Birds of a Feather
A Harry Potter Fanfic By:
Inspiration for the idea: GoblinQueeen's Harry Potter Fan art "Hedwig: Humanity's Light"
Basic Story Premise: Something happens during Harry's final summer at the Dursleys that forces him and Hedwig to flee before anyone expected them to. What results alters the destiny of countless lives.
Harry sighed staring up at the ceiling of his room, listening to the raised voice of his Uncle Vernon arguing with the two strange men that had invited themselves into his house. Even though he hadn't sneaked down to see who it was, there was no mistaking the growling voice of Mad-Eye Moody and the deep voice of Kingsley Shacklebot. At first, he was worried they might have been disguised Death Eaters, but he relaxed when he remembered that if they were indeed Death Eaters, Uncle Vernon wouldn't still be alive. So, he took a page out of Fred and George's book and used an Extendable Ear to listen in.
Vernon Dursley was beyond mad. He was furious. For the past 15 years he has spent almost every single day regretting the fact that he had let Petunia talk him into taking in the son of her dead freak of a sister. It seemed to him that as every year had passed since Potter had joined that world of his, things had been getting worse and worse for him and his family. The final straw had been when those things had attacked his son, but once again Petunia had talked him into not chucking the boy out. He had hoped that when the boy was collected so soon after arriving last year that he wouldn't see him again, but like all the years previous, he was contacted to let him know when his nephew would be at the Train station and that it was strongly encouraged that he pick him up if he didn't want any trouble. Now, barely a week later, he was disturbed from his morning paper by a rather loud knock on the door.
When he opened it, he knew immediately something was wrong. The first clue was the tall black man standing in front of him dressed like he came straight out of Africa. This set warning bells off in Vernon's head, who had a very defined idea of what a properly dressed man should be. When the black man shifted and he saw the man with the freak eye who talked to him last year standing there, Vernon tried to slam the door shut but the scarred man shoved his walking stick in the way.
"Not today Dursley." The man growled. "We need to talk and won't take no for an answer."
Knowing what they could do, Vernon just scowled and let them into the living room, trying to decide how best to handle the situation. Luckily, the man with the eye, Maddie or Moby, or some freakish name like that seemed to think that a direct approach was best.
"First of all," he growled. "If you hoping we are here to get Potter out of your hair, you are very much mistaken. He is staying here till just before his birthday, just like it was planned before."
Vernon's face purpled with rage.
"The why the bloody hell are you darkening my house?" he almost yelled. "It's bad enough that I have to put up with him, why should I have to put up with constant visits from more of your kind."
"Because there is something very important you need to know." The Black man said in a calming deep voice. "Once Harry leaves here for the final time, the protection that the blood magic that his mother gave him will be gone, which means your home, and family, will be open to attack because you are Harry's family. We have come to the conclusion that it would be best if you and your family go into hiding for the duration of the war. Of course, once it is over, we will bring you back and repair any damage that might have happened while you were gone."
"YOU WANT US TO DO WHAT?" he screamed, spit flying from his mouth. "YOU HAVE THE NERVE TO COME INTO MY HOME, AND TELL ME THAT I NEED TO LEAVE EVERYTHING BEHIND BECAUSE SOMEONE WANTS TO KILL THAT FREAK OF A BOY? I WON'T HAVE IT! YOU TAKE HIM AND GET HIM OUT NOW! I WON'T HAVE HIM ENDANGERING MY FAMILY A MOMENT LONGER!"
Upstairs, Harry was still listening, alternating between cringing and holding back from laughing. It had taken Kingsley 5 minutes to calm down Uncle Vernon, and he had a funny feeling that Moody had probably done something that prevented Uncle Vernon from doing something very rash. Once the conversation turned to where the Dursleys might go, Harry pulled the end of the Extendable Ear out of his ear and sighed.
He looked around the room, the reality that this would be his final summer here setting in. To be honest, he was glad. He had never been happy here and was more than happy to walk away from the abuse that had dominated his life. His eyes settled on Hedwig, who was glaring at the floor with a look of disgust that only she could pull off.
"Sorry about this girl." He told her softly. "We are just here till my birthday then we are free from them for good."
Hedwig looked at him and barked softly. Harry smiled and got out of his bed and walked over to her to stroke her chest feathers.
"We've been through a lot together here haven't we girl?" he spoke to her softly. "I think the worse time was the second summer when they locked you in the cage… I felt horrible about that."
Hedwig barked softly again and nipped his nose gently and he smiled at her. Walking back to his bed, he put the end of the Extendable Ear into his to find out where the conversation was. He did so just in time to hear Moody and Kingsley walk out of the front door which was quickly slammed shut. Sighing, he pulled the Extendable Ear back to him and closed his eyes.
Uncle Vernon's hand was shaking slightly as he poured himself a triple serving of whiskey. It wasn't due to fear or nervousness from the conversation he had just had. No… It was from pure rage. How dare they presume to tell him what he had to do because of the actions of his good for nothing nephew. He ignored Petunia when she called out to him as he slowly climbed the stairs, thinking that he had best lay down to calm himself down.
Getting to his room, he took a long drink from his glass and laid down, his heart still beating furiously in his chest from his pent-up anger. He had just closed his eyes when he heard the loud barking of that boy's blasted bird. Gritting his teeth, he downed the rest of his drink in one go, and closed his eyes again, hoping that sleep would quickly claim him, and he could dream about a Potterless world.
It was not to be. No sooner had he closed his eyes when he heard the bird barking again, and he cringed, his eyes squeezing even tighter together. His concentration broken; he heard a new noise that he hadn't noticed before coming from his nephew's room. He heard the sound of laughter and Harry speaking to someone. While he could stand Harry talking to himself, lord knows he wouldn't be surprised if he was mentally unstable… but laughing? After what he had done to his family? Vernon snapped.
With a bellowing roar of rage, he flung his whiskey glass at the wall where it shattered. Tearing open his door, he charged towards the freaks room, determined to teach him a lesson that he would never forget.
As was the norm for his summer months since he started at Hogwarts, he spent most of his time talking to Hedwig. As she was his only constant companion over the years, she had evolved from loyal pet to trusted confident. While she couldn't speak, Harry had learned to read her body language and various barks so that he could hold a semblance of a conversation with her. It was mainly thanks to her that he had gotten over the deaths of Sirius and Professor Dumbledore, as she had been a caring creature to talk to. Right now, he was telling her one of his funnier stories involving the Headmaster, and Hedwig was laughing in her own unique way. He was about to wrap it up when he heard the roar of rage coming from his Aunt and Uncle's room, and he paled when he realized just how much noise they had been making. Add in what had happened earlier, and he knew this was going to be a bad one. He hesitated a second on trying to decide if he should barricade the door or make a grab for his wand. That second was too long. With a crash that literally tore the door off its hinges, Uncle Vernon burst into the room, his face a dark purple and every vein in his forehead visible from rage.
"ENOUGH!" he bellowed, spit flying from his mouth.
Before Harry could even move, Vernon's fist was a blur as it swung through the air before it smacked into the side of Harry's head with a sickening thud. The force of the hit was strong enough that it literally lifted him up and he flew across the room where he slammed into the wall next to the closet. Instantly he felt his ribs explode into pain, and he started wishing he would pass out soon. First it helped with the pain, plus his uncle tended to stop once his prey was no longer awake to feel what he was doing to him.
Hedwig, however, had other plans. With a squawk of outrage, she flew at Vernon, and her sharp talons tore his cheeks open, filling his mouth with blood. Instead of scarring him off, it only made Vernon even more furious… as well as gave him a new target for his rage.
Snatching hold of the lamp on Harry's bedside table and singing it like a baseball bat, struck Hedwig just as she was swooping in to attack him again. She didn't even let out a noise as she too flew through the air to smack into a wall. She passed so close to Harry who was struggling to his feet, he actually felt a light breeze from her passing. His heart froze when he didn't see her move.
"Hedwig!" he yelled out in fear, his own injuries forgotten, even as blood started running down his face from his scalp. His heart beating wildly, he lunged at his uncle, his magic and adrenaline combining to give him almost superhuman strength. He reached Vernon just as he was lifting his foot to bring it down in Hedwig's helpless body and swung the strongest right hook he could muster. With a yell of pain, Vernon desperately clutched his jaw that was hanging loosely from his head. Harry glanced at Hedwig and rage filled him and before he knew it, he was delivering a rapid set of punches to Vernon's head, each one accompanied by a spray of blood.
Vernon was swaying hard when Harry grabbed hold of his shirt and drew his fist back. He looked right into Vernon's eyes, and he could see the faint spark that Vernon knew what was coming. Harry's fist swung forward at a speed he didn't think possible, and it sank into his Uncle's face, shattering cartilage and bone… as well as Harry's hand. It didn't matter. He went sailing backwards out of the door of Harry's room and slammed headfirst into the hall wall where he slid slowly to the ground.
Harry stood there panting, one eye blind due to the blood running into it, and his ribs on fire. He glanced down at his right hand and grimaced when he saw bones jutting out from the skin. Between his uncle and his own rage, he was seriously injured. But none of that mattered. Grabbing the door with his left hand, he lifted it back into place awkwardly, and then dragged his nightstand in front of it. Deep down he knew his uncle would probably never get up again, but then again, he wasn't going to take any chances.
Once done, he staggered over to where Hedwig lay, and fell to his knees and carefully picked her up. Even though Hagrid had never covered Owl care in his class, even Harry knew that she was critically injured, maybe even fatally. Then again, maybe he was too. He was certainly in enough pain.
He held her close, not even aware when the tears had started trickling down his face.
"No Hedwig…" he said softly, his blood mixed tears dripping onto her feathers. "I can't lose you too…"
As he held her, his mind was working in overdrive. It was critical that he and Hedwig get medical help as soon as possible. The problem was that he had just seriously injured his uncle, maybe even killed him. Even though it was in self-defense, he didn't doubt for a second that the Ministry would use this as a means to get control over his life. And that was just the magical world.
Just as sure as he knew what the Ministry of Magic would do, he also knew what the muggles would do. His Aunt Petunia would surely tell the police investigating that he was the one who attacked Uncle Vernon, who bravely defended himself from their mentally unstable nephew. Thanks to the lies they had been spreading for years, no one would believe his side of the story and he would be lucky to see the outside of a mental prison hospital ever again. He had no choice. He had to run. But no matter what, he had to help Hedwig.
Knowing she would only have a few minutes, he quickly placed Hedwig down in his bed after smoothing down her ruffled breast feathers. Kicking open his trunk, he started hurling his stuff in there before he stopped and slapped his forehead. He was already going on the run. It no longer mattered if he used magic or not. Grabbing his wand, he waved his wand around his room like he had seen Tonks do it and concentrating on just his magical items, he smiled as they flew through the air and landed neatly in the trunk.
"I am so gonna have to talk to Tonks about this…" he said softly as he closed and locked the trunk before shrinking it enough that he could put it in his old backpack. He was about to leave when he realized that dressed in his wizarding clothes wouldn't exactly blend him in and he started yanking clothes out of his closet, trying to ignore the fact that his blood was dripping steadily on the floor, or the pain in his side.
Distracted, he didn't notice when a soft light started to come from the corner of his room where his bed was until it got bright enough that it started to illuminate the entire room. Whirling around, his mouth fell open when he saw that a light was surrounding Hedwig and was getting brighter with every passing second. Eventually he had to look away as the light intensified enough to rival that of the sun. He could only imagine what people looking at the house from the outside must be thinking.
Then, just as suddenly, the light vanished, and Harry blinked his eyes rapidly as they struggled to see after being exposed to such bright light. His vision was just starting to return when he heard a soft groan of pain. Looking back at the bed, he couldn't believe what he was seeing.
Instead of Hedwig, there was now a beautiful young woman in her place. Even though she was completely nude, he couldn't take his gaze away from her eyes which were framed by pure white hair. Her eyes were exactly the same as Hedwig's, even though they were clearly betraying how much pain she was in. Any doubt about what had happened went away as soon as she spoke as he pain filled eyes locked onto his.
"Please Master Harry…" she spoke in a soft melodious voice. Harry didn't know why, but deep down he got the feeling that she had been speaking to him the entire time he had known her. Why hadn't he understood her better when she was an owl?
"Please…" she said softly again. "Just leave me and go… your more important…"
Harry paled and took a step towards her before realizing that she was completely naked. Blushing, he quickly dug through his clothes till he found a large jacket that was once Dudley's and awkwardly helped her into it, even though she hissed with pain with every movement.
"Master Harry." Hedwig protested weakly. "You don't have time for this… you must flee…"
"No Hedwig…" he said softly as he looked into her incredible golden eyes. "There is no way at all that I am leaving you behind. We go together or we don't go at all."
"Fine." Hedwig said with a painful sigh. "Then please just hurry. I'm sure we don't have much time left."
Harry nodded and after a few minutes thinking dragged his shrunk trunk back out of the bag and after a few quick spells, had the bulging re shrunk trunk back in the bag. Thank Merlin he had learned the feather light charm…
"Hedwig." He said as he put on his jacket and shrugged on the backpack. "Do you have any idea where we can get medical help and a place to hide?"
Hedwig tried to sit up but let out a cry of pain and fell back again with a loud whimper. Panting, she closed her eyes and appeared to be thinking hard, going through the places she went to as an owl and the people she had met.
"Remus Lupin can help us." She said finally, her voice very soft. "And Padfoot's place is still safe."
"But Dumbledore said…" he started to say but an exasperated sigh stopped him.
"Master Harry." Hedwig said, her voice slightly louder with her frustration. "Just trust me on this."
Harry opened his mouth to argue then closed it and merely nodded. Taking a quick glance around the room to make sure nothing had been missed, he picked up on a new sound in the distance that he hadn't heard before.
Lots of them.
And getting closer with every passing second.
He hurried over to Hedwig and muttered a quick apology as he scooped her up into his arms, wincing at her cries of pain and the muted crunch of broken bones grinding together coming from both of their bodies. He still hadn't even wiped the blood out of his eyes.
"I'm sorry Hedwig." he said softly. "I know I don't have a license, but I need to apparate us if we want to get away. I just know that this is going to hurt us both…. A lot…"
Hedwig clung tighter to him.
"It's ok Master Harry." She said softly, her close contact sending electric shocks through his body. "I trust you completely."
As she spoke softly, her head lifted and locked her golden eyes onto Harry's green eyes. Something happened then, something that Harry for the rest of his life couldn't explain no matter how hard he tried. As they were gazing into each other's eyes, their faces grew closer and closer together till finally their lips connected. Their eyes slowly closed as the kiss deepened slightly, so they both missed the brief flare of light that enveloped both of their bodies and filled the room before fading. That light would alter the destinies of dozens of people, and the two who caused it never even knew.
With the sirens coming to a stop right outside of the house, and with their lips still connected, Harry turned on the spot and vanished with an explosive crack that shattered the wards surrounding the house and blew out every window in a block radius.
They were free.