Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
"But that's boring," Fred exclaimed.
"Yeah, who would want to be normal?" George agreed.
"I thought this was about Potter, not whoever these Dursleys are," a nearby Ravenclaw said. Harry groaned; he had hoped that people wouldn't find out about his home life, but apparently Fate hated him. Clearly sending books for the whole school plus visitors to read that included his thoughts and would make him feel any pain in the books wasn't enough; clearly people had to find out about his home life as well.
"Those are my Aunt and Uncle. I live with them," Harry replied instead of saying what he was thinking.
He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large moustache.
Harry snorted slightly, as did Ron, George, Fred, and Mr. Weasley, who had all met Uncle Vernon.
"What?" Ginny asked.
"It is a very accurate description," Ron explained.
"What's a drill?" Mr Weasley asked Hermione, who smiled.
"Write down any muggle thing that you don't understand, and I'll explain it after we finish reading for the day," Hermione suggested. Mr Weasley nodded, pulling a piece of parchment out of his pocket along with a quill and ink pot, quickly scribbling down his question.
The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley and, in their opinion, there was no finer boy anywhere.
This time Harry, Ron, Fred, and George all burst out laughing.
"He is definitely not small," Harry gasped.
"And finding a finer boy would be quite easy," Ron agreed, having heard a few tales about Dudley's bullying from Harry. A few people were staring at them, having not heard what Harry said, so not understanding why they were laughing. They quickly quieted down, allowing the charm to continue reading the book.
They didn't think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters.
"What's wrong with the Potters?" quite a few people demanded, including Remus, who was glancing towards Harry every now and then. Snuffles whined, resting his head on Harry's knee again.
Mrs Potter was Mrs Dursley's sister, but they hadn't met for several years; in fact, Mrs Dursley pretended she didn't have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be.
"That's horrible, who would pretend to not have a sister. Family is important," Mrs Weasley said, glancing towards Percy who was sitting in the chairs with the teachers and other adults.
This boy was another good reason for keeping the Potters away; they didn't want Dudley mixing with a child like that.
" A child like what, Harry?" Remus asked quietly. Harry just shrugged; he knew the answer, he just really didn't want to tell anyone.
Mr Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie
"Who would choose their most boring tie?" George lamented dramatically, causing a few people to giggle or laugh quietly.
and Mrs Dursley gossiped away happily as she wrestled a screaming Dudley into his highchair.
Many of the adults muttered about horribly behaved children.
None of them notices a large tawny owl flutter past the window.
"How do you not notice an owl flying past your window?" Tonks asked.
"Little tyke," chortled Mr Dursley
"You don't encourage that type of behaviour," Pomona said many of the teachers nodding odd murmuring their agreement.
It was on the corner of the street that he noticed the first sign of something peculiar – a cat reading a map.
"A galleon says that's McGonagall," Fred whispered to George.
"No way, it's obviously McGonagall," George whispered back.
Mr Dursley blinked and stared at the cat. It stared back.
"That is definitely McGonagall," Ron said, shuddering at the thought of McGonagall's stare.
It was now reading the sign that said Privet Drive — no, looking at the sign; couldn't read maps or signs.
"Minnie can," Remus said quietly to the trio. The nickname caused the trio's eyes to widen slightly and Snuffles' ears to perk up.
People in cloaks.
"Why are cloaks strange?" A first-year Gryffindor asked.
"Muggles don't wear cloaks, they stopped using them ages ago," Hermione explained.
The traffic moved on and a few minutes later, Mr Dursley arrived in the Grunnings parking lot, his mind back in drills.
"One track mind, that one," Bill said.
"Maybe that's where you get it, Harry," Hermione suggested, not having heard much about his relatives and first nothing about second year, or much how bad Harry's relatives really were.
"Please Hermione, don't compare anything about me to him," Harry pleaded. Remus shot Harry a quick, concerned glance at that; why wouldn't he want to be like his uncle, especially since his uncle would be his main male role model growing up.
"Yeah, Harry is in no way similar to him," Ron agreed.
Most of them had never seen an owl, even at night time.
"Why haven't Muggles seen owls?" a Hufflepuff asked.
"Muggles don't use owls to deliver their post," a Hufflepuff sitting next to her explained.
"Then how do they get their post?"
"Other muggles delivery it."
He yelled at five different people.
"Pleasant man," Mr Weasley muttered.
He was in a very good mood until lunchtime when he thought he'd stretch his legs and walk
"It's the end of the world," Harry gasped loudly, causing a few people to giggle or laugh.
across the road to buy himself a bun from the baker's opposite.
"It's ok everyone, crisis averted." Even more people started laughing, although a few people were looking slightly confused; they hadn't seen Harry acting so carefree and like a teenager before.
"The Potters, that's right, that's what I heard —"
"— yes, their son, Harry —"
Students all around the hall gasped, realising what day it was. Minerva had already worked it out, after hearing that she was in Private Drive. Most of the other adults had figured it out as well, when they heard of all the people breaking the Statute of Secrecy.
Mr Dursley stopped dead.
"Pity he didn't stay like that," Harry muttered. Remus heard what he said, further concerning him as he knew that Harry never wished harm, let alone death, on anyone.
He put the receiver back down and stroked his moustache, thinking… no, he was being stupid.
"That's not unusual though," Harry muttered with a scowl.
Potter wasn't such an unusual name.
"Yes, it is," a Ravenclaw said in confusion.
"In the Wizarding world it might be, but Potter is quite a common name in the Muggle world," Hermione said.
Come to think of it, he wasn't even sure his nephew was called Harry.
"He didn't know your name?" Mrs Weasley asked. Harry shook his head.
"He knows it now," he assured Mrs Weasley, "I think," he added under his breath. With how Uncle Vernon always called him Boy and occasionally Freak, he wasn't entirely sure that Uncle Vernon did actually know his name.
It might have been Harvey. Or Harold.
"Harvey Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived," Fred said.
"Harold Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived," George said.
"Nope, Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived sounds much better," they said together. Harry groaned; he really hated the Boy-Who-Lived title, and the twins knew it, wedding was why they teased him about it like that.
He didn't blame her — if he'd had a sister like that…
"You do have a sister, and she's even worse than that," Harry said scathingly.
"A sister like what?" Tonks asked. Harry just shrugged, knowing it would come up sooner or later, but hoping it would be later.
"Sorry," he grunted,
"Wow, he actually knows that word," Harry gasped dramatically, although he was being truthful; he had never heard Uncle Vernon apologise before. It did hurt slightly though, knowing that Uncle Vernon had apologised to a stranger but never did to his own nephew, although Harry wasn't sure why it hurt; he had stopped caring about what the Dursleys thought about him a long time ago. However, he was slightly surprised that the spell reading the book had gotten Uncle Vernon's voice spot on.
Even Muggles like yourself should be celebrating, this happy, happy day!" And the old man hugged Mr Dursley around the middle and walked off.
Those who hadn't worked out what day it was by now gasped; many people sending Harry pitying looks. But Harry didn't pay attention to that, too concerned about another part of the story.
"But how did his arms fit?" he asked curiously. Ron snorted.
He hurried to his car and set off for home, hoping he was imagining things, which he had never hoped before, because he didn't approve of imagination.
"How can someone not approve of imagination?" Minerva asked in shock. Imagination was a vital part in magic, especially transfiguration where you had to imagine what you were transfiguring the object into.
It just gave him a stern look.
Many people shuddered; everyone had been subjected to Professor McGonagall's stern glare at one point or another.
"Definitely Minnie," Remus said, this time loud enough that the twins heard. They turned to look at Remus, shocked that someone had referred to the stern professor with a nickname. Especially since that someone was Remus, who they only knew as a Professor, someone who had previously been a Prefect, and a responsible adult; none of the trio had told them who the Marauders were, and neither Remus nor Sirius had used their nicknames much during the summer.
Was this normal cat behaviour? Mr Dursley wondered.
"No, but it is normal Minnie behaviour," Remus said.
She told him over dinner all about Mrs Next Door's problems with her daughter and how Dudley had learned a new word ("Shan't").
"They're just encouraging bad behaviour," Mr Weasley said.
"I know that I wouldn't want any of my children using that word until they knew what it meant," Mrs Weasley said, staring around at her children, who all looked away form her stern gaze.
Mr Dursley tried to act normally.
"That must be hard," Harry said.
"Most mysterious. And now, over to Jim McGuffin with the weather. Going to be any more showers of owls tonight, Jim?"
"That's my dad," Tonks exclaimed. "He sometimes works on the Muggle news to help cover up magic."
But I can promise a wet night tonight.'
"People really were acting careless that day," Amelia Bones said, shaking her head.
"The ministry was worked overtime trying to clean up from all the partying and to obliviate all the muggles," Kingsley agreed.
He cleared his throat nervously.
"Well, we know what house he wouldn't be in," Neville said, causing a few of the people nearby to turn and look at him in shock; he was normally very quiet and now he was making comments like that. Harry, Ron, and Hermione all looked at him with smiles on their faces, happy to see that the DA had helped improve his confidence so much, even with the meetings having only been going on for a month.
"Well, I just thought… maybe… it was something to do with … you know … her lot."
"Harry, what do they mean? They keep referring to her lot, or like that," Remus pressed. Hermione noticed how uncomfortable he looked and squeezed his hand on comfort.
"They mean people with magic," Harry said reluctantly, very deliberately not looking anywhere near anyone in their group, staring intently up at the enchanted ceiling, having really hoped that it would come up much later. He made sure to speak quietly enough that only those around him could hear and not the whole hall, really not wanting it to get out to everyone until it really had to.
"Harry. Nasty, common name, if you ask me."
"Good thing that no one asked you then," Ginny snapped.
If it did… if it got out that they were related to a pair of — well, he didn't think he could bear it.
"What does he mean Mr Potter?" Minerva called, having not heard Harry answer that question a few minutes ago. Harry didn't look like he was going to reply until Hermione and Ron fixed him with glares that clearly told him to speak.
"Witches and wizards. People with magic."
How very wrong he was.
"Not uncommon. He's usually wrong. I just wish he had been right this one time," Harry grumbled, causing Remus to become slightly more concerned about the boy he saw as a nephew.
In fact, it was nearly midnight before the cat moved at all.
"How did she stay still for so long?" Ron asked.
"It's called patience Ronald," Hermione said.
"I couldn't sit still for an hour," Fred and George said together, looking horrified at the thought of staying still that long they were always doing something, and even if they had to sit still, like in class, they were always writing or doodling or fidgeting or just doing something.
Albus Dumbledore didn't seem to realize that he had just arrived in a street where everything from his name to his boots was unwelcome.
"Oh, I realised. I just didn't care," Dumbledore said happily.
He chuckled and muttered, "I should have known."
Everyone stared at the book, slightly surprised when it replicated Dumbledore's voice as if Dumbledore were the one reading. Harry was less surprised, knowing that the spell was obviously causing the book to imitate the voices, since it had already replicated both his Aunt's and his Uncle's voices.
The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop.
"We want one," Fred and George decided together, and Snuffles barked in what Harry thought was agreement. The trio exchanged looks, silently agreeing that they wanted one too.
"Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall."
"Minnie," Fred and George exclaimed as people around the hall were whispering about McGonagall's voice being spot on.
"Misters Weasley do not use that name," Minerva called.
"Come on Minnie, you know you love that name," Remus said, smirking slightly. Minerva pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed.
"I blame you Mr Lupin. You, Potter, and Black." Remus just grinned, while Snuffles barked happily, standing up and wagging his tail.
I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here." Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily.
The McGonagall in the hall sniffed as well. Harry rolled his eyes and grumbled. Of course people were celebrating the fact that Voldemort had murdered his parents and left him an orphan when he disappeared.
"Oh yes, everyone's celebrating alright,"
Remus looked down and frowned slightly, his eyes becoming slightly wet. He had been in a pub that night, but he definitely hadn't been celebrating. Snuffles lay back down, whining slightly.
"You can't blame them," said Dumbledore gently. "We've had precious little to celebrate for eleven years."
"The war went for eleven years?" One of the first years asked quietly. They didn't get a response.
I suppose he really had gone, Dumbledore?"
"He has. He's gone," Umbridge screeched. Harry winced slightly at her volume before scowling slightly. He wanted to protest, to tell her that he wasn't gone, but restrained himself; it would only cause an argument, which he didn't want; he just wanted to get the books over and done with. Plus, she would be proven wrong by the end of this book anyway, let alone when they reached the fourth one.
All this 'You-Know-Who' nonsense — for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort."
A collective shudder ran around the room, accompanied by many gasps of fear or shock. Harry was glad that Hermione and Ron, while they had reacted, didn't react nearly as badly as they used to. But he supposed they got used to hearing the name after being his friend for so long.
"You'll have to get used to hearing the name. I use it, I'm not afraid to say it, so it will appear a lot. And it's just a name. A made up one at that," Harry said loudly, so that the whole hall could hear him. No one seemed to know how to respond to that, so the hall remained quiet.
"Voldemort had powers I will never have."
"He could have them if he wanted. He just knows better than to use them," Luna said in her dreamy voice.
"Thank you, Miss Lovegood," Dumbledore said with a smile.
"The owls are nothing next to the rumours that are flying around.
"Lovely. The rumours started even before I got to Hogwarts," Harry sighed.
The rumour is that Lily and James Potter are — are — that they're — dead."
Everyone around the hall fell silent, the few whispers that weren't loud enough to stop the reading coming to a stop, most people bowing their heads in respect, many of the adults that had known Lily and James wiping tears out of their eyes. Harry felt his eyes fill slightly with tears; he had heard people talk about his parents' death, he even knew exactly what happened, but he had never heard it said so bluntly. Snuffles whined, putting his head in his paws.
"We can only guess," said Dumbledore. "We may never know,"
"That means he knows and just doesn't want to say," Harry said loudly.
They're the only family he has left now."
"Not my family," Harry said quietly.
"Not anymore," Ron said at the same time, throwing an arm around Harry's shoulders and causing Harry to send him a smile. The other Weasley's all nodded in agreement, causing Harry's smile to become a grin.
"You can't leave him there. Not with those horrid people," many people from the DA shouted. The DA may not have existed for long, but most of them were quite friendly with the other DA members, including the trio, now.
"They were his only blood relatives. I felt that it was the best choice," Dumbledore said.
Harry Potter come and live here!"
"I agree with Professor McGonagall. Don't leave me there. But thank you for trying Professor," Harry said.
"It's the best place for him," said Dumbledore sternly.
"Best place, yeah right," Harry scoffed quietly, drawing yet another concerned look from Remus; he wasn't liking the impression Harry was giving of his homelife.
I've written them a letter."
"A letter. You thought a letter was all you needed to explain to someone that her sister and brother-in-law were murdered and that her son was the only survivor?" Mrs Weasley demanded.
"Everything that needed to be explained was explained in the letter, and it was explained in a way that they would fully understand and so they could give it to Harry when he was old enough if they couldn't explain it themselves," Dumbledore explained.
"Yeah, I didn't get that letter," Harry grumbled. "They probably burned it."
"Why would you think they burned it?" Remus asked.
"Speaking from experience."
He'll be famous — a legend — I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter Day in the future
"Please tell me it's not," Harry pleaded.
"No, it's not. It was pointed out that it wouldn't be right to celebrate someone on the day their parents were murdered," Minerva replied. Harry sighed in relief; his fame was bad enough as it was. Now, if only people remembered the reasoning behind not having a Harry Potter day and applied it to his fame and their celebrations about the downfall of Voldemort.
– there will be books written about Harry
"That's ironic," Hermione said, gesturing at the book that was reading itself when Ron and Harry looked at her questioningly.
– every child in our world will know his name!"
"Unfortunately," Harry muttered.
Famous for something he won't even remember!
"I wish I couldn't remember it," Harry muttered, scowling slightly as he leant back into the couch with his arms crossed. Those in the group around him heard what he had said and all, apart from Ron, Hermione, and Remus, who all knew what he remembered when dementors got close, exchanged glances, all thinking the same thing; surely, he couldn't remember that.
"You think it — wise — to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?"
"I trust Hagrid with my life," the trio said in unison, smiling at the thought of the half-giant.
"With a secret, not so much," Hermione said more quietly.
"Or his cooking," Harry added.
"Or his advice about his creatures unless he's with you," Ron finished. The three of them exchanged glances before turning away, trying to muffle their laughter in the couch.
It grew steadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a headlight; it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky — and a huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them.
"Sirius' bike," Remus said quietly, remembering when Sirius had first gotten the bike, and how, and had been enchanting it to fly. Thinking back to what happened for James to get the bike for Sirius causing Remus to snicker quietly into his hand and Snuffles to glare accusingly at him, Sirius clearly working out what he was thinking about.
"What?" Harry asked.
"Remind me to tell you the story about how he got the bike in the first place when we have time." The glare that Snuffles was sending Remus intensified, before he turned to Harry, looking at him in betrayal when Harry enthusiastically agreed.
"Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I've got him, sir."
Remus smiled at the reminder of the bike that Sirius had loved, while Snuffles barked.
He fell asleep as we was flyin' over Bristol."
Many of the girls in the hall cooed and awwed at that, making Harry blush slightly in embarrassment.
"Yes," said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever."
"Wish I didn't."
Scars can come in handy."
"Wish he could get rid of my scar. It's never been anything apart from a pain in the head. Literally," Harry said with a scowl.
Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog.
Harry laughed slightly at the expression on Snuffles' face; it was very weird seeing a dog look insulted.
"Shhh!" hissed Professor McGonagall, "You'll wake the Muggles!"
"I'm pretty sure that they won't wake up from Hagrid if a flying motorbike didn't wake them," Charlie said, nudging Tonks who laughed slightly.
"Yeah," said Hagrid in a very muffled voice, "I'll be takin' Sirius his bike back."
By the loud huff of air that came from Snuffles, Harry guessed that he never got his bike back. Which didn't surprise him, considering that it would only be later that day that he confronted the rat and got arrested.
Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street.
"You left him on a doorstep. You didn't even ring the doorbell," Bill exclaimed.
"You left him on a doorstep. In November. It was meant to rain that night. And there was still Death Eaters around," Mrs Weasley said, much louder than Bill.
"I made sure to cover him in protective charms, as well as warming charms and a charm to prevent him from getting wet. I also cast a spell to make sure he slept until he was inside the house at least, so that he didn't accidently wander off, since he was walking at that age," Dumbledore explained, trying to calm down the angry mother. Mrs Weasley huffed but didn't say anything else.
"Good luck, Harry," he murmured.
"Thanks, I'm going to need it."
One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous,
"How I wish that could last forever," Harry sighed.
"To Harry Potter – the boy who lived!"
The book fell silent as it finished the last sentence.
"That's the first chapter done. I have to recast the spell every chapter, so we'll be able to take a break whenever we need to," Filius said.
"What's the name of the next chapter, Professor?" Harry asked nervously.
"The Vanishing Glass," Filius replied. Harry sighed.
"I don't suppose we can skip any of the chapters until I get to Hogwarts, can we?" he asked, having an idea what the next chapter would be about. He did not want it to describe his home life, and especially not the punishments he got for accidental magic. And if it had to include any of his punishments, he really didn't want it to be the one after the zoo incident; that had been one of the worse by far, since he had put their precious Dudley in danger, the only punishment that had been worse being the one he got for appearing on the roof of a building at primary school, until the summer of before second year at least; the summer of second year and being found on the roof were both equally the worst punishments he had gotten, but each of them had been a different type of punishment.
"No, we can't. We will be reading the whole thing," Umbridge declared before anyone else could reply. If Potter didn't want to read it, he obviously had something to hide and she wanted to find out what. Harry sighed, but he had a feeling someone would say something like that.
"Let's keep going then," he said reluctantly. He wanted to leave and let them read without him, but he wanted to know how much they would find out. Plus, he felt that he should keep his disappearing acts for the things that he really didn't want to be near the adults for, such as Halloween, the forest, and the trapdoor in this book alone. Even if he was pretty sure they wouldn't let him disappear, he could at least hope.