"Today's Hugo's first Hogsmeade trip," Hermione said conversationally as she and Ron sat down to dinner.
"Ah, that's right," said Ron, then chuckled as he buttered his bread. "I bet he'll send us a whole novel about it."
She smirked. "I hope not. His last letter was so long, his poor owl could barely-oh, is that him now?"
There was a tapping on the kitchen window. "It's a bit early," Ron murmured, getting up to open it. "But I suppose—what?"
The bird that swooped into their flat was much larger than Hugo's small burrowing owl. More to the point, it merely flew in, dropped a bright red envelope onto the middle of their table and then swept back out, not even stopping in the hope of getting food.
But it was the bright red envelope that occupied the couple's attention.
"Is that a—"
Hermione picked up the envelope, holding it fearfully away from her body. "Mum and Dad, The Kitchen, Apartment 625—oh, Merlin's beard!"
The Howler had started to smoke, so she quickly threw it back onto the table. She looked in panic at Ron, who whipped out his wand and desperately tried to think of a spell to prevent what was coming.
"DEAR MUM AND DAD, I'M AT HOGSMEADE RIGHT NOW AND IT'S SO COOL! ZONKO'S HAS ALMOST AS MUCH GREAT STUFF AS THE JOKE SHOP. I BOUGHT AN EXPLODING INKWELL THAT I WAS GOING TO GIVE TO JAMES AS A PRANK BUT THEN LILY SAID THAT HE'D JUST GIVE IT TO SOMEBODY ELSE AS A PRANK AFTERWARDS SO NOW I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT. MAYBE I'LL GIVE IT TO UNCLE PERCY TO GIVE TO UNCLE GEORGE BECAUSE THEN HE WON'T BE EXPECTING IT TO BE A PRANK? HE CAN USUALLY FIGURE IT OUT WHEN I TRY TO PRANK HIM. I ALSO BOUGHT FIFTEEN GALLEONS' WORTH OF CANDY AT HONEYDUKES, INCLUDING THAT REALLY DELICIOUS FUDGE THAT DAD ALWAYS BUYS WHEN HE GOES TO HOGSMEADE. I'M GOING TO GIVE SOME TO FREDDY FOR HIS BIRTHDAY. I KNOW THAT IT WAS A FEW DAYS AGO BUT I TOLD HIM THAT I'D WAIT TO GET HIM SOMETHING IN TOWN. I SAVED THE POST OFFICE FOR LAST SO THAT I COULD WRITE TO YOU ABOUT MY TRIP. DO YOU KNOW THAT THEY SELL HOWLERS HERE?!"
There was a pause. Slowly, gingerly, Ron and Hermione began to uncover their ears, wincing as they looked at the envelope that was still on the table.
"ANYWAY," Hugo continued, as his parents flinched, "LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY WEEK! ON MONDAY—"