A/N I guess I should disclaim it now. I don't own any of the characters at all. Harry Potter and all related items are copyrighted to J.K Rowling, Bloomsbury and Warner Brothers. If I owned it do you really think I waste my time putting up this notice? So don't sue me! This is my first ficcie so please be nice. And don't forget to review. With no further ado, read and enjoy!

The Owl Express

Harry Potter woke with a start and leant on his elbow to peer out of the open window. The night was black and cool and the wind played gently on his face. He frowned. He had been sure that he had heard something….

Harry sighed. He was getting too paranoid. Ever since the events at the end of last year he had been plagued each night with nightmares mostly containing a certain snake-like man with red eyes…

But still…he was sure he had heard something. He gently levered himself off his elbow and sat up in bed. He can't touch me, not here. I'm safe here. But there was still an element of doubt. What if Dumbledore was wrong, what if Voldemort found a way to reach him at Privet Drive. Not for the first time Harry wondered why it was so important that he should stay with his aunt and uncle, why he was so protected there.

A dim shadow flitted silently across the street lamp outside his window. Harry tensed nervously, then relaxed as he saw the familiar sight of his snowy owl. He leapt out of bed and padded quietly across to the window to open it wider for Hedwig.

Hedwig swept gracefully into the room, dropped an angular package on his head, circled the room once and then settled on her perch by the door. Harry dumped the package on the bed and went over to her. Hedwig had been gone for over a week; he had supposed that she had been staying at the Burrow. But if she hadn't been there, then where had she been? The answer to that lay innocently on the edge of his bed.

Harry checked that Hedwig was content and then picked up the package. He sat down on his bed and inspected it carefully. The writing on the front was untidy but Harry could tell it wasn't from Ron, and the absence of a Hogwarts seal on the back, meant that it could be from only one person…

Heart thumping and fingers trembling slightly, Harry untied the thin piece of string and let the contents fall onto the bed. There was another wrapped parcel and a small note. He picked the note up and read it.

Harry,

Happy Birthday! I hope this finds you; Hedwig seemed a little frisky when she arrived. Maybe she isn't getting enough exercise. Anyway I'm on Dumbledore's business and have to stay in hiding. Technically I shouldn't be writing to you at all but I'm sure it won't matter. Hope you're holding out well; if the muggles get too annoying just threaten them with a quick night-time visit from your favourite godfather…* Harry could almost see his godfather's evil grin.* If you need anything, don't hesitate to send me a letter. Hedwig knows how to find me. Hope you like your present and I'll see you as soon as possible.

Sirius

Harry smiled and shook his head. He picked up the parcel and un-wrapped it. Out fell a small bottle. A tiny note fluttered to the floor. Harry bent down and picked it up.

This is a phial of broomstick potion. According to the label in the shop, it helps keep the twigs streamlined and the handle polished. I think it might also stop the broom from listing but I'm not sure. Sorry it's not much but it was the best I could find (I am in hiding after all)

Sirius

Harry grinned and put the bottle carefully on his bedside table. His mind wandered. Quidditch, the best game in the world. Fourteen players on broomsticks, four flying balls and an awful lot of confusion.

Before he had got far, though, he was interrupted by the arrival of another owl. Harry recognised Pig at once. The tiny Little Owl was battling valiantly against the windy weather outside but was failing miserably. As soon as he managed to face the window, the owl darted towards it, but each time he was swept away by the gusting winds. Harry tried to hide his amusement and reached out of the window, grasping Pig around the middle. Harry pulled the bedraggled owl inside and shut the window firmly.

He relieved the owl of his tiny parcel and carried him over to Hedwig's cage. After he had dried Pig, the owl perked up at once and proceeded to fly around the room hooting incessantly. Hedwig opened an eye and swivelled her head to fix him with a condescending look. When Pig took no notice she ruffled her feathers and turned her back on him with as much dignity as she could muster.

Harry cursed quietly and chased the owl all over the room, hoping feverishly that the Dursleys wouldn't hear anything. He finally caught up with the owl and snatched him out of the air. He ran to the cage and stuffed an entire packet of owl treats down the tiny throat. Pig suddenly lost interest in flying and focused his attention instead on the new obstruction in his mouth. Hedwig gave him a suffering look that said all too clearly "they were mine". Harry smiled. "I'll get you some more soon. Promise."

Harry paused and listened silently for any sign that the Dursleys might have heard. When, after a few moments, he realised that Uncle Vernon wasn't going to come bursting through the door demanding to know what the racket was, he heaved a sigh of relief. Checking that Pig was still well occupied with the treats, he sat down on his bed and looked at the second parcel of the night.

He could tell at a glance that it was from Ron. His best friend seemed to have screwed the paper up as much as possible to make it fit inside the strange circular package. Harry carefully extracted the letter, smoothed it out and read:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Hope you like the present; I'd sure like one. Dad's got permission from Dumbledore to let you stay here for the rest of the holidays! We'll come and get you at noon on Friday. So see you in a few days!

Ron

P.S We'll be coming by floo powder again. Is that all right with the muggles eklitricity fire?

Harry put the letter down and thought. The Dursleys had never replaced their electric fireplace since the incident last year involving a minor explosion, four wizards and tonnes of soot. Instead they had installed a fireplace with a real fire (after deciding that it was much more tasteful). They had called in a building firm (private of course) who could be trusted not to comment on the sooty footprints, the fireplace lodged in the opposite wall and the neat white outlines of four figures on a slightly blackened wall. Most importantly they could be trusted not to tell the neighbours.

He turned his attention to the present. Harry could hardly believe it. Ron had gotten him a Chudley Cannons watch! Quidditch…

Once again his thoughts were interrupted. A sharp impatient tapping on the window announced the arrival of yet another owl. Harry made another trip across the room to let not one but two owls in. The larger of the two swooped inside and dropped its letter on the desk. It ruffled its feathers importantly before taking off into the night once more. The second owl also deposited its letter, then flew across the room to Hedwigs cage which was starting to look very crowded. Harry shook his head in disbelief. "It's like an owl express in here tonight!" he whispered to no one in particular.

Harry opened the first letter. After a quick scan he put it back down. It was the annual letter from Hogwarts. The second was from Hermione.

Harry,

I do hope you're well. I'm in Bulgaria with Viktor, it's so interesting here. You wouldn't believe the amount of wizarding history this place has got! Anyway I got you a book I thought you might like. See you at Hogwarts.

Hermione.

Harry reflected that they were both trying hard to sound optimistic and avoiding the subject of Voldemort…He pushed that thought away and turned, with some trepidation, to the book. It would be just like Hermione to get him a large book on arithmancy or the finer details of transfiguration.

But he was pleasantly surprised. The handsome book that fell onto his quilt was named Quidditch: Everything you ever wanted to know. Harry smiled. Three quidditch-related presents: it had to be some sort of a record.

Harry turned to the window and gazed outside. The wind seemed to have calmed down now, enough so that the owl from Bulgaria and Pig ventured outside and soon disappeared from sight. Harry shut the window behind them. He had certainly had a lot of owls tonight. Harry returned to bed and fell asleep thinking that, with the prospect of staying with Ron looming on the horizon, life had suddenly taken a turn for the better.

Friday, in Harry's opinion, could not come around quickly enough. But noon on Friday finally dragged around. The Dursleys were only too happy to let him stay the final three weeks or so of the holiday with his friend. They had hidden in the kitchen, trying not to remember the results the Weasleys' arrival had caused this time last year. They were going to Majorca right after Harry left and had given strict instructions that their packing was not to be disturbed. Harry privately thought that there was another reason that they preferred not to meet Mr Weasley…

The clock on the mantle-piece struck twelve and only minutes later a spinning figure appeared in the flames of the fire. Moments later Mr Weasley stepped neatly out of the fireplace beaming at Harry.

"Ah Harry. Ready then?" Harry nodded. "Good, good."

Ron's entrance was not quite as elegant as Mr Weasley's. He tripped on the fireguard and went sprawling onto the floor, trailing soot behind him. Aunt Petunia, who had obviously been spying from the kitchen, shrieked and darted into the room giving Mr Weasley an evil glare. Ron got up and brushed himself down grinning sheepishly. Mr Weasley glanced guiltily at the soot.

"Ah, let me clean that up for you." He raised his wand but stopped when Uncle Vernon gave a strangled groan.

"Get out," he growled, his face starting to turn red. "Take him and get out!" Harry stood fascinated by the varying degrees of crimson and purple flying across his uncle's face.

Mr Weasley cast a last guilty look at the footprints then turned to Harry. "You'd better go. I'll take your trunk. Ron you follow him." Harry could see the stress lines etched on his face, obviously Voldemort's return was putting a lot of stress on is work.

Harry took a pinch of floo powder from the proffered bowl and stepped into the fire which had now begun to burn a bright blue. He took a deep breath and said as clearly as he could: "The Burrow". Harry could feel himself spinning around until he became giddy. Suddenly his feet, slammed into the ground and he stumbled forwards coughing.

Harry looked up and found himself in the bright cheerful kitchen of the Weasley family. Mrs Weasley, Fred, George and Ginny were all sitting around the table talking animatedly. When Harry arrived, Mrs Weasley looked up and beamed. She rushed over and enveloped him in a warm hug.

"Welcome Harry dear." Harry suddenly felt that life was very much worth living.



A/N So there you have it, the first chapter. I realise that not much has happened yet, I promise, there's much more coming later including the return of Lupin, Firenze and…YES the Ford Anglia not to mention all this stuff to do with the Order of the Phoenix and a mysterious disappearance! So for now bear with me while I sort myself out. The next chapter should be up this weekend. In that one Harry goes to the Burrow, Diagon Alley and finally returns to Hogwarts. So before you disappear off into the ether, completely forgetting me, review please, please! Maybe if I get plenty of reviews I'll hurry. Well I'm waffling now so I'll leave you.

Luv baasheep

xx