Chapter 1: The Trouble with
“B-blood of the enemy . . . forcibly taken . . . you
. . . resurrect your foe.”
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ch. 32
* * *
Harry Potter looked at the battered clock on his bedside table. One
Harry groaned. He’d had trouble falling asleep every night in the
weeks since he had returned to his aunt’s and uncle’s house from his
year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As soon as he
down and put out his light, the dreary cycle of thoughts would start
again: Cedric Diggory’s staring eyes in his dead face – dead only
he had been standing next to Harry; Ron Weasley and Hermione
his two best friends, and their families in danger – in danger
of Harry; and, worst of all, Lord Voldemort, the most evil dark
imaginable, alive and in his body again – also because of Harry.
he was a baby, Harry Potter had been famous in the wizarding world
defeating Voldemort and banishing him from his body. Harry’s own
and father had been killed at the same time – it was their sacrifice
love for him that had allowed Harry to accomplish this seemingly
And now the deed was undone. Voldemort was back, stronger than
Harry, the so-called hero of the wizarding world, had not only
to prevent it, but had been forced to give the blood that gave his
a new body. His parents’ sacrifice was in vain. The acclaim and
that had threatened to drive Harry crazy but also somehow warmed his
was a bitter mockery. Everyone and everything that he most cared for
in danger, and Harry had no idea what to do about it. How could
Harry had tried. He’d read his most boring textbooks and written
tedious History of Magic essay (four feet of parchment to “explain
detail the development of international cooperation and the
of the International Confederation of Warlocks, with special
on the influence of long-distance broom travel and the Luxembourg
Riot of 1502”). Remembering how a good long Quidditch practice at
always helped him go to sleep, he willingly accepting the tiring
work set for him by his Aunt Petunia and then did sit-ups and
quietly in his room until he was red in the face. Every night at
he stroked his owl Hedwig’s soft feathers as long as she would let
and leafed slowly through the photograph album with the pictures of
parents given to him by his friend Hagrid. But tonight nothing
Maybe if he read over his letters from Ron and Hermione again? His
best friends, obviously more worried about him than they’d ever been
were taking turns writing to him this summer so that he got a letter
one or the other of them every day. Come to think of it, he hadn’t
his letter from Ron yet today. Maybe that was why he was jumpy and
Harry grinned as he looked at the last letter from Ron.
Yes, mate, you DO have to write back every day! Who
if you haven’t got anything to say? Do you think I have anything to
either? It’s boring here, I have nothing to do, the twins are prats,
a pest, Mum’s after me to clean my room, blah, blah, blah
So - tell me what chores your charming aunt gives you
what new insults your delightful uncle comes up with. Whatever. I
want to know you’re all right, really.
Speaking of - tell Hermione to write to me and not just
okay? She’s only sent ME 2 letters this summer. She only writes to
I reckon. Did she say if she was writing to - Never mind, forget it
I don’t even care.
Right, I’ll write later when I’m not in such a whinging
Harry had faithfully passed on the request to his other best friend
He looked at her reply. Hermione was writing from the Azores
about 750 miles west of Portugal, where she had flown with her
on holiday. They would join a Trans-Atlantic cruise ship to return
Ponta Delgada, Azores Islands
How are things going? Is Dudley still out of the house
lot? Have you heard anything from Snuffles? I have written to
McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore about an idea I have that might
you out of that horrible place faster, but I don’t want to say
more until it is all worked out. I promise you will like it
it does happen.
My Mum & Dad & I are having a fantastic time here. The
are so beautiful and tropical you wouldn’t believe it, and the hotel
uncle bought is really nice – it is all little cabins built of dried
spread around in a huge garden. But Harry, the funniest thing! I
I would be getting away from the wizarding world for a little while,
as soon as we got off the boat, I just started laughing – this place
SO obviously magical. You should see it – all the houses are painted
sorts of bright colours, and the way they’re built on the steep
up the mountain, well you can tell it’s just magic holding them up.
bet half the people here are wizards and witches. I found a magic
the first day, and bought lots of potions ingredients – they have
very rare ones that cost almost nothing.
I am enclosing a clipping from The Daily Prophet. They
published a retraction of some of the things Rita Skeeter wrote last
It’s not written by her – I suppose she doesn’t want to break our
Really, I’m kind of surprised she is going along with it. What will
do for a living? I had to release her, though – I was afraid she
die or something if she didn’t get the proper nutrients for a
Do you think I should tell Dumbledore the whole story? The main
that worries me is what she might have heard about Snuffles. I wish
knew how long she was there before I caught her. You know, Harry, I
tell Dumbledore. I just think I’d better. I’m going to write to him
What timing, Harry! Hedwig just flew in the window. How
she come so far? Do you think owls can Apparate? She doesn’t even
all that tired. Tell Hedwig I’ll be on the ship back when you send
next letter. We leave tomorrow.
Oh Harry, I just read your letter. I cannot BELIEVE
He’s complaining that I’ve only written him two letters? He’s only
me ONE! He wrote me a short note when he first got home, and all it
was that he’d written his first letter to you. Then I answered it
sent him another letter last week. And I’ve never heard back from
And HE’S complaining???
Sorry, Harry, I know it’s not your fault if that
galloping idiot has utterly failed to grasp the basic principle of
writing – which is BACK AND FORTH. Just tell him for me he’s a
P.S. I’m so glad your scar hasn’t hurt this summer, but
sure and tell Dumbledore if it does!
P.P.S. Still nothing in the Prophet about any dark
Has Ron heard anything through his Dad?
Harry frowned. He’d written back to Hermione this morning with the
news. Only last night, he’d awoken with a mild burning in his scar.
was nowhere near as bad as what he’d experienced in the past, but so
his scar only hurt when Voldemort was near, or especially angry, or
someone. Of course he’d owled Professor Dumbledore about it
Really, Hermione treated him like he was three years old,
Harry put away the two letters, still frowning. He always worried
“Snuffles” (who was really his godfather Sirius Black, a wanted
though he was innocent of his supposed crimes), but now the
was worse than before. If the reporter Rita Skeeter had gotten to
Hogwarts Infirmary in time to see Sirius transform from a dog into a
she could tell the whole wizarding world about his Animagus ability,
ensuring that he would be caught. Of course, Voldemort must know all
it already, since Sirius’s former friend and Animagus rat Peter
was now his right hand man. And now that Voldemort had come back –
a month ago – who knew what would happen?
But so far, apparently, nothing had. Voldemort and his Death Eater
did not seem to be making their move. Harry wondered if Voldemort
still trying to consolidate his support, or if he was trying to lull
wizarding world into accepting the assurances of Cornelius Fudge,
Minister of Magic, that it was impossible for the Dark Lord to have
back to life. The only witness to this horrible event, other than
Death Eaters, was Harry himself – an almost-fifteen year old boy
Rita Skeeter had spent a year discrediting in a series of
and mostly fictional newspaper stories. The fact that Harry’s scar
been hurting was evidence that Voldemort had not done much. But
must have happened last night…
Harry jumped in surprise at a sudden barrage of taps on his bedroom
Finally! – that must be Ron’s owl Pigwidgeon with today’s letter.
surely, Harry thought as he rushed to the window, even that
owl can’t make such an awful racket. Harry threw the window sash
and had to stifle a yell as a handful of gravel spattered in his
Confused, Harry looked around. It was unusually dark outside;
seemed to have happened to all the streetlamps. A whispered “Harry,
drew his attention down to the dark street below his window. The
of a man waved at him and Harry looked down into the laughing face
“Sirius! What are you doing here?” Harry hissed. He leaned so far
of the window he almost fell out. “Change back – you’ll be
“Get DOWN here, young man,” Sirius whispered, his hands on his
and then changed into a large black dog. He sat patiently, wagging
Harry quickly closed the window. He slipped on his shoes and looked
at his pyjamas with a shrug. His first impulse was to run downstairs
out the door as fast as he could, but Harry had learned to be
He thought of Dumbledore telling him about the ancient magic that
him at the Dursleys,’ his only blood relatives, house. His enemies
need to lure him out, if they wanted to destroy him, and what better
than with his godfather whom he trusted? Harry thought of the Death
Bartemius Crouch, impersonating his professor Mad-Eye Moody by means
Polyjuice Potion. He thought of the Imperius Curse, which could
Sirius to do things against his will.
On the other hand – Harry dug out his wand from its hiding place
a floorboard and ran quickly and lightly down the stairs – on the
hand, even using Polyjuice Potion, nobody except Sirius could turn
that black dog, and a simple Finite Incantatum should end the
Curse. As a minor, Harry wasn’t allowed to do magic outside of
grounds, but he was willing to break that rule if his life was at
Harry slipped out of the front door, leaving it locked. He didn’t
a key, but he could get back in with the magic unlocking penknife
had given him for Christmas.
The black dog came to meet him, ears pricked, but halted in the
in front of the house. Harry stopped while he was still inside the
“Change,” demanded Harry firmly, holding his wand up ready.
the black dog was a tall, dark-haired man. He raised his brows in
at Harry’s upraised wand.
“What’s going on, Harry? We’re in a hurry here.”
“Do a Finite Incantatum on yourself,” said Harry firmly.
comprehension appeared on Sirius’s face, and he turned his wand on
Then an expression of alarm covered his face.
“Good thinking, Harry,” said Sirius, “but I’d better not do it here
front of a Muggle house, unless you want to see the Improper Use of
people. I’ll do it at Arabella’s house.”
“Arabella’s?” Harry asked, puzzled. Sirius took off up the street
Harry followed him, running a little to keep up with his godfather’s
strides. “What’s going on?”
“I’m taking you to Arabella Figg’s house, to use her fireplace,”
Sirius. He had his wand out and was looking about warily as he paced
two short blocks to where Mrs. Figg lived. “We – Dumbledore and
and I – need your help.”
Before Harry could think what else to ask, they were in front of
Figg’s house. The door swung open as they approached, held by old
Figg herself. Harry could only gape at her as they passed, clues
the past coming together rapidly in his mind. Until this moment,
had no idea that his old babysitter Mrs. Figg was a witch, that she
Sirius, or that she was the Arabella Figg mentioned by Professor
as part of “the old crowd.” Harry’s feet must have lagged as he was
these connections, because Sirius grasped his arm and hurried him
Mrs. Figg’s parlour. He snatched a bowl of Floo Powder from the
and held it out to Harry.
“St. Mungo’s basement,” he instructed forcefully.
Harry threw a pinch of the powder into the roaring fireplace,
into the suddenly green flames, and obediently repeated, “St.
Harry had forgotten how much he hated travelling by Floo Powder,
he had forgotten to protect his glasses. As the roaring, tumbling
took him he suddenly remembered both. He stumbled out of the
on the other end, nearly blind, with his glasses hanging from one
Instantly, firm hands grabbed his shoulders and replaced the glasses
his eyes. Blinking, Harry looked up into the calm, familiar face of
Lupin. Beside him, Sirius Black appeared suddenly with a ‘pop.’
yeah, remembered Harry, Sirius can Apparate; he doesn’t have
use Floo Powder.
“Hi, Professor Lupin,” Harry stuttered. Lupin smiled at him, but
nothing as the two men each took one of Harry’s arms and hurried him
of the room he had arrived in (some kind of lounge) and down a hall.
pajamas had no wand pocket, so he kept his wand in his hand. As they
down a flight of stairs, the two men spoke in short bursts.
“How is he?” asked Sirius.
“Still alive,” said Lupin, “and conscious. The potion’s almost
Harry stumbled on the steps at a horrifying thought. Are they
about Dumbledore? What’s wrong with him? Lupin and Black grasped
arms more firmly. At the bottom of the stairs, they whisked Harry
another hall and to a closed door. Lupin pulled out his wand and
a charm on the lock, not Alohomora, but another charm that
did not know. The door opened, and they went in.
Harry saw an enormous rectangular room, with a stone floor and a
ceiling. It smelled indescribably vile – like his Potions
dungeon classroom, but much worse. The room was filled with long
of thick wood supporting an incredible variety of bubbling pipes,
and cauldrons. The walls were lined with file cabinets, supply
and shelves. Most of the room was dark, but to one side was a bright
over a scene of brisk activity. The Hogwarts Headmaster, Albus
looked up at them as they entered, his long white beard shining in
light. Harry gasped with relief. Beside Dumbledore were two women
Harry did not know. The younger one, a tall dark-haired witch with a
elegant face, was hovering over a small bubbling cauldron. The older
shorter and stocky with greyish-brown hair, held a book up in front
the face of a black-robed man lying on one of the tables. Harry
stumbled again as he got close enough to see around the book. The
was Harry’s Potions professor, Severus Snape.
As they drew closer, Harry saw that Snape was very, very ill. His
hair, long and normally greasy, was so soaked with sweat that it was
to his head. His robes were also soaked, and they were pulled back
reveal his neck and part of his shoulders and chest. This skin, as
as the skin on Snape’s face, was a horrible greenish-white colour.
were dark circles under Snape’s eyes, his breathing was harsh and
and his mouth was thin and drawn with pain. Only his eyes were as
and black as normal, and they focused on Harry with their usual
of furious anger. Snape had always hated Harry.
“Harry, I’m so glad you were able to come,” said Dumbledore as he
forward, looking, for him, very serious. “We have a favour to ask of
Sirius, Remus, were you able to explain it to him?”
“Haven’t had time,” gasped Sirius.
“Ah, well then,” said Dumbledore, “Harry, I’m afraid Professor
has suffered a misfortune. He was forced to drink a potion, a
Potion, made using the blood of Lord Voldemort. This potion, you
is intended to enforce a follower’s faithfulness to a leader. If the
who takes the potion is disloyal, or even intends to be disloyal, to
person whose blood is in the potion, he will die, rather painfully,
Harry looked wildly from Dumbledore to Snape, who glared at him
ferociously than before.
“Umm, umm.” Should I say ‘I’m sorry to hear that’? No, that’s
What, then? “Uhh… can I help?”
“We hope you can, Harry.” Dumbledore looked solemn. “Professor
knows of an antidote to the potion. We brought him here to the
Research Laboratory at St. Mungo’s so he could direct us in the
of the antidote. Unfortunately, the potion requires the blood of the
whose blood went into the original potion. That – we do not
No, thought Harry, Voldemort’s blood wouldn’t be easy to
“We are hoping,” continued Dumbledore, “that since you gave the
that brought Voldemort back to life, your blood will be the same as
or sufficiently similar to allow the potion to work. It is our only
alternative. Voldemort has no living relatives.”
Harry felt his face pale. “And if it doesn’t work?”
“Then Professor Snape will be no worse off than before,” said
“and we will have to think of something else. Will you do it?”
“Uh, sure,” said Harry, and then more firmly, “yes.” Automatically,
pushed up the left sleeve of his pyjama top, baring the elbow where
had taken his blood to revive Voldemort.
“That won’t be necessary, Potter.” Snape spoke for the first time
Harry had entered. His voice was hoarse, but as bitingly cold as
“Give me your finger.”
Slowly, Harry approached Snape where he lay on the table and held
his left hand. Snape grasped his index finger and held out his other
The older witch picked up an ivory-handled knife and placed it in
hand. The young dark-haired witch carefully picked up the cauldron
moved it to the table at Snape’s elbow. Snape looked irritably
“Flame!” Remus Lupin made a small Bluebell Flame in his hand and
it out to Snape. Without looking at Lupin, Snape held the knife
in the flame for about thirty seconds and then withdrew it.
Harry gulped. He hoped the knife blade would cool before Snape used
He felt foolish for being nervous. His left hand was turning pale as
the blood was rushing away in fear, but Snape had his index finger
so hard that its tip was still bright pink. I suppose he knows
he’s doing. Snape narrowed his eyes and pricked the finger with
knife. Instantly, blood began to well out. Snape held Harry’s finger
the cauldron, not squeezing it, but waiting for the drops to form
fall off. One… two… three… and Snape pulled the finger quickly away.
dropped Harry’s hand immediately and let his own hands fall, closing
eyes. He looked exhausted from the effort.
“All right,” mumbled Snape, “stir exactly nine times. I must drink
from the cauldron as soon as it is stirred.” The dark-haired witch
stirring and counting. The other witch took the knife gently from
hand, wiped it with a wet cloth, and set in on a table.
Sirius Black reached for Harry’s hand and examined his finger. He
out a handkerchief and handed it to Harry (Harry, of course, had
without a pocket-handkerchief). Harry wiped off the remaining drop
blood and pinched the cut on his finger to stop the bleeding.
“Finished,” murmured the young witch. Immediately Dumbledore and
older witch moved to either side of Snape and lifted his head and
The younger witch held the cauldron carefully to Snape’s lips, and
drank, in one long continuous draught. Then he closed his eyes and
head drooped against Dumbledore’s arm. Dumbledore and the other
looked at each other, and lowered Snape’s head gently to the table
For a moment there was no movement. Everyone stared at Snape as
they expected something to happen, but he continued to lie there
a green face, the only movement his harsh breathing.
The younger witch broke the silence by pulling a pocket watch out
her robe. “One fifty-five,” she said, and walked over to note the
in a book on the worktable.
“It was about two-thirty last night when Professor Snape took the
Dumbledore informed Harry. Everyone else seemed to know this
“Professor?” asked Harry, “how will we know if it worked?”
Dumbledore looked at Harry over his half-moon glasses. “Well, in
half an hour, we’ll know for sure. But I hope we shall see some
in his condition before then.”
“I haven’t had time to make introductions,” continued Dumbledore.
Miss McGonagall, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, this is young Harry
The two witches nodded, both letting their eyes stray to the scar on
“Harry, this is Miss Ariadne McGonagall,” said Dumbledore,
the younger witch, “whose laboratory we are in. She is the head of
Research here at the hospital. And yes, she is the niece of
Professor McGonagall. Harry looked at her closely and could see the
“And this,” Dumbledore nodded to the older witch, “is Ivy
a doctor here. She is a very old friend and, uhh, ally of mine.”
“Very pleased to meet you,” said Harry, nodding to both ladies. He
suddenly and excruciatingly embarrassed to be in his light blue
Why didn’t I wear my dressing gown? At least it would be
like a robe.
“Remus, Sirius, why don’t you and Harry sit down while we wait? I’m
Harry would like a little more explanation.” Dumbledore pointed to
shabby chairs in a corner of the room. Sirius nodded, and touched
shoulder. Dumbledore returned to Snape, felt his forehead, and began
his face and chest with a water-soaked cloth.
Harry sank gratefully into one of the chairs. His legs were
whether from tension or just late-night tiredness, he was not sure.
and Professor Lupin sat side by side across from him. They looked
more exhausted than he was.
“What’s going on?” asked Harry. “How did you two get involved?” The
time Harry, Lupin, Black, and Snape had all been together was in the
Shack – they had definitely not been friends then. Though Harry knew
they were all working for Dumbledore now, it was hard to imagine
cooperating with Sirius and Lupin, whom he hated, if possible, even
than he hated Harry.
“This morning, Harry,” answered Lupin, “Sirius and I were in
Dumbledore’s home in Hogsmeade, reporting to him about – well,
we had been doing. Snape suddenly Apparated into the room and fell
a heap at our feet. It took a while to bring him to his senses, but
we did, he told us about the Myrmidon Potion. He said the antidote
was the only possible cure. I ran over to Snape’s rooms at Hogwarts
get the book with the recipe, while Dumbledore contacted his friends
at St. Mungo’s and arranged to use the rare ingredients and
here, and Sirius did his best to take care of Severus.” Harry looked
Sirius, who shrugged and grimaced with distaste.
“Miss McGonagall has been working all evening on the potion, under
direction. She is an expert potions mistress, of course, but she is
very familiar with the, uhh, darker types. Doctor Hepplewhite
Snape various poison antidotes and fever medications, but they
seem to do much good. Meanwhile, Sirius, Dumbledore, and I tried
to think of a way to get some of Voldemort’s blood. Your godfather,
had some very interesting ideas.” Lupin grinned at Sirius, and then
his serious expression. “But of course there really was no way. It
Dumbledore who had the idea of using your blood. Snape seemed to
it would work.” Reminded, they all looked toward the brightly lit
but they could see no sign of any change. Lupin sighed. “So we sent
to Arabella’s house to fetch you by Floo. It’s good to see you,
“It’s good to see you, too, Professor Lupin.” Harry smiled
“Please, Harry – Remus.”
“Oh, right, uh – Remus. But – what was Snape doing? Who gave him
potion? Did he go back and pretend to be a Death Eater again? How
Sirius shook his head and said sternly, “Harry, we didn’t ask those
and you shouldn’t either. Dumbledore knows what Snape is up to.
him, the fewer who know, the better.”
Harry tried to be satisfied with this non-answer, but he wasn’t. He
burning to know exactly what Snape was up to, and he suspected both
and Remus knew more than they were letting on. They both had that
‘for your own good’ adult look on their faces. Right, they’ll use
blood, but they don’t trust me.
Harry wondered if his blood would even work. He hoped it would, of
Professor Snape was a terrible excuse for a human being who
made Harry’s life miserable, but Harry didn’t want him to be killed
this. Plus, he was useful as a potions teacher, if you somehow
to ignore his condescending manner and blatant unfairness. And
seemed to need him. But, if this did work, that would mean that
blood was – the same as Voldemort’s. Harry didn’t
want to think about that. In his opinion, they had way too much in
Harry’s mind wandered further. What ‘something’ had Sirius and
been working on? Were they in danger too? What was all this about
in Dumbledore’s home in Hogsmeade? Harry had always assumed that
Dumbledore – all the Hogwarts professors, really, but Dumbledore
of all – lived at the school. Did they all have homes in Hogsmeade?
Wait, if this works, will that mean I’ve saved Snape’s life like
father did? Great, now he’ll hate me twice as much as ever!
had told Harry that Snape hated his father because James Potter had
saved Snape’s life. In fact, he had rescued him from Remus Lupin in
werewolf form. It had been Sirius Black who had let Snape find
which was a big reason why Snape hated them both. So he hates
who put his life in danger, and he hates people who save him? Maybe
just likes to hate people.
Harry considered his own feelings about Snape. He didn’t
him, really, though he had often said that he did. He just disliked
very, very, very intensely. Though – Harry remembered
cold voice saying ‘I see no difference’ and ‘two more for
tonight.’ All right, maybe he did hate him.
Come to think of it, Snape once saved my life too – when
was hexing my broom, and Snape did the counter-hex. Or anyway, I
have had a good chance of dying. But Harry didn’t hate Snape for
though it was irritating to owe him anything or acknowledge that he
any good qualities. It felt much better not to think about it. The
of being able to save Snape’s life tonight felt – good. I’ll bet
old stinkpot never says thank you. Then, I guess I never
thanked him for the broom thing. Well, I didn’t know about it until
later; I thought it was Hermione who rescued me. Harry shifted
Just then, Dumbledore rose from his patient and walked over to the
of them. He was smiling. Harry, Sirius, and Remus leaped to their
“Yes, Severus is showing a definite improvement,” Dumbledore
“I think we can conclude he will still be with us ten minutes from
Harry, we’re very grateful to you for coming to us at this time of
Dumbledore looked down at Harry’s attire with a straight face, but a
in his eye. “I hope Sirius didn’t disturb the Dursleys when he woke
“Uh, no, actually I was awake already,” Harry stammered. “I
“I’m sorry to hear that,” said the Headmaster, looking searchingly
Harry. “No bad dreams, I hope?”
“Oh, no… I mean, not that kind of bad dream, umm, no visions
anything.” Harry explained. “I was just… thinking.”
Dumbledore nodded respectfully and turned to Sirius Black. “Any
Any sign of” – he glanced at Harry – “watchers?”
“No, Professor,” said Sirius. “I didn’t smell or see anything, and
one tried to interfere with us. Arabella was on the lookout, of
“Excellent,” said Dumbledore, rubbing his hands together. “I
hope you have the same luck taking him back. Harry, thank you for
owl last night – most useful. Please continue to keep me
Harry nodded, but before he could open his mouth to demand more
“I also got rather an interesting note from your classmate Miss
at breakfast this morning. What a very clever witch she is! We will
to have a talk with Miss Skeeter.”
Harry nodded again. Hermione was indeed a very clever witch. Then
frowned. “Don’t let Rita Skeeter use her Quick Quotes Quill,
“Oh, I believe I can convince her to speak to me off the record.”
winked. Harry grinned.
Dumbledore pulled out his gold watch and studied it. “Either we are
a lunar eclipse, or the time is almost up. Shall we go see if
When they rejoined the two witches, Snape appeared to be asleep.
breathing was quieter and his face was deadly pale, but no longer
Maybe he is dying after all, thought Harry. It was 2:28…
2:33… 2:37… and Snape was still alive. At 2:40, the dark-haired
took a deep breath.
“Well, gentlemen, Ivy, it appears we did it. Shall we wake him to
him?” The other witch, Doctor Hepplewhite, answered. Her voice was
like a smoker’s voice in the Muggle world.
“Heavens no, Ariadne, let the poor boy sleep. And Albus, you’d
get this child home; he’s dropping on his feet.” She gestured to
“Yes indeed,” said Dumbledore. “Harry, you’ll be hearing from me in
few days.” He exchanged a knowing look with Lupin. “Sirius, take
And what was that all about? thought Harry irritably.
grown-up secrets. Remus accompanied Harry and Sirius back to the
in the lounge. Harry turned to shake hands with him.
“It was really great to see you again, uh, Remus. Good luck at
“Thanks, Harry, but I suspect I’ll be seeing you again soon. I’m
forward to it.” Remus offered Harry the Floo Powder. “Arabella
house, Larkspur Drive.”
Harry parroted the words, remembering to hold his glasses this
When he stumbled out of the fireplace in Mrs. Figg’s parlour, he
too dull from sleepiness to follow the quick words exchanged between
godfather and Mrs. Figg. He gave a huge yawn, and so did Sirius.
“Come on, Harry, let’s get you home.” Sirius looked around
and took out his wand as they exited the house. Harry held his wand
it had been in his hand for hours. “I know you’re sleepy, and
haven’t slept since night before last.” The cool night breeze woke
up a little. He looked up at Sirius.
“What were you doing last night?”
“Something.” Sirius gave him a mocking look.
Suddenly, Sirius growled (exactly like a dog) and spun around with
wand high. Something small and fast was streaking at them through
air. Then Harry heard Sirius laugh, and he recognized the feathery
It was Pigwidgeon.
“Come here, you ruddy owl,” whispered Harry. As usual, Pig’s
attempts to deliver his message interfered with the actual delivery.
Harry grabbed the tiny owl. “Sirius, this is your fault. You gave
maniac to Ron.”
Sirius gave a crack of laughter. “Doesn’t Ron like having an elf
he asked. “I had one when I was in school. It was very unusual, and
the babe-magnet.” He smirked at Harry. Harry sniggered.
“Actually, the younger girls do love Pig. But I don’t think
appreciates having them cluster around, squealing.” Having gotten
letter off with some difficulty, Harry released the frantic owl.
“He’s not using it right,” said Sirius calmly. “I’ll have to give
some pointers. Here, Harry, can you get in?”
“Thanks to you,” said Harry, fishing the unlocking device from the
pocket of his pajamas.
“Oh yeah,” said Sirius enthusiastically. “It’s great at knotted
too. Well, goodnight, Harry. I expect I’ll see you pretty soon,
“Sirius, please, can’t you tell me what you’re doing for
Harry pleaded. Sirius gave Harry a mock severe look.
“Of course not! I’ll tell you one thing, though – I’ve always
myself as a rat-catcher.”
Harry was grinning as he tumbled into bed and fell instantly
the latest letter from Ron still clutched in his hand.
* * *