Chapter One – Summer Days
By Crow Skywalker
Disclaimer – I don't own Harry Potter or its characters. They all belong to J.K. Rowling and whatnot. I'm only borrowing them for some fun ;)
Author's Notes – Okay, I should start out by saying that this is the start of my first Harry Potter fic, and I'm pretty new to it all, so it's most likely going to be crappy, lol. Before reading, make sure you read the next paragraph – you don't want to start reading only to find this stuff out later on. Just so you know, I write pretty slow...and if I'm not happy with a fic, or nobody likes it (so make sure you review and tell me what you think :P) I'll probably just put it on the back burner with the rest of my non-finished fics. Reviews help, lol. And sorry if there's any mistakes or errors – I did go over it and fix things, but I may have missed some things. The title – I'm not sure about. Yes, I was listening to Avril Lavigne's Complicated while I was writing this, and while the song kinda fits (later on from Harry's POV), its also a working title. So anyway, I guess that's all I have to say. Enjoy!
Pairings/Warnings – Rated PG-13 for content such as swearing, and I may up the rating later on. This fic is SLASH – you've been warned. Harry/Draco slash, in fact. There may also be other strange couples, depending on how far I take this fic. If you don't like it, then don't read. Flames will be laughed at and ignored. Fic takes place in Harry's seventh year, and contains a lot of love triangles. But don't worry, it'll all work out in the end.
Series Summary – Harry's just trying to make it through his seventh year at Hogwarts alive, but obstacles stand in his way, one of them being Voldemort. And what happens when Hogwart's most eligible bachelor Draco Malfoy realizes that although he could have anyone he wants, his heart belongs to none other than the famous Harry Potter?
Chapter Summery – The end of summer's almost here, and Harry's heading off to stay with the Weasley's.
Please note: I started writing this before The Order of the Phoenix came out, so this fic can now be considered AU. Sirius is not dead, Cho is not a crybaby, Harry has never been slobbered on…err..I mean, kissed by Cho (although they are good friends in this fic), ect. You know what I mean.
Last Edited: February 07, 2004 – added note, and chapter one has been slightly edited. Nothing big.
It was like any other normal morning in the small, but 'normal' house on four Privet Drive. The sun had risen early, the sky was blue and the grass green, and Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived, was rudely woken up by his Aunt Petunia, who rapped loudly on his closed door.
"Boy, are you up yet? You better haul that ass of yours out of bed!" She yelled, before stomping off down the hall to do her usual morning thing.
Harry groaned and rolled over, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and looking at the small clock that was across the room. Realizing that he was getting nowhere without glasses, he reached for them on his bedside table. Hmm...7:00? He winced as he yawned, haven't these people ever heard of sleeping in?
Obviously not, because his Aunt soon came back to the door, pounding on it loudly. "If you don't get up and cook breakfast now, then you sure as hell won't get anything to eat today!"
Harry finally hauled himself out of bed, and made his way across the room to get some clothes. He stopped only momentarily to look at himself in his mirror, and run a tired hand through his messy hair. His Aunt always had a complaint about his hair, no matter what he did, so he just didn't bother with it. Shrugging slightly at its state, he headed for the door. Upon opening it he was faced with a very red faced Uncle Vernon, who was obviously angry.
"It's about time boy." He said, glaring, "Now get downstairs."
Harry followed his orders, and silently made his way downstairs and into the kitchen, where he found Aunt Petunia and Dudley, their one and only treasured son, who was now wailing because his stomach was making loud noises and he was 'starving to death'. As Harry entered the kitchen, Aunt Petunia sent a glare in Harry's direction before returning her attention to her favorite son.
"Don't worry sweetums, Harry is cooking breakfast now, and I'll get the juice and stuff out. I'll make sure you get extras this morning," She added with a wink as she went about getting the things from the refrigerator.
Harry rolled his eyes at them as he took out a frying pan and got some eggs out of the fridge. Dudley was older than Harry by a few weeks, but he sure didn't act like it. Harry knew it was mostly a show, but still – would Dudley ever grow up? He was supposedly seventeen now, and yet he still acted like a five year old around his parents, still going out of his way to get Harry in trouble.
It was then that Uncle Vernon finally entered the kitchen, carrying a stack of papers that looked like the mail. He sat down in his usual seat at the table, looking through the stack of letters.
"Anything for me, dad?" Dudley asked, forgetting his act for now.
"No Dudley," His father looked up from what he had been reading, "Why? Do you have some girlfriend that you haven't told us about?"
"Oh Dudleykins! I bet she's really cute!" Aunt Petunia smiled, hugging her boy as she places the juice in the middle of the table and took her seat, "She must really be a doll if she loves my little boy!"
Dudley sat in silence, his mouth slightly open as his parents continued to talk about this so called 'girlfriend'. Harry snickered to himself as he cooked. He knew that Dudley didn't have a girlfriend – who'd go out with him in the first place? They'd have to be crazy!
"But is she good enough for our Dudley?" Came Vernon's voice, slightly concerned.
"Is she 'normal'?" Was Petunia's question, shooting a glance at Harry.
The shock finally wearing in, Dudley smiled broadly. "Of course I have a girlfriend!" He announced, an obvious lie to anyone but his parents. "She's good looking, and rich, and she loves me very much. And she's NORMAL." He said loud enough, just so Harry could hear.
"Oh Dudleykins." Aunt Petunia purred, "She sounds very nice."
The conversation droned on, but Harry paid very little attention to it. It was sickly to listen to his aunt and uncle fawn over his cousin anyway. Dumping another ton of eggs onto a plate, he started in on the bacon.
"Harry, do YOU have a girlfriend?" Came Dudley's voice, and Harry finally realized that the conversation had turned to him. He turned around to find all three relatives staring at him in question, and Dudley with a knowing smirk across his face.
"No." Harry answered, watching their reactions.
"Of course he wouldn't," Petunia spoke, "Not when he goes to that – that 'place'."
"He wouldn't get one looking like that anyway." Said Vernon, his head buried in a letter he had opened.
Harry bit back a reply, and frowning, turned back to what he was doing. He could have had a girlfriend if he had really wanted one. After what happened in fourth year, and Cedric Diggory's death, Harry and Cho Chang, his biggest crush, had become very close in the years that followed. But now she was finished school at Hogwarts, and when he returned for his seventh year of schooling, she would not be there. He shivered at the thought.
Cedric's death had given him nightmares for months afterwards, and even now he still had them, and blamed himself for Cedric's death. During the time spent with Cho they confided in each other, and he was able to tell her anything and everything that went through his mind. But he guessed that she thought more of him as a friend than anything else.
"Hey boy, there seems to be mail for you." Vernon grunted, and Harry handed them their plates of food before taking the letter from his Uncle and taking a seat.
"It's probably from one of his freak friends." Dudley said through a mouthful of food. Harry heard him but said nothing. Looking over the letter he found that there was no return address.
I wonder who it's from?He thought, turning it over in his hands, Ron and Hermione would have written by owl. He decided to open it and find out. Tearing the seal, he found a short piece of parchment, big squiggly words written on one side of it. He immediately noticed the lack of capitals and almost grinned when he read who it was from.
sorry to bother you harry potter sir, but dobby thinks that this year of all years that you should not return to hogwarts. dobby senses that bad things are going to happen this year sir. dobby has heard dumbledore and the other professors talking sir. He who shall not be named has been building up his followers, and dobby and everyone else knows that he may soon strike.
Harry paused for a moment, thinking this over. It was true, Voldemort had lain low since being brought back to life, and there had been only a few raids since. Everyone had suspected, or rather, those who actually believed that he had risen, that Voldemort was slowly putting a plan into action. But that still wasn't going to stop Harry from going to Hogwarts, which was the safest place for him anyway.
dobby is very afraid for you sir. dobby does not want harry potter to be hurt like in fourth year...
Harry winced slightly at the mention of fourth year. He tried hard not to think about it, but no matter how hard he tried, it was always there to haunt him.
dumbledore has set up extra precautions this year sir. This is to be your last year at hogwarts, and if he who shall not be named is still out to get you, it will be now sir. please listen to dobby sir. it is for your own safety.
p.s. winkie says hi, sir
Harry folded the letter up, and placed it back in its envelope. So Dobby was once again trying to get him to stay away from Hogwarts. He vaguely remembered his second year, and how hard Dobby had tried to stop him from going to school.
Well, I never backed out then, and I won't now,he vowed. Besides, I can't miss out on my last year of school – even if Voldemort is planning something. I have to face him either way, and I won't run away. I've faced him before, and I'll most likely do it again.
Finally looking up, he found his relatives staring at him in curiosity, their food getting cold.
"What?" He asked, wondering why they were staring at him funny. Then he realized why – they probably thought it was from some 'un-normal' person. Maybe his Godfather, who he kept in close touch with. He smiled slightly at their fearfulness. Once they had found out that Harry had a 'escaped prisoner' for a Godfather, they were quick to treat him better.
"Who's it from?" Vernon finally asked, looking away.
"From Dobby – a house elf I met.."
"A house WHAT?"
Vernon's face turned red. "Didn't I tell you to not talk about such things in my house!"
Harry sighed. "But you just asked.."
"Never mind." Vernon said, picking up a cold scrambled egg with his fork and shoving it in his mouth, "Why is such a creature mailing you here? What if a neighbor got a hold of that mail?"
The thought had never occurred to Harry, but Vernon had pointed something very important out. Why had Dobby sent his letter through Muggle mail instead of Owling him? Perhaps it had to do with Dumbledore's 'increased security' and whatnot. Or perhaps Dobby didn't want the letter to be known, or for it to fall into the wrong hands. Harry shrugged.
"When do you leave for that freak school anyway?" Asked Petunia, finally eating her own breakfast as well.
"Well, I was hoping you'd let me stay with the Weasley's for a week or two, since they've asked me over three or four times this summer already."
Dudley paled at the mention of the Weasley's, and his fork fell to his plate with a clatter. He wasn't entirely fond of them. "T-they won't be coming here...will they?"
"No, they're not." Vernon announced. "Every time those people come here something bad happens!"
Harry had to smother a laugh, remembering the last few times the Weasley's had come to pick him up. First there had been the flying car incident, which had left his room in a wreck when the bars from his window had been pulled off. Then there was the fireplace incident that had scarred the Dursley's for life, and there had been many more mishaps involving the Weasley's after that!
"How are they to pick me up then?" Harry asked, trying to hide his amusement.
Vernon fell silent for a moment and looked to his wife for support. She couldn't give any, staring back with a alarmed look. But then a thought came to mind. "We're going on vacation next weekend. We'll drive you there – so there will be no hassle, and no part of the house will be destroyed." He finished, obviously remembering what Harry had just remembered, only he was slightly less amused by it.
Harry's mouth fell open in shock. The Dursley's were going to give him a ride to Ron's house? They were going to go out of their way to bring him, Harry, who they treated like dirt and hated, to a wizard's family house? He blinked, thinking maybe he had heard things, but he hadn't. Uncle Vernon had really meant it. Perhaps they were getting better over the years.
"But Vernon –" Petunia started, but he shushed her.
"I will not have those – those freaks in my house again."
Harry frowned slightly at the usage of words for his friends. The Weasley's were like family to him, after all.
"But dad –"
"No buts Dudley." Vernon finished off his breakfast and turned his attention to Harry, "Where do these people live anyway?"
"The Burrow – a few hours drive away from here."
"Good." Said Vernon, and silence fell over the table. "We're leaving for this Burrow place, and our vacation, next Saturday. Everyone better be ready."
Hurrying to finish off his breakfast, he ran upstairs to write Ron a letter to tell him the good news.
The week that followed seemed to go by very slowly. But that was only because Harry so badly wanted Saturday to come. Although he would be spending a few hours stuck in the Dursley's car and would have to listen to their constant chatter and bickering, he couldn't wait. He'd sent the letter to Ron, informing him that he was going to be staying with them for the rest of summer, and that the Dursley's were going to bring him. Ron had been enthusiastic about it as always, and Ron's owl Pidwidgeon had arrived the following night saying that the Weasley's were eagerly awaiting his arrival.
Now, as Harry sat at his small oak desk on Friday night, he finished off the small amount of summer homework that he had left to do. Since he was leaving for the Weasley's early the next morning, and didn't want to be doing homework once he arrived there, he decided it was best to do it all now and get it out of the way. Staring at a text book, he tried desperately to memorize a certain spell. But this concentration was broke when a dark colored owl swept into his room, landing softly on his bed. It cooed, and Harry stared at it for a moment before it registered.
"You're Cho's owl, aren't you?"
Cho hadn't written him a lot during the summer, but when she did, it was usually a long letter, and she sent it with her owl, which Harry was now staring at. Harry's owl being a snowy owl and white, and Ron's being small and annoying – he was certain that was who it belonged to. It seemed to nod in response, and held out its leg for Harry to retrieve the letter attached to it. Harry did so, and fed it one of Hedwig's owl treats before retreating back to his desk to read the letter.
How have you been? Sorry I haven't written in a while..some things have come up. There was an attack in Diagon Alley recently – the Death Eaters are at it again. My parents happened to be there that day, and now they're in some Muggle hospital. Don't worry, they're all right. I visit them every day. They seem to be getting better. I sneak them in some potions while the Muggles aren't looking. They have some strange things in there for healing – I'm not entirely sure they really work. I don't see how Muggles get by without magic! Anyway, I must apologize for this letter being so short. With everything going on, I'm very busy. The Death Eater attacks seem to becoming more frequent these days. I heard a lot of people aren't going back to Hogwarts this year. This will be your last year, won't it? I wish you good luck, Harry. And please beat some Slytherin ass for me, okay?
Good luck - and keep in touch,
P.S. Happy late birthday! I'm sorry my present is a little late (Okay, a few weeks late, I know) but I know you'll enjoy it!
Looking down, Harry found a box that Cho's owl must have also been carrying, and had dropped on his bed unnoticed. Picking it up, he shook it to find that it wasn't anything breakable, because Owling breakable things wasn't always a good idea, and most often the items always ended up broken. Pulling the paper off the package, his eyes widened at the sight of the present Cho had sent him.
A new pair of gloves, he grinned, taking them out of the box and giving them a look over. When flying, Harry had always complained that he needed a better grip on his broom – these gloves were made especially for that purpose. Made out of black leather, they made a crisscross pattern on the front, while the bottom were solid leather, enabling a firm grip on one's broom. Harry tried them on, smiling when they fit perfectly.
He immediately got out a piece of parchment and a quill and began to write back, thanking her for the present. Having finished his letter, he carefully tied it to Cho's owl's leg, who had waited around and nipped at Hedwig's cage (much to her dismay) to tease and show off his freedom, while she was barred in a cage. Having done that, Harry brought the owl to the window on his arm, and it flew off into the night. Sighing, Harry return to his desk and closed his books. He was tired now, and knew he wouldn't be able to study any longer. He could hear Hermione's protests now, and smiled to himself.
Behind him, Hedwig flapped her wings anxiously, causing Harry to look up at her.
"I bet you're certainly not looking foreword to the long drive.." Then it came to him. It would probably be enough torture for just him to be stuck in a car full of Dursleys – would they even let Hedwig into the car? Having an owl for a pet was certainly 'un-normal', and something Uncle Vernon would not want the neighbors to see. "You know the way to Ron's, right Hedwig?"
The owl bowed slightly as if to nod yes, her wings outstretched.
"Would you be able to fly there on your own, and stay there until I arrive?" Harry asked, grabbing for another piece of parchment, "I'll write a note to Ron saying you'll be stay in night. He probably won't mind." Harry finished writing a small note, and, opening Hedwig's cage, allowed her out to stretch her wings further. The Dursley's demanded that she be kept in her cage at all times, so she ended up getting very little exercise.
He tied the note to her leg, and she nipped at him appreciatively in response to him letting her out. Then, he brought her to the window as well.
"Try not to get into too much trouble, okay?"
She cocked her head to one side before nipping at him once more, and flying off. He watched her go, and once he couldn't see her any longer, closed and locked the window and returned to his bed. Yawning, he undressed and got into it, suddenly feeling very tired. If he was going to be stuck in a car all day with his relatives, he certainly needed his rest.
Reaching over, he turned off the small lamp that was on his desk, casting his room into shadows. With another yawn, he took off his glasses and lay them somewhere close where he'd be able to find them in the morning, and closed his eyes, waiting for sleep to overcome him. Tomorrow was going to be an interesting day.
"Move it boy!" Vernon rapped loudly on Harry's door the next morning, "Are you up yet?"
"Yes! I've been up for hours!" Harry replied loudly so his uncle could hear him.
"Good! Get your stuff down to the car!" Came a reply, and Harry was once again left to his own. Turning, he found all the things he was taking with him in the pile that he had made the night before, which included of mostly Hedwig's cage and his trunk. He winced slightly. The trunk sure wasn't going to be easy to carry himself.
After this year, he mused, I won't have to worry about carrying it. Not only will I be finished school, but I'll be able to use magic in the real world!
With that happy thought in mind, he carefully loaded his trunk out of his room and down the stairs without any incidents. Hedwig's cage, however, was different.
Having put his trunk in the back of his Uncle Vernon's van, Harry made his way back into the house and up the stairs to his room. Taking one last look to see if he had everything, he picked up the large cage and started back downstairs – only to be stopped by Dudley halfway down.
"Why Harry, lost your bird?" Dudley cracked, finding himself very funny. Harry on the other hand, did not.
"Sent her to Ron's last night." He stated, trying to get past Dudley. He smiled slightly as Dudley faltered at the mention of Ron, and he quickly got out of Harry's way.
"They better not try anything this time!" Dudley called after him, before stomping upstairs to complain to his parents.
Harry laughed to himself as he placed the cage in the back of the van with the rest of his things. However, in the following hours stuck in the backseat with Dudley...his good mood went downhill.
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there now?"
Harry sighed, annoyed out of his mind. Silently he wished the Dudley would either grow up, or suddenly lose his voice. Either choice was fine, as long as he shut up.
"So we turn right up here?" Vernon asked from the driver's seat, looking up at Harry through the rear view mirror. Harry nodded in response.
"Now?" Dudley asked again, and Harry fought the urge to hit him.
Instead, he hissed to him quietly, "Dudley, you're seventeen right? Why don't you act like it for once?"
"Mooooommmm!" He erupted loudly, "Harry's talking to meee!"
"For goodness sakes," Harry's Aunt Petunia groaned, turning in her seat to glare at Harry, "Can't you stay quiet for the next ten minutes?" She turned back to her husband, "Drive faster Vernon. The faster we get there the better."
"Yes ma'am." Replied Vernon, stepping more firmly on the gas pedal.
Harry sighed, leaning back in his seat and staring out the window. Just a few more moments and they'd be there, and Harry would be free of the Dursley's until next summer. Or maybe not – now that he was getting older, he knew that they'd soon kick him out of their house. In fact, he had overheard a conversation between Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia just a few weeks ago, on whether Harry would be staying with them much longer. They had agreed that next summer they'd give him three months before they booted him out the door and into the real world, where they expected him to get a job or do whatever a wizard did when he was old enough to live on his own.
That was something Harry didn't want to think about right now – what he'd do after he had finished school, and where he'd end up. That's if I finish school, he reminded himself, remembering Dobby and Cho's letters. If.
The van suddenly jolted to a stop, and Harry winced as he hit his head off the glass of the window. He could hear Dudley's snickering beside him.
"We're here! – The Burrow."
That stopped Dudley, and he suddenly looked around afraid. Harry looked out the window as well, spotting the Weasley house just ahead of them.
"Right there," Harry pointed, and his Uncle drove slowly up the road, a weary eye on the lookout for any strangeness.
"Well, that certainly is a poor looking house." Muttered Petunia, looking out the window and sizing up the Weasley house and grounds. Harry frowned, ignoring her. This 'poor looking house' was more of a home to him then back on Privet Drive. He watched as Uncle Vernon eased the car into the driveway, casting a glance around as if some strange creature were suddenly going to jump out of a bush and attack them.
Harry was the first one out of the car, and smiled brightly as his favorite red headed family came out of the house to greet him.
"Harry! We thought you'd never get here!" Said Ron, grinning back as he approached his friend, Hermione by his side. In the quick letter from Ron he had found out that the girl was going to be staying as well, but arrived much earlier than he had. Giving her a quick kiss on the cheek and noting her blush, he gave her a smile.
"Hermione! Haven't heard from you a lot this summer, what have you been at?"
It had started in fifth year, when along with everyone else, Hermione started to mature. Although she was well mature before that, she began to act differently around the boys. She had grown more into a girl, always fussing with her hair and what she looked like. It seemed she spent just as much time making herself look good as she did studying. Along with that, Hermione finally started looking at guys, which annoyed Ron a great deal. Especially when she had her eye on his best friend, and the red head was the one head over heals for her.
If only he'd tell her that, Harry mused. No matter how much he encouraged Ron, or teased him into jealousy, Ron just wouldn't say anything about his crush on Hermione. And so, almost three years later, Ron was still giving Harry a hard time about it.
Hermione opened her mouth to reply, but before she could find her voice, Harry heard a loud voice and turned to see Mr. Weasley admiring the Dursley's van.
"Wow, isn't she a beauty?"
Harry's Uncle Vernon had cautiously gotten out of the van to unload Harry's things, and was now backed up far away from Mr. Weasley, who was asking a dozen questions about the large vehicle.
"Now, now, Arthur," Mrs. Weasley scolded her husband, "Let our guests be. They must be tired. Won't you come in for some tea?"
"Well, uh.." Vernon stumbled, trying frantically to unlock the back of the van to unload Harry's stuff as quickly as possible, "Not re –"
"Oh I insist!" Mrs. Weasley laughed, grabbing a hold of his arm and dragging him off in the direction of the house. "Fred, George – get Harry's stuff, would you?"
The twins nodded, and as they passed by the side of the van, they glanced in to find Dudley cowering away from them. Fred winked, sending Dudley into a fit.
"Mom! Mom!" He squealed, jumping out of the van after his mother as she carefully made her way past the strange family and after her husband, "What're you doing? Lets go before they do something to us!"
"Now, Dudlikins..we can't leave your father like that!"
"But moommmm!" He grabbed hold of her sleeve, trying to stop her, "They're going to try something, I know it!"
"Dudley!" Petunia grabbed her son by the collar and hauled him towards the house. "We must find your father before we can get out of here!"
Behind them, Harry snickered. Were his relatives really stupid enough to enter the house of a wizard? He watched as they disappeared inside. Obviously they were.
"How long do you think they'll last?" Hermione finally asked, moving closer to Harry, much to Ron's dismay.
"Oh, I don't know..." Harry trail off, secretly counting down the seconds and waiting for them to come busting out of there in a hurry.
"Hey Harry," Came Fred's voice, and Harry looked back to see the twins' evil smirks, "Think you can get this upstairs yourself? We have some..things..we want to test."
Raising an eyebrow, he smirked as well, knowing what they wanted to do. The twins had finished school a few years before, and were now happily in charge of their own joke shop, much thanks to Harry. And every time they came upon Dudley, they seemed to catch him off guard with their jokes. Harry stifled a laugh at the time they had fed him Piggy Wigglys, and soon Dudley had found that he grown a new pair of ears. As always, he had run off screaming to his parents, and Mr. Weasley was the one to return him to normal.
"Have fun." We winked, and the two winked back as they entered the house. Harry turned back to his friends, a bright smile on his face. They gaped at him silently. "What?"
"You're truly evil, Harry." Ron laughed, "Need any help with your stuff?" Before Harry could answer, Ron had picked up Hedwig's cage. That reminded him.
"Did Hedwig make it here alright?" He asked, picking up his trunk.
"Oh yes, she arrived last night." Hermione smiled at them both, "I let her in through Ron's window and fed her. She seemed awfully tired."
Harry nodded, lugging his trunk in through the door of the Weasley house.
"She's most likely still up in my room, being annoyed by Pig."
Ah, Ron's overactive owl, Harry thought silently. Hedwig should be drove out of her mind by now. She's never liked the other owl.
Entering the house, Harry could hear a small commotion in the kitchen, and saw that his Uncle and Aunt were huddled together, Dudley safe behind them, as they protested that they really had to go and could not stay for tea. Mrs. Weasley, however, would hear none of it. Harry could already hear her taking cups out of the cupboard, and motioning for them to take a seat at the table.
"Come now, take a seat. You must be tired after a long drive. Relax your cramped muscles."
"Or perhaps I can do a spell that will relax them for you?" Offered Mr. Weasley.
Harry laughed as he watch his relatives tense up, their eyes growing wide.
Mr. Weasley shrugged, continuing to tend to his guests as they finally sat, now afraid to move, even to make a run for it.
Lifting his trunk up the stairs, he followed Ron down the hall to Ron's room, where he'd be staying. As he expected, Hedwig was waiting for him there, an annoyed and angry look on her face. Seeing him, she hissed her annoyance, blaming him for sending her early and having to endure the torture as Ron's owl flew around the room chirping and making a racket.
"Well it was either this or a few hours stuck in the car with Uncle Vernon and them," He whispered to her as he set his trunk down next to his temporary bed. Whenever he stayed at the Weasley's house he stayed in Ron's room, and the few times that Hermione stayed, she shared a room with Ginny. Hedwig immediately stopped showing her discomfort at being there, and shifted legs as if to consider what Harry had said.
It was then that the trio heard someone running down the hall, and Harry soon found someone hurling at him, and arms tightly wrapped around his waist in a bear hug.
"Harry! I knew that if mum sent me to the store, that I'd miss welcoming you!" Squealed Ginny Weasley, Ron's younger sister.
"Ginny!" Harry laughed, noticing Hermione's frown from the corner of his eye. He gently pried the younger girl off of him, and smiled as he looked down at her. "My, you're really growing up!" He commented, causing her to blush. It was true, she was growing up. She had grown nearly an inch since the last time he'd seen her, and over the years she'd let her hair grow out fairly long, and it now spilled down past her waist. She was certainly turning into a lady.
"And you've really become quite the gentleman." Ginny replied, walking around him, as if studying him. Harry was no longer the scrawny pale kid he used to be. During the summers spent with his so called 'family', Harry had spent a lot of time out in the sun, and even worked out every now and then. Now in his seventh year, his body was more muscular, and even tanned. He was certainly taller than he had been years ago. "You're looking better every year!"
Harry was unsure of what to say to Ginny's gentle flirting. Luckily a loud pop from downstairs and screams turned got their attention, and Harry laughed.
"I bet Fred and George finally got a hold of Dudley!"
"We should go down and see what they've done." Ron grinned. Knowing his brothers, it was something horrible and awfully funny.
Ron was the first to enter the kitchen, finding it in an uproar. Harry's Uncle and Aunt were huddled in a corner, holding on to each other for dear life, their eyes wide in shock as they stared at their 'little boy', who seemed to have something in his mouth, chewing. Harry immediately stepped past Ron, and soon found out why his relatives were staring at their son with such shocked expressions.
"What?" Dudley asked, oblivious as he chewed. Of course there was no way he could see what was wrong, unless he looked in a mirror, or perhaps bothered to look at the color of his skin. Or, rather, the colors, for his skin was changing to every color of the rainbow.
"Rainbow Brites." George snickered quietly next to Harry as he watched the display of colors. "A new candy we've been working on them all summer."
"Slipped it into one of mum's cupcakes." Fred added, "They obviously worked the way they were intended to!"
"You're cousin makes a great guinea pig!" Laughed George, and turned to give his twin a high five. "We can start selling them in the shop now! The kids will love them!"
"George and Fred Weasley!" Their mother's voice boomed, finally breaking out of her shock, "You fix this right now!"
George and Fred looked at each other, and then back to Dudley, who was turning from blue to purple, and burst out laughing again.
"And then you apologize to these poor people!" Sighing, she shook her head. "Really, you do this every time!"
"Yes mum," they both agreed, moving towards Dudley, who had suddenly noticed the odd shade of his skin.
"Mom! Dad! Get me the hell out of here!" He squealed, latching on to them both.
Fred stepped foreword, hands outstretched and fingers wiggling, laughing as the family stared at him in horror. "Now..what spell to use..?"
"That's it! We're getting out of this wacko place!" Boomed Uncle Vernon, and suddenly Harry and his friends were rudely pushed out of the way as him and his family dashed to the exit. From the kitchen they could hear the front door slam and a roar as the Dursley van sped out of the driveway. As the silence fell upon the group of friends, they couldn't help but burst out in a fit of laughter, ignoring Mrs. Weasley's frown at the way they had treated her company.
Wiping a few tears of laughter from his eyes, Harry sighed, a grin settling in on his features.
The next couple of weeks were sure to be good ones.
To Be Continued...