I don't have anything to do with the Harry Potter Universe.
Thank you to everyone who reviewed. But come on guys, did you really think it would be that easy? This is Harry we're talking about. Nothing goes according to plan. Over 1700 alerts for 15 chapters. I'm astounded and grateful.
Good news, I have outlined the second school year and have written out the ending.
I'm going to try to post a chapter of each of my three stories in order before posting the next chapter. And while I have the the whole chapter or large parts of it written out I work on notebooks that I carry around with me everywhere. Actually typing and then editing and posting takes about 3 hours for each chapter and working 12 shifts I can only do it certain days. So SG and Bucket list both tonight. DR probably not until sunday. The next sg maybe tues but most likes not until saturday.
"Oh go on Madam Pomfrey." Harry pleaded later that night.
She pretended to huff before relenting. "Five minutes only." She added sternly.
He agreed quickly, his face breaking out into a wide smile as Ron, Hermione, and Neville rushed into the room.
"Harry, oh Harry you're okay. Hermione cried, throwing herself into his arms. "I was so worried."
Harry patted her back awkwardly as he made a face at the two snickering boys. "I was worried there myself." He admitted.
"What happened after you went through that fire?" The redhead asked crowding closer.
"It was Quirrell. He was trying to get the stone. It was in the mirror, the one that showed my parents." He told them excitedly.
"That must have been Dumbledore's task." Hermione exclaimed as she wiped her eyes. "Quirrel couldn't figure it out could he?"
"Nope." The dark haired boy said as his face darkened. "Unfortunately he had help."
"Was Snape there too?" Neville asked looking alarmed.
"Worse." Harry told him gravely. He described what was under Quirrell's turban causing Hermione to gasp and the two boys to turn green.
"Blimey Voldemort was in the school." Ron breathed. "I'm glad we didn't know that when Charlie was here. He was mad enough just finding out that you met him in the forest."
"Charlie was here?" Harry asked turning pale. "And he knows about the forest attack?" He squired under Hermione's knowing look.
"Yeah, he came by to make sure I was okay." His best friend crowed enthusiastically. "It was totally brilliant even if he did come down on us a bit."
Harry chewed on his lip as he kept his gaze directed at his lap. "He was mad?" He asked softly.
"More concerned I think." Hermione told him softly.
"Wasn't bad really." Ron continued with a wide grin stretching his face. "And worth it to have him here. Bill or Charlie have never come for Percy or the twins."
"That's really great Ron." Harry told him, a sinking feeling in his stomach. Had Charlie come to see Harry and had fooled Ron or had he just been there for Ron and wanted nothing more to do with Harry. Was that why he'd left before he woken up?
"He couldn't stay long." Neville offered, having seen the look in his friend's face.
Madam Pomfrey swept in at that time forestalling any further comments. "Visitor hours are over." She announced.
"Please Madam Pomfrey." Hermione tried, not wanting to leave her friend in the state he was.
"Absolutely not. I gave you fifteen minutes. Harry needs his rest and so do you." The stern woman had her hands on her hips as she stared the young girl down.
"We'll see you at the feast tomorrow right mate?" Ron asked. "Slytherin won but the food will still be good."
"Yes yes I'll let him out in time for the feast." Madam Pomfrey promised as she shooed them out the door.
Harry waited until the mediwitch had retreated to her own quarters before sitting up and searching his bed and surrounding areas for a letter.
Not finding even a scrap of paper he sat back in despair. It seemed Charlie no longer wanted to talk to him. He couldn't really blame the man. Not only had he gone against his friend's wishes but to top it off he'd gotten Charlie's brother hurt too.
Really he must have come all the way here to check on Ron. He certainly wouldn't have come for Harry, not after he had messed up so bad.
'Don't jump to conclusions.' A voice that sounded suspiciously like Hermione sounded in his head. 'The trip couldn't have been planned. Maybe he simply didn't have time to leave you a note. He certainly wouldn't have been able to stay until you woke up. ' it continued voicing the traitorous thought that had been running through his head.
"He probably didn't even make it up to the hospital wing." He mumbled to himself. Without acknowledging their friendship Charlie would have had no reason to come this way, Ron had already been released. And Dumbledore had probably kept a close eye on him after the incident with the dragon.
Harry cheered slightly at the thought and snuggled down into his covers. He was content that a letter would be arriving, though now that he thought about it he wasn't sure he would want to read it , given the amount of trouble he was probably in.
The contented feeling stayed with him through out the next day and into the end of the year feast. All of Gryffindor tower went to bed that night buoyed by the rewarded points, allowing their house to win the cup.
The four adventurers gathered for breakfast the morning the Hogwarts express was set to take them to Kings Cross. Ron was bemoaning his fate between massive bites of food.
"Do you think Charlie told mum?" He asked spraying eggs across the table. "She can't be too mad right? We did win the house cup because of it right?
"Well she would have a right to be mad." Their female friend pointed out. "What we did was extremely foolish. Necessary but foolish all the same."
"Not helping Hermione." Neville admonished as the redhead gulped.
"Maybe I could tell her that Charlie already had a go at us. She might let go at that." He said desperately. "What do you think Harry?"
Harry looked away from where he was watching the post owls anxiously. "Knowing your mum she'd be here already if she knew even a little bit of what happened." He offered.
"That's right." Ron said shoveling more food in as he cheered up. " She wouldn't have waited until I got home. So what's everyone doing this summer?"
"In looking forward to seeing my parents. We're planning on going on holiday." Hermione answered a pleased smile on her face. "Neville?"
"I don't think Gran has any plans. Mostly I'll be working in my greenhouses. They're probably in terrible shape since I've been gone all year. " He explained.
"Ugh why would you want to do Herbology when you're not in school?" Ron complained. "What about you Harry?"
Mcgonagall swept by before he could answer urging all the lingering students into the entry hall where they formed lines for the carriages.
Harry followed his friends, his stomach churning. He hadn't gotten a letter this morning. But maybe Charlie was just waiting until tonight when he could see Harry in person That would make sense he reasoned, squishing down the traitorous part of this mind that wondered if the older boy would show.
Several hours later as the train chugged on a bored Ron resumed their previous conversation. "We really should get together this summer."
Hermione was already shaking her head. "My family won't be back until the last week but maybe we can meet in Diagon Alley for our shopping."
Ron's face fell. "Yeah I guess that's better than nothing. It won't be the same without the four of us though." He mumbled leaving her gobsmacked and the other two boys bemused. "Neville you can just floo over anytime. And Harry, you'll be at your relatives yeah? I'll ask mum if you can come stay."
The dark haired boy shrugged noncommittally though he was unable to hide the misery in his eyes.
Hermione shot him a worried look. "Are your relatives coming to get you Harry?" She asked. "Or maybe.."
"I don't know. " He cut her off harshly, his stomach rolling now. "I haven't heard either way." He said in a softer apologetic voice.
"Well if you need to you can come with me." She offered briskly. "We can drop you off or you can even stay with us while you try to reach someone."
"Thanks." he mumbled standing abruptly. "I um need the bathroom." He said hurting out the door.
Once he'd made it to the next section of the train he stopped and leaned against the wall. He didn't know where he was going or how he was getting there. Charlie had promised he wouldn't go back to the Dursleys a but there had been no word from him. And what if uncle Vernon did show up. Was he supposed to go with him?
"Hey you're Potter aren't you? Harry potter?" An older student in Hufflepuff colors asked as he approached.
Harry nodded warily, flattening his hair down over his scar.
"I'm Cedric Diggory. Hufflepuff. Listen let's go somewhere a little more private." He said directing the confused boy down the train and into an empty compartment.
Harry was staring at him suspiciously. "You play quidditch don't you? You're a seeker."
Cedric gave him a little smile. "Don't worry I didn't drag you in here to sabotage Gryffindor. Actually Quidditch is sort if the reason I'm here." He looked at Harry expectantly who looked back at him blankly.
"Okayyyy well see when a really good older player takes you under his wing and mentors you you'd pretty much do anything for him." He tried to explain.
Harry gave him a suspicious look. "You want to mentor me so I'll do something for you?"
Cedric ran a hand down his face. Urge obviously I'm no good at this cloak and dagger stuff. The truth is I grew up near the Weasleys. I spent nearly every day during my childhood summers at their place bugging Charlie for tips. Broke my heart when he left for the dragon reserve." Cedric mimed a beating heart on his chest.
"You know Charlie?" Harry exclaimed.
The older boy nodded. "He was my mentor so when he asked me to give you a letter secretly I didn't ask any questions." He said pulling parchment from his pocket. "He said it was very important that you get it and read it before the train stops."
Harry lifted a trembling hand for the scroll. "Why didn't he just send it through the owl post?"
Cedric shrugged. "Don't know. It was in a letter I received from home this morning. There was a note attached that said don't let anyone see me giving it to you." He gave the pale boy a concerned look. "Are you going to be okay."
Harry nodded dumbly, his eyes never leaving the letter. He didn't hear the other boy leave as he unrolled the parchment.
Listen I know this is short, I've had a lot to do in a short amount if time and can't take the time just now to chat.
Things are all screwy. Thanks to my coming to the school I'm pretty sure Dumbledore is suspicious. Let's face it. This was the third visit. I would probably be suspicious too.
If he decides to check on you this summer and finds you missing the first place he's going to look is the reserve. Which means not only am I in trouble and on my way to prison but the reserve will be slammed too. I can't have that.
I just wanted to make sure you go with you uncle when he comes to pick you up. I'll try to get in touch soon.
He stared at the letter in shock as he slid off the seat to huddle on the floor. It was all true. Everything he'd been telling himself was just nerves and nonsense was true. Charlie didn't want him anymore and now he had to go back to the Dursleys.
He buried his face in his knees as a soft sob escaped. He had actually let himself believe that he would finally escape there, had even had hope that he would have a real family.
He sniffed angrily. He knew better. He had learned long ago to stop wishing for a happy ending. Freaks don't get happy endings.
He briefly flashed to the multiple letters from Charlie, each ascertaining that he wasn't a freak. Well now the man knew the truth. Only a freak would lead his only friends into a dangerous situation and get them hurt. No wonder Charlie didn't want to risk the reserve. Who knows what he could do to the dragons.
He stayed like that, alternating crying and flagellating himself until he felt the train slowly down. Jumping to his feet he hastily rubbing at his eyes willing the redness to go away before he hurried back to his friends.
Hermione gave him a sad smile. "It'll be okay." She whispered, briefly touching his hand.
He said nothing as he followed her through the barrier, his eyes seeking out the massive girth that was his uncle.
"Boy." Version bellowed as soon as their eyes met. "Get a move on. I haven't got all day."
Harry sighed and sent his friend a small shrug. "I'll see you September first I expect." He murmured hurrying after his uncle before she had time to say anything.
"Get in. Quit that lollygagging about.". The man bellowed again from where he was already seated behind the wheel.
Harry sighed shoving his trunk and owl in the back seat before squishing himself in next to them and shutting the door. Version gave him a displeased look before driving onto the motorway that would lead them to Surrey.
Harry was startled out of his dark thoughts half an hour later as the car pulled into the parking lot of a restaurant. "Umm uncle Vernon." He asked hesitantly. He really didn't want to have to sit in the car while his uncle stuffed his face
He shifted away as the big man gave him an odd look. "Now Harry I have something very important to show you. What's the matter? He asked seeing the boy's mouth was open in shock.
"You called me Harry." The green eyes narrowed. "Who are you and what have you done with uncle Vernon?"
"I haven't done anything with him." The flabby jowls quivered as the beady eyes filled with distress. "Just try to calm down and I'll explain."
"Explain!" He squeaked. "You look like my uncle but you're not."
He opened his mouth to respond before sighing and with a small pop shifted into her normal appearance. A young women with spiky purple hair.
"What who what." Harry stuttered. "When do we get to learn that!" He demanded excitement lighting his eyes before dimming with suspicion. "Who are you and why were you impersonating my uncle?"
"I'm a friend of Charlie's." She answered quickly. "Names Nymphadora Tonks."
"Charlie?" The small boy asked, pain flashing in his eyes.
"Mum hmm best friends all through Hogwarts." She answered looking at him in concern through the rear view mirror.
"Is that where you learned how to impersonate my uncle?" He asked relaxing back into the seat.
Oh well you'll certainly learn about human transfiguration but what I do is different. I'm a metamorpgmagus." She continued at his blank look. "I can look like anyone I want to. Dead useful. Anyway I went to your aunt and uncles yesterday to tell them you wouldn't be coming back. I pretended to be Mcgonagall. Got a good look at you uncle. Merlin how does he walk with that much weight?"
"So I'm not really going back?" He asked, steeling his heart against further disappointment.
"Oh. I have a letter for you!" She dug into the pocket of the now overly large clothes. "Ugh that man was a pig." She wiggled out of the cheap suit to reveal a snug tee shirt and jeans. "I'm just going to pop in and get some take out. Give you a few minutes of privacy.".
Harry watched her curiously for a minute before opening his letter.
Trust Tonks. She's a good friend and pretty cool. Whatever you do don't call her anything but Tonks!
Straight to the point- Dumbledore is nosing around and you can't come here for the summer. It would be the first place he'd look when you went missing. But I made a promise and I plan to keep it. Been running around like mad to arrange it all.
So you're going to have to stay with Tonks and her family for a while. I know you don't know them but they're good people and most importantly they're not you're relatives. And hey bonus point, they knew your dad and I'm sure they have a couple stories to tell you.
Sorry I couldn't write you an explanation before you got on the train. I was worried that if I sent you a letter Dumbledore would confiscate it and would know the summer plans. We had to do a little cloak and dagger work which Tonks is brilliant at. If it worked Dumbledore's spies would have seen your uncle taking you home and he won't have any reason to check on you. And if he does check on you well he won't be able to find you.
Harry frowned at the abrupt ending, turning the letter over searching for more. Finding none he leaned back and thought about what it meant. Charlie obviously didn't hate him and there was a real reason he wouldn't let him come to the reserve which made him feel a bit better. And he appreciated the explanation but the man could have added it to the short note Cedric had given him. It would have stopped a lot of the insecurities he'd had on the train.
He missed the worried concern the man usually showed him in his letters. After all he hadn't talked to him since he'd been laid up in the hospital wing. Was he really not worried? Didn't he want a full account of what had happened and why?
And where was the yelling and the punishment? Not that he wanted to get in trouble but Charlie had warned him. Yet not one mention of it. It was almost like he went from being Harry's best friend and mentor to bring being one of those child care workers that had talked to him years ago. They checked off their little boxes: lodging, clothes, and schooling and their responsibilities done.
Was that what he was now? Just a chore Charlie had to get done?
'You're being ungrateful.' The little voice in his head scolded him. 'Charlie doesn't owe you anything and he's done more for you than anyone else ever has. Look at all the trouble he went through to make sure you were Dursley free this summer and you sit here whinging.'
'You're right.' Harry told himself 'Really I'm acting like Dudley does when he doesn't get enough birthday presents. I don't have to go back to the Dursleys and that's more than I can ask for. As soon as I have a chance tonight I'll write to Charlie and let him know how thankful I am.'
He allowed a grin to show as his new companion bounced into the car with several takeout boxes. "Ready to go home?"