It was just past midnight on a cloudy summer's night and every house on Privet Drive was in darkness, their occupants retired for the night.
Every house except one.
Behind a small window at number four, a dim light flickered and the head of a person could be seen gazing out.
Harry Potter was supposed to be reading up on the history of Aurors. He had told Professor McGonagall in his careers interview last year that he would like to become an Auror after leaving Hogwarts. She had been more than encouraging, and it was her suggestion that he used some of the holiday to read up on the subject.
Harry found, however, that his heart wasn't in it. He had been listless and depressed all summer. The horrors of his last term at Hogwarts raged through his mind. Even the Dursleys had begun to notice. Aunt Petunia in particular had been giving him some very odd looks.
The clouds thinned and a full moon appeared. Harry looked up at it and thought of Remus Lupin. He must be at number twelve Grimmauld Place now - Sirius' house.
A cry shattered his thoughts before they could go any further. There followed a commotion which seemed to be coming from his aunt and uncle's room. Standing up quickly, he went to the bedroom door. he could hear footsteps running down the stairs, then Uncle Vernon's voice,
"Petunia. Petunia. Will you please tell me what's going on?"
Harry opened his bedroom door which for some reason had not been locked for two weeks now, and crept silently onto the landing. There were loud snores coming from Dudley's room. Evidently he had not been disturbed by the scream.
He strained his ears, but could hear nothing except Aunt Petunia blowing her nose between whispers. He had just decided to go back to his room when he heard Uncle Vernon say in a very loud whisper,
Harry's curiosity was aroused. Silently he descended enough steps to enable him to hear better and to peek into the kitchen.
Aunt Petunia was sitting at the table, her handkerchief to her mouth. Uncle Vernon, his face lobster red, stood staring at her as though she had just apparated before his eyes.
"P...Petunia. I...I don't know what to say," stuttered Uncle Vernon.
"Say it makes no difference, please Vernon," Aunt Petunia sounded desperate. "I tell you I'd forgotten about it until..." she flung a hand out towards a magazine lying on the table in front of her. "Until this arrived down the chimney."
Harry craned his neck to try and see the magazine but he was too far away to make anything out clearly.
Aunt Petunia glanced up at her husband hopefully, but Uncle Vernon's expression had not changed from one of utter disbelief. It seemed to urge Aunt Petunia on to further explanation.
"I've been feeling guilty about not telling you. That's why I'm having nightmares." She wrung her hands. "I was young, Vernon. They came home for the holidays."
Uncle Vernon slowly reached out and picked up the magazine. Now that it was nearer and up the right way, Harry could see it was a copy of Witch Weekly and the large letters announcing the main story:
'The Muggle Who Loved Sirius Black'.