Author's note. When I first started this story, I'd just finished Uni and didn't have a full time job, just a load of little ones. Then I got a job so I had less time for writing. And all I can say is this year has been unbelievably busy and I'm just not writing as much as I used to. I really appreciate all the faves, follows and reviews I get for this story and I'm sorry I didn't manage to update sooner.
I've got several ideas for this story but working out how to incorporate them has proved trickier than I thought. I want it all to make sense several of them will probably work better in later years rather than Harry's second one. But I'll keep going and see what I can come up with.
Today's my birthday so I thought I'd complete a special little chapter which includes another birthday. I'm sure you can guess who.
Enjoy and please review.
Sitting on the step of Privet Drive, Harry glanced at his watch one more time, double checking that he didn't have much longer to wait. Early that morning, Hedwig had flown in with a note from Sirius where he'd instructed Harry to wait for him at half past eleven that night precisely. Of course, Harry had snuck out earlier than the specified time and was relaxing under the twilight sky.
Despite the late hour, it was pleasantly warm and even the front step retained some warmth from the hot day. Aunt Petunia had earlier served up a large ice cream sundae for Dudley which he had devoured with typical gusto. Harry had gotten one as well although of course, it was smaller than Dudley's. He didn't care, it made a nice pudding on such a warm evening.
It was rather refreshing waiting out here, enjoying the air outside rather than being stuck in his stuffy bedroom. Hedwig was already out hunting, one of the best changes this summer. But his attention right now was on his godfather.
He knew whatever Sirius was planning was going to be special because tomorrow was Harry's birthday. Officially, he was going to be twelve, unofficially, he would actually be nineteen. It was a strange thought, he still half expected to see his older self when he looked in the mirror. Seeing his thin, childish face instead was rather weird at times but he was getting used to it.
Shame about his knobbly knees, they looked just as unappealing as he remembered. Oh well, at least he knew he grew out of them eventually. Quidditch and hearty meals at Hogwarts would eventually fill out his skinny frame. He'd even get taller, something he was very much looking forward to. Having to tilt his head again up at some of the teachers and other adults could be so annoying at times.
A rattle caught his attention and he twisted his head sharply, only to see one of Mrs Fig's cats lightly land on a fence and start strolling across it. He snorted slightly, it was funny how both Squibs he knew liked to employ cats to spy on others. For a moment however, he'd thought that sound might mean someone else.
When was Dobby going to appear anyway? None of his letters had failed to arrive, not only because Hedwig was allowed outside but because of Sirius's continued visits. Harry was very much counting on the fact Dobby would approach him rather than come up with some scheme to horribly injure him. The HouseElf had wanted him to understand, wanted to properly warn him of the danger.
As far as he could tell, things were progressing as they had previously. The Ministry were conducting raids, Mr Weasley had been working on his Muggle Protection Act, there was no way Lucius Malfoy wasn't infuriated by that. And so he would decide to set loose the tool that would open the Chamber of Secrets. And inadvertently enrage Voldemort sometime in the future with his casual disregard for such a precious item.
How would Lucius react when nothing happened at the school? After all, Ginny might have tossed the diary aside, having no interest in writing and it could have become lost among other dusty volumes. He probably assumed everything would go to plan, but if several months passed with no action, what would he do?
That was a question he didn't have an answer to.
A slight pop sounded and he jumped at the sudden noise in such a quiet street but as soon as he looked in its direction, he grinned.
"Sirius," he said, getting to his feet at the sight of his godfather who only stood a few feet away.
"Hey kiddo," the older man beamed, coming forward. "Ready to go?"
"You bet," Harry agreed. "Where are we going?"
"You'll see but first, we have to get there," Sirius said as he came to stand in front of Harry.
Harry nodded, he thought he knew how they'd do it.
"We're going to do side-along Apparition," Sirius explained. "I'll take your arm and we'll go to a surprise location. It'll be over in a flash but you might feel a bit queasy afterwards. Don't worry, it's normal for the first time."
"Okay," Harry said, grinning up at his godfather.
"Ready?" Sirius asked, taking his arm.
"Yep," was the reply, Harry was more than ready.
"Here we go then," Sirius said and a moment later, Harry felt the familiar sensation of being squeezed into a tight tube before he blinked and found himself hit by a gust of wind right in the face.
"Oof," he coughed, that had felt a little weird but there was no nausea.
"Alright?" Sirius asked kindly, holding gently but firmly onto Harry's arm.
"I'm good," Harry assured him and with a nod, Sirius released his arm.
"You did great," he complimented, patting Harry on the back. "Come on."
He started leading the way down a grassy slope and Harry followed him, excited to see what the surprise was. The sky was still clear and warm but there was still a distinct breeze here, a nice change. There was grass underfoot but the surrounding land was quite bare of trees or buildings. He squinted into the gloom ahead of him, he didn't know where they were but this place was still faintly familiar.
"Here," Sirius suddenly said, jabbing his wand and something lifted into the air, revealing it to be a large dark cloak which in turn had been concealing Sirius's motorbike.
Turning with a grin to Harry's surprised and slightly confused expression, he said. "Don't worry, it'll make sense in a minute."
Harry grinned, glad to see that the surprise wasn't a sidecar. Clearly, his godfather had something else up his sleeve. Soon enough, they were both on the bike, sans the usual helmets, and Sirius was revving up the engine. He then started to edge it around, facing downwards.
"This will be the fun part," he called over the rumble of the engine idling. "Get ready."
"I'm ready," Harry assured him, gripping the older man's waist.
"Okay…..we are off!" Sirius yelled as the engine roared fully to life and they were quickly shooting downwards, bouncing over the rough ground. As Harry looked around, he finally realised that they were on a cliff and rapidly heading for the edge. Instead of crying out in fear, he grinned and just held on a bit tighter.
The edge came faster and faster, beyond it was nothing but open sea for miles ahead. Sirius gunned the bike even more as they shot off the cliff….and kept on going. There was no heart stopping plunge down to the rocks being assaulted by waves, instead there was just an ascension through the open air and towards the stars above.
"This is amazing," Harry yelled, thrilled they could do this and no one to see or hear them.
"It always is," Sirius agreed happily, turning his head to grin at his godson.
Harry looked down, they were a fair distance from the land and the water looked fairly calm but he could still just make out the swell of the sea. Looking back to where they had come from, he could see the walls of the cliffs were a brilliant white that shone even now and with a slight gasp, he realised they had come over the white cliffs of Dover.
"Are we going to France?" he asked in astonishment.
"You got it," Sirius confirmed. "We're going to fly over there and enjoy a bit of French countryside. And then have something to eat."
"Bit late though, isn't it?" Harry pointed out before jumping slightly as a distant horn sounded.
"Keep a good hold," Sirius told him, the sound of a faraway ship hadn't startled him. "That's what makes it so fun, a midnight feast…give or take an hour."
"Awesome," Harry grinned as they climbed even higher, if there were any clouds, they'd probably be breaking through them right now.
"But first, why don't we have a little fun?" Sirius questioned.
"I'm up for anything," Harry encouraged, making his godfather chuckle.
"Great, you just hold on now," he said and Harry dutifully held on a bit tighter.
Satisfied that Harry was secure, Sirius aimed his bike towards the sea and they shot forwards at what seemed like an incredible speed.
"Faster!" Harry couldn't help but whoop even as the wind whipped all around him.
His godfather let out a bark of laughter.
"Just like your father!" he exclaimed, bringing the bike up before it could crash into the dark sea and skimming them along the water, sending streams up all around them. "He would have loved this!"
"Did mum like flying like this?" Harry asked eagerly as they started flying a bit more smoothly again.
"She did," Sirius said warmly, turning to smile at Harry. "Not in playing Quidditch but just flying. I heard her say once that she just liked to see the world from a bird's eye view. James and I mostly wanted to go fast and do hairbrained stunts."
"A bit like me," Harry mused wryly. "But you know, this is really nice. Imagine if you could go anywhere on a broom, day or night."
"Hmm, it would be good," Sirius mused. "Ah well. You know, I've always wanted to try a flying carpet, we should do that someday."
"Cool," Harry said, vaguely wondering exactly how that would feel. Mr Crouch had certainly rated them and you could get several people onto one.
"I took her once or twice on this bike," Sirius continued. "She enjoyed it, said we should do more of this when….hmm…"
"Did dad go on this a lot?" Harry questioned gently as Sirius started to trail off.
"You bet he did," Sirius said, instantly forgetting any gloom. "A little jealous if you know what I mean."
"I'm jealous," Harry laughed. "Ever get into trouble?"
"Well," Sirius began, adopting a thoughtful look. "There was this one time…."
"Enjoy that?" Sirius asked as they walked along the street of Privet Drive.
"Loved it," Harry said before glancing up at a whisper of wings. "Hedwig!"
The beautiful snowy owl soared just a few feet over his head, carrying what looked like a letter and small parcel. Harry would normally open those straight away but he thought this time, he might wait until morning. She gave a soft hoot before carrying on to his open window.
They'd flown right over to France, settling down on a little secluded beach. There, Sirius had lit a small fire where they'd roasted sausages, stuffed them into thick buttered white bread and smothered them in tomato sauce. No frog legs Sirius had joked as they'd tucked right into them. Of course there had been juice to follow but it was delicious pear juice.
And then had come the fun of making crepes with a batter Sirius had picked up from a local French village with fresh whipped cream and cherries to go on top. Exceedingly filling but so delicious. Lying back on the sand, Harry had laughed as Sirius created shapes in the sand, forming various castles and other structures.
The rest had passed in almost a daze, he was enjoying himself so much. Going on a small, innocent adventure with his godson, it was a dream come true. Definitely the proper way to spend a birthday. And now they were almost home.
"I'll see you sometime in the afternoon," Sirius promised as they walked to the front door of Privet Drive. "I don't know what time exactly so just have your stuff ready downstairs and that'll be fine."
"Sounds good," Harry said with a wide yawn.
"You need a lie in," Sirius advised. "You do that, alright?"
"Yeah," Harry said, trying to stifle another yawn.
"Your aunt and uncle got anything planned tomorrow…I mean today?" Sirius asked.
"Uncle Vernon has a very important client coming tonight," Harry told him, stifling yet another yawn. "Something about a deal that'll get him a holiday in Menorca."
"We wouldn't want to disturb that," Sirius chuckled. "As gutted as you are to miss it."
"Completely gutted," Harry agreed, thinking how much fun staying in his room, making no noise and pretending he wasn't there had been. Aunt Petunia's weird cream pudding should be safe and sound this time around.
"Sleep well Harry," Sirius said, giving his shoulder a squeeze before letting Harry head on and open the door, softly as he could.
"Night Sirius," he said quietly.
"Goodnight Harry," Sirius replied, smiling at him, eyes alive with simply pleasure.
Harry smiled back and started to go in.
"Harry, before I forget!"
He turned and dutifully looked back. Sirius grinned.
"Happy birthday Harry."
Author's note. Short but I hope enjoyable. The next chapter will be longer. Until next time.