Chapter 1 - O.W.Ls
It is one of the hottest summers on record and the water pipe ban was in force. However looking at the gardens of Privet Drive you would think that one house, number 4 to be precise, was failing to follow this rule. You would be correct. In fact Petunia Dursley had not been abiding by this rule and had been watering her garden during the night when everybody was in bed. Well Petunia Dursley hadn't been doing it, but it was on her orders that Harry Potter, or the boy-who-lived, was at this moment standing on the front lawn in his pyjamas, hose pipe in hand, watering the Begonias.
Harry's arms are aching and his feet are wet. His head falls forward onto his chest as he stands there and drops off to sleep. Moments later he jerks back awake spraying water from the hosepipe over Aunt Petunia's nice white picket fence into next doors garden.
Well, thought Harry, at least their Rosebush will survive.
Pulling the hosepipe back to the last part of the garden, the Azaleas, Harry finally finishes and turns the black nozzle on the handle so the water stops flowing. Harry looks around to double check he has watered every single plant and then puts the hosepipe down on the front lawn. He disappears around to the back of the house and turns off the squeaky side tap that is below the kitchen window. The sound of the water travelling down the pipe slowly disappears and once it has stopped he bends down and pulls the hosepipe back around the side of the house.
Once the hosepipe is rewound back up onto a circular wheel and unattached from the tap, Harry puts it away at the back of the shed. Harry comes back out, shutting the shed door and locking it, remembering to be quiet. He had let it bang the other night and Uncle Vernon had yelled at him the next morning for disturbing his sleep.
Not that I particularly mind about doing this, thought Harry, at least I am not sitting in my room all night staring at the walls.
Harry had found it difficult to sleep since he had returned to the Dursley's. He couldn't get his mind off the fact that at the end of last year he had fallen for Voldemorts trap and gone to the Department of Mysteries, thinking he was going to save Sirius, when in the end Sirius had had to save him.
Harry kicked the path as he walked back to the back door stubbing his toe on a loose slab in the crazy paving. Hopping around holding his toe he made it to the bench he had painted a few summers ago and sat down hard. He rubbed his toe and checked to make sure he hadn't cut it before getting up and heading onwards.
The pain in his toe as he walked felt good. It symbolised how much pain he was in inside.
He had been so stupid. It was his fault Sirius was dead. If he had listened to Hermione this would never have happened. She called it his 'Hero Complex'. I should have realised that it was only a fake image. If only I had practised Occulemency harder maybe Sirius would be alive today. Sneers Harry at himself.
Stopping his negative thoughts about himself, Harry sighs as he reaches the back door and goes inside locking it behind him. After making sure the handle does not turn he walks through the kitchen, up the stairs, avoiding the third step as it squeaks, and into the smallest bedroom at the back of the house. He slumps onto his bed resting his head on his pillow and crossing his legs on top of the sheet he is using as a blanket in the heat of the summer. Turning his head and surveying his room he notices Hedwig's empty cage is sitting on his desk. He realises Hedwig hadn't come back yet from wherever she happened to be. It had already been 3 days.
Not that he could blame her, he wasn't very good company at the moment, Harry thought.
It had been a whole month since that fateful night in June when he had escaped Umbridge and flown to London only to have Lucius Malfoy explain what a fool he had been. This was shortly followed by Bellatrix Lestrange killing his godfather.
Because of me there is only one Marauder left and if my track record is anything to go by he will not last long either, Harry thought bitterly.
Harry stood up, restless, and began pacing his room between his bed and the door.
Perhaps he should leave. Pack up his things and go empty his vault in Gringotts, London. Let Dumbledore sort this all out. Was it too much to ask to be just wanted to be a normal kid? Harry thought, go to school and worry about good grades and girls and not have to worry about if he could trust who he was talking to, or wonder how Voldemort was going to attempt to kill him this year. What 15 year old wanted to worry about living until they were 16?
Looking back over his life in the Wizarding World when his parents had been alive and since he had started Hogwarts it had been a miracle he had survived this long. When he was 1 he had survived the Killing Curse after his parents had just been killed, at 11 he had survived yet another encounter with Voldemort at Hogwarts, at 12 he had killed the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets and saved Ginny, also from Voldemort, at 13 he had allowed Wormtail to escape, which had led to when he was 14 with Voldemort being reborn and finally at 15 I survived the last of our encounters at the Ministry of Magic.
Harry sighed out loud and flopped back down on his bed resting his head back down on his pillow. He stared at the ceiling tracing the line of a small crack until the room turned pink with the rising sun. Finally Harry drifted off to sleep to flashes of green light and voices behind a stone arch.
'Come on boy get up'
Harry turned over in his bed and saw Uncle Vernon standing at his doorway looking very angry.
'Where's my breakfast, boy? Do you know what time it is?'
Harry sat up and reached for his glasses on his bedside table and quickly put them on.
'Get a move on, boy'
Uncle Vernon turned around and went downstairs. Harry looked at his Mickey Mouse besdie lamp, a relic from Dudley's tantrums, and noticed it was only 7:30. Harry sighed and pulled on some clothes not bothering to look at his appearance in the small mirror on his wardrobe. He knew what he looked like. He had black hair that refused to lie flat, bottle green eyes, an interesting lightning bolt scare on his forehead the result of an unforgivable curse that never killed him, his body was muscled and filling out due to practise at Quidditch, but having little food this summer meant he had lost a lot of weight and his tall frame was starting to look a little wasted. He realised he had grown a lot in the past few months, he could tell, as Dudley seemed to be a lot less intimidating.
Slowly he went downstairs and into the kitchen where Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and his cousin Dudley were sitting at the dinning room table. Dudley's diet was actually paying off although he was still massively overweight. His boxing was going well though and he kept on trying to practise his moves on Harry, but 5 years worth of dodging bludgers on the Quidditch Pitch was paying off. So far Harry hadn't been hit once, although it had been close.
Harry went over to the work surface and after putting some bread in the toaster cut up the grapefruit. They were all still having to follow Dudley's stupid diet and Harry not having any food packages to help him survive this summer was longing to get back to Hogwarts and eat a real meal. He put the cut grapefruit quarters on the table and brought over the jam with the toast. After taking his seat he slowly ate his quarter of grapefruit whilst Dudley ate everything that was in front of him quickly as though he hadn't eaten a decent meal in weeks. Sitting opposite Dudley was like watching the washing machine, the food went round and round. Watching Dudley eat always put Harry off his food, which also wasn't helping his appetite.
The rest of his family had stopped talking to him the day they returned from Kings Cross Station and as long as he did his chores they pretty much left him alone. The threat from Mad-eye Moody at the end of last year was starting to wear off after a month, as nothing had been heard from the Order lately, so Uncle Vernon had stopped jumping at every loud noise and was even starting to return to calling Harry's friends freaks.
Harry's letters from his friends were less then satisfying. They were all again at Grimmauld Place and here he was still stuck with his aunt and uncle. He finally understood why that should be, but that didn't mean he had to like it. Professor Dumbledore at the end of last year after Sirius had died told him about the prophesy that was made before he was born.
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches. born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies . and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not . and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives . the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies .'
This was why he had to live with his aunt and uncle. Dumbledore had placed enchantments around this house where his blood family lived which would protect him from Voldemort until he was 17.
Damn stupid spell Harry thought.
Petunia spoke pulling him out of his reverie.
'Boy. I hope you made sure that you watered my Birch tree. It seems to be wilting. I do not want it dying.'
'I've been making sure I water it Aunt Petunia.' Harry replied tonelessly, whilst thinking the damn Birch tree could die for all he cared.
'Don't take that tone with me, boy. After all we've done for you. You could at least be polite.'
After all they'd done for him. Locked him in a broom closet till he was 11, locked away all his school things so he couldn't do his summer homework causing him to be behind everybody else when he started school every year, lying to him about how his parents died, treating him like mud everyday he was here….. The list went on and on. Harry could feel his anger rising. He really wanted to lash out, get out all the pain out of his system. He would dearly love for them to speak. Just let him rant and rave.
The lights started flickering. Harry upon noticing this slowly calms himself down. The Dursleys were looking at him with worried looks on their faces. Harry unable to stand thier stares any longer stood up knocking over his chair and raced from the room up to his bedroom. Once there he dropped on his bed.
Hedwig hooted from the corner. He sat up and noticed she had dropped a letter on his desk. He went and picked it up. Noticing the ministry seal on the back he sat in his chair.
This was his O.W.L results. His future career as an auror rested here. If he didn't get the grades….. Harry worried.
Before he could think about it he quickly pulled open the envelope and scanned his results and smiled.
Dear Mr Potter
Enclosed below are your O.W.L results. You will shortly be contacted by Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to pick your options for next year. Please choose your N.E.W.T topics wisely.
Care of Magical Creatures O
Defence Against the Dark ArtsO
History of Magic A
We look forward to marking your N.E.W.T exams in a few years and hope to see you keeping up the good work.
Head of Department of Childhood Wizardry.
Harry was ecstatic. He had done brilliantly. His one job idea of becoming an auror was still an option. He could do it. All he had to do know was pick his options. As Harry was thinking this a large brown tawny owl came through the window dropped a letter showing the Hogwarts crest and flew back out. Harry picked it up and tore it open.
Dear Mr Potter
Congratulations on your remarkable results. Please note below which subjects you wish to continue with and return this to school before August 5th.
P.S. Well done Harry. I am very proud of you.
Harry sat back and thought. He definitely needed to take Defence, Potions and Transfiguration to become an Auror, so he wrote those down. How much work did he actually want anyway? I mean I could pick all the topics I got good grades in and just do a Hermione and never have any free time this year, but with Quidditch and DA.….
Thinking about it he wrote down Charms too, it was always useful and he had heard they would be learning some household spells too, which was good as unlike most other students Harry didn't have a family to pick these spells up from. On further reflection do I really want any free time, he mused. Would I be allowed back onto the Gryffindor Quidditch team after my life long ban from Umbridge? If it wasn't lifted then he might as well keep himself busy with lots of work. It might help him survive against Voldemort in their next encounter. He wrote down Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology quickly before he changed his mind. That was all of the ones he was interested in doing. He could drop one in the seventh year if it got too much.
He poked Hedwig who had her head under her wing inside her cage. She looked up and hooted at him clearly displeased about being woken up so soon.
'Up for a long journey, girl?'
Hedwig fluffed her wings and hooted clearly annoyed.
'Come on, it's only to Hogwarts. Hagrid will look after you there if you don't feel like coming back quickly.' This gave the desired effect, Hedwig stuck out her leg letting Harry tie the letter to her gently.
'Take this to Professor McGonagall.'
Hedwig hooted, nipped his finger in an affectionate manner and flew out the window. Harry lay back down on his bed and closed his eyes. Maybe he should get some more sleep.