Finally, I've started the dang story (Ha! Take that, non-believers). I would like to thank those you bothered to set up a story alert even before this chapter was posted….Thanks for your trust.
Warning: the chapter contains swearing, newspapers and teacups.
CHAPTER 1: WAKING UP
Harry tossed and turned on the bed as his body ached. Slowly he opened his eyes and was greeted by his dark room in 12 Grimmauld Place. He frowned, not remembering how he got into bed: the last thing he could recall was drinking in the Three Broomsticks with Ron, Neville and Seamus.
I must have passed out, Harry thought to himself. He sat up a bit too quickly and winced as his back throbbed. That's the last time I'll let Ron talk me into a drinking contest.
He stood up- slowly this time- and felt around for his glasses and slippers. After successfully donning them, he made his way out his room and down the grand staircase. He felt hungrier than usual: he could already taste the coffee and toast he was going to make himself.
His tummy rumbled. "And a lot by the sound of it." He said with a laugh, surprised at how hoarse he sounded and then promptly tripping on something.
Harry, thanks to his seeker reflexes, caught himself and looked down at the offending object…
Or in this case, creature: Buggy, his house elf, was picking himself of the floor.
"Oh sorry, Bug." He said, helping the elf up.
The elf only stared at him in disbelief. "Master Potter is waking up." Buggy said slowly.
"Yeah, I guess I overslept." Harry scratched his head and gave a sheepish smile. "Don't worry about getting me breakfast…" he looked at the clock "Er…lunch -or brunch in this case- I've got it."
Harry started once again to the kitchen, oblivious to the house elf that ran into the study.
Upon reaching the kitchen, he smiled; it felt like he was seeing it for the first time. He gathered his bread and margarine but when he reached for the bread knife, it was not in its place. He frowned and searched for a spare knife but could not find any. He scratched his head again and scanned the kitchen for it. Finally, he spotted a gleam of silver in the top cabinet, but it was too high.
"Oh, Ron." He growled, reaching for a stool. Ron was the only one tall and childish enough to keep them up there. "You think this is amusing, don't you."
He clambered up the stool and was about to reach for the knob, when the door burst open, revealing a disheveled Ron and Hermione.
Harry turned to them and sent a glare Ron's way. "Seriously Ron, I may be a jerk sometimes but that doesn't mean you should hide all my cutlery." He snapped. As he opened the cupboard, he saw all his knives and forks- in fact, anything and everything sharp.
Harry growled and grabbed a knife, promising to deal with the rest later. "If I didn't know better I would've thought you were child-proofing the house, or by the looks of it, the whole country." He commented dryly, climbing down again and grabbing the margarine.
Hermione and Ron only stared at him, mouths hanging open.
Harry took his time, preparing his toast, expecting them to have already sat down but when he turned and saw their faces, he frowned.
"Are you guys alright?" he asked cautiously as he took in their appearance.
Both new comers were respectively clad in a nightgown and pajamas with a thin housecoat over it. Their hair stuck out at odd angles and dark bags under their wide eyes stood out against pale skin.
When Hermione heard Harry's question, she quickly shut her mouth and nudged her husband in the ribs. "Of c-course, Harry. Why would you ask that?"
Harry started ticking off with his fingers. "First of all, you guys look like shit- no offence. Secondly, you guys have been staring at me like you've seen a ghost and thirdly, Hermione never sleeps in."
Hermione blushed and tried to make herself more presentable while Ron blinked.
"Sorry, Harry." Hermione said with a sweet smile. "Jo kept me up again."
Harry's face softened at the mention of his goddaughter. "How is Jo anyways? I feel like I haven't seen her in years." He sat at the table to eat and Ron followed suit while Hermione made some tea. "Oh, she's fine." She said dismissively.
"So…Harry?" Ron said slowly, his eyes fixed on Harry. "Are you alright?"
Harry looked up and frowned. "Of course I am. Why wouldn't I be?"
There was a pregnant silence: Ron and Hermione glanced nervously at each other and Harry was getting irritated by the moment.
"What's your problem?" he snapped at them and then turned to Hermione. "I know Ron was supposed to be home early but we got carried away okay?" When Hermione frowned, he continued quickly. "Blame me: I didn't think you would mind and I'm pretty sure I passed out at the eighth bottle."
Ron raised a red eyebrow. "What are you talking about, mate?"
Harry groaned tiredly. "Last night? The drinking contest in the Three Broomsticks." He said matter-of-factly.
Hermione gasped and Ron stood up quickly, knocking over his stool in the process.
Harry looked between the two stunned faces and frowned. "Was that a sore topic?"
Ron was about to answer but the door swung open again and to Harry's surprise; Lucius and Draco Malfoy strolled into his kitchen.
As fast as lightning, Harry's wand was out. "Accio wands!"
Lucius and Draco's wand flew out of their pockets and into Harry's waiting hand.
Harry got up slowly, his wand still pointed at the pair. "What the fuck do you want, Malfoy?" he growled to both of them, standing protectively in front of Hermione.
"Harry?" Draco said, taking a step forward but Lucius put a hand on his shoulder, silently advising his son to stay put.
"Do you think yourselves so infallible that you would walk into my kitchen like you own the place?" Harry almost frowned when a look crossed Draco's face. Was that hurt? He shook his head free of sympathy and tightened his grip on the wand. "Now, I'll ask you one more time: what the…"
"I invited them!" Hermione burst out suddenly, causing the whole room to stare at her but Harry's gazed remained fixed on The Malfoys.
"Why?" He asked slowly, obviously battling with his anger.
"I needed to talk to them about some… business." Hermione said cautiously.
"You know I don't mind entertaining your friends, Hermione but these guests of yours have me a bit jumpy." Harry wanted to scream and shout at her woman he had come to love over their years in Hogwarts but he also knew that Hermione was smart and would have a valid reason for speaking to The Malfoys.
Harry straightened from his defensive stance but his wand was still pointed at them. "I don't want you alone with them."
"Ron will be with me, I promise." She reassured.
Harry nodded and stood aside, eyes still fixed on the former Death Eaters. "You owe me an explanation and I'm keeping your wands until you leave."
"Fair enough." Both Lucius and Hermione chorused.
Harry watched as Hermione and Lucius walked out of the kitchen, while Ron had to push Draco along. Once the door was closed, he sat down again and continued his meal, his mind swarming with questions.
What does Hermione have to do with the Malfoys? Does Ron know about this? Why did Draco look so…
He was snapped out of his reverie when he heard a tapping on the window. He stood up and let in his brown, Barn owl, Kari.
"Hello beautiful." He said to the owl with a smile.
Kari hooted excitedly and rubbed its head against Harry's arm like a cat.
"Nice to see you too, girl." He relieved her of her bundle and gave her a few owl treats. There were some letters addressed to Sirius and Remus, some brochures and the Daily Prophet newspaper.
After skimming through the first page, harry heard Sirius' raised voice and smiled. At least someone cares about Death Eaters strolling through the house. He started bringing out teacups to set some tea out for his godfather and friends when something caught his eye: the calendar read, April 4, 2008.
Harry frowned and checked the spell that made the calendar update itself: everything was in order. That cannot be right.
He looked at the newspaper: April 4, 2008.
He looked at the digital clock that hung above the door: April 4, 2008.
Panicking, he ran upstairs and checked the calendar in his room: April 4, 2008.
He checked the calendar on all floors and each one read: April 4, 2008.
No, No it can't be. The room spun violently and harry swayed a little but got himself together. He marched down the stairs and pushed the doors to the study so hard, it banged against the wall.
Sirius was glaring at Lucius, Draco sat on the couch with Hermione patting his back while Ron and Remus were by the fireplace, staring absently into the roaring embers. They all turned when he entered the room but remained silent.
"What's today's date?" he asked frantically.
No one spoke but a few of them shifted uncomfortably.
"I said, what's today's date?" he asked a bit calmly this time, his anger just below the surface.
"Harry, I…" Sirius started.
"What the hell is today's date!" he yelled.
Sirius sighed. "April 4, 2008."
Harry's mouth hung open for a moment and then he cocked his head curiously to the side. "No, it's October 13, 2006."
They all just stared at Harry and he could practically see pity ooze off them.
He growled and pulled out his wand, pointing it at Lucius. "It was you, wasn't it?" he snarled at him.
When Draco got up, Harry sent a spell his way, leaving him tied up on the floor.
He brought his wand back to Lucius. "ANSWER ME!" He yelled shaking slightly. "You don't think you've screwed my life up enough and now I can't even remember the past year!"
Lucius shifted nervously, eyes fixed on the wand. "Harry, please put down the wand." He said calmly.
Harry started a little as glimpses of Lucius saying the same thing to Harry, in the same room with Harry's wand pointed at him, as it was now. He swayed again but when Lucius moved to help him, he glared at the man and held tight to the wand, stopping him in his pace.
"I grow impatient, Malfoy." He snarled and took a menacing step towards him. "Tell me what you…" he trailed off as the telltale yellow of a sleeping spell hit him.
Harry slumped forward and Lucius managed to catch him, wand forgotten on the floor.
"I'm sorry." Hermione said, shaking with her wand in hand. "He was really going to hex Lucius and I panicked."
"It's alright 'Mione." Sirius reassured.
He reached for his godson but when Lucius tightened his hold, he sent a glare his way, causing the man to release him. Sirius picked up his godson, his lightness startling him a bit, before he turned to Lucius and a now unbound Draco.
"I don't want any of you coming near him ever again: I didn't like it then and I'm sure as hell pissed off now." Remus opened his mouth to talk but Sirius beat him to it. "If I ever see any of your sorry faces again, you'll be sorry." With that, he carried Harry up to his room with Remus in tow.
Silence again but this time it stretched on until Hermione spoke.
"Don't worry: Sirius is just a bit angry and guilty about what happened." She said softly. "Give him some time to cool down then both of you could talk."
Lucius nodded but Draco just let out a strangled cry and disapparated.
Oooooohhhh…..rada-rada… Don't you just love cliff hangers? Anyways, I'll post the next chapter ASAP: I may be on a break but that doesn't mean I don't have work to do… *sigh* the irony.