This is the rewrite. Anybody still reading this- thank you. This is to all of the people who bothered to review a story that hadn't been updated in over 4 years.
The summer after his eventful fifth year, The Order of the Phoenix decided that it would be safest if Harry Potter and his two best friends, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, disappeared for a while. And staying at Headquarters was not an option. No matter how much they protested, they were still too young to be official members. They were a liability. A target.
"Luna and Neville don't have to hide," Ron complained. "Even Ginny gets to stay home."
Hermione just gave him a look. "I don't want to explain it again, Ron. Stop whining."
They were waiting for Dumbledore in the dining room at 13 Grimwall Place, and had been for the last twenty minutes.
Harry opened his mouth to say something, but closed it abruptly, as the sound of the door opening reached their ears.
They shuffled as Dumbledore came through the door. He swept by them, then sat in the chair at the end of the table. With a motion from him, they followed suit.
The Headmaster wasted no time in pleasantries. He pulled a folded piece of parchment from the recesses of his cloak, then regarded the three teenagers in front of him over his halfmoon specticals.
"Harry, what do you know of your father's family?"
The trio shared a confused look at the abrupt beginning to this meeting.
"Not much." Harry squirmed under Dumbledore's gaze. "Only," he paused, and a look of pain flashed across his face. "Only what Sirius told me."
There was an awkward silence then, one that hung in the air much too long for anyone's taste.
Finally, Dumbledore cleared his throat. "Well, I have finally succeeded in tracking down your late uncle's daughter. Your cousin, on your father's side. She would be just thirteen, now."
Harry's breath caught in his throat, as Hermione's eyes went wide, and Ron's jaws dropped. They had always assumed that the Dursley's were Harry's last living realatives.
Dumbledore continued without paying any notice to the reactions of his audience.
"She disappeared with her parents -her father was your father's younger brother, Harry- right after she was born. When we discovered their murders, it was thought that she had died as well. But a few months ago Kingsley found some old adoption papers filled out for a 'Penny Ronwle,' which was her mother's maiden name."
He sighed, and for a moment, all of his years seem to show on his face at once. "We should have found her years ago. I can't even guess as to how it slipped by us. But it doesn't matter now. I have traced her to a Muggle boarding school. And I think it might be the best place to spend the summer."
In a timid voice, Hermione broke it. "Where is this boarding school, Professor? A Muggle school doesn't sound like the safest place for us to hide."
"Especially during the summer." Ron chimed in.
Harry said nothing. He was staring at his intertwined fingers, remembering all of the years he had spent at the Dursley's. How he had hated it. How they had treated him. How he hadn't even known about his family and magical heritage.
This girl- his cousin- had gone through the same thing. Was still going through it. He didn't care what his friends said. He would go find her. And in the fall, she could come back to Hogwarts with them.
"This Muggle school appears to run right through the summer." Dumbledore fielded the other two's questions patiently. "And I am sure that I could convince the Headmaster to let the three of you stay. I would never send you to a place I did not think safe, Miss Granger. This school is located in New York, and is far out of the area that Voldemort would ever think to look for you."
"New York?" Ron's surprise was loud enough to wake Mrs. Black's portrait outside, but none of them moved, even after she had begun to scream.
"MUDBLOODS! BLOOD TRAITORS! FILTH OF YOUR FORFATHERS!"
Harry's head shot up, and his eyes met the Professor's.
Hermione bit her lip. "As in New York, New York?"
It didn't do anything to change Harry's mind, though. He was already decided. "When do we leave?"
The next day, at a certain school for gifted youngsters, Weschester, New York.
Penny was frozen at the door to her room, staring in confusion at the uninvited visitor on her bed.
She didn't think she had ever seen an owl this close before. Weren't they supposed to be nocturnal?
Yet here was one, casually preening itself as if her bed was its usual perch.
"Something wrong, Pain?"
She didn't even turn at the sound of her nickname, instead listening as her roommate approached her from behind.
There was a gasp from over her shoulder.
"What the hell?" Jubilee peered over Pain's shoulder. "Who put an owl there?"
"Don't look at me." Bobby had followed Jubilee in, and Pain knew, withough turning around, that Rogue was probably with him, too.
Pain took a step forward, only to have Jubilee grab her by the wrist and drag her back.
"Wait, Pain! What if it has rabies?"
Another body squeezed in the doorway behind Pain. "It doesn't look sick," the new arrival pointed out.
Pain shook her roomate's hand off. "See? It doesn't look sick. Even Kitty thinks so."
Pain used the moment where Jubilee turned to scowl at the girl who had currently phased herself through the mall rat's midsection to take a few steps closer, and notice that there was a piece of what looked like something akin to paper tied to the owl's leg.
Slowly, watching the owl for any sudden movements, she reached out and grabbed the twine tying the two things together, sliding it off of the rolled paper before attempting to untangle it from the owl's leg.
She got nipped at for her troubles, and retreated with the odd package in hand.
"What is that?" Jubilee was practically falling over, she was leaning so far over Penny's shoulder. At the same time, she was trying to keep one eye on the owl, who now appeared to be watching them as well.
Penny flipped the envelope over, and stared at the address on the other side. It was written in luminescent green ink, and stated that this letter was for Penny Ronwle, The Bed on the Right, Room 26, Girls Dorm, 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, Westchester County, New York.
"They know which bed is yours?" Jubilee made a gagging noise. "That's messed."
"Wait, what?" Kitty's hand turned tangible again, and she grabbed the parchment from Penny's hand. Jubilee made a face as the ghost of a girl pulled it through her stomach.
"It's probably from a stalker."
"Or a secret admirer!"
"What if it's from the Brotherhood, or something?"
"Who in the Brotherhood uses green ink? And owls?"
Watching the letter pass through everyone's hands more than once, Pain finally just sighed and stuck out her hand. "Can I have that back, please?"
Kitty handed it to her with a sheepish smile. "You going to open it right away?"
Turning the letter over in her hands, Pain let her finger slip under the envelope's folds. Instead of giving her friend an answer, she tore through the strange paper, and began to scan the letter than would turn her world on end.