Disclaimer: J.K. Rowlings is the creator of the wizarding world. I do not own or claim any part of it. This is yet another Severitus Challenge fic. My apologies for choosing a topic that has been covered so many times before. I hope I may add something to the sub-genre.

A/n- I know very little about the weather patterns in England, but I assume that even the south of England gets heat waves. Also, even if the average house in Surrey does not have air conditioning, Vernon has sold enough drills to afford it. On the topic of cellars… If it is out of character for Privet Drive to house them, I don't want to know about it.


On the news that morning, the weatherman had jovially predicted the hottest day of the summer. Unfortunately, the air conditioning at Number Four Privet Drive had chosen that day to gasp its last. The repair men had promised to check in on it, but not until noon on next Tuesday – three hot days away.

Aunt Petunia, hot and annoyed, had assigned Harry the most unpleasant task she could think of that would not actually kill the boy in the heat.

Harry was to clean the cellar. Aunt Petunia had instructed him not to open any of the neatly labeled crates, but instead, just move them all, dust and sweep around them, then put them back right where they were. Harry was unpleasantly reminded of detentions with Argus Filch.

Once that was done, Harry was required to organize the open boxes of old magazines and books onto the careworn shelves that had been relegated to the cellar when Uncle Vernon had purchased new ones for the parlor.

When she was satisfied that Harry would be kept busy for most of the day, Aunt Petunia dragged Dudley off to the tailors to have new knickerbockers made for his school uniform.

Harry was glad that the cellar was much cooler than the rest of the house. He finished the moving and dusting quickly, before turning to the marginally more interesting work of actually sorting through boxes.

Some were full of old school books, apparently belonging to his aunt and uncle. There were several crates containing books Dudley had received as gifts, but never read.

Then, in the middle of a box full of gardening books, one slipped out of its jacket and landed with a painful thud on Harry's toe.

Harry stared at it in astonishment that went beyond the mild pain. He picked it up. It was a small, battered spell book called "Simple Charms for Complex Problems."

Harry was shocked. How in the world could it have gotten there? Surely if Aunt Petunia had ever seen it, she would have destroyed it immediately.

Harry looked at the dust jacket still in his other hand. It read "Organizing Your Annuals." He shook his head in continued bewilderment. Who would have slipped this into his Aunt's things?

Harry opened the volume and looked at the inside cover. He was hoping for a definite sign that it had belonged to his mother. He did not find what he expected. Someone had written in it, but it was not inscribed to Lily.

Della, my flower,
Good luck on your N.E.W.T.s.
Don't study too hard.

It was signed, but Harry could not make it out. The first letter was probably an S, but maybe an F. It certainly was not a J for James. The rest of the name was blurred into a line.

On the opposite page, someone else had written a name: Asphodel Maddis.

Harry stared at the book in confusion. He was quite sure that he had never heard of either Della or Asphodel Maddis.

He flipped through the book, looking for more clues. It looked like an interesting book, but there was nothing else useful.

Excited, Harry took the jackets off all the other books in the box, but was disappointed to find they were all boring, non-magical books.

Frustrated, Harry took the spell book up to his room. He was determined to take the book back to school with him. He wanted to have it securely in his things before Aunt Petunia came home and spotted it.

When he returned, the cellar, which had begun to be a bit stuffy, was welcome for its cool comfort.

Harry was about to move on to the next box when something on the floor caught his eye. He picked up the stiff rectangle and held it up to the light. It was a Muggle photograph. Three young girls were playing in a sandbox.

He walked over to the cellar's main lamp to get a better look. All three girls looked vaguely familiar. They looked enough alike that they might be sisters.

Harry turned the photo over. Someone had written on it. "Lily (8) Della (7) and Petunia (6) at Grandmother Reece's House."

He looked back at the image. He could identify his mother now, the one with hair as red as Ron Weasley's. On the right, yes, if he squinted he could imagine that the brightly smiling child might be his sour aunt. That left Della in the middle.

Harry peered at her curiously. All three girls looked remarkably similar.

He tentatively decided that Della might be an aunt that he had never heard about.

Della had taken N.E.W.T.s, which meant she was a witch. If so, Aunt Petunia would have ignored Della's existence as she would like to have ignored Lily's.

Harry put the picture into his pocket.

What about Asphodel Maddis, though? He shook his head. He needed to talk to someone who had known his mother.

Harry turned back to his work, now carefully checking under the dust jacket of each book.

Harry waited until late that night to write to Sirius. He started with the usual comments about life at Privet Drive. Dudley was on a new diet this summer. It was some insane plan hatched by an American doctor. At least Harry was not starving this year.

However, he planned to eat all the carbohydrates he could get his hands on as soon as he got back to school.

Amazingly, the diet seemed to be doing both Dudley and Uncle Vernon good. It seemed that Uncle Vernon might have some neck there after all.

As for Harry himself, he had been putting on quite a bit of muscle, between the diet and the exercise he and Dudley were forced to do together. Harry liked swimming the best. It was the most like flying.

At the end of the letter he added a post script.

'By the way, did my mum have another sister? Maybe one named Della? Also, do you know anyone named Asphodel Maddis?'

Harry nodded in approval and sent the letter off with Hedwig.


Dear Harry,
Your mother only had one sibling, Petunia. Della and Asphodel Maddis are the same person. She was related to Lily, her cousin? Maybe. I don't recall.
She was in Ravenclaw, about a year behind us in school. I didn't know her well. I have no idea where she is now, or whether she is even still alive. I hope that helps.
Perhaps you should write to Dumbledore. He would know more.


Dear Professor Dumbledore,
I recently came across a name, Della Maddis. Sirius says she might be related to me. I was wondering if you might be able to tell me something about her. I am always curious about my family. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Harry Potter


Dear Harry,
I regret that I have little information for you. I suggest that you speak with Severus Snape. He knew Della Maddis better than anyone, except perhaps Lily Potter.
Yours truly,
Albus Dumbledore.
P.S. I recommend speaking to him in person after you return to school.