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Chapter One: A Short Stay

A light drizzle consumed the meticulously kept lawns of Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey, the almost identical detached houses towered over the dull grey paving and tarmac road. The clouds swirled ominously overhead, the light cutting rain changing direction as if it was controlled by a powerful force. Harry stared at the depressing weather from his bedroom window and could only think of his dead Godfather Sirius Black, the images of him falling through the veil stuck in his head as if they had been charmed with the permanent sticking spell.

It's been a very slow few days since he'd left King's Cross station and his friends, it almost felt as if that day was a lifetime behind him. Harry closed his eyes and threw himself backwards onto his bed, the springs heaved under his weight as the rackety old bed was on its last legs. Unlike Dudley, Harry wasn't afforded the luxury of a new bed or luxury furniture; he had to make do with whatever was found at the tip. Harry laid his arms out to his side and tried to think of something other than Sirius or the Prophecy.

"HARRY!" shouted the portly Uncle Vernon from the bottom of the stairs. Harry sprang up like a spring as his name reverberated through his head. "Harry! I'd like a word with you." Uncle Vernon shouted his voice straining as he impatiently awaited Harry's response. Except Harry didn't respond by voice, he merely got off his noisy bed and opened his bedroom door and walked slowly down the stairs his head aimed squarely at the floor as he came within feet of Uncle Vernon.

"Harry," said Uncle Vernon firmly "this came for you." Uncle Vernon had in his right hand a letter addressed to Harry; he waved it around in front of Harry's face.

"I've half a mind to tear it up," Uncle Vernon uttered at Harry with contempt. "But seeing as you have enlisted the aid of others to threaten us, I have no choice but to allow you this… luxury." He said lingering on the word luxury, as if Harry wasn't even deserving of it.

Harry looked at the letter and snatched at it like a hawk, his eye's never crossing with his Uncle's. He grasped the letter tightly and scuttled back up the stairs as Uncle Vernon watched him, a horrid sneer etched across his face. Harry turned the corner and immediately was out of the watchful eye of his scornful Uncle. He held the letter tighter still and bombed into his small, cramped bedroom. He shut the door with his foot and jumped onto his squeaky bed and stared at the letter intently.

Harry Potter
4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging

He knew immediately who it was from, it was plastered with stamps, a hallmark of the Weasley's attempting to send Muggle-mail, it was however not as bad as the last letter, there was at least 2 inches of free space on the letter for the address to be scrawled within. Harry held his breath for a moment before opening it; he was hoping with all his might that it was a letter signalling his exit of this place and a summer at the Burrow. After losing his Godfather he wasn't really wanting to be stuck in his lifeless room for 2 months without human contact and with his soul destroying Uncle, Aunt and his Bullying Cousin Dudley.

Harry ripped open the envelope and pulled out the letter and carefully unfolded it, his excitement being controlled just in case he harboured false hopes. He took a deep breath and then began reading; his eyes lit up as he flew through the letter and then re-read it again.

Dear Harry,

I hope the letter reached you ok, George recommended sending it via Muggle Post again as not to offend your Uncle and Aunt. I hope you've been alright, have they been treating you well? Anyway, we have good news; you're spending the whole summer with us. We thought that after Sirius leaving us, that it was best you spent the summer with us as we know how hard it must be for you in that house.

Pack all your things and we'll be there to pick you up in a few hours, we're not sure what time as George is having problems with his new Muggle Car, he can't seem to get it started. Anyway pack your things away and we'll be right with you.

Yours Sincerely
Molly Weasley

P.S don't worry about dinner

A huge grin stretched across Harry's face as he dropped the letter onto the bed, images of Ron, Ginny, and Mr and Mrs Weasley thundering through his head. After losing Sirius this was exactly what he needed, it made him warm inside as he forgot about Sirius for a moment and glowed at the thought of the summer ahead. Harry sat down on his bed and let his mind float away into a world of laughter and happiness; he was with his friends far away from Privet Drive and the torture that came with it.

After several moments lost on a wave of excitement and giddiness Harry suddenly sat-up and realised that he was still in his Uncle and Aunt's home and that Uncle Vernon would be wanting to find out what the letter was about, and soon. Harry decided that the only sensible way to approach this would be to take it on headfirst and go see Uncle Vernon with the letter and not allow Uncle Vernon the time to build up his anger, and then unleash it. Harry picked up the letter and slowly made his way downstairs into the sterile world of which Aunt Petunia had created and of which was seemingly the only way the Dursleys could live.

Harry walked slowly down the carpeted stairs and turned into the hallway to see Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia arguing in the spotlessly clean kitchen. Aunt Petunia looked flustered and Uncle Vernon had a look of rage emblazoned across his face. Harry paused for a moment in the hallway, his hand grasping the letter still as he watched them argue, he didn't move an inch until Uncle Vernon stopped and turned to look at him, his eyes stared at Harry as if he was some circus freak show.

"Yes," said Uncle Vernon sharply, his body now turned completely towards Harry, his hands held in front of his chest, crossed.

"Ummm," said a nervous Harry, he'd never come to let his Uncle and Aunt read one of his letters before, it wasn't something he was particularly enthused about. "I think you... better know what the letter said."

"Well Harry, spit it out," was Uncle Vernon's blunt reply, he wasn't in the mood for pleasantries and he especially had no time for Harry.

"Well, the Weasley's are coming to pick me up and take me away fro the summer," said Harry with a tinge of defiance in his voice, he'd been waiting to spend the whole summer away from the Dursleys for as long as he could remember.

Harry looked at Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia with bated breath, he was expecting Uncle Vernon to explode like Mount Vesuvius and for Aunt Petunia and look on him with those scornful, piercing eyes and cast some ill thought judgement upon the Weasley's. Except nothing like that happened, in the moments following his announcement both of them seemed almost indifferent, it was a strange situation for Harry to behold.

"Fine," came the late reply from Uncle Vernon. Harry looked confused, this wasn't the reaction he'd had in mind and it certainly didn't seem like the Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia that he knows. He stood for a brief moment before turning on the calm demeanours of Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon and began the slow ascension back to his tiny bedroom.

With every step, Harry thought to himself 'Why didn't they make a big deal of it?' What exactly was it that made both Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia seem so… subdued? It was like an itch you can't reach, Harry just couldn't figure it out, no matter what ideas and theories shot through his head, none of them could explain it, and none of them seemed even plausible.

Harry pushed open the door and dragged himself into the room. He sat himself on the end of his haggardly old bed. He looked back out of his window at the dismal weather and sighed, as much as he was looking forward to leaving with the Weasleys, he just couldn't bear another second in this house. He also was hoping that he wasn't returning to Grimmauld Place, as much as he preferred to be there, he really didn't want to be in a place that reminded him of Sirius. Since Sirius' death, Harry had felt like a part of him died with it and hadn't been able to sleep properly nor go any large amounts of time without Sirius face popping up in his head, he tried valiantly to put on a brave face, but deep inside he was ravaged with grief.

Harry lowered his head on the rough blanket strewn across his bed and slowly closed his eyes, his mind drifting from the world around him and into the land of his dreams.

Harry awoke with a startle, he rose to a seated position swiftly and stared out of the window, "it's still light out," he thought to himself. He rubbed his eyes with his hands and moved himself to the side of the bed and looked over at Hedwig's empty cage, she was out hunting still. He closed his eyes momentarily and got to his feet, he stretched out his arms and walked over to his trunk and opened it up to reveal a complete mess, he hadn't unpacked it properly since he'd got back from Hogwarts and obviously wasn't going to be unpacking it properly here.

Harry picked up a pile of hand-me-down clothes that were lying next to the trunk and haphazardlypacked them into the trunk. He stuffed them in with no cause for tidiness or organisation; he wasn't in the mindset to be doing things neatly. Harry paused for a moment as he looked at the Book of Curses and Counter-Curses; it was still open from two nights ago when Harry was casually reading it, perusing for more curses for Dumbledore's Army. Harry let-out a proud smile as memories of the DA meetings ran through his head, it made him proud to think he'd taught them all these curses and that this year he'll be able to continue doing so.

Harry closed the book and placed it within the Trunk and stepped back and looked at his rather shabby handiwork, he was surprisingly happy with it in a teenage I've-never-been-one-for-tidiness kind of way.

Harry turned and made his way downstairs and into the meticulously clean lounge, the glass ornaments glimmered on the mantelpiece as Harry stood in the doorway and snarled at Dudley who was sat watching 'The 100 Greatest Boxing Massacres,' on Video. Dudley turned and did the typical thug sign for war; cracking his knuckles in his hand. Harry just stood strong and greeted him back with a wry grin, his right hand clutching the wand in the side pocket of his oversized tatty jeans.

"One of these days I'm going to pound you into the ground," uttered Dudley in his deep thuggish voice.

Harry leaned forward over the side of the sofa and under his jumper aimed the wand at Dudley. "Oh Dudley, don't forget I could magic you into a toad whenever I pleased," Dudley immediately went white and stiffened up like he'd been hit with the Petrificus Totaluscurse. Harry let out a short chuckle and stood up straight again.

"Harry," said Aunt Petunia who was standing behind Harry, Harry turned suddenly to see Aunt petunia stood with a sympathetic look on her face "can we have a word?"

Confusion gripped Harry, what did Aunt Petunia mean by 'can we have a word?' what on earth could it be about? Harry pondered these thoughts as he followed Aunt Petunia into the Conservatory and was directed to a solitary seat at the dark brown mahogany dining table. Standing, facing the French windows was uncle Vernon, his eyes scanning the outside world as Aunt Petunia sat herself down opposite Harry. After a moment Uncle Vernon turned around and stared diligently at Harry as Aunt Petunia began.

"Harry, we hoped, we'd never have to tell you this, but well…" Aunt Petunia softly said, her usual piercing voice being replaced with a much softer and compassionate one "it's time, Dumbledore feels you should know."

Harry perked up in his seat, he hadn't expected Aunt Petunia to ever utter Dumbledore's name and what surprised Harry most was that there was no reply from Uncle Vernon telling Aunt Petunia never to speak that name in this house. Harry didn't know what to say or think. But he had to ask.

"What does Professor Dumbledore want me to know?" said Harry firmly, his voice cutting through Aunt Petunia almost like a hot knife through butter.

Aunt Petunia hesitated for a moment and looked at Uncle as if asking for him to help but he merely shrugged her off and continued to stare at Harry. "Well," she said nervously "it's hard to put into words, for so long we tried to scare it out of you, for so long we didn't want anything to do with it, we wanted to rid you of it but he reminded me why we had to keep you."

Harry didn't reply. He felt no need to; Aunt Petunia was going to say what she was going to say and needed no goading from Harry to get on with it, Harry was willing to wait as long as it took to hear what she had to say.

Aunt petunia was about to begin speaking again when a loud knock came from the front door, Uncle Vernon immediately darted from his spot watching Harry and answered the door. Harry listened closely, he knew exactly who it was and he somehow knew that he wouldn't be hearing what Aunt Petunia was going to say well not tonight at least.

Uncle Vernon could be heard loudly talking with distaste in his voice, one of superiority over lower classes and with that Harry knew exactly who had arrived; it was the Weasleys. Harry jumped from his seat and ran through to the hallway to see Mrs and Mr Weasley stood in conversation with Uncle Vernon and Ron stood in the middle of the hallway looking for something or someone. The moment Harry came into view Ron looked up and let out a huge cheesy grin.

"How are you doing Harry?" said Ron simply, he was never one to make overblown hello's, he preferred the more understated affair of a simple hello and 'how are you'. "We've come to get you."

Harry smiled and walked towards Ron, "Yea, I got the letter, so how's the Burrow these days?" was Harry's response, it too wasn't overblown like that of Hermione or Mrs Weasley but it was enough. Ron let slip a cheeky grin and whispered into Harry's ear, "We're not at the Burrow this summer, again."

Harry didn't know whether to smile or frown, he'd liked being at the headquarters of the order of the Phoenix but then he also didn't want to be around a place which reminded him of Sirius, it was a double-edged sword.

Harry never had a chance in fending off Mrs Weasley, she dragged him into her arms and crushed him with one of her renowned hugs, "Oh Harry, we did miss you!" She released a still shocked Harry and looked at him whilst fluffing his hair with her left hand. "Oh Harry you still look peaky, we best give you a proper meal for once." She said lovingly.

Mr Weasley walked over to Harry and placed a fatherly like hand on his shoulder "good to see you Harry, we'd hoped you'd spend the summer with all of us, but we needed the go-ahead first."

Harry was filled with warmth and delight, he'd hoped with all his heart that he'd spend the whole summer with the Weasleys and though Dumbledore had said he needed to spend some time with the Dursleys, he still hoped it was a short stay.

"Ron, why don't you help Harry pack his things and bring them down, Molly and I need a word with the Dursleys," said Mr Weasley in a very business like way.

Harry and Ron ran up the stairs as fast as they could as Mr and Mrs Weasley stepped into the kitchen with uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia. Harry barrelled into his bedroom first and Ron followed immediately after, Ron slipped and cannoned into Harry and both of them flew onto the bed. They both exploded with laughter and lay on the bed staring at the ceiling and laughing at the accident. Ron stopped laughing first and sat upright.

"Harry, you'll never guess what?"

"What?" was Harry's quick-fire response.

"Mum taught me this cool trick with the wand, it's great,"

Harry looked at him and raised his eyebrow slightly. "Ron, when did you ever find something your mum has taught you as 'cool'?"

Ron looked at him as if Harry had said something so offensive; it needed a teacher like look of disappointment. "No really, you have to check this out, watch."

Ron jumped up off the bed and pulled his wand out; he aimed it at the trunk and with a single motion swung towards the door. The trunk followed the wand and smashed into the side of the old wardrobe next to the door and fell to the floor. Harry immediately fell back onto the bed laughing as Ron stared at the trunk in disbelief.

"That wasn't supposed to happen," Ron said trying to make Harry believe him. Harry didn't do anything but continue laughing, it was a change for Harry to be laughing so much during the summer, normally he'd be cooped up alone with no hope of laughter, and this was a refreshing change.

After a minute or so Harry stopped laughing and joined Ron stood by the bed, he smiled at Ron and both of them didn't speak but rather did the job they'd come up to do and carry Harry's things downstairs. Harry took care of Hedwig's cage and his Firebolt 3000 broom, Ron, of course, struggled with Harry's trunk. They both trudged down the stairs with the things, well Harry trudged Ron was dragged with the trunk yelling 'STOP!' as he sped towards the bottom of the stairs and the hallway leading to the front door.

Both of them reached the bottom and were greeted by both Mr and Mrs Weasley with accommodating smiles, Mr Weasley took the trunk and Mrs Weasley took Hedwig's cage and the Broom off Harry. Aunt Petunia and uncle Vernon looked shell-shocked they both stood without saying a word, they merely watched all 4 of them with scornful looks.

"Come on boys, we have to get going now," said Mrs Weasley politely, she turned towards the Dursleys "We'll see you some other time I expect."

"Yes, of course, take care and thanks for the chat," was Mr Weasley's civilised goodbye. Whatever was said between the four adults was obviously something that the Dursleys hadn't expected and had rubbed them the wrong way, though speaking with the Weasleys probably would've done that anyway.

Harry opened the front door and a cold breeze rushed in from outside, it waved over Harry like a cold shower removing aches and pains, it had the feeling of freedom, well comparable freedom as no doubt he'd be kept inside for the summer anyway; safety reasons no doubt.

Mr and Mrs Weasley walked out of the house first, Ron followed quickly after, Harry however took a moment to just look at 4 Privet Drive for the last time this summer and then exited, closing the front door behind him. He stepped out and then in front of him he saw the Order of the Phoenix. Mad-Eye Moody, Tonks, Remus Lupin and Kingsley Shacklebolt greeted him. Immediately the ridiculousness of Moody's bowler hat to conceal his magic eye brought a smile to his face, this was much better than living with the Dursleys and his summer hadn't even begun yet.

"Right let's get going, I don't trust the muggles around this place," said Moody sceptically as he continued to look around at the neighbourhood around him, his right hand clutching his old battered broom. Harry smiled again, he was so glad to be out of Privet Drive and going elsewhere.