"GET YOUR WORTHLESS HIDE DOWN HERE, BOY!" thundered Vernon Dursley. Harry put down his homework and went down to face his Uncle.
"Yes, Uncle Vernon?" he said when stood in the living room.
"What do you know of this?" Vernon demanded, pushing an envelope at him. It was the sort used by most of the wizarding world, and had the Hogwarts crest in wax on the back. Harry was sure that the handwriting was Dumbledore's, and the boy wondered why the Headmaster was writing to him.
"It's a letter from the school" Harry replied.
"Got yourself expelled, have we?" sneered Vernon. Harry ignored the remark and opened the envelope and pulled out the letter to read it.
Dear Mr Potter
First of all, I would like to say again how sorry I am for the loss of Sirius. If it helps in anyway, then remember that he never felt a thing, and that it was all very quick.
My purpose of writing to you is to inform you that Sirius left a will, and no doubt he has named you as one of the benefactors of it. I must ask that you do not attend the will reading as it is a dangerous time in the magical community at the moment. Voldemort has been active recently, and has killed or captured a number of important people. From what the Order has learned, he is thinking about making a move on your home. I will attend in your place, and inform you either by letter or a visit of what you have been given – should I deem you ready to know.
I hope you enjoy the rest of the holidays
"Voldemort?" Vernon frowned. "I thought that he was dead. That is what your headmaster said to us" he added.
"He was dead, and now he is back again" Harry replied. There was a long silence before he spoke again. "Uncle Vernon, there is something you should know" and to his surprise his Uncle agreed and said they would talk after dinner. Every time Harry read the letter, he felt a wave of anger at the comment should I deem you ready to know. Surely Dumbledore couldn't decide what Harry should do about this?
"Hermione!" a voice shouted up the stairs.
"What is it?" Hermione called back.
"There is a letter here for you" the woman's voice said. Hermione put down her homework and went downstairs. Her mother handed her a letter which bore the crest of Gringotts on it.
"Thanks, Mum" Hermione said. She opened the letter and read through it several times. "I have to be in London tomorrow" she said. "Sirius Black named me in his will, and it seems I have to be present at the reading of it. I can't wait to see Harry again" she added quickly.
"Oh?" her mother raised an eyebrow. Emma Granger watched the reaction of her daughter with mild amusement.
"I want to know how he is coping after losing Sirius" Hermione said, glaring at her mother. "Its odd that he hasn't written any letters to me so far" the last statement was quiet – almost as if Hermione was deep in thought.
"Your father is at that conference until tomorrow afternoon, and I have a full day at the surgery" her mother said.
"I'll get there - don't you worry about that, Mum" and Hermione rushed up to her room to write a letter to Harry. She wondered why he had not replied to any of her letters, and hoped this one would make him do so.
"So, boy, explain why I am not at my Bridge club tonight" Petunia said.
"Because something is happening that you should know about" Harry said. "Regardless of what you think of me and the Wizarding world, this is something that is important. Now, what do you know of Voldemort?" he asked, and was secretly pleased to see all three Dursleys twitch.
"He's dead" Petunia said. "He was killed after he killed your parents – we all know that boy" she snapped.
"Well he is back" Harry replied. "Voldemort never truly died that night, and his… spirit… still remained after the body was gone. A year ago he got his body back, and he has been taking and killing dozens of people. He also kills muggl – normal – people too. Remember that explosion the other week in Chester?" the Dursleys nodded, "Well he was the cause of that. Voldemort's followers killed over a hundred people – both normal and magical. Uncle Vernon will tell you that I got a letter from Professor Dumbledore this afternoon, and he said that Voldemort is making plans to come here and kill me and anybody else he finds" and all three of his relatives went pale.
"So what do we do?" asked Dudley.
"I know that Uncle Vernon has some holiday time owed to him, so I suggest that you three take it and go on holiday somewhere outside the country. If Voldemort tries anything, then the International Confederation will go after him. They leave Britain to its own affairs" Harry said.
"And what about you?" asked Vernon.
"I will stay at Hogwarts for the rest of the summer" Harry replied. "It is the most safest place in our world, and he would need a lot of time to get through the many defences around the castle" he added. "I'm going to pack everything I have and then go in the night. That should help throw off anybody following me" and there was a long and silent silence before Petunia spoke.
"Why are you doing this for us?" she asked quietly. "And after everything we did to you over the years" and Harry blew a breath through his nose.
"There are many reasons why. There is a prophecy about the war which is to come" he replied.
"War?" Dudley said. "I ain't heard me anything about no war" and Harry shook his head.
"There is a war, and it is your war too – whether you like it or not" Harry said. "And I am doing this, Aunt Petunia, because you are the only living relative to my mother. Perhaps, in time, you can get over you anger towards the magical community and cherish the memory of your sister" and Harry walked away before they could see him cry.
"You know, if we petitioned the courts, we could get rid of him and that Voldemort bloke wouldn't have any reason to come here" Vernon said.
"I don't pretend to understand half of what that brat said, but I think all we have to do is say that he is not welcome here. Then his own bloody magic would stop him from coming back here ever again" Petunia said. What none of the three realised was that Harry was listening to them from the hallway. He ran up the stairs to his room and started packing his clothes, books, trinkets and everything else he owned inside his school trunk and the expanding trunk that he now owned. He was a quarter of the way through when he figured he could get it done quicker with a wave of his wand. Knowing that it would cost him greatly, he cast the correct spell to pack everything up into the two trunks – shrinking Hedwig's cage beforehand. After doing another spell to make them lighter, he put on his jacket and went downstairs and out of the house before the Dursleys knew what was going on. Harry's main objective was where he would go for the time being. If he went to the Weasleys, then he faced being found by the Ministry and arrested and sent to jail for Underage Magic – assuming he was not expelled from Hogwarts and his wand snapped. The heavens opened and Harry tightened his jacket against the wind and the rain and walked on.
The charm that had been set up to detect underage magic went off, and a letter was sent out to Little Whinging. The fact that the Owl returned several minutes later was something of a surprise to the staff of the Misuse of Magic Office. They knew of only two situations when this would happen. The first was when the under aged person was dead, or they had been cast out of the family home. A spy for Dumbledore alerted him to the news, and the Headmaster alerted all the Order members he could get his hands on and sent them out looking for Harry. A search at the Dursleys had proven fruitless when Vernon and Petunia said that they had thrown Harry out after he told them some wild tale about magic and a killer on the loose. He had been to neither Hermione home, the Burrow or attempted to get inside Grimmauld Place. What was more disturbing to the Order, was the fact Harry had sent no message.
Harry, meanwhile, was walking through the dark streets of Surrey looking for someplace to spend the rest of the night. As he walked, soaked to the skin, down a street with well kept gardens, he realised that he could get the Knight Bus to London and sleep at the Leaky Cauldron for at least a night or two. He was about to summon it when he suddenly thought that if people were looking for him, then public transport was one of the first things to be watched. Or the bus's crew would blab their mouths as to who they had on their bus – Harry didn't know which. He started looking for a bridge he could get some rest under when he spotted a familiar looking car. A large Rover was in the driveway, and on the rear bumper was a sticker that said 'Dentists, we always tell the tooth, the tooth and nothing but the tooth' and he was sure to who the car belonged to. Deciding to take a chance, he dragged his wet trunks up the driveway and knocked on the door.
"See who that is, Hermione" Emma called from the kitchen. Hermione put her book down and went into the hallway to answer the door. It was most likely a takeaway delivery driver who had the wrong house – it happened from time to time. Putting the chain on the door, she opened a little bit and peered outside. All she could see was somebody with two very large trunks, so she took the chain off and opened the door wide.
"HARRY!" Hermione shouted in shock.
"Surprise" Harry said miserably. He looked every inch like the proverbial drowned rat.
"What are you doi… oh come in… come in" and she grabbed one soggy jacketed arm and dragged him inside. "What are you doing here? Professor Dumbledore has nearly the entire Order after you" Hermione said.
"I told the Dursleys about the war, Hermione" Harry said. "I gave them a chance to get out of it, but they made plans to throw me out. I heard, so I used magic to pack all of my things away and just started walking out the house. It started raining, I got wet, its dark and I'm scared" he finished in a tiny voice.
"Who is it, herm" Emma stopped talking as she saw her daughter holding the hand of a six foot tall pile of wet clothing.
"Mum, meet Harry Potter. Harry, this is Emma, my mother" Hermione introduced him.
"Achoo" Harry sneezed.
"Mum, those relatives of were going to throw him out of their house, so he just walked out. Can he stay the night until I can call Professor Dumbledore?" Hermione asked.
"Of course he can" Emma said. "He sounds as if he could do with a hot drink and a warm bed. The spare room is always made up" she added.
"Please don't call Dumbledore" Harry said.
"Why?" asked Hermione. "He is worried about you" but Harry was adamant.
"Please don't do it" he begged. "I'll tell you why later" he said. "I need to get out of these wet clothes" and Hermione took Harry upstairs and showed him where he would be staying, and the bathroom at the end of the landing. He stepped into the shower and let it warm and cleanse his body, before drying off quickly and getting into the pyjamas he had put aside. Hermione stood outside with a mug of hot chocolate in her hands and gave it to him.
"You alright?" she asked. Harry took a sip of the steaming and liquid and shook his head.
"We need to talk" he said simply.
A short but sweet first chapter!
Just so you all know, this fic's summery will change after chapter 3 – I just don't want to give away the surprise just yet…