Unexpected events

By Zakairen

AN: This took more time than I thought it would. To my chagrin I had to realize that as soon as I tried to fully concentrate on this story, something or other interfered. Be it real live or an approaching writers block for Unexpected Events with lots of other plot ideas popping up, something always interrupted. University has me back now and will cut my writing time back even more. Hopefully it will not matter too much.

I edited the other chapters and deleted the review responses I had written, as I do not want my story deleted because some stickler for rules reports me. Interesting is, I got a warning from such a stickler about reviews for chapter 9 that I only now had the time to read, when I had already decided that it took too much space and time to answer all the reviews. Answers to some questions will be found in the AN from now on. That said – I read every singly review I get even if I was delayed a bit last time and I am thankful for every little piece of encouragement, questions, reported inconsistencies and even criticism I get. Thank you all for reading and commenting on my story.

Someone commented on the story slowing down. I'd like to know what gave you the idea? In the beginning I had several chapters per day, then I had 1 chapter per day, then 1 per day and repeated day, so now I already have several days per chapter. I finally got the story in motion and speeding up.

"blah" - talking, 'blah' - thinking, italics - spells and writing, "blah" - parseltongue

Chapter 11

Harry sighed as he closed the front door after himself. He and Remus had just come back from the shopping trip. Right in time for Remus' shift to end. He had pretended that he needed to start cooking for his relatives and had brought everything he had bought into the kitchen, not allowing Remus inside the house, telling him that he didn't want to upset the unstable truce he had with his relatives. It was just as well that a replica of his cousin Dudley had come home at the same time and that Remus, who was still under his invisibility cloak, had to get out of the way before 'Dudley' trampled over him to get inside. It was also good that he hadn't noticed that Harry could see him, despite the cloak. Just like he had seen Arthur Weasley on Saturday. His contacts really came in handy in spotting all of his guards. And he noticed that they all had a grey outline to distinguish them from normally visible people.

He felt warm inside. His last connection to his parents and Sirius had been salvaged and he had gotten a new godfather and friend out of it. The only person, apart from Tonks, who had lost as much with Sirius' death as Harry himself had held him and told him that it wasn't his fault. Sure, he had known and believed it, but it still took a burden off of him, a burden that he hadn't even known was there.

Though he felt bad about it, he hadn't dared to tell Moony about the new situation. The werewolf was simply too much of a wild card at the moment. He was too close to the old coot for comfort. Harry didn't believe that he would be betrayed by Remus, no, he feared for his own and his new godfathers safety because of Dumbledores mind reading skills. As a werewolf Moony had a natural defense, but somehow Harry had the feeling that the old man had found a way around that. It never hurt to be careful. And if Remus was concerned over his safety he would maybe still go to the Headmaster, who had been so generous to him.

Thankfully he wouldn't have that particular problem with Snape. On the other hand: his plans with Snape were even more dangerous, because he had to actually convince the man to cooperate with him. Harry shuddered as he thought about the possible consequences if their talk went badly. That would bring both Dumbledore and Voldemort on his case. He was prepared to take that risk because he needed to end the hostilities between them, rid Snape of some of his misconceptions and he needed to show the man just how badly both of them were manipulated - if he didn't know that already. And he needed the man on his side. He had come to realize that the potions master was a brilliant man, despite his personality. To be able to stay alive this long with his occupation, he needed to be. It also had the added benefit that nobody in their right mind would suspect Harry or Snape to become allies. Their hatred for each other was famed throughout Hogwarts and beyond. Now Harry could only hope that his professor complied with his wishes despite the fact that pensieves were somewhat of a sore point between them.

Taking another look at the groceries and everything else he had bought, he put about half of it in the fridge and then took the other half of it into the trunks kitchen. After a minute of thinking he sat down in there and looked for a charm to make sure that this kitchen would always be stocked with the things he had just brought in. While he needed to keep up pretense, he tired of having to buy as much supplies as he had had to with the Dursleys present. Thankfully he didn't have to go as often. But soon he would have to take care of himself and more than one past self. He simply didn't want to have to restock every other day.

Harry finally found what he was searching for. Seemingly the ministry thought it to be one of the darker charms, probably because it would bankrupt several people if used in general. He shook his head and applied it to his cupboards on top of the stasis charms. Another thing happily taken care of. Maybe his days would sometime soon calm down to a set schedule without things to be done before he could begin his studying in earnest instead of the revision he was doing now. It was a pity he couldn't use the charm on potion ingredients, but because of their inherent magic that wasn't possible.

Quickly throwing something together for dinner, Harry's thoughts were not on his meal but on star constellations. Thankfully he was able to do simple meals on autopilot, otherwise he probably would have had to throw the charred remains of his meal away. As he ate, he was thankful that he had been able to make three of the booklets and was halfway through with the fourth. He only had one and a half book to take care of for Astronomy. After that he would have to begin the daunting task of going through several history books. Or maybe just through The History of Magic. But before that he would have to look up the topics of the exam. Binns only ever taught goblin wars and Harry really didn't remember much from the test sheet at his original exam in Hogwarts. Hopefully he would get through all that stuff alright, it was so dry and boring, even when it was not taught by Binns.

But history was one thing. With his Occlumency he wouldn't forget the dry material no matter what. The Potions exam the day after that was another matter altogether. Harry could freely admit that Potions was his worst course and the one he liked the least. That was due to the teacher, said teachers attitude and the Slytherins he had the lessons with. The fact that he had done his everything to really get bad, but passable grades in the subject did not help his situation any. He had never thought about the fact that he would probably need it for what ever job he choose. Now, that was another sore subject. He would need to read that book about jobs and their requirements pretty soon. And hold in mind the possibility of getting a muggle education and stay away from magical jobs.

'I will have to spend additional time on Potions. I already have a good deal of the ingredients memorized because of Herbology. But the rest of the theory and most importantly the practical part need time and practice. It would probably be for the best if I went back the whole three days after the History exam and spent all the time in the lab. If I go back Thursday morning then I'll end up back Monday morning – for the third time. Which is perfect, 'cause I haven't been in the lab since Sunday. But I need to look up the charms for the bedroom in my trunk. I'll fix it when I'm back to Monday. And avoid going in there for now.'

A bit later Harry could be found in the library again, studying his astronomy books. Though he'd had a pretty early dinner, he knew he would be up for quite a while because he wanted to do a bit of stargazing after he finished with the theory and some star charts. It was just as well that the exam was late in the afternoon – and that he didn't have to attend the Defense exam that was scheduled for the morning. It would give him additional time to go once again through his new booklet on astronomy and begin his study on the history of the wizarding world.

Hours later it was a very tired Harry who trudged upstairs from the garden, where he had indulged himself in a bit of stargazing and day-dreaming. A few times he had felt as if Sirius had been right next to him. A lone tear made its way down the teenagers lightly tanned face. He missed his godfather very much, even though he managed to get through his days without thinking too much about it. He wanted to do his godfather proud, not mope around and drown in his grief.

As he lay down on his bed in the master bedroom he brought all the happy memories to the forefront of his mind. Slowly sinking into sleep, Harry hoped that this night would bring him happy dreams and not some of the nightmares he had experienced before his breakdown.

It was still early on Wednesday morning when Harry woke up. As a quick tempus showed, it wasn't even six am jet, but somehow Harry wasn't surprised. His rumpled sheets were testament to his fitful sleep, as was the tired feeling he was experiencing right now. Though - his sleep hadn't been plagued by nightmares, that was at least something.

Right then he decided that he wouldn't work in his mind until after the exam. If the last time was any indication he would need every little bit of concentration and power he could muster, and right now that wasn't much. And with the exam coming up he didn't have the time to take another nap afterwards and still manage to do everything he had planned. He had a busy day ahead of him. As he slowly got up and searched for his time-turner. The only thing he was going to do right now, was going back and treating himself to a long bath in his Jacuzzi, to get all the tension out of his body.

A few hours later found Harry once again sitting in the library of his trunk, leafing through his astronomy notes. When he finally closed the booklet he was sure that he knew everything they should have learned about the subject in the past five years. Then he sighed. Now he had to begin his study of wizarding history. Another sigh escaped him, he really didn't want to do this. But he had sworn to himself that he would ace his OWLs in this surprising second chance.

An unbidden thought had resided in his head for some time now: despite Hermione being one of his best friends – and he loved her dearly - he longed to show her up a bit. To show her that you didn't need to show off that you knew more than others on a daily basis. That you didn't have to make others feel inferior or nag people 24/7 about studying. And most of all to show her that he didn't need her to think for him. Lately he had felt as if she thought that he was just some dumb little boy, without the ability to think for himself. She always went on about how others knew better than himself what to do with his life.

There would be absolutely no better chance to do so than to get better results than she did. Especially considering the circumstances at the end of the last term and the fact that he had never taken some of these classes and the fact that others weren't even offered at Hogwarts. It made him want to jump around in unholy glee, even if he felt bad about it.

Feeling that he had procrastinated long enough, he went and got his course books and The History of Magic as well as the ministry guide to the topics that were tested in the OWLs. His portkey to the ministry would only activate at six pm, partly due to the subject and partly due to the fact that the defense exam beforehand would take a good deal of time. As he settled down with his books writing materials he remembered to set an alarm for himself for lunchtime. He needed to eat after all, and his cousin had to make an appearance sometime during the afternoon as well.

It was quite late when Harry finally made it home from the Astronomy exam. He was exhausted. Still, before he could get some sleep he would need to make a short visit to his mind. His mind shield needed an additional dose of strength and his link to Voldemort shouldn't be left alone for too long. He probably wouldn't get much done tonight, but he knew instinctively that he didn't have too much time left to deal with Tommy's invasion of his mind. If they became too intertwined, who knew what would happen? It could mean his own death when he managed to get Tom out of the picture. Or it could mean his own corruption by black magic – as the link they had felt vaguely like the creepy feeling he had gotten from the books in 'Ciels'. What ever the consequences were, they weren't good.

But before he could do that he needed to get some energy. His stomach was growling quite loudly about the fact that he hadn't had anything to eat since lunch. Thankfully he had made enough food for lunch and had put the remains into the fridge of the kitchen in number 4.

Strengthened, Harry made his way up to his old room and got ready for bed. Then he sat against the headboard, his blanket pooling around his waist and a breeze of cool, fresh air coming in through the open window. As soon as he had found a comfortable position, he began to dive into his own mind.

When he found himself in the confines of the large hall, he took a bit of his time and read the labels on the doors. It didn't surprise him, that the door labeled 'The Dursleys' led to the corridor that held a good amount of other doors. Here he saw doors with labels like 'Aunt Marge', 'The Normal', 'The Bad Days' and 'Harry Hunting'. It went on, but Harry really had enough of it. He would visit his personal hell another time.

Some of the other labels had him curious as well. Still, he opted to do some memory surfing at a later time – when his problems with the mind link to Voldemort weren't so pressing anymore. And he vowed that he would find a way to make sure that the labels wouldn't lead an enemy around on a visit in his mind.

Outside, on the island in his mind he noticed that his shield seemed stronger than the last time he had seen it. Obviously his unconscious mind had been at work every time he had thought about it. Which was for the better, because it meant that he could concentrate fully on his task of locating the still hidden parts of the link and isolating them. It would cost him enough strength as it was. Not to mention the fact that he also needed to power the shield around the link up.

The sight he was met with at his construction zone was not a pleasant one. Somehow a few new tentacles had grown out of the main body of the 'root'. They had penetrated the shield and were at the moment busy burrowing farther into the surrounding sand. Obviously his shield hadn't been strong enough. Harry began to build shields around the new parts and connected them to the main shield. Then he began to strengthen the shield until it was stronger than the one surrounding his mind.

It was quite exhausting work. Hopefully this new shield would hold and not allow any new tentacles to grow out of the already shielded parts of the 'root'. Taking a short breather, Harry wondered what would have happened if he hadn't fallen into his mind that first night back from school. And the consequences if he hadn't found the link and its 'root' at all weren't pretty and had, in his opinion at least, always a lethal end. Either he would die as soon as Tom bit the dirt or he wouldn't be himself anymore and would do things he didn't even want to think about – and end up soulless in Azkaban or killed by the light side.

Then he began to shift sand away from those parts of the 'root' that were leading towards the bungalow. He had to make sure that they never reached the seat of his memories.

To Harry it seemed as if had spent hours on the defenses of his mind when he was finally satisfied with the work he had done. Sure, he was still way off of making a shield around the whole link, but he had covered a good part of it already. He gave the link one last look and left his mind. The headache he had acquired wasn't quite as strong as the last one. He squirmed his way under the covers and curled up with his blanket wound tightly around him.

When Harry woke up on Wednesday morning for the second time that week it was already half past eight. Secure in the knowledge that there weren't any tasks that had to be done right away, he lounged in bed for an additional 30 minutes. After a quick shower he collected his plans for the remodeling of the basement and his much used book and went to work. The library had been finished on Monday, after the exam. Now he still needed to make a laboratory, the dueling chamber and the workout room. The first thing he did was enlarging the rooms. After that he changed the floor. Or tried to.

Lightly cursing he went into the trunk through the portal in the library and collected some much needed matter samples from the storeroom, were he had put them some time back. Harry was now very thankful that he had thought to duplicate some of the matter that made up the floor in the school lab. Then he went back into the basement of his home and began with the transformations.

Before he could start with the interior however, a thought hit him. He knew perfectly well that despite everything he would do correctly, he would also take to experimenting. He needed wards around the lab to protect the rest of the house and the room itself from explosions, corrosive liquids or gases and the like. The same could be said for the dueling chamber, only here he needed protection against stray hexes and the destructive force of some of the curses. And he hadn't even started to read his books on wards, so he had absolutely no knowledge of how to even begin this task.

Harry cursed again. Now he really had a problem. He didn't want to fill his brain to the brim with some magic right before his History OWL – or any other at that. Resigning himself to only finishing the workout-room, he worked on that. The only thing missing now was the equipment. The floor was nice and soft, but still firm. He had even added an area were he could do some gymnastics or a bit of martial art training. It would be needed for his weapon lessons.

After Harry was done with the work as far as he could go, he decided to leave the basement be for time being and concentrate on revising everything he had learned yesterday. Then he could maybe learn a bit more on history and get a start on magical theory. That should even help him with the wards when he got around to it. But it irked him that he could finish the remodeling of the basement. He would have really like to not have to think about it again.

'Oh well. I can't do anything about that right now. But there is still the living room of my trunk to fix up. I'll do that immediately, then at least that is finished. The lab and bedroom in my trunk will be fixed when I go back for my three day potions trip. And I could maybe duplicate the Jacuzzi and fix the master bathroom to my likings. But that'll have to wait until I really need a break from all that studying. It seems, I would do almost anything to get away from history.'

As Harry looked around the livingroom of his trunk, he decided to make the sofas and armchairs squashy, comfortable and in homey colors. But the first thing he did was leafing through his book for the correct charms to put a fireplace in – without having smoke all over the room or having something catch fire.

He was very satisfied with result. His fireplace was made out of polished granite and each slab was charmed for protection. The fire couldn't leave the fireplace and on the mantle was enough room to literally stick a few mementos without it seeming crowded. On the roof of the fireplace he had placed a few charms to make sure that he had the effect of a chimney, so that the air and smoke would be sucked upwards slightly and a vanishing charm that only affected the smoke and the ash that might come along with the smoke. The armchairs and sofa were crème colored as to fit in with the already existing color scheme. And he didn't want the den to look dark and dreary or formal for that matter.

Then Harry relocated to the library of the trunk to become once again really studious. He was quite thankful, that after the History exam he would have some time to stretch the theoretical subjects alongside the more practical ones. History really was a bitch if you had too much of it.

It was early in the afternoon when Harry had stopped his studies and made himself something to eat. He stood in the kitchen of number 4 and listened to the music he had put on. He had wanted something unique to fit his mood and he got it. The sounds of Apocalyptica roared through the house, the hard beat behind the cellos and the occasional songs was just the right thing to get his thoughts off of everything unpleasant. The kitchen window was wide open, but had had a one-sided silencing charm applied. He was making something a bit more complicated today, different types of pasta with salmon and white sauce.

As he looked outside he could see the Order member under their invisibility cloak walk down the street a bit and apparate away. With a raised eyebrow he looked on. No other guard came and he deducted that whoever it was, was late. It was a bit irresponsible to leave him here without a guard, though. Just at that moment he could see four shadows swooping down from the sky, were they had circled, and in through the open window. He dived to the floor as to avoid being hit by one of the owls, then made a mad scramble into the den to lower the volume of the music.

When he came back into the kitchen he was treated to the sight of four owls sitting on the kitchen table nibbling on the raw salmon that he had been about to use in his meal. He glowered. Then glowered some more. The owls simply ignored him. Harry sneered, then began to get some vegetables from the fridge for his meal, all the while grumbling about bloody insatiable owls who hadn't the decency to leave his meal to him. He didn't snack on their owl treats either, so couldn't they return the favor?

It didn't take long before the owls decided that they didn't like being ignored. After Harry didn't react to their screeches, Hedwig flew up to his shoulder and bit him in the ear. Hard. His scream would have been heard three roads down if the silencing charm hadn't been up.

Rubbing his tender ear, Harry sat down on one of the chairs and relieved the owls of their burdens. The black ministry owl hadn't come back yet. So he was a bit surprised that he had four visitors and not three. He was even more surprised, when suddenly Fawkes burst into the kitchen in a bout of fire with a message from Dumbledore. Frowning he took the message and opened it. The more he read the angrier he became. It was only Fawkes soothing song that enabled him to keep his magic and temper under control.

Dear Harry,

I hope you aren't too angry with me any more. I really only did what I thought was right for you. You deserve a childhood as much as anyone. I wanted you to have a normal childhood away from all the fame, hardship and danger. I sincerely hope you can forgive the mistakes of an old man. The reason I am writing to you is however not a happy one.

It has come to my attention that you have written letters to your friends. As Hermione informed me she was visited by Hedwig at HQ where she is staying for protection. Harry, I am truly sorry about this, but you can't write your friends again. While the Burrow and the HQ are safe at the moment, you are endangering your friends more with every letter you send. Your owl is simply much too noticeable and well known. She would lead any interested dark wizard directly towards your friends and I am sure you do not want anything to happen to them.

It would also be just as easy to follow her back to you and the possibility of that happening is a risk that I can't take. If a dark wizard noticed your owl or that of your friend Ron and sent another owl after one of them with curse-mail or even caught one of them to change the mail you could easily be killed. I have already told your friends that they will not be able to write you another letter this summer. As this letter reaches you I will put up another ward around your home as to prevent all owls that have not been to your home before from finding you there. All mail will be redirected to Hogwarts, so you will get it come September. Also, while Hedwig will be able to fly and hunt inside the wards, she will not be able to leave them, just as your friends owls will not be able to enter..

If an emergency should occur, just call for Fawkes and he will bring your message to me. Once again, I am very to have to do this, but it is necessary for your safety.

Albus Dumbledore

Headmaster of Hogwarts

Harry was shaking with anger and his magic was crackling along his skin and clothes. How dare that senile, old coot! It was not his decision if Harry wanted to write to his friends or not. He could have always used a new nondescript owl. Or given the letters to his guards to deliver. After all, they held regular meetings, so how difficult could it be pass them on? To forbid his friends from writing him altogether! Just when common sense dictated that he needed them even more than normal. And Hermione! Just how likely was it that the Headmaster had been at HQ and she had mentioned Hedwig's visit as an afterthought? Not bloody likely! He would have to wait until he had read her letter, but he could swear that she was the reason for this newest problem.

The problem with his friends owls was really non-existent. As they were sitting here right now, they would find him again despite the wards. The fact that Hedwig was not able to leave the wards was more of a problem. Now he couldn't even use her for owl-order! She had her notice-me-not charm, nobody would be able to find her, even if they searched for her. The biggest problem was however that all his mail would be redirected to Hogwarts as the owls couldn't get through to him, to be searched and maybe even answered by Dumbledore. His friends owls might be able to find him, but the letters would still go straight to the castle courtesy of the thrice damned wards. He didn't even know if the other three owls would be able to leave the wards again.

Now he had two possible ways around this. He could either try and change the wards some, after he read those books. Which was not such a terribly good idea because he was reasonably sure that the old man monitored them closely and was alerted to every little change that was made to the wards by someone else. The other possibility was to simply get around it. He had after all that very useful directory of magical villages and floo points. It should be possible to get himself a PO-box at an owl-office and redirect all the important mail to the box. Sure, he would have to go and collect it himself, but at least he would be able to communicate somewhat. Without the much too big nose of the Headmaster sticking itself were it didn't belong. Thankfully, he had an undetected way out of the wards.

Harry didn't even consider protesting against the unfairness of it all. He knew that he would just get a benign smile and a pat on the head and nothing would change. The Order wouldn't be of any use either. They would jump of a cliff if Dumbledore told them to. Hermione and Ron? They had followed the order last year and would likely do so this year, too. And Hermione would probably go running straight to Dumbledore if he sent her another letter – or Ron and Ginny for that matter.

Now, Neville, Luna and the twins were another matter altogether. Nobody knew that he had written the slightly clumsy boy and the dreamy girl. If he wrote them to never mention his letters, they would do just that. And the twins could find out if Ron followed Dumbledore's order like a good little boy or if he tried to get a letter through and be a good friend. The same with Ginny.

However, Harry swore to bring this to the attention of the ministry and the goblins. It would find itself a nice place in the lawsuit. Dumbledore would not get away with the treatment he gave Harry. He must have violated more than just a few laws in Harry's case and he would bet that it wasn't the only time.

At the moment he wanted nothing more than to go and get that box right away, but knew that it wasn't possible. While his future selves would remain in Privet Drive alright, he had sworn to only use the repetition of a day to leave the wards. He wanted to be able and avoid as much problems as possible and the easiest way to do that was to know about them before they even occurred.

For now it would be enough to find out exactly what his friends had replied and just how the hell the old coot had known. Even more interesting would be just what went on in that senile mind to cut him off completely. He had already told the Order members not to talk to him. And it simply didn't make sense. If there was a safe way to communicate available, just why would the old coot want to forbid all communication?

As Harry reached for Hermione's letter he heard a squelching sound and some sort of clicking behind him. Then he remembered that he still had his lunch on the stove. He turned around and was treated to the sight of Fawkes munching away on some celery. The sunflower seeds that he had wanted to roast after his salmon had been food-napped were already gone, like the carrots and the sweet pepper pieces he'd had already cut. Only the onion remained. Heaving a sigh he decided to just have some pasta with sauce and cheese later on. Then he turned the stove off. He sent the phoenix a suffering look and Fawkes took to the air and settled down on the back of Harry's chair, rubbing his head against Harry's cheek.

Dear Harry,

I just got your letter and yes, I have ranted already. I'm sorry that I can't write more, but I'm really busy. I got a really interesting book that I want to read soon. Harry, you don't need to pretend about your mood and Sirius' death, if you want peace and quite just say so. By the way, you didn't have to be so rude in your letter, I'm quite alright. I'm staying at you-know-where for my safety, alongside my parents.

Harry you need to send Professor Dumbledore a letter when you get a dream. Stay put, you know they are probably false, but stay on the safe side and send a letter anyway. You know, you're always so irresponsible, so please, for once, think before you act. After all, I'm not there to do it for you or to intervene if you go of like usual.

Do you know how dangerous it is for you to owl us? You seem to have a serious death wish. I can't tell you anything about the you-know-what, just like last year. Take care, Harry.

Love, Hermione

Hey mate,

I just got your letter when suddenly Professor Dumbledore and Hermione burst into my room. I'm at home right now 'cause they put up all kinds of wards around the Burrow. It was weird, they asked me where Hedwig was, they wanted to take her to Hogwarts. Seems Hermione got it into her head that it would be too dangerous for you to write to us, 'cause Hedwig is such a unusual owl and she said something about you wanting peace, quiet and distance. She showed me your letter, it wasn't that different from earlier summers. I think she's finally gone 'round the bend. You wouldn't have written if you hadn't wanted someone to write back.

Hedwig was sitting just in front of them, but they kept looking 'round and they didn't see her at all. It was weird. What ever you did, I think it's brilliant. I didn't tell them, said she'd already flown back. They told me not to write you and that no owl would get through the wards around your relatives house as soon as Hedwig came home. Seems they thought it was better if she was with you than somewhere out there. Crazy, both of them, I tell you.

I took the last letter and gave it to Ginny. They told her the same as me and she just nodded. I'm a bit surprised and really disappointed in her. I'd thought she would at least protest somewhat on your behalf if not on her own. But maybe she was just playing it safe. I told Hedwig to really stretch her wings on her way back. Somehow I get the feeling that it will not be the only thing she'll be doing before she gets back to you. I'd keep her to prevent the wards from going up, but I overheard them talk to Mum about how they would go up in two days either way.

Last summer was bad enough, they always looked over my shoulders as I wrote. It was impossible to do anything about it and I couldn't even apologize afterwards. You know, after the cup I swore that I would stand by you, come hell and high water. Hell we've already seen, the high water is coming as we speak I'd guess.

The twins got themselves inducted and I already talked to them. They'll pass my letters on when they go on guard duty. They were pretty angry about Dumbledore and Hermione. You know that they hate nothing more than tattle-tales and idiotic rules. Mum hasn't made it any better, she's always ranting that they are too young and don't belong in grown-up business or about that store of theirs, which is coming along fine.

The headmaster and Mum put a secrecy charm over Ginny and me, so that we couldn't tell anyone who doesn't already know that we aren't allowed to write you. Thankfully I'd already told the twins and written it down while they were talking to Ginny. There's also something else. It seems that Professor Dumbledore wanted to train me'n'Ginny over the summer alongside Hermione and some others from the DA. Mum told him right of the bat that she would let us, we're 'only' children after all. Barmy, she is.

Hermione accepted, which is why she is at HQ right now. I'm not too sure who knows about that, but they do not want you to know. They are to be your 'bodyguards', to make sure you don't get into more trouble. Idiots, the lot of them. I probably would have accepted, if only to know what they are up to. It seems, we're back to a duo, just like before the incident in first year. You know that I 'like' liked Hermione, but lately I don't know what I ever saw in her. She's gotten even worse than Percy. Now, that's another sore subject. He still hasn't come back or apologized. On the other hand, I've done some deep thinking. Unlike me, I know, but after the DoM… I think I'm growing up at last. Maybe Percy is right, you know, not about you or the Ministry, but about the Professor. The longer I think about it, the more doubts I get.

I'll write more in my next letter, Hedwig is getting impatient and it'll be safer. This has to be the longest and most insightful letter I've ever written. I really hope that what you wrote is true and the Dursley's are cutting you some slack. By the way, yes, I'm fine and sorry about the rant.

Hope to C U soon, Ron

Harry angrily clenched his fists. They had wanted to take Hedwig from him, the only one who truly knew him? The one that had shared all the good and bad with him since he had come to the wizarding world. How dare they! He had trusted Hermione and what did she do? Ran straight to the old loon as if he done something wrong. He wouldn't be surprised if she had snitched on him before. Her books and the big authority figures couldn't be wrong after all. She had changed and for the worse.

Her letter was the last straw. What had he ever done to her? Oh, she would get a reply, per Howler. After she gotten all the cursed mail in fourth year, he had done a bit of research. The last term he had charmed several pieces of parchment accordingly and put an extra charm on them that made them simply appear before the recipient so he didn't have use owls and scare the poor birds half to death. No active magic on his part, absolutely perfect for telling her just what he thought of her. And to let the Order know of Dumbledores games. Not that it would matter much.

Ron's letter however had been a real surprise. He was glad that he still had a best mate, who was finally growing up a bit. He also seemed to have acquired some of the cool logic that normally was Hermione's department. It was ingenious of him to get the twins involved on his own, even if Harry would have done so anyway. He had obviously also grown a bit suspicious of Dumbledore and his actions and motives. All for the better in Harry's opinion. The mention of Percy without an added curse was interesting as well. If he played it well, he would have some co-conspirators real soon. Of course, he wouldn't spill his secrets so easily. They would have to work for them, if he even decided to tell them before school began again in September.

Harry sighed. He really wasn't in the mood to read any of the other letters, but he knew that there could very well be some useful information in them. And Luna's letter was bound to lift his spirits. He told the owls to find themselves some perches, as it would undoubtedly take some time until they could leave. He probably would have to personally bring them through the wards, one at a time. But he wouldn't do that before he had at least examined the wards some. Then he closed the window.

Hey Harry,

I was a bit surprised to get a letter from you and brought by a strange owl no less! He really looks intimidating. But he warmed up to me after I brought him something to eat and drink. Where ever did you find that bird?

To answer your questions, I'm quite well. Though Gram was angry with me at first, she was really proud after I told her of all that happened. You know, I'm happy that you think of me as a friend, even before this year and the DoM. As to Umbridge, well there were many of us who wanted to go head to head with her, but were too frightened. You did the venting for all of us, even if that wasn't quite fair on you. It was the least I could do.

Gram really wanted to get fathers wand repaired for my continued usage and I tried without success to get the idea out of her head. So your letter was a real live saver. I hadn't thought about the fact that someone else's wand, even that of my father, wouldn't be fully compatible with me and hinder me more than help. I told her that and what you suggested and voila – I got my very own wand. It's black birch with the heartstring of a Peruvian Vipertooth.

When I told Mr. Ollivander that you had given me the arguments to finally get my own wand he looked at me really weird. Asked me if we were good friends. After your letter I could answer that with a heartfelt yes. Then he told me that he could customize my wand for me and I accepted. It was awesome. I got some holly wood that had been soaked in phoenix tears and some willingly given unicorn blood. Good for healing and working with plants. I have never felt my magic react so forcefully. I have never felt better!

The headmaster was here and asked if Hedwig had come by. I got that really weird feeling that he read my mind as I answered. I was really glad that I could answer no, he had a weird glint in his eyes. He also asked me if I wanted to get some additional training over the summer, to play 'bodyguard' for you. It didn't sit well when he told me that you wouldn't receive any training. I mean, you're the one who needs it the most!

I told him that I had to ask Gram and then told her that I did not want to go. She didn't understand at first, she thought it would do me a world of good, but I explained why I didn't want to. She was even more proud of me afterwards. So, I'm not going. After I told Gram of that feeling she got really angry. She told me that he had read my mind alright. I still can believe that he would do something like that, it could get him a lifetime in Azkaban or more, especially if done on underage people.

So, now Gram's told me to be careful and suspicious of the Headmaster and she's teaching me Occlumency, the art of shielding ones mind. Seems she was weary of him since what happened to my parents.

I also understand what you meant about Ron and Hermione. They can't understand, but I too think that it is for the better. Oh, have you heard about the goblins? They invented a new means of transferring money to make it easier on us to get to our money. Well, they said they had really only used an already existing concept and adapted it. Gram was a bit skeptical at first, but then she was tickled. Now she won't have to endure that cart ride to the vault anymore!

I hope to hear from you soon, Harry. It would be great to have someone to 'talk' to over the holidays.

Bye, Neville

Hello Harold,

I received your delightful letter. That owl you sent is wonderful, so polite! Did you know he had some Echarins flattering around him? They are little animals, very much like fairies. I took some pictures, I'll send copies to you when they are developed.

I'm very well, thank you for asking. My father was delighted about the things I could confirm for him about the Department of Mysteries. He wants me to tell you 'thank you' for the chance to see all these things, and I have to second that sentiment.

On another note, I am sure you know about the Bumblebee's offer to train a part of the DA. It seems that really rude and bossy girl gave him the list. I wonder why her curses did not work on her? I accepted the offer - after he told me that neither Ronald, Ginevra or Neville are allowed to go by their guardians. I will send you word of the things we will be taught.

Regretfully I will have to give up on the usual holiday search for crumple horned Snorkaks. It would have been a far more interesting way to spend my holidays. Hopefully I will at least find some Riolans at the place we will be training. I'll send you copies of the pictures if I do. That really is the only good thing about it.

I will hear from you soon, Harold, otherwise I'll send some of the Echarins after you and they can be quite vicious.

'Loony' Luna Lovegood

Harry was in stitches after he had read Luna's letter. And now he finally had an answer as to why she had been sorted into Ravenclaw, though right now he thought that Slytherin would have been the better choice. Riolans indeed. He didn't have the foggiest what she was talking about – as usual. But now he had a spy in what was to be Dumbledore's Army. He knew that he could trust her with his live, sanity and secrets, unlike Hermione.

Then he took a look at Fawkes, who was still perched on the back of the chair that he sat on.

"Say, Fawkes, are you planning on staying?"

The only answer he got was a beautiful trill.

"On Dumbledores orders?"

This time the beautiful bird shook his head. Harry was baffled.

"So, you just decide to stay because you want to? Won't he miss you?"

Another head shake. Harry scratched the back of his neck. That was quite unexpected.

"Well, your welcome to stay, as long as you don't go and snitch on me. I'll make you a perch. Do you need an ash tray?"

As he got a positive – and possibly gleeful – trill, Harry stood up and went upstairs. He had a bit of transfiguration ahead of him. At the same time he wasn't quite sure just were his common sense had gone. He had just allowed the Headmasters familiar to stay with him when he was in all actuality trying to evade and outwit said old coot. It simply boggled the mind.

The last letter lay forgotten on the kitchen table.

Upload date: 10-24-05