First, there was Hedwig.
"Hedwig, I'm not eating that!" Harry cried.
"No! I've told you! Owl treats aren't for humans! That's gross!"
Hedwig stared at him with her wide yellow eyes, clicking her beak and ruffling her feathers. Harry could practically feel the pressure of her gaze.
"I'm fine, honestly," he promised, "I've gone longer without food. It's just another three weeks – I can last."
But then his stomach growled and he had no choice but to choke down some owl treats, all under the watchful gaze of his new pet. If he'd known she was going to be this much trouble, he would have refused her!
"Hoot," Hedwig hooted, nudging her water dish toward her master.
"Good God, no! I get water when Aunt Petunia lets me out to use the loo, I don't need yours!"
Harry lost that argument, just as he would continue to lose them throughout the rest of the summer.
Harry sighed and put down his potions book, feeling bored out of his mind. He'd thought that the world of magic would be more exciting than primary school, but so far the books proved to be just as dull.
Harry glared balefully at his owl before picking the book up again and assuring Hedwig that he was indeed studying for school. Bloody bird!
Then, there was Hermione.
"Harry, you've got to eat something. You'll need your strength for today," Hermione said, piling more toast and bacon on his plate. "Eat, Harry!"
"I'm not that hungry, Hermione. I'll be fine. I had supper last night, and I've already eaten some toast."
"That's not nearly enough for an activity as strenuous as Quidditch. You need some protein. Eat your bacon, or I'm going to get Hedwig!"
"Fine, I'm eating! Don't get her," Harry begged, shoving a pile of bacon into his mouth. There was no way he would live it down if Hedwig force-fed him in front of his classmates. Snape wouldn't let him forget it – just like he wouldn't let him forget her forcing him to study. Harry still didn't know how Snape had found him hiding in that cupboard.
"Exams are starting in a few months, Harry. You and Ron really need to start studying. I don't want you getting bad grades!"
"But we're playing chess, 'Mione," Ron whined.
"I don't care. You'll study and you'll like it! Don't make me get Hedwig, Harry!"
"Fine," Harry sighed, glaring at Ron as he picked up his chess board and brought it over to Seamus and Dean. How come he could always get out of these things?
And there was Mrs. Weasley.
"You're so thin! Those Muggles must starve you! Well, we'll fix that – fatten you up some before school starts again."
"Thanks Mrs. Weasley, but I don't think I could eat another bite!" Harry argued weakly.
Mrs. Weasley ignored him and piled his plate full once more, eyeing him until he started to eat once more. As much as he loved Mrs. Weasley, he really wished she wouldn't put so much food on his plate. He was still full from lunch and here she was piling a second helping on his plate. He was going to have to have a compartment all to himself at this rate! He didn't want to be fat!
And Professor Lupin
"Harry, as grateful as I am that you saved Sirius, I don't ever want you to do something like that again. It was horribly dangerous, and we're lucky you weren't hurt. Don't ever – and I mean it, Harry – do something like that again. Leave it to the adults. Now, how about some tea, hmm?"
Harry smiled weakly and picked up the offered teacup and brought it to his mouth. He wished he could promise Remus that he wouldn't do anything like that again, but if Sirius or anyone else needed his help, he was going to do it. Especially if no one else would believe him, as seemed always to happen.
The best was Sirius.
"Keep your head down. Don't let anyone have any reason to give you trouble. We'll find out who put your name in that goblet, Harry. And your friend Ron will come around. How he hasn't already, I'll never know. From what I've heard, your bird keeps putting him into the hospital wing."
"I just hate that I have to be in this. It doesn't make any sense that I have to compete. I don't understand the wizarding world at all."
"You'll get used to it. Just stay close to your friend Hermione and that owl, and I think you'll be alright. The teachers already know to look out for you, so try to stay within their sight. But that doesn't mean you can't have fun!"
This, though, this was the worst. He really didn't understand it. In fact, it downright scared him.
When Harry entered the stadium and spotted the Horntail for the first time, he froze. He eyes widened and his heart began racing fiercely. The Horntail's gaze felt heavy upon him, and her eyes stared unblinkingly. She must know that Harry wanted to steal an egg – even though it was a fake. Well, he couldn't let her do anything about that! He had to get that egg! So he summoned his Firebolt and hopped on, momentarily smiling as cheers rang through the stadium as they saw him fly. She still watched him, and the way she was eyeing him was making him uncomfortable. Really, what was the dragon thinking?
His thoughts distracted him and he yelped as the back of his robes were caught within the Horntail's teeth. The audience screamed as the Boy-Who-Lived was dragged down, back to Earth, and thrust on top of the dragon's eggs. They were warm. That was the first thing Harry thought. Then there was nothing but terror as the mother threw his broom outside of the stadium. He tried to reach for his wand, but the dragon snarled angrily at him, so he stood still. Her face came ever closer, inch by inch, until their eyes were but inches apart. Harry held his breath and met her gaze with wide eyes.
Then the unexpected happened.
The dragon gave a soft croon and nudged him to lie down on the eggs. "What?" Harry asked.
He was nudged a bit harsher until he was curled up in a ball on top of the nesting dragon's eggs. Said mother looked pleased with herself and her tongue came out to lick Harry on the face.
"I don't believe it!" Bagman called. "The dragon thinks Harry Potter is her child!"
Oh no, thought Harry, not again. What was it about him that made women need to mother him?
His hair was covered in dragon slobber as his new mother hen licked his hair into order. He was humiliated. "Look, dragon," he said, "I just need to grab this golden egg – you see, it's not your egg, so you shouldn't be affronted about it – and then I'll be out of your way."
The dragon didn't look amused. She shook her head and pushed him back onto the ground.
"Come on! Look – if I can't get this egg, then I can't finish the competition and – and I'll die!" he exclaimed in a sudden fit of brilliancy. "Yeah, I'll drop dead if I don't present this egg to the judges, and then I won't be alive for you to mother. So you really have to let me go, if you want me to live."
The Horntail was suspicious, but she let him go, staring at him with narrow eyes as he held up the egg before the judges. When the crowd cheered, he took his chance and bolted out of the enclosure, cringing as the serpent roared in fury at his deception. He ran as fast as he could into the champion's tent, succumbing to Madam Pomfrey. She didn't mother him... well, not really.
"You could have been killed, you foolish boy!" she shouted, smacking him upside the head.
Yeah... not mothering at all. Sometimes Harry really hated his life.