Ransom

By dragongirlG

DISCLAIMER: 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.

Epilogue

Jack stood at the window of a London boardinghouse, taking a sip of water as he fanned himself with one hand. It was the hottest day of the summer, and he had just returned from an interview at a newly opened bookshop, where he hoped to get a simple job as a clerk or a book stacker. They weren't his ideal occupations, but he had wasted the last ten years of his life, and he was not planning to waste any more. Everyone had to start somewhere.

An old woman named Marie owned the boardinghouse where he stayed. She was a kind and slightly eccentric old lady who had taken him in under the condition that he do the gardening for her, and that he find a job before summer's end. "With a handsome face like yours," she said cheerfully at their first dinner, "it shouldn't be too hard to find a job. People like handsome people."

"Er, thank you," said Jack. "I don't think I'm handsome, erm..."

"Oh, the good ones never do," she answered airily, standing up and taking his half-finished bowl of soup. "That's what makes them so attractive. They're modest. Nobody wants to date a wanker who thinks he's beautiful. It grates on your nerves and turns you into a screaming mess. I would know," she grinned, winking.

Jack smiled hesitantly in return.

He looked down at the city now, with its continuous streams of people coming and going, and the indignant honks of the taxi drivers as they tried to drive 'round. He loved the city, he really did; it embodied vitality, and emitted a constant flow of energy that spread to every resident and every visitor in it. One never really knew what to expect.

Including, of course, a snowy-white owl flying to one's window in the middle of the day and dropping a large box on one's head.

Jack stared at the owl and reached down to pick up the parcel. Attached to it was a letter addressed to him.

"Who sent you?" Jack asked, turning to the owl. She gave a dignified hoot, ruffled her feathers, and flew off.

Well, thought Jack, shaking his head. He opened the envelope and pulled out a thick sheet of parchment that smelled of raw ink and antique stores. The letter, indeed, was written in some sort of crude black ink reminding him strongly of the 1700's. How quaint. Perhaps the writer practiced calligraphy.

Opening the letter, he began to read.

Dear Jack,

            I don't really know where to begin. You probably don't remember me. Actually, I'm pretty sure that you don't remember me at all. (I bet you're thinking that this is some prank letter that's meant to confuse you, but it's not). We met through some very strange circumstances last week, and you lent me a set of clothes. I wanted to return them to you, and to thank you for lending them to me. I also wanted to thank you for taking care of me. You probably don't remember that. Thanks anyway, though.

            Sincerely,

There was no name.

            He slit the parcel open with his knife (it at least had been wrapped normally), and beheld a respectable set of clothes: a collard green shirt, a brown leather belt, and a pair of khaki pants. They were neatly pressed and folded. As he shook the pants out, wondering if he should wear them, two gold coins fell out of the pockets. Closer examination revealed that they were "Unum Galleons" of "Gringott's Bank," whose crest consisted of an artfully carved dragon. Jack put one of the coins in his mouth and bit down experimentally. His teeth sank into the metal, and he raised his eyebrows, impressed. Real gold! How much was it worth? Maybe he could sell it off to someone.

            Vaguely wondering who sent the letter (for no one he knew would send the post by owl, in daytime of all things), he took the coin out of his mouth and wiped his perspiring hands on his jeans, preparing to go down to lunch. Meanwhile, in a quiet Surrey neighborhood, a teenage boy at 4 Privet Drive smiled as a snowy-white owl flew in through the window of the smallest bedroom in the house.

            "Thanks, Hedwig," said Harry, finishing off a bit of Honeydukes chocolate, and he sat down to work on his summer homework. 

A/N: This is the end. Please review.