Disclaimer: If one actually mistook my writing for that of J. K. Rowling's, I would be most flattered, indeed. However, I am not, nor have I ever been, nor ever will be the brilliant mind behind the creation of Harry Potter and his fabulous world. I am merely a fan with many theories as to how the final books shall play out (and one with too much time on her hands). Whatever material one may recognize in the following fan fiction most likely belongs to that incredibly wealthy woman spending much of her time in front of her computer screen, (no, not Mrs. Bill Gates) J. K. Rowling. I have not received any profits from the making of this fan fiction. It is purely for the entertainment of myself and others who read it. No copyright infringements are intended, so please do not sue me. In any case, doing so would be pointless because I am a starving college student with not but mere pennies to spare. For laymen's terms, see italicized and bold words in the above disclaimer.
Summary: Harry Potter enters his sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This year the wizarding word is under war once again, and Harry is the only key to bringing peace back. Will he be able to let go of the past and find the strength he needs to fight? Will he find the power within himself to defeat the darkest wizard to walk the earth in over a century?
Harry Potter and the Failed Curse
The Shortest Summer
Harry Potter wasn't your average teenage boy; he was a wizard who attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and he just happened to be the "saviour" of the world, though, half of which didn't know it. He also had the incredible misfortune of living with his aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley, and his large, round cousin, Dudley. The Dursleys were muggles (they couldn't do magic even if their lives depended on it) and were deathly afraid of magic (and anything else out of the ordinary, for that matter). In fact if it weren't for the Dursleys' fear of magic, Harry would still be locked in the cupboard under the stairs where his room once was for the first ten years he had spent with his 'family'.
Harry being forced to live with his aunt and uncle was the result of his parents' deaths. Lily and James Potter, Harry's mother and father, had been murdered by the most evil wizard of the century, Lord Voldemort. A man they had once considered a friend had betrayed them and sold them to Voldemort. Lily and James had died trying to protect their son from the Dark Lord; their sacrifice, needless to say, hadn't been for nothing after all. Harry was alive and well, maybe not as well as some would've hoped but alive all the same.
Voldemort had met his downfall in Harry the night he had attacked the Potters. He had overlooked the protection given to Harry by his mother's love and sacrifice, and, in doing so, Voldemort paid dearly for his mistake. He had become less then a ghost, but he was still alive. Just over a year ago, Lord Voldemort returned to power with the help of the man who had betrayed the Potters, Peter Pettigrew.
Now, the Dark Lord was after Harry once again. But why had Voldemort attacked the Potters in the first place? It all started with a prophecy: a prophecy about a boy with the power to overcome the darkness.
It was the third week of July, and Harry still hadn't written to his two best friends, Ron and Hermione. He had written every day to someone in the Order like he had promised he would, but he just couldn't bring himself to write to his friends directly; he had been avoiding them for fear that the subject of the prophecy would be brought up. Harry hadn't yet told them that he had heard the prophecy in its entirety because he was still trying to get over the shock of it, himself. He knew exactly how they would react if he told them. Ron would sit there, staring with his mouth wide open, repeating over and over, "It can't be! It just can't be!" and Hermione would break down crying. Harry wasn't ready to handle that, just yet. Although he felt guilty for not telling them right away, he needed time for things to digest before he went and got his friends upset.
Harry was sitting in the park on the only swing Dudley and his gang hadn't broken yet. His Aunt and Uncle were at a funeral for one of their neighbours, Mr. Prentice; apparently he had died of old age, because the doctors couldn't find anything wrong with him, otherwise. With the two Dursleys gone, Harry had been able to sneak out of the house without their constant questions. He was lost in his thoughts, thinking about how to tell his friends the truth about the prophecy when . . . CRASH! Harry jumped to his feet, turned around, and instinctively grabbed for his wand. He saw a rubbish bin rolling down the street, occasionally running over unsuspecting pedestrians while making a strange yelling sound. At the top of the street, stood Dudley and his gang. Harry immediately put his wand away. 'Stupid git!' he thought, 'He's always causing trouble! And I'm the one who is supposed to be going to St. Brutus's Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys?' No matter how smart they may be, the Dursleys really were incredibly stupid when it came to their son. They were completely blinded by their affection for him, imagining him to be a sweet little angel, when the reality was that Dudley was a great bulling prat.
Harry had gone back to sit in the swing again when he heard someone call out to him, "Hey, Potter!" He turned to see Dudley and his gang standing in front of him. Piers, the second biggest bully in town, was looking at Harry as though he would make a very good punching bag, "Want to play?" This was going to be interesting. Harry loved it when he got the chance to torture his cousin and mess with his mind. He redirected his gaze to Dudley who, he was amused to see, looked very nervous.
"What makes you think I would 'want to play'?" Harry asked politely, raising an eyebrow.
"Hey, Piers, let's get out of here. I'm bored," Dudley interjected.
"But that's why we came to 'play' with Potter," Piers reminded him.
"You mean beat me up," Harry corrected him.
"Not to me, it isn't."
"Well, nobody cares what you think."
"Oh, really?" Harry was smiling wickedly. Dudley looked extremely on edge. It was quite funny to watch his piggy face strain as he was concentrating hard on what to do. He didn't want to look like a wimp in front of his friends, but he also wasn't stupid enough, as shocking as it may be, to try to take on Harry now that Harry had grown into his powers. "Big D, won't it be great when I become an adult next summer? I'll be able to do all sorts of things . . . even when I'm not in school." Harry said, emphasizing the last part. Dudley's eyes widened in horror as he understood Harry's meaning; Harry would be allowed to use magic outside of school next summer when he turned seventeen. Harry was pleased to see that he had made his cousin, if possible, more nervous than he had been before.
"What do you mean you'll be able to do all sorts of things even when you're not in school? Why would anybody care about that?" Piers continued, noticing the look on Dudley's face. "Unless . . . Are you going to become even more of a delinquent than you are now? You better not, or Big D's parents will kick you out. No, wait. On second thought, that wouldn't be such a bad thing. Then, we won't have to put up with you anymore. Maybe, you'll end up in the clink," he said with a hint of hope in his voice.
"I'm a delinquent?" Harry snorted at the thought. "You should talk. At least, I don't go around beating up kids half my age. It's quite pathetic that it takes all of you to face off against one kid."
Piers looked livid. He started for Harry as if to punch him, but Dudley put an arm out to stop his friend. "Don't," Dudley warned.
"What? But Big D, he's being a cheeky little brat! He called us pathetic! Why shouldn't we rearrange his face?" Piers questioned.
"Look, I'm just not in the mood for this right now. So, just forget it. We can finish this another time. Now, let's get out of here."
"Because, I said so! That's why!" Dudley turned to leave, but then . . .
"You're not afraid of him, are you?" Piers questioned. Piers had done it; he had said the one thing that Dudley was most afraid of hearing. Dudley looked like he was about to pee in his pants. Harry was enjoying every minute of his cousin's struggle.
Dudley finally recovered from his shock. "What did you just say?" he asked in a deadly whisper, glaring at Piers.
"Are you afraid of Potter?" Piers repeated confidently.
Dudley looked as though he were about to strangle Piers for having the daring to repeat his question. "Of course, I'm not afraid of Potter! What makes you think I would be afraid of a wimpy little thing like —"
"HEY! I'm not a wi—"
"If you're not afraid of him, prove it," Piers demanded, trying not to be fazed by Dudley's stare.
Dudley just stood there for a minute, glaring at Piers. Finally, he said, "I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I'm not afraid of him. I'm just bored . . . and hungry. I want to go get supper, and I'm not in the mood for a fight right now."
"BUT NOTHING, OR YOU'LL BE THE NEXT ONE TO ROLL DOWN A HILL IN A WASTE BIN FULL OF GARBAGE!" Dudley shouted at Piers.
However large and mean Piers was, he was nowhere near the size of Dudley. He must not have been as stupid as he looked because he finally mumbled, "Fine, let's go." He started back up the street, but not before he broke the remaining swing Harry had been sitting on earlier. The rest of the gang followed and soon they had disappeared into the distance. Harry tried his best to fix the swing, but it was useless. He couldn't do it without magic. It was now dark, and Harry decided he should head back to the Dursleys' house. He didn't feel like being lectured again for an hour about getting home on time, rather, getting home before Dudley.
Harry was about half way home when he had the feeling that someone was watching him. He turned around, eyes searching the street, but no one was there. He quickened his pace, taking a short cut through an alley, but a scurrying sound made him stop and turn again. There was a tabby cat running along the side of the alley chasing a mouse. Harry relaxed. It was just a cat . . . or was it? For some reason, he thought he recognized the cat. It stopped when it noticed Harry staring at it. Those markings around the eyes . . . they looked so familiar. And then it hit him, Harry had seen those same eyes in his third year. "Professor McGonagall?" he whispered. The cat narrowed its eyes and turned its head as though to check for someone watching. Then, it slowly took the form of Harry's Transfiguration teacher.
"How did you know it was me?" Professor McGonagall questioned, seeming half annoyed and half impressed.
"I recognized you from when you transformed for the class in my third year," he replied.
The corners of her mouth twitched upwards slightly. "Well, I'm glad to know you were paying attention. How did you know someone was following you?"
"I could sense it."
"I see," she said, raising her eyebrows.
"Why were you following me?"
"Do you really need to ask?"
Harry frowned at her, "No, I guess not." People had been following him ever since Lord Voldemort's return to power. He sighed. Harry supposed that people weren't going to stop tailing him until the threat of the Dark Lord was gone. "Do you really think that he's going to attack me here? I mean, aren't I supposed to be protected here?"
"Yes, but only to a certain extent. Dumbledore doesn't want to take any chances. By the way, what on earth do you think you were doing, going down a dark alley? Did you forget what happened last summer already? What if there were more dementors waiting for you? What would you have done then? I'm sure You-Know-Who wouldn't have much trouble killing you with your soul on the fritz! It's no wonder Dumbledore wants you followed," she snapped at him.
"First off, I can take care of myself. Second, those dementors that attacked me and Dudley last summer weren't sent by Voldemort," (Professor McGonagall shivered when she herd the name), "they were sent by Umbridge." He was rather annoyed. Why did everyone think he couldn't handle himself, after everything he'd done?
"Potter, there is no question that you can look after yourself, but until you become an adult, you aren't allowed to use magic outside of school! Dumbledore doesn't want you expelled! You need to finish school, not have your wand broken in half! Last year and all the years before it, you got lucky! Minister Fudge could have expelled you on any of those occasions! You need to be more careful, Potter! If you aren't, you may —"
"I KNOW! OKAY?" He hadn't meant to yell, but he had been lectured like this too many times; it really was getting old. "I'm sorry Professor. I didn't mean to yell," he said sheepishly.
Professor McGonagall took a deep breath. "I know you've been lectured many times about this, but it doesn't seem like you listen," she said, looking at him sternly. "By the way, what do you mean those dementors were sent by Umbridge? How do you know?"
"She told me . . . that night . . . when . . ." Harry's voice caught in his throat.
Her expression softened at his words; she knew what he was going to say and decided to spare him the agony of saying it, which he was grateful for. "I see. Why didn't you tell anyone before?"
"I haven't really thought about it."
"Clearly," she sighed, looking down at her watch. "It's getting late. You really should be heading home."
"I was heading home," Harry said trying not to look Professor McGonagall in the eye. He hadn't stopped thinking about 'that night' since it had happened. Nightmares of veils, his godfather's falling form, and Bellatrix Lestrange's taunting baby voice haunted him as he slept while guilt plagued him during his waking hours. But somehow, it seemed harder to actually talk about rather than think about.
Professor McGonagall walked him home in her animagus form and gave him a soft 'meow' of goodbye when they had reached the front door of the Dursleys' home. Harry waved to her and stepped into the house, ready for what was coming.
"WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?" Mrs. Dursley shouted at him. He was incredibly surprised that she was the one doing the yelling. Usually, his uncle was the one with the purple face, but this time, he was in the living room, watching the news, not caring at all about where Harry was or if he was even alive, for that matter. "ANSWER ME!"
"I was in the park," he said truthfully.
"Why weren't you home earlier? I was worried!"
Harry raised his eyebrows. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. Aunt Petunia had never acted like she cared about him before. Why the sudden change? "Why do you care?" he asked. "You never seemed to care before."
"Don't ask questions," she said impatiently. "Now, answer me! Why were you out so late?"
Harry hesitated. He wasn't sure if he should tell her about McGonagall or not. In the end, he decided not to say anything about his Professor. "I lost track of time."
"YOU 'LOST TRACK OF TIME'?" she said furiously. "I'll show you 'lost track of time'! You are to come home before dark from now on! And for the next two weeks, I don't want you to leave this house! Is that understood?"
"Good! Now, go up to your room."
"But, I haven't had supper!"
"That's your own fault for getting back so late. Now GO!"
"Fine!" Harry stomped up the stairs. He passed Dudley who was laughing his head off. "Oh, shut up!" he spat at Dudley before he slammed his door behind him. He was so mad at the Dursleys. He couldn't stand them anymore. He wanted out. Harry was furious with himself for not asking McGonagall about leaving the Dursleys. Why hadn't he thought of it? Now that he knew why he had to stay with the Dursleys every summer, it was a bit easier to handle, but it didn't change the way he felt towards them. "Argh! Somebody get me out of here!" It was as though someone had heard his call; an owl flew through the window. It was Hedwig, and she had a note attached to her leg. Harry removed the letter and read:
How are you? We haven't heard from you in ages! All right sure, you've written to Lupin, Tonks, Mum, and others from the Order, but not to me or Hermione! What's up with that, mate? You didn't forget about us did you? Are you trying to ignore us or something? I guess we'll find out soon enough if Hedwig returns with the letter still attached to her leg and without a reply. All summer, we've been bugging Mum about you coming to stay with us. She finally asked Dumbledore today if you could, and he said it would be fine. The usual guard is going to be picking you up at four o'clock in the afternoon tomorrow, so have everything ready by then.
I swear, that owl of yours is bloody brilliant! She showed up just about an hour after Dumbledore gave the 'OK'. It was like she knew that Errol and Pig were gone, and we needed to send you a letter! Anyway, we'll see you soon!
Harry was ecstatic! It had barely been three weeks, and he was leaving! Normally, it took them a lot longer to get him away from the Dursleys. He turned the parchment over and wrote:
I'm fine I guess. I'm alive, anyway. I'm sorry I haven't written to you or Hermione. I've just had a lot of stuff on my mind. Thank you for bugging your mum for me. I didn't think I could stand this place for one more day. I can't wait to get out of here! I'll see you soon.
Thanks again —
He attached the letter to Hedwig's leg, brought her over to his open, bedroom window, and gave her a kiss on the head in thanks. "This is for Ron, okay," Harry said as he petted her. She gave his hand an affectionate nip to show she understood and swooped out of the window into the night. Harry couldn't wait to leave. He set his alarm for eight o'clock in the morning and got into his pyjamas.
Harry woke up around seven the next morning. He got dressed and headed down for breakfast. Aunt Petunia was making bacon and eggs; Dudley had his face glued to the kitchen television; and Uncle Vernon was reading the morning paper. Harry took his usual seat, unnoticed by the rest. His Aunt served Dudley, Uncle Vernon, and herself but skipped Harry's plate entirely, before returning the rest of the food to the kitchen. Slightly annoyed that she couldn't have at least left the remaining food on the table for him to serve himself, Harry took his plate to the kitchen to retrieve the banished leftovers.
He was about to add two slices of bacon to his breakfast when a loud noise like a door being ripped off its hinges sounded through the air. He rushed to the dining room but was suddenly stopped by the sight that met his eyes. 'NO! It couldn't be! How did he find me? Dumbledore said I was safe here. . . .' Standing before him was the monster that had made his life so full of pain: Lord Voldemort. The Dursleys were huddled in the corner, Aunt Petunia crying and praying like there was no tomorrow (which wasn't far from the truth). The Dark Lord had only uttered one curse, and in a blinding green flash, all three Dursleys fell to the floor in a heap, undeniably dead.
Voldemort rounded on Harry, smirking and laughing maniacally. Harry felt like he was going to be sick; he had left his wand upstairs by his nightstand. Harry tried to make a run for it, but Voldemort hit him with an Impediment Jinx. Harry was frozen in place while the Dark Lord bore down on him. Harry's mind was racing; he was all alone. . . . There was no one to save him this time . . . no mother . . . no Dumbledore . . . nobody. He never imagined going out like this, helpless. He had thought he'd put up at least a small fight.
"Goodbye, Harry Potter." Voldemort was now in front of him, and there was no escape.
There was a second green flash of light and . . .
Harry sat up straight in his bed, gasping for air. Sweat was dripping down his face, and his scar was burning like someone had place a red-hot poker to it. He'd had the dream again. It was always the same; Voldemort would come to the Dursleys' house, kill Harry's three remaining relatives, and then try to kill Harry. And Harry always woke up before getting hit with the deadly curse. He had had the dream so often, he now made sure to take his wand with him wherever he went, even to the bathroom.
He took a few deep breaths to calm himself down. He went over to his window and opened it, letting the cool night air play on his face. It was raining again; it had been raining a lot this summer, more than usual.
He ducked under his bed and retrieved his photo album of his parents from under the loose floor board. He had been looking at it more recently, noticing other pictures Sirius had been in. He wished he could talk to him again. Why had he gone to the Department of Mysteries? Why hadn't he listened to Hermione when she had said it was a trap? Dumbledore had said Sirius's death hadn't been Harry's fault, but he knew better; he knew it was his fault. He returned the album to its hiding place beneath his bed and slid under his covers.
He didn't think he would be able to get back to sleep that night, but he still tried, anyway. After about an hour of tossing and turning, he decided a glass of water would help him quiet his mind.
Harry tip-toed down the steps, jumping over the last one, and headed toward the kitchen. He took a glass from the cabinet, and held it under the running tap. He looked up at the moon that was shining through the kitchen window; there was one week remaining until that moon became full. Harry vaguely began thinking of his ex-professor, Remus Lupin, and how he was doing tonight. 'It must be really tough on him,' he thought, 'I would hate to be a werewolf.' He had had about two glasses of water before returning to the staircase. He put his foot on the first step and . . . SQUEAK! 'Damn!' He was sure at least one of the Dursleys would have heard that. Now, he was in for it!
He waited for a few moments with bated breath. Then, a loud snore came from his Aunt and Uncle's room. Harry relaxed; the Dursleys hadn't heard it, they were still asleep. He stared at the step, annoyed with it. Then, he noticed something; looking more closely at it, he saw that part of the board was sticking up out of the floor. Harry leaned closer to it and tried to wiggle it out of place. Finally, after about a minute of struggling with the board, it came free.
Harry couldn't believe his eyes. There were all sorts of things that had been hidden under there. But for how long? He could tell they hadn't been touched in some time; there was dust and cob-webs all over everything, except for a letter. He took the letter in his hand. It was for his Aunt Petunia from . . . Dumbledore! The date on the letter was Wednesday, November 2, 1981. That was around the same time Harry started living with the Dursleys. In fact, that was the exact day he had arrived! He began to read; the letter talked about Voldemort's downfall, and . . . it went into great depth as to why Harry had to stay with the Dursleys every year. It was about the same thing Dumbledore had explained to Harry only just a few weeks ago. He wished he had found this letter years ago; it would have explained a lot. It did nothing for him now, however; he already knew about the charm placed on him to keep him 'safe from Voldemort while under the roof of where his relations resided' from his talk with Dumbledore. He continued to rummage through the things and laid his hand upon . . . a wand. What was a wand doing in the Dursleys' home that wasn't his? He picked it up, dusting it off. It looked to be only a tiny bit shorter than his wand and made of willow. He couldn't think of whom the wand could belong to, unless . . . no that was stupid . . . it couldn't be, could it?
There was some noise from upstairs; Harry hastily shoved the floor board back in place and put the wand, along with the letter, inside his pocket. Someone was coming down the stairs! He ran to the cupboard under the stairs and shut the door as quietly as he could. His heart was beating furiously in his chest.
"I hate that damned snoring, keeping me up at all hours of the night! It's enough to drive a woman insane!" Harry heard his Aunt Petunia muttering to herself while getting a glass of water. Slowly, her footsteps carried back up the stairs and to her room. Harry could breathe again. Quickly, he ducked out of the cupboard and made his way up the stairs, careful not to make any noise again, especially where the last step was concerned.
Finally after what seemed like hours, he was back in his room with the door closed. He took the letter and the wand out of his pocket. After setting the letter on his night stand, he got back into bed, and started twirling the wand in his hands. He kept thinking, 'Who . . . ? Who could it belong to?'
Harry didn't remember falling asleep, but he must have done so at some point during the night since he had just woken up. He looked over to his clock to see that he had six minutes left before his alarm went off. Today was the day he was finally leaving the Dursleys! As he was getting dressed, he vaguely thought of where he was spending the rest of his summer. Harry figured he would be taken to Grimmauld Place again, but he really hoped to go to the Burrow.
He flew down the stairs because he was starving from his lack of dinner from the night before and was eager to get some food in his stomach. As he entered the kitchen, the smell of bacon filled his head. Dudley was shovelling food in his mouth; Uncle Vernon was reading the newspaper; and Aunt Petunia was making toast. Harry sat down at the table and started pilling food on his plate. Aunt Petunia had finally started buying some decent food again, instead of the 'rabbit food' she had been getting before. Dudley had finally lost enough weight to fit into his school uniforms, and Aunt Petunia didn't want him to loss any more. Harry was thankful for this; he was tired of being starved because his cousin was a hog. Harry had eaten quite a bit and was about to go for seconds when his Uncle spoke up.
"Don't eat all the effing food! You're going to turn into a pig."
"Excuse me?" Harry stared at his incredibly large uncle. 'I'm going to turn into a pig? Hah, you should talk!' he thought to himself.
"You heard me. You're being a pig. You're a guest in this house, and you're eating all of our food. It's rude."
"Well, sorry for being hungry, but that's usually the result when I'm deprived of dinner."
"That was your own fault," Aunt Petunia chimed in.
Harry opened his mouth to argue, but an owl swooped into the room, making him forget what he was about to say. It dropped what looked like a rolled up newspaper on Aunt Petunia's plate. Harry quickly scooped up the paper and unfurled it to reveal . . .
"Well, what is it?" Uncle Vernon snapped.
"It's The Ministry of Magic Guide to Elementary Home and Personal Defense."
"What have I told you about using the 'M' word in this house?"
"Why did you order a personal defence guide?" Aunt Petunia asked, cutting off her fuming husband.
"I didn't order it; the Ministry of — they sent these to all of the wizarding homes in Britain. They've finally started to believe that Voldemort is back."
"But hasn't he been back for a year now? Why would they send guides out one year after his return?"
"Because, they'd just started to believe me a little under a month ago when I told them he was back. Last year, the whole wizarding world thought I was a delusional, attention seeking lunatic. Now that they've seen that Voldemort is back for themselves, I'm the Boy-Who-Lived, again," Harry replied dully, rolling his eyes at the nickname.
"They weren't wrong last year," muttered Dudley under his breath, but Harry still heard him.
"Shut it, Dudley — you don't know what you're talking about." Harry's eyes were blazing with anger as he spoke. "Last year, you couldn't even face a dementor when your life's been nothing but easy, being spoiled all the time; you'd probably faint after wetting yourself if you ever came face-to-face with Voldemort. Oh, and then you'd die," he added with bitter contempt.
"Not this nonsense about that raving madman again? I won't have it, boy. If he's still after you then, you can pack your bags and get the hell out of my house! I won't have you endangering my family, do you hear?"
"You know, you're supposed to be nice to me! I have half a mind to tell the Order how you're treating me when they get here! Maybe, a curse or two will make you realize they weren't kidding around at the beginning of this summer!" he paused for a moment, then continued again, "You know what, you're in luck. At four o'clock sharp, I'm out of here for the rest of the summer. That should make you happy because then I won't endanger your family any longer, and I won't be able to eat anymore of your 'effing food'! It's not like it's that good, anyway!" Sometime during the middle of his speech, he had stood up. He looked down at his so called 'family' (They were in complete shock.) before he turned to leave and go upstairs.
"GET BACK HERE AND APOLOGIZE!" Uncle Vernon shouted, finally finding his voice, but Harry just ignored him and stomped up the stairs, making sure to be very loud and obnoxious with every step.
When he reached his room, he slammed the door. He began packing his stuff quickly. He wished he could just do it with magic, but he knew better. Harry couldn't wait until next summer when he could do magic outside of school. 'Dudley is going to pay for all the misery he's put me through,' he thought. He started to think of all the curses he would use on his oversized, whale of a cousin, and a grin spread across his face. 'Next summer he is getting what he deserves!' Harry could just imagine the look on Dudley's face when he found himself covered in neon-orange boils and little, blue tentacle after waking up in the morning. With these thoughts, Harry started to calm down a little. He was almost done packing when he saw the wand laying on his bed and the letter on his night stand. He grabbed them up and stuffed them in a pocket in his trunk. He knew he shouldn't take them with him, but there was something about them . . .
Harry looked at his clock. It was twelve, 'Four more hours, and I'm out of here.' He had finished packing and was staring at the ceiling, thinking about Ron and Hermione. From Ron's letter, it sounded like they were staying in the same place again. Harry had so many things to tell them, he didn't know where he would begin, and he still wasn't sure if he was ready to tell them everything, just yet.
Harry had been so lost in his own thoughts, he hadn't notice time pass, and before he knew it, it was three o'clock in the evening. He decided he'd go down stairs early to wait for the Guard's arrival. Very slowly, he dragged his trunk from his room and down the stairs. He was completely out of breath. His trunk weighed more than Dudley, and that was saying something! Finally, He reached the bottom of the stairs, left his trunk in the dinning room, and sunk into the recliner in the living room, trying to get back the feeling in his arms. The Dursleys were watching television from the other side of the room, and Dudley was, 'big surprise,' in front of the refrigerator, stuffing his face. None of them made any indication to his presence.
Ten minutes later, the feeling had finally returned to Harry's limbs. He was about to fall asleep in the nice, cosy chair; carrying that trunk by himself wore him out, and he hadn't gotten much sleep to begin with. He closed his eyes but was suddenly brought crashing back to reality by two loud popping noises and his Aunt's screams. His eyes snapped open to see two identical boys with flaming-red hair, sitting on the couch. Aunt Petunia happened to be sitting on the couch as well . . . under one of the boys.
"AHHHHHHHHHHH! GET OFF OF ME! GET OFF OF MY COUCH THIS INSTANT!" Aunt Petunia screeched. The two boys jumped to their feet and tried to apologize to her, explaining that they were still getting used to apparating long distances. She, of course, didn't understand a word they were saying and actually broke down crying, running out of the room. Uncle Vernon followed her, muttering curses under his breath. Dudley, on the other hand, froze. The last time he had encountered the twins, his tongue had grown four feet long. From the look Dudley had on his face (and the fact that one of his hands had clapped over his mouth while the other made it's way to where his tail used to be), Harry could tell this memory was still fresh in Dudley's mind. All of the sudden, he sprinted out of the kitchen and up the stairs, his pudgy bottom wiggling madly. Harry had never seen Dudley run that fast before. Truthfully, he would have thought it physically impossible, but he was obviously wrong; Dudley could really move if he was motivated enough to do so.
Harry started to laugh uncontrollably as he saw his clumsy cousin trip on one of the stairs, smashing face first onto the steps above him. Once Dudley had left his sight, Harry turned his attention to the two visitors. "Hey, Fred, George. How's everything?" he asked, watching the twins roll around on the floor as they were laughing and clutching their sides.
"I-It's — b-been — okay," Fred said, trying to breath and pick himself up off the floor.
"Yeah, there hasn't been much action lately," George continued, regaining control over his breathing but still grinning. "Though, the shop is a big success! We've even come out with a new sweet!"
"Really? What is it?" Harry asked curiously.
"It's called Floo Sugar." Fred took a bag out of his pocket, filled with a powdery substance. "It's a bit like Floo Powder, only this stuff you eat rather than toss in a fire place. It's candy, but you use it for travelling. All you have to do is eat a pinch of it and say where you want to go. It's sort of like cheating the system, really. Under-aged wizards aren't allowed to apparate or disapparate 'cause it's too dangerous, but this stuff does all the hard work for you! We've looked over all of the laws. . . ."
"We've even asked Dumbledore, and there's nothing that says you can't use this stuff!"
"True, there aren't any laws against it partly because we've just invented it, but there aren't any laws that even suggest we can't use something like it, either. So, this is how we're getting you back to . . . erm . . . you know where," Fred finished looking around to make sure they weren't being overheard.
"So, we are going to . . . you know where. I was wondering about where we were staying. I sort of figured that's where we'd go, but I was hoping to go to the Burrow. Oh well," Harry said with a sigh.
"Nah, it's not safe to go to the Burrow."
"I thought the usual guard was picking me up at four; that's what Ron said, anyway. What happened? And why are you so early?"
"With Floo Sugar, you didn't need to be picked up by the usual guard. We came early in case Ron's owl had been intercepted; the Order didn't want You-Know-Who to have known what we were really up to. We're sorry for not telling you, but we couldn't."
"Oh, that makes sense. I guess, it's okay."
"Got everything you need, then?" asked George, pointing to Harry's trunk.
"Yeah," Harry replied, strolling over to his trunk in the dinning room.
"We'll take your trunk for you, Harry. All right, let's go!" Fred held out the bag for Harry.
Harry grabbed some of the Floo Sugar, ate it, and then said, "Number twelve, Grimmauld Place, London."