"We're going to train longer, stronger and faster," Wood said as he wrapped up his presentation. "Any questions?"
Just then, a flash of light filled the room and when it was cleared, Ron, Hermione, an Asian girl and a Hufflepuff were standing in the room.
"I have a question Oliver," Harry said, jolting awake. "What just happened?"
Oliver seemed not to hear Harry's question; instead he was gaping at four other figures who were standing there as well. Harry looked at where Oliver was standing and saw…himself.
"See Hermione, I told you Oliver would be the first to notice," the older him said. "Cough it up."
The older Hermione handed the older Harry two gallons. "Last time I bet with you," she said with a smile.
"—hell are you?" the twins asked. The other girl chuckled.
"Gred, Forge, I'm heart broken. You don't recognize your own sister?"
Ron, Fred and George gasped. The older Ginny was wearing Quidditch robes and had her wand out.
"Okay, so we can't stay long," said the older Ron. "But if you haven't guessed by now, we're from the future. Fifth year as a matter of fact."
"Hell of a year." Older Harry muttered under his breath.
"Yeah, yeah Harry, we get it. You hate the toad. We all do. " Ginny rolled her eyes. "The point is we found some books that we'd like you all to read."
"Even us?" the Asian girl asked.
"Yes Cho. You and Cedric," here the Older Harry pointed to the Puff, "will need to read these too as they also effect your future."
With that, another burst of light filled the room and when it was gone, seven books were in the places of the future visitors. Harry looked over at Ron.
"Got any food? I'm starving."
Ron chuckled. "Here mate, some toast."
Oliver picked up the smallest book and said, "I guess we're reading. I've already tried the door. We're stuck."
"Who wants to read first?" Katie asked.
"I will," Oliver said. "We'll go by who's been on the team longest." He cleared his throat. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Hey, this is about your first year."
"Yeah, now read." Ron said with a chuckle.
The Boy Who Lived
"Harry!" Fred and George yelled. Ron and Hermione grinned while Harry groaned. Angelina rolled her eyes at the two while Katie wondered how old the twins really were.
"Will you let me read?" Oliver asked.
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive,
"Who?" Fred asked.
"My aunt and uncle," Harry muttered.
were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense.
Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills.
"What's a drill?" everyone but Harry, Hermione and Katie asked. Those three ignored them.
"Look it up Ronald," Hermione smiled at the red head.
He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck,
Everyone glared at the book again.
which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors.
The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere.
Harry's eyes burst open and he started laughing. Everyone started giving him odd looks.
"Umm? Mate?" Ron asked.
"Dudley is to small as Ron is to never hungry," Harry gasped out. Some of them—Cho, Hermione, and the twins—laughed as well.
The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it. They didn't think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters.
"There's nothing wrong with the Potters," Cedric growled.
"You knew my parents?" Harry asked.
"They were friends with my parents. They came over a lot."
Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley's sister, but they hadn't met for several years; in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn't have a sister,because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish
"Not a word," Cho and Hermione said as one.
as it was possible to be. The Dursleys shuddered to think what the neighbors would say if the Potters arrived in the street.
"THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!" the Twins shouted
"If that happened, I wouldn't be living there," Harry muttered.
The Dursleys knew that the Potters had a small son, too, but they had never even seen him. This boy was another good reason for keeping the Potters away; they didn't want Dudley mixing with a child like that.
"A child like what?" Katie asked. From all the time she spent with Harry, she thought he was a good kid.
When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesday our story starts, there was nothing about the cloudy sky outside to suggest that strange and mysterious things would soon be happening all over the country. Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for work, and Mrs. Dursley gossiped away happily as she wrestled a screaming Dudley into his high chair.
"Boring," called out all the students. Yes, even Oliver.
None of them noticed a large, tawny owl flutter past the window.
At half past eight, Mr. Dursley picked up his briefcase, pecked Mrs. Dursley on the cheek, and tried to kiss Dudley good-bye but missed, because Dudley was now having a tantrum and throwing his cereal at the walls.
"Little tyke," chortled Mr. Dursley as he left the house. He got into his car and backed out of number four's drive.
It was on the corner of the street that he noticed the first sign of something peculiar — a cat reading a map.
"Professor McGonagall," everyone said.
"I wonder why she was there," Harry leaned in and asked Ron.
"Mate, you're asking the wrong friend."
For a second, Mr. Dursley didn't realize what he had seen — then he jerked his head around to look again. There was a tabby cat standing on the corner of Privet Drive, but there wasn't a map in sight. What could he have been thinking of? It must have been a trick of the light. Mr. Dursley blinked and stared at the cat. It stared back. As Mr. Dursley drove around the corner and up the road, he watched the cat in his mirror. It was now reading the sign that said Privet Drive — no, looking at the sign; cats couldn't read maps or signs.
"Sweet Merlin— "
"—The git can think!" The twins yelled.
Mr. Dursley gave himself a little shake and put the cat out of his mind. As he drove toward town he thought of nothing except a large order of drills he was hoping to get that day.
But on the edge of town, drills were driven out of his mind by something else. As he sat in the usual morning traffic jam, he couldn't help noticing that there seemed to be a lot of strangely dressed people about. People in cloaks.
"Apparently secrets mean nothing," Cho huffed.
Mr. Dursley couldn't bear people who dressed in funny clothes — the getups you saw on young people! He supposed this was some stupid new fashion. He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and his eyes fell on a huddle of these weirdoes standing quite close by. They were whispering excitedly . Dursley was enraged to see that a couple of them weren't young at all; why, that man had to be older than he was, and wearing an emerald-green cloak! The nerve of him! But then it struck Mr. Dursley that this was probably some silly stunt —these people were obviously collecting for something… yes, that would be it.
The traffic moved on and a few minutes later, Mr. Dursley arrived in the Grunnings parking lot, his mind back on drills.
Mr. Dursley always sat with his back to the window in his office on the ninth floor. If he hadn't, he might have found it harder to concentrate on drills that morning. He didn't see the owls swooping past in broad daylight, though people down in the street did; they pointed and gazed open-mouthed as owl after owl sped overhead.
Oliver, Cho, Cedric and Alicia looked confused. "Owls aren't that odd."
Harry chuckled when Katie said, "Well Owls in the Muggle world only come out at night."
Everyone looked at her. "How do you know that," Oliver asked. "I'm a half blood Oliver. My mum's muggle."
Most of them had never seen an owl even at nighttime. Mr. Dursley, however, had a perfectly normal, owl-free morning. He yelled at five
different people. He made several important telephone calls and shouted a bit more.
"Isn't he a pleasant bloke" Ron said sarcastically.
He was in a very good mood until lunchtime, when he thought he'd stretch his legs and walk across the road to buy himself a bun from the bakery.
Harry almost growled at the book. He hated the Dursleys with every fiber of his being.
He'd forgotten all about the people in cloaks until he passed a group of them next to the baker's. He eyed them angrily as he passed. He didn't know why, but they made him uneasy.
This bunch were whispering excitedly, too, and he couldn't see a single collecting tin. It was on his way back past them, clutching a large doughnut in a bag, that he caught a few words of what they were saying.
"The Potters, that's right, that's what I heard —"
— yes, their son, Harry —"
Cho gasped. Cedric looked at her, and she leaned in. "You don't think we're reading about THAT day do you?"
Mr. Dursley stopped dead.
"I wish" Harry grumbled as Ron chuckled.
Fear flooded him. He looked back at the whisperers as if he wanted to say something to them, but thought better of it.
He dashed back across the road, hurried up to his office, snapped at his secretary not to disturb him, seized his telephone,
"Wow he can run!" Harry exclaimed. Hermione began to get a little nervous about how her friend was treated at home.
and had almost finished dialing his home number when he changed his mind. He put the receiver back down and stroked his mustache, thinking… no, he was being stupid.
"Got that right" Harry muttered.
Potter wasn't such an unusual name. He was sure there were lots of people called Potter who had a son called Harry. Come to think of it, he wasn't even sure his nephew was called 'd never even seen the boy. It might have been Harvey. Or Harold.
"Harvey Potter?" Fred asked.
"Harry has a better ring to it." George said.
There was no point in worrying Mrs. Dursley; she always got so upset at any mention of her sister. He didn't blame her — if he'd had a sister like that…
"Lilly Potter was the best woman to walk this planet," Cedric growled some more. He was only three when she died, but he could still remember some of the times she came over to his house.
but all the same, those people in cloaks…He found it a lot harder to concentrate on drills that afternoon and when he left the building at five o'clock, he was still so worried that he walked straight into someone just outside the door.
"Is the bloke still alive?" Harry asked.
"Sorry," he grunted, as the tiny old man stumbled and almost fell.
Harry almost saw red. His uncle could apologize to a random stranger but couldn't even treat a young boy with respect.
It was a few seconds before Mr. Dursley realized that the man was wearing a violet cloak. He didn't seem at all upset at being almost knocked to the ground. On the contrary, his face split into a wide smile and he said in a squeaky voice that made passersby stare, "Don't be sorry, my dear sir, for nothing could upset me today! Rejoice, for You-Know-Who has gone at last!
"And he won't be back!" Oliver nodded.
Harry leaned over to Hermione and Ron. "That's what they think."
Even Muggles like yourself should be celebrating, this happy, happy day!"
And the old man hugged Mr. Dursley around the middle and walked off.
Harry's jaw dropped. "If I was wondering if he was magical before this, my doubts are gone," he muttered.
Mr. Dursley stood rooted to the spot. He had been hugged by a complete stranger. He also thought he had been called a Muggle, whatever that was. He was rattled. He hurried to his car and set off for home, hoping he was imagining things, which he had never hoped before, because he didn't approve of imagination.
Harry made a face at this.
As he pulled into the driveway of number four, the first thing he saw—and it didn't improve his mood — was the tabby cat he'd spotted that morning.
It was now sitting on his garden wall. He was sure it was the same one; it had the same markings around its eyes.
"Shoo!" said Mr. Dursley loudly.
"Not going to work" the twins smirked.
The cat didn't move. It just gave him a stern look.
"McGonagall," the students said again.
Was this normal cat behavior? Mr. Dursley wondered. Trying to pull himself together, he let himself into the house. He was still determined not to mention anything to his wife.
Mrs. Dursley had had a nice, normal day. She told him over dinner all about Mrs. Next Door's problems with her daughter and how Dudley had learned a new word ("Won't!").
Harry shook his head in utter disgust.
Mr. Dursley tried to act normally. When Dudley had been put to bed, he went into the living room in time to catch the last report on the evening news:
"And finally, bird-watchers everywhere have reported that the nation's owls have been behaving very unusually today. Although owls normally hunt at night and are hardly ever seen in daylight, there have been hundreds of sightings of these birds flying in every direction since sunrise. Experts are unable to explain why the owls
have suddenly changed their sleeping pattern." The newscaster allowed himself a grin. "Most mysterious. And now, over to Jim McGuffin with the weather. Going to be any more showers of owls tonight, Jim?"
"You don't think—"
"—he was a squib?" the twins asked.
"What's a squib?" Harry asked.
"Opposite to a muggle born," Hermione told him.
"Well, Ted," said the weatherman, "I don't know about that, but it's not only the owls that have been acting oddly today. Viewers as far apart as Kent, Yorkshire, and Dundee have been phoning in to tell me that instead of the rain I promised yesterday, they've had a downpour of shooting stars! Perhaps people have been celebrating Bonfire Night early — it's not until next week, folks! But I can promise a wet night tonight."
Mr. Dursley sat frozen in his armchair. Shooting stars all over Britain? Owls flying by daylight? Mysterious people in cloaks all over the place? And a whisper, a whisper about the Potters…Mrs. Dursley came into the living room carrying two cups of tea. It was no good. He'd have to say something to her. He cleared his throat nervously. "Er — Petunia, dear — you haven't heard from your sister lately, have you?"As he had expected, Mrs. Dursley looked shocked and angry. After all, they normally pretended she didn't have a sister.
Harry rolled his eyes. "And I often pretend I'm not related to you. Doesn't change anything."
"No," she said sharply. "Why?"
"Funny stuff on the news," Mr. Dursley mumbled. "Owls… shooting stars… and there were a lot of funny-looking people in town today…"
"So?" snapped Mrs. Dursley.
"Well, I just thought… maybe… it was something to do with… you know… her crowd."
"Her Crowd?" everyone but Harry asked.
"Just ignore them, they'll be like that for the rest of the book," Harry told them. Surprisingly, it didn't calm them down.
Mrs. Dursley sipped her tea through pursed lips. Mr. Dursley wondered whether he dared tell her he'd heard the name "Potter." He decided he didn't dare. Instead he said, as casually as he could, "Their son — he'd be about Dudley's age now, wouldn't he?"
"I suppose so," said Mrs. Dursley stiffly.
"What's his name again? Howard, isn't it?"
"Harry. Nasty, common name, if you ask me."
"It's a great name," Cho sniffed.
"And it's a family name." Cedric said, glaring at the book.
Harry leaned over at Ron. "It's scary, he knows more about you than you do," Ron whispered.
"Who doesn't?" Harry replied.
"Oh, yes," said Mr. Dursley, his heart sinking horribly. "Yes, I quite agree."
He didn't say another word on the subject as they went upstairs to bed. While Mrs. Dursley was in the bathroom, Mr. Dursley crept to the bedroom window and peered down into the front garden. The cat was still there. It was staring down Privet Drive as though it were waiting for something.
Was he imagining things? Could all this have anything to do with the Potters? If it did… if it got out that they were related to a pair of — well, he didn't think he could bear it.
"This guy is insane," Angelina said with a huff.
The Dursleys got into bed. Mrs. Dursley fell asleep quickly but Mr. Dursley lay awake, turning it all over in his mind. His last, comforting thought before he fell asleep was that even if the Potters were involved, there was no reason for them to come near him andMrs. Dursley. The Potters knew very well what he and Petunia
thought about them and their kind… He couldn't see how he and Petunia could get mixed up in anything that might be going on — he yawned and turned over — it couldn't affect them…
How very wrong he was.
"Oh joy!" Oliver was happy to hear about something going wrong in these muggles' lives.
Mr. Dursley might have been drifting into an uneasy sleep, but the cat on the wall outside was showing no sign of sleepiness.
"Wonder why?" Ron said dryly.
It was sitting as still as a statue, its eyes fixed unblinkingly on the far corner of Privet Drive. It didn't so much as quiver when a car door slammed on the next street, nor when two owls swooped overhead. In fact, it was nearly midnight before the cat moved at all.
A man appeared on the corner the cat had been watching, appeared so suddenly and silently you'd have thought he'd just popped out of the ground. The cat's tail twitched and its eyes narrowed.
"Oh no, McGonagall's mad," the twins warned. "We'd best be on our way."
"She's not here idiots," Ron shook his head.
Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive. He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice.
Everyone chuckled at the mention of their headmaster.
This man's name was Albus Dumbledore
"No! Really, I thought it was Snape!" Hermione scoffed.
Albus Dumbledore didn't seem to realize that he had just arrived in a street where everything from his name to his boots was unwelcome.
"Would he care?" Harry asked.
"Probably not." Ron shrugged.
He was busy rummaging in his cloak, looking for something. But he did seem to realize he was being watched, because he looked up suddenly at the cat, which was still staring at him from the other end of the street. For some reason, the sight of the cat seemed to amuse him. He chuckled and muttered, "I should have known."
He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket. It seemed to be a silver cigarette lighter. He flicked it open, held it up in the air, and clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop.
"That's awesome!" Ron shouted.
"I want one!" Fred and George said at the same time.
He clicked it again — the next lamp flickered into darkness. Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him. If anyone looked out of their window now, even beady-eyed Mrs. Dursley, they wouldn't be able to see anything that was happening down on the pavement. Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside his cloak and set off down the street toward number four, where he sat down on the wall next to the cat. He didn't look at it, but after a moment he spoke to it.
"Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall."
"Yes! I knew it!" Alicia cheered.
"No one disagreed with you." Harry said with a smirk.
He turned to smile at the tabby, but it had gone. Instead he was smiling at a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses exactly the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes. She, too, was wearing a cloak, an emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into a tight bun. She looked distinctly ruffled. "How did you know it was me?" she asked.
"My dear Professor, I've never seen a cat sit so stiffly."
The boys snickered and Hermione giggled. Even though she liked her professor, she still found it funny.
"You'd be stiff if you'd been sitting on a brick wall all day," said Professor McGonagall.
"All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here."
Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily.
"RUN!" the twins shouted.
"They would know," Angelina said with a shake of her head.
"Oh yes, everyone's celebrating, all right," she said impatiently. "You'd think they'd be a bit more careful, but no — even the Muggles have noticed something's going on. It was on their news."
"I agree with her." Cho decided.
She jerked her head back at the Dursleys' dark living-room window. "I heard it. Flocks of owls… shooting stars… Well, they're not completely stupid. They were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent — I'll bet that was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense."
"Dad knows him." Cedric shook his head. "He shares the same opinion."
"You can't blame them," said Dumbledore gently. "We've had precious little to celebrate for eleven years."
"Sweet Merlin, it lasted that long?" Ron whistled.
"I know that," said Professor McGonagall irritably. "But that's no reason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out on the streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes, swapping rumors."
She threw a sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, as though hoping he was going to tell her something, but he didn't, so she went on. "A fine thing it would be if, on the very day You-Know-Who seems to have disappeared at last, the Muggles found out about us all. I suppose he really has gone, Dumbledore?"
"It certainly seems so," said Dumbledore.
Harry rolled his eyes. He didn't call what he saw last year as Voldemort being gone.
We have much to be thankful for. Would you care for a lemon drop?"
"A what?" Alicia asked.
"A lemon drop. They're a kind of Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of."
"Dumbledore," everyone shook his or her head in amusement.
"No, thank you," said Professor McGonagall coldly, as though she didn't think this was the moment for lemon drops. "As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone —"
"My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name? All this 'You-Know-Who' nonsense — for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort."
"Oh please, it's just a name." Harry rolled his eyes as everyone else flinched.
Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice. "It all gets so confusing if we keep saying 'You-Know-Who.' I have never seen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort's name."
"Fear of a name—"
"Don't Harry." Ron interrupted. "Save it alright?"
"I know you haven't," said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring. "But you're different. Everyone knows you're the only one You-Know- oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of."
"You flatter me," said Dumbledore calmly. "Voldemort had powers I will never have."
"Yeah well he's just too noble to use them!" Hermione said.
"Only because you're too — well —noble to use them."
Ron chuckled. "You're like McGonagall Hermione." "There are worse people to be like. I could be like Snape." They all shuddered at that.
It's lucky it's dark. I haven't blushed so much since Madam Pomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs."
Harry looked a bit green when he heard this, and the others were making sounds of disgust.
Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbledore and said, "The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. You know what they're saying? About why he's disappeared? About what finally stopped him?"
"Do we have to hear about this?" Harry asked.
It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most anxious to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on a cold, hard wall all day, for neither as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare as she did now. It was plain that whatever "everyone" was saying, she was not going to believe it until Dumbledore told her it was true. Dumbledore, however, was choosing another lemon drop and did not answer.
"What they're saying," she pressed on, "is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric's Hollow. He went to find the Potters.
Harry groaned. He really didn't want to hear about what happened that night. His parents were dead; that's all he cared to know.
The rumor is that Lily and James Potter are — are — that they're — dead."
Everyone bowed their heads in memory of the last two victims of Voldemort—or so they thought.
Dumbledore bowed his head. Professor McGonagall gasped.
"Lily and James… I can't believe it… I didn't want to believe it… Oh, Albus…"
Harry's head shot up. "Whoa. Dad must have made an impression on her."
Dumbledore reached out and patted her on the shoulder. "I know… I know…" he said heavily.
Professor McGonagall's voice trembled as she went on. "That's not all. They're saying he tried to kill the Potter's son, Harry.
Everyone growled at the book, but seeing Harry by them in his Quidditch robes calmed them down a bit.
"They're scary," he muttered.
But he couldn't. He couldn't kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how, but they're saying that when he couldn't kill Harry Potter, Voldemort's power somehow broke — and that's why he's gone."
"You're awesome, you know that?" Ron laughed.
"I'm Harry frickin' Potter. I know I'm awesome."
Dumbledore nodded glumly.
"It's — it's true?" faltered Professor McGonagall. "After all he's done… all the people he's killed… he couldn't kill a little boy? It's just astounding… of all the things to stop him… but how in the name of heaven did Harry survive?"
"We can only guess." said Dumbledore. "We may never know."
"I really don't want to know," Harry muttered.
Professor McGonagall pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes beneath her spectacles. Dumbledore gave a great sniff as he took a golden watch from his pocket and examined it. It was a very odd watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, little planets were moving around the edge. It must have made sense to Dumbledore, though, because he put it back in his pocket and said, "Hagrid's late. I suppose it was he who told you I'd be here, by the way?"
"I would trust Hagrid with my life," Harry said.
"Me too." Ron and Hermione nodded their heads.
"Yes," said Professor McGonagall. "And I don't suppose you're going to tell me why you're here, of all places?"
"I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only family he has left now."
"Damn it," Harry said. Everyone looked at him in shock. First of all: he just swore. Second of all: that meant that he and his family didn't get along all that well.
"Harry! Language!" Hermione scolded.
"You don't mean – you can't mean the people who live here?" cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four. "Dumbledore — you can't. I've been watching them all day. You couldn't find two people who are less like us. And they've got this son — I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!"
"Come on Dumbledore, listen to her!" Harry muttered but he knew it wouldn't do any good. He still lived there after all.
"It's the best place for him," said Dumbledore firmly. "His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he's older. I've written them a letter."
"A letter?" Oliver asked in shock. "Oh yes. 'Dear Mrs. Dursley, I'm sorry to say that your sister has been killed yet your nephew lived. Please look after the savior of our world.' You think that all could be explained in a letter?"
"A letter?" repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. "Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter?
"Now Wood's like McGonagall," Harry muttered to Fred.
These people will never understand him! He'll be famous — a legend
— I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future — there will be books written about Harry — every child in our world will know his name!"
"Might I just add that I hate that!" Harry said with a scowl. "Nor do I like people staring at me every minute of every day."
"Exactly." said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon glasses. "It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! Can you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it?"
"Ugh. At least I'm not a mini-Malfoy," Harry muttered to himself.
Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed, and then said, "Yes — yes, you're right, of course. But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?" She eyed his cloak suddenly as though she thought he might be hiding Harry underneath it.
"Ugh, bad mental images!" the twins shouted. Everyone chuckled.
"Hagrid's bringing him."
"You think it —wise — to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?"
"I would trust Hagrid with my life," said Dumbledore.
I'm not saying his heart isn't in the right place," said Professor McGonagall grudgingly, "but you can't pretend he's not careless. He does tend to — what was that?"
A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them. It grew steadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a headlight; it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky
— and a huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them.
"That's so cool." Cedric said.
"Nah," Harry yawned. "I think flying cars are cooler."
Ron and the twins snorted in unison.
If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild — long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather
boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets.
"Hagrid," said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. "At last. And where did you get that motorcycle?"
"Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir," said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke. "Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I've got him, sir."
The faces of those raised in the Wizarding world darkened. Even Cedric's, who thought that Black had gotten too light a sentence.
"No problems, were there?"
"No, sir — house was almost destroyed, but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin' around. He fell asleep as we was flyin' over Bristol."
"Aw," Cho and Katie cooed.
Oliver and the twins chuckled at Harry's red face. "Don't worry Harry," Oliver said. "The chapter's almost over."
Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.
"Is that where —?" whispered Professor McGonagall.
"Yes," said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever."
"Did I mention that—"
"We know Harry," Hermione piped up. "You hate your scar."
"Couldn't you do something about it, Dumbledore?"
"I wish." Harry muttered. If he could just hide it some how.
"Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well — give him here, Hagrid — we'd better get this over with."
"You really think he's got that scar?" Cho asked.
"I hate my scar," Harry muttered. "It's a menace, not useful at all."
Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned toward the Dursleys' house.
"Could I — could I say good-bye to him, sir?" asked Hagrid. He bent his great, shaggy head over Harry and gave him what must have been a very scratchy, whiskery kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog.
"Aww." The girls cooed.
"Shhh!" hissed Professor McGonagall, "You'll wake the Muggles!"
"S-s-sorry," sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large, spotted handkerchief and burying his face in it. "But I c-c-can't stand it —Lily an' James dead — an' poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles —"
"Aw, Hagrid likes you," Alicia cooed.
"Who doesn't he like?" Harry asked, his face turning red.
"Malfoy." Ron piped up.
"Yes, yes, it's all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we'll be found," Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door. He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry's blankets, and then came back to the other two.
"A doorstep?" Harry scoffed. "I'd been safer in the bushes."
For a full minute the three of them stood and looked at the little bundle; Hagrid's shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked furiously, and the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore's eyes seemed to have gone out.
"That's not good," Cho whispered.
"Well," said Dumbledore finally, "that's that. We've no business staying here. We may as well go and join the celebrations."
"Yeah," said Hagrid in a very muffled voice, "I best get this bike away. G'night, Professor McGonagall — Professor Dumbledore, sir."
Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; with a roar it rose into the air and off into the night.
"I shall see you soon, I expect, Professor McGonagall," said Dumbledore, nodding to her. Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply.
Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street. On the corner he stopped and took out the silver Put-Outer. He clicked it once and twelve balls of light sped back to their street lamps so that Privet Drive glowed suddenly orange and he could make out a tabby cat slinking around the corner at the other end of the street. He could just see the bundle of blankets on the step of number four.
"Good luck, Harry," he murmured. He turned on his heel and with a swish of his cloak, he was gone.
"I needed it, for sure." Harry muttered.
A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours' time by Mrs. Dursley's scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley… He couldn't know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: "To Harry Potter — the boy who lived!"
"Alright, that's the end of the chapter." Oliver said. "Here, Angelina. You're next."
"Great." she smiled. "The next chapter's called The Vanishing Glass."