Summary

Just as soon as Harry Potter had become used to being a wizard it seemed that everything had turned itself upside down once again. On the verge of his second year at Hogwarts School Harry struggles to reconcile the knowledge that Voldemort is still out there - with followers to aid him - with Harry's own desire to live his life as he sees fit. When a prestigious international competition comes to Hogwarts, Harry seizes the opportunity to test his skills. But with Voldemort having proven himself willing and able to orchestrate plots and schemes, Harry cannot help but see the Dark Lord's hand in every strange occurrence.


Chapter 1 – Muggle Again

Harry's return to the Muggle world had been exactly as awkward as he'd expected it would be. His aunt looked as if she were about to faint whenever he mentioned anything especially magical, such as flying or anything involving spellwork, but she did seem less upset whenever he mentioned potions – at least until Harry had mentioned Professor Snape and she'd gone all funny and left the room. A bit of an overreaction in his opinion, but that was Petunia.

Dudley had been almost completely absent over the few days since Harry had returned, and when he wasn't, he avoided Harry. Harry thought that was probably fair enough given Harry's vague descriptions of what had happened at school the previous year – he had killed a teacher, after all. That particular bit of news went down like a lead balloon when his aunt and uncle heard it.

"So, er, Dudley mentioned," Vernon said after breakfast a few days after Harry had come back from Hogwarts, "that there was a bit of... er... a spot of..." He didn't seem able to finish the sentence. Instead he just stared out the kitchen window at the dreary muggle scene beyond.

"And then there was that letter we received this morning," said Petunia, taking over from Vernon's failed attempt at broaching the topic of Harry's end-of-year activities. "Apparently there was an ... altercation ... with one of your teachers?" She paused. "And, well, you know I thought this can't be right, but the teacher is ... dead? And the letter—the letter, it said that the teacher died because of something you did?"

Harry sighed. He hadn't really wanted to go over the affair with Quirrell with his aunt and uncle, especially not in any real detail, but he supposed they did deserve some sort of explanation of it all. It wasn't as if he could have kept it secret forever, after all. And really, with what Harry knew about Sirius Black being innocent and no longer a threat to the family, he thought it was probably a good idea to tell them about that, too.

The number of Aurors on duty had been reduced because of Sirius being sighted overseas, but Harry knew his aunt and uncle were still worried. The knowledge that Sirius would never be a problem again would go a long way to smoothing over everything else, Harry thought.

"It's a bit complicated," Harry said, "but... well... at the end of the year one of the teachers tried kidnapping me. He was working for—well, that doesn't really matter. But it's alright, because Sirius Black—you remember, the escaped convict?—helped to save me. And, er, the teacher died because of—well, it's weird magic stuff, basically. And I don't just mean weird to you, like, it's weird for wizards, too. Even Dumbledore..." Harry shrugged. "So, er, that was what happened. I'm alright, though. Really."

Petunia frowned deeply at Harry's not especially explanatory explanation but remained silent for a few moments as she processed his words.

"And you're quite happy to go back to school, even after ... everything?" asked Petunia.

"And they're happy to have you back there even after you killed a teacher?" asked Vernon at the same time.

"Vernon!" said Petunia.

Harry supposed both of them had fair questions.

"Yeah, I want to go back," Harry said. "Really, I do. And it's not—I mean obviously nobody wants students killing—but it was a really weird accident, it wasn't technically my fault. Some sort of strange... things like this don't usually happen, is what I mean. And there is a bit of good news as well—Sirius Black is actually innocent. So we don't have to worry about him anymore. He didn't betray my parents, or murder anyone or anything like that!"

Sirius had escaped from Azkaban, but as far as Harry knew that wasn't actually a crime. Perhaps only because everyone thought it impossible, but Harry thought it still counted.

"Are there other schools you could go to?" asked Petunia. She seemed content to side-step the issue of Sirius Black for now, which Harry thought was probably fair. In the grand scheme of things, he was less important than Harry being kidnapped and then killing a teacher. "Perhaps it would be best..."

Harry shook his head. That was not going to happen.

"None of them are as good as Hogwarts. There's really only one that would have me, and I don't want to go there. And I want to stay at Hogwarts, anyway. I've made friends and it's where my parents went to school and all my family on my dad's side..." Harry said. "It feels right for me to go there."

Petunia sighed.

"Heaven knows what you all love so much about that place," Petunia said, "because from where we are it sounds like a death-trap. But it's your decision and if you're sure it's safe..."

Harry nodded and jumped at the chance to crow about just how safe he felt there.

"It is," he said. "I really don't think any of the other schools would be safer." At least at Hogwarts he had Dumbledore watching, and with Voldemort out and about in the world again...

"If you're sure," Petunia said.

"I am," said Harry. "Do you mind if I go do my homework? I want to get a good start on it..."

Vernon grunted and Petunia nodded.

Harry got up and left to return to his room, although he had no intention of actually doing homework.

Harry knew both Petunia and Vernon were unhappy with the events of the previous year, along with Harry's decision to remain at Hogwarts. He also knew they wouldn't kick up too much of a fuss. And even if they did the Ministry would overrule them, as it was every British and Irish child's legal right to attend Hogwarts – not that Harry wanted it to get that far. That seemed like the sort of thing that could irreparably damage the family dynamic, and he didn't want that to happen.

Petunia, though, seemed eager to throw Harry into the deep end of the muggle side of things. Almost as soon as he'd settled back into life at Number Four Petunia managed to turn it all upside down once more with her proclamation that it was time for Harry and Dudley to get passports, as the whole family would be taking a holiday in Spain this summer. To do that they needed photos, which entailed a haircut and some nice new clothes so that they didn't look 'shabby', and a trip to the passport office for a specially expedited passport because Harry had been unavailable earlier on in the year.

So a couple of days later Harry sat in the living room, dressed and ready to go, with Vernon – who alternated between reading the paper and commenting angrily at the television – while Petunia attempted to corral Dudley into accompanying them.

"We've never been abroad on holiday before," said Harry. He'd been trying to figure out how to ask tactfully, but decided the direct approach was best. "I thought I wasn't… allowed."

Vernon grunted in response.

"They never said you weren't allowed, just that it wasn't a good idea," Vernon said. "Your aunt agreed then. Now she doesn't."

"Ah, right."

Harry knew there had been some sort of suggestion that he wasn't supposed to leave the country, at least up until he received his Hogwarts letter. Harry supposed it had been for some sort of security consideration – that in the days after the Blood War ended, the Ministry didn't want him where they couldn't find him. Ironically, given that Voldemort was somewhere in the country doing whatever nefarious things Voldemort got up to, Harry thought it would now actually be safer for him abroad than at home.

"You should be grateful, anyway," Vernon continued. "Some children never get to go anywhere."

"No, I am!" said Harry. "Spain is meant to be great. I was just surprised, that's all."

Vernon folded his paper up and set it down on his lap. He had an odd, pained, look on his face which Harry belatedly recognised as Vernon trying to be sympathetic.

He looked constipated.

"After what happened at your… school last year," Vernon said, "your aunt and I thought it might be nice to do something a little bit more—a little bit more…"

"Normal?" suggested Harry. "Well, thank you. I do appreciate it, really." And he did. It was just a massive surprise. He hadn't thought his aunt would try to go against the wizards' rules, not after Flitwick, anyway.

Voldemort might have been out there, lurking and scheming, but Harry could almost forget that in the drearily comforting environs of Little Whinging. A spot of normalcy in a sea of strange occurrences.

Vernon grunted a response and returned to his paper.

It took Petunia another ten minutes to convince Dudley to get going, and the two boys were shepherded into the car to run the errands Petunia had planned for the day. Both boys needed a photograph for their passports, and then there would be a trip to the passport office in London proper for a special appointment. Harry could have done without all the fuss but, as it was the fastest way to get it done and he'd never taken a foreign holiday before, he wasn't going to complain. Dudley, however, didn't seem quite so tolerant.

"But why do we all have to go to the office, Mum?" he wailed. "I wanted to go out with the boys."

"We need the photos done urgently, darling," said a strained Petunia as she drove Vernon's car into town – a rare event, as she preferred to be driven. "And we all need to be there for the appointment—it's the law. It's nice all being together, though, isn't it? What with you both away at school last year…"

Dudley groaned loudly, which told everyone what he thought about that particular suggestion. It wasn't exactly what Harry wanted to do with his day either, but it was a bit better than having to go with his aunt alone. At least with the two boys there Petunia would have to split her attention between them, and each of them could have a bit of a rest.

The two boys spent the rest of the morning being moved from one shop to another as Petunia 'just popped in' to several different shops for various reasons, as the appointment with the photographer wasn't until the afternoon. By the time the appointment came both boys were well past bored and being fussed over by the photographer's assistant sent Dudley over the edge.

"Mum, why can't we just use a bloody photo booth?" he said angrily, swatting away the assistant with a thick hand.

"Oh, Heavens no!" said a scandalised Petunia with an embarrassed look at the photographer. "Duddy, darling, this is much nicer."

Privately, Harry agreed with Dudley. It would have been faster and much cheaper to get their passport photos done at one of the many photo booths present in other shops, like Tesco and even the Waitrose his aunt liked to use, which also advertised that the photos were suitable for passports. Petunia, however, would never be caught dead using one, just in case Mrs Jones or Mrs Gupta or one of the other ladies from the street saw her. No, an expensive and time-consuming trip to a professional photographer in town was the only way Petunia Dursley could do it.

Eventually, with the photos taken and printed, Petunia, Dudley, and Harry left the photography studio to return to the car for their appointment at the passport office in London. Dudley fell asleep in the car on the journey into London, which left Harry with enough peace to stare out the window at all the muggle things they passed. The appointment itself went by smoothly, as Dudley didn't have to do anything other than sit still for a few minutes while Petunia provided proof of identity for both boys, but his nap on the way into London meant that on the way back, he couldn't get back to sleep.

Instead, he struck up a conversation with Harry, which he'd mostly managed to avoid doing since Harry's return from Hogwarts.

"Is this what wizard shopping is like?" he asked Harry. "Or do they have magic and stuff to make it all go faster?"

Harry nodded.

"Yeah, kind of," he said, "but it's all on one street, really, so it's not… you know, like today. But in the shops you still mostly have to do the same thing—pick out what you want, and take it to the person at the till." He shrugged. "Well—in the clothes shop I went in they measure you up for clothes, and the tape measures are all floating and stuff like that. And the clothes make themselves while you wait. Oh, and in the bank, you go underground on like a rollercoaster thing to get your money."

This seemed magical enough for Dudley, at least, who nodded.

"I wish normal banks were like that," said Dudley.

"All the people who work in the banks are goblins, too," Harry added, since he hadn't thought about mentioning it the first time. It was odd how quickly things like that became mundane.

"No way!" said Dudley. "Like, real goblins? With slimy green skin and fangs and everything?"

Harry grinned.

"Nah, no slimy green skin or stuff like that. They're basically just like small people. They do look a bit different, but..."

"Oh," said Dudley. "That's actually a bit boring… Mental, that real magic stuff could be so boring."

"You've got no idea!" said Harry. Happy that Dudley was finally getting back to normal for Dudley, he launched into a full explanation of all the most boring and mundane parts of being at a wizard school such as Latin grammar, homework club, essays, and all the rest. That ended up in Dudley sharing school stories of his own, which filled time all the way back to Little Whinging.


Plagued by thoughts of Voldemort and prophecies and all sorts of things he would much rather not think about, Harry found himself searching for something else to do on Friday and ended up stood outside Stevie's house holding his rather neglected football, wondering if he should knock the door. In the end, he did, and felt much happier when Stevie – late as usual – answered the door.

"Harry! Nice to see you, mate! Back from your fancy school in Scotland, then!" he said, putting on a terrible Scottish accent.

"Yeah, mate! Got back Sunday, but my aunt's gone mental planning a holiday so it's been non-stop since I got home!"

"Hang on—let me get my shoes and I'll be back," said Stevie. He let the door swing closed and Harry leaned against the house wall to wait for him. A few minutes later Stevie returned, this time with both of his shoes on and a light-weight jacket. He locked his front door and then gestured for Harry to follow him.

"School's been much more boring without you," said Stevie. "Sophia Thomas nearly cried when she learned you weren't coming back though. Should have seen it!"

Harry did feel glad that he didn't have to deal with Sophia anymore, but it was nice to feel wanted. He'd noticed a few of the girls at Hogwarts behaved as if they liked him, but he couldn't be sure whether they liked him or the whole mythology around him, so he'd pretended like he hadn't noticed at all. He didn't think they'd let him do that for too much longer, but it had worked for a little while, at least.

Of course, even if he were interested in them, there was Voldemort to consider. Would it really be fair to any girl close to him to be targeted by Voldemort just because Harry liked her? Harry didn't know the answer, but he did know he could spend hours and hours turning it over in his head without any resolution, so he thought it wasn't worth thinking about, really. At least not yet.

"It was weird going to a new school," Harry said. "But at least everyone else was new, too. Although some of them knew each other already…"

"Went to the same primary schools, did they?" asked Stevie. "I've never heard of this 'Hogwash' place though. Is it big?"

"Something like that. Loads of them had private tutors instead of going to school. Can you imagine that? Stuck at home all day?" Harry didn't wait for Stevie to reply but carried on. "It's really big! It's in a castle in Scotland, so the school is massive, but there's like… I don't know… I think maybe around a thousand students there all in?"

"Blimey! That's huge for a fancy-pants boarding school in the middle of nowhere! How come no one's heard of it?"

Harry just shrugged. He knew full well why, because it was a secret school full of wizards, but that wasn't a valid answer. He'd gone over the cover story provided to all muggleborns after he finished for the summer, just so he didn't slip up, but even that wasn't overly detailed and it went something like 'Hogwarts is an alternative co-educational boarding school located in the Scottish Highlands', which was basically not an explanation at all.

"Dunno," Harry said. "You have to be invited, so maybe that's why. It's not really fancy, anyway," Harry said, although he felt like it was sort of a lie. Hogwarts did have quite a lot of fancy things about it, but it was free to attend, and it seemed to Harry as if wizards just had a different sense of aesthetics going on anyway. But then, most of the things Harry was allowed to tell muggles were tinged with lies, so it didn't seem especially egregious to leave out the four-poster beds, suits of armour, and all the rest along with the ghosts, man-eating spiders, and magic wands. "I mean, the uniform has a hat, and it's a bit silly, but… I don't know, the school is free and it's not just rich people going there."

"Is it weird living at school?" Stevie asked, seemingly satisfied with Harry's explanations. "At least here we get to go home."

"It's actually not weird at all!" said Harry. "I couldn't believe it either, I thought it was going to be, well, a bit shit, right? But it's like… there are bits that feel like school, like the classrooms and the library, and then there's all the other places in between where you can just go and do what you want. There's a lake and a forest—we're not meant to go in the forest, mind—and since it's a castle, there's loads of cool places to go. My dorm is in the dungeons, even."

"Mad!" said Stevie. "In the dungeons? Isn't that a bit…"

"It's pretty cosy," said Harry. He shrugged. "It's weird how you get used to stuff, I suppose. I like going there, though. I do miss everyone at Stonewall—mostly—but… Hogwarts is good."

"Yeah, fair enough," said Stevie after a few moments. "It sounds alright, anyway. Glad you like it. Why'd you stay over Christmas? I checked with your aunt and she just said you stayed at school."

Harry stopped walking to think about what to say. 'That murderer who escaped from prison who was on the news all last year? I thought he was after me,' probably wasn't the best thing to say, but he also didn't want Stevie to think he was avoiding his old life either.

"There was a lot to get done," Harry said eventually. "They had me learning Latin, mate! I had to get on top of it, didn't want to fail anything in my first year… Anyway, I'm hoping to come home next year."

"Mate, bloody Latin! You said it wasn't fancy, but it sounds like it's basically Eton!" said Stevie, laughing.

Harry grinned. He didn't mention that one of his friends had literally been at Eton before going to Hogwarts. Instead, he just shook his head.

"It's not that bad! Let's go to the park and have a kick about. I brought my ball; don't want to carry it around for nothing."

"As you please, Sir Harold of Potter," said Stevie with a deep bow. "Anything for his Lordship!"

"Prat!" said Harry. He kicked the ball away. "Go on, get that!"

Stevie ran off after the ball and Harry followed him laughing. They spent the next few hours kicking the ball around the park, and Harry forgot all about his worries for a little while, at least. It was great to be a kid in a park in England, kicking a ball about with a friend.

Harry and Stevie stayed a few hours in the largely disused park until, when it started to get dark, Dudley and his friends turned up.

"Ugh, look—it's Big D and his 'gang'," said Stevie. "No offence, I know he's your cousin, but…"

Harry shrugged.

"He can be an arse," Harry said. "What's this about 'Big D' though? That's what he's calling himself now, is it?" Harry laughed.

"Started over Christmas," said Stevie. "Going on about how he's going to be a boxer, all that shit. His goons loved it, so it stuck. We should go, though. It's not good to be stuck in their way…"

"He doesn't give you trouble, does he?" asked Harry seriously. "If he does, I'll get him to stop."

Stevie shook his head.

"Nah, they're not like that these days. They just go about wrecking shit, and look—Gordon's got his baseball bat. You know what that Mrs Figg is like—if we're here when they smash stuff up she'll blame us too."

Harry wasn't overly worried about that, since if Dudley was accused of anything, his aunt would refuse to believe it, and she knew that Harry didn't get up to things like that from experience, but he knew that Stevie's parents were less forgiving when it came to accusations from neighbours.

"Yeah, alright. Should be getting back around now anyway for dinner." Harry bent to pick up his football and started walking towards the exit from the park. On the way, the passed Dudley and his friends who were looking at the children's play equipment to pick which bits of it to smash up.

"'Sup, Big D," said Harry as he passed.

Dudley's face went red and he frowned at Harry.

"Not going to say anything to Mum, are you?" he asked Harry, and nodded towards the bat.

"I don't give a shit what you're up to, Dudley," Harry said truthfully. "I mean, it is a bit harsh—kids play on this, don't they?—but do what you want. I'm not going to tell on you. Mrs Figg will, though. Anyway, dinner's soon, and you know what Aunt Petunia's like," said Harry. "See you later, Dud."

Harry walked away and gestured for Stevie to follow him. As they walked away, Harry heard one of Dudley's friends, Piers – the one who went to Smeltings with him – ask him a question.

"Why'd you let him get away with cheeking you, Big D? Should have smashed his face in."

"Well, he's my cousin, ain't he?" said Dudley. "Can't go about doing that to family. He lives with us… Let's get back to smashing shit. Who gives a fuck about Mrs Fucking Figg?"

Harry walked back with Stevie to about halfway between their two houses – it was slightly out of the way for Harry, since the park was closer to Privet Drive than Stevie's street, but he felt like it was fairer that way – and then returned to Number Four on his own, carrying his football.

"Is that you, Duddy, darling?" called out Petunia when Harry stepped through the door.

"No, it's me, Aunt Petunia," said Harry. He went immediately into the kitchen, where he knew his aunt would be.

"Oh, Harry," said Petunia, "did you have a nice time out with your friend? Stevie, was it?"

"Yes, Aunt Petunia," said Harry. "It was nice to see him again after last year. We kicked the ball about in the park. It was fun."

"That's wonderful, Harry, dear. Did you see Dudley when you were out? It's getting a bit late and dinner's soon."

Harry nodded.

"Yeah, I saw him earlier with his friends—you know, Piers and Gordon and Malcolm. I don't know where they were going, though."

"Thank you, Harry. Go put that ball away and then get ready for dinner," said Petunia. As Harry turned to leave, she stopped him. "Oh, I almost forgot—my mind's been somewhere else all day—but some letters arrived for you earlier," said Petunia, and she whispered the next words as if the whole street might overhear, "by owl. I put them on the desk in your room…"

Harry smiled. That meant his friends had already decided to write to him.

"Thanks, Aunt Petunia! I'll be back in a bit!"

Harry rushed upstairs to his bedroom, dropped his football somewhere he thought it was more or less tidy for it to be, and eagerly sorted through the letters on his desk. He recognised Tracey's handwriting immediately and saw that Ernie had sent him a letter too – although unlike Tracey's casual scrawl of his name on the envelope, Ernie had addressed it rather more formally. There was a third letter with handwriting he didn't recognise, also formally addressed to Harry's home, the envelope sealed with a Ministry of Magic seal.

He opened that one first, terrified he'd accidentally done something outrageously illegal and that he was to be sent off to Azkaban. The tone of the letter told him immediately that that wasn't the case, so he kept reading.

To Mr Harry Potter,

We here at the Ministry of Magic deeply, deeply regret the situation which befell you this past academic year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I am writing to offer my deepest and most heart-felt apologies for any undue inconvenience, bodily or psychological damage which may have occurred to you as a result of your ordeal. It is the office of the Minister's most sincere desire that you be compensated fairly for the situation in which you were placed through no fault of your own.

Harry scanned the rest of the letter, since it carried on like that for another very long paragraph, full of platitudes and carefully couched ways of saying 'we're sorry our government is so incompetent you got kidnapped by Dark wizards while at school, and not even the Dark wizard we thought it might be' without ever actually saying that, until he got to the point.

It is for these aforementioned reasons that the Ministry of Magic (Department of Magical Games and Sports) would like to offer you tickets to this year's Quidditch World Cup final, valid for three persons, to sit in the Minister's Box for the duration of the game. Please find three (3) VIP tickets enclosed within this letter.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information up to and including the date of the Cup final match.

Regards,

Personal Secretary to Ludo Bagman (Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports),

Esmerelda Jape

Harry set the letter aside and looked at his tickets.

Cup final tickets! Harry thought.

He knew at once he would ask Ernie to go with him, since Ernie had bought him World Cup tickets for Christmas, and it would be a nice way to say thank you. He put the three tickets inside his desk drawer so that they didn't get lost, and then tore open Ernie's letter.

Harry,

Sorry to bother you so early in the summer, but my dad wanted to sort out travel arrangements for the World Cup. We're summering in the Cornish house since it's more conveniently located for the Cup, you see, so Dad said he'll pop over to pick you up when it's time, easy as that. I wanted to ask you as well if you wanted to come stay for a week or so around the matches, if you'd like. No pressure! I know you must be wanting a well-earned rest after all that guff at the end of the year. The match we've got tickets for is at the beginning of August, so you can come visit just after your birthday, if you'd like.

Let me know,

Kind regards,

Your friend, Ernest Macmillan

Harry thought that staying over at Ernie's house – well, the Cornish summer house – would be great. It would be nice to see how wizards lived when not at school, and it would be a great diversion after a few weeks living totally muggle. He knew that sometimes, the all-wizarding families were a bit lax on the 'no magic over the summer' laws because apparently the Ministry only checked for the muggleborns, so maybe he would even get to practise a bit of magic while he was there. Petunia had booked the holiday already, so the dates were final – all he had to do was find out when they were back.

Harry thought it was lucky he had his own owl, and Agrippa needed exercise anyway. He supposed a trip to Ernie's summer house, and then up to Wales for Tracey's letter, would do the owl a lot of good.

Harry opened Tracey's letter then, keen to see what she'd written, and so early in the summer.

Hi Harry!

I sent you a letter already (I know we're only a week into summer!) because next week, we're off on holiday to Barcelona for two weeks and we never take our owl with us when we travel. Owls hate Portkeys! (And it's a bit warm in Spain for her I think even if she flew over.) We'll be going camping when we come back but we will take her with us then because we aren't going far so I can still send letters then!

Anyway, I wanted to check in before we went and before our poor owl is knackered from all Mam's last minute letters. Do you know anything more about your plans for the summer? I know you said you were going to a World Cup match which is really exciting! At least it's something to keep your mind of all that bother last year, isn't it? I always think it's best to get on with doing things, especially fun things, when something like that's happened. Well, you know what I mean, since nothing like that has happened to me before, thank God!

I know it's nice to see family again but I hope you don't get too bored going full muggle again over the hols! If it gets too bad there's always homework to do.

Oh and please let me know if you hear from your friend who helped out at the end of last year! Hope it's all going well. The news has quietened down hasn't it, so that's a good sign! They haven't mentioned his name in the papers this week anyway, and I've been checking because I knew you don't get the Prophet at home.

By the way I love getting letters so don't feel shy about writing to me! It's always fun when an owl arrives and it's got a letter with your name on it, isn't it?

See you soon,

Tracey!

Harry found himself smiling ear to ear after reading Tracey's letter. She could be like a whirlwind at times, but she was usually exuberantly happy, and it could be infectious – even through writing. The rest of the letter was really what he'd expected to hear from Tracey: a bit of concern, a bit of advice, and more information than he really needed to know about nothing in particular. He took out his parchment, ink and quill and wrote a quick reply to Tracey, as Harry didn't think he needed any kind of specific dates or anything like that for his answer.

`Hi Tracey

I don't mind the early letters, it's nice to hear from people! My aunt is even getting a bit more used to owls coming 'round now! You'll never guess what: my aunt has got me a passport and we're off to Spain soon, too! I think we'll even be there at the same time. It's mad though, she's got us running about taking photos and we've got to go shopping for things all next week. She almost never gets like this. I don't know what's got into her.

And there's this! The Ministry of Magic sent me some tickets to the Quidditch World Cup final match as an apology for what happened at the end of last year. I'm taking Ernie because he got me those other tickets for Christmas so I thought it would be nice to do the same for him.

I haven't even started thinking about homework yet. I'll get it done when I feel like I've had enough of a break!

I haven't heard from that friend yet but I'm hoping to soon. I don't know when he'll get the chance really though, he was a bit busy the last time I saw him.

Harry

Harry didn't feel bad about not asking Tracey to the Quidditch World Cup final. She didn't really like Quidditch anyway, not in the same way that Harry and Ernie did, and she seemed like she had a lot going on over the summer anyway. He thought that he could have asked her to go, since he did have three tickets, but Harry thought it was fair enough for one of those to go to Ernie's father. He scanned over his letter to Tracey for any spelling mistakes and to check whether he'd said anything stupid and then rolled up the parchment to get it ready to send.

Once he was done he rifled through his trunk for his money bag, which had some left over coins, and wrote a note to the Daily Prophet subscription office on a whim. Tracey had mentioned the papers, and although Harry wasn't overly keen on most of the paper's contents, he did want to keep abreast of the news on Sirius, and of course, look out for mentions of his own name. He felt like it was important to know what people were saying about him.

Harry moved over to Agrippa's stand and nudged the sleeping owl awake. Agrippa shook his wings at Harry as if annoyed at the intrusion but nibbled at Harry's finger affectionately anyway. Harry tied the letter to his owl's leg and then opened his bedroom window.

"Take this to Tracey Davis, please Agrippa," said Harry. "And this other one to the Daily Prophet offices in London." The owl hopped off the window and took off into the evening air. Harry left the window open for Agrippa when he came back, then went back downstairs to see if dinner was ready.