Unofficial Portkey Archive

Always and Forever by Lorelover

Always and Forever



Always and Forever

Disclaimer: Harry Potter, and all the characters associated there with belong to JK Rowling, and Scholastic. Also, any similarities to any other work is unintentional. I make no profit from this story. I wrote it, just for fun.

AN: Wow… it has really been a long time since I posted chapter 23. All I can say is; I'm sorry you had to wait so long! A few things conspired against me; work and family mainly. Work added some new responsibilities which took up a lot of my free time, and I had a family member who became ill that took the rest of it. I love writing Harry Potter, but sadly it had to wait; family, and even work come first. But rest assured, things are slowly getting better, and I'm finding more time to write. As I've said before; I will finish this story, (it may take a bit longer now, but I'll finish it).

So here is chapter 24. I have no beta, so any errors are all mine, and if you'd like to point them out, that would be great.

I have two more chapters almost ready to go, but I'd like to space them out a little so hopefully I can keep them coming without any major interruptions to this year. I'm thinking of posting one about every two or three weeks. I know it's slower that the first 23, but I didn't want to keep you waiting much longer.

Anyway, I hope you continue to enjoy the story. Please let me know one way or another.


AN: This is the first chapter of part two (Harry's fifth year). It picks up right after chapter 23. It deal with Harry's abuse at the Dursleys and may be hard for some to read. Please note that I don't take the subject of child abuse lightly, but this was a subject that never really got addressed in JKR's work. I only trying to bring it into the light, so it can be dealt with appropriately. In this story, the Dursleys will get what's coming to them.


Chapter 24

Out of the Pan, Into the Fire


Harry watched his uncle out of the corner of his eye. If the way he was gripping the steering wheel, and the color of his face as they drove home was any indication; Vernon was set to explode. Harry figured, it must be because of the conversation he'd had with Remus and Mr. Weasley before they had left the station. He had hoped to reestablish his old agreement they'd had last summer, allowing him to come and go as he pleased. However, now it appeared he'd have to wait a couple of days to let his uncle cool down. Harry made a mental note, to talk to Remus and Mr. Weasley about how not to help.


Hermione made sure to keep the tone of the conversation light, as she told her parents all about her last term. The Tournament was a big part of it, and she spent a fair amount of time talking about Harry as well, including his involvement. She even talked about some of his injuries, but played them down to being nothing too serious. Hermione knew they'd never understand something like the dragon task, after all, she didn't understand the need for all the danger herself. Instead, she concentrated on what she had learned and her involvement in the demonstrations. Hermione proudly showed them her first place medallion. When they asked about Harry, she mainly talked about how unfair it was that he had been forced to compete, and how at first, nobody believed him when he said he hadn't entered.

She hadn't wanted to, but after McGonagall had asked them to reframe from visiting Harry for at least a couple of weeks so that Harry could recover, her parents wanted to know why. So Hermione ended up telling them more about the last task than she really had wanted to. She explained that Harry had rough time of it at the end, and had been hurt badly enough to warrant a short stay in the infirmary.

Like her daughter, Emma was a smart women. She knew there was more to the story than Hermione was telling them, but for now she'd let it rest. She was just happy to have her daughter back. In the meantime, she could always talk to her about her change in relationship with Harry. That would be more fun anyway, than the potentially more serious stuff she was holding back on.

"So… you and Harry!"

Hermione's face brightened as she smiled, "Yeah…"

Emma watched her daughter as her whole disposition changed. Hermione's entire body seemed to relax. Obviously, her state of mind shifted to a more pleasant place; calmer, and more peaceful. Hermione looked lost in thought; remembering something special, perhaps personal. Emma hoped to catch her off guard. "Is he a good kisser?"

"Mum!" Hermione squealed. It was not something she was ready to discuss with her mother… yet.

Even though he was driving and trying to appear uninterested, Dan was paying close attention to the conversation. He shook his head slightly at his wife's antics, secretly pleased Hermione hadn't answered. As long as he didn't know, he could go on assuming Harry was not only a bad kisser, but had perpetually bad breath as well. Like any other father he reasoned; he'd rather not think about his little girl kissing anybody until she was well into her thirties… at least.

Emma smirked, "That good hmm?" Seeing Hermione tense again, she relented with a laugh, "Okay fine… we'll talk later."

Having avoided an awkward conversation, Hermione relaxed a bit. A moment later, she felt her face heat up as she imagined just what that talk might include.


Vernon stood in the doorway to Harry's room and glared at his nephew, obviously still mad about the situation. "Well, if you are too weak and injured to come out and do your chores, then I see no need for you to come out at all," he began. "You are to stay in here except to use the loo. And if I think you're taking advantage, I'll lock you in. Is that understood?" Vernon seemed to take some pleasure in saying that.

Harry just nodded, "Yes sir." He knew the less he said, the better.

"And, you'll be quiet if you know what's good for you," Vernon finished with a sneer before slamming the door shut.

Harry sighed, this was not the way he had wanted to start his summer. He moved his trunk over by his desk as he started to settle in, and then he put Hedwig's empty cage up on top of his dresser. Next, he opened the window; Hedwig was still out, and he wanted to make sure she could get inside in case he fell asleep before she returned. Too tired to set up her perch, he put some water and treats in her cage for now, then slipped off his shoes and flopped down on his bed.

Harry shook his head at the thought; his bed. One could barely call it a bed. It was nothing more than an old thin mattress laid out on a wood sheet, supported by a rickety metal frame. However, it was still better than sleeping on the floor, or worse… in the cupboard. He looked around the room, nothing had changed since last year. Besides the bed, there was an old dresser, and an even older desk. Next to the bed was a night table with a lamp on it, which of course didn't work. Even if it did, there wouldn't be a bulb in it, Harry was quite sure of that. He looked up to the only light in the room, a small bare bulb hanging from the middle of the ceiling. Vernon, had the switch moved to the hallway, so he could turn it on or off when he felt like it. Half the time, Harry had to do his school work at night by moon light. `Maybe I should buy some candles,' he thought.

Forgetting about his room for now, Harry turned his thoughts to the last year and what may lie ahead. Harry sighed again; it had been over a year now since Sirius had escaped, and yet Dumbledore still hadn't managed to get him a fair trial. Harry had desperately hoped he'd never have to come back here, that he'd be able to live with Sirius. Harry was beginning to wonder just how hard Dumbledore was trying to help Sirius. He closed his eyes; it was yet another example of Dumbledore's action or in this case, lack of, that gave Harry pause. His faith and trust in the Headmaster had been severely shaken by the Tournament, and if Dumbledore didn't find the time to sit down and explain a few things, Harry wasn't sure he'd ever be able to fully trust him again.

As he laid there thinking, his mind drifted back to the conversation he had with Remus just before his ride home.

"I don't understand Professor, why doesn't Fudge believe us?"

"Oh, he does now Harry, believe me," Remus said with a chuckle. At Harry questioning look, he explained further, "Fudge is a simple man, he likes things to remain the same, unchanged… it makes his job easier. Acknowledging the return of You-Know-Who, would really muck things up for him. Complicated doesn't even come close to explaining what his life would turn into. He walks a thin line with the friends he keeps."

Harry nodded, "Like Malfoy."

"Exactly. So, he sort of went into denial while talking to you," Remus looked away for a moment, "wishful thinking I suppose."

"So what changed his mind?"

"Oh, a few angry wizards who were tired of his stupidity, and his refusal to acknowledge the obvious. Dumbledore of course, plus Madam Bones, and the French Minister. Not to mention, Mr. Delacour." Remus let out a low whistle, "Boy, he laid into him hard for calling you and his daughters liars."

Harry smiled, "I'd like to have seen that."

"He wants to meet you by the way."

"Really?" Harry asked surprised.

Remus laughed, "Yes, Really."

Harry was broken out of his memories by a mild jab of pain in his back. It had been a long day, and when Harry considered his injuries, he wasn't surprised he felt so tired. Rolling over, Harry figured he'd rest for a bit before getting up and taking his potions. `A few minutes, that's all I ask,' Harry thought as his eyes slowly drifted shut.


A knock on his office door caused Dumbledore to look up. He already knew who it was; the enchantments in the outer hallway told him ahead of time. "Please come in Minerva," he said as he leaned back in his tall desk chair.

After closing the door, McGonagall turned around, "Albus," she said rather sternly.

Dumbledore groaned inwardly, he had only just finished a rather long and unpleasant conversation with Molly Weasley. She had not been pleased with the way things had turned out recently. The conversation had felt more like a dressing down for his actions more than anything else, and judging by the look and tone of his deputy… he was in for another one. Dumbledore gestured to the chair in front of him, "Minerva, please have a seat."

McGonagall eyed the comfortable looking armchair for a moment, debating rather or not she was calm enough to actually sit. She let out a breath in a huff and settled quickly before starting. "Albus, I'm sure you know why I'm here."

"Harry Potter?" He offered.

McGonagall nodded once, "Yes. I will not continue to debate your decision on his placement; what's done is done." Leaning forward, she asked, "What I want to know is, what's being done for him now? Since you said you'll be leaving soon, who will check up on him?"

Dumbledore stared back at McGonagall through steeped fingers. She had always been rather protective of the students at Hogwarts. Especially those under her direct care; her lions, as she fondly called them. Harry had surprised a lot of people last year. He had shown not only a greatly improved interest in his academics, but a much more mature attitude as well. Add to that, the fact that Harry was the son of one of her all-time favorite students; Lily Potter, and the boyfriend of her current favorite, Miss Granger, and it was no wonder she was upset. She had obviously grown quite fond of him as well.

"Minerva, I appreciate your concern, and I am sure that if Harry knew the extent of it, he would be touched."

McGonagall raised a brow that clearly said; get on with it.

Dumbledore had momentarily forgotten who he was talking to, so after a small cough, continued, "Yes, well… I have some old members from the Order," Dumbledore paused a second, "and maybe a new one as well, watching him around the clock. I also gave very specific instruction to Arthur and Remus. They were to have a talk with Mr. Dursley before they left the station. And lastly, I will personally check on him as soon as I return."

"And if he never leaves the house? How will they know if Mr. Potter is following his potion regiment and recovering as he should?

"They will check on him daily… in person of course."

McGonagall nodded, satisfied for now.

It hadn't exactly been the truth, and he hated lying to her, but he was sure she would take exception to his plan, even though he was confident in it. Dumbledore was quite certain that the Dursleys would take offense to someone checking up on Harry on a daily basis, so he had instructed his Order members to keep away and watch from a distance. Mr. Dursley had been told to simple call for one of them from the front yard if Harry developed problems. Dumbledore was sure things would be fine until he returned.

"Was there anything else Minerva?"

"No, that covers everything," she said, then added, "I'll look after things until you return. You still plan on being gone only three days?"

Dumbledore nodded, "Yes."

"And you still can't tell me where you are going?"

"No, I am afraid not."

"I don't like the idea of not knowing, or not being able to get in touch with you, What if something happens?" She asked, genuinely concerned.

Dumbledore leaned forward, "I am truly sorry it worries you, but this mission requires secrecy. I simply cannot take a chance on Voldemort finding out." Dumbledore smiled, "You know I have complete faith in you Minerva. If something comes up, I trust you will handle it properly."

McGonagall nodded back, "Very well then," she said, as she rose to leave. She couldn't help but still feel a little concerned about Harry, but felt she could wait a couple of days before getting an update.


Harry woke to the sound of a soft bark coming from his familiar. "Hello girl. Sorry I must have dosed off. There's some water in your cage… I know, sorry. I promise I'll have it set up for you tomorrow."

His last dose of potions had been this morning, right before he left the castle to head home. Pomfrey had put him on a strict schedule; there were several potions to be taken each morning, and two more each night before bed for the next week. Then, she was to come by and give him another checkup and decide what further treatment, if any, was necessary.

Harry got up and opened his trunk, he started taking out the vials that he needed, along with a graduated cylinder to measure the amounts properly. He placed everything on top of his dresser and was about to start, when he heard the door opened. Her timing couldn't have been worse, his aunt was standing in the doorway. She was going to tell him, that he could come down and get something to eat, but when she saw the open trunk, and the odd-shaped bottle sitting on the dresser, she assumed the worst. Her eyes grew large and she looked ready to faint. A second later she screamed.

"Vernon, come quick… it's the boy, he's doing something."

Surprised, Harry turned quickly, "No… it's not what you think, it's just my medicine."

For as overweight as he was, Vernon could move fast if he wanted to. A few seconds later and he had joined his wife in the doorway. One look at the top of the dresser and his face turned purple with rage. "How dare you…"

"It's just my medicine," Harry tried again, "it's not magic, I …" Harry never got a chance to finish his sentence. Vernon had stepped into the room and back-handed Harry across the face so hard, he stumbled backwards and fell over his bed.

Vernon then turned back to the dresser, and quickly sweep all the contents into Harry's open trunk. Fortunately, everything was charmed unbreakable, but that didn't do Harry any good at the moment.

Harry sat up and touched his lip. It stung, and he didn't need a mirror to know it was cut, he could tell by the coppery taste in his mouth. He tried to reason with his uncle one more time. "Uncle Vernon, it's not magic, I swear. It's just medicine to help me get better."

Vernon turned angry eyes back on Harry. "I've never seen medicine that looked like this before. It's not normal… it's freaky, that's what it is." He pointed a fat finger at Harry and continued, "And I'll not have any freaky business in my house!"

As he turned back to the trunk, he spotted Hedwig in her cage. Considering the fuss she was making over his rough treatment of Harry, he was a little surprised he hadn't noticed her sooner. Reaching up quickly, he slammed the cage door shut, trapping Hedwig inside. He had barely managed to get his fingers out of the way as Harry's angry owl snapped at them. Vernon pulled back and was about to show her who was in charge.

Harry jumped up, "Wait." He moved a little closer, "Hedwig, please calm down, I don't want you to get hurt. It'll be okay." A moment later after she had settled, Harry turned to his uncle, "She'll be quiet now."

Vernon just grunted, "Good." And reached for the cage.

"What are you doing?" Harry asked in a panic.

"Can't have you sending this ruddy bird out for more… medicine, now can I." Vernon answered with a sneer.

"But she needs to eat, who will take care…"

"Well then I suppose you had better get well in a hurry." Without another word, he handed the cage to his wife and hauled Harry's trunk out into the hallway. He gave Harry one last look of satisfaction, before pulling the door shut and locking it.

Harry was so worried about Hedwig, he temporarily forgot about the cut on his lip. Harry hadn't a clue as to what to do. Harry sank back down onto his bed, "I need to get a little help… but how…" he said softly to no one. Harry sat still with his eyes closed and tried to ignore the building pressure in his back, he needed to think. Things had turned ugly in a hurry, and if Vernon stayed true to his word, both he and Hedwig would soon be in trouble. Knowing there was nothing more he could for now, He laid back and while trying to think of plan, Harry drifted off to sleep.


Sirius studied his old friend as he made his way into the kitchen and sat down heavily across from him. "Long day?" He asked, already knowing the answer. Sirius slid a cup of tea over to him and waited.

Remus rubbed the bridge of his nose, "Yeah." It had been a long day. It started with riding escort on the train, then having a talk with Harry's uncle, and finally a late meeting with Dumbledore. "Albus wants me to leave first thing in the morning."

Sirius nodded once, "Think you'll have much luck?"

"Not sure," Remus answered with a raised brow, "weres can be hard to deal with when you're not part of their… pack."

"I'd sneak off and go with you, if I thought I'd be of any help."

Remus smiled, "Thanks, but actually I think you should stay here… keep an eye out."

Leaning forward, Sirius asked, "Oh, and why is that?"

Remus glance back over his shoulder to make sure they were alone, which only cased Sirius to lean in further. "I don't like the idea of Harry staying with the Dursleys.

"You know I tried to get Dumbledore to let him stay here."

Remus nodded, "I know." He looked away for a second, then after turning back added, "I just don't like his uncle, something… something is off with him."

Sirius looked concerned, "Should I be worried?"

Remus shrugged, "Dumbledore got people watching… so no, I guess not." Remus let out a long breath with a sigh, "I guess I'm just tired and I'm imagining things."

Sirius nodded, "Okay," but over the years he had come to trust his friend's instincts. Hopefully, he was right and there was nothing to worry about. But he was going to make damn sure and not just trust Dumbledore to handle things. He had let Harry down to many times, and it had to stop.

Leaning back again, he asked, "Who's watching him?"

Remus smiled and paused a second before answering, "Right now… Tonks." Sirius raised a brow at the way his friend seemed to enjoy that thought, but didn't say anything. "Her and Mundungus, Elphias, and even old Moody once in a while I believe."

"Well hopefully she'll stop by here tonight after her watch," Sirius said, "do you know what time her shift ends?"

"Elphias spells her at midnight."

Sirius nodded, "Right then." He'd be sure to wait up for her, he had a few questions he wanted to ask her.


He was in a chamber like room made of stone, dimly lit by a handful of torches that sat in sconce on the wall. The air was cold and damp, and hung like a heavy blanket ready to suffocate you. He tried to move, but found he couldn't… he was tied to a stone pillar that rose up from the middle of the floor. Memories from his recent past flashed behind his eyes. Bile rose up his throat and he fought to keep from gagging as panic started to set in. He looked around franticly, hoping to find a friend, or anyone who might help… but he was alone. He was alone in a cold dark place with nothing but silence for company.

`Where am I, Where is everyone else,' He wondered. He tried to remember. Something on the edge of his mind… then suddenly the silence was broken. From behind him, a laugh. It started out soft, but quickly built in intensity to a loud, sinister laugh. A laugh he'd know anywhere. Now, he wished it was quiet again. He twisted in place as hard as he could, trying to see the face behind the laugh.

"It's not what's back here that you should be afraid of," The evil said.

He twisted back and stared in horror at the sight before him. Bodies… There were decapitated bodies scattered everywhere. Dark-red blood ran from the wounds and was quickly covering the floor. A rank putrid smell filled his nostrils and again he fought the nausea. He tried to free himself again, but his restraints held fast. A sharp stabbing pain in his back was his only reward for his efforts.

The laughter stopped as suddenly as it had started. "This is what you've become… what you are."

"Nooo!" He screamed as he started to shake. A moment later… his back exploded into pain.

Harry's eyes snapped open and he bolted upright gasping for air. Harry was alone in the quiet darkness of his room. The voice, bodies… gone. And the pain… was nearly gone as well. Confused, he looked around, he was back on Privet Drive. Slowly, his breathing returned to normal as he calmed himself after realizing it had only been a dream… a really bad dream. He had to tell himself a couple of times until he was actually sure of it.

Harry glanced at his bedside clock and knew he was in for a long night. At least he hadn't woken his uncle at this time of night; that would have been bad for sure. Harry figured he'd have to wait until morning, and then after his uncle had left for work he'd try to persuade his aunt into letting him have some of his potions. Harry laid back down and rolled over onto his stomach, taking the pressure off his back. He hoped the action would ease the discomfort enough, to allow him to fall back asleep. Harry closed his eyes, and tried to block out the visions from his dream. All the while wondering, if the voice had been right.


Knowing he hadn't eaten since yesterday, Petunia waited until her husband and son had left for the day before climbing the stairs to Harry's room. It wasn't much, just a small tray with what was left over from breakfast, but it would do for now.

She didn't hate the boy, at least that's what she told herself. She just hated what he was… a wizard. She hated what he reminded her of… magic, and what it had taken from her… Lily. Petunia knew that if it were up to Vernon, he'd let him starve to death. Vernon hated him not only as a wizard, but as a boy as well. And Vernon didn't just hate him… he hated him with a passion.

The sound of the door being unlocked woke Harry from the light sleep he had managed to slip back into after last night's ordeal. He sat up and watched as his aunt came in and sat a tray of food down on his desk without saying a word.

"Don't expect me to bring you food all the time," she said sharply.

Harry nodded, "No… I mean, I won't. Thank you."

Petunia studied him for a moment, seemingly apprising his sincerity. Satisfied, she turned her nose up slightly and turned to leave.

"Wait!" Harry suddenly called out. Petunia watched as her nephew quickly got out of bed and went to the desk. Without hesitating, he grabbed the only two pieces of bacon on the tray and hurried back to her.

"Is Hedwig alright?" Harry asked. After a simple nod from his aunt, he handed her the bacon, "Could you please give her this."

Petunia eyed the offered bacon warily, she really didn't want to go near the creature.

"Please Aunt Petunia, she hasn't done anything to deserve being starved."

Petunia reached out and took the bacon, "You better get better soon, I won't be doing this again."

Harry smiled weakly, "Thank you…" He was wide awake now, and the ache in his back was reminding him he needed another favor. "And Aunt Petunia…"

Petunia turned her head slightly and eyed him suspiciously, "Yes?"

"What you saw yesterday, it really was just my medicine."

"And your point is?"

"I'm not going to get better without it." Harry looked down, "In fact, my back is already starting to hurt again." Harry looked back up, "I know you hate all this, I… I guess I can't blame you, you didn't ask for any of it. But if I can just get well, things can go back to normal… you know, me doing chores and staying out of your hair." Harry just shrugged after that, he didn't know what else to say.

Petunia features softened and she opened her mouth to say something, but then abruptly shut it again as her look turned hard once more. "I won't promise anything mind you, but I'll try and mention it to Vernon when he gets home… if he's in a good mood."

Harry nodded reluctantly, "I was supposed to take some twice a day." Harry pleaded with his eyes and asked hopefully, "I don't suppose you would consider allowing me to take today's ration now… would you?"

Petunia face turned an angry red, "Absolutely not. I'll not go behind my husband's back. You'll just have to wait." She didn't wait for a response, Petunia quickly turned and left and locked the door again once outside.

Harry stared at the closed door and thought, `Maybe Uncle Vernon would actually consider it… maybe, but not likely.'


Without his trunk, Harry had nothing to do. He couldn't work on his school work, had nothing to read, to say he was bored would have been a huge understatement. Harry sat at his desk and stared out the window, "This is ridiculous," he said to himself. Talking to no one he started to ramble, "I'm supposed to be recuperating, but they won't let me take my potions. I am supposedly helping them by staying here to recharge the wards that protect them, yet I'm locked in my room like a prisoner." Harry shook his head in disbelief over the craziness of the situation. When Dumbledore shows up tomorrow, one way or another, this is going to stop. He'd wait patiently to then. It was just one more day, but if Dumbledore didn't do something, he would.

However, there was one thing that was new, and it was slowly getting more of Harry's attention. The pressure on his lower back had turned into a mild pain that was inching its way up. So far it wasn't that bad. Like a mild headache, it was tolerable, and as long as you stayed busy you could pretty much ignore it. The problem was, Harry had nothing to busy himself with, so even though the pain was mild, it was starting to get to him. It was always there, reminding him of its presents. It made it harder and harder to think clearly, or even just relax.

By evening, Harry noticed that if he leaned back and put pressure on his back, he could feel the old cut start to burn again. To make matters worse, he was pretty sure his bones were starting to feel achy also. `Great,' Harry thought, `my cursed back isn't enough, the after-effects of the Cruciatus is going to make a comeback as well.'

Dinner had come and gone and there was no word from Petunia. Harry wondered if she had even remembered his request. As soon as it grew dark outside, Harry decided he had to act. Even though Dumbledore said he'd be by tomorrow, he didn't say what time, it could be late tomorrow and Harry didn't feel like waiting that long.

Harry went to his window and made sure the blinds were pulled open all the way. Then he placed an old pair of pants down on the floor at the bottom of his door so the light couldn't be seen under it. Next he scrambled up on his bed. Reaching up, he pulled the tiny chain that turned his light on. It wasn't much, but it could be seen from the outside. He waited only a couple of seconds and then pulled the chain again, turning out the light. A few more seconds and he turned it back on, then off again. Harry repeated this over and over, he was trying to send a signal. Unfortunately, after only a couple of minutes the light blinked out on its own. Apparently, Uncle Vernon had decided Harry didn't need a light tonight.

Refusing to give up just yet, Harry hopped off his bed and ran to the window. He stared out into the dark, hoping someone had seen his short-lived beacon flashing its call for help. Harry waited and watched, but nobody came and he didn't see any evidence that anyone would. After a half hour, Harry's shoulders slumped and he made his way back to his bed. Harry sighed as he stared into the darkness, it was going to be another long night.


As Harry laid on his side staring at the wall, he began going over recent events in his head. His first thoughts were; whether it had been such a good idea telling the Dursleys that he had been hurt. Of course there was no guarantee he still wouldn't have ended up locked in his room anyway. `Maybe I could tell them I'm feeling better and ready to do my chores,' was his next thought. But he realized his uncle always looked at things from the worse angle. `He'd probably think I made the whole thing up just to get out of work in the first place.'

Harry sighed, it was hopeless. He'd just have to wait until Dumbledore came tomorrow. Even if Dumbledore sent somebody else, he'd make bloody well sure they took him with them when they left.


The next morning, Vernon had let him out of his room long enough to not only use the loo, but get cleaned up as well. Harry was grateful for the opportunity; besides being able to use the toilet, he had his first shower in three days. Harry thought briefly of asking Vernon again if he could have his trunk back, but he could tell by the look on his uncle face that he was still mad and didn't trust him. Vernon had stood in the hallway the whole time waiting for him to finish his business, as if he could read Harry's mind and knew he was thinking of making a run for it.

A short time later, His aunt came up with some breakfast, "Before you ask, I tossed a few pieces into that bird's cage."

"Thank you Aunt Petunia," Harry said with a slight grimace.

If Petunia noticed, she made no comment. "Vernon was in a bad mood all last night, we'll see how it goes tonight, but I wouldn't get your hopes up." And without saying another word, she turned and left.

After finishing his simple meal, Harry sat on the corner of his desk and stared out the window. From this vantage point he could just see a part of the street through the trees between the houses. Having little else to do, Harry keep watch, looking for a glimpse of purple.


Hermione woke early as the first rays of sunlight peeked through her bedroom window. Normally she would have slept in for another hour, but something in her subconscious was bothering her. She wouldn't be able to relax until she worked it out. Hermione sat up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

Crookshanks, who had been sleeping at the foot of her bed sat up as well, "Meow!"

"Good morning Crooks," Hermione said with a gentle smile. Her ginger cat just sat there and slowly blinked his eyes. Clearly, he wasn't ready to leave his warm spot for the day yet. "I know it's early, give me a minute and I'll make it up to you with a special breakfast… kay?"

Crookshanks settle back down and started to purr while his tail flicked from side to side. Hermione smiled as she thought, the loud rumble sounded like a tiny engine that moved his tail.

Later as she sipped her coffee, Hermione realized what had been bothering her… Harry. Or to be more precise, the lack of a letter from him. She had actually been a little surprised when he hadn't sent a quick letter the first night. So she had expected something from him the next day; yesterday. Definitely by today, she had gone to bed expecting to see Hedwig waiting for her to wake up, and to give her a letter. She was a little disappointed at first, but the more she thought about it, the less disappointed and the more concerned she became. Harry had promised her he'd write as soon as he got settled in, and Harry wasn't the type to break a promise.

Shortly after having breakfast with her parents, Hermione started to check on a few things. First on her list was a phone call to Mr. Kim to arrange more lessons for the summer. "… Thank you Mr. Kim, I'll be there. Oh ah, Mr. Kim have you heard from Harry Potter yet?"

"No Miss Granger, I have not. However, once he hears you are returning… I'm sure I will," came his knowing answer from the receiver.

Hermione hung up the phone, but didn't move. Something wasn't right, and she decided it was about time to do something more, than just worry. She started back up the stairs to her room, already mentally composing the letters she was about to write.


Sirius poured a second cup of coffee for his cousin and then sat down to join her for breakfast. "So… missed you the last couple of nights," Sirius started.

Tonks looked away, "Yeah. I've been busy… work and all."

"Yeah…" He would have loved to of pried a little more deeply, just to confirm his supposition, but at the moment he had more pressing issues he wanted to talk about. "Have you seen Harry?"

"I watch his house every afternoon, what do mean?"

"I mean, have you actually seen Harry, not just the front door to his house?"

"Well…" Tonks raised a brow as she thought about that, "No actually. But I really didn't expect to… I mean he's still recovering, right?"

Sirius stared back at her for a moment before offering, "Well, he was healthy enough to walk to the train on his own. Ride it all the way to London and then ride with his uncle on his own… right?" Sirius turned his hands palms up in question, "So wouldn't he be healthy enough to… say take a short walk to the park. Maybe just come out front for some fresh air?"

Tonks began to squirm, "Yeah, I suppose."

"But you haven't seen him? He asked a little more forcefully this time.

Tonks shook her head, "No," she said with concern. Then, as if remembering it for the first time added with more confidence, "Dumbledore said he'd be back today, and that he was going to stop by and check on Harry personally."

"He'd better," Sirius said, making it sound like a threat. "I'll not stand by and wait, hoping my godson is being treated properly. If I don't get some news soon…"

"I'll go myself Sirius. I'll make sure he is alright." Tonks reached over the table and grabbed his hand in hers and gave it a squeeze. She had always liked her cousin when she was little, and even after they had thrown him in Azkaban, she still held on to the belief that he was somehow innocent. Now, knowing the truth, she was just happy to have him back in her life, and she wasn't going to lose him again, by letting him do something stupid.


It was late afternoon, and Harry had been sitting on his desk most of the day. He'd take short breaks from his vigil once in a while to stretch his legs and get the blood flowing again, but for the most part he sat and waited. After a while, Harry began to notice, that if he keep still the pain in his back would lessen. The problem was; how do you sit or lay still when you can't get comfortable? Harry sat up a little taller as he remembered a long conversation he'd had with Hermione about the challenges of becoming an Animagus. One of the things they'd have to learn, was how to meditate. It would allow them to block out everything around them so they could concentrate on the task of transformation. They had also talked about how useful it could be with other things that required a focused mind. He and Hermione had spent a fair amount of time discussing how it worked and how it might be done.

Harry certainly didn't consider himself an expert on the topic, but if he could manage it at least a little, it might help. It was getting late, and it didn't look like Professor Dumbledore was going to show, and his old wounds from the graveyard were only getting worse. If he was going to get any sleep tonight, he was going to need some help. After one more long look outside, Harry moved over to the bed and tried to get as comfortable as possible. Remembering the technique, Harry closed his eyes and started concentrating on his breathing. Slow deep breaths… in and out… Harry tried to focus.

It was working ever so slightly. The trouble was, his mind would drift and the pain would return. `I need something to focus on,' Harry realized, `something important or special. Something that will hold my attention.' A slow smile appeared on his face as a thought came to him, `Not something, someone.'

Eyes still closed, he concentrated on the one person he would like to see the most. Harry started to paint a picture of her face in his mind. He chose a scene from their recent past; Hermione coming down the stairs for the Yule Ball. He focused on her face, and the beautiful smile she had graced him with that night as she made her way down. Brown eyes that sparkled with delight. A radiant smile that could have warmed the coldest of hearts. The light coloring of her cheeks that told of a slight blush; Hermione wasn't used to that kind of attention. It was one of Hermione's finest hours, and certainly one of Harry's fondest memories. It was in a moment, the essence of Hermione; genuine innocence, honest and pure.

When Harry first met Hermione years back, he had thought even then, that she looked cute for a girl; he was only eleven after all. As time passed his opinion changed and to him, she became pretty, and then beautiful. Harry had always thought, that most of the things that made Hermione beautiful came from the inside. Things you really couldn't see, and as he examined her face in his mind's eye, he realized that somehow, that beauty had managed to shine through. The more Harry thought about it, the more he realized, beautiful hardly came close to describing her. To Harry, she was… exquisite.

Harry spent the next couple of hours focusing on memories of Hermione before finally falling asleep later that evening.


McGonagall sat at her desk staring at a letter from one of her students. She was used to receiving letters from students over the summer break, most of which she was happy to get. They wished her well, or thanked her for something special she had done for them during the year. This letter however, made her worry. Hermione Granger was not one to speculate wildly, nor was she prone to hysterics. The fact that she was worried about not having heard from Harry, was enough to cause her concern as well. Additionally, it was already late evening on the third day since Albus had left, and she still hadn't heard from him. McGonagall looked at her tea cup and wondered if perhaps she should have had something stronger. McGonagall was fairly sure that Harry was alright, after all, Dumbledore had people checking on him daily. Surly if there had been a problem, she would have been notified in Dumbledore's absence. Setting her tea down, she reached for some parchment to write a reply.


It was just pass midnight when a weary Tonks walked into the kitchen to find a worried looking Sirius waiting up for her. "Sirius?"

"Did you see Harry today?" He asked, getting right to the point.

"Yeah… well sort of…"

"Sort of, what exactly does that mean?"

Tonks sighted, "Well, you know Dumbledore was supposed to show up today."

"Yeah… and I'm guessing he didn't," Sirius said exasperated.

"Right, well he also left explicit instruction not to bother the Dursleys." At this point, she had to hold up her hands to keep Sirius quiet long enough for her to finish. "Anyway, I knew you'd be concerned, and to tell the truth I was a little worried myself." Sirius nodded, and then gestured with his hands, for her to get on with it. "So I waited for it to get dark and for things to quiet down, then I used my broom to hover just outside his window."

Sirius sat up straighter, "What'd you see, was he there?"

"Yeah, he was in bed, sound asleep," Tonks said simply.

Sirius leaned back and relaxed a little, "So, he was okay, he wasn't hurt or anything?"

"No, not that I could see, but it was kind of dark." Tonks leaned back also, "Anyway, I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary."

Sirius nodded, obviously relieved, until he noticed the look on her face, "What?"

"Did you know he has bars on his windows?"

Sirius raised a brow, "No, I didn't."

"They're painted the same color as the house, guess that's why I never noticed them before; hard to see from a distance." Tonks gave him a half smile, "So, except for the bars, are you feeling any better?"

Sirius looked away for a moment in thought. When he looked back, he shook his head, "No, not really." When Tonks looked at him questioningly, he handed her a letter, "It from Hermione."

Tonks took a moment to read the letter carefully, then looked back up at Sirius, "Well shite."

Sirius just nodded.


For Harry, his peaceful rest didn't last long. The pain in his back had reached a point where it had woken him. The fog of sleep was being quickly pushed away by a sharp burning pain that raced up and down his back with every little moment. Even breathing caused him pain as it pulled at the old wound. Harry moaned softly as he sat up, trying to be as quiet as possible; He definitely didn't want to wake his uncle.

It was almost three in the morning, a couple of more hours and it would be light out. He looked over towards his desk in the darkness, he could just make out the tray his aunt had brought him earlier. He knew there was a bottle of water on, and right now he really needed a drink. Getting up, he started to quietly make his way over to the desk. But in the dark, he failed to notice the desk chair and tripped over it, falling head-first into the side of the desk. The tray with dishes and silverware all came crashing down. In the quiet of the night, the noise sounded like an avalanche of kitchen utensils as they seemed to clatter around forever. Harry froze, hoping that by some miracle no one woke.

A moment later, that hope was crushed when he heard a door open down the hall. A few seconds later after Vernon had unlocked Harry's door, he shoved it open so hard it banged against the wall leaving a small dent from the handle.

"Boy, what in bloody hell is going on in here?" Vernon bellowed.

Harry quickly stood and righted the fallen chair, "Nothing sir. My back was hurting… I… I went to get a drink and… and I tripped over the chair in the dark. I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean too…"

"Rubbish. You're up to no good, why else would be up at this bloody hour?"

"No sir, I swear. It's my back… I'm in a lot of pain…" Harry lowered his gaze, "If I could just have my trunk sir, I could…"

Harry never got to finish his request, and with his head down, he never saw the back-hand that knocked him sideways into his dresser. The collision knocked the breath out of him, and he doubled over holding on to his side as he tried to get some air. Harry thought it was over, but he was wrong, Vernon reached out with a meaty hand and grabbed him by the hair and jerked him upright.

"You can't fool me boy," Vernon spat, "I saw you walk out of the station and climb the stairs to your room. You weren't in any pain then, and you're not in any pain now. You're just playing the part to get out of work!" Vernon looked around the room, "I don't know what you're up to, but I do know what someone in real pain looks like, and you are about to know what it feels like." Still holding Harry with his left hand, Vernon punched Harry in the gut with his right, knocking the wind out of him again. As Harry gasped for breath, Vernon let go of him, but before Harry could move Vernon hit him again, this time in the face, with a closed fist. The blow sent Harry flying backwards over his bed. He landed on the floor and slid into the wall and didn't move. Vernon just stood there and stared at him a moment. Satisfied he'd taught the boy a lesson, he finished by saying in a harsh treating voice, "You'll stay there and not make another sound… if you know what's good for you."

Harry didn't move, and he didn't say anything either, not that he could have if he had wanted to. Harry continued to lay there for about another hour after Vernon had left trying to regain his strength. Sometimes when he moved the wrong way, the pain would be so bad, he'd black out for a while. Finally near dawn as the first ray of sunlight were turning the sky orange, Harry was able to gingerly make his way back into bed. He figured he could add a black eye, and some bruised ribs to his list of injuries. Laying as still as possible, he managed to get a bit of rest, but sleep now eluded him. Besides his back, his face hurt, and his right side felt swollen and tender. If he had been able to see himself in a mirror, he would have been shocked at his reflection. He could hardly move; not that he wanted to, it hurt just to breath. When he started to get cold sweats and the shakes, Harry started wondering just how much more he could take. "Where are you Dumbledore?" he whispered to himself.


The Dursleys weren't known for getting many visitors during the day, so when Harry heard the doorbell, and it was only mid-morning, his hopes soared. "About time," he mumbled. He was certain that Dumbledore had finely showed up. Harry forced himself out of bed and gingerly made his way to the door. At first he didn't hear anything, but as the hushed conversation grew loader, he knew it wasn't Dumbledore. His hopes were quickly dashed as he listens to the commotion from downstairs through his locked door.

Miss Figg was trying to explain to a hysterical Petunia, that her son Dudley had been attacked by some magical creature, just down the block. "And luckily, there was a wizard nearby, a Mr. Mundungus. He managed to run the foul thing off."

Petunia only heard wizard, and attack as she concentrated on getting her son into the house and on to the couch. "A wizard did this to my Duddles?" she asked, growing more and more angry by the second.

"No-no, a wizard saved him," Miss Figg reiterated.

Petunia gave her a critical eye, wondering how her neighbor knew about magic and wizards. Assuming she must be one of them, she suddenly wanted her out of the house. "Yes well, we'll see about all of this once Vernon gets home," she started as she began to usher Miss Figg out the door, "I'll see to it from here thank you." Petunia quickly closed the door and turned back to her son. He was deathly white as he sat staring out into nothing. Deciding her husband would want to know, she made her way to the tele and phoned up Vernon.

Harry moved back to his bed and eased himself down gently, mindful of his back. This didn't sound good; a magical creature loose in Surrey? Well at least someone took care of it, he thought. If Harry had been feeling better, he might have been more concerned. "Great!" Harry suddenly said to himself, realizing that his uncle would probably be home soon. Harry was pretty sure his uncle wouldn't be too happy about this, `Well, at least he can't blame me for it.'


The slamming of the front door and the loud bellows coming from downstairs, told Harry that his uncle had arrived. After a quick glance at his clock, Harry figured Vernon must have broken every speed limit in town to get home so fast.

Soon the yelling stopped, and things downstairs seemed too quiet down. `It would seem the storm named Vernon has blown through,' Harry thought… he couldn't have been more wrong. Just as he was about to close his eyes, so he could try to meditate again, the locks on his door practically snapped open, and again his door was flung open with enough force to rattle the walls.

His uncle, beat red and breathing hard, was angrier than Harry had ever seen before. As he stormed into the room, Harry sat up, worried about what he might do.

"YOU… You little shite!" He screamed, "This is all your fault." Vernon grabbed Harry by the arm and pulled him off the bed and on to his feet.

Shaking his head, Harry raised his hands to defend himself, "I didn't do anything uncle," he started, "I never left my…" But his words fell on deaf ears.

In one swift motion, Vernon swatted his hands away and then back-handed him hard across the face. Harry stumbled as his head snapped to the side. Disappointed he hadn't knocked him down, Vernon hit him again, this time leaning into it. The feel of a crack against his knuckles made him smirk, and something inside of him snapped. Years of frustration and anger boiled out of him as he continued the beating. Something or someone magical had hurt his little boy, and Vernon wanted revenge. For now, the boy laying on the floor bent double gasping for air would do. He'd make him pay. He'd make an example out of the freak.

"Vernon, stop!" Petunia pleaded. She was just as upset as her husband, but she knew that if he keep going, he'd kill the boy.

Vernon turned to look at his wife. The look of worry and concern gave him pause, for a second he wasn't sure who it was meant for. Deciding at the moment he really didn't care, he turned back to the boy. After Harry had fallen to the floor, Vernon, too lazy to pick him back up, just started kicking him. Apparently, he had kicked him into the corner, as that was where he was laying now. Still and unmoving, barely breathing. Vernon gave a huff, satisfied with his work, he turned and left the room, pulling the door closed on his way out. Harry never heard the locks click back into place as he lay bleeding and unconscious on the floor.


By the time Tonks was finished being debriefed by Mundungus and Miss Figg, it was almost four o'clock. She stood across the street and stared at the house she had grown used to watching slowly shaking her head. `Dementors… in Little Whinging… unbelievable,' She thought. Her instincts were telling her to go and knock on the door, and ask to see Harry. She wanted to make sure he was alright, but after the way Miss Figg had supposedly been chased away earlier, Tonks was reluctant to bother them anymore. Since everything at the house currently seemed quiet, Tonks figured for now she'd wait until dark and then take another broom ride.

Watching a house for hours on end was anything but exciting. As Tonks sat on a short wall across the street watching Number Four, she had plenty of time to think. Her first thoughts were of Dumbledore; where was he, and why hadn't he shown up yet? He was already a day late, and it didn't look like he was going to show up tonight either. `What's he doing that he can't at least send word?' She wondered. Tonks was also curious as whether or not he even knew about the attack.

Hearing a door close caught Tonk's attention. Looking up, she watched as Vernon marched over to his car to get something. A moment later, he slammed the boot closed and stormed back inside. Normally, she wouldn't care about how he treated his car, but from his angry actions and the nasty muttering, Tonks knew he was in a bad mood.

An uneasy feeling started to take hold of her. She still hadn't actually seen Harry, and it would be a while yet before it was dark enough to fly. Tonks decided to risk disturbing the Dursleys for a chance to see Harry. At least it would put her concerns to rest, and hopefully she'd be able to give Sirius some good news.


Dinner was already a little late; which didn't help Vernon's sour mood as he sat down to eat. He was only halfway through his meal, when there was a knock at the front door. Vernon turned red and threw his fork down, "Who the bloody hell comes calling at the dinner hour?"

Petunia started to get up, "I'll see who it is dear."

"No!" Vernon said harshly, as he stood as well. "I'll see to it." He was inching to yell at someone.

Petunia stayed standing and watched with a worried look on her face as her husband marched to the door, ready to tear into the person who dared to interrupt his dinner.

The door was yanked open so quickly, Tonks jumped back a little before regaining her composer.

Vernon didn't recognize the person standing in front of him, but judging by the particular style of clothing she was wearing, he had a pretty good idea of who, or rather what she was. "What?" he said rudely.

Tonks stepped forward, "Good evening sir. I'm terribly sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if I might…"

"You're one of them aren't you?"

Even though Vernon was a large man, Tonks with her training, knew she could handle him. Stepping forward some more, she started, "Now see here…"

"What bloody right do you lot have coming to my house; interfering with our lives… interrupting my dinner?" He barked.

Tonks was tempted to show him with her wand, but she reined in her temper. "I'm only doing my job sir. I just wanted to check on Harry… make sure he's alright."

Vernon narrowed his eyes and hissed, "Your job as I understand it; is to watch from across the street… out of sight. It most certainly is not… to bother me." Vernon eyed the young women for a second, he could see the hesitant look on her face. "Harry… is just fine. Done nothing but lay about since he's been here." Vernon didn't want her in the house, and he certainly didn't want her checking on Harry right now. He hoped his lie would appease her. "Now if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to what's left of my dinner, cold as it is."

Tonks deliberated; she really wanted to see Harry, but she knew that if she pushed the issue, there would be hell to pay later. "Fine, but I'll be watching."

"You do that," Vernon snapped. "Oh, and tell those other freaks to stay away as well," he added, just before slamming the door shut.

Tonks sighed, then quickly walked away. She's just have to wait until dark. Hopefully, she'd catch him awake, and if so, maybe she'd be able to talk to him a moment.

Vernon sat down in a huff, "I'm going to need a whiskey to go with what's left," he grumbled.

Petunia went to the cabinet to fetch him a bottle, silently praying he wouldn't drink too much.


It had only been dark for a short while, but Tonks decided to risk it. She wanted to try and see Harry before he went to bed. After slipping across the street under a Disillusionment Charm, Tonks threw her leg over her broom and kicked off. A moment later she was hovering outside Harry's window again. "Bugger," she mumbled, "he sure goes to bed early." Harry's room was once again dark and she could barely make anything out. Straining her eyes, Tonks was just able to make out a few vague shapes. She squinted and stared hard at what was most probably his bed. Although she couldn't actually see Harry, Tonks could make out a bundle under the covers. With a touch of imagination, it looked like a boy fast asleep, it had to be Harry. Tonks shrugged and gave him a smile. Then before she started to feel like a peeping tom, she maneuvered back to the ground and walked back across the street. Satisfied for now that Harry was safe, she resumed her watch.


Petunia had finally managed to get Dudley off the couch and up to bed. He was looking a slight bit better, `At least he's stopped drooling,' she thought.

As Petunia made her way back down the stairs, she stopped half-way to have a listen. The house was quiet. Dudley was asleep, and Harry… well he hadn't made a sound since Vernon's little visit. She knew he was hurt quite bad, but he'd been hurt before and he had always managed to heal himself… magic, she guessed. Even her husband was quiet, except for an occasional grumbling complaint about freaks and nosy busybodies.

Petunia wrung her hands in worry. Vernon had finished off the whole two liter bottle of whiskey. He was quiet now, but she knew his temper was smoldering on the inside, ready to burst into flames with the slightest breath of encouragement. She could only hope that he'd pass out before the inner turmoil that burned in his gut, boiled to the surface. Vernon had always had issues with insecurities, and learning about magic; yet something else he couldn't do, or even understand, didn't help. And having Harry Potter in the house was a constant reminder of his own limitations and failures. Irrational as it was, Vernon blamed the only person around him that he could… the boy, the freak… Potter. Slowly over the years, Vernon had managed to somehow make Harry responsible for all his troubles, real or not. After a demotion at work for slow sales, Vernon was in an especially bad mood most of the time now. From the look of things, he planned to vent all his anger on Harry. Petunia sighed, it was going to be a long summer. Maybe if she could keep Vernon away from him long enough for him to heal, she could talk one of Harry's friends into taking him away for a while… or even the rest of the summer.

Stepping into the kitchen to finish cleaning up, turned out to be the trigger that set her husband off.

Vernon turned bloodshot eyes up to his wife. "Can you believe the nerve of those… freaks," he slurred.

"Yes, well they're gone now," Petunia answered, hoping to quell the rising storm.

Vernon pounded the table with a meaty fist, "For now… but they'll… they'll be back!" He countered. Vernon stood up, no longer able to sit contently he started to pace, all the while muttering under his breath. It didn't take long before he had worked himself into a bitter rage. Red in the face and with sweat beading on his forehead, he when off again, "Bloody freaks, why can't they just leave us alone? Why do we have to be saddled with one of they own?" Vernon yelled as he glanced at the ceiling towards Harry's room. "We should have thrown that no-good shite out into the street long ago, we should have."

Petunia moved over by him and placed a hand on his arm. "Vernon, please calm down," she said as soothingly as possible, "they're not worth your health." Vernon glanced down at her. She could tell he wanted to go back upstairs and take out his frustration on Harry again. And in his current state, there was no telling what he'd do. "Vernon, why don't you step out back? I'll make us a tea, and we can sit and relax for a bit." She gave his arm a squeeze, "The cool air will help you feel better."

Vernon deflated a little and nodded okay, but didn't say anything. After stepping outside, Vernon paused and took a deep breath. `Petunia is right,' he thought, as he tried to calm down. The cool night air seemed to be working… right up until he spotted Hedwig in her cage sitting on the corner of the porch. In a flash, the anger came rushing back. In Vernon's mind, even poor Hedwig was part of his problems. "Ruddy bird! You're as bad as the rest of them freaks!" He growled, as he marched up to her.

Hedwig was definitely one of the smartest owls around, and she knew trouble when she saw it. Instinctively, she gripped the perch in her cage tighter, and stayed as quiet as possible. Unfortunately, neither action did much good. Vernon had kicked the cage, and it along with the owl inside went flying across the yard.

"And that's what you get… you bloody nuisance!"

Hedwig's cage landed on its side with a dent in it. Hedwig, even after being tossed about, managed to quickly hope back on her feet. Vernon was on his way over; no doubt to give her another go. This time however, Hedwig saw her chance to escape; the cage door had popped open. Just as Vernon was rearing back to kick the cage again, Hedwig hoped out and took flight.

Vernon leaned forward and tried to grab her, but missed, "You'd better run…"

Hedwig quickly disappeared into the night sky. She circled around the house, and silently glided towards Harry's window. Since it was closed, she landed on a tree branch just a few feet away. Hedwig took a moment to check things out. Being Harry's familiar, Hedwig knew he would have left the window open if he had been able to. She didn't want to make any noise, so she couldn't start tapping on the glass. With the light out, see couldn't see inside either, even with her eyes. Judging by her own treatment the last couple of days, Hedwig was convinced that her Harry was in trouble. She have to assume the worst; that he was hurt and needed help. Hedwig realized in order to do that, she'd have to leave him here alone. Despite the pain in her right wing, she pushed off the branch and took to the air again. Heading west, Hedwig went in search of the only other human she trusted.




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