasn't going to give it all up and run away. She couldn't.
A frustrated sigh blew through her nostrils and she shook her head, wanting to rid her mind of all these melancholy thoughts. Night had finally descended upon Little Whinging, for how long, she couldn't tell because she had been so lost in her thoughts, her feet moving of their own accord. Looking around, Mia saw that she was only a couple streets away from Magnolia Road, and she sighed once again. She should probably start to head home before her mother calls the entire police department for a search and rescue mission. Drawing her arms closer to her thin frame, Mia turned around the next corner, intending on using a shortcut through Magnolia Crescent. As she walked, she could hear sudden voices not too far away from where she stood, shouting and yelling at each other, causing her to pause in her movements, startled.
"Point that thing somewhere else!"
"I said, do you understand me?"
What the…was that Harry? And Dudley? What were they doing out and about at this time of night? And what in God's name were they screaming at each other for? Wanting to know what was going on, Mia followed their voices, trying to pinpoint exactly where they were.
"Point it somewhere else!"
"DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!"
"Harry?" Mia called out, worry starting to creep into her voice as she looked in between the houses, seeing if Harry and his cousin were lurking in any of their shadows.
"GET THAT THING AWAY FROM—"
Dudley's voice was suddenly and abruptly cut off, and Mia knew why. In that moment, the humid air that was hovering over Magnolia Crescent was slowly fading away, being replaced by a horrible chill that drifted in from the north. At the feel of this chill, Mia stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes widening in horror and something like a bomb exploding in her gut as she realized what was happening. The warmth around her continued to fade, until all that was left was a harsh winter chill that shook her to the bone, and looking around, Mia saw that the sky, once brilliantly lit with stars, was now covered with a dark dense cloud, obscuring all lights until it was almost pitch black. A wave of dread, sorrow, pain and fear gripped her from head to toe, and she took a shaky breath, a white mist protruding from her lips as the flowers nearby began turning to ice.
Mia's heart started beating frantically in her chest as she shook her head. No, it couldn't be…they can't be here! Anything but them! However, Mia's fears were confirmed when she heard Harry terrified voice shout into the night.
"DUDLEY, COME BACK! YOU'RE RUNNING RIGTH AT IT!"
No! In an instant, Mia was whipping her wand out of the waistband of her shorts and sprinting down Magnolia Crescent, searching every inch of the street for Harry and Dudley, panic rising in her chest. Harry is more affected by these creatures than anyone else…if they get near him…
"DUDLEY, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT! WHATEVER YOU DO, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!"
"Harry!" Mia yelled, pushing herself faster. "Harry, where are you?!"
Mia continued running for about another minute, her head snapping left and right as she looked through the houses she ran past, until she caught sight of something that made her skid to a halt. Peering through the darkness, Mia was met with a frightening sight—Dudley Dursley, hunching over on the ground in a narrow alleyway, keeping his mouth clamped shut and his hands over his face, his entire body trembling as a towering, hooded, cloaked and rotted figure was hovering above him, its robes billowing in the cold wind, drawing in rattled breath through an empty, gaping hole. A bit further down the alley was Harry, his wand raised in front of him, his face as white as snow as he backed away from a second hooded figure, which was slowly making its advance towards him, reaching out a grey, decaying hand that looked as if it belonged to a corpse.
Gripping her wand tighter and ignoring the faint echoes in her ears, Mia surged forward as the Dementor over Dudley took hold of the boy's hands, forcing his terrified face upwards. Come on, Mia, think of something happy!
"Harry!" she yelled.
"Mia?" Harry shouted, moving his gaze away from the Dementor, his own eyes widening in fear upon seeing her run into the alley. "Mia, no! Get out of here!"
"I'm not leaving you!" Mia yelled back, trying her best to fight off the cold and concentrate. "Expecto—"
Mia's voice got caught in her throat, the incantation falling dead upon her lips as the Dementor over Dudley raised its faceless head in her direction, once again drawing in a rattling breath. For a few seconds it gazed at her without seeing before it slowly released Dudley from its grasp and started floating towards her.
"NO! MIA, RUN!" Harry hollered.
But Mia could not run—she was lucky enough to get her legs to function to a point where she started backing up, attempting to say the right incantation for the Patronus Charm, but her mind was becoming more and more clouded as the Dementor drew closer to her, brings cold and dark shadows along with it. Soon enough Mia's body began shaking all over, trying to fight of the bitter cold as the voices grew louder and louder inside her head until they were ringing in her ears.
"Kill him, fool, and be done! KILL HIM!"
"No," Mia whimpered as she fell to the ground. "Not again…"
"All you have to do is give me the Stone, unless you want to watch him die in vain…"
The Dementor was directly in front of her now, bending down. Mia turned her face away and attempted to crawl away from it, but it reached out a slimy hand and wrapped it around her elbow, keeping her in place.
"What have you done with her?!"
"A slip of the hand Harry…when you want to make your enemy suffer, you need to crush their heart…"
The Dementor had her throat now, and she fought against it as it tried turning her face towards it, the rattling sound growing unbearably loud.
"He is back, Harry Potter, you did not conquer him—and now—I conquer you!"
Mia couldn't help it—she screamed.
Out of the corner of her eye, Mia saw a blinding ray of silvery-white light, bringing instant warmth to the area surrounding them. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the light, but when they did she was met with the sight of a glowing, powerful silver Stag, standing tall and proud, its antlers gleaming in the darkness. Despite the situation they were in, Mia couldn't help but stare in awe of Harry's patronus, for it was the first time she has seen it with her own eyes. Before she even had time to blink, the Stag reared its head back before charging at the Dememtor that was coming at Harry, its shriek of pain echoing off the walls of the alley as it fled. The Dementor holding Mia tightened its grip on Mia's throat, making her whimper as she struggled to break free.
"Get it!" Harry yelled to his Stag, holding his wand out in front of him. The dazzling silver animal ran past Harry and then crashed straight into the Dementor, its antlers driving in straight where its heart would be and causing the dark creature to release its hold on Mia. She took a large gulp of air as she regained the use of her windpipes, gasping and choking. The patronus roughly pushed the Dementor out of the alleyway and back into the cold night from whence it came, and the second the Dementor was gone, all of the terrible cold shadows went with it, along with the voices inside of Mia's head. The stars in the night sky reappeared and the warm summer air once again draped its cloak over them, as if nothing had ever happened. Mia sat curled on the ground, her hands trembling and her mind reeling at what had just happened. What the hell was going on? Why were there Dementors in Little Whinging?! Her mind was buzzing until she heard Harry's hurried footsteps and in the next moment, he had bent down beside her and wrapped her up in a tight hug, his breathing heavy and ragged.
"Mia," he said in a strange voice. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm all right," she replied as she returned the hug, trying to calm her thumping heart. "Harry, Dementors…what are they doing here?"
"I don't know," Harry replied as he slowly released her, his eyes gazing over her, as if checking for any injuries. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"Yeah," she said. "Where's Dudley?"
Harry and Mia both looked over towards Dudley, who was lying curled up on the ground, visibly shaking all over, with wide, terrified eyes, and a cold sweat breaking out over his deathly pale face. After being helped to her feet, Mia and Harry quickly made their way over to the big blonde boy, bending down next to him.
"Dudley? Dudley, can you hear me?" Mia said, but she didn't receive a reply. Her mind was spinning—Dudley was horribly close to getting kissed, just like she was, and whatever the Dementors made him hear in his head must have been very awful if he was reacting like this. Just as she was about to ask Harry what they should do with him, they both suddenly heard the loud sound of rushing footsteps coming their way, along with heavy panting. Mia turned her head towards the end of the alley in time to see an old woman coming scurrying over through it, who she recognized to be her neighbor, Mrs. Figg. Mrs. Figg was a polite lady who lived down the street from her and Harry, and she was the one who usual took care of Harry whenever his relatives went out, and he wasn't allowed to come over her house. She was wearing a simple gray raincoat, with her frizzled hair coming out from underneath her hairnet, framing her wide eyes, and a string bag swinging from her wrist, her fuzzy carpet slippers standing out in the night. Mia could feel her heart drop in that moment. What did Mrs. Figg see? She was frozen where she stood as Harry hurriedly tried hiding his wand out of sight, but before either of them could say a word, Mrs. Figg beat them to it.
"Don't put it away, idiot boy!" she shrieked at Harry, gesturing to his wand. "What if there are more of them around? Oh, I'm going to kill Mundungus Fletcher!"
"What?" Harry said, voicing Mia's exact thoughts.
"He left!" Mrs. Figg raged, wringing her hands together as her face displayed a mix of fury and anxiety as she stared around. "Left to see someone about a batch of cauldrons that fell off the back of a broom! I told him I'd flay him alive if he went, and now look what's happened! Dementors! I swear, if I hadn't set out Mr. Tibbles just in case—oh, this is not going to end well! Harry, Mia, you need to get up right now! There might be more of them hanging around, I have to get you both back home!"
"Wait—you're a witch?!" Harry said in shock.
"I'm a Squib," Mrs. Figg explained with an impatient wave of her hand. "Which Mundungus knows full well, and yet he left you completely alone and unattended, knowing I couldn't so much as make a feather fly, much less fight off two Dementors!"
"Hang on, this Mundungus bloke was following me?" Harry asked. "Wait, it was him! He disapparated in front of my house earlier!"
"Harry, what are you talking about?" Mia asked in confusion.
"Yes, he was supposed to watch over you while I kept an eye on Mia, but we don't have time for this—"
"What? I was being watched too?" Mia said.
"Not now you two, we need to move!" Mrs. Figg said, coming over to stand over Dudley. "Oh what is Dumbledore going to say about this? Come on you fat lump, get up quick!"
"You know Dumbledore?" Harry asked.
"Of curse boy, who doesn't know Dumbledore? Give me a hand you two, we need to get him up so we can get out of here!"
There were still so many questions spinning around in Mia's head, but she pushed them aside for the moment as she and Harry both stood to their feet and grabbed Dudley's arms. With an enormous effort, they managed to get Dudley to his feet and slung his arms across their shoulders, trying to balance his weight since he looked as if he were about to faint. It was difficult, but they were able to drag Dudley down the alley by working together, with Mrs. Figg leading the way, telling them both to keep their wands out in case there was anything else waiting for them in the silent night. As they walked, Mia was trying to figure out what was going on. Why were Dementors in Little Whinging? Why was she and Harry being followed without them knowing about it? Who was this Mundungus that was supposed to be watching Harry, and why did he leave? While Mia was mulling over all of this in her head, Harry was openly asking Mrs. Figg why she never told him that she was a Squib, and that Dumbledore had placed her on Privet Drive to watch over him. Mrs. Figg seemed a bit sad at this point, sadly explaining that she was under orders not to say anything to Harry, as he had been too young to know. She also apologized for making his visits miserable, as the Dursleys would never allow him to come over otherwise. Mrs. Figg was frantic, muttering about how she was going to strangle Mundungus Fletcher with her bare hands, and that she had no way to contact Dumbledore to tell him what had happened, and that the Ministry would surly know what had happened by now.
"But Harry was getting rid of Dementors," Mia pointed out, huffing from the weight of carrying Dudley down the streets. "He was protecting himself and his cousin, their lives were in danger. Surly the ministry will be more concerned with why there were Dementors in Little Whinging, won't they?"
"My dear girl, I wish it were that simple, but—MUNDUNGUS FLETCHER, I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!"
Mia let out a yelp of surprise as there was a loud, echoing crack that split through the air, and in the next second, there was a short, scraggly man standing before them, reeking of tobacco and alcohol. He was wearing a patched up overcoat, with long ginger hair and beard, and was holding a silvery bundle in his arms, which Mia recognized as an invisibility cloak.
"'S'up Figgy?" the man said before taking the time to stare around at them all. "What 'appened to staying undercover?"
"I'll give you undercover you useless bag of dung!" Mrs. Figg cried, her eyes narrowed dangerously. "Dementors were just here, and these children were forced to fight them on their own!"
"What? Dementors, here?" Mundungus said, aghast.
"Yes here, you worthless slimball, here!" Mrs. Figg shouted. "Dementors attacked the boy on your watch! And you're off buying stolen cauldrons when I warned you not to go!"
"I—well, I…it—it was a very good business opportunity, I was going to be right back—"
That was apparently the wrong thing to say, because Mrs. Figg gave a shriek of anger before she raised her bag and started wholloping Mundungus with it, and from the rattling sound it made, it was full of cat food. She whacked every part of him she could find while he cowered away from her, yelling in pain and saying that someone needed to tell Dumbledore. This only resulted in Mrs. Figg hitting him even harder, saying that it was going to be him who told Dumbledore what had happened, and that he had abandoned his post and allowed it to happen. Mundungus took a couple more whacks before he complied and disappeared with another loud crack, vanishing from sight.
"I hope Dumbledore murders him!" Mrs. Figg snapped, her eyes ablaze. "Let's go, we need to keep moving!"
After taking a weary glance at one another, Harry and Mia continued dragging Dudley after Mrs. Figg through the dark, quiet streets, keeping a look out for anything else that might be out there.
"Mrs. Figg, I don't understand," Mia panted. "Why are Harry and I being watched?"
"Did you honestly believe that Dumbledore would allow either of you two to go wandering around on your own after what had happened in June?" Mrs. Figg replied. "After what happened to that poor Diggory boy, and what had happened to you two that night, he wanted to make sure you were both looked out for, in case anything were to happen. It wasn't easy either, since you two decided that this would be the summer you would stick to yourselves when any other time you're practically glued at the hip."
There was a brief silence at Mrs. Figg's words, and Mia withdrew into herself a bit, once again feeling as she had been earlier, when she thought over how much Harry had been ignoring her for the past few weeks. She kept her eyes on the ground as they moved, because, somehow, she could feel Harry's eyes on her, but she couldn't find it in herself to meet it. Mrs. Figg eventually led them back to Privet Drive and walked with them up to number four's door. Mrs. Figg told Harry to go inside and stay there, no matter what, and that he would receive word from someone soon.
"Mia, I'm going to wait outside for you," she said to the brunette. "Once you and Harry get this loaf settled inside, I want you to come right back out, and I'll take you home. I'm not taking the chance of leaving either of you two alone."
"There's no time, Harry!" she said. "Someone will be in touch soon, but until then you need to stay in the house. Go on, and hurry up, Mia."
Mia nodded and then she and Harry quickly walked up the garden path before ringing the doorbell. It only took a moment for the door to open, and they were greeted with the sight of Petunia Dursley standing in the entrance, wearing her blonde hair in a neat bun, with a white and yellow sundress on, her thin hands fanning her face.
"Diddy! About time too, I was getting quite—quite—Diddy, what's wrong?!"
Dudley was looking incredibly green at this point, and he was beginning to sway on the spot. Moving fast, both Mia and Harry hurriedly ducked out from underneath his massive arms just in time, for at that moment, Dudley keened over and vomited all over the doormat.
"DIDDY! Diddy, what's the matter with you?" Mrs. Dursley shrieked, throwing her arms around her precious baby boy. "Vernon! VERNON!"
In a matter of minutes, Vernon Dursley came waddling down the front hallway, and then he and his wife hoisted their sick, weak son down the hall and into the kitchen. In all the ruckus, no one seemed to notice Harry or Mia as they slipped inside, closing the door quietly behind them. The Dursleys ushered Dudley into the kitchen, where they kept asking him what had happened.
"Why are you covered in dirt, darling? Have you been lying on the ground? Are you ill?"
"Hang on—you haven't been mugged, have you, son?"
"Phone the police Vernon! Phone the police! Diddy, darling, speak to Mummy! What did they do to you?!"
"Who did it son? Give us names, we'll get them, don't worry."
"Shh, he's trying to say something Vernon! What is it, Diddy? Tell Mummy!"
Then, from the crack in the kitchen door, Mia heard Dudley's strained, trembling voice mutter only one word.
"BOY! COME HERE!"
Before either of them could make a move, the door leading into the kitchen burst open and Mr. Dursley stood there, his face beat read and his beard twitching dangerously as he glared daggers at Harry, his hands curled into fists.
"Get in here, now," he snarled, his teeth bared. "And you girl—you get out of my house this instant! Now!"
"Don't talk to her like that," Harry nearly growled, narrowing his eyes.
"She is not welcome in this house," Mr. Dursley said. "Not her or her abnormalities! You and your kind sticking together, how do I know she didn't help you torment my son?! Leave now girl, and you keep your freakishness away from my family!"
"I said don't talk to her like that!" Harry snapped, his expression furious and his grip on his wand tightening so much that his knuckles were turning white. Remembering all too well what had happened the last time Harry had lost his temper with his relatives, Mia stepped next to Harry and placed a hand on Harry's shoulder, staring at him pleadingly.
"Harry, please," she whispered. "It's okay, I'll go. It's okay…"
She tried to make her voice as soothing as possible, not wanting to get him in any more trouble with his uncle then he already was. Harry was breathing heavily, and it took a few seconds but he soon relaxed his stiff muscles, casting one more angry glare at Mr. Dursley before turning to look at her.
"It's okay," Mia repeated softly. "It's better if I go. Everything will be fine, all right?"
Harry's eyes softened a great deal while he looked at her, and she could see something like guilt and another strong emotion swirling through them, making the beautiful emerald color she has grown to love so much lose some of its light.
"I know," she mumbled, giving him a sad smile. "I'll talk to you soon."
With that being said, Mia gave Harry's shoulder a comforting squeeze before she turned around, opened the front door, and stepped outside where Mrs. Figg was waiting for her.
"Come on, now," the old woman said as Mia closed the door and made her way over to her. "I have to get you home and then I have to wait for instructions."
"Okay," Mia muttered, walking side by side with Mrs. Figg as they made their way across the street to number two, where she could see the shapes of her parent's shadows behind the window curtains. A frown made its way onto Mia's face and she couldn't help but groan loudly.
Mum and Dad are just going to love this…
Read and review please! I know this chapter seemed a tad bit darker than others I might have done, but I wanted to try something a little different with the beginning of this story, I hope you guys liked it. I know this silence between Harry and Mia is odd, considering how close they are, but Harry goes through a lot in this book in general, and he's going through a time when he feels isolated and alone, and of course, Harry being Harry, sometimes he feels as if he can best deal with things alone. I just made this happen earlier than expected, but worry not dear readers, the next chapter will makes sure things get better between them.