It had only been a week since he had disembarked from the Hogwarts Express and returned to his dismal life on Privet drive and Harry was already bored of it. Though it was quite a bit better this summer than any of the previous, due in whole to the Order's conversation with the Dursleys, Harry found he could no longer take joy in anything. He exhausted himself the first couple of days back studying Apparation, since he could take his test this summer, and he had done bits and pieces of his summer assignments, even finished a few, but he couldn't keep his mind on them for too long.

His mind kept drifting. It drifted most often to Sirius, but it also drifted to his conversation at the end of the year with Dumbledore, that horrible Umbridge woman, visions of Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and strangely, his conversation with Luna on the last day before coming back here.

At the moment, he was sitting on his bed with his back to the open window staring straight at a wall without seeing it. Hedwig was out foraging and the Dursleys were still asleep. Harry couldn't sleep. He hadn't been sleeping well all week. Scattered on the floor were half a dozen letters from his friends. One from Ron, promising him that he, Harry, wouldn't have to stay there much longer, one from Dumbledore, telling him that he would continue Occlumency lessons with himself as well as Snape, and the others were from Hermione, Ginny, Fred and George, and Luna...the last of which worried him just a bit.

Sitting next to these letters were a couple of recent Daily Prophets. Instead of annoying his Aunt and Uncle by trying to watch the news with them again, he continued to receive the Wizarding paper and now read the whole thing, so as not to miss anything important. They were, thankfully, no longer portraying him as a delinquent, but he was mentioned far too often to fit his taste.

Still involved in his one-sided staring match with the wall, he didn't notice the tawny owl that swooped in through his window until it dropped, rather ungracefully, to the floor under its heavy burden.

"What the – "

There was no mistaking what this package contained, as only one object would have that shape when wrapped. Harry jumped from his bed, smiling for the first time in over a week as he unwrapped his Firebolt.

He couldn't believe that he'd forgotten about it. And, of course, with Umbridge gone, there would be no reason for the school to keep it from him.

He looked up shortly to see the owl still standing there, proffering it leg on which was attached an envelope.  He opened it expecting to see the familiar handwriting of Professor Dumbledore, or perhaps McGonagall, but the handwriting was only vaguely familiar, and it definitely did not belong to the Headmaster or the Head of Gryffindor house.


I practically had to tear this from Filches hands, but Minerva figured it was only fair you got it back. I suppose now that a few more from your team have graduated, you'll need this if you actually expect to beat us again. I assume you will use it well.

And the strangest bit of all, it was signed Professor S. Snape.