Chapter 1 – Setting the Rules
Harry glanced back once more through the rear window as he saw Ginny, Hermione and their parents waving to him. He was glad there was somebody that actually wanted to be around him; he wasn't really getting that feeling from any of the Dursleys.
Uncle Vernon was concentrating on his driving and doing his usual complaining about the way other people seemed to deliberately getting in his way. His Aunt Petunia was splitting her time between watching the traffic ahead and turning to stare at Harry. It was Dudley that actually said something to Harry first. "Those girls back there?" Harry opened up his connection to the girls so they could listen in.
'I'm here' came back from Ginny.
'I'm talking to my parents Harry but I can listen for a bit.'
"They really are witches?" Harry watched as Uncle Vernon's face turned a little red at the mention of magical females. Harry didn't want to get into trouble by not answering his cousin and was surprised when Aunt Petunia nodded at him.
"Yes, they both are witches. And pretty smart ones to."
"But they look so normal. Not anything…"
Harry smiled at his cousins assumptions. "Not anything like the fairy tales you heard or the pictures in books you saw when you were younger. Yes, I was surprised at first to but I found out that… the people like me and them are mostly just regular folks with an ability to do something a little extra."
"Abnormal you mean!"
"Whatever you say Uncle Vernon!"
"Don't talk back to me boy!" Harry was surprised when he saw his Aunt Petunia lay a hand on his uncle's shoulder, trying to calm him down. "Those are two of the friends that will be coming to visit you?" his Aunt asked.
"Yes, whenever they're allowed and don't have chores to do."
"Witches have chores?" asked Dudley with a little surprise in his pudgy eyes. Harry 'heard' Ginny snickering mentally in the background.
"Like I said before, Hermione and Ginny are just kids growing up just like me. Ginny gathers eggs in the morning from their chicken coop and Hermione washes dishes at home for her parents like I do."
"I just assumed they waved their sticks and didn't do anything for themselves."
"Wands, not sticks. Maybe some do, Dudley but not the ones I've met. Would you like to sit down sometime and hear about some of the things I've learned this year?"
Dudley looked a little skeptical about that but Vernon exploded in the front seat. "There'll be none of that. I'll not have you filling his head with a bunch of nonsense!"
Knowing he was on shaky ground already Harry tried changing the subject to something a little more definite. "So what are the rules for me this summer?"
Petunia was the one to respond to Harry. "We've spent a lot of time discussing what's going to happen around our house with you. Dudykins even had some good ideas for the six weeks you're going to be around."
Harry cast a wary eye to his cousin who was calmly looking out the window and didn't want to meet Harry's eye. "So what am I to do?"
His aunt glanced at her husband to see if he wanted to be the one to lay down the law for Harry. Seeing that he was still busy yelling at the other drivers, Harry's aunt turned a little more around in her seat to talk to Harry. "Considering that we have to provide more for you this summer, there are the still chores you'll have to do every day. You are to stay in your room except for the chores and making meals. You can eat separately than what you fix for us."
So far, nothing was different than normal except it sounded like Harry would be getting three meals a day. That was a big improvement right there.
"My friends?" Harry asked carefully.
"I don't want to see them – ever!" That statement coming from Uncle Vernon was no surprise to Harry. "They can visit between the time I leave for work and the time I come home. No weekends. And now no sleepovers!"
'Your mum wouldn't let you stay anyway Ginny.'
"I'll not have you consorting with who knows who under my roof." Aunt Petunia was most emphatic about that. Harry wasn't about to try persuading her.
"Hermione is only twelve and Ginny just turned ten right after my birthday. We aren't old enough to do stuff like you're thinking of Aunt Petunia."
"I know how young boys are. Well, except for Dudley. He's always been a perfect little gentleman."
'Perfect? Little? Can I hex him the next time I see him Harry?'
'No, Hermione, please! Their trying their best.'
'Well, you're right about them being very trying!'
Harry nodded in understanding. "Anything else I should know about now?"
"That bloody owl. I don't want to hear it making noise at all hours of the night and day. And you can only let him out at night."
"That's fine Uncle Vernon. I can cast a silencing sp…"
"Don't tell me if you're doing that "stuff" or not. Just do what I tell you!"
"Yes, Uncle Vernon." 'Can I at least kick him when I visit Harry?'
Harry winced at Ginny's comment and wondered if he should close his connection down until he got home and into his room. All the conversations were accomplishing were just making Hermione and Ginny upset.
Harry stared silently out the window as he listened to something that Ginny was passing on from her dad. Figuring he ought to ask now while they were still sort of discussing things, Harry cleared his throat.
"What now boy?" Vernon had just had the pleasure of cutting another driver off on the expressway and he was smiling despite what his tone said.
"There's a way to make it so that nobody sees anybody coming or going into your house to visit me."
"Well, what is it?"
Petunia was the one to respond to that to Harry's surprise. "It's called the floom system or something like that. It's one of the ways they get around."
"So what's to stop everybody and their brother from just dropping in anytime they liked?"
"The floo can be set up so that it only works for the people that are supposed to come visit."
"So that Hagrid fellow or Dumblerydort couldn't just pop in whenever they felt like it?'
"No, Uncle. Not through the floo." Harry didn't want to tell him that the people he was talking about had other ways of visiting him; what he didn't know shouldn't hurt him too much.
"And how much will that cost us?"
"It won't cost you a thing Uncle Vernon. I think Mrs. Wrightgate would be happy to pick up the cost; I have to owl her anyway to get the money that you have coming. If it's set up in the closet in .. Dudley's second bedroom then nobody in the neighborhood would know a thing about my visitors."
"Well, that might work. I'd still want to know whether any of them were in the house. And I'll not have you going who knows where out of that floom or whatever it's called whenever you feel like it."
"Uncle Vernon, I HAVE to stay here the six weeks. I don't have anywhere to go. If ever there's any reason I have to leave I would tell you or Aunt Petunia where and why I'm going and when I'll get back."
"The things I have to put up with. You can send that owl out to that Mrs. Wrightgate this evening. After dark! I don't want that woman back in my house anytime soon."
The rest of the ride back to Privet Drive was spent in silence. Actually, Aunt Petunia asked Dudley if he wanted to stop anywhere to get a meal once or twice. Dudley just shook his head but pulled another sandwich out of the pocket of his windbreaker. Harry just shook his head. He was glad he had got some things off the snack cart on the Express.
Harry closed down his connection with the girls as they started driving through his neighborhood. They all were at home or getting close anyway and everybody had to get unpacked and settled in. Harry 'told' Hermione and Ginny he would talk to them after supper and they gave him a mental hug. They sent a pretty good 'miss you already' feeling through their connection and Harry looked out the window as he felt his cheeks turn red.
Harry was looking elsewhere as Vernon Dursley turned into the driveway of 4 Privet Drive so he was surprised when his Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia started yelling at him about unscheduled visitors!Looking at the porch Harry was surprised to recognize two people waiting there – Remus Lupin and… Ron Weasley?
Harry was reaching for his wand when he remembered he wasn't supposed to use it. And the goblin staff was still in pieces in his trunk; that left Quirrell's wand; which was also in his trunk in his pocket! Harry felt totally unprepared if this was some kind of ambush.
Harry leapt out of the back seat and hurried to get to the visitors before his upset uncle did. Remus clapped Harry on the shoulder and then waited for his aunt and uncle to come up. "So what's all this then?" came from Vernon.
"Uncle Vernon, I'd like you to meet…" Harry started the introductions but was interrupted.
"Remus Lupin" came the shrill voice of Petunia. "What are you doing here?"
Harry couldn't tell if his head or his uncle's was turning the faster as they both looked from his aunt to Remus and back again.
"You… know this …person Petunia?" finally came out of the mouth of Harry's uncle.
"Yes and I hoped to never see his face again! I'm getting one of my headaches Vernon; it's going to be a bad one." Harry's aunt opened the door and made her way into the house.
Harry looked at the people remaining on the porch and then turned to his friend. "Ron(?) Could you bring my owl in from the back seat of the car?" He looked at his uncle and then made a motion toward the door. "I'll go get started on the tea with honey. I know where her pills are."
Vernon nodded as Harry turned and went into the house. Dudley squeezed by Vernon and Remus and cautiously followed Harry. That left Vernon Dursley glaring at Remus. "Care to explain everything to me, as I'm about to call the police on you for trespassing."
Remus held up his hands as if giving up. "I'm not here to cause any trouble. I'm just a courier today for some business between you and Mrs. Wrightgate. And I met your wife a long time ago when one of my friends started dating her sister."
"You're a friend of the boy's father?"
"I used to be but that's a long time ago now. Do you want to continue talking out here or should we be civilized and go inside?"
Vernon shook his head and walked inside the open door. Harry watched as he held it for Remus and Ron as they walked through the door. Harry had quickly fixed the tea for his aunt and brought some of her migraine pills from the bathroom. He brought both to her and she took it without saying a word. Harry drew the curtains in the living room and then walked back to the hallway where Remus and his uncle were.
"I believe I have something that belongs to you Mr. Dursley." Remus reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out an envelope and handed it to his uncle. Vernon cautiously took it and opened it up. He looked through the contents twice and looked up suspiciously.
"There's 200 pounds in there. You'll get another 100 in three weeks' time and the final payment of 100 when Harry leaves for the rest of the summer."
"Well, good then." Harry could see that his uncle was trying to figure out a way to sort of politely kick the two people out as the money had been delivered and that was all he cared about.
"Ron, Professor Lupin. Would you like to look at where I'll be all summer?"
Remus looked at Vernon as if daring him to say no. Ron said 'Yes' and picked up Hedwig's cage and a small basket Harry hadn't seen before. Harry led the way upstairs to his 'new' room and then shut the door as his two guests looked around the room. Ron put Hedwig's cage on top of his desk.
Before Harry could ask any of the any questions he had, Ron grabbed him up in a big hug. Harry felt the body that was holding him change as he heard "Wotcher, Harry?" Harry almost yelled out Tonks name but hugged her back a little but then got embarrassed at what he felt pressing into his chest.
He struggled out of her arms and then tried getting mad at her while he was blushing. "Are you trying to give me a heart attack? I thought I was going crazy as I said goodbye to Ron only a while ago."
Tonks was giggling like crazy and Remus had gone over to sit on Harry's bed while he laughed "Oh, your face Harry. The look on your face; I wish your dad could have seen that."
Harry smiled and just took a poke at the older wizard. "Not that I don't appreciate the company, but what are you both doing here? And today?"
Tonks had reverted to her normal look and pulled the chair out from the desk and sat in it. "Seems we're both on separate missions at the same place. Dumbledore gave me the money for your greedy uncle.."
"And Molly sent a basket to start outfitting your room. Pillows, sheets, stuff she thought a boy ought to have in his room. I made a stop along the way and threw in a few more things I thought you'd like. Owl me if you can think of anything else."
"I don't know what to say. Thanks. Are either of you going to be around and visiting me for the next six weeks?" Both said maybe. Harry didn't expect any definite answers as he knew Tonks was in training and Remus had some things he did for Dumbledore.
"We shouldn't stay too long old man." Harry turned a surprised look at Tonks but she quietly gave him a wink.
Harry looked over at Remus to see him smiling. "The child is probably right Harry." Harry felt rather than saw Tonks rise to the bait as Remus continued. "We should be going before those two downstairs find reasons to blame you for us being here."
"Before you go, could I ask a favor? I never had a chance to talk to Professor Dumbledore before I left Hogwarts. I wanted to see if I could get a secure floo installed here in my closet. I'd pay for it of course but it would solve a lot of problems for me, especially with…"
"I'll do it Harry. I've got to go back to Hogwarts anyway as I'm helping grade the DADA students. And Madame Bones will probably approve a floo connection as well as Dumbledore; she might even pay for it herself as you've done a good deed lately."
Remus turned a curious eye toward Harry. "It's a long story but if you want to hear it, I'll tell you later. Much later." Remus came over to give Harry a hug. "Owl if you need anything, even company. OK?"
"Thanks, Professor .. Remus."
Tonks stood up from her chair and changed back into 'Ron'. "Don't I get a hug too Harry?" she said with a smile.
"I'll take a rain check thank you very much 'Ron'. Harry opened the door and led the two back downstairs.
"They're leaving now" Harry announced.
"Out the back then! That was the agreement." Vernon didn't even look up from his paper.
Harry opened the patio door and quietly said goodbye to his guests. He watched as they both apparated separately away. Turning back to the living room, Harry said he was going to go back upstairs and unpack if there wasn't anything else for him to do.
"Supper's at six."
"Yes, Aunt Petunia."
'Well some things haven't changed' Harry thought. But then he hurried up the steps; he had his own room now!
Harry looked at the bare room and thought he had best do the unpacking in stages. He unshrunk his trunk first and took Quirrell's wand that he was starting to think of as his backup wand out. Harry cast a silencing charm on the door so that Hedwig couldn't be heard out in the hallway.
Thinking about his owl, Harry left the room and went down the hall to the bathroom to get Hedwig some water. He opened up her cage and put the water and a few treats in it but left the door open. Hedwig drank a little water but then hopped out of the cage to take a good look around the room. Harry rubbed her head a little and apologized that she was only going to be allowed out at night. Hedwig hooted a little sadly at that news.
Harry put his books on the desk and unpacked his regular clothes and placed them into the dresser. He looked at his basilisk boots but decided he should probably leave them in his trunk. He didn't want Dudley or anybody else trying to take them.
Looking at the basket that Mrs. Weasley had sent, Harry opened the top cautiously. He didn't know what to expect. But Harry was surprised at the quantity of items that came out of that plain little basket. He just kept pulling linens and other things out for almost twenty minutes. There were curtain rods with some green curtains folded up. They didn't quite match the light blue sheets but Harry felt that the sheets would be soft and comfortable. He couldn't tell what things had come from Remus or what came from the Weasley household but thought he would write them both a nice thank you letter.
Harry had barely finished making his bed when Dudley pounded on his door telling him that he needed to get downstairs to start supper. Harry turned and looked at HIS room and smiled before he went down to the kitchen.