Harry Potter and associated milieu, characters, and situations are owned by J.K. Rowling and her licensees. This is a work of fan fiction, produced solely for enjoyment. No infringement of rights is intended.
This is something of an independent Harry story that takes place after the end of Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. It has a bit of Dumbledore bashing but is really a matter of showing most of the story from Harry's 15-16 year old perspective rather than Dumbledore's 150 year old perspective. I hope you enjoy reading it. I had a lot of fun writing it.
June 2006 – I have reposted all of the chapters and appreciate the feedback that I have received with this story so far.
3 July 1996
Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry had ended very badly. A week before his friends had been injured or worse in the Department of Mysteries.
With the intentionally intimidating words spoken to his legal guardians, the members of the Order of the Phoenix were pleased with themselves and went their separate ways, leaving Harry, the Dursleys and a few others standing outside the brick wall entrance to platform 9 ¾.
"We'll see you soon, Harry," said his friend Ron, as he and the Weasleys walked to the car that they were using.
Hermione was standing nearby with her parents slightly back, having witnessed the highly unpleasant scene.
"Wake up! Get a move on boy, before those freaks come back," growled Uncle Vernon giving him a shove. "Looks like we're stuck with you for another summer. Effing freaks, the whole lot of you. Why don't you go somewhere else?" Realizing that it was mostly a rhetorical question, he said, "Grab your stuff. Let's go now."
"No thanks," said Harry.
"What?" sputtered Vernon. He looked at the raven-haired teen like he'd never seen him before.
Harry replied, "No thanks. You can leave now. I won't be going back with you."
"But you have to," said Petunia.
Harry said to her, "No. I don't have to. Thanks. I'll find someplace else to stay for the summer. Goodbye. I'll call you if I need something."
"That suits us fine," said Petunia turning around. "We don't need you, you ungrateful freak." The Dursleys walked off without even saying goodbye.
Harry gave a small wave, "Bye."
More or less out of earshot, Hermione and her parents looked on with some concern as they were packing her trunk in the boot of their gray BMW. A moment later, she saw the three Dursleys drive away in the car that had been parked two spots over from their own.
"Hold up a minute, Dad. I'll be right back." She opened the back door and walked back to her friend. "Harry," she asked with genuine concern for her friend. "What's going on?"
Harry replied, "I'm not going back to the Dursleys. They don't want me there and I don't want to be there. I'll rent a room for the summer."
Emma Granger, DDS looked out the window and saw her daughter talking with a poorly dressed teen. They appeared to know each other. She thought that he must be one of the boys from her school. By now the other witches and wizards and their parents had dispersed. She got out of their car and walked over. Smiling at the slightly built teen, she said, "Hi. I'm Emma Granger."
Hermione said, "I'm sorry mum, this is my good friend Harry Potter."
She smiled warmly and said, "Hello. We may have met several years ago. I'm happy to see you again. Are you waiting for someone?"
Harry replied, "No Ma'am. My Aunt and Uncle agreed that we'd all be happier if I didn't stay with them this summer."
Emma looked at him carefully and asked, "What are your plans?"
"I thought that I'd rent a room someplace and stay there." In truth, Harry didn't have any plans.
By now Hermione's father had walked over. Emma pulled him aside for a moment and had a few quick words with him. The bushy haired man smiled and said, "Why not?"
Emma walked back and said, "Harry, if you don't have any other plans, you could rent a room from us. We have an extra room to let out. We would charge you one pound."
"Per night?" asked Harry. He thought that seemed a rather low amount. Tom at the Leakey Cauldron had charged two Galleons a night for a small room when he stayed there for a week before his third year.
"One pound for the summer," she said smiling, thinking with clothing like that, the young man obviously didn't have much money.
Hermione looked at him encouragingly.
"OK," he said, "If you're sure I wouldn't be a bother. I'll gladly help around the house. I'm quite handy. I can cook and clean, do laundry and take care of the garden."
It saddened her to think how he became so adept at housework at such a young age. She replied warmly, "We'll all share the chores. Shall we get going?"
Hermione carefully picked up Hedwig, Harry's pet owl who was watching the scene unfold from her cage.
Hermione's dad came over and reintroduced himself. "Hi. I'm Dan Granger," he said, holding out his hand.
Harry shook it. "Hello sir. I'm Harry. Harry Potter." They met eyes and nodded.
The women walked a bit ahead. Dan asked, "You're friends with my daughter?"
"Yes sir. Since we were eleven. Thank you for letting me stay, sir. I promise I won't be a bother."
"I'm certain that Hermione will enjoy having you at the house. There aren't a lot of other teens in the neighborhood, and she wasn't much for sports in primary school."
After they got to Dan's car they rearranged the trunk space and made room for everything. Harry opened the cage and asked his owl to follow them. Dan and Emma watched with some interest. They had never seen a snowy owl up close, and from any perspective, she was a beautiful bird.
After a pleasant drive to Crawley where the Grangers lived, they reached their home. Larger by half than the Dursley home, it had an attached car park. It was a five bedroom, three level brick home with a spacious kitchen, dining room, family area, and a study on the first floor. In the back garden there was a pool, a small flowerbed, a fire pit, and an open area.
Dan and Emma sent the teens out to the back garden. They put the trunks into the different rooms and prepared the guest bedroom for Harry to use. Dan asked Emma, "What possessed you to take a stranger into our home?"
Emma gave him an impatient look and said, "He's hardly a stranger. I've been reading about Harry Potter since Hermione was eleven. He has been mentioned in practically every letter that she's ever written us. We simply haven't gotten a chance to know him. He's an orphan and there is no apparent nurturing from his Aunt and Uncle if they were willing to turn him loose for the summer. Can't we do something nice for someone for a change?
Slightly ashamed, he replied, "Yes dear. You're right." It would be nice to get to know another magical person her own age. "Will they be OK together?"
She looked at him patiently and said, "They're OK together ten months of the year. Lets assume the best and keep our eyes open."
Meanwhile Harry and Hermione were walking around the back garden. Hermione asked, "What happened, Harry?"
Harry looked down and said, "They didn't want me there. I didn't want to be there. They didn't take to kindly to being berated by the Order. I didn't want to go to Grimmauld place either. I was planning on renting a room from Tom at the Leaky Cauldron until your mum offered me a place. Do you think she's really OK with having me stay here? If she's not, I could leave after dinner."
Hermione asked, "Don't you want to stay?" Her light brown eyes met his for a moment, and she looked down at her feet. She was saddened and angered by his words. How could anyone not want him?
Encouraged, Harry said, "I'd be happy to, if you wouldn't mind."
She looked at him and nodded.
All he could say was, "Thanks."
Meanwhile, Tonks and Fletcher were sitting on a conjured bench on the side of the Dursleys yard when the car pulled up. They were hidden from view using the disillusionment charm. Mundungus was watching a rabbit in the back yard, when he felt a hard poke in the side. Tonks whispered, "Where's Harry?"
The old scrounger muttered, "Dunno. Are ya sure you saw em git off the train?"
"Yes. Mooney, Mad-eye, Arthur and I had words with the old tub-a-lard at the station."
She got up and said, "Check their car. She went up to the front door and knocked."
Vernon answered the door. In a very pleasant voice he asked, "May I help…" Then he recognized her. In a much less pleasant tone, he demanded, "What do you want?"
In an equally sarcastic voice Tonks replied, "What do you think? Where's Harry?"
"No idea. We left him at the station."
In a rage, Tonks said, "You effing moron. Were you born stupid, or did you have to work at it? You're a dead man walking."
Vernon would not allow himself to be intimidated by a five foot three inch young woman. He scowled at her and replied, "Don't you threaten me, dearie."
Taking a calming breath, Auror Tonks said, "I'm not threatening you, Mr. Dursley. I'm stating a fact. The magical protection wards that protect this home and its occupants get renewed when Harry stays here. Without them, you and your family are as good as dead. Didn't you read the letter that was sent with him when he was dropped on your pathetic doorstep as an infant? His mother protected him and your family with blood magic. Is there any part of this that isn't clear? You'd better effing find him, not now, but right now." She turned and walked away leaving Vernon's mouth gaping open like a two-day-old mackerel.
She walked around the corner and disillusioned herself again, then called, "Fletcher?"
He said, "There was nothing of his in the car or the boot."
She said, "You wait here. Don't even think of leaving again. I'll go tell Dumbledore." As she was getting ready to leave, she saw a blue crackle around the edge of the yard and heard a soft pop.
Realizing the implications, she ran back to the front door, and pounded on it. Petunia answered, shouting, "Go away, you freak."
Tonks replied, "Petunia Evans Dursley, the protection that your sister Lilly died to leave you and your nephew has ended. I recommend that you leave here immediately."
"Get out," she said, slamming the door. "We don't want you freaks near us."
"Works for me," said Tonks as she turned around. "Come on Dung. Let's go tell Dumbledore."
Five minutes after they left, a dozen Death Eaters apparated onto the property, able to for the first time in fifteen years. Thirty seconds later, number four Privet Drive was a blazing inferno. The dark mark hung in the sky over Little Winging.
Thirty-five miles to the southeast of the burning home, two teens were sitting in the back garden drinking Cokes.
Did it seem out of character that the Dursleys just drove off?