Chapter 1: The Understanding Dursleys
Harry watched as King's Cross Station slowly faded away into the distance. Uncle Vernon was yelling and screaming at him about something, but Harry just drowned it out. Now that he was back with the Dursleys, Harry felt even more depressed than he did moments before. Before he had been surrounded by friends and (what he considered) family, and he thought that he might be able to get over the guilt that he felt over Cedric's death, but now the guilt and depression was coming back. It was going to be a long summer.
Harry's return to #4 Private Drive was not a happy one. Dudley had been staring at him during the car drive, wondering why Harry wasn't reacting to what Uncle Vernon was saying about Harry and his parents. Usually Harry would have been yelling and screaming by now. So of course, it was only logical for Dudley to help out his father. Dudley started to hit Harry and try to get him to react. As soon as Harry started getting hit, he tried to fight back, but it did no good. By the time Uncle Vernon pulled into the driveway, Harry had a black eye and a bloody nose, and his ribs were all sore from Dudley pounding on them. To top it off, Uncle Vernon was now screaming at him.
"DON'T YOU DARE DRIP YOUR UNNATURAL BLOOD ON MY CAR BOY!" yelled Uncle Vernon. "IF I SEE ONE DROP OF BLOOD, YOU'LL BE SORRY THAT YOU WERE EVER BORN!"
I'm already sorry that I was born, thought Harry. "Yes Uncle Vernon," he replied in a dull, lifeless voice. As he was pulling his trunk and Hedwig's cage inside, Harry heard Aunt Petunia talking quietly to Uncle Vernon in a surprisingly concerned voice.
"Maybe we should be a bit nicer to the boy Vernon," she was saying in a hushed voice. "As much as I hate the boy, I remember how terrible the times were when YOU KNOW WHO was around. If what Dumbledore said was true, the boy has suffered enough."
Harry almost dropped his trunk when he heard this. He DID drop his trunk when he heard Uncle Vernon's reply.
"Perhaps you are right Petunia," Vernon replied softly. "IF that old Crackpot was telling the truth, nothing that I could do would be worse than what he went through." Then…
"Potter what are you doing? Get that abnormal trunk inside the house NOW!" Uncle Vernon growled, but it was a much softer, somehow kinder growl that came out of the mouth of Harry's Uncle. Harry picked up his trunk and Hedwig's cage, and moved his things up to his room, still thinking about what he had overheard.
That's strange, he thought. Aunt Petunia was talking about Voldemort almost as if she were a witch. How did she know that the wizarding world called him 'YOU KNOW WHO'? And when did Dumbledore ever write a letter to the DURSLEYS of all people?!?!
As he was pondering this, Harry slowly began unpacking his trunk. He quickly put as much school things that he would need to finish his summer homework as he could into the space under the loose floorboards under his bed. He also took out his wand and pondered how he would be able to keep it around just in case he needed it. Finally, against his better judgment, he went downstairs to talk to his Aunt and Uncle.
"Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, I need to ask you something that has to do with my…. abnormality, but I don't want you to get angry." Harry said softly.
"Well out with it boy, I don't have all day," replied Uncle Vernon gruffly.
"I know that you hate anything that has to do with magic," Uncle Vernon winced and glanced around to see if anyone heard. "But I was wondering if I could keep my wand with me this summer."
"ABSOLUTELY NO--" started Uncle Vernon, but Aunt Petunia cut him off.
"Why do you want you wand?" she asked with a frown on her face and a look in her eye that Harry could not quite understand.
"Well, I might as well tell you that I heard you two talking in the driveway," began Harry. When his aunt nodded for him to continue, he did. "So I know that the two of you know about the…situation… with Voldemort." When he said the name, Harry was sure that his aunt winced slightly. "And I just don't feel safe without access to my wand… just in case." His last words came as a whisper, and he was looking down at the ground as he said them. "After what happened last year with the Dementors, I think it would be for best if I keep it with me at all times."
After a moment, Aunt Petunia said. "I'll let you have your wand, but only on ONE condition." At her words, Harry looked up at his Aunt, a stunned expression on his face. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw that Uncle Vernon mirrored his expression. "You must swear to me that you will only use your wand if there is a life on the line, NO OTHER REASON," she stressed.
After a moment's thought, Harry nodded mutely. As soon as he did, he practically flew upstairs to his room, and locked the door. He HAD to tell someone about the strange way his aunt and uncle were treating him. Harry spent the rest of the night writing a letter to Ron about what happened when he got back to #4 Private Drive.
Harry woke up, and looked straight at Hedwig's empty cage. He sighed. It had been almost a month since he had wrote Ron, and she STILL hadn't come back. He was really worried about her, but there was also a nagging feeling in his head that she had finally just left him. Hedwig had been extremely angry at Harry all during his fifth year because he refused to use her to send letters to Sirius, which was really the only person he Owled when he was at school. Harry looked at the alarm clock. IT blinked 11:55 p.m. back at him. Wow, Harry thought. I almost got three hour's worth of sleep tonight. Ever since he came back to Private Drive, Harry had been having nightmares. Not the nightmares where Harry was spying on Voldemort, no those he could handle. No these were much worse. Over and Over again, throughout the night, Harry's mind replayed for him what happened in the Department of Mysteries, but each night it only got worse. First he saw the night as it truly happened, but each night, Harry began to see other people die, friends, family, everyone that he had every cared about died before his eyes while he was powerless to stop them.
After the fifth night in a row that Harry had woken up screaming, Harry's Uncle had sound proofed his room, so that the rest of the house could sleep peacefully. To Harry's astonishment, Uncle Vernon didn't yell at him at all, just told Harry on the fifth day of summer to stay downstairs for the remainder of the day while people moved things around, stripped the walls, and put a sound insulator between Harry's room and the rest of the house. Harry had been so surprised; he did not notice Aunt Petunia putting equal shares of breakfast down for both him and Dudley, or Dudley's surprised look when this occurred. Harry sighed as he got up, knowing he would not be able to sleep for the rest of the night. At least I've had plenty of time to finish my school work. I bet not even Hermione is done with everything just yet. As he was starting to sit at his desk, 7 owls flew into Harry's room, five of them settling onto his desk, bed, dresser, and Hedwig settled on her perch, and one went zooming around the room. Harry decided to get this one first. Grabbing Pig out of the air with the practiced skill of a Seeker, Harry untied the note and package from Ron and threw Pig out the window, who then sped off on his way back to the Burrow. Ripping open Ron's note, Harry grinned his first grin in over a month.
Sorry that you couldn't come here mate. And Sorry I didn't send Hedwig right back to you, but I needed her to Owl Bill and Charlie a few things (She's a lot faster than Errol or Hermes) Anyway, You're being treated GOOD by your Aunt and Uncle? AND THEY LET YOU KEEP YOUR WAND?!?!?!?! I think that it's finally happened mate, they've finally gone nutters. Hope you find this useful, what with all your freedom with a wand and all. As soon as Dumbledore says that you can come over, we're gonna portkey over there, heck with telling the Muggles. Hope to see you soon.
Harry, curious now as to what Ron could have sent him, opened the package to find a leather wand holster that he could wear on his arm. It had a quick draw release on it and everything. Harry eagerly put the holster on his left arm, so that he could draw it with his right, then turned to the other owls around his room. The Hogwarts Owl he quickly relieved of its burden, gave it a bit of water, and it was quickly out the window again. Tossing his unopened Hogwart's letter onto his bed next to a collapsed Errol, he turned to Hedwig, relieved her of her parcel and letter, and quickly opened it when he saw Hermione's neat handwriting.
I hope that you are doing OK with the Muggles. You WOULD tell us if they were mistreating you wouldn't you? I know that you can't LEAVE the muggles, but if they WERE mistreating you then I'm sure my parent's or… or Professor Dumbledore would do something. Anyway, I'm worried that you haven't owled me in over a month, and that Hedwig didn't have any letter from you when she showed up to pick up your birthday present. I think you'll like them, they are VERY interesting. Hope to hear from you soon.
P.S. RON IS SUCH A PRAT. He won't shut up about Viktor! I haven't even HEARD from the boy for a year, and he's still going on about him! I'm thinking about going to Bulgaria just to spite him!
Harry chuckled at that last part. Considering that Ron had been the reason for him not having his owl for a month, he was in agreement with Hermione. He turned his attention to the gift that Hedwig had brought, and opened it to find a book. 1001 hexes, curses, and charms that you never knew you needed to know by Fighurst the Bold. Harry grinned again, OF course Hermione would make SURE to send me a book on my birthday, he thought. He then turned his attention to the package that Errol had brought, which included something from Mrs. Weasley, and Fred and George. The Twin's gift was wrapped in garish neon green and purple wrapping paper, while Mrs. Weasley hadn't bothered with paper, but sent him all his favorite foods from the Burrow with a note to owl her when he needed more food. I'll have to owl her and tell her that the Muggles are actually feeding me now. Harry opened the letter that the Twins had wrote him, and was surprised that it didn't blow up.
Surprised that the letter didn't blow up aren't you? We thought that you would like to know a bit more about the company that you invested in, so our gift to you is a small amount of everything that we have come up with so far AND SOME WE HAVEN'T (in another script) And to tell you that you are now a partner of the Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. A SILENT PARTNER OF COURSE(again in the other script, which Harry guessed was the other twin.) Oh as to the other part of the gift, don't tell anyone that we got it for you, cuz mum would have our hides if she knew that we were buying that stuff for under aged wizards.
Gred and Forge
Chief Executive Wizards
Weasley's Wizard Wheezes
Harry opened the box and saw a multitude of the twin's creation. Harry grinned as he thought of all the pranks he would be able to play with this ammunition. Towards the bottom of the box were a pack of six butterbeers, and a bottle of Odgen's Old Fire Whiskey. Harry stared at the bottle for a second, before seeing the note attached. It said: Don't do anything with this that we wouldn't do. Wink Wink Nudge Nudge. Owl us if you need any more. Harry shook his head for a second not believing that the twins would buy him alcohol, but then remembering his nightmares, he thought that he might take them up on their offer. Pulling out a butterbeer, opening it, and taking a swig, Harry turned to the remaining Owls. The two that he didn't know, he pulled a package and letter from both Hagrid and the Ministry of Magic, and one from an unknown person. Finally, Harry pulled a package and letter from Hermes in a script that seemed vaguely familiar, but which he could place. Opening Hagrid's letter, which was extremely short he felt a bit uncertain about opening his gift, because it had breathing holes.
I came across this beauty when I in France with Grawp, and when I sent her to him, he agreed that it would be ok to send her to you for your birthday. She should be hatched by now, so and seeing as how you will be the first person to see her, she will bond with you. Hope you like the gift; tell me what you name her.
See you at School,
Harry warily opened the box, wondering what type of magical creature Hagrid would send him. Hagrid was a great friend, but his definition of "beautiful creatures" was a bit… different… from the rest of the Wizarding world. When He glanced inside, Harry gasped with delight and surprise. Sitting in the box was what was unmistakably a Phoenix. She had pure white feathers with gold and silver tail feathers, gold eyes, and silver claws and a gold beak. As soon as she saw Harry, she trilled in Phoenix song for a second, and then flew up so that they were eye to eye. Then… A weird thing happened. A beam of pure white light connected her and Harry for a second, then it was gone. She then flew up and settled comfortably on Harry's shoulder. What was even more astonishing was that in that flash of light, Harry's depression, guilt, and worries all went away. He still remembered what happened, but he was no longer trapped by the dark emotions that had plagued him during the month or so since the Third Task. Harry then opened the letter from the Ministry of Magic, deciding to name his Phoenix after he thought a bit.
It is our sad duty to inform you of the death of your Godfather, Sirius Black. Due to the enormous amounts of evidence, and given your testamony and that of Professor Albus Dumbledore, it has been decided by the Wizengamot that Mr. Black is in fact innocent of all the charges against him, and has been granted clemency post-humosly. In his will, written before he died and intrusted to Albus Dumbledore, Mr. Black has named you his sole heir. You are now the owner of the various Black Estates, the family fortunes, and any and all items found within the premises of your new lands. Professor Dumbledore has agreed to safeguard all contracts and proofs of ownership until you come of age. I sincerely hope that the news of your new possessions will help you in this trying time.
Minister of Magic
Gone were the feelings of relief that Harry's Phoenix had made him feel, and his dark emotions were back in full force. Above them all, Harry felt an enormous amount of anger. How DARE he write to me! He thought furiously. If it weren't for him Sirius would still be alive and NONE of the CRAP I had to put up with last year would have happened! As if sensing his thoughts, his new Phoneix trilled in a soothing manner, again banishing the pain, saddness, grief, and anger.
Harry opened the parcel from the unknown person and found a long box. Harry opened the box, and gasped at what he saw. Harry pulled out the most beautiful broomstick he had ever seen He didn't even know that there WERE broomsticks better than his Firebolt, but apparently there were. Looking at the broomstick handle, he saw that it didn't have a name on it. Frowning, he looked down at the box, saw a piece of paper that had been under the broom, picked it up and began to read. As he read the note, his eyes began to widen.
My name is Matilda Stormcloud. I believe you would know of some of my families other brooms, which include the entire Nimbus Series and the Firebolt, Thunderbolt, and Lighteningbolt series for Seekers, Chasers and beaters, and Keepers respectively. I am also a member of the Order of the Phoenix, and was a very good friend of one Mr. Sirius Black. He contacted me some months ago and explained that you were quite a Seeker on a Firebolt, and was wondering if there was a better broom that my family made that he could obtain for you. At that time, there was not, my family has been making brooms for as long as I can remember, and I myself made every single Firebolt, that is in circulation today. So when Sirius told me of your love for flying, I told him that I would make a custom broomstick for you if he could obtain your wand measurements and the details of your wand from your wand maker. This Broomstick has been especially made for you, and I believe that you will find that there is no other like it in the world. Its top speed cannot be determined because you are the only person in the world that can ride it, but it is estimated to be either three or four times that of the Firebolt. I must caution you however, since this is way beyond the safe flying speeds for a normal witch or wizard. That being said, I know that you, Harry, are NOT a normal wizard, and I wish you to have all the fun you can with your new broom.
Maker of Fine Broomsticks
Harry looked at the broomstick in his hands in a large degree of shock. Sirius you have gone way too far with this gift he thought, the memory of his Godfather bringing tears to his eyes. Of course, he was not going to complain. When Harry told the rest of the Quidditch team about this, they would not believe him. Carefully putting the broom on his bed, Harry opened the last letter, to find that the surprises just kept on coming. This letter was from Ginny Weasley, Ron's younger sister. It was the first letter she had ever sent him.
I know that we don't know each other all that much. Well not really, we know each other, but we really don't know about each other at all or anything like that. Anyway, I know we don't know each other but I have been really worried about you. You have been very distant from everyone ever since the Department of Mysteries. I'm not talking about during the summer, because I know that Ron "Borrowed" Hedwig from you, stole is more like it. He can be such an idiot sometimes. I told him to send you Pidgewidgeon so you could keep in contact but he didn't listen. He said he HAD to owl Hermione to make sure she wasn't going to Bulgaria. He really needs to get over himself and ask Hermione out for Merlin's sake! As I was saying, you have been really distant since the Department of Mysteries and I've been worried about you. Anyway, I know I've not sent you anything for your birthday or Christmas or anything like that, but I thought you could use a little cheering up, so I decided to send you one this year. Hope you like it!
Your Friend (I hope)
Harry was stunned at the letter. That was more than she had said to him all the years that he knew her. He found himself rereading the letter, and smiling at the thoughtfulness and concern that her letter revealed. Wow, he thought, maybe there's more to Ginny Weasley than just blushing and running away from me after all. Opening the present he was stunned even more at her insight. Staring back at him was a picture of Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione in a simple frame that had clearly been made by Ginny. Since this was a wizarding photo, the picture moved, they were all at Hogwarts and it looked to be Christmas his fifth year. The picture looked to be taken right BEFORE the Yule Ball. They were wearing normal clothes, and were all laughing and smiling at something beyond the picture, probably one of the twins' jokes. Touched, Harry told himself to start learning more about Ginny Weasley and start counting her as one of his group of friends.
Putting his presents away, under his floorboard, or in his trunk, Harry glanced at the clock. It said 2:00 a.m. He'd been sixteen for two hours, busy opening presents and not even realizing.
"Actually, you just turned sixteen. You were born at 2 am on July 31st" Said a voice behind him. Harry spun around his wand out and pointed in the direction of the voice, his quick movement startling the phoenix on his shoulder into flight for a second, before she settled onto Harry's desk without a sound. Harry was staring at a man who could only be described as ancient. He looked to be even older than Dumbledore, and that WAS saying something. The man had a long beard that reached to the floor, with equally long hair. Both the hair and beard were as white as snow. The man's eyes were a startling dark blue, which made them look fathomless. He was wearing dark blue robes, and carried a staff in his hand. He also radiated an unfathomable amount of power. Harry's voice caught in his throat. There's no way that I could even think about challenging this guy, he thought.
"Well then it is a good thing that I am not here to challenge you isn't it, my boy?" asked the man.
Harry finally found his voice and asked. "Why are you here sir?"
"I am here because you have been Called," replied the man mysteriously. "I am here to take you before the Council of Arch-mages." He went on. And with that simple explanation, he raised his staff and in a flash Harry Potter left #4 Private Drive, never to return there again.