I Found Love--Chapter One
I Found Love
Return to Privet Drive
(Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter and everything related to
him. I don't own this world, I just play in it.)
A/N: This is a sequel to my other fic, Look to Your Dreams. While it is
not strictly necessary to have read it beforehand, I recommend it.
Harry Potter stood frozen on the sidewalk in front of Number 4,
Privet Drive. Although it was early July, he found himself shivering. A
sudden touch on his hand made him jump.
"Harry, are you all right?" Harry turned to look at the redheaded
girl who stood holding his hand. Concern furrowed her eyebrows. "I
don't think I've ever seen you look so pale—even when you were
unconscious in the hospital wing. Are you sure you want to do this?"
"I. . .I. . ." Harry shook his head. "No. I don't want to. But I
need to. If I don't go and collect my things, the Dursleys'll probably
burn everything. I wish I could have fit everything in my Hogwarts
trunk when I left, but I couldn't use magic to expand it, and it didn't
fit otherwise. I don't have much—but knowing there isn't anything left
here means I won't have to ever even think about the Durselys again.
I'll really be able to get on with my new life." Harry paused. "It'll
be good for them, too. Once I get everything, they can fumigate the
room and forget I ever existed."
Ginny made an exasperated noise, but let the self-deprecation slide.
"And are they expecting you?"
"Yes. I sent them a letter—by Muggle post, of course—before I left
Hogwarts, telling them that I wasn't going to be able to come home on
the school train like usual, so they needn't bother collecting me from
King's Cross. I also said that since I'm out of school, I'll be living
with my godfather, and that I'd be here at 2:00 on July 8th
to pick up the rest of my things." He glanced at his watch. "It's 1:59.
I want to be right on time."
"Let's do it, then," Ginny said, pulling Harry with her up the
walkway to the front door. "The sooner we do this, the sooner we can
"Wait, Ginny." Harry stopped and looked into Ginny's eyes for a
moment. "Thanks for coming with me. I don't think I could've faced them
"Don't be silly. Of course I would come with you." Ginny gave Harry
a quick kiss on the cheek, then pulled him to the door and knocked.
In the moments between the knock and when Uncle Vernon pulled open
the door, Harry steeled himself. He hated these people. If he never saw
them again it would be just fine with him. But he'd just faced and
conquered Voldemort. This should be nothing. Right? Except that's
just the problem, isn't it? Harry thought. Now you know what
you can really do when you're provoked.
Vernon Dursley, still red-faced and blustery, filled the doorway
entirely. Although Harry now stood about an inch taller than his uncle,
something about the way Uncle Vernon was looking at him made him feel
like a scrawny eleven-year-old again. All Harry's resolve drained out
of him under the power of that withering glare—utter loathing and
revulsion, but mixed with a little bit of curiosity.
"Well?" Uncle Vernon said shortly, as if Harry were a door-to-door
salesman. Harry opened his mouth, but no words came out. Ginny gave him
a little nudge and squeezed his hand encouragingly.
"I. . .I. . .hello, Uncle Vernon. I just came to collect my things.
Could—could I come in?" That was good, Harry thought. Be
nice and polite, and things won't get out of hand.
Uncle Vernon's eyes became slits as he scrutinized Harry. His gaze
raked over Harry's hair, which was still untidy—his scar, still
visible through his fringe—his clothes, newly purchased at a Muggle
shop—and finally his hand, which was still holding Ginny's tightly.
Harry stiffened as his uncle's gaze shifted to Ginny. She, however, was
not intimidated. She stuck out her hand, grinned mischievously, and
said "Nice to meet you, Mr. Dursley. I'm Ginny Weasley, Harry's
girlfriend. Harry's told me so much about you."
At the name Weasley, Uncle Vernon gave a visible start. Probably
still remembering the Floo powder and Ton-Tongue Toffees, Harry
thought wryly. But it was the word girlfriend that shifted his
attention back to his nephew. Harry couldn't help but grin at the
shocked look on Uncle Vernon's face. "Girlfriend?" Uncle Vernon
sputtered, ignoring Ginny's outstretched hand.
Before Harry could answer, Ginny spoke. "He's not much to look at, I
know," Ginny turned to Harry and winked, "but he did just save the
world, so I guess he's got potential." Harry forgot to blush at the
compliment—Uncle Vernon's reaction was too amusing. Harry couldn't tell
if he was more shocked at Harry's having a girlfriend or the news that
he'd just saved the world.
"So," Ginny continued, ignoring the fact that Uncle Vernon's jaw had
dropped to his feet, "can we come in, then?"
Uncle Vernon stepped aside wordlessly, his mouth still hanging open.
Ginny marched across the threshold, pulling Harry along with her. Harry
shrugged his shoulders as he was dragged past Uncle Vernon into the
Aunt Petunia was there, as was Dudley. From the expressions on their
faces, they had obviously overheard the conversation at the door.
Seemingly oblivious to the looks of horror mixed with curiosity they
were leveling at her, Ginny advanced toward them, dragging Harry and
holding out her hand once more. "You must be Harry's Aunt Petunia," she
said. Aunt Petunia had recovered enough to put out her bony hand, which
Ginny shook firmly. "What a lovely home you have—and so neat, too!"
Before Aunt Petunia had decided whether to be flattered at the
compliment or resent that it was coming from a witch, Ginny had moved
on to Harry's cousin. "And you're Dudley, of course. Very pleased to
meet you at last." Dudley shook her hand cautiously, as though afraid
she had a Ton-Tongue Toffee concealed inside. His quadruple chin
bounced as he mouthed wordlessly.
By now, Uncle Vernon had closed the door and entered the living room
as well. Feeling a bit more relaxed, Harry turned to him. "I don't want
to take up any more of your time than is necessary," he said
apologetically. "We'll just go up to my old room and clean it out."
Having recovered a little bit by now, Vernon answered, a little
testily. "I hope you don't expect me to haul anything anywhere for you.
I notice you didn't bring a car." Vernon paused. Harry could almost see
the gerbil running on the wheel in his head. "How did you get here,
"Err. . .you probably don't really want to know, Uncle Vernon. Trust
me." As neither Ginny nor himself could Apparate yet, and knowing how
Uncle Vernon would feel about Floo Powder, Harry had added an extra
cushioning charm to his Firebolt, and they had flown here from the
Burrow under cover of the invisibility cloak, both of which were now
hidden in a dense stand of trees in the park down the street. Harry
couldn't help but smile at the remembrance of the ride—it had been
extremely pleasant, having Ginny holding on to his waist as they zoomed
over the countryside. Uncle Vernon's eyes narrowed. "As for getting it
away, well. . .I don't think you really want to know how I'm going to
do that, either."
"Try me," spat Uncle Vernon.
"Well, umm. . ." Harry pulled a small jar from his pocket. "This is
a Shrinking Solution. I was just going to shrink everything up and put
it in here," Harry pointed to his school bag, which hung on his
shoulder, "and then expand it back to normal size once I've settled in
at Sirius' place. Once he gets a place, that is." Uncle Vernon had
started turning purple, so Harry hastily added, "I thought that a
potion would be, umm, better, than using my wand. The magic's not quite
Uncle Vernon, however, obviously wasn't impressed by his nephew's
thoughtfulness. "How dare you. . .how dare
you. . .we all know you're abnormal, that's a given with the parents you
had—but to march in here, expecting to do ma— ma—"
"Magic," supplied Ginny. "It's actually pretty easy to say—only two
Vernon turned to Ginny, his mustache twitching dangerously. "I don't
remember speaking to you, girl." Before she could answer, he had turned
back to Harry. "Listen here, boy. There will be no"—Uncle Vernon
paused, working himself up to it— "magic in this house. After you
left for school in September, your aunt cleaned out your room and put
all of your—things in the cupboard under the stairs. You're lucky
we didn't just chuck them all out, or burn them. After all the trouble
you've caused us, you deserved nothing more. But, since some of the
objects were" —he paused again, but couldn't manage it a second time— "abnormal,
we decided to let you dispose of them. You will go and get them and
carry them outside. When you're far enough away that you can't be
seen, you can do what you want—as long as you don't come near this
house again. We don't want any of your kind polluting it any
Only Harry's warning glances at Ginny had kept her silent. Fighting
the urge to explode, Harry simply nodded to Uncle Vernon, then dragged
Ginny with him out of the living room, toward the staircase. When they
reached it, he had to put his arm up to keep her from going back.
"'How dare you?' How dare he! How dare he say such
things to you! Doesn't he know what you've been through? Doesn't he
know what you've done? You're a hero, and he treated you like. . .like.
"Like he always has." Ignoring the fact that Ginny had just called
him a hero, he tried to calm her down. The last thing he needed was a
scene. "Listen, Ginny, it's all right. I'm used to it. Even if you
tried to explain, Uncle Vernon wouldn't listen, let alone be able to
understand. He won't allow himself to. Leave it alone. We'll just get
my stuff and go."
Ginny looked as though she would bolt at any moment, so Harry kept
hold of her hand as he opened the cupboard. He stooped to look inside,
then paused as he noticed that Ginny had stopped trying to pull away.
He straightened and looked at her—her face was suddenly pale, her eyes
"Harry—this is it? You lived in here for ten years?" Her free
hand fingered the lock on the door. "It's—it's so small."
Harry didn't know what to say. He couldn't tell her he hadn't
minded—because he had. He couldn't tell her it hadn't hurt him—because
it did. It still hurt. There was nothing he could say that would take
away the feelings she was having right now—because he was feeling them
too. So he just nodded.
"I used to think about you, you know. Before we met, when I was very
small. I used to think how awful it was that you didn't have anyone to
love you. But I never imagined this." She shook her head, tears
flowing freely now. "How horrible."
Harry shrugged, trying to shake off the urge to cry himself. "Well,"
he said at last, "let's get this over with. The sooner I get my stuff,
the sooner I can leave." He stooped down once more and peered into the
dark cupboard. Three cardboard boxes stood there, carefully separated
from everything else, as if they were quarantined. Harry felt his mood
lighten slightly as he noticed what was written on the boxes- "H.P.'s.
WEIRD AND POSSIBLY DANGEROUS." Harry took the top box and showed it to
Ginny, who grinned as well.
"An accurate description of you, at least," Ginny teased.
"I wonder how Aunt Petunia even managed to put everything in here.
She probably wore some kind of protective clothing." Chuckling at the
mental image of Aunt Petunia handling his old Gobstones with kitchen
tongs, Harry pulled the other two boxes out. "I'll take two if you take
this one," he added, handing the lightest box, which probably contained
his old Quidditch robes, to Ginny. "Come on, let's go."
They walked the few steps toward the living room, where Uncle
Vernon, his composure restored, waited for them. "Wait, boy. I have one
more thing for you." He shoved an envelope toward him, which Harry,
after setting down his boxes, took curiously. "Now that you're out of
school," Uncle Vernon continued, "I assume you'll be getting a job of
some kind. Though if you're anything like your father, it won't be
much of one. Be that as it may, you're finally in a position to pay us
back for all the trouble you've caused us. In that envelope you'll find
a bill. I've been keeping track of every penny we've spent on you over
the years. I expect to be repaid in full."
While Uncle Vernon spoke, Harry had opened the envelope and was now
staring incredulously at the paper he held in his hand. "Ten
thousand pounds? You must be joking." One look at Uncle Vernon,
however, convinced Harry that this was no joke.
Setting down her box as well Ginny looked at the paper in shock. She
had no idea how much ten thousand pounds was, but she was sure it was
an insane amount of money.
"I know it'll probably take several years. One can't expect someone
like you to make much money. Of course, not all of that sum is
for actual monetary expenditures. Rather a large part of it is for pain
and suffering—a charming little idea I've picked up from American
television." Ginny was clenching her fists so tightly her fingernails
were digging into her palms. Harry, still incredulous, stared at Uncle
Vernon. In the background stood Aunt Petunia and Dudley, a
satisfied smirk on each of their faces. Uncle Vernon grinned rather
maliciously and continued. "Perhaps you have some friends you can
borrow money from. Then again"—he looked over Ginny's faded jeans and
homemade jumper—"maybe not."
Uncle Vernon had obviously forgotten that Harry was now of age and a
fully trained wizard, because he continued. "A redhead, boy? How sweet.
You must be more like your father than we thought. You might want to
re-think that. Seems to me the last time a redhead got together with a
Potter, they both ended up dead. And there's no reason to think you two
will be any smarter. "
Harry colored dangerously. His fingers twitched as though itching to
grab his wand, which was tucked into the waist of his jeans. "You can
say anything you like about me," he said quietly. "But if you say one
more word about Ginny, I'll—"
But what he planned on doing, Uncle Vernon never found out. Ginny
had had enough.
"How dare you!" Ginny's voice shook the pictures on the
walls. "You pathetic excuse for a human being! After all you did to
Harry, you couldn't just let him go away and leave you alone? What
money did you ever spend on him? I know how you treated him—making him
wear your disgusting son's old clothes, making him sleep in that cell
you have the nerve to call a cupboard, feeding him next to nothing"—she
starting walking toward Uncle Vernon, her voice growing louder with
every step—"locking him in his room, forcing him to do your housework,
and who knows what else? Pain and suffering? What about Harry's
pain and suffering? It seems to me that Harry should be sending you a
bill, not the other way around." As Ginny advanced, Uncle Vernon
Harry watched Ginny, alarm mixing with enjoyment. Having had seven
years' experience with the Weasley temper, he knew this could only end
up badly for all concerned. It was amazing, however, to see how much
Ginny looked like her mother, lecturing the twins for blowing something
up once again. Uncle Vernon had gone pale. Ginny, however, was just
"Now let me tell you something. Do you remember hearing about
Voldemort, the wizard who killed Harry's parents? It wasn't just
wizards he was after—he hated Muggles like you, too. In fact, if it
hadn't been for the protection the wizard community had given this
house, you would have been gone long ago. My dad works for the Minstry,
he's told me about some of the times they uncovered a plot to attack
you here, stopping it just in time. If it hadn't been for Harry, you
would still be in danger—because he just defeated Voldemort, who was
the most powerful evil wizard of all time. And if you think that
Harry's going to pay you back for misery and abuse, you're sadly
mistaken. You're lucky he doesn't turn you and your entire family into
toads. He could, you know. He's just about the greatest wizard alive."
Uncle Vernon cowered in terror. He looked wildly at Harry, who tried
to look as menacing as possible, unwilling to spoil the effect.
Although he didn't exactly agree with the last bit of Ginny's tirade,
he couldn't argue with the results. Ginny spun on her heels, picked up
her cardboard box, and glared at Uncle Vernon.
"We're going now. I wouldn't expect any gold anytime soon. Be
grateful your house is still in one piece. Come on, Harry." She turned,
opened the door, and stalked out. Harry retrieved his boxes, enjoying
immensely the look of fear on his relatives' faces.
"Umm—good-bye, then. Thank you for my things." He turned and walked
out the door as well, leaving the Dursleys to themselves. For good.
Ginny was already halfway to the park by the time he caught up with
her. She was still fuming, muttering things under her breath that Harry
knew Mrs. Weasley would never want to hear. He joined her in silence.
As they reached the stand of trees where his invisibility cloak hid his
broomstick, Harry put down his boxes, took Ginny's and added it to the
stack, and took out his bottle of Shrinking Solution. Ginny walked over
to a nearby bench and stewed in silence as Harry shrunk his belongings
and put them in his school bag. He then walked over to Ginny, helped
her to her feet, and kissed her soundly.
Ginny blushed and began to look ashamed.
"Oh, Harry, I shouldn't have lost my temper like that. But I just
couldn't take it anymore."
"Ginny, you were brilliant. The looks on their faces! I'll remember
that for a long time." Harry grinned and then started laughing. He
laughed so hard he had to sit down on the bench. Ginny couldn't help
it. She started laughing too.
A/N: Don't worry, there's more
coming. I've got lots of plans for Harry and Ginny (and the rest of the
HP gang). I'd like to thank Teri, Melanie, Raven Snape and Morgan
Tuatha for beta-reading this for me, and for all the encouragement
they've given me. I'd also like to thank my roommates for their help
and support. And thank you to everyone who read and reviewed my last
fic for the kind words and constructive criticism. :)
The title for this fic comes from
a song by the Free Design.