A Harry Situation
Chapter 2: Owl Afternoon
By Jill Weber/ Jelsemium
Characters copyrighted by J.K. Rowling and used
without permission or intent to make a profit.
Hail and Salutations to David Gordon Rowling
at the Burrow:
It was a hot,
muggy July afternoon shortly after Harry had sent Ginny the cat, when Molly
Weasley decided that it was time to clean the attic. “I haven’t heard the ghoul
for several nights,” she said. “Likely the heat has sent it into… oh, what’s
the word? Not hibernation…”
Virginia “Ginny” Weasley supplied.
Molly beamed at her
youngest and only female offspring. “Thank you,” she said.
youngest son, scowled at his sister. “Show off,” he muttered.
sometime, Ron,” Ginny advised. “Something besides Quidditch
magazines and Martin Miggs comic books.”
“When did you start channeling Hermione?” Ron
muttered under his breath.
Ginny opened her
mouth to respond.
textbooks would be a good idea,” Molly said to Ron, interrupting the argument
with the ease of long practice.
“Mu-um! Summer’s just started! I’ve got plenty of time!”
“Then you can
help me clean out the attic,” Molly said firmly.
“MUM! It’s like
a dragon hatchery up there!” Ron whined.
“Or you can degnome the garden.”
say that there’s nothing to do!” Ginny said snidely.
Ron stopped, mouth slightly ajar. Which was worse, an essay
about dragon bile or cleaning out the stifling hot attic? He sighed. “I’ll get
started on my homework,” he muttered. “I’ll be outside.” He grabbed some school
gear and headed outside. Hedwig swooped off the perch and flew past him when he
opened the door.
“Do some degnoming while you’re out there!” called Molly.
“Yes, Mum,” Ron
sighed, letting the door bang shut.
sighed and shook her head. “Why can boys remember every time their favorite
Quidditch Seeker gets fouled, but can’t remember to shut the door?”
Molly turned to
Ginny. “Why don’t you and I see if we can get a start on the attic? Unless you have homework?”
my potions essay,” Ginny sighed. “Hermione was going to send me copies of her
last year’s notes to help me with my other essays.” She didn’t want to clean
out the attic, but there was no escaping once Mum had made up her mind. Better
to just get it over with.
let’s make up a batch of lemonade and get started.”
more loudly and gave her mother a sideways look. “Ron’s just going to write to
Harry, you know that.”
wryly. “Well, Harry probably wants his owl back,” she said. “Besides, the poor
dear needs some cheering up.” We all need it, actually, she added to
Harry at #4
Harry moved to
the window quickly when he heard the tapping noise. He frowned a little when he
didn’t recognize the tawny owl perched on the windowsill. He opened the window
with some reluctance and moved back a few paces. The owl had a medium-sized
package on either foot. Evidently whoever had sent it had tried to balance the
load. The sender was obviously somebody who put some thought into things.
The tawny owl
settled down on the desk and held its right leg out expectantly. This leg had a
letter attached to the package. Harry cocked his head so he could read the
envelope without touching it, then he relaxed a little when he recognized the
writing as Hermione’s. “Well, hello,” he said, putting Hedwig’s water dish next
to the owl while he removed the packages.
He relaxed even
further when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be Portkeyed
away to some foul destination. He sighed; he’d been feeling so jumpy lately he
was beginning to annoy himself. “I’ll be just like Mad-Eye Moody by the time I
leave Hogwarts,” he told the owl, who just blinked at him.
Harry fed the
tawny an owl treat as he removed the second package.
He turned the envelope over in his hands a few times before opening it. The
paper was embossed with glossy yellow butterflies and pink and blue flowers
and… and… was that a faint whiff of perfume? Perfume?
From Hermione the bookworm? EEK! She wasn’t… please…
flirting with him? He shook his head. Impossible. More
likely Hermione had been given the stationery as a present and was merely using
it up, like the practical girl that she was… please.
Blodwen. I bought her as an anniversary present for my parents so they could
write to me more often at school, and so I could write to my friends more often
during the summer. I can’t have an owl AND a cat at Hogwarts, and I’d rather
have Crookshanks, anyway. You can’t snuggle up to an owl! So technically this
is my parents’ owl who is going to be spending a lot
of time at Hogwarts. It got rather tiresome to have to wait until I received
post before I could write to anybody, and then I couldn’t always write to the
person whom I wanted to write to, because the original sender of the owl would
be expecting an answer… anyway, enough babbling.
How are you?
I hope you’re not still blaming yourself for what happened to Cedric. IT’S NOT
YOUR FAULT! Tell me the truth. I know
you’re not ‘fine’ and if you say that you are, then I will have to do something
rash. Literally. I know I’m not permitted to hex you,
but I’m sure I can find some Muggle way of giving you a nasty rash… there are
Muggle equivalents for everything. You know how ingenious we have to be
in order to survive without magic.
doing a lot of thinking about Muggle equivalents of hexes lately. It will be
easy enough to deliver them, (Can you still smell the perfume that I spilled
sighed with relief. Spilled perfume he could deal with. A flirty Hermione, he
could not.) I am very close to coming
up with something nasty that I can spray on my letters. Mostly
because Ron is being an absolute prat over my upcoming visit to Bulgaria.
Honestly, what does he expect to happen? My parents will be there, Viktor’s
parents will be there. I wish I knew what’s got into that boy.
please answer right away, I want to know how fast Blodwen is at delivering
mail, among other things. This is her second delivery. Her first was to Prof.
Dumbledore, so he would know that she’s my parents’ owl. One of the few not-prattish things that Ron said to me in his letter was that
there are special wards around your place to screen out unwanted mail. I guess
anything Dobby could do, Dumbledore can do better. Ron said that all the Weasley owls had to be
screened, so I thought I’d better do the same.
some stationery supplies for you, just in case you’re running short.
Harry frowned as
he opened the first package. The stationery was cream colored and stiffer than
any parchment he’d ever used for school, but at least it didn’t have flowery
stuff and perfume on it. There were also two fountain pens and an ink eraser
enclosed. Trust Hermione to find a pen that could be used like a quill, yet not
look too un-Mugglish to the Dursleys. Curious now, he
opened the second package to find a fresh bottle of ink. He weighed the two
packages in his hand. Yes, the inkbottle weighed about as much as the pens and
the paper. Hermione seldom went wrong with details like that. He went back to
this isn’t your birthday present, I have something quite nice picked out for
you and it’s not a book. I think you’ll like it, even if it isn’t laden with
sugar or information about Quidditch. I bought one for myself and it’s quite
Harry raised an eyebrow.
There’s something Hermione likes besides books? Alert the media!
By the way, I
hope you recognize the source of Blodwen’s name, as it was part of our History
of Magic essay. Even if you haven’t finished writing it, you should have at
least done the reading by now. Let me know if you need any help with outlining
or anything. And you know I’ll be glad to proofread your essays for you, if you
feel the need.
and tapped the letter against his fingers. Hermione’s comment about Muggles
having to be ingenious sounded rather sarcastic to him. He hoped he was just
imaging things. He didn’t like to think of Hermione getting bitter over how
some wizarding folk treated Muggles.
He tried out the ink
and found it was a sepia tone. The brown ink on cream paper looked very… colour
coordinated… he thought. Then he shrugged and made a mental note to not use
this with Ron. He could just imagine Ron’s reaction to fashion-forward ink and
paper. Well, there were always Hermione, Sirius and even Ginny to write to, he
supposed. Speaking of writing to Hermione…
writing. Thanks for the stationery, I didn’t think to buy any and I’m tired of
scrounging around for scraps to write on. Blodwen is a beautiful bird, and very
well behaved. She and Hedwig should get along nicely. No, I have no idea where
her name came from (other than the obvious that it looks rather Welsh-ish). No, I haven’t even started on the reading for Binn’s essay. I was starting with Snape’s, which will take
the longest and be the most disgusting. Unlike some people I can
mention, I can’t read two books at the same time (one with either eye) while
writing two different essays (one with either hand.) ((By the way, do you know
where Hedwig’s name comes from?))
doesn’t sound like a goblin name, though. So I’m hoping that the essay deals
with something nice like owls rather than another gruesome goblin uprising.
And how are
you doing? Your comment about how ingenious Muggles have to
be sounded like you were a bit put off with the wizarding
world in general. Not that I can blame you, what with how you’ve been treated
by Snape and Malfoy and Rita Skeeter and all those
idiots who sent you nasty letters last year. But I am worried. I’d hate for
your summer to be as bad as mine.
Sorry, I can’t help
you on the Ron front. I have a guess about what’s eating him, but I won’t make
it. It’s not my place to speculate on that topic. Besides, I don’t think you’d
believe me and I’m tired of people calling me a liar. (Which
you did, when you assumed that I wouldn’t tell you the truth about how I am.)”
brought him all too quickly to the topic he’d have rather avoided.
“I can’t tell
you how I am. I don’t really know. Sorry, but if there are words to describe
what I’m feeling, I don’t know them. You’ll have to settle for ‘No, I’m not
fine, but I could be worse.’”
He stared at the
parchment for a long time before he gave up. There was nothing he could think
of to say to allay Hermione’s worries. He wasn’t fine and he wasn’t sure he’d ever be fine.
please cut Ron a little slack. This summer isn’t going well for anybody and he
is genuinely concerned about you, even if he’s not phrasing himself properly.
He attached the
letter to Blodwen’s leg and stroked her feathers. She bobbed her head at him
and took off through the window.
Ron at the
into the garden and slumped under a tree, scattering his books and writing
equipment. He didn’t want to write another stupid essay about some practical
use for dragon bile. Lovely, all that work for that git Snape would be wasted
anyway. Snape never marked Gryffindor papers fairly. (The only way Hermione
could get less than 100% was if she had her paper marked by Snape.)
“If Hermione can’t get
a good mark, I might as well have you dance all over the parchment,” he said to
Hedwig. “You’d probably get a better mark.”
Hedwig landed on the ground and blinked at him expectantly. ‘Maybe
she thinks I should say that to Hermione,’ Ron thought. He sighed. He
doubted Hermione cared what he thought.
“Right,” he said
with forced cheerfulness. “I should write that letter to Harry right now, so
you can get on your way.”
softly and Ron stroked her feathery breast. “You’re lucky, you know? You can
just fly into Harry’s window any time you please. I have to wait to see
him.” He really wanted to see Harry right now, and not just because he was
worried about the prat. He picked up his quill and sighed. “What should I say?”
he asked the owl. “Dear Harry, come and save me?”
her head at him.
“Yeah, not very
informative, is it?” Ron sighed. “It’s just that… well, everybody’s fighting!
Mum and the twins are always arguing about what they’re going to do after they
leave Hogwarts. And Percy’s buying into Fudge’s denials, now he and Dad are
always… well, it gets cold when they’re both in the
same room at the same time. The family clock actually froze up the other day. Now, instead of pointing to things like ‘traveling’, ‘at work’, or
‘at home’, everybody’s hands point to ‘At a Crux.’” He sighed.
“I wish Harry
was here, at least then I wouldn’t have to worry about how those Muggle
relatives are treating him. And I’d have somebody to talk to and…” He sighed
again. Then picked up his quill with resolve and started writing.
you stupid prat, why’d you go and send Ginny a cat? You’ll only give her ideas!”
He stared at the
words for a few minutes, then looked at Hedwig.
“There’s the ticket,” he said. “Everybody’s mad, why
not upset Harry, too?”
Ron sighed, picked up
the eraser and froze. He’d borrowed it from Hermione sometime last term and had
forgotten to return it. He looked at it mournfully and wondered if he should
return it now. She probably thought he’d deliberately stolen it. He replaced
the eraser in his bag and ripped up the parchment.
as if puzzled.
Ron got up.
“Might as well degnome the garden,” he said. He went
at the chore with almost savage intensity and gnomes flew a remarkable distance
from the wall. Too bad the Fred and George weren’t here to see the PROPER way
to degnome a garden. Usually, the twins would be out
there, working off some infraction or other. Now they were spending a lot of
time at Diagon Alley doing who knew what with
who-knew-who. The last thought made him wince; who-knew-who reminded him of You-Know-Who
and the current situation.
He was distracted from
his dark thoughts when his hand suddenly felt heavy. Surprised, Ron glared down
at the gnome that had sunk its teeth into the base of his thumb.
The gnome caught
a look at Ron’s expression and its eyes widened and it let go. “Erm, I’ll just
go throw myself over the wall, now,” it said diffidently as it sidled away.
“Good idea,” Ron
said dryly as the gnome leaped over the wall and fled. He wondered if Pixie
would like chasing gnomes the way Crookshanks would. He wondered if Pixie and
Crookshanks would get along. He wondered if Hermione would like him better if
he gave Crookshanks a few treats. He wondered why all trains of thought led to
Hermione. He wished Harry was there, then at least
he’d have somebody to talk about Hermione to. Until then… back to the letter.
He read to
Hedwig as he wrote. “Dear Harry, I guess Ginny will probably write and thank
you for the cat, but I’ll say thanks, too. Pixie is the only good thing that’s
happened so far this summer. Everybody’s arguing. Percy believes Fudge when he
says that You-Know-Who isn’t back. Dad believes you when you say he is. Being
in the same room with the two of them is like being in Potions with hung-over
Slytherins and Snape with a toothache, only not as nice. The twins got a stack
of Galleons to start their joke shop with and Mum’s having fits trying to find
out where they got it. Not to mention that she’s still on about them joining
the Ministry. Not to mention that she’s still ragging on Bill and Charlie for
not having wives yet. Not to mention…”
He paused, then plunged into the heart of the matter. “Hermione’s
not talking to me.” He could think of a dozen things to add to this bald
statement. He could tell Harry how the whole world had turned into a murky,
senseless, brutal place. However, there didn’t seem to be much point. Harry
would understand, Ron hoped. Or maybe there was something more he should say?
He stared at the
parchment for a long time before giving up and sending it off to Harry.
considerably later that same hot, muggy July afternoon when Petunia Evans
Dursley decided it was time for her to clean the out attic. She climbed up the stairs and into something
very reminiscent of a blast furnace. Obviously, it was time for Potter to
clean out the attic. She headed downstairs again and barged into Dudley’s extra
bedroom without knocking.
She paused just
inside the doorway and scowled. That disgusting bird was sitting on a perch,
rather than being properly confined to a cage. Dudley’s extra desk was strewn
with papers, feathers, bottles and books. She snorted. “So, this is how you
repay our many kindnesses to you, by working your…”
Harry turned his
cat-green eyes on her, causing her to falter for a moment. A surge of anger let
her continue. “By exercising your unnatural appetites on
Harry leaned his
forearms on the desk and waited for his aunt to finish. He had long ago given
up hope of hearing rational comments from his relatives, but this seemed a bit
incoherent, even for her. When she paused for breath, he jumped in. “I’m
writing an essay about using dragon bile to rid a kitchen of rats, poltergeists
and soap scum. I don’t care how unnatural you say I am,
that doesn’t sound at all appetizing.”
her mouth, then gaped for a moment. She didn’t know if
dragons or poltergeists actually existed, and she really didn’t care to find
out. “Don’t smart mouth me, boy,” she snapped. “You’ve been having it easy this
summer, but don’t think that will last long. I need the attic cleaned out, now.”
Harry said. Petunia was glad to hear genuine dismay in his tone.
“I said, now!”
“I’ll die of
“I said, don’t
“Do you know
what happens to a wizard’s body when he dies?” Harry asked.
She hadn’t gone to her sister’s funeral, so she had no idea if anything strange
had happened to Lily’s body. The boy was probably bluffing… but it was better
to not take chances. “In the evening, then, when it’s cooler. I just want it
done before your Uncle Vernon and my precious Duddy-kins
get back from their camping trip.”
Petunia,” Harry said. He managed to keep his amusement off his face, but he was
afraid some of it leaked into his voice, because his aunt gave him a dirty
look. He knew darn well his uncle and cousin had gone to a fat farm. He’d seen
the postcards with the return address.
“You’ll have no
breakfast in the morning if you haven’t made a good start on the project
do you want me to do?” Harry asked with forced patience. “I take it you don’t
want me deciding what to throw out, do you?”
but he had a point. “Start by carrying down the old newspapers and magazines
that are piled up there. We don’t need them any more.”
Petunia,” Harry said with passable meekness.
Petunia had to
have the last word as she left. “Dudley’s extra bedroom had better be spotless
by the time you go to bed or you won’t have any breakfast.”
Harry sighed and
rolled his eyes at Hedwig, who’d just finished delivering Ron’s letter. “Bet me
that she finds some reason to withhold breakfast no matter how hard I work.”
obligingly coughed up the remains of her last meal. Harry raised an eyebrow. “A
mouse it is,” and he laid the dead mouse from Dudley’s broken computer next to
the barely recognizable corpse. Hedwig gave an indignant hoot. Harry shrugged.
“Face it, I can’t eat your mouse, either, even if I do
have unnatural appetites.”
him for the rest of the day.
Ozma: Thanks for
the review, partner! **
I agree, Harry is too noble for his own good. Guess that’s why I
like the kid so much.
Ara Kane: Hello and thanks for
dropping by and reviewing! ** Yes, Petunia shows her human side. I figure
Lily’s sister has to have one somewhere.
** Yes, Harry remembered that after Mrs. Norris had been petrified, Ron
had said that Ginny was a cat lover.
Wilania: Thanks for the review!
I will write
I will write at
I will write at
I will write at
I will write at
least eighteen chapters!
I thank you for
Meggs: Thanks for the review! It’s going to
lead to Ginny and Harry becoming friends!
Lisa: Thanks! I’ll update as fast as I can!
Kazza: Thanks for the review! ** "lonely little Petunia in a onion patch"
Interesting phrase. Is that a quote? ** You’re sweet, too!
Alan: Who’s trying to escape? ;-)