Harry slowly stood up, his body weakly shaking from the after-effects of nearly dying. He picked up the diary of Tom Riddle with his left hand, and his wand with his right. After pulling the sword from the mouth of the basilisk, he heard a moan. It was, he thought, the most beautiful sound in the world.
He ran across the chamber, and, dropping everything, collapsed on his knees beside the petite red-head. She was stirring now. He wrapped his left arm around her shoulders and gently lifted her so she was sitting with her right side braced against his chest.
Ginny looked around the room in a daze. She saw the dead snake, the phoenix, the bloody sword, and the burnt diary. She slowly looked up into Harry's eyes, and blinked uncomprehendingly. "H-Harry?" she murmured as tears began to pour down her face. "I-I tried t-to tell you at breakfast…but…I just couldn't s-say it in front of P-Percy…I did it, H-Harry, but I didn't m-mean to…I c-could see and feel everything b-but I couldn't make myself stop…it was R-Riddle…he was trying t-to take over my body…I swear I fought him…but w-were is he?"
Harry held her close and rubbed her back as she cried out a confession. "Riddle is gone, Ginny. He's dead, and cannot harm you anymore. You were really brave and strong to be fighting him all year. I'm really proud of you, Gin." He helped her stand up, and held her as she cried some more.
"Oh, Harry. I hurt people. I'm going to be expelled and taken to A-Azkaban…," her voice failed her at this point.
Harry tilted her face up and said fiercely, "I won't let them do that. If they try to expel you, then I'll quit school, and we'll learn on our own. If anyone dared try to take you to Azkaban, I would use every Knut of my parent's money to keep you out. I promise."
Ginny gave him a tiny smile, and for a brief moment hugged him. Just as they were letting go of each other…
They both staggered slightly from the force of the magic. Then everything around them faded to black as they passed out.
Ten minutes later, Harry opened his eyes, and saw red and gold. He blinked, and the red and gold became a phoenix. Fawkes was standing by his head, and looking into his eyes. Harry slowly pushed himself up into a sitting position, causing the envelope on his chest to fall.
A small moan came from beside him. Ginny slowly sat up as well; her letter falling into her lap. "Did you happen to catch the name of the hippogriff that trampled us?" she asked clutching her head.
"The name of the WHAT?" Harry asked.
"Hippogriff…it's half bird, and half horse."
Harry chuckled a little at her description, then picked up his envelope. "That's odd. This envelope has my name on it, but it looks like my handwriting."
Ginny glanced at his and picked up her own. "Harry…this envelope is addressed to me, and it is DEFINITELY my handwriting." She handed hers to Harry.
He looked them over, and cast a quick 'Finite Incantatum' on them, just in case. "I'll open mine first, Ginny. That way if there is something wrong here, you can still get help." He ripped open the seal. A newspaper clipping fell into his lap. He unfolded it, and read the article.
Ginny leaned into him to read it as well. "No-no, it couldn't be…not Charlie and Dad…not Dumbledore."
"There is definitely something strange going on here," Harry said. He pulled out the second piece of paper, and read.
This is a letter from your future self. Suffice it to say, the future is grim, which is why I rewound time. Nine friends rewound time with me. They are: Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna Lovegood, Fred, George, Remus Lupin (a friend of Dad's), and Nymphadora Tonks (Never call her anything but "Tonks" unless you want to spend the rest of your life as a goat. She is also Remus' future girlfriend.).
DON'T trust Dumbledore. He has good intentions but he really screwed up this time. Don't eat or drink anything he gives you, or anything in the Great Hall unless you know it is safe as in my timeline he spiked your food with a love potion (I will not reveal why he did so; it was just a bad decision on his part).
Later today you will see Lucius Malfoy and Dobby. Dobby is to Malfoy what you are to the Dursleys. You're going to free Dobby. When you do, bind him to you as your elf. Ask him to pretend to be a "free" elf, and have him ask Dumbledore for a job at Hogwarts. Dumbledore will agree and Dobby can guarantee that your food and drink are untainted.
Voldemort found you when you were a baby because Mum and Dad were betrayed by a friend. You were under the Fidelius Charm. That is when a secret is stored within a living soul. The Secret Keeper is the only one who could say what the secret is. Even if someone else knew it, they could tell no one. Everyone believed that Dad's best friend, Sirius Black was the Secret Keeper. But Sirius believed that he was too obvious, and he should instead be a decoy for Voldemort to go after, thereby keeping the true Secret Keeper safe. The true Secret Keeper was, unfortunately, Voldemort's spy. His name was Peter Pettigrew, and is an unregistered rat animagus. Everyone now believes that Sirius killed him during a confrontation the day after Voldemort disappeared. This is not true. Sirius did intend to murder the man who betrayed his best friend, but Pettigrew faked his death. He accused Sirius of betraying your parents, cut off a finger then blew a hole in the street and escaped into the sewers. He now lives as Scabbers.
Sirius is in Azkaban, the wizard prison, right now, and never got a trial. He is also your godfather; if he is freed, he will have the right to remove you from the Dursleys.
Tell Dumbledore your suspicions. Tell him that it's a little odd that all that was left of Pettigrew was a finger, when in a normal explosion lots of body parts would be found. Then show him Scabbers' missing toe. Tell him that after you saw McGonagall transform into a cat the first time, you researched animagi. The Ministry of Magic has a list of all known animagi. People are supposed to tell the Ministry when they begin the animagi process, but there is no way to be certain that everyone did. Pettigrew kept it a secret and that is why no one has suspected him before. Ask Dumbledore to perform the spell that forcibly returns an animagus to human form. This will not do anything to a real rat.
To make Dumbledore believe you about Scabbers, bring Fred, George and the 'Marauders Map' along (they have it and can tell you what it does). Incidentally, Dad is one of the creators of the map; he is Prongs.
Contact Remus Lupin (he rewound time with you), and show him this letter. He can help teach you defense. Also, ask Remus about the Marauders, specifically Dad.
Buy a wand holster, it could save your life; and never go anywhere without your wand.
No matter what you think, Snape is on your side. He was friends with Mum, and when he found out that Voldemort was going after us, he turned his back on the Death Eater life (DEs are Voldemort's followers, and yes, he was once one). Ask him what Mum was like in school, and always show him respect. Study Potions as though your life depended on it, it will help earn his respect. If necessary, remind him that you are not Dad (ask Remus about this).
Get Percy to lighten up. And, if in your fourth year, Mad-Eye Moody comes to teach at Hogwarts, make sure that he didn't attack his dustbins. If he did, then you need to show Dumbledore the 'Marauders Map', as his name will not show up on it. Suggest that the impersonator used Polyjuice. Be sure to find out IMMEDIATELY. It is life-and-death.
Watch out for Dolores Umbridge (she works at the Ministry of Magic). She is evil and will try to get you expelled. Check her left forearm for the Dark Mark (Voldemort's sign). If you don't get rid of her, chances are that she will try to interfere at Hogwarts, and cause a lot of problems for you.
Rita Skeeter, a reporter for the Daily Prophet, is an unregistered beetle animagus. Don't turn her in, or even tell her that you know. Instead offer her a deal: she only writes the truth about you, and she will be the only reporter you ever talk to. Get her to investigate Fudge. He's truly incompetent. See if you can't replace him with someone like Madam Bones (Susan's aunt).
The reason Voldemort went after you is this. There is a prophecy made about you, Voldie, and a girl: 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 the 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...This Power shall be his love…She will be one of seven, yet the only one…Faithful when others doubt, Faithful when faith is torture…She shall be the only one to know his pain…Bound by their love, Their love will save all…The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies. Mum and Dad defied Voldemort three times. You were born on July 31. He marked you with your scar. Your power is obviously a girl. You can figure out who she is for yourself. Also, the reason Voldemort is still alive is because he created several Horcruxes. The diary is one. When a person murders someone else, their soul splits, that piece can be captured in an object using a spell. That is a Horcrux. He probably has several, possibly six according to the Dumbledore of my time. They are probably valuable objects, as he wouldn't want them to be accidentally destroyed.
You need to start learning about Voldemort's life in order to know how to defeat him.
Start training! Remus can help, for that matter, so can Snape. Snape can teach you Occlumency and Legilimency, just be sure to remind him that you are not James Potter. If necessary, stick some memories of the Dursleys in a pensieve and shove his nose in it. Learn about the magical government, how to become an animagus, apparate (even though it's illegal until you are of age, it could save your life to be able to get out of somewhere fast), martial arts (see Tonks), fencing (ask Remus. With Gryffindor's sword, as his heir you own it), and how to conjure a Patronus. When you train it is imperative that you train with the friends that I already mentioned. Also for third year, you must take Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, and Care of Magical Creatures.
Also, you have THREE vaults in Gringotts: your trust fund vault, the Potter Family vault, and Gryffindor's vault. Go there this summer. Mum and Dad left a letter for you. Talk to Griphook about your properties, and your vaults.
Voldemort will try to use your scar connection as a way to trick you, or possess you. Don't believe any visions that he sends you.
Voldemort wants to know the prophecy; so, go to the Ministry of Magic and get their copy of it, and smash it. It's a fake anyway. Tell Dumbledore after it's done so that he won't needlessly send people to guard it.
Well, I guess that's it.
PS. Get to know Ginny. She's really amazing.
"Okay…this letter is strange. Something about that prophecy sounds familiar. Hmm… 'one of seven, yet the only one…Faithful when others doubt, Faithful when faith is torture…She shall be the only one to know his pain'. Erm…Ginny…I think you're the girl in the prophecy," Harry said.
"Why do you think that?"
Harry looked dazed, "Your parents have seven children, but you are the only girl. That's the 'one of seven, yet the only one'. 'Faithful when others doubt, Faithful when faith is torture' probably is because you trusted me to help you. And, I think that everything you went through fighting Tom is what the line 'She shall be the only one to know his pain' means."
Ginny stared at him. "But it also says 'Bound by their love, Their love will save all'. You don't love me, Harry," she finished rather glumly.
He turned to her in shock. "When did I ever say that I didn't love you?"
"You didn't have to say it, Harry. It's kind of obvious."
"Or maybe you just misinterpreted my reactions."
"W-what do you mean?" she asked, hardly daring to hope.
Harry sighed, and took both of her hands in his. "Ginny, you have to understand, I didn't exactly grow up in a caring environment. In fact," he paused, steeling himself for her reaction, "It was the exact opposite. My family thinks I'm a freak because I can do magic. I didn't even know my name until I went to school. They only ever called me 'boy' or 'freak'. My cousin's gang would beat up anyone who tried to be nice to me; and my aunt and uncle told the neighbors that I go to a school for 'Incurably Criminal Boys'. I spent ten years of my life sleeping in the cupboard under the stairs. I was their gardener, maid, and punching bag. They told me that my parents were drunks who died in a car crash; and that I was lucky that they let me live there. I never knew what a real family was like until I met yours. I don't know what love's supposed to feel like, so I don't know if I love you; but I do care about you…more than anyone else. You are the first person to care about me. You tried to protect me from Malfoy, and Tom Riddle. I just…I just think that out of all of the girls in the world, you are the only one I would want to fall in love with." Harry was blushing brighter than any Weasley, but he refused to lower his eyes from her face.
"Oh…Oh, Harry," she cried out, throwing herself into his arms. She buried her face into his neck, and crying. She briefly noted that he smelled like any other sweaty boy, but she wouldn't give up this hug for anything. "I'll do anything to keep you from having to go back there. You deserve so much better than that."
Harry held her tightly to him as she cried. "You know, Ginny, I've only ever been hugged once before you. So…thanks."
When Ginny had more control over her emotions, she opened her own letter. Her letter pretty much told her to refer to Harry's; and it also contained a copy of the same newspaper article.
They both carefully folded their envelopes and placed them in their pockets. Harry picked up his wand, the sword, the diary, and the Sorting Hat; and they began to make their way out. Two minutes later they heard the sound of moving rock.
Harry dashed forward calling out, "Ron! Ginny's okay! I've got her!"
Ron stuck his head through the opening and called out, "Ginny!"
Harry lifted Ginny up by her legs, and Ron pulled her through the hole, saying, "You're alive! I don't believe it! What happened?"
Fawkes flew through the hole before Harry clamored up to slide through himself. Then said, "We'll explain everything later…oh…you've got a letter too." He noticed the envelope sticking out of Ron's robes.
"Erm, yeah…funny that…I sort of passed out for no reason, and when I came to, this was on my chest," Ron said, scratching his head in confusion.
"Ginny and I each have one. You should wait to open yours until we've shown you ours."
"Yeah…let's get out of here. This place gives me the creeps." Ron shuddered.
Harry grabbed half of Fawkes tail, and had Ginny stand on his feet with her arms around his neck. Lockhart grabbed the other half of the tail, and Ron hung onto his back. Fawkes took off up the tunnel and back into Myrtle's bathroom. They stood up, and as the sink moved back over the tunnel, they left the room. Fawkes led them through the castle, to Professor McGonagall's office. Harry knocked, and pushed the door open.
"Ginny!" Mr. and Mrs. Weasley cried out in surprise.
Harry only then realized that his arm was still wrapped around Ginny, and Ron was giving him a funny look. He quickly dropped his arm, blushing, and noticed that Professor Dumbledore looked very displeased for some reason.
As soon as Molly released Ginny, she wrapped Harry and Ron into her arms. "You saved her! You saved her! How did you do it?"
"I think we'd all like to know that," Professor McGonagall said weakly.
So, Harry explained everything that occurred in the Chamber, though he did leave out the part about the letters, and his feelings for Ginny. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley left immediately after he explained it, in order to take Ginny to the Hospital Wing. Ron followed behind them guiding Lockhart.
Professor Dumbledore made up an excuse to get Professor McGonagall out of the office before interrogating Harry.
Somehow, Harry managed to make it through the talk with Dumbledore none the wiser about the letters. As Harry was heading to the door to leave, Lucius Malfoy entered closely followed by none other than Dobby. It was exactly as his letter predicted.
Dobby kept pointing at the diary, then at Lucius before hitting himself on the head. Harry quickly realized what the little elf meant, and nodded at him. As Lucius left, Harry asked Dumbledore for the diary. He quickly left the office, and removed one of his socks, and stuffing the diary inside it. He caught up to Mr. Malfoy in the entrance hall, and said, "Mr. Malfoy, I've got something for you." He stuffed the sock into Malfoy's hand.
"What the…?" he muttered. Lucius removed the sock and threw it away, and gazed at the diary. He was furious.
He lunged at Harry, but Dobby, who had caught the sock, said, "You will not harm Harry Potter."
Mr. Malfoy flew across the room. "Why you little…you'll be ironing your hands for the rest of the year for that!" he yelled at Dobby.
"Dobby is free! Master gave him a sock, so he is free," Dobby said.
Lucius glared at the grinning Harry, then turned and stormed out of the castle.
"Dobby will do anything for the great Harry Potter. He has only to ask it," Dobby said, looking at Harry with adoring eyes.
"Would you like to work for me, Dobby?" Harry asked, remembering the letter.
"Dobby is honored, and binds himself to work for Master Harry and his heirs. What shall Dobby do first?" he asked.
Harry leaned down and whispered to the little elf. "I would like for you to pretend to Dumbledore that you are a free elf and ask for work. He'll probably give you a job here. I want you to do whatever he says, unless it goes against what I tell you. I need you to make sure that whatever I eat or drink here hasn't been tampered with. But you have to do it in a way that no one will notice anything out of the ordinary. Can you do that, please?"
"Dobby will do it for Master Harry."
"Good. Now I'm going to be paying you five Galleons a month…"
"No, no, sir. Dobby is not wanting any pay," the elf protested.
Harry sighed. "Dobby, I want to pay you. It isn't right for you to work for nothing. And you certainly can't go around wearing a ratty old pillowcase. As I can't give you clothes, I'm going to have to give you money, so you can buy them for yourself. See."
Dobby's eyes filled with tears. "Dobby is honored by the great Harry Potter's goodness. Dobby will accept one Galleon a month."
"Fine, but only if you take the weekends off."
"No. Dobby will only take one Sunday off in a month. You is offering too much," Dobby said firmly.
Harry decided that he would have to resign himself to that.
After Dobby disapparated, Harry joined everyone in the Great Hall for a feast that Dumbledore had mentioned in McGonagall's office.
Harry sat down between Ginny and Ron, and leaned across the table to whisper to the twins. Fred and George had both received and read their letters, and were quite willing to follow Harry's lead about the situation.
Halfway through dinner, those who were petrified came in to much applause.
Hermione ran to embrace Harry and Ron, before plopping onto the bench on Ron's other side. She had not read her letter yet, and agreed to wait to do it. Thankfully she had not blacked out like the others. Apparently being petrified negated that side affect.
Later that evening, when everyone else in Gryffindor tower had gone to bed, Hermione, Ron, Neville, Fred, and George sat around the fire in the common room. They were waiting for Ginny and Harry to return from Ravenclaw tower with Luna. Ginny had told Luna to wait up after dinner so that she could join them in their discussion.
Ron had just said, "So…when do you think they'll be back?" when the portrait opened and shut, seemingly on its own.
Harry whipped of the cloak, revealing himself and the two girls. "Hey…sorry it took so long…we ran into Mrs. Norris on the fourth floor."
After everyone had greeted each other, they all turned expectantly towards Harry.
Harry sighed and said, "Okay…so, whoever has read their letter, please raise your hand."
Fred, George, Neville, Ginny and Luna raised their hands.
"Okay, Luna first…what is your opinion?" Harry asked.
Luna smiled vaguely at him and said, "The snorkacks should not mate during the winter."
"Erm…I meant, about the letter."
"Oh, well mine was definitely written by me. I think that if our future selves were so desperate that they rewound time, then we should definitely take whatever advice they give us," the blonde said, her voice sounding dreamy.
"Twins?" Harry asked.
"We haven't really decided…"
"…We figured, that whatever Harry decided…"
"…is what we would do."
"Thanks for your faith in me. Neville?" he asked.
Neville looked timid, "My future self told me that Gran would die fighting Death Eaters; and to change it, I would have to have confidence in myself, and trust you, Harry."
"Ginny?" Harry asked for everyone else's benefit.
"I agree with Luna. We need to change this. I'll follow Harry, whatever he decides," she said confidently.
"Ron…Hermione…why don't you read Ginny's and my letters now. Then while you're reading your own, everyone else can read ours."
"We'll let everyone read ours as well," the twins said together.
Neville and Luna looked at each other for a moment, and said, "So will we."
While everyone was reading the letters, Harry kept getting distracted by the firelight dancing on Ginny's hair. 'Beautiful,' he thought.
Unbeknownst to him, Fred and George noticed his glances, and determined to have a little chat with him before going to bed.
When everyone had finished reading the letters, Harry asked, "Hermione, what's your opinion?"
"Well…while it does seem odd and more than a little suspect…I believe it. Mine said something that only I would know. I'll follow your lead, Harry," she said, glancing around the circle of friends.
"Erm…Yeah…What Hermione said," he muttered.
"Right then," Harry said. "Fred, George, you guys need to get to work on those products that were mentioned in your letters. I'll fund everything."
Fred and George opened their mouths to protest.
"No, guys, I'm serious here. The more funds you have to work with, the quicker you can get the supplies you need, and the sooner these products are ready."
The pair nodded.
"Neville, I'm going to find a place to stay that isn't the Dursleys', and when I do, we'll talk your grandmother into letting you come spend the summer with me. We'll be training. Hermione, I need you to start researching any spells that could be used in battle. Ron, start studying war strategies. Luna, you'll be in charge of finding out about this Umbridge person. Let's see if we can dig up some dirt on her. I'll start researching the Dark Arts. We need to know what we're going up against. Tomorrow, we bring the rat to Dumbledore. That means that after breakfast Ron, Fred, George, Ginny and I will go to the Headmaster. I'll be writing to this Remus Lupin person, and finding out what he knows. He'll be able to tell us about this Tonks woman. Is everyone in agreement on this?"
Everyone nodded their heads or said yeah, or yes…well…except for Fred and George, they saluted Harry and said, "Aye, Aye, Captain."
After Harry and Ginny got back from returning Luna to Ravenclaw Tower, they were surprised to find the twins still up.
"Ginny, you can go to bed," one said.
"Yeah, we need to have a chat with lover-boy here."
Ginny opened her mouth to yell at them, but before she could Harry said, "Alright boys. Meet you down here at eight for breakfast, Ginny?"
"Alright. Night boys, just remember that if you hurt Harry, I can and will curse you so badly that Dumbledore won't be able to lift it."
The twins paled and, in shaky voices, said, "Night Ginny."
After she was out of sight, Fred began the conversation. "So, Harry. We noticed that you kept getting distracted earlier by our sister."
Harry blushed and muttered, "So what...she's pretty."
The twins both raised their eyebrows.
"If you hurt our sister, we will hurt you just as bad. Each of us will. So that means you'll be hurting six times what Ginny is. Savvy?" George said.
"Look guys," Harry looked annoyed. "I would never knowingly do anything to hurt anyone in your family...especially Ginny. And if I hurt her, I can guarantee that whatever you do to me won't be anywhere near as bad as what she does. And that's not mentioning what I'll be doing to myself for being such an idiot."
"That works for us," they said as one.
- - -
I recently received a strange letter. It was written (supposedly) by my future self. It said that I and nine friends, you included, rewound time. In my letter, I was told to get in touch with you.
It also said that you were a friend of my father's. If that's true, then why did you never contact me, or visit? I would really like to meet you. If possible could you meet me during the summer at the small park in Little Whinging, Surrey? I'll tell my owl, Hedwig, to wait for a response from you.
PS. Please don't tell Dumbledore anything about the letters, or rewinding time. Thanks.
- - -
The day after the feast, Harry walked down to his Transfiguration classroom. He had to talk to his Head of House.
He knocked on her office door, and entered when he heard a brusque, "Enter".
"Professor McGonagall, I was wondering if I could talk to you about my electives for next year?" he asked nervously.
"Of course, Mr. Potter, please sit down," she indicated the armchair in front of her desk.
"Ma'am, I've recently gotten some advice about which courses I should take. I think that I'd like to take Arithmancy, and Ancient Runes instead of Divination." Harry stifled the urge to fidget under his professor's stare.
"What exactly made you change your mind?"
"Erm...I just got some advice about it. I found out that some jobs, like curse-breaking, require those two courses. Also, I really don't see myself predicting the future as a career. To be honest, now that I think on it, Divination seems to be more of a 'either you're born with it, or you're not' subject."
"I see…I do see your reasons for the request, and as you clearly have thought this through…I see no reason why you can't change your electives. However, I will not change them for you again. Do you understand?" she gazed down at the boy, who, in only two years, had awakened her long-dormant maternal instincts.
"Yes, Professor, thank you," he said, leaping up from his chair in his excitement. "Goodbye, Professor." He dashed out the door, to meet with Ron in their dormitory.
Minerva McGonagall shook her head slightly, smiling at the door he had just exited. She had always been fond of James and Lily, but their son she loved. He had all of the best qualities of both of them: his father's loyalty to his friends, and his mother's caring heart.
- - -
Remus Lupin had just returned from his job at the local muggle bookstore. Muggles were far more accommodating when it came to his illness. Of course, they didn't know that he was a werewolf. He had told them he had family plans during the full moons.
He dropped his mail on the card table he used for meals, and walked into the tiny kitchenette. He pulled open a cabinet and muttered, "Hmm, let's see…I could have pasta…or pasta. Pasta it is."
He started the water, and walked into his living room and dropped onto his worn out couch.
It was a good thing he was laying down, because a moment later…
The magic washed over him, and he faded into unconsciousness.
He slowly came to, and as soon as he was able, hurried to check on the water. He didn't notice the envelope that fell onto the floor.
After eating his dinner, he grabbed his latest Defense Against the Dark Arts book, not Lockhart's. Thankfully, he had only ever wasted money on one Lockhart book. The moron had clearly never met an actual werewolf during the full moon. He was a complete fraud.
Remus was about to sit down on the couch again when he noticed the envelope. He picked it up and opened it. He pulled out the parchment, and, gasped in shock at the signature. It was his.
After reading the letter, he was convinced that he was either dreaming, or someone was trying to prank him. But, out of the only three people who would do that to him, two were dead and one was in Azkaban.
He decided to sleep on it, and determine what to do in the morning.
The next morning he fixed himself some coffee, and sat down to re-read the letter.
Nope, it still didn't make any sense to him.
Tap, tap, tap…
He looked up and saw a beautiful white owl tapping on his kitchen window. He opened the window and watched the owl swoop in and land on the back of his folding chair.
A letter was tied to her leg, and, when he approached her, she stuck out the leg it was on. He untied the letter and fed her an owl treat. He lightly scratched the back of her neck, and she looked at him with adoration. He knew how to treat an owl.
He sat down and opened his letter. Harry wrote him?! He could hardly believe it, but he knew that it had to have been from Harry.
Remus had seen Hagrid the year before. Hagrid wanted some photos of Harry's parents to give him as a gift. The half-giant sang Harry's praises. He had mentioned Harry's reaction to his birthday present of a snowy owl…the very owl that was now preening herself.
"So, you're Hedwig."
She stopped preening and looked at him.
"I suppose I should write a response."
"I haven't got an excuse for never contacting him. I mean, Dumbledore told me not to, but I should have anyway. Right?"
She hooted softly.
A few minutes later, he had finished. "Here, girl…take this to Harry," he said, feeding her one last owl treat, and tying the letter to her leg.
- - -
Harry and Ron had already captured Scabbers in a cage, and were now in the common room planning the story that they'd tell Dumbledore.
"Ooh, what a pretty owl," Parvati said, pointing at the window.
Harry looked up and saw Hedwig. He hurried to the window to let her in.
After untying the letter, he fed her an owl treat. Hedwig lightly nipped his finger, and swooped back out the window.
Harry opened the letter, ignoring the pre-teen girls that were now trying to flirt with him. He began reading, and was half-way through it when the portrait opened. Ginny and Hermione were back from the library.
"Ginny, Hermione…Hedwig came back with a response," Harry called out.
Parvati and Lavender cast jealous looks at the girls.
They went over to sit in front of the fireplace. Ginny sitting on the arm of Harry's chair, and Hermione sharing the couch with Ron.
Harry quietly read the letter to his friends.
I'm sorry for never coming to see you. There's no excuse for that. Dumbledore told me not to, but I shouldn't have listened to him.
I too received a letter from myself, and look forward to discussing this with you.
I will meet you at the park on June 25th. I believe that will be two days after you arrive home from Hogwarts.
PS. I doubt you remember this, but you used to call me Uncle Moony.
"Well, that's interesting," Harry muttered.