Hmm, here's a new idea I've not seen yet, well, that didn't involve High Elves...
Disclaimer: Don't own Harry Potter, give it up lawyers of J.K. Rowling, you're not gonna make her richer today!
Summary: It's the summer of Harry's fourth year, going into year five. When Uncle Vernon freaks out on him for hiding in the bushes for listening to the news, Harry books it and lands up at Number 2 for a surprise.
"Put it away!" Uncle Vernon hissed, jerking Harry's arm as he tried to make the black-haired teen hide his wand. Harry quickly stashed his wand away in his trousers, minding his uncle's beefy hands.
"Alright, alright!" he said, annoyed. "I was just trying to listen in on the news."
Vernon's face turned puce. "And why would you want anything to do with perfectly normal news on the telly?" he snarled. "Beat it, and I don't want to see you until bed time!"
Harry was forced to retreat from his own home, and dejectedly began to walk up Privet Drive, wondering what to do. He shoved his hands into his pockets and kicked a nearby soda can, watching it clatter to the curb of Number Two. Its owner - a fair woman in her forrties - was just heading out her front door and she raised an eyebrow at him.
"Sorry about that," Harry apologized quickly, rushing over to pick up the offending can. "I'm not having a great day."
"You're that Potter boy, aren't you?" Ms. Number Four asked curiously. She was toting a large duffle bag in the shape of a crescent moon. It was quite fat. "Come here, boy."
Harry reluctantly made his way up her driveway, minding the late-model Aston Martin that was parked there. He knew nothing about cars, but it looked very aggressive looking and had the name "V8 Vantage" on one side of the boot, and "Supercharged 550" on the other. It was a sleek dark grey in color. He stopped in front of the older woman, who scrutinized him.
"You don't look like a criminal," she finally announced after several moments, surprising the boy. "In fact, that piggy cousin of yours is more a ruffian than anyone else I know! Tell me, you don't go to St. Brute's, do you?"
Harry fidgeted. "Er, no ma'am, I go to a boarding school that my parents attended up north," he answered nervously.
She 'tch'ed. "That sounds about right," she said with a nod. "So Potter, what are you doing today, other than kicking soda cans around?"
"Just going for a walk?"
She waved her hand, the one that wasn't carrying what appeared to be a heavy bag. "Youth these days," she lamented, "Don't do much other than lollygag about and cause mischief! You shall come with me Mr. Potter, and maybe learn something!"
She began to usher him towards the car, ignoring his protests of "I'm fine, really!"
Fifteen minutes later, she and Harry were cruising along the motorway, heading for some country club.
"My name is Elizabeth Cooper," she introduced herself. "I moved onto Privet Drive quite a while before your relatives did, though I don't go out much. I'm divorced, with no children sadly. However, I'm also a lawyer, and a bloody good one at that since that no-good husband of mine is probably rotting away on the streets right now."
Harry nodded and gave a half-hearted smile at her story. "Well, my full name is Harry James Potter, and as you know, I live with my relatives," he said, trying to make conversation.
"An odd lot, those Dursleys," she commented, and Harry grinned.
"My parents were killed when I was younger," Harry said with a frown. "Since then, I've been stuck with the Dursleys."
"You poor boy," Ms. Cooper said genuinely, and Harry laughed. "Listen Harry, we are going to an archery club, do you know what that is?"
Harry scratched his head. "A club where you... shoot arrows?" he asked lamely.
Ms. Cooper laughed genially. "Well, I suppose that's the gist of it," she chuckled, pulling into a long gravel driveway. "Here we are, welcome to Nookingtons!"
Nookinton's Archery Club was very large and fancy-looking. Harry felt that he looked very out of place with his hand-me-down clothes from Dudley, and he walked behind Ms. Cooper slowly as he carried her heavy bag. She flashed her membership card at the receptionist, and paid for Harry's fee despite his protest.
"Nonsense," was all she said as they entered the locker room. "I've simply too much money to waste on myself, and you may as well learn something today Harry."
He was quickly shown to a gent's changeroom, where he was handed some sporty-looking clothes by an attendent. They consisted of a white sport tee with Umbro shorts. He was also given tennis shoes as well, and felt rather spiffy in them.
Harry exited the changeroom to see Ms. Cooper dressed in a similar garb, except that she understandably wore a skirt instead of shorts. She had her bag with her, and they were led to a private shooting range. Harry sat down on a nearby bench as Ms. Cooper unzipped her bag and pulled out what looked like a dissassembled bow. The attendents went to set up targets in the distance.
"This is a traditional recurve bow Harry," Ms. Cooper explained as she fit the arms to the grip and tightened the bolts with practiced ease. "Much less complex than those fancy compound bows, no finicky parts to worry about and easy to take care of."
She finished assembling it and Harry looked at the bow in awe. It was made out of some sort of high quality polished wood, and the grip was contoured and curved to fit Ms. Cooper's hand. The upper and lower arms were made out of some sort of black material, and looked very flexible. The bowstring also had a thicker area near the center, and Harry supposed that that was where the arrow went.
"This is a PSE Impala bow," Ms. Cooper explained, checking her bow to make sure everything was okay. She drew the string back and gently let it back forward. "It is sixty inches long, with a brace height of seven. The draw weight (how much weight on the string) is set to 35 pounds. Are you with me so far?"
"Yes ma'am," Harry answered, intrigued.
She nodded briskly, setting the bow down in Harry's hands for him to see it. He ran his hands over it softly, marveling at its beauty. She quickly strapped a belt on her waist, which held a quiver pack on her right side. She then strapped an arm guard on her right forearm, and some sort of glove-like clip on her right hand. She took a handful of arrows out from a pouch in her bag and put them in the quiver. Reaching out, she accepted her bow from Harry and walked onto the range. Harry followed her.
"Those targets are about fifty feet away Harry," she said, pointing to the three targets on the range. "Luckily, there is no wind today, no doubt due to the high heat, so I won't have to compensate for it. Watch carefully Mr. Potter."
She drew an arrow from her hip quiver and notched it on the bowstring. The arrow had a simple metal pointed tip, and looked to be made out of the same black material the arms on the bow were made out of.
"Legs shoulder width apart, arms taut," Ms. Cooper said, taking a shooting stance. "Draw your arm back slowly, no need to rush it... Squeeze your back muscles and... There!"
She let loose her arrow and it flew off, the bowstring making a quiet snap as it did so. The arrow thunk'd! into the wooden target a few inches shy of the bullseye. She shrugged, and turned to Harry. "Did you get that?" she asked.
"Yes ma'am!" Harry said with a grin. He decided that he liked archery very much. He was very surprised when Ms. Cooper dropped the bow into his hands. "Er, Ms. Cooper?"
"Well, go on!" she said irritably, pushing him onto the range. "Remember what I told you, and don't mess it up, I'd hate to pay for damage fees! Here, take an arrow!"
Harry nervously notched the arrow on the bowstring as he had seen Ms. Cooper do and pulled it back, gripping the arrowtail tightly. He tried to accomplish the 'shoulder squeeze' as she had described, but didn't know if he did it successfully or not. Aiming was also hard as well. Was he supposed to use that crosshair-like thingy on the bowgrip, or look down the arrow shaft? The crosshair looked confusing, for it had 5 points instead of one!
"You may look down the shaft of the arrow if you'd like," Ms. Cooper called from behind him. "Or, if you would prefer better accuracy, use the sight. Each point denotes range you see. If you look closely, you'll see numbers."
Harry squinted (wearing glasses while using a bow was hard) and could see green numbers that went from 0-150 in denominations of 25 feet. So, he would have to aim with the third point then? Harry raised the bow up slightly and made sure the very tip of the point was on the bullseye of the middle target. He took a deep breath, held it and let go.
"Bravo Harry, bravo!" Ms. Cooper cheered, clapping as she walked up to his side. Harry let the bow down with a deep breath. It was exhilirating! He was patted on the shoulder by Ms. Cooper.
"Not a bad shot for a first timer my boy!" she said. "You got it in the middle ring, but dead on with the bullseye height! You twisted your grip on the bow at the last moment, that was probably why, and your draw was a bit longer than mine, but good job nonetheless!"
"That was brilliant!" Harry said with a grin. "I can see why you like this!"
Ms. Cooper smiled down at him. "Archery is such an art," she fawned. "I'm sure you'd love it! Come now, let me teach you the basics, it's only two in the afternoon after all!"
"Where have you been boy?" Vernon asked as Harry dragged himself in the front door with a silly grin on his face. Ms. Cooper had worked him ragged for a few hours, and his arms felt like noodles. "It's half-past ten!"
"Sorry Uncle Vernon," Harry apologized lightly. "Ms. Cooper from Number Two insisted that I spend the day with her."
"Cooper eh?" Vernon asked. "The lawyer woman?"
"That's right Vernon dear," Aunt Petunia called from the living room. "She's a lovely lady, quite sophisticated. If she wants to spend time with the boy, then let him be!"
"Very well then," Vernon said brusquely. "Listen here Potter, if spending time with that old lady keeps you out of trouble and especially keeps you normal then I'm all for it!"
He took his wallet out and gave Harry two five pound notes. "And I don't want you taking advantage of Ms. Cooper's generosity!" he snarled. "If you go out for tea with her, you'd better bloody well buy your own, got it?"
Harry could hardly believe his ears. "Yes, crystal," he answered, before dashing upstairs to his room.
Hedwig gave him a happy hoot as he closed the door, and he set the pound notes on his desk before grabbing some parchment and ink. His friends, Ron and Hermione hadn't written him at all this summer, but he sent some letters to them anyways. He quickly wrote off two short letters, which he gave to Hedwig before sending her out for the night. He quickly undressed down to his boxers and jumped into his ratty bed. Ms. Cooper wanted him to go shopping with her in London tomorrow at ten AM sharp, so he would need his sleep.
"So what are you buying today?" Harry asked as the Vantage snaked past slow-moving Volvos and Fiats easily. "Groceries?" He had gone grocery shopping with his Aunt Petunia a few times when he was younger.
"Something... better," was all she said, and then it was a pleasently quiet trip thereafter.
They arrived at a normal-looking shopping strip, where Harry was amused by the store sign, Merlin Archery Equipment. It was quite hilarious to the young wizard. They stepped out, and Harry dutifully followed the older woman, thinking that she was buying some parts for her bow, or maybe more arrows. The inside of the shop was quite nicely organized, and clean. They walked up to a jolly-looking fellow who had greying hairs on his head.
"'Ello Lizzy, wot can I do for you today?" the man asked jovially.
"Hello Tom, Mr. Potter here needs his first bow," she replied primly, and Harry did a double take.
"Ms. Cooper, what -"
"Hush Harry, the grown-ups are talking."
Harry's mouth snapped shut at the reprimand as he began to watch Ms. Cooper and Tom, the owner argue about proper bows and accessories.
"Since he's a starter, we don't want to get him anything too fancy," Tom argued. "A PSE like yours, but maybe a lower model would be a fine choice, or maybe a -"
"Nonsense, Potter's a natural with a bow!" Ms. Cooper argued. "Get him a Hoyt, you can't go wrong with one of those!"
Tom rubbed his chin. "They're very advanced bows Lizzy," he said sagely. He gave Harry a quick look. "I'm not sure if he can handle one."
"Well then pick one off the bloody rack and let him have a go with it!" Ms. Cooper retorted. Tom chuckled with a shake of his head and went into the backroom for a few minutes.
Harry decided that now was a good time to speak up. "Um, Ms. Cooper, you don't have to buy me a bow, I don't want to -"
"Poppycock," she waved him off. "It's my money, and I shall do whatever I wish with it! Besides, a shooting partner sounds very nice! Ah, there you are Tom!"
Tom came back out with two bows in his hands, both looking to be made out of something plastic-like. One was a deep blue and the other glossy black. Tom set them on the glass counter and they peered at them.
"These are the new Hoyt models," he explained. "That blue one there is the Helix, and the black 'un is a custom model I designed."
The blue Helix itself looked quite impressive, with a hollow-design in the grip, but it looked incredibly sturdy. It was a very attractive bow.
"Both are recurve bows of course," Tom continued. "The grips are made out of carbon fibre, as are the risers, aka arms. However, the custom black model features three stabilizer weights, which you can spot right away no doubt."
Indeed, the black one had three cylinders affixed to the grip. One was very skinny and long, measuring about 1cmX40cm. It was directly where an arrow shaft would hover beside the grip. The other two were fatter and shorter, each being about 4cmX10cm. They were also on the grip, but went diagonally out, down and backwards from their attachments.
"Those help your bow keep steady while aiming and firing," Tom explained to Harry. "They also look damned nice too."
Harry was hard-pressed to disagree.
"Now, this black un's got a custom sight on it as well, using some new fibre-optic crosshairs," Tom announced, holding the bow up. "See that?"
Indeed, Harry could see a large round sight on the grip, which Tom explained was a 'holosight'. It used beams of sunlight, or any light to light up the crosshair tips so that you could aim much easily with it. It was ranged for 25-250 feet.
Tom set the black bow down, noticing Harry's eager look. "Now, this is not a bow for amatuers, or beginners," he said sternly, ignoring Ms. Cooper's huff. "The draw pull on it is adjustable from 26-48 inches, which should be fine for you, but the pull weight is a very heavy sixty pounds."
"That is quite a bit," Ms. Cooper mused. "Oh well, Potter looks like a strong lad, he can handle it. We'll take it!"
"Wait, what?!" Harry choked. Tom shook his head and grabbed the bow.
"I'll go pack it up then," he called over his shoulder. "Give me a minute."
"Ms. Cooper, honestly, I don't -"
"Ta ta, Mr. Potter!" Ms. Cooper scolded. "You told me your birthday was coming up soon, so consider it my gift to you! Do you understand?"
Harry deflated. "I can't begin to thank you enough!" he sighed.
"Think nothing of it, you're a nice boy Harry, you should be spoiled rotten!"
Tom came back out and started to ring up the price. Ms. Cooper also bought Harry a hip quiver like hers, but more masculine (black to match his bow, and not so hip-hugging like a womans') and a bow holster that would fit on the rear of his waist. Since this bow was customized, it actually had a lever that made it fold up completely, making transportation very quick and easy. The folded end product would slide into a leather holster on the back of Harry's belt. Harry also ended up getting several types of arrows, ranging from wood to carbon fibre, to see what he liked. He also picked out a sporty carry bag that would carry the bow, three dozen arrows no longer than fifty inches, a case of tools and his arm gear that he also picked out. The total price was something Harry dreaded to look at, and he was pretty sure he heard 'something thousand' in there.
They quickly visited the club afterwards, where harry was familiarized with his new bow. True to Tom's word, the draw pull was very heavy, but Harry managed to get it done after a few dozen tries. The velocity of which his arrows flew far exceeded Ms. Cooper's Impala, which was made for sport shooting. Harry could have hunted with his bow if he wanted to. The speeds of which his arrows flew were chronographed at flying in excess of 600 feet per second! It was practically a firearm!
"Don't tell anyone about that certain fact," Ms. Cooper had warned him later that evening. "Don't want to get in trouble, eh?"
Harry waved goodbye to a happy Elizabeth Cooper at nine in the evening, and trudged up the driveway of Number Four, carrying his bowbag on his back easily. Though his arms and shoulders were quite sore, Harry felt very exhilirated. Who knew that archery was so fun? Harry went to bed smiling that night, and didn't even write a letter to his friends.
It was several evenings later (nearning Harry's birthday) when Harry was returning from where Ms. Cooper had dropped him off. She had explained that she had forgotten to do something nearby, so she had dropped Harry off on Magnolia Crescent with apologies before speeding off, but not before reminding him of the small tournament that they were attending in August. So, Harry was walking down the street when he noticed Dudley walking home through the small tunnel that led into Privet Drive.
His cousin turned around and gave a surprised look at seeing Harry around this place at night. "What do you want, Harry?" he asked annoyedly.
Harry caught up to his porky cousin easily and they walked together through the tunnel. "Just thought I'd walk with you home," he said.
"Whatever. What's in the bag?" Dudley eyed the sports bag curiously. Since Harry wasn't around much for Dudley and his gang to bully, he had softened up on his cousin, so to speak.
"Oh, my - er - bow," Harry replied, hefting the bag slightly. Dudley's eyes went wide.
"Cool, you've got a bow?" he asked. "What about your freaky magic wand?"
Harry raised his shirt up to show his wand, which was holstered through his belt loop. "Still got it here," he answered, mentally snickering when Dudley inched away a bit.
"Oh, that's a shame," his cousin said offhandedly. "So you took up shooting arrows huh?"
"Yessiree," Harry said. "It's quite fun actually, and - whoa, what's that?"
Both boys had stopped due to the sudden cold that permeated through the tunnel. Dudley began to shiver as the tunnel walls began to frost over, and Harry began to feel terrible. He looked behind them and gasped. A dementor was currently closing in on them from the other end of the tunnel!
"Dudley, run!" Harry shouted, pushing his cousin to move quickly.
"What's going on?" Dudley cried, stumbling as they ran. "Why's it so cold? Are you doing magic?!"
"No, it's not me, it's a - a magical monster, run!" Harry tried to explain. Well, that got his oafish cousin going. The fatter boy picked up the pace, actually leaving Harry behind in his dust, if such a thing were possible. Harry began to feel the effects of the Dementor as he began to hear his mother's screams in his mind, and began to see Cedric's lifeless eyes... He fumbled for his wand.
He felt a large hand grab his own. Startled, Harry looked up to see Dudley dragging him by the arm.
"You can't do your magic outside of school!" Dudley yelled, dragging his thin cousin. "You'll get kicked out, and then dad will have to deal with you all year long! Can't you use your bow?!"
My bow? Harry thought. He quickly swung his bag around and unzipped it, yanking his bow out. He pressed the release lever, and with a flick, his bow snapped into shape. Acting quicking since the Dementor was almost exiting the tunnel (he and Dudley were now on Privet Drive) Harry grabbed a carbon fibre arrow and notched it rapidly, taking a deep breath. He drrew back, squeezed his back muscles and aimed at the Dementor's head. He let the arrow fly.
The Dementor shrieked as the arrow impacted, making its head snap back from the force of the blow. It continued shrieking, but continued to float towards the boys, albiet more painfully. Dudley gripped Harry's shirt tightly, pleading for his cousin to kill the invisible monster. Harry grabbed another arrow in his bag, not caring what it was and notched it. The arrow was wooden, in fact, it reminded him slightly of his wand...
"Oh bleeding hell, why not?" Harry grunted, drawing back. "Er, Expecto Patronum!"
He totally did not expect the silver arrowhead to glow - well, silver - as he let it loose, hitting the Dementor in the chest. This time, its screams were even more agonizing, and it flew away almost instantly, making the area around them warm up significantly. Winded, Harry let his bow fall to his side, and he activated the lever, making it fold up. He and his cousin collapsed to the ground, and sat there for quite a long time.
About an hour later, Dudley whispered, "Are we safe now?"
Harry nodded tiredly. "Yeah, yeah, we're safe now," he croaked.
"Don't mention it."
It was only until they had returned home (to Dudley's parents' fussing) and Harry was in bed that he realized that a ministry owl never came to punish him for underage magic. It was something he filed away for the next day.