Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chapter 2: Back to the Burrow

I am a huge Harry Potter Fan. Besides reading each book over and over again, I have read a lot of fanfictions from all over the places. So, I decided to try and write one myself. I know that its going to be nothing compared to the original series, yet I would love it if you read and review it for me. 
Note: Anything that you recognize in this story belongs to J.K.Rowling.  ________________________________________________________________________________ 

Next morning when Harry woke up, he realized that he had slept through breakfast. He got up and showered. By the time he went downstairs, uncle Vernonhad already left for his office. ‘Good’ Harry thought to himself. He needed to talk to his aunt and Dudley. Harry entered the kitchen, half expecting to find his aunt still there. Aunt Petunia was there, trying to coax a tired looking Dudley to eat something. “Aunt Petunia, I need to talk to you.” Petunia Dursley looked up. “If you want breakfast then you have to make it for yourself.”
“Its about Dudley.” Harry said not looking at his aunt and busying himself preparing his breakfast. “I think he performed magic yesterday. He might be a wizard.”
“Don’t talk rubbish. My Dudders is not a freak like you. He is normal.” Something in her voice did not sound okay. Harry turned to face her. “Yesterday the death eaters had him in a full body bind curse. Its impossible to move unless the curse is lifted and Dudley was moving, trying to get up on his feet before anyone could help him. Something else also happened. Something that threw the death eaters off their feet and it wasn’t me and they certainly did not do it to themselves. There was no one else around.”
“So what? I don’t know what you are getting at, but my Dudders is not a wizard.”
“Then how did it happen?”
“How do I know? You should know what you freaks did yesterday. You hurt Dudley and now you tell me that Dudley is a freak like you? Some nerve you have.”
“But mum, I think Harry is right.” Both Harry and Petunia Dursley looked at Dudley. He continued in a weak voice. “Odd things have been happening to me. Last time I had a fight with my friends and I got angry. Then suddenly things started flying around the place and crashing against the floor and the wall. One almost hit Piers. Before that at school, few guys cornered me at school and they got hurt without me even touching them. My friends have stopped talking to me because they think that I did some sort of black magic or voodoo.” Both Harry and his aunt sat stunned. The smell of eggs burning brought them back to reality. A reality that Petunia was not prepared to accept. “There has to be some other explanation for this. Dudleycan not be…”
“I was pretty sure about it yesterday, aunt Petunia. Now I am totally convinced. Things like this happen. Remember all the odd things that used to happen to me as a kid whenever I was upset or scared or angry? Only now I have learnt to control it at school. By the way Dudley, can I ask you something?” Dudley looked up at Harry and nodded. “What did you see when the dementors got near you?”
Dudley looked back at his plate. After few minutes, he glanced at his mother from the corner of his eyes and said “I thought of all the times things had gone wrong and I heard mum crying out saying that I wasn’t a freak.”
“But it is not possible. Not after all these years…”
“What do you mean by ‘after all these years’?”
“When Dudley was a kid, even before you landed up with us, things used to happen. Once I got a letter from Dumbledore informing me that Dudley… that Dudley had m-magic in him. He said that it is often seen that there can be more than one magical person over generations in any non-magical family. Lily was first in ours and Dudley was next.”
“Then how come Dudley did not get a letter like me? How come he never did magic in front of me before?”
“When I got the letter, I was so terrified of what Vernon would say… what everyone else would say? Besides, I didn’t get a good impression of ‘your world’ when Lily got herself blown up. She died young and abnormally. I did not want that to happen to our Dudders. I thought that Vernonwould blame me for it. So I wrote back to Dumbledore saying that Dudley would never enter that world and I did not tell Vernonanything. After that I always tried to keep Dudders happy since things happened only when he was upset.” So that explained all the pampering and Aunt Petunia’s guilty look last year when Dumbledore had accused them of mistreating Dudley.
“But its not so bad. Not everyone dies like my mum and dad. Dudleywould have learnt a lot by now and these would not happen accidentally anymore. Life could be much easier for you too with Dudley’s help once he turned of age.”
“How come your parents died so early? Even your godfather died last year and Voldemort is after you. You hang around with people like Remus… and you say it’s safe?!”
“What do you mean by ‘people like Remus’? What do you know about Professor Lupin?”
“He was your mother’s friend. He had tried to talk me into going to Lily’s wedding. He tried to tell me what a nice person Lily was, how much Lily wanted me to be at her wedding… and I know that he is a werewolf.”
“You know a lot about us for a person who pretends that our world doesn’t even exist. If you really know so much, then you should have realized that Professor Lupin wouldn’t hurt a fly. He is a very loving and loveable person. And that everyone’s fate is not like mine or my parents. You should have sent Dudley to school with me aunt Petunia. You just can’t keep these things a secret for forever. It had to come out someday. And now, knowing everything, how will Dudley fit in here knowing that he belongs somewhere else? He has already lost his friends and he will keep loosing people, jobs, everything… unless he learns to control the magic. You did not even think that you and uncle wouldn’t always be around and then he’d be left alone. I can see what Dumbledore meant when he said that you mistreated Dudley more than me. You can’t just stamp this out of a person, you know.” With that Harry left the kitchen, giving his aunt something to think about.

Harry was barely aware of how time passed by him that morning. He had had anything since yesterday evening, yet he was hardly hungry. Soon it was almost noon. The order members would be there to get him. He dragged his trunk and Hedwig’s cage downstairs to wait for them. He had the wand and the invisibility cloak in his hand. He had decided to keep the cloak with him at all times, like last year. Harry did not have to wait for long. The doorbell rang exactly at twelve o’clock. Harry went to get the door. He was surprised to find Fred and George standing and grinning.
“Hello Harry.”
“How are you?”
“Heard you kept up with times and stirred up the death eaters.”
“Yeah, blasted off three death eaters all by yourself!!”
“We are so proud of you.”
“Yeah, real proud.”
Harry could not help smiling at the twins. He said, “You are my escort? Where are the others?”
“Fred, do you get the feeling that ‘the-boy-who-lived’ wanted a bunch of aurors to guard him.”
“Yes I do George. Why? Aren’t we sufficient for the ‘chosen-one’?”
“No, no. Actually, I am glad that there aren’t aurors here. Its just that yesterday Professor Lupin said that the members of the order would be here to get me. I did not expect you two.”
“The order felt that Voldemort might be keeping an eye around here. They did not want to attract their attention by sending a bunch of people. They sent us because everyone knows we are pals and this would look like just a friendly visit and nothing else. Besides, we are now full time members of the Order of the Phoenix. Mum wasn’t too happy. But now that we are of age and out of school, they could not come up with any other reason to stop us.”
“Although mum did try by saying that we didn’t complete school. We dropped out. But George here was good enough to point it out that the last time we tried to join, she had said that we had to be ‘out of school’ and not ‘complete’ school.”
“Last year we could not join because of the business. We had just set it up and had to give time to it. But now with it flourishing and Lee as a partner we were unstoppable.”
“Besides, with Dumbledore gone and all, we want to do our bit too.” Harry’s face paled a bit at the mention of Dumbledore. Fred noticed it and carefully changed the topic. “Now Harry, we can’t stand here at the door and chat all day.”
“So ready to go?”
“Ready to face mum, Harry?”
“Yeah. Just hold on a second. I just need to say goodbye to my aunt. Why don’t you come in? By the way, I need to ask you a question first. When did you give me the Marauder’s map?”
“Oh great! Now you come up with the question?”
“After giving us five whole minutes of cursing time?”
“You are such a genius, Harry.”
“Maybe he hurt his head yesterday.”
“If it makes you happy… we gave it to you as an early Christmas gift back in your third year.”
“Right. Come on in. But please no pranks. Specially on Dudley. He was under Cruciatus yesterday. So please.”
“Alright Harry. If you say so.”
Harry went to look for his aunt and found her in the kitchen, sitting in the same position he had left her in the morning. “Aunt Petunia, my friends are here. I am leaving… Err, thank you for keeping me and providing for me. Hopefully, you won’t have to see me again.” With this, Harry turned to leave but stopped when Petunia spoke up. “Harry, can you ask Dumbledore if he can do something for Dudley now? I will handle Vernon. But you are right; we will not be here forever. So will you ask Dumbledore if Dudders can go to your school now?” Harry did not turn to face Petunia. Instead, he stood with his back to her.
“Professor Dumbledore is… he is… he was killed last term. That is why our school closed down early. But I will ask Professor McGonagall. She is in charge now.”
“Dumbledore is dead?” There was fear in Petunia Dursley’s voice for the first time. “But he was the best wizard. Voldemort was scared of him. Wasn’t he?”
“Yes he was. But now Dumbledore is gone.” Harry almost choked on those last words. ‘Dumbledore is gone.’
“But then, without his protection, you are in great danger.” Harry finally faced his aunt. She seemed genuinely concerned. “I know it can never be the same without Dumbledore. He meant a lot to me. But I still have my friends and I have Professor Lupin. I am not afraid. I know what I have to face and I know that I am not alone. Even if I die like my parents, I will get to see them, Sirius, and Dumbledore again. So, do not worry aunt Petunia. Whether I win or whether I loose, either way I will be happy in the end.” Petunia was at a loss of words. She just stared at Harry. “Now I really have to go. They are waiting for me. And don’t worry; I’ll do my best to ensure that everything is right for Dudley.”

Harry found the twins waiting for him at the door. “What’s this about Dudley going to Hogwarts?” So extendable ears had been in use. “I’ll tell you once we get to the Burrow. How are we going?”
 “We’ve already sent your stuff to the Burrow. You have your cloak with you, right? So put it on. We’ll walk to Mrs. Figg’s and then one of us is going to side-along-apparate you from there.” With one last look at his uncle’s house, Harry left with the twins.

As they apparated in front of the Burrow, Harry felt relaxed and happy after a long time. He had hardly entered the kitchen with the twins when Mrs. Weasley came rushing, “Oh thank god you are here Harry. I have been so worried. Death eaters at Little Whinging! I couldn’t believe it and you had to face them all alone. Oh dear! You have grown so thin. Did those awful muggles starve you?” Harry found himself in a bone-crushing hug and saw the twins grinning over Mrs. Weasley’s shoulders. “Now, let me fix you a proper lunch. By the way dear, your things are already up at the twins’ old room.”
“Thanks Mrs. Weasley. I am glad to be back. By the way, where’s everyone?”
“Bill, Fleur and Charlie have gone over to Fleur’s for the day. Ron and Ginny are upstairs, fixing a few things. They’ll be down soon.” Mrs. Weasley replied while busying herself at the stove. Fred and George bade Harry goodbye and left for their shop.

Mrs. Weasley had barely set a loaded plate in front of Harry when Ron and Ginny entered the kitchen. “We are done for today mum… hey mate, when did you get here?” Ron said sitting down beside Harry.
“Hi Harry.”
“Hi. Just a few minutes back.”
“So, how was your vacation back there? I mean besides the attack?”
“It was okay.”
“Did your aunt and uncle trouble you? You never wrote much,” said Ginny, who was now helping her mother.
“No. They simply avoided me and I stayed out of their way.”
“So what exactly happened there? I mean, I know that you were attacked and that you came out of it okay, but no one told us anything else.” So Harry told them everything in details. He even told them that he actually had a decent conversation with Dudley. Mrs. Weasley stopped whatever she was doing and listened to everything that Harry said. Ginny seemed angry when Harry told that he was put under the crutiatus and Ron mumbled ‘wicked’ when Harry got to the part where the death eaters were blown back. They all discussed the attack throughout Harry’s meal.

 Later Harry and Ron were up at Ron’s room, talking about much lighter things when Hermoine apparated in the room and before Harry could even realize it, he was engulfed in brown bushy hair. “Oh thank God Harry. I was so worried that you would do something stupid and leave without us. And that attack at your home…”
“Hermoine, give him a break. He just got away from mum fussing.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Hermoine. So how have you been?” asked Harry when Hermoine finally let go of him frowning at Ron’s comment.
“Been researching mostly. With my apparition license, traveling has been easy. I have been spending some time here. Also, I went over to Sirius’s library for more books.”
“So did you find anything? I still feel that it’s something of Ravenclaw cause Dumbledore was pretty sure that the sword is Gryffindor’s only relic.”
“No I haven’t found anything about either of the founder’s relics. I just wish that I could access the Hogwart’s library. However, I did find a book on horcruxes at the headquarters. Weird thing is that it tells a lot about creating a horcrux but nothing about destroying one.”
“What’s so weird about that?”
“Well, one would think that people would write more about destroying such a dark thing rather than about how to create one.”
“We can get to the destroying part later. First we need to find one in order to be able to destroy it,” said Harry, clearly disappointed. He was so sure that Hermoine would be ready with all the answers when he finally met her.
“Don’t worry Harry, we will find all the answers with time.”
“That’s exactly it. How much time do we have? With Dumbledore out of his way, Voldemort is killing people outright. I have been getting the Daily Prophet Ron. There has been so many murders. He is killing both muggles and wizards ruthlessly. We have to do something soon.”
“We know Harry. We do realize the gravity of the situation. But we are no Dumbledore. We need time,” said Hermoine, patting Harry on the back.
“I wish Dumbledore was here. If it wasn’t for Draco and Snape, he would have been here. If I ever find them, I am going to kill those two traitors. And, Lucius thinks that I know where Draco is… if I knew I would have already killed him.”
“What?” Hermoine practically shouted.
“I said, if I knew where he was I would have killed him already.”
“No not that. Lucius thinks you know where Draco is?”
“Yes,” said Ron and then he told Hermoine all about the attack on Harry. Hermoine sat there thinking and finally said, “I wonder what made him think so? But this means that Draco is on the run. Maybe…”
“Maybe what Hermoine? You can not possibly think that the order has him. Even if they had him, they would have handed him over to the ministry. After all, everyone knows about his… his involvement now. He has the mark.”
“I was thinking that maybe Voldemort wasn’t happy with his failure. He did not… he did not do it even though he got the chance. So, maybe he came to the order for help and protection.”
“But the order would never protect him. He may not have cursed Dumbledore but he was responsible for having him cornered and wandless and also getting all those death eaters into the school.”
“Yes, but you told us all that Dumbledore offered to protect him and his family. The order would certainly respect that.”
“The order doesn’t have him. I have asked Lupin and Tonks. They said they have to look into it. By the way, what’s up with the order? Who’s leading it?”
“The order members originally thought that Professor McGonagall would be taking over. But then somehow that did not happen. Moody is the new head of Order of the Phoenix. We heard that Dumbledore wanted it that way and even Prof. McGonagall did not want that responsibility. She said she had enough on her plate regarding Hogwarts.”
“So do they know anything about Voldemort yet?”
“We have no idea what they are upto. When Fred and George joined the order, we thought they’d tell us. But have been as tight lipped as the others. They only time we get to hear anything is at dinner when everyone discusses deaths or missing people. But we hardly hear anything new. They basically discuss the things that are already on prophet.” Ginny entered the room at that moment to announce that dinner was ready. Hermoine said that she would come over on the day before Bill and Fleur’s wedding and disapparated. Harry and Ron followed Ginny to dinner.

Harry spent the next few days helping the Weasleys to prepare for the wedding. Charlie was back to help the order. He, Bill and the twins were mostly out on order business. So, Harry was left with Ron and Ginny. They chatted and joked while working together. Time seemed to fly by them. The wedding itself was to be a small affairs. Only the Weasleys and the Delacours were to attend. However, high security measures had to be taken. Bill himself had set up the ward and order members were supposed to be present too. Besides there would be some highly trained ministry aurors guarding too. Bill had made Charlie his best man and Ginny and Gabrielle were Fleur’s bridesmaid.

The Weasley life wasn’t dull for a moment. Bill, who was tall, slim and had the looks of a rock star was simply ‘cool’. Ginny had a bond with Bill that Harry admired a lot. It was perfectly clear from their interactions that Ginny simply idolized her eldest brother and she in turn, was the center of Bill’s world. Bill told them about his experiences at the tombs in Egyptand some of the ancient Egyptian magic. He  often taught them new interesting spells and Harry discovered that Ginny had learned her famous ‘bat-bogey hex’ from Bill. Charlie, on the other hand, was quite different from Bill. He had a broad, weather-beaten face with so many freckles that it looked almost tanned. Charlie's build, like that of his twin brothers, Fred and George, is shorter and stockier than that of Percy and Ron, who were long and lanky. He too had lots of stories to tell about the dragons that he worked on at Romania. Harry liked to talk to him about ‘Quidditch’. He found out that Charlie had completed school the year before Harry started at Hogwarts. He was amazed to hear that Charlie had got an offer to play for a national league team, but had turned it down. Whenever Fleur was around, Charlie had that dreamy look on his face. Bill often had to whack him on his head to get him out of it. Harry realized that Fleur did not affect him any longer and even Ron seemed to be out of it. The twins still lived in their apartment over their shop but often dropped by for dinner.

Dinner, when the whole family got together, was mostly a grave affair at Burrow. Arthur, Bill and Charlie tend to discuss matters at dinner. They always got to hear the news of various deaths and disappearances. Harry found out that Florean Fortescue, the owner of the ice cream parlor at Diagon Alley, had been found dead. His body was left in front of his closed down shop with the dark mark hovering above it. There was also an attack on the Smiths’. They all had however, managed to escape. Their house was later found in ruins and the dark mark had appeared again. Harry knew Zacharias Smith, a fellow Hufflepuff at Hogwarts. Though they did not share a particularly ideal relationship, Harry felt bad for him. Even ernie Pang, the Knight Bus driver, had died in an attack in his neighborhood. There were various attacks on muggles. They were all tortured before being killed. These news always left Harry restless, feeling guilty for not doing anything to stop Voldemort. His nightmares had however reduced. He did have them thought most of the days he did not remember having them when he woke up.

Hermoine had paid a brief visit to show Harry a photo of Godric Gryffindor holding his sword. She too had concluded that the sword was the only thing that seemed important enough for Voldemort’s purposes. She had informed them that she was going to start on Ravenclaw next. Also, she hadn’t found anything about the mysterious R.A.B. Her research led her to a few names corresponding to the initials but they were all either before or after Voldemort’s first reign. All they knew was the initial and that the man (or woman as Hermoine had pointed out) was a death eater as only the death eaters were known to call Voldemort as ‘The Dark Lord’.

Two days before the wedding, Lupin and Tonks stopped by for dinner. For a change the topic of discussion around the table was not Voldemort. Fleur was having second thoughts about her wedding dress. The ladies were trying to convince her that the dress she had already bought was perfect. Lupin was telling a particularly interesting story about the ‘Marauders’ which had grabbed the attention of all the Weasley boys and Harry. Only Mr. Weasley was missing from the table as he had to work late. Harry was relieved by the light mood but his relief lasted only so long. Mr. Weasley’s head appeared in the kitchen fire and announced that there was an attack and that the order members were needed to get to the ministry immediately. Bill, Charlie, Lupin and Tonks left in a hurry. “I can not wait for this war to get over. We can not even have a single meal in peace,” sighed Mrs. Weasley as Charlie left. The rest of them ate their dinner in silence.

After dinner they helped in cleaning up and retired in the drawing room. Mrs. Weasley sat listening to the radio and knitting. Ginny was due to take her O.W.Ls in august and so she started revising her transfiguration paper. Ron and Harry started a game of chess. They all continued their activities quietly for almost an hour. But it was evident that no one could concentrate on their work. Mrs. Weaseley had hardly progressed in her knitting, Ginny was staring at the same page that she had opened at the beginning and Harry and Ron were still in their first game. They were all waiting for everyone to return. Harry remembered Mrs. Weasley’s boggart and hoped that everyone would return safely. Finally, they heard the sounds of people arriving through fire in the kitchen. They all rushed back to the kitchen.

Mr. Weasley and Bill were already there. They looked exhausted and was followed by Tonks, Charlie and Moody. Molly Weasley while busied herself in making tea. When no one spoke, she looked around the gathering and asked, “everything alright? What happened? Who was attacked?” Bill went out of the house in a hurry and the rest of them sat down around the table. Arthur Weasley looked at Harry with an odd expression, “Harry, please sit down. There is something that we need to tell you and it might come as a shock to you.” Harry paled and sat down. He had noticed that Lupin had not returned with the rest of them. He nervously asked, “What is it Mr. Weasley? Is professor Lupin hurt? Or…,” he did not dare to finish his question dreading the worst. ‘This can’t be happening. Professor Lupin is the only one left who he could connect with his parents… No, not him. Please not him.’ Harry prayed.

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