This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Spoiler Warning: This story is a sixth year fic that follows on from the events of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. As a conseqeunce this story contains *major* spoilers for book 5. You have been warned.

Posted 13th March 2003
Revised Version Posted 22nd June 2003



It was the hottest day of the summer so far, although given that it was early July the summer was still young. Even so it had already been a hot summer and it could only get hotter. Harry Potter was outside in the front garden of 4 Privet Drive weeding the flowerbeds. At least that was what he was supposed to be doing. In reality he was resting under the shade of next door's sycamore tree out of the watchful glares of his only living relatives, the Dursleys, and anyone else who might be watching. It was while Harry was under this tree that he noticed the two figures walking down Privet Drive towards number four. He recognised them instantly, even though he was not used to seeing them in muggle clothes. The first had the platinum blond hair and the pale pointed face that marked him as a Malfoy and by definition a death eater. He wore a smart designer suit, which looked somewhat more formal than the normal attire of Little Whinging's businessmen and naturally was far more expensive. The second wore a shabbier, less expensive suit. This man was obviously less concerned with his appearance as his long black hair looked greasy and he had a hooked nose. They were the last two men he expected to see at Privet Drive, especially as one had been arrested a few weeks previously for being a death eater, whilst the other hadn't been speaking to him for several months, ever since Harry had eavesdropped in his pensieve. The blond haired man had managed to get himself released from Azkaban after agreeing to tell the Ministry everything he knew about Voldemort, but even so he was still under house arrest. The fact they were here together spelled big trouble for Harry, even if the black haired one was loyal to the light side and a member of the Order of the Phoenix.

The black haired man walked up to the door of the Dursley residence and rang the doorbell, whilst the other man lingered by the garden fence.

"Hello," Aunt Petunia said, opening the front door.

"My name is Severus Snape," the black haired man asserted somewhat gruffly, "I'm here for your nephew."

Aunt Petunia scowled, "I don't have a nephew." she protested distastefully.

"Albus Dumbledore wants the boy removed from your care. I am here to collect him on his behalf." Snape continued ignoring the Muggle's comment, and preventing her attempt to slam the door in his face. Harry doubted the accuracy of his claim, judging by Lucius Malfoy's presence it was far more likely that it was Voldemort who desired Harry's removal from the care of his relatives. Harry would have tried to make his escape if it weren't for the fact that Malfoy would have seen him.

"Really," Aunt Petunia chirped, she seemed positively delighted at the prospect of Harry's departure, "Have him. We don't want him. We never haveā€¦" She continued to babble as she let Snape inside the house, conveniently forgetting the fact he was a wizard. Harry thought he saw Snape nodding in agreement.

"An admirable sentiment Mrs Dursley. Potter is an extremely disruptive student," Snape said, interrupting Aunt Petunia, as the front door closed behind them. He imagined Snape and Aunt Petunia swapping insults and bad stories about Harry, while his most hated professor collected his belongings. Harry swore that the glares Lucius Malfoy was directing towards the muggle hardened when she started bad-mouthing Harry, but for the life of him he couldn't work out why.

"If you come closer I'll hex you." Harry said defiantly when Lucius began to walk across the lawn towards Harry. He had his wand drawn to indicate his threat was serious. Lucius stopped moving about halfway across the lawn, seemingly unconcerned by the boy's threat.

"I'm not here on the dark lord's orders," Malfoy drawled conversationally in a tone of voice remarkably similar to that of his son, "If anything he would prefer you here, where he knows where you are."

"So? You're still here to take me to him." Harry alleged accusingly, "I don't know what lies you told to worm your way out of Azkaban, but nobody else would trust you to do their dirty work."

"I am here of my own free will." the elder man intoned, "I, unlike my son, would prefer to see you alive. If only out of respect for your mother."

"Keep her out of this," Harry shouted angrily, "She's got nothing to do with this situation." The blond's reference to his parents had riled him.

"I beg to differ Harry," Lucius explained, "She and I were friends of a sort. I did a lot of business with her. After a while we developed a close understanding." Harry scoffed at this; the idea of Lucius Malfoy doing business with let, alone becoming friends with, a muggle-born witch was ludicrous. His prejudices, after all, were well known in the wizarding world.

"Actually, you mother was a half-blood," Malfoy said, responding to Harry's comment about the likelihood of a business relationship between the death eater and his mother, "A fact your aunt among others seems to have forgotten. Her mother was a Slytherin who fell in love with a muggle. Fortunately David Evans had a somewhat more enlightened attitude to our kind in comparison with the average muggle." For some unidentifiable reason Harry felt that for once Lucius Malfoy was telling the truth, at least with regards to his mother's parentage even if for nothing else.

"Then why was I told she was muggle-born?" Harry asked, letting curiosity get the better of him.

"She grew up in the muggle world. So everyone assumed she was a mudblood," the blond commented dryly, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Harry began to phrase a question in reply, but was unable to say the question as he found himself the victim of a stunner, "We don't have time to talk," he heard someone say. Snape had returned from collecting Harry's belongings, "We're taking too long as it is, but then I had to find your secret stash. I was surprised that you had enough sense to hide your valuables from those muggles," he said this in a tone which made Harry think the compliment was actually an insult to his intelligence. He turned his attention to Lucius, "I trust you have the portkey," he asked.

"Of course, Severus," the blond man said, digging a quill out of a pocket. Both men walked over to Harry and jammed it into Harry's hand, making sure that all three of them were touching the portkey. It took about a minute before Harry felt the familiar tug of the portkey pulling its passengers to their destination. The last thing Harry remembered before it activated was a fierce burning pain in his scar. He didn't see the flash of bright light that marked the dismantling of the wards but the other two men did. They both, for differing reasons, breathed a sigh of relief glad that their plan had worked and that, yet again, Harry Potter had escaped the clutches of Lord Voldemort.

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