AN: Year 3 has begun with SDDJ: Auld Lang Syne. Preview of first chapter is below…

Harry Potter's staggering steps ended abruptly at the bus stop that was two - or was it three? - blocks from Number 4 Privet Drive. He dropped the end of his trunk, set down his snowy owl Hedwig's cage on top and thought about his next course of action. He sat on the trunk and sighed heavily. He looked around at the darkness, the stormy clouds over head and the eerily quiet play park he passed on his left. His voice was soft and reflective. "Way to go, Potter. Now what are you going to do?"

He'd send a note to one of his best friends - Jason Vaisey or Blaise Zabini - but Hedwig was off hunting and there's no telling when she'd be back. The Leaky Cauldron was an inn as well as a thorough way, but it was all the way in London. Harry was directionally challenged so he couldn't just walk there and he had no Muggle money.

Running his fingers through his hair, Harry heard a rustle and whipped around, wand in hand pointed at the bushes. Aurors should be sorting things at the Dursley's home. None would be lurking in bushes. Maybe running out like this wasn't exactly his brightest move.

Harry took a step back and peered at the bushes. He saw something shimmer or shine - gold or was it green - and were those eyes staring at him? A thread thinned voice wheezed in the moonlit night behind him, "Harry!"

He whipped around towards the voice, wand still raised, staring at the large figure moving surprisingly fast towards him. While he lowered his wand, he didn't feel safe enough to put it away. Harry glanced towards the bushes behind him but he no longer saw the eyes that glowed at him. Maybe it was his imagination after all. "What are you doing out here, Dudley?"

"I…" Panting, his cousin - Dudley Dursley - waved him off. "I just… she's wrong…" Hands on his knees, Dudley took deep breaths, "Blimey, I need to get in shape."