Harry's summer vacation
after fifth year holds some surprises. A little angst, a little fluff, a few
laughs. The usual fanfic
copyright disclaimers- everyone and everything in here belongs to J.K. Rowling,
no money is being made and no infringement is implied. The story itself is
mine. My thanks to my beta-reader, Beth, who had to slog through multiple
copies of corrupt html.
Before the Storm
By Madame En
Postcards and Pies
other summer Harry would have been thrilled at the behavior of the Dursleys.
Since the warning from Mr.Weasley, Lupin, Moody and Tonks on the platform when
they picked him up, the Dursleys had almost been civil to him. Of course they
spent most of their time ignoring him, but at least he wasn't being yelled at.
He had been allowed to watch the television news without comment, although he
always heard a sigh of relief when he left after the day's important headlines
were over. He would have been slightly better fed than previous years, had he
chosen to eat instead of just move the food morosely around on his plate.
Harry caught looks of fear pass between his aunt and uncle whenever he was
forced to be in their presence, such as at meals, he tried not to notice it. He
had tried several times to question Aunt Petunia about what she knew regarding
the wizarding world, but she had gone pale and silent. She now tried to spend
as little time as possible alone with him. Dudley was openly alarmed by any
sudden movement Harry made, and avoided him as much as possible. He spent most
of his time out with his mates making trouble. All in all, they had pretty much
left him alone, even Uncle Vernon, which was a vast improvement.
had been any other summer…but this summer all he felt the majority of the time
was numbness. He spent the first weeks in a haze, and barely had to try and
practice his occlumency, he felt so little emotion about anything. But
sometimes he failed to close himself off, after all that had happened, and with
couldn't think about that. Harry lay on his bed listlessly. He had spent most
of his time up here in his room, reading through the DADA books Sirius and Lupin
had given him last Christmas. He even resorted to finishing his summer homework
out of a need to keep busy- Hermione would have a heart attack if she knew.
When all distractions failed, he spent the time just lying around and trying
desperately not to think about how much he missed Sirius. He would just have to
numb the rest of his feelings- he'd already learned to bury his guilt and anger
under a veil of apathy. But the pain of his loss, that was proving even harder
to release. He had to learn though- he couldn't afford too many more nights
like last night.
had another nightmare, and had gotten very little sleep because of it. The
nightmares were always the same; not his parents dying, not Cedric dying, or Voldemort
rising- no, now he dreamed about that awful night in the Ministry of Magic. He
watched, helplessly, over and over again, as Sirius fell through the veil. He
woke up some nights so hoarse that he knew he must have been screaming in his
sleep, but none of the Dursleys ever said a word to him in the morning. Dudley
had tried only once, but the taunts had died on his lips when Harry pointed his
wand at him and declared that he really didn't care if he got expelled or not.
he thought that they stayed silent on purpose, both hoping and fearing that Voldemort
had come for him at last, and that they would have been relieved to find him
gone or dead in the night. The only good thing was that it was always the same
dream, and he never seemed to see with anyone's eyes but his own.
rolled over and glanced at today's edition of The Daily Prophet lying on
the floor. He scanned it more carefully these days, and was at least relieved
that it was no longer hushing up Voldermort's return; in fact it was full of
articles verging sometimes on hysteria. But even that did not hold his interest
only moment in the day that gave him any pleasure happened when he got the
morning post. He had kept his promise to write to at least one person every
three days, but his own letters he knew were feeble variations on the theme of
"I'm fine." But the letters he received were what kept him sane.
oddest bit of post so far had been a glossy postcard ("Greetings from
Sweden!) from Luna, who was spending her summer with her dad looking for
We have had no luck so far. We thought we spotted one from
the ferry one day, but couldn't even get a snap. Several people have
complimented me on my Swedish, although I am puzzled by why they keep handing
See you at school,
also received a rather lengthy letter from Neville, which sounded very similar
to the way Neville spoke, sort of nervous and scattered.
How is your summer going? I'm very sorry about what
happened with your godfather. I asked my Gran about him. Once she knew the
truth (which Ginny told me- she got the story from Ron- I hope you don't mind)
my Gran was also very sorry and asked me to send you her condolences.
Gran's a wonder sometimes. Just when I don't expect it, she
surprises me. I thought for sure she would be furious about what happened at
the Ministry. Instead, she seemed rather impressed. She marched me right down
to Ollivander's for a new wand. I'm glad that I didn't go there when I was
eleven- he would have terrified me. He stared at me for the longest time,
disappeared into the back, and finally came back with the dustiest box you
could imagine. I picked up the wand, and it was the oddest feeling- I felt
almost as if I could use it properly- like I had some real power. Weird. Gold
sparks shot out like mad, and Mr. Ollivander said something about 'the wand
choosing the wizard,' which Gran said is nonsense that he says to make his
money. Not that I'm glad I broke my dad's wand (Gran has the pieces in a case
on the mantle now) but I'm glad that I have my own wand now. Does that make
Anyway, I'm looking forward to the start of term for a
change and to see what I can do with the new wand in the D.A. We aren't
stopping, are we?
Sorry this is so long, and I hope you don't mind my
writing. Ginny thought you wouldn't. Hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday- Gran
is taking me away for a few weeks so don't worry about answering. I'll see you
had smiled at the formal closing, and was somehow pleased that Neville sounded
a bit more confident about himself. A lot had happened that night in the
Ministry, and if anything good came out of it that would be something.
morning he had received a postcard from Hermione, who was now on holiday in New
York with her parents. They had been horrified by the little information that
she had told them of what had happened the previous term, and it had taken
every ounce of determination Hermione had for them to allow her to return to Hogwarts
in the fall. She had managed to persuade them, she wrote in a letter before she
left, by explaining that without continuing her education she would be little
better than defenseless, and that the danger would not lessen if she went to a
different non-magic school. She was known to be a witch by those who might wish
her harm, and she was safer by far at Hogwarts than anywhere else. They had
finally given in, but had whisked her off as far away from London as they could
for a few weeks. He picked up the card and glanced over it again:
Having a wonderful time- it's amazing how many of
"us" walk the streets here without even attempting to be discreet, as
no one apparently pays a bit of attention. We have been doing all the touristy
things, but I long for home and news of, well, you know. Be careful and be
smiled briefly and rolled over onto his back. He was lying on his bed
half-dozing from the heat, when he spotted, through half-closed eyes, a small
blur barreling through his window. Jumping up, he managed to catch Pig zooming
around his room not unlike a snitch, and untied the package that was larger
than the tiny bird. Pig gratefully hopped up to take a drink from Harry's water
glass on the nightstand, as Hedwig was giving him a rather evil glare. Inside
the wrapping paper he found several small mince pies, and a note from Ron. The
pies smelled wonderful, and he popped one in his mouth without even realizing
it as he read the enclosed letter.
Mum made these fresh this morning and says you need
fattening up-she thinks you're much too skinny. I told her if you were fat you
wouldn't be able to play Seeker anymore and would have to be the Quaffle, but
she didn't like my joke. Actually, it's not much of a joke, is it? I am bored
out of my mind- No one is here but Ginny, and Hermione had the nerve to go off
with her parents to New York!! I mean, honestly, what'd she have to go and do
that for? F & G are out most of the day and night, apparating all over the
place. They apparated right on my bed the other night- scared me half to death!
I can't wait until we learn that. They told me to let their "silent
partner" (Ha!) know the shop is going well. I don't have anything, you
know, *important* to pass along, not that I would be able to, but I just
wanted you to know it's not like last summer so you don't have to go all
ballistic on me when you come. At least I hope you'll be able to come- haven't
heard any word on that either- sorry mate. Guess you're stuck with Duddikins
for a bit more. Has he exploded or anything?
This was followed by a large ink spot, and Harry grinned as
he read the next line
Bloody hell!! Stupid Ginny just set off an F&G special
right behind me-will I get no peace in this house? Mental, all my relatives
are! It's a wonder I'm sane. Ginny now says I have to say "Hi" to
you-wait a minute- she can do it herself, I have to go get the ink off my
Harry continued on with interest- he had never had a proper
note from Ginny before. He was glad that she had stopped being so shy around
him this year. She was rather funny when he finally heard her speak in normal
After several more thumbprints and ink splotches, the
handwriting changed to Ginny's much neater script:
How is your holiday going so far? I'm sure it's not the
best summer you have ever had, and I just wanted to let you know we are
thinking of you and hoping you can come here soon. You need to come save me
from Ron- he is driving me mad! All he's been doing since he got Hermione's
post is pacing and mumbling to himself. And he calls us mental. Sorry about the
mess on the letter, but if you could have seen the way he jumped up and spilt
the ink all over you would be laughing as hard as I am right now and I'm sure
it would cheer you up. Wish I had a camera to send you a snap of it. Well, take
care, and we will hopefully see you soon.
The script returned to Ron's scrawl:
Don't believe a word she says, mate- she's a nutter. I'd
rewrite this and get rid of her lies, but I'm too lazy to dig out more
parchment. Send Hedwig round with any news- I need to hear from someone who is
sane and not lording it over about being off on holiday somewhere posh and
meeting bloody smooth American wizards. By the way, have you heard from Moony
sighed. Neither gave any hint of what was happening within the Order, and he
couldn’t even muster the indignation that he felt sure he should that he was
being kept out of the loop. It seemed that they weren't much in the loop either
this summer, especially if Ron was asking him about Lupin. Harry had thought it
odd that he hadn't heard from his old professor, as Lupin had been the one to
say, "Keep in touch," but at least he knew that he was out of touch
with everyone. He wasn't sure now whether he should be worried about that or
not. He buried that thought away just as he did with all the other thoughts
that worried him.
reread the letter again, smiling at Ginny's section. He had a bit of a start,
though, as he re-read the part about her "thinking of him." For some
reason, his stomach felt odd. Chalking it up to hunger, he took another bite of
a pie and chewed thoughtfully.
had been a big help last year when he was so upset and feeling responsible for
Mr.Weasley's attack. Especially considering the fact that it was her father
Harry thought he had attacked. She had also fought very bravely that night in
the Ministry, insisting that she be allowed to help. It struck him anew that
she was the only other person he knew who had had such close experience with Voldemort
and survived, and that thought made him uneasy. Had he ever thanked her for
making him see it wasn't his fault?
first time in days he actually felt something other than numb. 'What if I never
thanked her? Did I? I can't remember,' Harry thought frantically to himself,
pulling open his desk drawer for some fresh parchment and a quill. He had no
idea why it was so important for him to thank her now, but he felt compelled to
send her a note so she wouldn't think he didn't appreciate, er, well, whatever.
sucked on the end of his quill, trying to think of what to write.
Hi. How are you?
I wasn't sure if I ever apologized to you for being a prat
last summer. You were right- you of all people were the only person who knew
what it was like, and I'm sorry. Also I'm sorry for being a prat in the forest
He paused for a moment, realizing he was rambling, but not
knowing how to fix it, he sighed and struggled on.
Hope your summer is going okay. Ron sounds like he's truly
getting mental Too bad you have to deal with him by yourself, but it sounds
like you are handling it pretty well. If I get there before school you will
have to get him again, just so I can see his reaction, heh!
p.s.- I just re-read this, and it's a good thing Ron was
there both times, or the above wouldn't sound too good, heh, heh. Hmm…not sure
if that sounds any better. ~H
p.s.p.s.- Please thank your Mum for the pies- they are
delicious and remind me of
home, I mean your house. ~H
re-read it again, and, deciding it was stupid, was about to crumple it up.
Instead, he found that he had rolled it up and sealed it. Calling Pig over
before he lost his nerve, he tied it to the little bird's leg and told him,
"Bring this to Ginny- not to Ron- to Ginny. You got that?" he
asked the little owl, trying to make a strong mental picture of Ginny in his
head to help the silly bird.
Pig hooted happily and zoomed off
into the darkening sky before Harry realized he was gone. He was still
picturing Ginny, and his stomach gave another funny lurch as the image of her sitting
on the train reading The Quibbler became more vivid in his mind. He
could see the way the sunlight had gilded her red curtain of hair, and the way
she bit her lip while studying the quiz questions in the magazine. He shook his
head, absently chewing on the last of the pies, and wondered why he had such
perfect recall of that moment.