Thank you so much 'anon' for your kind review! I'm so glad you liked this! I couldn't send a reply to you because there was no link to your address, so I hope you see this wee message! Thank you again!
'Ding dong merrily on high -'
The obnoxious chime, signalling that someone was at the front door, rang through the corridor but Harry was far too absorbed in the intricacies of the task at hand to attend to it. So he didn't.
Almost as soon as it had started, the doorbell (that Harry most certainly did not take responsibility for – it had been acquired during one of his Aunt Petunia's many efforts to flirt with the doorbell salesman) suddenly and abruptly stopped.
Only to be replaced by some very frantic knocking.
Let them wait….Harry didn't have time for unannounced visitors.
A few moments later, after slamming the oven door for the final time, the Gryffindor settled on a stool in the steamy kitchen. He hadn't thought that there was so much effort involved in baking. He swore right there and then, never to turn his nose up at any more of Hermione's sorry-looking culinary disasters ever again. Forget 'Imperio' - cooking had to be right up there with the Unforgivables. Harry rested his elbows on the table for a blissful second before –
A face appeared at the kitchen window, indistinguishable through the rippled glass. It remained for a matter of seconds before darting away again in the direction of the door.
Harry huffed loudly. Not a moment's peace. He grumbled under his breath on the way to answering the door, then flung it open.
His jaw dropped.
"About time!" A very irate-looking Voldemort was shivering on the doorstep.
The Dark Lord fumbled in his pockets for a few seconds before cursing loudly. "Hang on a minute - I know it's here somewhere…."
"Er – can I help you?" Harry wasn't really accustomed to receiving visitors at this time of the evening, of the serial-killer variety or otherwise.
"Just a second -"
Voldemort's rather fetching lilac woollen mittens, which Dumbledore had always coveted, darted in and out of his pockets as he frantically searched for - something. He looked up apologetically. "I seem to have mislaid my wand." The purple scarf that he had wrapped three times around his neck partially muffled his speech.
"Well - I'm a bit busy you know…." Harry checked his watch.
"Oh stop moaning, it'll only take a minute. Now where did I put it -"
"Er – is it rude of me to ask what you're doing here?"
Voldemort rolled his eyes as if he were about explain that one plus one equals two. "I've come to kill you."
"Oh, right. Just curious." Harry waited patiently. As the wind whipped through the doorway, he was suddenly very aware that he was still wearing an apron and had flour all over his face and hands. A tiny blush reddened his cheeks.
Voldemort fumbled some more, struggling with the zip on the top pocket of his robes. "I can't seem to -" He exasperatedly pulled off the restricting mittens and thrust them at Harry. "Here! Hold these!" Harry politely obliged.
There was complete silence, punctuated only by the occasional howl of the wind, as The Dark Lord fumbled some more. Harry felt a little uncomfortable. Should he perhaps make some small talk? "So -" he began "- er - terrible weather we've been having recently -"
"Terrible!" Voldemort agreed whole-heartedly. "It's done my petunias no end of damage…."
"Oh dear -" Harry sympathised.
"Oh not to worry, I've found a way to counteract the frost, you see all you do is -" He suddenly stopped. He wasn't sure if he wanted to reveal his gardening secrets to an enemy. Well, no harm in it, he supposed. He was going to kill him after all, so it probably didn't really matter in the long run. This train of thought brought a joke to mind. He leaned closer to Harry and adopted a droll tone of voice. "Well if I told you - I'd have to kill you!" He burst out laughing and gave Harry a playful poke in the ribs. Harry raised an eyebrow. He didn't think he was ready for a Voldemort-led comedy routine. His visitor huffed and continued to search his pockets. "You just put a simple warming charm on the roots," he mumbled.
Suddenly You-Know-Who remembered something and smacked his forehead.
"Damn it! I left it on the fridge!" He rolled his eyes. "I remember now - I needed both hands to put the jelly into the fridge to set – the timing's crucial, you know - so I placed my wand on the top…. Do you mind - er - just waiting here while I pop back and get it?"
Harry didn't want to be rude, but he thought that now was probably the best time to say it. "Well to be honest - " he gave Voldemort an apologetic look " - this isn't really a good time…."
"I've got a quiche in the oven."
"Oh, I see, erm – how about tomorrow then?"
Harry thought for a few seconds then suddenly grimaced. He shook his head. "No – I'm afraid tomorrow's a bit tricky as well…. Hang on a second, let me get my diary -"
He left a shivering Lord Voldemort on the doorstep.
Harry began leafing through the pages of his rather battered diary, idly tapping his finger against his chin while He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named looked on.
"HARRY! You can't just leave visitors on the doorstep! In this weather! Have you completely forgotten your manners?" Aunt Petunia's voice preceded her from the living-room threshold. She shook her head reprovingly, then when she realised that the visitor was male, patted her hair and treated the startled man to a brighter-than-necessary smile. "Oh! Come in dear, you'll catch your death out there…." She motioned for Voldemort to enter.
"Thank you," he bowed politely.
"So - how do you and Harry know each other?"
"Oh, er -" Voldemort reddened.
Harry looked up from his diary. Perhaps he should answer the question for him. After all, he didn't want his visitor to feel awkward.
"He's trying to kill me."
"Oh, that's a shame. Biscuit?" Petunia picked up the plate of Custard Creams that was sitting on the coffee table and offered it to Voldemort.
"Please. That's very kind." He looked at the woman before him, and noticed that her hair was a little bushy. He liked it that way. His eyes glittered a little. Petunia sensed that he was staring at her, and blushed slightly.
Voldemort chewed slowly in order to get the timing of his next question just right.
He leaned a little closer towards Petunia. "So tell me – are you married?"
Petunia blushed furiously. "Oh – er -" she let out a small giggle.
Harry suddenly looked up and stared indignantly, his hands on his hips. "Yes she bloody well is!"
Petunia shot her nephew a scathing look before turning to Voldemort. She treated him to a ravishing smile. What he means to say is that I'm married in name only." She cleared her throat to make her next words crystal clear. "My husband and I are separated." She emphasised the word 'separated'.
Voldemort turned on the charm. "I like him already." He stole a kiss at the very base of Petunia's hand.
"Oh my -" Petunia giggled shamelessly and playfully pushed him away.
Harry stared incredulously. He could not believe this. He strode towards the couch that the two had just fallen onto.
"Look, who did you come to see? Me or Mae West over there?" And before his aunt could say 'You ought to get out of those wet clothes and into a dry Martini,' Harry grabbed Voldemort's arm and hauled him to his feet.
"Oh, I do beg your pardon." The man who had recently declared himself as Tommy to a giggling married woman hurriedly found his feet and joined Harry. He pulled out his own diary. It still bore a large hole dating from Harry's attack in the Chamber of Secrets in Hogwarts all those years ago.
"A week on Tuesday is looking good," Harry remarked. "Is that ok with you?"
Voldemort thumbed through the pages and located Tuesday the 15th of August. "Hang on, I've written something there." He squinted. "I've forgotten my glasses…."
"Here, let me." Harry took the book before the Dark Lord had a chance to protest. He read the neat, handwritten lines of text. "Fruit, socks, detergent, snake treats, eggs - "
Voldemort reddened and snatched the diary back. He turned the page hastily. "How about 12 noon? I've got a dentist appointment at 10.40 in the morning but I should be done by then."
Harry raised his eyebrows.
"My wisdom teeth have been playing up," Voldemort explained.
All of a sudden, Petunia appeared with three steaming mugs. "Tea?" She took care to brush the Dark Lord's fingers a little when she handed him his mug.
Harry looked a little closer at his Aunt. She seemed to have changed slightly since she had left the room. Was that lipstick?
As the minutes went by, mugs of tea soon turned into Gin-and-tonics, which soon progressed to glasses of wine.
Harry pursed his lips whilst the two giggling adults behaved despicably. You-Know-Who suddenly turned to Harry, looking rather green. "Er…. Could you tell me where the bathroom is?"
Harry raised an eyebrow in annoyance. "Why don't you ask your new best friend?" He indicated Petunia, who was too far-gone to stand.
Voldemort frowned at Harry's rudeness and lunged towards him. Although he was clearly in no state to use magic, he suddenly saw his chance. He grasped the wand that was poking out of the Gryffindor's pocket and pointed it at him.
He cleared his throat.
"Avdakoko - " No, that wasn't right….
"Avadako - " Better….
"AVOCADO KEDAVRA!" A jet of green light hit Voldemort squarely on the forehead. In his haste to finish Harry off, he hadn't noticed that he had been holding the wand backwards.
His head promptly turned into an avocado pear.
They both stood in complete shock for ten whole minutes.
Well, Voldemort finally decided. There was only one thing left to do.
He took out his diary.
And crossed out the word fruit on his shopping list.
Thank you for reading this!
'You ought to get out of those wet clothes and into a dry Martini,' is a Mae West quote!