Disclaimer: See? I'm back! Not JK Rowling, not compatible with the universe set by JK Rowling (in certain respects, at least), yadda yadda yadda.

I will be away these next two weeks, but I will write by hand on the plane, so as to simply type everything up by the time I'm home again, once things at school settle down.

I SAW HBP. It's sad that Harry and Hermione have so much more chemistry than Harry and Ginny. The scene where Harry is comforting Hermione? Is beautiful. Gah.

Also: thanks for the positive response after the new chapter. I love hearing from you, and if there's something wrong, or something you need more of, or something you just really liked, please tell me so that I can add more of what you want. Thanks!

Aunt Marge was very large. Harry said this little rhyme under his breath to keep himself under control while she sauntered around the Dursleys' house. Aunt Marge was very large; she was almost as large as a barge. Harry laughed out loud at that particular addition to his ditty which caused a round of severe questioning about the state of his mental health.

"Laughing to himself," said Marge. "Sure sign of insanity!"

Harry gritted his teeth, and repeated the rhyme, turning his back on the woman he called Aunt.

James was gearing up, as though a professional boxer.

"You look positively ferocious," said Lily, rolling her eyes as her husband bounced up and down, punching the air around Marge. "Honestly, darling."

Marge was really not a very smart character at all, and she continued on to insult Harry's parents. Lily and James were not entirely affected by this – well, that's not exactly true: James reacted rather badly to Marge calling Lily a bitch. It was extraordinarily lucky for Marge at that point that James was not in any state to hurt her.
Although, Harry was, and it ended rather badly for Marge.

Harry whipped around, yelling, "SHUT UP! JUST SHUP UP!"

The lights started to flicker around him, and the chandelier above the table tinkled as the glass pieces bounced off of the others. The glass exploded in Marge's hand, sending shards of glass and drops of blood-like liquid spraying at her face.

"Foreshadowing!" sang James delightedly.

"Oh no," said Lily. "Harry – Harry, sweetheart you must control yourself. Harry - !"
James added nothing to his wife's plea, he was rather interested in seeing Harry's magic explode in some way or another.

In the end, Marge didn't actually explode. That would have been very satisfying to see, although potentially traumatic for Harry to endure, so the fact that he simply blew up his Aunt in the fashion of a big balloon was good enough.

Everyone watched in fascination as the pearls suddenly popped from around her neck and the buttons flew off her clothing, unable to contain the expanding flesh. James was on the ground he was laughing so hard, and Lily was doubled over entirely.

"I never liked her," she finally managed, as Marge drifted off into the sky, Vernon screeching at her from his knees.

"Looks as though he's praying," remarked Lily.

"Yes," agreed James, wiping away tears of mirth from his eyes, "I'm sure he is imploring that Jesus deliver her from this world. I should personally like to thank Him if He does." And with that, James pretended to pull out a handkerchief and wave it solemnly to the sky at the retreating from of Aunt Marge. Lily, at that point, lost any semblance of self-control and let herself be engulfed by laughter and her husband continued waving morosely at the sky.


Upstairs, after they had calmed down, they found Harry kicking at his bedside table. He put his head in his hands and stared at the two pictures on his bedside table. One was of Lily and James themselves, dancing in the autumn breeze, leaves wafting around their feet. It was a lovely picture.

The one beside it was of Harry, Hermione and Ron throwing leaves at each other, Ron stuffing leaves down Harry's back and Harry messing up Hermione's hair, both of them looking at each other from time to time, grinning. Lily loved both pictures, but spent most of her time looking at the one of her son.

Harry stared at the pictures and then made up his mind. He needed out. He couldn't stay with the Dursleys for any longer, at least for this summer. He grabbed all his things and packed his trunk, slamming it closed and clomping down the stairs.

"WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING?" roared Vernon Dursley. Before he could say a word more, Harry pulled out his wand, Vernon immediately tripping backwards with a whimper.

"You can't do magic out of school," he stammered. Harry shot him a murderous glance.

"Oh yeah? In case you haven't noticed, I've already blown up my aunt. I really can't imagine them being altogether anxious about me hexing the rest of the family."

He pushed past his uncle. "I'm not coming back," he said as he slammed the door behind him.

James and Lily followed, a little bit in awe of their son, but also a tad fearful of the night that their son was venturing into. He wasn't in London and couldn't get to the Leaky Cauldron or the Burrow without help. He wandered around for a while before sitting down a street corner.

"Well look at that," said Lily with a smile, looking up at the lamppost. "Harry's found a Knight Bus stop! Oh, thank goodness."

James nodded, and sat down next to his son. "Well done, Harry. I have never seen Vernon's face turn quite so purple, which is unbelievable even to me, brilliant work."

Harry, who hadn't heard these comforting words, looked around him warily. Suddenly, a noise cause his attention and he started behind him, to a dew-riddled, rusty playground. Lily followed his gaze and gave a start.

"James – James look!" she said excitedly, pointing. "It's Sirius – oh! It's Sirius!"

James span around so that he became a blur.

"Look – just there." She pointed to a nearby thicket of trees, just beyond the playground.

"Sirius!" Lily started to call. "Sirius – over - !" She stopped suddenly with an impatient huff. James sighed.

"It is incredibly tedious being un-dead. Or half-alive. Whichever. I have begun to tire of it."

Lily laughed as Sirius let out growl, almost as if in agreement. Harry, however, recoiled from the sound in fear, yanking out his wand and pointing it at the dog.

"Oh no – oh no," said Lily, starting forwards. James gave Harry a very stern look.

"I would appreciate it," he said pointedly, "if you didn't jinx, hex, curse, or in any way kill my best friend. Thank you for your consideration."

Harry, of course, wasn't listening and Sirius, also deaf, growled once more.

"Oh dear," said Lily.

"Harry," said James with a sigh, "you have no idea how disappointed in you I'll be if you curse your godfather. I mean, really. He's like family. I would entirely approve of his biting you, young man, just so you know. You'll not be getting any sympathy from me, son. None. Not in the slightest.

Sirius the dog had ventured even closer to Harry, far enough out so that he was clearly visible.

"He looks horrible," breathed Lily.

James paused in his monologue to Harry long enough to scrutinize his friend and agree solemnly. He then resumed it, as his son still had not lowered his wand.

"Oh for heaven's sake," said Lily. "Ernie's late by almost ten minutes. This is ridiculous. He should've been here two minutes after Harry."

Just as she uttered the last syllable, the Knight Bus came screeching to a halt in front of Harry, causing him to lose his balance and knocking him flat on his back.

A man in need of some serious hygiene help was standing on a step. He pulled out some cue cards and began to recite a welcome speech in a tone that suggested he would rather be watching paint dry than fulfill his current job.

He glanced up to see whether his newest arrival was even bothering to listen to his speech and was rather surprised to note that there was nobody standing there. He wasn't a very bright young man and it took a few moments for him to rustle up the brain cells required to tell him to lower his gaze. He first saw the overturned luggage and then the boy sprawled out on the sidewalk, staring up at him in astonishment.

"What," asked the man with a frown, "are you doing down there?"

"What," asked James, mimicking his tone, "kind of rubbish question is that?"

Harry, clearly, agreed with his father, which was evident in the irritated, slightly defensive tone he used to say, "I fell."

Stan Shunpike, apparently, had used up his available supply of brain power for the day and asked, "Well, what did you do that for?"

Harry, James and Lily stared at him incredulously.

"Bloody Hell," said James. "I swear, they're getting stupider by the second."

Lily could not for life of her comprehend such stupidity and she had absolutely nothing to say to this excessive lack of intelligence.

"D'you think I fell on purpose?" asked Harry with an attitude that normally Lily would have reprimanded him for, but here felt it wholly applicable.

Stan, incapable of the extreme mental gymnastic ability required to process Harry's sarcasm, was left with nothing to do but usher him onto the bus. He showed Harry to the bed right next to his post, wanting to keep an eye on his sarcastic teenaged friend. Casting Harry a wary glance, he pulled out a newspaper and opened it noisily.

"There's no way," said James incredulously, "that that man can read. There's just no way."

"No darling," said Lily, "he's just looking at the pictures. They move, see? Gives him mental stimulation."

James laughed as Ernie stomped on the brakes, sending an unsuspecting Harry flying into a window, which made James laugh even harder.

While his face was smashed up against the glass, Harry caught sight of a picture of a man who appeared to be hollering something unpleasant.

James pointed at the picture. "Great mug shot Sirius's got there. Looks like he's singing opera."

Lily started to laugh. She knew that Sirius had not killed all the people (they had watched the entire scene from above and they knew all about Peter Pettigrew). She also knew that he would be very difficult to catch on account of his being an unregistered Animagus. She still feared for her friend, but knew that he probably wouldn't be caught.

Harry of course – to James and Lily's supreme and inevitable annoyance – was filled in, by Stan, the incorrect version of events concerning Sirius Black.

"Please don't listen to the man who can't read, Harry," said James. "It's really inadvisable to do so. Really, I would suggest keeping a distance of thirty feet from any human with intelligence inferior to that of an acorn."

"Shall I back up, then?" asked Lily wickedly, grinning at her husband.

"I think we all should," James started to say before he realized that she had been referring to him. He opened his mouth to say something clever – hopefully – but the bus then came to a screeching halt just outside of the Leaky Cauldron.

Harry breathed a sigh of relief, echoed by his parents'.

"Now then," said James, "first we now know NEVER TO TRUST PUBLIC TRANSPORT. Second, let's go see what Fudge has to say about Harry's blowing up his aunt. I'm sure everyone's just thrilled."

"You don't suppose he'll be expelled?" asked Lily with a gasp.

"Oh no, darling – he's far too valuable. I guarantee it. Fudge will come up with some ridiculous reason why they won't expel him and they'll tell him not to wander the shabbier areas of Diagon Alley. That'll be it."

"And you know this how?" asked Lily, raising an eyebrow.

"Well, I didn't blow up my aunt, if that's what you're asking. I was rather fond of my aunts, actually…"

Lily laughed as they walked into the Leaky Cauldron just behind Harry and Ton, hearing the Knight bus set off with a bang.

Tom led the three up the stairs after having whisked away all of Harry's belongings. He led to a large, elaborate wooden door, clearly one of the nicest rooms available.

"Minister wishes to see you," said Tom bowing, and then rather shoved Harry into the room.

He found Cornelius Fudge sitting behind a massive desk. He grinned as Harry stumbled into the room.

"Harry!" he exclaimed jovially. "Our star pupil! You must be excited for the new year, eh? I've taken the liberty of sending for your books already…I hope you don't mind…"

Harry stared at Fudge in astonishment.

"You mean…" said Harry, with slight trepidation, "I'm not going to be expelled?"

Fudge looked up at him with a bemused smile. "Goodness gracious, my dear boy, of course not! We don't expel people for blowing up their aunts!"

"Actually," interjected James, "they do. Generally. But don't worry, Harry. You'll have to do something truly terrible before they throw you out – trust me."

"Just promise me," said Fudge, serious for a moment, "that you'll stay in Diagon Alley, close to the main street if possible. Don't go wandering off. Now – that will be all. Off to bed with you!"

Harry, elated and with a much lighter heart than he'd had while entering the pub, grinned to himself and took the stairs leading to his room two at a time.


Harry woke to the sound of bickering that was punctuated by the occasional hiss. He heard a voice he knew very well raised and irritated. He dressed as fast as he could, trying to fit his shirt over his legs in his haste.

James stared at his son. "What's gotten into you?"

"Hermione's downstairs," said Lily idly, not looking up from the book she was perusing. "She's with Ron. Can't you hear them fighting?

But even before Lily had finished filling in James, Harry had already ungracefully barrelled through the door and jumped down most of the stairs (very nearly landing on some poor old witch in the process).

He arrived on the landing, Lily and James just behind him, to see Ron holding his rat rather protectively. He was glaring at a girl who was standing opposite of him. She had a very large, very fluffy orange cat.

"I don't believe Harry will have ever seen Hermione in jeans," remarked Lily, tilting her head.

James looked at her.

"What?" he said, rather ineloquently. "Where's Hermione?"

Just then, Ron finally apprehended Harry, and the furious expression on his face melted away.

The girl opposite Ron whirled around, a smile transfiguring her angry features. She clutched at her cat in delight.

"Harry!" she exclaimed happily.

Harry raised his eyebrows, opening his mouth to say something, but just smiling at her instead.

"She cut her hair!" said James, regarding the pretty curls grazing the tops of her delicate shoulders. "She's wearing jeans! She looks…she looks…"

James, apparently, did not have the words to describe this transformation in the girl he had come to view as a daughter. His little girl was growing up. Her hair was cut more or less fashionably, by muggle standards at the very least, and the jeans and sweater hugged new curves.

"The heroine got gorgeous," said James finally.

"Heroine indeed," said Lily with a smile.