(Disclaimer: Harry Potter and any other characters from the Harry Potter series of books are not my characters, I just borrowed them for the purposes of this story. I don't plan to make any money with this story, and I don't want to print it either, except for personal backup purposes. The other characters however are mine, and I'll do with them as I please. Although I'm going to do that with JK's characters too I guess, but yeah, don't sue me.)

Chapter 2

Harry woke up feeling rested the next morning to find that Hedwig hadn't yet returned from her long flight delivering his letters to Hermione's house and The Burrow, and as he looked out of his window he saw that the Dursley's car was back on the driveway, which meant they must have returned sometime after he'd fallen alseep. Ah well, thought Harry, at least I got one day of peace. Harry walked round the side of his bed and picked up his potions text from where it had fallen the night before, and sat down on his bed to do some more reading. He quickly found the page he last remembered, and no sooner than he had stopped flicking the pages, he heard the tell-tale signs of the Dursleys waking up to start the day.

I hope they let me out before Dudley uses all the hot water this time, thought Harry miserably. He'd much rather be back at Hogwarts, sharing with four other teenage boys, than stuck with the Dursleys, who didn't care if he was left with cold water. Harry stayed on his bed reading his potions book until he heard the locks on his door being undone, and then he quickly hid his book under his mattress and stood beside the door waiting for the last bolt to be drawn back. Harry's Aunt Petunia poked her head round the door, and wrinkled her nose.

"Boy! Get out here and use the bathroom! Have a shower too while you're at it, your room stinks,I expect that to be sorted, you hear?" She snarled at him.

"Yes Aunt Petunia," Harry replied.

"Five minutes in that shower, understand? I want you downstairs ready to work in 10 minutes!"

"Yes Aunt Petunia."

With a sigh, Harry got his shower things ready, then walked down the hall to the bathroom. He spent as long as he dared under the freezing water, which sent cold shivers where the spray touched his skin, and he was downstairs in the required ten minutes, his hair dripping cold water down his back. Harry's Uncle Vernon was sitting at the dining table reading his morning newspaper, and drinking his morning coffee. Dudley was sitting in front of the television, laughing stupidly at some cartoon character Harry couldn't recall, and stuffing his face with a doughnut.

"Boy, get in that kitchen and make me some bacon. Do a couple of eggs and some toast while you're at it, and hurry up! I haven't got all day!"

"Yes Uncle Vernon"

"Once you've managed that boy, you can go out in the garden and pull up all those weeds! Don't want the neighbours seeing that now do we?"

"Of course not, Uncle Vernon," said Harry, and he shot a glare at the back of his Uncle's head as he stepped across the kitchen to fetch the bacon.

"Dad! Harry was making faces at you!"

"Did not!"

"Did too! I saw him do it Dad!" yelled Dudley.

Harry didn't bother to argue any further, he knew it would be pointless. Dudley would be believed over him any day. Well at least this timeI actually did something I guess. Beats being shouted at for nothing.

"BOY!" roared his Uncle Vernon, "If you think you can get yourself out of some honest hard work by getting yourself locked up, then you're wrong! You're going to make my breakfast, then you're going out to weed that garden, you hear? and I don't want to see your face until every single weed is gone! Is that clear boy? Then you'll stay in your room until we feel nice enough to let you out!"

"Yes Uncle Vernon," sighed Harry, as he moved towards the cooker. As the bacon was frying, Harry stared out the window, deep in thought. I hope I don't have to ask for the gardening gloves, that's still a touchy subject. At least it's a nice day, if not a little hot... if I can drag the weeding out for a few hours, I could spend most of the day outside, before I'm locked up again. Better than being stuck inside.

Harry was brought back to reality when he saw that the bacon needed turning, and the next ten minutes were spent in an awkward silence that nobody wanted to break. Once he'd finished, Harry headed out the back, and before he closed the door he heard his Aunt's voice.

"I'm glad the freak is gone, I always feel more normal when he's out of the house," and before Harry could hear any more, he slammed the door shut and started towards the garden shed at the bottom of the garden. He was lucky, about halfway to the shed he spotted his Aunt Petunia's rather feminine garden gloves that she'd bought the previous year, after Harry had ripped the other pair while he was painting the fence. As he was putting the gloves on, Harry saw movement from the corner of his eye, in a dark patch of grass near some bushes. As Harry moved cautiously towards the rustling, he could just make out a voice;

"Sssslither and ssslide, sssslither and ssslide, in which bush, should I hide?"

Harry slowly moved towards what he now saw to be a small, green snake. It was making it's way through the grass, towards a big bush that was in the bottom corner of the garden. The little snake froze as it saw something large moving towards it, and turned it's head in Harry's direction, flicking it's forked tongue.

"Hello little snake, my name is Harry. What's your name?" At this, the little snake's tongue stopped mid-flick, and if Harry had to guess at the expression the snake wore, he would have said that it was one of a very surprised snake. Slowly, the little snake's tongue started flicking again, and the snake tilted it's head at Harry.

"Hello speaker, I shall call you Harry, since that is your name. My name is Ssharaheshth. Have you seen my mouse?"

"That's fine, may I call you Shara? You have a complicated name. I'm afraid I haven't seen your mouse, although I could probably find one for you."

"My name is quite normal, but if you wish you may call me Shara. If you ask me, I think Harry is a stranger name! Could you really find me a mouse? I like mice, but they run fast." The little snake seemed really excited at the prospect of getting a mouse, and was slithering around playfully in the grass, as if she was imagining catching the mouse, and then eating it. Harry laughed, the little snake was quite funny really, and it would be nice to talk to someone while he weeded the garden.

"I have to weed the garden for the people that live here, would you like to talk for a while, and I'll try to find you a mouse later?" asked Harry.

"Yes Harry, I want to know how you can talk to me. I thought talking two-legs like you were a legend," replied Shara.

"As far as I know there are only two speakers alive, one is me, and the other is an evil wizard. I wasn't born with it though, but that's a long story." Harry said, as he began work on the worst patch of weeds.

"That's ok Harry, I like long stories. When I was a youngling I used to hear stories all the time. My mother was very old, and she knew lots of stories passed down from snake to snake, and she told us. I'd very much like to hear a new story Harry."

"Well Shara, for me it all began when the evil wizard broke into my parents house to try and murder me..." and as Harry told Shara his story, the little green snake sat and listened, and didn't speak until Harry was finished.

"...and so now, I'm going to try and learn all I can so that when the evil wizard tries to kill me again, I can try my best to get out of it alive."

The little snake slithered around Harry for a little while, as Harry kept pulling up weeds.

"Harry."

"Yes Shara?"

"I would like to help you." Harry stopped pulling weeds.

"Really? It will be dangerous, and I'm not sure I'd be allowed to have you in school... although I think my friend Hagrid would be happy to look after you, and I could come and see you often. There is a forest near my school too."

"Are there any mice in the forest Harry?"

"I think so, and if there aren't, I would make sure you have plenty anyway."

"In that case, I stand by my decision. I will come with you and help you. This man, this evil wizard... you say he has a snake?"

"Yes, her name is Nagini, and she bit my best friend's father last year on the evil wizard's orders."

"Nagini? I know Nagini... mother said she makes the other snakes do what she tells them to..." said Shara, fearfully.

"What do you mean?" Asked Harry.

"She is a bad snake... mother says she will eat any snake who dares to defy her."

"Well Shara, I will make sure Nagini doesn't eat you, you are a good snake."

"Thank you Harry, and don't forget my mousey!"

That said, Shara turned and slithered into the bush she'd first sought out, singing about the mouse she was going to eat later, and Harry cleared up the weeds he'd just finished pulling out, and dumped them into the compost bin.

As soon as Harry set foot inside the Dursley's house, his Aunt Petunia started screaming at him for the mud he'd just brought in, and ordered Harry to take his trainers off and go take a shower. Well at least this time, the water will be hot enough since your whale of a son is so fat, he needs it all! Harry thought, and he had to stop himself from smirking. This shower was indeed better than the previous one, and feeling very refreshed, Harry returned to his room to find that Hedwig had returned, and was sitting patiently on the end of Harry's bed with two letters tied to her leg.

"That was fast Hedwig! I didn't think you'd be back until tonight! Wow, two letters! Well done girl!" Harry stroked Hedwig's feathers as he reached for the tin of owl treats he kept under his bed, and he untied the letters as Hedwig was enjoying her treat.

"I need you to do me a favour Hedwig... Would it be alright for you to bring me back a mouse? I met a snake in the garden earlier, she's really quite nice, and I said I would try to find her a mouse."

"Hoot!" Harry took that to mean yes, as Hedwig didn't look too bothered by the request.

Harry looked down at the letters in his hand. One from Hermione, one from Ginny. I'll see what Hermione said first. Hedwig took a drink out of her water bowl as Harry unfolded Hermione's letter.

Dear Harry,

Of course I can recommend a book for you! It's called "Misting the Mind" by Proctus Penwright. I had a look when you first told me you'd be learning occlumency, just for some light reading of course! I must say I'm very proud of you Harry, I know you can do a lot better in school if you put your mind to it, and I'm just glad I wont have to beat it into your skull this year! I hope you are right about Ron studying more too, he underestimates himself far too often.

Professor Snape really should have tried harder to teach you, but you're right, you didn't exactly put your best efforts into learning occlumency... I'm glad you're doing your best to catch up now though. As for being angry last year, it's alright Harry, I was moody too because of the OWL's, and Ron and I both know you were under a lot of stress, so really, we understand.

I wont be able to reply to you for the next two weeks as my parents are going to Greece, and I've decided to go along with them to see the Greek magical community. I've heard they have some really interesting artifacts on display at their museum, so I'm really looking forward to the trip! Have a nice birthday, Ron has your present from me, so he'll send it to you on the day.

Bye for now!

Hermione

P.s. I've enclosed the latest owl-order catalogue from Flourish and Blotts, so that you can start studying sooner!

"Typical Hermione," Harry muttered under his breath.

As he was flicking through the catalogue, Harry spotted several titles that looked like they could be useful, and he picked out "Intermediate Defence", "Advanced Defence", "Stealth and Illusion", "Cunning Disguises", and also two others, for when he got fed up with studying; "Magical Myths and Legends" and "The 20 Most Amazing Quidditch Moves EVER!" As Harry was checking through the section of the catalogue that dealt with rare texts, he spotted a book titled "Parsel Magicks" and decided to buy that book as well, as he had no idea parseltongue magic even existed. I'll ask Shara if she's heard of it the next timeI see her, thought Harry. He then filled in the owl-order, and decided to send it the next day, so that Hedwig could rest. Hopefully his books would arrive by Friday.

Just as Harry was putting his order to the side, he remembered about the other letter he'd recieved that day, and brought it out of his pocket. As he settled on the bed to read Ginny's letter, there was a shout from downstairs.

"Boy! Get down here!"

"Coming Uncle Vernon," Harry shouted back.

Harry made his way into the living room, where the Dursleys were all sitting on the sofa, obviously waiting for Harry to come downstairs. The television was switched off, which was never a good sign, although Dudley was casting longing glances in it's general direction, so Harry knew it couldn't be too bad, or else Dudley would be paying closer attention to see what happened to Harry.

"Boy, this family has had enough of you and your freaky kind, so we're moving. Tell your friends we're moving in October, this house will be sold, and we never want to see you or hear from you again. After what happened to our Dudders last summer, we're not taking any more chances with you lot!" blustered Uncle Vernon, his moustache twitching the whole time, as if the hairs themselves had a nervous tick.

"I told you last summer, it wasn't me, it was the dementors-"

"Boy! We'll have none of-"

"-and I didn't hurt Dudley, I drove the dementors away-"

"-this nonsense! Preposterous, expecting us to believe-"

"-so like I said, it had nothing to do with me! Except-"

"-anything that comes out of your freak mouth!" Here, Uncle Vernon paused, as if he'd forgotten something.

"Except what, boy?" Uncle Vernon said quietly, in a tone of voice that suggested from previous experience that Harry should start running, and not look back. Dudley was now fully focused on what was happening in front of him, and Harry's Aunt Petunia was looking quite interested in what his reply would be. Harry was panicking a little now, this wasn't good.

"There was a woman, Delores Umbridge. The Minstry of Ma- the Ministry wanted to discredit me because they didn't want to believe that Voldemort is back. So this Umbridge woman sent some dementors to hurt me last summer, and Dudley just happened to be there! I had to use magic to make them go away, and the Ministry made out as if I was insane-"

"Ha! So even the freaks think you are a freak now eh?" Uncle Vernon sneered.

"No Uncle Vernon! They believe me now because lots of people saw Voldemort a couple of weeks ago in the Ministry building." Harry didn't want to give them too much information, they only cared about themselves anyway. At this, Aunt Petunia spoke.

"Harry, is Voldemort really back?" Everyone was now staring in wonder at Aunt Petunia, and rightly so, as Harry couldn't remember the last time he'd been called Harry by any of his relatives.

"Yes he is. It happened at the end of my fourth year. You've never been interested before, so why are you interested now?" Harry asked.

"Harry... how.. how did it happen? Dumbledore said he was dead in the letter he left with you. How could he come back if he was dead!" asked Aunt Petunia, looking very afraid.

Harry was surprised, never in his life had any of the Dursleys tolerated anything to do with magic, and they'd never been even remotely interested in what happened to Harry at school, yet now he was being asked to tell them about Voldemort.

"He's a very powerful wizard Aunt Petunia, he found a way. After he tried to kill me he was reduced to a spirit, and that's even less than a ghost. Then he tried to steal the Philosopher's stone, but I stopped him before he could. That was first year. Then in my second year, a sixteen year old memory of Voldemort possessed my friend Ginny and tried to come back by stealing her life, but I killed the basilisk, and stuck one of it's fangs through the memory, and then in fourth year there was the Triwizard Tournament, which I won along with Cedric Diggory. When we touched the tournament cup, it turned out to be a portkey to a graveyard where Voldemorts father was buried. He then stole some of my blood, mixed it into a potion, and used magic to build himself a new body. Now he's barely human, but he's alive and he has all of his magic."

"Vernon! We must stay! You remember what Dumbledore said!" said Aunt Petunia.

"I don't care what this Dummeldore said! I will not tolerate this abnormality in my house any longer! This is the last time Petunia! I've had it with this freak! Did you hear him? Ghosts! Next it'll be dragons!" By now Uncle Vernon was turning a rather nasty purple colour, and beads of sweat were forming on his forehead. Harry thought it wise not to disillusion his Uncle any further by informing him that dragons did in fact exist.

"Vernon! Think about our family! He said that we're protected by him being here, and now Voldemort is alive! We need him here!" pleaded Aunt Petunia. Uncle Vernon paused.

"Boy, go to your room. We'd like to discuss this without you hanging around. Dudley you can stay." said Uncle Vernon and as Harry left to go to his bedroom, he heard Dudley whining.

"Dad, can't we just put the TV on and lock Harry in his room? He always causes trouble."

"No Dudley, we're having a family discussion! Now sit down!" shouted Uncle Vernon.

Harry was beyond surprised by this point, flabbergasted would be a more accurate word. Harry had never heard Dudley be spoken to so harshly in all his years with the Dursleys, and as he shut his bedroom door, he allowed himself a large grin, and threw himself on his bed. As he did so, he heard something rustling in his pocket, and as he brought out the letter he'd gotten from Ginny that afternoon, he settled down to finally read it.

Dear Harry,

Don't worry about me Harry, my ankle is fine. It was fine when we left school remember? Madame Pomfrey had it fixed in a few minutes. It's not like I had to regrow anything! As for going to the ministry with you, I couldn't just let my friend go into danger alone now could I? Just like you couldn't leave me in the chamber. So there, I owed you one anyway. You're right about needing time too, One of my friends was the same when one of her family died, but she can think of them and be happy now.

I'm sure we can come up with something better than Gred and Forge put on in school, we just have to be careful, since we don't want to annoy Dumbledore too much! Must be difficult, having to run both the Order and Hogwarts at the same time. I'm sure he wouldn't mind us pranking, as long as we didn't always pick on the Slytherins. Maybe just Malfoy and his two Gorilla Girls. We could do all the houses at the same time too! I already have an idea for that actually if you're up for it? It involves some tricky spells but I'm sure we could find some in the library when we go back to school... Plus we have to turn the Slytherins orange for a week of course!

Homework's going ok, Snape's essay is a bugger as usual but I think I'm getting somewhere now! Helps when the textbook is actually a better teacher than Snape. Might read all of my textbooks actually, I'm starting to get bored of stories about vain wizards trying to play the hero. I mean, every main character is so much like Gilderoy Lockhart that you'd think he wrote the things!

Now here's the best for last! I've been wanting to tell you this or at least hint about it since I wrote "Dear Harry" at the top of the page! RON FIGURED OUT HE FANCIES HERMIONE! It's great! I've never teased him so much in my life, I mean, it's only been about... A CENTURY! So now he's walking around the house with a dazed expression on his face every time he gets a letter from her, and he spends days with it in his pocket afterwards, and sneaks it out to read when he thinks nobody's looking! I even managed to get a picture of him doing it! I'm going to frame it, and hang it on my bedroom wall above my desk, so that when I get bored of doing my homework I can look up and have a laugh. Seriously though, I wish all the best to them both, I think Hermione's the only one that could handle Ron! She's so like Mum sometimes, it's scary! Anyway, I've been writing this for a while now, and it's almost time to go help Mum with dinner! She's teaching me how to cook. It's like potions, but tastes and smells nicer! Well, if it's done properly... but Mum says I'm doing well! Are you looking forward to your birthday?

Love,

Ginny

"BOY! YOU STOP THAT NOISE RIGHT NOW!"

Harry buried his face into his pillow and kept laughing, not really caring whether or not his Aunt and Uncle heard him. Finally! Harry thought, I thought he'd never figure it out! Oh Ginny's right, this is great! I definately need a copy of that photo!

"BOY WILL YOU SHUT UP!"

Once Harry's insane laughter had subsided, he crossed his room to the desk, and got out some parchment, ink and a quill, and started his reply to Ginny. Hedwig had gone out hunting, so he couldn't send it until she was back, but at least the letter would be done.

Dear Ginny,

NO WAY! That is brilliant! I haven't laughed so much since the pre-Umbridge days! Can you send me a copy of that photo? I need one above my desk too! Just don't ever tell Ron I said that. Maybe we should just write a letter to Hermione? Like, "Dear Hermione, Thought you might like to know, RON HAS SEEN THE LIGHT! He's finally figured out he fancies you, Love, Harry and Ginny."

Well, at least he can't complain about you going out with Dean now! He'd be a bit of a hypocrite now wouldn't he? To be honest I think he's a bit harsh on you sometimes, but then I would be too if you were the only girl to be born into my family for generations! He just wants to make sure you're alright. I don't think anyone would get away with going out with you, they'd have to be brave enough to face your brothers! Well, Dean is Gryffindor for a reason, good luck to him.

For some reason, a stray unwanted thought entered Harry's mind. I'm brave enough. Harry squashed that thought pretty much as soon as it formed, and changed the subject.

I don't blame you for ditching the hero books, being a hero is sooo overrated anyway. I'd give anything to walk down Diagon Alley without people staring at me like I'm a potions ingredient. Only Lockhartesque people would like that, and I'd rather be a flobberworm than be compared to him. Yuck!

I decided to read all my textbooks last night too, I've started on my potions book but haven't gotten very far, since the Dursley's had me doing the garden. I have a new little friend too, her name is Shara and she'd like to come to Hogwarts with me. I'll probably get Hagrid to look after her, and go to visit her in the evenings. Although knowing her, she'll probably be chasing mice in the forest.

What is your prank idea? I don't mind looking up spells in the library, as long as all the studying is worth it! Maybe turning the Slytherins orange for a week is a bit harsh... Might be better to turn Malfoy and his umm... Gorilla Girls (I think that's brilliant by the way, where did you hear it?) orange for a week, and the rest green. or maybe any Slytherins that we think are DE's in training can be orange for a week, like Pansy too, and Nott. Not all Slytherins are like Malfoy, they're just harder to spot because they need to pretend so that their own house doesn't turn on them. Must be difficult being a decent Slytherin.

I'm still glad you weren't seriously hurt.

Love,

Harry

Harry sealed the letter into an envelope and left it on the side of his desk for when Hedwig came back, picked up his potions text, and settled in for another few hours of reading.

It was 10pm later that night when Harry's nose found it's way out of his potions text.

"Harry dear, could you come downstairs please?" Came Aunt Petunia's voice through the door. Harry was confused, his Aunt had never spoken to him with anything but contempt, and being treated nice was all pretty new for Harry.

"Err... I'll be down in a minute Aunt Petunia," Harry replied, making sure not to sound impertinent. Harry closed his potions book after marking the page, and set it on his night table for when he returned. What if I don't return? What if they're being nice to me because they're going to dump me somewhere, or lock me in the cupboard again? Maybe they just don't want to me to struggle, so they're being nice so that I'll be more likely to do as they say.

Harry was a bit worried as he went downstairs, but there was nothing out of the ordinary, nothing to suggest that something brutal and messy was about to happen, so Harry cautiously made his way into the Dursley's living room.

Uncle Vernon was sitting at the dining table as Aunt Petunia was finishing up a roast dinner in the kitchen, the back door was open, which explained why Harry couldn't smell it on his way down. Has Dudley won a medal, they don't usually do that unless they want him to have a nice surprise dinner, and usually I'm upstairs... What the hell is going on?

"Have a seat, Harry!" said Uncle Vernon, jovially. "Plenty to go round! Eh Dudders?" Dudley was also sitting at the dining table, looking extremely put out, which put Harry at ease, because if something nasty was going to happen to him, then he was sure Dudley would be first in line to buy tickets to the show.

Harry took his seat at the table, and waited to see what would happen next.

"We've come to a decision Harry boy, and we've decided that you can stay with us as long as you need to. Tomorrow Petunia will take you shopping, you look like you need some new clothes, and you're going to start eating properly too, no excuses for missing meals in this house! Definately not!" All of this was said as if Harry had just asked them to stay earlier that day, instead of having been dumped on the Dursley's doorstep as a baby.

"Er, thanks Uncle Vernon," said Harry. Why are they doing this? I don't understand. What am I supposed to do? Act like everything's alright?

"Dinner's ready!" called Aunt Petunia, and she came out of the kitchen holding a plate with a huge pork roast on it, and a bowl of mashed potatoes. She put the plates down on the table, smiled at Harry, then went back into the kitchen to get what Harry assumed correctly to be the rest of the meal. I think I should just play along, and see where this goes. Hopefully I can get a roast dinner out of all this.

Aunt Petunia came back out of the kitchen with a bowl full of vegetables, a plate of Yorkshire puddings, and another plate full of roast parsnips. To Harry's surprise, she then went back into the kitchen. Again she came out with more dishes.

"Help yourselves boys, plenty for everyone! There's gravy here, salt, pepper, apple sauce, What would you like to drink? Make sure you leave enough room for pudding!" said Aunt Petunia, and once everyone had said which drink they wanted, Aunt Petunia once again disappeared into the kitchen. At this point Harry was pretty happy in his own opinion. Yes, his Aunt and Uncle were acting weird, but Harry could worry about that once he'd filled his rather empty stomach, which was practically eating itself by now.

It was a rather enjoyable meal, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were talking about going to see some theatre production that had just come out, no doubt so that when Uncle Vernon's posh clients talked about it, he knew what to say back. Dudley was shooting him glares every now and again, but mostly he was too busy stuffing his face and getting food down his chin to worry about the fact that he was sitting at the same table as the 'freak'.

Once everyone had cleared their plates, Aunt Petunia returned to the kitchen with the dirty dishes, and brought out a massive strawberry cheesecake and set it down in the middle of the table. She gave everyone a slice, and Harry actually got a slice that was the same size as Dudley's for once. It was delicious, and that disappeared the same way his roast dinner had. By now Harry was feeling pretty satisfied, although he was surprised to note that he missed Hogwart's pumpkin juice.

"Had enough to eat Harry?" asked Aunt Petunia.

"Yes thanks, it was great!" said Harry.

"You look a little confused," commented his Aunt. At this Harry was more shocked than he'd been all evening, as Aunt Petunia had never cared about Harry's feelings before.

"Well just a little Aunt Petunia, why are you doing this? What's going on?"

It was Uncle Vernon who answered.

"You're here for protection, aren't you bo- Harry, and we haven't exactly protected you have we? Well, we're going to start."

Harry thought back to the conversation from earlier that day, and he realised why the Dursleys were being... well, nice for a change. They want me to protect them, that's why they're being nice! They don't want me to leave, and risk themselves getting killed by Voldemort, now that he's back. It's a two-way thing... They protect me, and I protect them. They're just pretending to care. They just don't want to get themselves killed by throwing me out, or having me run away. Although he hated to admit it, this realisation hurt. All he'd ever wanted was a family, and the only family he had left was pretending to like him for their own gain. It stung. It was better when they treated him badly, at least they were showing the truth, and that allowed Harry to resent them. He excused himself as soon as it was polite to do so, and returned to his room to brood.

When Harry arrived back in his room, it was to find that Hedwig had returned from her hunting, and was perched on the end of Harry's bed, eyeing the letter he'd written to Ginny earlier with anticipation, a dead mouse sitting at her feet.

"Hello girl! Thanks for the mouse! Have a nice time hunting?" Hedwig gave a "hoot!" that Harry took to mean yes, and returned to eyeing the letter.

"Hold on girl, I just have something to add, it'll only take a few minutes. Would you like some fresh water before you go?" asked Harry.

"HOOT!" Hedwig replied, so after getting Hedwig some fresh water, and putting the dead mouse into a box,Harry ripped open the envelope containing Ginny's letter, and added a bit at the bottom.

p.s. My relatives are being nice to me as of today, I think it's because they realised that they're protected by my being here too, and they don't want me to leave, and they're not chucking me out. I actually got to sit down with them and have a roast pork dinner! Strawberry cheesecake too! In a way though, I'd rather they were nasty, than being nice just for their own protection.

Harry folded up his amended letter, and put it in a fresh envelope. I'd better write to Ron too, I can't believe he finally noticed he fancies Hermione! So Harry apologised once more to Hedwig, and brought out a fresh sheet of parchment.

Dear Ron,

I heard from Ginny that you finally realised you like Hermione! It's about time too mate, I was getting worried that you would miss your chance. You should ask her out next time you see her, I'm sure she'd say yes! Just don't do anything stupid.

How are things at your end? The Dursleys have started being nice to me, I think they're worried I'll leave, and then they won't be protected when Voldemort blows up their house. I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with sudden feelings of goodwill towards me. At least I got a roast prk dinner out of it! Strawberry cheesecake too.

Oh and I'm sure if you ask her nicely, Hedwig will wait until you've written a reply before coming back. I've asked her to wait for you to tell her to go just in case.

From,

Harry

"Any chance you could take a letter to the Order too Hedwig?" The intelligent owl bobbed her head reluctantly, and waited while Harry once again brought out a fresh sheet of parchment to write on.

"Sorry girl, but I just realised it'll be three days again tomorrow, so maybe take it on the way back or something. I'm sure you'll be fine, I just don't want the Order showing up at the door," said Harry apologetically. Hedwig's head-bobbing was a bit more enthusiastic after that.

To Whoever Reads my Note,

I'm alright, any idea when I'm being moved?

-H

Harry put both his letter to Ron and the one for the Order into fresh envelopes, and gave Hedwig instructions while he tied them to her leg.

"I need you to give this one to Ginny, and this one to Ron, and could you possibly wait to see if Ron needs you to bring back a reply? Thanks Hedwig! This one needs to go to the Order. You know where I mean, yes? Good girl. Just give it to the first reliable person you see, not Snape though, and definately not Mundungus! He'd probably drink my letter." At this last instruction, Hedwig gave an offended hoot, as if to say, "What do you take me for?" and ruffled Harry's hair with her wing as she took flight out of his bedroom window.

Harry lay down on his bed, brought out his potions text, and started reading until his eyes could no longer stay open, and then Harry undressed, got under the covers, and slept soundly for the night.

Unseen by Harry, Saera smiled as he fell asleep, and took up her position at the end of Harry's bed, to watch over him as he slept.

"Don't worry Harry, you have your own family. You made it yourself, and they'll always be there for you. No matter what. You just don't know it."

Harry slept on, unaware of the number of people, spiritual or otherwise, who at that moment, were thinking of him and hoping he was safe and happy.

(A/N: Hope you like this chapter, pretty much just setting things up at the moment... getting all the pieces in place, before starting to put them all together! Please note that reviews are appreciated, but I really don't mind whether people leave them or not. I don't mind mistakes being pointed out, either spelling or grammar.I'll do my best to reply to them personally this week, but my mum will be here, and my little boy's 1st birthday is on Tuesday so going to be out a lot. I definately wont be able to do any more writing, but once my mum's left I'll be straight back to work, hopefully churning out many chapters. Thanks for reading!)