Disclaimer: I do not own nor claim Harry Potter or the Harry Potter universe. Those belong to J.K. Rowling and various publishers.
Harry Potter sat in the back seat of the Dursley's car on his way "home" after his fifth year at Hogwarts. The ride was quiet until: "What, boy, did that … man mean about mistreating you? What have you been telling those people?" His uncle spit out.
"Well, Uncle Vernon, you have made it clear on several occasions that you dislike 'my kind', that and the state of my clothes plus the fact that the only way I have survived the last few summers is almost daily food packages from Mrs. Weasley." Harry ticked off on his fingers, feeling embolden by Mad-eye's speech at the train station. "Plus, of course, being referred to as Boy, and my chore list…" at which point Harry was cut off by his Uncle Vernon yelling and spitting so much that Harry's aunt Petunia had to clean off the windshield with her handkerchief "so that's it is it, your too lazy to do a few chores so you complain to those freaks!"
Instead of getting angry or being bullied by his uncle, Harry sighed and shook his head. "Uncle Vernon I will be happy to help out around the house, but I will not do it all. I'll make a deal with you, you make two chore lists, I will do one of them, and Dudley can do the other." Noticing the gleam in his Aunts eye, he quickly added. "I get to chose which list I want. "
Unperturbed, Vernon continued, "so you want new clothes, after all that we…" Harry interrupted him. "Actually", Harry said, "I will buy my own clothes and as for meals, I can buy my own groceries if you like, but I am not on a diet." He said firmly.
The only answer Harry received was silence. He began to think back to recent events. Petunia Dursley watched through the mirror of her compact and witnessed the swift shift in Harry's mood. He went from bravely confronting his uncle to barely holding in the sobs as he berated himself for getting Sirus killed in less than a minute. The sorrow was palpable to her.
Lost in her own thoughts, she did not notice Harry look up and see her spying on him. She felt the anger seconds before the mirror in her compact shattered. Petunia calmly placed her compact in her purse and so did not notice Harry's mood shift to sorrow again.
Harry Potter and his "family" arrived home from the train station amid silence. At a look from Petunia, Vernon told his son, "Help Harry with his trunk, Dudley." Petunia Dursley took the owl cage from Harry and carried it into the house with Dudley and Harry following her up to Harry's room. After depositing his things in his room, Harry thanked his cousin and aunt in a far away sort of voice, sat down on his bed, and turned to stare out the window.
"They are out there somewhere." Harry told himself. "Both the Order and the Death Eaters are watching and controlling my life."
Night fell on Privet Drive and the noises of the house slowly abated. Harry heard his uncle and cousin both begin to snore, but continued his vigil. At a soft knock on the door, Harry jumped and had his wand out instantly. "Enter." He croaked from his dry throat. Petunia opened the door, paused when she saw the wand pointed at her, then continued into the room and sat down on the desk chair.
Petunia had been replaying in her mind the entire day and trying to remember everything she had learned from her sister. The conclusion she had reached was that; something had happened, and it was very bad. "Are we in danger?" she asked.
"No," Harry whispered, "my mother saw to that." Petunia thought back to her sister's last letter. It read, "Pet, I know you do not wish to hear this, but I have arranged for my son to be placed in your care if James and I are killed. The evil that is consuming my world will come for us soon, if it can. It would come for you as well but I have arranged for your protection. Harry is the key, as long as he resides in your home for at least a week every year, the darkness cannot find you."
"So, the darkness has returned?" Petunia asked.
Harry's head snapped up, anger replaced the self-loathing he had been feeling, "What do you know!" he asked between teeth that were clenched in fury. "Why does everyone keep me in the dark?" Harry's knuckles were white but he still held his wand. The room shook slightly from his fury then subsided as Petunia felt his anger change, in a matter of seconds, to self-pity.
"Harry," she began "All I know is what Lily wrote in her last letter. But that Dunbelldoor person said that the darkness was destroyed."
"He lied, get used to it, I have." Harry said as loneliness took the place of self-pity. "You are safe as long as I am welcomed into your home." Harry told her.
"What happened?" she asked.
Harry was silent for a moment and then slowly, he whispered "I have faced the darkness four times since I was eleven; I defeated it twice, escaped once, and was rescued once. This is my fight, my destiny, but I do not feel prepared and I am supposed to sit here all summer and be safe." Frustration radiated from Harry. He glanced up at his aunt and felt sorry for her for the first time in his life. "You don't deserve to be drawn into this anymore than my friends at school do." He took a deep breath and continued. "There was a battle last month, all my friends followed me into a trap, everyone was injured, my godfather was killed, and I am supposed to sit here all summer instead of preparing for the next battle."
Silence filled the room; both Harry and Petunia were deep in their own thoughts. After a while, Petunia stood up to leave but turned back just as she reached the door. "I asked your father once why he was the one who had to fight, he said to me 'Better to be Proactive than reactive.' School headmasters have no say in what children do during their summer; surely you can find something constructive to do." Then she turned and left.
Harry turned back to stare out the window. "Proactive" he muttered. "How do you be proactive when you can't leave the house?" He asked Hedwig.
Alone in his bedroom, after midnight, and with the door closed; Harry should have expected no one to notice him begin to pace his room. He knew better. Harry felt the eyes on him even at this time of night. "I might as well not make it easy for them." Harry muttered as he reached the window and pulled the shade.
"I need a plan Hedwig." He told his owl and began pacing again. Harry paced back and forth several times across his room. He kept shaking his head every few minutes as a strategy came to mind and he dismissed it. "If only Ron…" Harry began then suddenly stopped speaking and moving. Guilt overtook him yet again.
He collapsed on the floor and wept.
Albus walked into the kitchens of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An elf sitting near the door to the elves living quarters looked up then disappeared. A few seconds later, the elf reappeared with two other elves who were, Albus noticed, wearing clothes. Dobby and Winky walked over to him and presented him with a formal looking document.
"Professor," Dobby began "this is my resignation from your employment, sir." Looking over the letter, Albus concluded that it was, indeed, a letter of resignation and was signed by both Dobby and Winky.
"Are you not happy working at the school?" He asked the two elves.
"We have been very happy, sir. But our services are needed elsewhere." Winky answered.
"Is it a matter of pay or benefits?" he asked.
"No sir, it is a matter of honor." Dobby answered.
"I see." Said Albus
"In our new duties, it may become necessary to act against your wishes sir, we must leave your employ, sir." Winky said firmly.
"We reported his activities to you this school year, we will no longer do so." Dobby seemed to be accusing Albus. "He lost his only family because of the betrayal of an elf. We will not betray him."
"It is not a betrayal to watch out for the well-being of a child." Began Albus, "Nor to report on his well-being to his guardian."
"Master is no longer a child, and his guardian is dead." Winky stated, Dobby added; "Master calls me friend, he will need my help, and I will not lie to master." The look in Dobby's large eyes almost dared Albus to deny the implied accusation.
Albus looked around at the remaining elves. "And the other elves?" He asked Dobby. "They remain bound to this school, and will serve you, sir." At a nod from Dobby, an elf appeared with tea and scones. Albus quietly ate and drank his tea. His face betrayed his worry, as it had never done before. "I will double the watch on Harry." He thought to himself. "He cannot be allowed to risk himself."
Harry lay in a heap on the floor. He had stopped crying some time before but remained where he was thinking. "No one can help me, I am alone" kept running through his thoughts. "How do I learn what I need to know without someone to teach me?" he mumbled.
Harry jumped when Hermione's voice answered him, "There has to be a book on defeating dark wizards somewhere." He spent the next ten minutes searching his room, but he was alone. "Great, now I'm hearing voices." He told Hedwig. "But, the voice is right, books are all I will have this summer so I may as well learn all I can." He pulled open his trunk and looked through his books. Planning for the future, which was a gift from Hermione, caught his eye. He began reading,
Chapter One: What do you want
"… set two goals, personal and professional."
Harry sat down with parchment and a quill.
Chapter Two: It's all in your attitude
"Confidence begins as an act but quickly becomes a habit."
Harry looked at his open trunk. He shrugged, "Why not?" then confidently waved his hand at the photo album on top while forcing himself to believe that the spell would work. He whispered "accio album". Harry quickly schooled his expression back to normal as the photo album flew to his hand. He waved his other hand at the next book in his trunk as he was catching the album. This continued and the pace quickened until the trunk was empty and Harry had stopped looking at his objective and stopped saying the spell. "Nothing to it." He smiled.
Chapter Three: Bravery counts in more than a fight
"… a brave person does whatever is necessary to achieve a goal."
"My summer" Harry muttered. He pulled a new parchment and began writing a list. "More books" … "Shopping" … "Wand signatures" … "Hermione"
As Tuesday, July 1rst 1997 dawned over Privett drive; there was just one person awake to greet it. A short messy haired boy stared out of the second story window of the smallest bedroom of #4. He was sitting at a small desk with a quill in his hand, writing what looked like a To-Do list. He watched as a snowy white owl winged its way toward London with a parchment attached to its leg. He looked down at the parchment on his desk and checks off the first item on the list:Request special dispensation to practice magic during summer.
He had originally started out to write to the Improper use of magic office and try to lay out a logical argument for a special dispensation. He soon gave up on that idea and decided to write to Minister Fudge instead. Keeping in mind Fred and George's problems with Bagman in his 4th year, he carefully crafted a letter. The letter could not threaten but had to make it plain that Fudges political career would be made more difficult if Harry's request was denied. Harry mentioned that if he could not practice magic, he would need to find some other past time, and perhaps that other past time would be swapping tales with Rita Skeeter. Not a threat, just a request.
As he got up from his desk and headed out of his room to take a shower, Harry, our short messy haired underage wizard, glanced at his list:
Arrange shopping trip to Muggle London and Diagon Alley.
Thirty minutes later, Harry Potter, dressed in his best fitting muggle clothing, went downstairs to start breakfast for his family.
With bacon frying and biscuits in the oven, Harry began cracking some eggs. When his aunt and uncle walked into the kitchen, he asked "Would you mind setting the table while I finish the eggs?" Petunia Dursley began setting the table without a thought as to who had asked her too. Harry hid a small grin as he turned to his uncle and asked, "Would you like coffee or juice this morning uncle Vernon?"
"Juice please" Vernon replied from behind the newspaper Harry had placed on the table for him. Dudley, their overweight son, waddled through the door and sat down without saying anything to anyone.
Harry began serving the eggs, bacon and biscuits making sure to put enough on his plate before serving Dudley. As he sat down, he pulled the daily prophet out of his back pocket and began looking through it. Dudley started to choke when he noticed what Harry was reading, but before he could clear his throat enough to complain, his mother told him, "Dudder's, it just a newspaper." Uncle Vernon and Harry "humf" at the same time but neither stop reading as Petunia patted Dudley on the back.
After scanning the Prophet for anything interesting, Harry decided to work on #2 on his list. "Uncle Vernon?" he asked. "Is there a shopping mall convenient to your way to work that you could drop me off at today?" Vernon Dursley looked at his nephew over his paper and told him, "There is one two blocks down from my office in London." Petunia sort of squeaked as she added "The leaky cauldron is two blocks past that."
Vernon looked at wife and said "leaky cl…?" "That's the entrance to our shopping district, uncle Vernon." Harry answered his uncle's unspoken question. "That's great, I need to exchange some money anyway." Vernon narrowed his eyes at Harry and slowly asked, "Do you need any money?"
Harry reached into his pocket and flipped a gold galleon to his uncle, "nope," he said "I'm covered."
The ride into London turned out to be as remarkable in its normalcy as breakfast had been. As Vernon and Harry turned off of Privett drive, Vernon asked, "So, your going to buy new clothes?" Harry looked at his uncle through half closed eyes. He weighed his answer carefully, debating whether to tell his uncle the truth. He decided on a partial truth.
"I need some reference materials for my summer homework, but cannot be seen in Diagon Alley." He told his uncle. "So I need a disguise of some type."
Vernon was silent a moment then asked, "What sort of disguise?"
"I'm not really sure, but most importantly would be to hide my scar and eye's." Harry replied, amazed that his uncle did not question the need for a disguise.
Vernon seemed to contemplate his statement then offered, "I've seen some pu… kids who wear all black clothes and white makeup, they usually have dark sunglasses too."
"That's a great idea!" Harry exclaimed.
Vernon had a small grin on his face as he started paying more attention to the road as traffic was picking up. He liked solving problems, and this is the first time he could solve any problem involving Harry.
Harry walked down the sidewalk outside his uncles drilling company headed toward the mall two blocks away. He watched carefully for anyone that seemed to recognize him as he began a mental shopping list. First on the list were his eyes. "Dark sun glasses would work for this trip, but, I need colored contacts before my next trip." He thought.
Glancing in a pawnshop window that he passed, Harry caught site of a sword hanging on the wall. "I'll have to remember where I saw that," a vision of a blinded Basilisk flashed before his eyes. "A sword may come in handy" After further thought, as the mall came into view, two more items were added to the list, weapon and way to conceal weapon.
A confident Harry Potter walked through the main entrance of a mall for the first time in his life. He paused to check the stores in the vicinity and happily noticed an optometrist office bracketed by a dentist on one side and an Eye masters on the other. The sign outside said "walk-in's welcome" so he did not hesitate as he walked in and then went up to the receptionist to ask for an appointment. The bushy haired attendant looked up for only a second before launching herself over the counter into the arms of our hero and kissing him soundly.
Hermione felt slightly embarrassed as she pulled away from Harry and began looking for his escort. Her embarrassment lasted only long enough to realize that Harry was alone, it was then replaced by anger. She pulled Harry close and whispered in his ear, "If the order does not know you are here, I will kill you myself." He noticed that her eyes sparkled when she said this, but he couldn't read anything deeper in them. A look of fear or friendship he would know, but the look she had was completely foreign to him.
"I am my own concern, not the orders." Harry whispered back. "I have trusted to many with my safety, and they have all been hurt. No longer."
He stepped back and asked, "When is the next available appointment?"
"Your first." Hermione told him.
Dobby and Winky arrived in the smallest bedroom of #4 Privett Drive too a very feminine shriek coming from a very frightened, very fat, Dudley Dursley. Dudley stood as if rooted to the floor, with Harry's photo album in one hand and a lighter in the other. He began to shake when Dobby waved his hand and the album flew back onto the desk. "Are you the uncle who starves his nephew or the cousin who hunts him?" Dobby asked calmly.
Petunia ran up the stairs to see what had made Dudley scream. She rushed into Harry's room but stopped when she saw Dobby and Winky. "Get out of my house!" she screamed as soon as she saw them. Dudley ran passed his mother and into his room. He slammed the door then began dragging his dresser to block it.
Winky took a step toward Petunia, "We serve Harry Potter, and this is his room. You will leave."
"You will not…" Petunia began.
"We will do what is necessary to insure the safety and well being of Master Harry." Dobby stated.
Winky asked, "Where is Harry Potter?"
By noon, Harry and Hermione were eating at a small sandwich shop in the mall. "I cannot believe they can make glasses that fast." Harry said as he admired the prescription sunglasses he had bought. "To bad the contacts won't be ready until Wednesday." He sighed. "Well," Hermione said hopefully, "You could postpone your Diagon Alley trip until then." Harry knew Hermione was trying to delay his trip into the magical world until she could contact the order.
"And, have the order meet me there and follow me around?" Harry asked casually. He was surprised when the hurt expression on Hermione's face did not immediately cause guilt to wash over him. Hurt was quickly replaced by shock then the foreign look that he still could not decipher.
"I will have to go with you." Hermione stated.
"Not a chance." Harry said quickly, "You would be watched just as I would."
"Fine, I'll get a disguise this afternoon when you do." She stated firmly. Harry looked into her eyes and saw a protective look he had not seen from her before. "Why is she suddenly so protective?" he wondered. After a few minutes, he realized that they were still staring into each other's eyes. She began to blush but he just reached up and caressed her cheek. "Come on," he said, as he stood up and offered her his hand "we need to find some black clothes."
"Coming" she purred, as she stood up, neither of them relinquished the others hand as they headed deeper into the mall.
Tonks sat comfortably on a stool in the front yard of #6 Privett Drive watching the closed shade of Harry's room for any sign of activity. She saw Albus Dumbledore walk up to the edge of the yard of #4 before turning and walking toward her. "Have you seen Harry today?" he asked the invisible Tonks when he was close enough. "No," she replied. "Mungus said he pulled his shade at about 2:30 last night and sent Hedwig out at about 7am but I haven't seen anything since I came on at 10."
"I'm going to assign another order member to watch the back entrance at night, starting this evening." Albus told her. "You may notice a few house elves arrive sometime today, if they are not already here. They serve Harry, not me or the order, don't expect their help."
"Do I need to talk to Harry about this?" Tonks asked. "I may be able to illicit more cooperation."
"Wait until tomorrow, let him cool off a little." Albus told her. "He is probably not happy with me or the order right now."
"I'll sneak up to his room tomorrow morning." She began.
"I would advise against that," he interrupted, "Dobby threw Lucious Malfoy back 30 feet for threatening Harry, don't surprise them."
Hermione lead Harry toward what looked to him to be a video arcade. Entering the arcade, he noticed a dark door at the back that had a small sign that just said "OPEN". Hermione leaned in closer to Harry, and whispered "That's a shop that specializes in 'alternative' clothing, we should be able to find what we need there." Harry nodded his head to show that he understood but continued to scan the arcade.
As they reached the dark door, Harry pulled Hermione back slightly to prevent her from opening the door until he had pulled his wand. Keeping the wand as hidden as possible, they entered the shop.
The shop was divided into several sections. When they first entered, they found themselves surrounded by leather clothing ranging from jackets to corsets. Some leather skirts immediately distracted Hermione who barely noticed Harry moving into another section of the store. Everything there was black. "A vampire from the late show would feel comfortable in these clothes." Harry thought. He noticed a person headed his way from behind a counter off to the side of the store. As the sales clerk walked up he began, "Can I help yoooo…." But he never finished his question because Harry looked up at him and the clerk stopped and said "Harry Potter" as he took a step back and tripped.
Harry had his wand pointed at the clerk's chest seconds before the clerk felt Hermiones wand rap him on the head from behind. "Up" she growled. Harry stole a glance at her as the clerk began to get to his feet. The fire shining in her eyes gave him a warm glow in the pit of his stomach and it took all his will power to tear his eyes from her. "Who are you and how do you know me?" Harry began as Hermione searched him for a wand.
"You won't find a wand, I'm a muggle." He said
"Then how do you know Harry?" Hermione asked.
"My neighbor growing up was a wizard. He told me stories about you my whole life." The clerk looked up at Harry's forehead again and began to grin, "I finally get to meet another wizard and it is the famous Harry Potter"
Harry began laughing as the absurdity of the magical worlds belief that they could hide became apparent. His mind running as fast as it could, Harry said, "So, you know who I am and you know how I am recognized, you are the perfect person to help me create a disguise."
Hermione looked at Harry with pride in her eyes for his quick thinking. "Lets get started." She said.
Harry hated trying on clothes, he always has. But letting Hermione choose clothes for him to try on was different, he began to enjoy the look on her face when he came out of the dressing room in a different outfit. Finally Hermione chose a black fitted shirt and black slacks for him. He liked the black combat boots that he found, they actually fit (He had never had shoes that fit him before.) and a black, floor length, and leather trench coat that almost passed as robes. Hermione was trying to decide between slacks and a skirt for herself when Harry reached over, took both from her, and added them to their growing pile of purchases.
The sales clerk brought out some jewelry and wigs for them to look over. "We will have to cover that scar with a little make-up but both of you have hair which is distinctive. You both will have to wear a wig." Harry grabbed a long black wig and tried to put it on. "Raymond, I don't think I am doing this right." He said to the sales clerk. "Here, take it off and I'll see if there is anoth…." For the second time, Raymond stopped in mid sentence and stared at Harry. Hermione laughed and said, "That length suits you Harry." Harry's hair was now down to the middle of his back. He looked in a mirror and shrugged as if this was expected. "Oh well," he said "no wig for me"
Harry and Hermione headed out of the mall toward the Leaky Cauldron. Both of them looked nothing like themselves and so Harry hoped they would not be recognized. Hermione's hand found Harry's as they walked and neither thought this at all strange. Right outside the Leaky Cauldron, Harry paused to make sure their disguises were in place. Hermione shivered slightly from the tension of the risk they were taking. Her eyes pleaded with Harry for reassurance. Harry kissed her, and then led her inside.
"Business is picking up finally.", thought Tom, owner of the Leaky Cauldron, as he cleaned up a recently vacated table. "Mid-afternoon and half my tables are still full." He mused; as he glanced at his patrons looking for any indication, that one of them needed attention.
The door to muggle London opened and closed, almost without being noticed. Tom glanced up to see that the arrivals were walking toward the entrance to Diagon Alley.
Arthur and Ginny Weasley were headed toward the Leaky Cauldron after a trip to Flourish & Botts bookstore. Arthur was, as always, on the lookout for trouble. He noticed the couple coming toward them but immediately dismissed them as no threat.
Ginny hiked her heavy book bag higher on her shoulder. She glanced up and saw the couple coming at them. It only took her a second to recognize them. She locked eyes with Hermione who gave her an "I'll tell you later." look. Ginny tried to catch Harry's eye, but he looked straight ahead. She thought he had not noticed her until they passed each other. Out of her peripheral vision, Ginny saw Harry's hand move and her pack suddenly became lighter. "Now how did he do that? What are they doing here? They were holding hands!" Ginny's heart did a flip.
Two humans entered the bank but drew little attention from any of the goblins. They were too young to control a major account. The humans stopped at the first desk and spoke with the goblin there. After some discussion, the goblin called over his supervisor. The supervisor spoke with the male human, and then called over the manager who also spoke to the human. After several minutes a runner who's duty station was near the front desk was called over.
Griphook noticed a runner coming over to his duty station. He assumed that he was being sent on an errand. "Report to the managers office." The runner told him. When he entered the manager's office, the two young humans were there, being served tea from a silver tea set. "Griphook," began the floor manager "this young human requests that you handle his personal account. His identity is to remain secret. In addition, you are to make yourself available for errands, which are also to remain secret. Are there any questions?" "No sir." Replied Griphook as he tried to get a glance of his new clients.
The floor manager rose from his desk and walked toward the door, "You may use my office, I will assign your new office once your client leaves." He told Griphook as he left the office and closed the door behind him. Griphook turned to the Humans and asked, "How may I serve you today?"
Harry stood slowly, "I need a complete accounting of my assets."
Simon heard the door open into Flourish & Botts then noticed a young couple enter. "I will never finish stocking!" he grumbled softly as he went to greet his customers. "May I help you find something?" He asked.
"Information on wand theory." Said the young man. Simon noticed the young women wandering off as if she knew where she was going, though he knew he had never seen her in his shop before.
"This way sir." Simon led the young man upstairs to a reference section of the store. "Here it is, everything from a history of wands to how to make your own."
"Thank you. " mumbled the young man.
After a few moments, Simon started "You may want t…" but was interrupted as the young man began pulling books from the shelf and stacked them in his arms. When Simon was holding 12 books, the young man told him, "That should be sufficient for now." And began walking down stairs.
The young Lady was standing at the sales counter with 5 books of her own. As they came down stairs Simon saw her eyes expand in surprise at the volume of books he carried, but she quickly recovered and made no other sign that she was surprised.
Hagrid knocked back another of "the usual" sitting at the bar at The Leaky Cauldron. He was talking to Tom about what had gone on at Hogwarts the year before. "If you ask me, that is the worst detention I ever heard of. And everytime you wrote with it, it would scratch the same on the back of your hand. Now, I seen the back of the hands of students what had detention with her. Let me tell you, weeks later you could tell what had been written."
"So tell me, was there really a secret society formed like it says in the paper?" Tom asked as he refilled Hagrids Tankard. "Oh, you mean the DA, yes, and everyone involved in it got Outstanding Owls in DADA too." Hagrid replied. "Of course, you know who was leading it right. There is no wonder. Ain't noone in the school more qualified in my opinion. I wager Fudge wasn't happy when he heard about it, especially the name."
"The paper did not mention the name, just called it DA." Tom prodded. "Oh, well. DA stands for Dumbledore's Army." Hagrid supplied with a grin. "'course, between you and me, after the row 'arry had in Dumbledore's office at the end of the year, if it continues this year it will probably be HA. Harry isn't fond of Dumbledore right now."
"Really?" Tom said.
"I should not have said that, should not have said that" Hagrid mumbled as a young couple walked behind him headed for muggle London. No one really noticed the huge grin on the young mans face or the worried expression on the woman's as they left.
Robert Granger was worried about his daughter. She was supposed to be helping out in the optometrist office next door to his office in the mall, but when he stopped by there at noon to see her, he found she had taken the day off. The story he got, was that a young man had come in for a walk-in appointment and that she had, practically, mugged him.
"Oh, she knew who he was. Alright." Rachael, the optometrist, told him. "I've never seen her even hug anyone other than you, but this was a kiss that lasted forever. She stayed within three feet of him at all times like she had to protect him. She went next door with him and picked out his frames, she also tried to pay for his eye test, but he wouldn't let her. When he said he was going shopping for clothes, she rounded on me and apologized for the short notice but said she had to take the rest of the day off. They left a few minutes before 11." Rachael had told him.
Robert looked up as a young couple walked into his office. He heard his receptionist greet them and ask if she could set them up an appointment for another day since it is five minutes until five. Then he heard his daughter laugh as she pulled off her wig.
He charged into the reception area about to give Hermione a tongue-lashing and find out who this boy is. When he opened the door suddenly, he found himself on the business end of two wands. What surprised him the most though, was that even after Hermione had said 'Dad' and lowered her wand, the other wand remained pointing at his chest. Robert instinctively knew that this wand was the more dangerous of the two and that any attempt at anger toward his daughter may have dire effects while that wand remained out.
He now knew who the boy was. The relief that went through his body was visible. The wand disappeared. Looking at his watch, the young man said, "I'm late, my uncle is leaving in 5 minutes and I don't have time to get back to his office." He began to turn to run out when Robert spoke up. "Just call him and tell him you will be spending the night with us." Hermione nearly fainted as Harry turned back to look at her father. "Only if it is ok with Hermione." Both men looked toward her as she whispered, "sure, no problem" then excused herself.
Harry called his uncles office and, to his relief, his uncle was till there. "Uncle Vernon." He began "I'm glad I caught you before you left. I ran into a friend of mine today who has asked that I stay at her house tonight. Is that ok with you?"
Vernon Dursley thought a moment, and then asked, "Will you be safe with them?"
"They're muggles, it shouldn't be a problem." Harry replied.
"Well, have fun then and I will see you tomorrow afternoon." Vernon replied, and hung up
Vernon Dursley sat down the receiver of the phone in his office, and began to worry. As he slipped back into his chair, his thoughts became a running dialog.
Those freaks might come looking for him tonight and what do I say?
"Oh, he is staying over at a friends house." I'll answer.
"Who?" They'll ask
"Oh, I don't know." I'll answer.
That's when they'll do their freak thing to my family. I had laid down the law to my wife and son at the beginning of the summer that they were to treat that freak like he was normal so that he would not have them hurt. The freaks always find a way to mess up my life. Why can't they take that brat away for good? Why do they think he is protected living with us? What am I supposed to do?
"No you cannot stay at a friends house."
Then he'll write the freaks and tell them I am "mistreating" him. If we run, they'll find us. Those damn owls always find us…. No, they always find him!
A smile crept onto Vernon's face. He picked up the phone and called home. "Petunia, how would you like to go on a cruise this summer?"
Harry did not know what to expect from the Grangers. He knew that they were dentist. He knew that Hermione was an only child. But, that was the extent of his knowledge.
The drive to their house was short. Harry and Hermione sat in the back seat of the car, while her father keep up a seemingly one-sided conversation, only requesting or accepting the occasional "yes" or "uh-huh". It was his idea that they stay in "costume" to surprise Hermione's mother.
"Oh, she'll not know who you are either." He assured them, as they drove up to a rather exclusive looking condominium complex. Robert informed them of the plans for the evening.
"We are going out to eat tonight so Emili should be waiting for us." He said as he parked outside a nice two story condo that looked too Harry to be twice as big as his uncles house. "You two just stay in the car, I'll go get her." He told them.
While her father was out of ear shot, Harry asked Hermione, "Are you sure you don't mind having me stay tonight? I could get a hotel room somewhere."
"Of course not Harry, I just worry about what the order will say when they find you gone from the Dursley's." she answered. Harry's eyes flashed momentarily. "They would be upset that their instrument is out of its case. But, I really don't care anymore. If the truth they are telling me this time is actually the truth, then this fight is mine. I don't think I am being adequately prepared by sitting in a small room all summer with nothing to do." He answered.
"Harry?" she whispered as she leaned in closer, "You are not alone, I will always be there to fight beside you." She nuzzled Harry's neck in an effort to distract him. Harry leaned down and kissed her, then continued lowering his head and kissing down her neck to the top of her chest. He stopped when he reached the neckline of her shirt. "No you won't, but you are the best person I know to help me prepare."
Hermione was trying to catch her breath to protest his statement when she noticed her parents walking toward the car. As Harry sat up he told her, "You can help me make sense of the books I get but I will not allow you to follow me into combat." She noticed the firmness that suddenly radiated from his voice as he continued. "If you are to remain my friend, you will promise to stay out of the last fight." He looked her directly in the eye as he said this and Hermione knew that if she refused, he would be gone before morning. She whispered, "I promise" as her father opened the passenger door for her mother.
Emili Granger was not fooled for a minute as too the identity of either of the people in the back of her husband's car. When she got in and looked into the back seat, her only comment was "Your hair looks good like that Harry." And then she turned to her husband to ask where they were going for dinner.
Both Harry and Hermione purposely kept the wizarding world out of the conversation at dinner. However, life at the Dursley's became a favorite subject for both Emili and Hermione.
"Mom, Let me tell you what he was wearing when he showed up at the mall today. The shirt was overlarge but the pants are at least 6 sizes to big." Hermione said with outrage. Harry spoke up quickly, "Well, I intend on remedying that tomorrow." But they would not let it go. "The boots he has on now are the first shoes he has ever had that fit him. You should see the scarring on his feet from 15 years of blisters." Hermione continued.
"Well honey," Emili said, "He will need your help shopping then, won't he?" She looked at Harry for a moment then continued. "You'll need a few thing tonight though so we can drop in at the store across the street when we finish dinner."
Dropping in ended up being a 3-hour shopping explosion. After being measured by the sales lady, Harry went to pick up some personal necessities but was back within ten minutes. During that time, Emili and Hermione had begun picking out clothes for him to try on. Robert quietly slipped away to the shoe area where there were chairs to sit in and a salesman who had a paper he would share. But Harry was trapped.
They arrived back at the Granger residence after 10 pm that night. Robert and Harry manhandled all of the packages their ladies had purchased into the front room of the house but dropped them there and collapsed onto the floor. They both were laying there feigning death when Emili and Hermione came back down the stairs. Harry was unaware that couples that have been married for 20 years still tickled each other. When he heard Robert scream he opened his eyes and saw Emili on the floor tickling her husband mercilessly. That was right before Hermione started tickling him.
After receiving the "Grand Tour", Harry retrieved some of his new clothes from the packages in the front room and headed upstairs to take a bath. The guest bedroom Emili had shown him had its own bathroom with a large circular tub in which he intended to soak and read. Of all the comforts of Hogwarts, the bathtub in the Prefects bathroom is what he missed the most during the summer. Muggle bubble bath could not compete with the choices at school but he added it anyway as he filled the tub. After soaking for about twenty minutes and not really thinking about anything specific, Harry brought to mind his to do list. "OK, muggle shopping complete, next is knockturn ally." He thought then reached for a book on wand theory he had purchased.
After about an hour in the tub, Harry found what he was looking for in the book he was reading. "Wands are used as a channel for the natural power of a wizard. The wood and interior of a wand is used to amplify the power sent through it by the wizard. Though all wands can be used to channel power, different materials provide more or less amplification for different types of magic. A wizard that has natural strength in several disciplines of magic may wish to own several wands and use the one most appropriate to the magic being cast."
Harry put the book down and let the water run from the tub. He had just begun to refill the tub and added more bubble bath when he heard a tapping on the bathroom window. Opening the window, he found that Hedwig had found him and had a letter for him marked "From the desk of Minister Fudge." Harry sank back into the hot bubbly water with the letter in hand and closed his eyes. He was considering opening the letter when he heard the door to the bathroom open slightly. He kept his eyes closed and listened as the intruder crept into the bathroom.
He was almost positive who his intruder was. He modified his disarming charm to hold the intruder in place instead of throwing them against the wall and was not at all surprised when Hermione gasped then asked, "Please let me go."
"Hermione," Harry said, "I'll be out in a minute. We need to talk about tomorrow." Then he released the spell holding her and listened as she first took a step toward the tub, then hesitated and turned and went back into the bedroom.
"I wonder what Fudge has to say." Harry thought as he opened his letter.
Ginny Weasley came through the floo network into the fireplace in the Weasley home, the Burrow, right after her father, but noticed neither him nor anyone else in the room. "He is supposed to be at the Dursley's. I know that for a fact." She thought for the hundredth time since seeing Hermione and Harry in Diagon Alley.
When her mother said something to her, she merely nodded and headed upstairs to her room. "I can't risk an owl, it may be intercepted." She reasoned.
"I'll go for a walk and call Hermione from the village."
"I'll ask her why she was holding his hand, she knows I like him, she wouldn't do that to me, though I can't blame her, he looked really good, dressed in all black, long hair, no scar, must have been makeup, dark glasses, couldn't see his eyes, his eyes…." Ginny's thoughts trailed off as she lay down on her bed.
Three Hours Later…
"Going for a walk, Ginny dear?" Molly Weasley asked. Ginny looked over her shoulder, "I'll be back before night." She told her mother, and then walked out the kitchen door.
Ginny walked as fast as she could into the village. "Muggle Studies is finally paying off." She thought as she pulled out her notes on telephone use. She followed the instructions, copied from Hermione's notes, exactly, but to no avail. No one answered.
Ginny sat on the curb by the payphone. For two hour's she had repeatedly called Hermione's house, no one ever answered. She held her head in her hands, frustration leaked from her eyes, she felt alone and betrayed.
Harry silently opened the bathroom door into the guest room at the Granger residence. In his hand was a parchment that meant nothing less than freedom to him. The grin on his face only broadened as he noticed that Hermione's dressing robe was lain across the back of the desk chair and she had crawled into his bed. He quietly extinguished all the lamps in the room, removed his bathrobe, and dressed in his new pajamas.
His focus went to a book he had purchased the previous year, in an effort to keep the dorm room clean. Household spells and the wizards that use them was a great reference and the spells from it were anything but mundane. Harry thought of several spells from the fifth chapter Spells for new parents that would come in handy in his present situation. "Alarm on the Grangers bedroom door," Harry muttered as he waved his wand. "Misdirection in the hall", He continued. "and locking charms on mine and Hermione's doors."
Harry had started to slip into bed next to the sleeping Hermione, when he thought of one more spell he should cast. It had taken him most of the previous year to find it, it was not listed in any of the standard spell books, even the 7th year one. The only way he had found it at all had been a chance late night meeting with the librarian. She had not questioned Harry's presence in the library after hours and had directed him to a book in the restricted section on protection charms before leaving him to his research.
Harry knelt by the sleeping form of Hermione and placed his hand on her bare shoulder. He cleared his mind and began to cast the spell. To his wonder, the spell modified itself in his mind as he began to cast it. Originally, the spell had worked from the bond of blood such as his bond with Petunia, his aunt. But the spell took form to protect using a bond of love, a bond Harry knew was there, but was surprised to find so strong. Harry directed the spell to prevent anyone intent on harming Hermione or her family from entering; he also added a magic person detector, so that he would not be surprised if the order came looking for him.
He crawled into bed, wrapped Hermione in a hug, and cleared his mind. He fell asleep quickly.
Vernon Dursley slowly pulled his car from his driveway, it was midnight and the sky was overcast so that even the moon did not provide witness to his escape. He did not turn on his lights but instead; he drove slowly until he could turn off Privett Drive. He then turned on his lights and sped away from his home as fast as was humanly possible. In the car with him were his wife and son, both of them a little frightened by Vernon's decision to leave the country until fall. Harry would be back at his school by then. But Vernon was tired of being nice to the freaks that had left that Boy on his doorstep 15 years ago.
He addressed his wife; "Our flight leaves at 5:30 am, we should be in our staterooms on the cruise ship by this time tomorrow." Vernon looked determinably in his rearview mirror and prayed that they would make it on the plane before being discovered. He had arranged passage on the ship in a different name and so hoped to throw off any pursuit.
But, there was to be no pursuit, the order did not realize that one of their charges was missing, and a second was sneaking out of her house at that very moment.
Having lived in the shadow of six siblings, Ginny was used to events being beyond her control, but she was not going to let Harry slip away from her that easily.
"I have to know!" she kept telling herself as she eased open her window and prepared to fly out into the overcast sky. "If they are together already, then I'll just… just… " Ginny couldn't finish her statement, she did not know what she would do. "It was mom's idea to date someone in Harry's year so he would start seeing me as an equal instead of Ron's little sister." She muttered as she flew low along the path from the burrow. "Maybe he thought I was taken and she is his second choice." She grinned for a moment as she dreamed about Harry dropping Hermione and declaring his everlasting love for her. Her smile faded as she reached a point far enough away from the burrow so as not to attract attention, and raised her wand to hail the Knight Bus. "Hermione would not betray my confidence so easily." She muttered as Stan opened the door to welcome her aboard.
Ron looked over the bush he was hidden behind when he saw the unexpected flash of light. The light came from the Knight Bus arriving twenty meter's up the path from him. He almost went to investigate, but Lavender reached up with both her hands and pulled his mouth to hers. She rotated her naked hips and Ron lost all thought of investigating or of anything else for that matter.
Harry woke with a start but could not ascertain what had woken him. He looked toward the window, thinking that an owl may be there, but saw nothing. A light flashed in the street and Harry knew that there were now twelve witches and wizards out front of the Granger home. He bolted up out of bed and grabbed his wand. Hermione came to consciousness as another light flashed and Harry breathed a sigh as only one witch remained.
He looked out the window into the street and saw a short redhead trying to read a slip of paper she was holding. The redhead began looking for house numbers as she walked down the street away from the Granger residence.
"What is it Harry?" Hermione whispered in his ear as he kept scanning the street outside. "I think it was the Knight Bus, and if I'm not mistaken, that is Ginny walking down the street away from your house." He replied.
"Harry," Hermione began, "You know she loves you, she must be very upset about seeing us in Diagon Alley holding hands."
Hermione sank to the floor and buried her head in her hands; "She is going to hate me for loving you too, and acting on that love before she did." She cried. "Now, I'm going to loose one of my best friends, either Ginny, if you love me, or you, if you love her."
Harry knelt beside her and lifted her face from her hands. "Herm, you won't loose either of us, I love you very much and I love her too." He kissed her softly; she grabbed his shirt and began kissing him passionately. After a few moments, Harry disentangled himself from her, "I have to go find her before she gets really lost," Harry said. "Stay here, we have a lot to talk about." He told her, "You probably couldn't get out that door anyway." He grinned over his shoulder at her then stepped out the window and floated down to the ground.
Harry silently walked through the night. He could see Ginny stopped in the middle of the street thirty meters in front of him. She had, apparently, noticed that she was headed in the wrong direction. Harry stopped and stood still as Ginny began walking back toward him.
"Lovely night for a walk." He heard, as someone appeared right in front of Ginny. Three more people revealed themselves, surrounding Ginny, all with their wands out. Before she could scream, a hand covered her mouth from behind. Harry rushed toward Ginny and her assailants. He cast a radiate heat charm on Ginny. The assailant holding her screamed and released her as his hand began to blister.
Harry cast his modified disarming spell. He caught five wands as he finally reached Ginny. With a wave of his hand, Ginny was free to move and no longer produced heat.
"Harry!" she cried, and flung herself into his arms.
Harry shifted Ginny slightly to his side, but let her remain holding him as she started to sob on his shoulder. He turned his attention to Ginny assailants.
Marcus Flint had always been his momma's boy. She had been a Death Eater since she had attended Hogwarts, and, naturally, He had followed her lead. He bravely submitted to the Dark Lord and did not scream when he received the Dark Mark. He showed no fear as the Dark Lord cast Crucio on him.
He looked into the eyes of Harry Potter from behind his Death Eater mask and was afraid. Jumbled flashes of Harry, all the exploits Marcus had witnessed, all the accounts he had read, and all the stories he had heard from other Death Eaters, replaced the fantasies that had been running through his mind as he held Ginny. Marcus forgot the pain from the blisters that were on his hand. The piercing pain he felt radiated from the anger in Harry's eyes.
Harry turned to run back to the Grangers with Ginny. He knew the spell he had used to stun the Death Eaters would not last long and he feared that other Death Eaters would show up at any moment. To give him more time, Harry looked over his shoulder long enough to cast a banishing charm. Harry looked back toward the house and so did not see the four Death Eaters disappear.
In his haste, Harry had used the banishing charm from Household spells and the wizards that use them. This banishing charm was designed to send household waste, potato skins, leftovers, crumpled parchment, to a location where it would be destroyed. There are hundreds of variants of this spell used all over the Wizarding world, the one most often used in England, and the one Harry had, unwittingly, used, sent the trash to the crater of an active volcano in Iceland. Marcus Flint and his three accomplices, their bodies and their equipment, were never found.
Hermione watched out the window as Harry, half carrying Ginny, ran up the street to her house. Harry's legs never stopped pumping as if he were running up stairs but Hermione saw no stairs as Harry reached her second floor window and climbed in, still carrying Ginny.
"What happened?" She demanded.
"She was attacked by four Death Eaters." He replied. He held out his hand to Hermione and showed her the five wands he held there.
"Are we safe here?" Ginny asked in a trembling voice. Hermione looked at Harry for an answer. "We're safe here." He told them.
Harry handed Ginny her wand and went to look out the window into the street. "Why are you here?" He asked her. Ginny's face turned red, "I…I came to talk to Hermione." She said, "but it can wait."
"No it can't, we need to talk now before we plan tomorrow." Hermione said.
"Well, I guess that's my clue to release the locks on the doors and let you both out of my room." Harry chimed in. He waved his hand at the door. "I don't see a reason to change my plans for tomorrow, the only question seems to be: What will you two be doing?"
Harry peeked out the bedroom door then held it wide open so the girls could pass. "Goodnight ladies." He told them. "Pleasant dreams." Hermione whispered as she kissed his cheek then left the room. "Thank you for saving me again" Ginny told him then she too kissed his cheek as she walked out.
Harry closed the door and went back to bed. He lay there trying to understand his feelings for Ginny and Hermione. "If I choose one over the other…" He thought "But I love them both!" … "Oh well, it's their choice."
Harry awoke the next morning to bright sunshine coming in the window and movement in his room. He lay still listening as two bodies moved around industrially. "Occio book" he heard Ginny cast.
"How did they learn that the wards would allow them too cast spells?" he asked himself. "That must have been a heck of a talk last night." He mused, as he slowly rolled over away from the glare of the window.
"Harry, it's nine o'clock. When are we leaving?" Ginny asked.
"I'm leaving at ten for Diagon Alley," he began, "then I'm going back to Privett Drive." Harry said. "Where are you going?" he asked Ginny.
Ginny and Hermione looked at each other for a moment. Though Harry did not notice any signals pass between them, Hermione went back to packing Harry's trunk as Ginny walked over and sat on the edge of his bed.
"Harry," she began looking down at her hands in her lap, "for ten years you were treated like a slave by your family and for the last five, you have been treated like a weapon by the wizarding world." Ginny paused. She suddenly looked up into Harry's eyes and continued, "You have relied on yourself for so long, that you don't know how to let someone else in. So we are letting ourselves in whether you like it or not."
Ginny rose from the bed and moved back to help Hermione finish packing. Harry stared after her for a moment then got up and, taking the clothes that were set out for him, went to change in the bathroom.
Harry came down the stairs in the Grangers home and heard Ginny and Hermione talking to Molly Weasley. "Mom! I just want to get ahead on next year. Hermione is the smartest witch I know, she can help me prepare for my OWL's." Ginny whined.
"Mrs. Weasley," Hermione began, "she will be completely safe. We can really help each other."
"Ok, dear." Molly gave in with a sigh, "I want to hear from you everyday."
"Not a problem mom." Ginny squealed with delight.
Harry waited for the 'pop' that would denote Mrs. Weasley's head was no longer in the fireplace, then walked into the living room. "So, who's ready for an adventure?" He asked.
"What are you planning?" Hermione asked.
"A trip to Knockturn Alley, what have you planned?" Harry replied.
"We go where you go." Ginny answered.
Tom was just cleaning up after the last of his breakfast customers when a young wizard and two young witches walked into the Leaky Cauldron from muggle London. He noticed that the witches both surveyed the room quickly when they entered as if looking for an ambush. The trio walked purposely toward the entrance to Diagon Alley. As they passed him the wizard tossed him a galleon and said "Tom, we will be back at 1pm for lunch, please hold a private room for me." Tom watched the trio leave, muttering: "Where do I know him from, I can't put my finger on it, but I have seen him before."
Harry led Ginny and Hermione down toward the entrance of Knockturn Alley. Ginny was nervous but kept in mind their plan. "Keep your wand in your hand, don't panic but don't hesitate, and exude confidence." Harry had told them. "Easy for you to say" she thought.
Hermione fingered her wand as the trio entered Knockturn Alley. She shivered from the sudden cold and gloom that seemed to come from every direction. The denizens of the alley watched as they walked confidently toward a shabby bookshop.
The trio entered the dilapidated looking shop and was immediately greeted by a greasy hunched back man. "How may I help you." He hissed in a whisper.
"I'm looking for reference materials." Harry answered. Hermione and Ginny wandered off looking carefully at every title they came to. "And what are you researching?" he asked Harry. "I am writing a paper for my defense class and need to find some of the more common dark spells." Harry told him.
The greasy man thought for a moment, then went to the back of the store and retrieved an old book that did not have a title on it. "This textbook is used in some of the foreign schools." He said, and then handed the book to Harry. After quickly flipping through the book, Harry asked. "Any more of these foreign texts?"
A gleam came to the store clerk's eye as he answered. "Yes, there are four in the set as well as some optional text for the same class. Would you like to see the others?" he asked. "No," began Harry, "I'll take all four and the optional texts as well. Now, do you have anything on becoming a animagus?" The clerk looked slyly at Harry. "Animagus manuals are restricted by the ministry. I am not licensed to sell them." Harry nodded as Hermione walked up with a stack of books in her hands. "Perhaps," Hermione began as Harry took the books from her and set them on the sales counter, "one of these foreign texts has animagus transformation in it unbeknownst to you." She smiled sweetly at the man.
The sales clerk turned and went back to the section in the back of the store were he had retrieved the dark arts text from. He returned with seven books, which he placed on the counter, then took the top book and handed it to Harry. "This may contain some of the information you seek." He told Harry. Harry could not hide his broad grin as he quickly perused the text before placing it on the counter.
Ginny walked up and placed another 5 books on the counter, then turned to Hermione and whispered, "We are going to need some jewelry." Hermione quickly glanced at Harry then told Ginny, "We can have it delivered, we've been here too long."
Harry glanced at Ginny then Hermione then asked the clerk, "How much do I owe you?"
Hermione and Ginny walked out of the bookstore in front of Harry, whispering to each other. "So, you choose the stone based on which spell you want to imbed in it." Ginny told her. "Are there any restrictions on how many stones…" Hermione began. "Wands" Harry hissed from behind them.
Harry noticed several cloaked figures hiding in the shadows outside the bookshop as they stepped out. As he hissed his warning, a man came rushing at Harry from behind. He made it to within five feet before he was thrown back with a wave of Harry's hand. One of their assailants cast stupefy at the same time Hermione was casting a shield and Ginny was casting the banishing spell Harry had used the night before on a third attacker. Harry heard both girls' spells as he turned toward them. He meant to physically push Ginny and Hermione toward the exit into Diagon Alley so had a hand in the small of each of their backs as they finished their spells. Ginny nearly dropped her wand when so much raw power shot out of it and her assailant disappeared. Hermione knew that her shield would block stupefy from all but the most powerful wizards, but was shocked as she watched it bounce the spell back toward the caster and also knock out two others that where coming out of the shadows behind him.
The trio ran toward Diagon Alley, not looking back until they rounded the corner. They slowed to a normal walk so as not to draw attention to themselves and quickly ducked into the closest shop. Looking around as they moved deeper into the shop, they found themselves looking through an eclectic collection of everyday looking items. Hermione bumped into Harry when he suddenly stopped. He was staring in a glass case that held several mirrors. The girls hesitated, momentarily afraid of disturbing him from his thoughts. These had always been the times that Harry had wanted to be alone, and outburst where not uncommon if he where disturbed. Torn between wanting to avoid a scene and their need to comfort Harry, finally Ginny took his hand and Hermione hugged him from behind as he stood staring. After a minute, Ginny pulled him away and they headed towards the door.
Ginny still held Harry's hand as they returned to the throng of Diagon Alley. Hermione was half a step ahead of the pair, as she led them toward the Leaky Cauldron. Harry seemed in a daze and willing to be led until they reached the Owl Emporium. "In here" Harry said. The girls exchanged glances as Harry suddenly took the lead into the shop.
Standing near the door, Harry surveyed the shop then told Ginny, "You need to pick a fast, non-descript owl." Ginny moved into the shop, looking through the cages. Hermione leaned into Harry and whispered "We need to get back to the Cauldron soon." "I know," he told her "this is our last stop.
"Where to after this?" She asked.
"Privett Drive, to pick up my truck." Harry told her, "but first we need to talk to Griphook."
Harry watched as Ginny handled a medium sized barn owl, then nodded to the sales clerk. He moved to the counter and paid for the owl while Hermione moved to the front of the store and checked the alley for anything suspicious. The trio left the store and headed for the Leaky Cauldron again.
After entering the Leaky Cauldron, Tom, the barkeeper, led them to a private dinning room, took their orders and delivered their lunches. Tom left and Harry sealed the door and put up some wards and a silencing charm.
Sitting back down, Harry began; "Ok, I've decided not to stay at Privett Drive, we need to get my trunk and find somewhere else to live."
"Is that why we need Griphook?" Hermione asked.
"Yes," Harry confirmed. He turned to Ginny, "Send a note to Griphook at Gringotts. Ask him to come see me here." Ginny pulled some parchment from her bag as Harry turned to Hermione.
"Go down and use the fireplace to ask Dobby to come here." He told Hermione. Harry walked Hermione to the door and removed the lock charm, as she walked past him, she kissed him on the cheek. Ginny finished her note and walked out right behind Hermione, kissing Harry as she left, as well.
Ginny hurried into the courtyard at the back of the Leaky Cauldron and attached the note to Tawny, her owl. "Take this to Gringotts and wait for a reply." She said to him. As she waited, her thoughts wondered to her favorite subject. "So he kissed me on the cheek," she thought. "I am going to have to make it plain that I want more. Herm said that they were sleeping in the same bed, but nothing happened. She was afraid it would scare him if she started something. He is destined to kill the most powerful dark wizard of our time, but we are afraid he would be frightened by intimacy. Well, if I'm ever … WHEN I am in his bed, he will experience intimacy. Harry James Potter is going to know what the love of a fiery redhead is …"
Tawny landed on her shoulder with a short message attached to his leg. Taking the note and opening it, Ginny read:
Several properties that HE already owns may suit your needs. I am, however, compiling a list of other properties that are available per your request. I will attend you in your present location in an hour with both lists.
"An hour" Ginny mumbled then smiled. She reentered the Leaky Cauldron and saw Hermione at a small fireplace. She walked up to Tom and told him, "We are expecting a Goblin in an hour, and will you please watch for him?" Tom smiled at her and nodded his head. "Yes, ma'am." She nearly skipped up the stairs to the private room.
Upon entering, Ginny noticed a few changes Harry had made to the room. The table and chairs that had dominated the room were no longer evident. In their place was a smaller table with more comfortable chairs. There was also a sitting area set up with a lamp and three chairs. Harry was leaned back in a lounger, reading.
"Griphook will be here in an hour." Ginny told him as she walked over and sat down in the chair next to him.
"Good, I appreciate you and Herm running errands like that." Harry said.
After a moment, Ginny picked up a book and started looking through it. "Can I tell you something?" She asked.
Harry looked up, "Sure."
"Well" Ginny began. She stood up to pace. "You know how I used to act all gushy and embarrassed around you."
"Yes." He said, watching her intently.
"I really liked you and did not know how to show it. I was a little girl with a crush." Ginny admitted.
Ginny registered the look of disappointment on his face before he quickly turned back to his book. This was the sign she had hoped for. She turned back to pace toward him again. "Now's my chance." She whispered to herself as she came closer to him in her pacing. "I'm not a little girl anymore." She said climbing on top of him on his lounger. "And now I know how to show it." He looked up with shock on his face, as she stretched her body on top of his and kissed him. The shock faded and the kiss deepened quickly. Harry moved his hands to Ginny's back and caressed her softly. Ginny worked a hand between them, took the book Harry had been reading, and dropped it on the floor next to the chair. She shifted slightly to the side to straddle a leg and pressed herself down. Harry gripped her waist and pulled her down tighter then let them wander lower on her body.
After about five minutes of frenzied kissing, Ginny pushed herself up and looked deeply into Harry's green eyes. They stared at each other for a moment, and then Ginny started unbuttoning his robe. "Um, … Ginny?" Harry said softly. "Should we be doing this?" Ginny's face fell. Harry quickly added, "We should probably wait until later." Ginny looked down at Harry and asked, "How much later?" Harry smiled, "This evening."
Hermione was not able to reach Dobby. According to the elves in the kitchen at Hogwarts, Dobby and Winky had resigned. She stood up and was walking toward the stairs when Griphook walked in. They made their way into the private room, to find Ginny and Harry lying in the same lounger reading one of the books Ginny had picked out. Ginny got up, moved to the table, and sat down. She pulled out some parchment and started writing a list, referring back to the text she and Harry had been reading earlier.
Harry stood up and waved Griphook and Hermione over to the sitting area. "Griphook, thank you for coming so quickly." Harry told the goblin. "So, what kinds of properties are there available?" He asked.
Griphook opened a small case, and took out a folder. "You own several properties in and about Diagon Alley. Of these, there are two residences, a flat in Diagon Alley and a house in muggle London that is four blocks from the Leaky Cauldron. The flat is a known Potter property and the house was a known Black property. Would you like to see one of those or do you want to go over the properties available on the market?" He asked.
Hermione put her hand out, and after a moments hesitation and a quick look toward Harry, he handed Hermione the list of properties Harry owned. Harry answered, "We need an anonymously owned place." Ginny walked over and looked over Hermione's shoulder at the list. "Can I purchase a place anonymously?" He asked. Ginny noticed that the commercial properties showed who is leasing them and how much they pay.
"Yes, sir. We will purchase it and just fail to file the paperwork with the ministry." Griphook answered. Ginny pointed out a property on the list to Hermione. Hermione nodded and leaned forward to Griphook, pointing out an empty shop in Diagon Alley. "How big is this?" She asked. Griphook looked at the property she indicated, then consulted some documentation. "That property is right next to The Apothecary." He tells her, and then turns back to Harry. "This brings me to a list of properties that I would recommend you sell." Harry looked at the list Griphook handed to him and shook his head. "Griphook, I'll have to rely on your judgement on this. Do you have some properties you suggest I buy?" Griphook produced another list. "I suggest you bid on these properties. However, first I need to know how you want your assets allocated."
Harry sat back in his chair and thought for a moment before answering, "How much do I have in property now?" Griphook answered quickly, "15 in investment property and 10 in personal properties." Harry paused again, "Keep it at 15." Ginny interrupted at that point, "If you buy a shop in Diagon Alley with several floors, then you could lease the bottom floors and live in the top. It would be the perfect hiding spot, in the open." Hermione was nodding when Harry looked at her.
"I like that idea." Began Harry "Griphook, is there a place for sale that fits that description?"
"Yes sir," Griphook answered. "But we would need a tenant to make it work."
Ginny smiled real big then said, "I think that won't be a problem."
Griphook left the private room at The Leaky Cauldron three hours later. He smiled as much as goblins can as he surveyed the patrons of Diagon Alley scurrying in and out of shops. "The dice have rolled my way." He muttered to himself as he walked into Gringotts.
He walked toward his office purposely, acknowledging only senior account managers as he passed. His assistant opened his door for him, and then followed him in.
"All went well sir?" He was asked.
"Yes." He answered then started giving orders. "Bring me Hamfast and the ledger immediately. Then make three appointments with the real estate listing desk, three separate clerks, one this afternoon, one tomorrow morning, and one tomorrow afternoon." His assistant left quickly.
Five minutes later, a goblin at least twice Griphook's age stood before his desk. "Yes, sir. How may I serve you?" Hamfast asked.
"I have a buyer for the shop next to Flourish & Blotts." Griphook told him.
Hamfast nodded, "There are several bidding on it at the moment, would you like to place a bid?" He asked.
"No, I want the deed in the next thirty minutes. What will that take?" Griphook asked.
"Asking price plus 20." He was told.
Griphook looked slyly at Hamfast before asking his next question. "Do you wish this to be our last transaction? Your client is looking to liquidate several more properties."
Hamfast considered his opponent for a full minute before stating, "Financing will take longer than 30 minutes."
Griphook wrote a number on a piece of paper that was 10 above asking price and slid it across the desk. "This will be a gold transaction, no paperwork other than a bearer deed will be required." Both goblins smiled after a moment as Hamfast got up to leave. "I will bring the deed in ten minutes." He said as he left the room.
Dobby sat on Harry's trunk, in Harry's room, at Harry's aunt house. He and Winky had been waiting there for Harry since leaving Hogwarts that morning. They both shivered as they felt another ward that surrounded the house fail. "Winky is worried Dobby, perhaps he has been captured." She whimpered.
"Mr. Harry Potter is the greatest wizard alive, he was not captured." Dobby reassured her.
A few minutes later, the last ward fell on Privett drive. Dobby felt the approach of a great evil and so took Harry's trunk (which he had packed) and Winky's hand and left with a pop. Winky was surprised to find herself outside of Gringotts bank. Dobby led her inside and walked her directly to the floor managers office. "Sir," Dobby began. "These items belong to Mr. Harry Potter. I cannot find him and would request you take the items and place them in his vault."
At 6:30pm, Tom made his way up to check on his mysterious customers. He knocked on the door of the private dining room and waited. There were three wands pointing at his chest, as the door pulled open.
"A message came for you." Tom told them as he held the message out without knowing whom to hand it too. Harry took it and opened it as Hermione ushered Tom in and Ginny closed the door behind him.
"Would you like to place a dinner order?" Tom asked after a few moments of silence. Harry glanced at Ginny then headed toward the table with the note. Hermione followed Harry and Ginny moved with Tom toward the door.
"Bring us whatever your special is tonight." Ginny told him. She glanced toward Harry and asked Tom, "Are there any rooms available for the night?" Tom paused as if to think, then answered. "The only room I have is the Honeymoon Suite but it onl…" Ginny cut him off. "We'll take it. Let me know when it is ready."
When she turned from the door, Harry was writing a response to the message that Tom had delivered. Hermione walked over and told her. "Dobby rescued Harry's things just as Privett drive was attacked. He took them to Gringott's since he couldn't find us." Ginny glanced at Harry quickly before leaning in to whisper to Hermione. "We have the Honeymoon suite tonight." They looked at each other and both blushed.
Hermione made sure Harry was not listening and then whispered back. "As we agreed then? You'll be able to do this?" She asked.
"Just watch." Ginny whispered back. They locked eyes again. "I will." Whispered Hermione. They both blushed again.
Albus Dumbledore was not having a good day. After breakfast, he went back to his office to contact Mrs. Figg to ask her to check on Harry. She floo'ed him ten minutes later, to inform him that no one answered the door at the Dursley residence. He owled Gringotts, asking if there had been any activity in Harry's account. He was awaiting a return owl when a visitor arrived.
Remus Lupin burst into his office.
"Where's Harry?" he gasped out, obviously out of breathe from running from the edge of the Hogwart grounds.
"I do not know at this moment but I'm sure he's fine." Albus answered. "I was just about to floo Mrs. Figg for an update." He motioned Remus to sit down as he reached for the floo powder.
When Mrs. Figg appeared she seemed highly upset. "I just spoke with the morning watch," she informed him, "At 4 am, when he came on, Mr. Dursley's car was not at the residence."
Albus looked surprised at this, but quickly controlled himself. "Please contact Mr. Dursley at his place of business and inquire about Harry's whereabouts." He instructed her.
Five tense minutes passed before Mrs. Figg appeared in the fireplace again. "That Dursley," she began venom dripping from her voice, "took an extended leave from work suddenly. The only thing I found out from his assistant was that he brought a young man that fit Harry's description to work with him yesterday. The young man had left to go shopping but did not return that afternoon to leave with Dursley."
Schooling the worry from his face was harder this time as Albus stared into the fire that held Mrs. Figg's head. He decided to have Harry's guard force entry into the Dursley home but never had the chance to say so because Mrs. Figg suddenly looked behind her then her head left the fire. A minute later, Arthur Weasley appeared in her place. "The wards on Privett drive have failed." was all he said before pulling his head back out of the fire.
Albus Dumbledore sat speechless for a half a second before his wand appeared in his hand and he muttered a quick spell that Remus had never heard before. Klaxon sirens went off in Remus' head, as well as every other order members, then Albus' voice was heard by all of them. "Proceed to Privett drive prepared for battle." When Remus looked back at the Headmasters desk, no one sat there. In an open cabinet behind the desk, he saw various brooms and a magic carpet. The next thing he noticed was the hole in the exterior wall. He grabbed a broom and followed.
Molly Weasley had just sat down for her afternoon tea when Albus' summons came. She jumped up, startling Ron and Charlie, and quickly instructed them. "Check on Ginny at the Grangers house, Harry's under attack." Then she was gone with a 'pop'.
Ron told his brother, "I'll get my notes and be right back" and ran up the stairs to get Hermione's phone number. In the 45 seconds he was gone, Fred and George had appeared. Apparently, answering Charlie's call. They hurried to the Village to use a pay phone.
Ron called the Granger residence twice and received no answer so he called their office.
"Hermione Granger please." He told the receptionist who answered.
"Miss Granger is not here today." She told him
"Can I speak to Mr. or Mrs. Granger then?" he asked.
"On moment please." He heard and then was placed on hold. After another five minutes, Mrs. Granger came on the line.
"Emili Granger." She answered.
"Mrs. Granger, this is Ron Weasley. I wanted to check on Ginny and Hermione." There was silence on the line.
"All three of them left for your house this morning." She sounded puzzled. "You mean they are not there?" she asked.
"Ginny said she was staying at your home." Ron's voice began to get a little high. "Wait, what do you mean all THREE of them?" he yelled.
Charlie grabbed the phone from him and heard Emili Granger say. "Hermione, Ginny, and Harry were going to get Harry's truck and then go to your house. You mean they are not there yet."
"Mrs. Granger, this is Charlie Weasley, Ron's older brother. We just received word that Harry's house is under attack. We will call you when we have more details." Charlie told her then hung up the phone.
Charlie turned to his brothers. "Wands!" he said. All three of them showed their wands. "Privett drive then." He said as he grabbed Ron's hand and disappeared with a 'pop'.
By the time, Albus showed up in front of Harry's uncles house, there were seventy-five wizards from both the order and the ministry there. Arthur Weasley was just coming out of the house with his son Bill and Tonks trailing him. He ran toward where Albus had appeared and yelled, "Nothing of his left in the house."
Snape appeared just as Arthur reached Albus, "He knows the wards are down, we can expect 30 deatheaters any moment now." He told Albus.
"You better leave." Albus told Snape, and then he began giving orders for the ambush.
When they appeared three minutes later, there were, in fact, 37 deatheaters come to attack a soon to be 16 year old boy. They marched up to the house and blew the door in. This signal sprang the trap. Hexes flew from four directions. Most of the deatheaters never got off a shot. Those that did fire back seemed to be confused as to were they were being attacked from.
Mad-eye Moody laughed as he watched his prisoners being bound and gagged. "Like shooting fish in a barrel" He mussed. He walked over to Albus and Arthur just as Ron and crew appeared.
"Dad!" Ron ran up followed by his brothers. "Mrs. Granger said that Ginny, Hermione, and Harry were on their way to pick-up Harry's things here before coming to our house."
Molly supplied "Ginny ran off to Hermione's last night and floo'ed this morning to ask if she could stay there a while."
Albus sighed then confided, "Dobby and Winky quit this morning to work for Harry, and perhaps they got them out."
Mad-eye turned to the nearest auror and yelled, "Check the house for residual magic signatures, wandless, elf, every kind." He turned back, "So, we have three missing teenagers." He said, and then watched as an owl descended to Albus.
Albus read the note then sighed. "And they have control over the largest fortune in the wizarding world." He said then passed the note to Arthur.
To Headmaster Albus Dumbledore,
Per the request of the owner, your rights concerning the Potter and Black estates have been suspended.
Sincerely,Senior Account Manager Griphook
Arthur turned to his wife, "Call the Grangers, and let them know what is going on." Then he turned to Albus. "We are going home to wait for them.
The Burrow has always welcomed visitors. Molly Weasley has always set a scrumptious table, Arthur Weasley has always welcomed any and all into his home. But, even the Burrow was at its limit that evening. After the battle, the Weasleys went home to wait for their youngest daughter. The Grangers arrived thirty minutes later, courtesy of Bill and Charlie. Remus and Tonks arrived moments after the Grangers, with Minerva and Hagrid appearing not a split second later.
Charlie gave a near inconsolable Hagrid a shot of Firewhiskey and assured him that the trio would be fine and they would begin searching for them once Arthur, who had been called back to the ministry after being home for less than five minutes, got back.
Albus Dumbledore could be a very imposing figure when he wished to be, and the Albus Dumbledore who walked into Gringott's Bank that night very much wished to be. The only person, who did not act impressed or frightened as he made his way to the High desk at the end of the lobby, was the Head Goblin who sat at that desk.
"I will speak to the account manager for the Potter/Black estate." Albus enunciated in his most intimidating voice.
After a moment, the Head Goblin looked up from his desk and said. "Ah, Professor Dumbledore, I believe I have some paperwork for you." An assistant walked up to the Head Goblin and handed him a folder. "Yes, here we go." He said as he opened the folder and read the top page. He handed the folder back to the assistant and turned to speak to Albus once more. "If you will follow Bardiche, he will take you to his office and we can get this taken care of."
Bardiche was not an accountant for Gringott's, he was the head of security. He led Albus Dumbledore through a heavy black door into his personal office. Sitting down behind his desk, he opened the folder and placed the top page in front of the professor. "This is an order to vacate Mr. Potters property at 12 Grimmauld Place." He put the second document down next to the first, "This is a list of property that you have in your possession that belongs to Mr. Potter, and these items must be surrendered to this office." Then he placed the last two documents down. "These are resignation requests for the Potter and Black family seats on the Hogwarts board of Governors. Please see that they are signed and returned to me here."
Albus Dumbledore stared at the pages sitting in front of him but could not bring himself to move. His mind was racing. He just stared.
"Professor Dumbledore," Bardiche said after a few moments. "I would like the possessions and the requested resignations returned no later than 5 days from now. You may leave." This brought Albus out of his stupor.
Pulling himself together, Dumbledore said, "You are not the account manager I wish to speak with."
Bardiche quickly answered, "No, I am the head of security, you have all the information you will be getting concerning our client. You may leave now! I will expect a delivery from you with-in five days."
Arthur Weasley arrived home, to find Charlie, Remus, Tonks, and Hagrid sitting on the front porch drinking firewhiskey. Bill, Ron, and the twins were in the living room looking at a map of Diagon Alley. Molly, Minerva, and the Grangers were all drinking tea in the kitchen. Molly ran over and asked, "What happened?"
The house went very quiet. Arthur looked around, and then explained. "There was some magical residue in Harry's bedroom. The most recent was elven magic but the highest concentration was Harry's."
"But how?" Minerva asked. "He would have been noticed."
"His underage restriction was lifted yesterday evening, but the residue is from before that. The residue is Harry's, not Harry's wands. It wasn't uncontrolled, he was casting known spells."
Small gasps came from several people.
"That's not all. Early this afternoon," Arthur continued, "Three people were attacked leaving a book shop in Knockturn Alley. One assailant disappeared after being hit by a spell that matches Ginny's wand signature. The other three assailants where stupefied by a spell that rebounded from a shield that matches Hermione's wand signature."
"Harry didn't cast?" Ron asked quickly.
"We don't know what Harry did, but his magical signature is on everything within 100 feet."
"So they are alive!" Molly said with a sigh. "But how do we find them?"
"I don't know." Whispered Arthur.
Tom opened the door and ushered Harry, Hermione, and Ginny into the "Honeymoon" Suite above the Leaky Cauldron. "If you need anything, just let me know." He told them.
Hermione smiled at him, walked him back out of the room, and closed the door behind them. After checking down the hall, she leaned close, "Tom, when they come looking for us, tell them we went into muggle London."
"Yes ma'am." He said with a confused look. "But who will be looking for you?"
"Both sides." She answered. "I don't know where you stand in this fight, but I will caution you, your lease is up in two months, remember that and keep us secret."
Realization dawned on Tom's face, and he began "What about Du…" but was cut off.
"Including him." She said, and then slipped back into the room.
Harry had the distinct feeling that Ginny and Hermione were manipulating him. As Hermione slipped out the door with Tom, he turned to Ginny to ask, "Where is she going?"
"Oh, she'll be back" Ginny said as she walked through the sitting room into the bedroom.
Harry followed her and went to look out the balcony door onto Diagon Alley. Ginny unshrunk the trunks that had all of their cloths and pulled out some PJ's for Harry.
"You know, you don't have to do that." Harry remarked, just as Hermione walked into the bedroom.
"I don't." Ginny agreed, "but I want to."
"Harry," Hermione started, "You have been on your own for your entire life." Harry turned to face her. "You feel you have been betrayed by everyone you have ever trusted" Harry began to interrupt but Hermione held up her hand to silence him "and maybe you have."
She walked towards him. "There is no one in this room who will betray you. There is no one in this room who does not love you. And though you do not know how to be loved," Hermione stood right in front of Harry "We are willing to teach you." She near whispered before leaning forward and kissing Harry on the lips quickly. "Now go lock the door, while we finish unpacking."
Harry's mind registered a strange look pass between the girls before he went back into the sitting room to lock the door and put up some wards. "What am I doing?" he asked himself as he worked. "I feel so alive with Ginny on my lap making out, but the electricity from Hermione's peck sends a fire through me." Harry shook his head as he felt his body react to both memories.
When Harry walked back into the bedroom, Ginny and Hermione were watching something in the Alley. "What's up?" he asked.
"Hagrid and Charlie just left the Cauldron." Ginny answered.
"Are you wishing you hadn't came with us?" he asked.
"No, I just wish they would give up, it's dangerous down there at night." She answered.
"Lets send them a note." Harry said with a mischievous grin. They all moved away from the window and Harry grabbed some paper and wrote two short notes. "Take this to Dobby." He told Ginny's owl before opening the window to let her out. He turned back from the window to find Ginny standing very close to him. "My turn." She said before wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him into a deep kiss.
Harry sat down in the love seat next to the window as soon as Ginny had released him. Ginny turned to Hermione and asked, "Are you wearing cherry lip balm?" Both girls giggled then Ginny went into the bathroom. "I'm going to start a bath". She said.
Hermione came over, sat in Harry's lap, and asked him, "Do you like cherry?" He leaned down and kissed her trying to show her how much he likes everything about her. Dobby arrived three minutes later.
"Dobby came right away sir, miss." He said. Hermione handed the second note to Dobby and asked, "I know you're off until morning but could you please take this to Hagrid? He is looking for us in the Alley. Don't say where we are staying and don't say where you are staying."
"Yes miss, should I wait for a reply." He asked.
"No, after that go back home to Winky. Come wake us at 10 tomorrow. Just be sure to knock." Hermione giggled.
Dobby disappeared and Hermione pulled herself off of Harry's lap. "Lets go take a bath." She told him with a wink. Harry got up to follow her into the bathroom then asked her, "Did you notice Dobby was wearing Winky's shirt?"
Hagrid and Charlie met Bill and Ron leaving the book store.
"Any luck?" Charlie asked.
"I think they were here yesterday, at least Harry and Hermione were." Bill answered.
"It was the same description as the one the other bookshop owner gave." Ron added.
"Tom sa'd 'e saw…" Hagrid began but stopped when an elf appeared in front of him, handed him a note, then bowed and disappeared. Hagrid read the note and laughed then handed it to Bill.
It was nice to see you today. Unless you are going to search houses in muggle London, we suggest you call off your search for the night. Of course, we suggest you call off your search entirely but know you won't.
We are safe.
Harry, Hermione, and Ginny
P.S. Renaming the DA to the HA is a good idea.
HARRY POTTER IN HIDING!
Story by Alyssa Trendy
Harry Potter and two schoolmates are missing according to sources inside the Ministry of Magic. Many feared the worse when the muggle home Mr. Potter had been living in for the past 15 years was attacked yesterday, but a source close to the investigation now confirms that Mr. Potter was missing before the attack. Friends and family of the three missing students were seen searching for them yesterday evening. A friend of Mr. Potter reveals that a letter was delivered to one of the searchers last night. In it, Mr. Potter confirmed that he and his classmates are in hiding.
In a possibly related item, three mysterious teens were seen in several locations in and about Diagon Alley yesterday, and though the Ministry cannot confirm their identities, several witnesses believe that they were the missing students in disguise. The teens were seen leaving the Leaky Cauldron yesterday evening headed into muggle London.
Dobby arrived promptly at 10 am in the sitting room of the Honeymoon suite on the top floor of the Leaky Cauldron. He gently knocked on the door of the bedroom and waited for a response.
"Good morning Dobby." Ginny sang as she opened the door. Dobby looked down in embarrassment when he noticed she was wearing one of Harry's shirts and nothing else.
"Good morning miss, I is here to wake you." He stuttered. "Would you like me to bring breakfast?" he asked.
Ginny glanced back into the room and saw Hermione and Harry walk into the bathroom. "Dobby, could you and Winky bring us all lunch at 11:30."
"But Dobby could not…" Dobby began but was interrupted by Ginny.
"Dobby, you are Harry's employee and this is called a business lunch. We will all sit together and eat our lunch while discussing business." She told him.
"Yes miss." He mumbled then disappeared with a pop.
Ginny turned to follow Harry and Hermione into the bathroom, she muttered; "Its my turn."
At precisely 11:30, Dobby and Winky arrived for their "Business Lunch". Dobby quickly changed the small table and chairs in the sitting room into a proper dinner table and chairs. Winky popped in and out several times with dish after dish of delicious smelling food while Dobby set the table for five.
"Oh, I thought I heard you out here." Harry said when he walked out of the bedroom to investigate the noises coming from the sitting room.
"Good morning Mr. Potter, sir." Dobby and Winky said in unison.
Harry chuckled then asked them, "Do you practice that?" Dobby looked at Harry for a minute before answering, "We practice many thing Mr. Potter, sir."
Ginny and Hermione walked in and praised how good it smelled as they sat down. Harry took a place between the girls and waited for Dobby and Winky to sit. Dobby hesitated then sat down, Winky blushed deep red, then sat down as well. After serving themselves, Harry started the conversation. "So you stayed in the new building last night." He stated, "Do you think the top floor will work as our living quarters?" He asked Dobby.
"Yes, sir. Griphook said that you want to live on top floor and gave Dobby the drawing you made. We have finished all three bedrooms, the bathroom, and the kitchen this morning." Dobby ducked his head as if expecting to be punished for not finishing.
Hermione quickly praised; "That's great Dobby, you have done a lot this morning."
"Dobby had help miss." He began, and then hesitated as if he was not sure he should have said that.
"Really, who did you get to help?" Ginny asked.
"Dobby asked Griphook last night if we should clean Mr. Potters other houses. Griphook said that there are many house-elves working for Mr. Potter." Dobby looked around to gauge reactions before continuing. "Dobby asked the house-elves at Mr. Potters flat to come and help this morning." He stopped there because all three humans looked surprised. "Did Dobby do right, Mr. Potter?" he asked.
"Well, yes? Yes Dobby, that is fine." Harry told him. "I'll have some instructions on that after we finish the renovations." Harry and Hermione shared a look before Harry continued. "I would like to move in as soon as possible, when do you estimate we could do that."
"Mr. Potter sir can move in anytime, we finish today." Dobby answered.
"We would probably need to move at night." Ginny stated then turned to Harry.
Hermione nodded then turned to Winky, "If you can help us pack, you can take everything this afternoon."
"Yes, miss. Winky will pack and take your bags." Winky confirmed.
Harry stood up and stretched then addressed everyone at the table. "Well, let us allow Dobby and Winky to get back to work. Me, I'm going to go read." He said, and then walked back into the bedroom.
The bar at the Leaky Cauldron was empty when Harry, Hermione, and Ginny, made their way downstairs. Harry walked to the bar just as an, obviously, newly awakened Tom, came out of the kitchen.
"Leaving us sir?" Tom asked.
"Yes," Harry confirmed, "I appreciate your covering for us."
"Just part of the service." Tom smiled. "But I would be careful, if I were you. Everyone is on the lookout for you, and they have a good description of your disguises."
Dobby popped in and turned to Harry, "There is no one in the alley, sir. Wez must go quickly."
Hermione pulled out some money and handed it to Tom. "This is to much." Tom protested. "Nonsense!" Hermione said, "Your silence is worth a lot."
Harry stopped at the door to Diagon Alley and turned back toward Tom. "Make sure you tell everyone we stopped by for Butterbeers this evening. We entered from muggle London, and left going back to muggle London." Harry and Tom grinned at each other. "That should increase your late night business." Harry said then the trio left, following Dobby into the alley.
MYSTERIOUS TEENS SEEN AT LEAKY CAULDRON
Story by Alyssa Trendy
At 4 am this morning, the owner of The Leaky Cauldron reported to the ministry that the 3 teens that have been the subject of an extensive manhunt, entered his establishment from muggle London. They ordered butterbeer, sat and drank it, then left the establishment the same way they had came. When questioned about his delay in reporting their presence, he had this to say: "By all accounts, these three kids took out five death eaters, I'm not going to pull my wand on them."
The rumor that these teens are in fact Harry Potter and his two classmates was all but confirmed today by a source in the ministry that wishes to remain anonymous. "The magical signatures found at the incident in Knockturn Alley yesterday, match those of the students that are missing." He confirmed.
In a possibly related story, Albus Dumbledore, who is the executor of both the Potter and Black estates, was seen being escorted from Gringotts by security yesterday. A source inside Gringotts confirms that both wills were executed and the beneficiaries have taken control of the estates. We can only surmise that the Potter estate has been taken over by soon to be sixteen-year-old Harry Potter. The heir of the Black estate was convicted murderer Sirus Black who escaped from prison two years ago. Rumors have been circulating that he was innocent of the charges, has been in contact with Mr. Potter, and named him his heir.