The Sugar Quill
Author: ChaosStorm  Story: Summer of Terror  Chapter: Chapter 1: First Signs of the Second War
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Summer of Terror Chapter 1
A big thank you goes to my beta-reader Axelle. Without her this story would have been full of silly mistakes, crappy lines and poor Hedwig would have been doomed to spend a whole year with the Dursleys.

SUMMER OF TERROR

CHAPTER 1: FIRST SIGNS OF THE SECOND WAR

Something was ticking against the window. The light of the morning sun was trying to shine through the closed curtains. Harry woke up from a night filled with nightmares about burning buildings. The ticking against the window had woken him up. He glanced through his room, which was lit by the sun. It seemed to be a wonderful summer day.

In Harry’s mind things were less sunny than outside in the garden. He was stuck here, at Privet Drive with the Dursleys and he was hoping to return to the wizarding world soon. His friends from Hogwarts had promised him that they would invite Harry this vacation.

“Really soon, Harry. We promise,” Hermione had said last time when he left King’s Cross Station.

He had been two weeks with the Dursleys now and hadn’t had much contact with his friends since the end of last term. He had gotten two owls. One was from Hermione, saying that she was staying with her parents most of the summer, as she wanted to make up with them for ditching them on last Christmas’ skiing-trip. There was also an owl from Ron, who seemed quite disappointed about spending most of the vacation alone at Grimmauld Place in London. Ron wrote that he had hoped Hermione would join him, but now he was there most of the time alone with Ginny and Mrs. Weasley. Fred and George had moved out to work in their shop. They had an apartment on number ninety-three, Diagon Alley. It was right above Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes Shop.

Thinking of this letter made Harry think of 12 Grimmauld Place and thinking of Grimmauld Place made him think of the time he spent there with Sirius. He still missed Sirius with all his heart and one side of him hoped to visit Grimmauld Place again, in memory of Sirius. On the other side, he feared going there – the pain and the loss might be too much. He felt he needed to talk about Sirius, but he could not do so. The Dursleys, of course, would probably just be plain rude. In the past, if he had problems, he would write Sirius, but that was, of course, no longer an option as Sirius was dead. He could write Lupin, but since it was Lupin who first tried to convince Harry that Sirius had died, he didn’t really like Lupin as much as he used to do. He knew, of course, that it wasn’t Lupin’s fault. If it was anyone’s fault, Harry felt it was his own. The loss was easier to carry if he could somehow be a bit angry with someone, instead of himself.

Again something ticked against the window – Harry had entirely forgotten that it was this ticking sound which woke him up in the first place. He got up and opened the window, stroking the owl which was drawing attention by tapping the window with its beak. The bird dropped a copy of the Daily Prophet and flew away. Harry took the newspaper and his eye fell on an advertisement for the new Nimbus 2002 which covered the full back page. Harry smiled. But his smile faded when he turned the newspaper around and saw the front page. His heart flipped over. A huge picture of the Dark Mark hovering over a burning house stood in the centre of the front page. The picture reminded him of the picture in the Daily Prophet on the day after the Quidditch World Cup final, two years ago.

 

HE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED BEGINS TOTAL WAR
DEATH EATERS STRIKE TWICE

Last night the homes of two wizarding families fell prey to the Death Eaters, a group of wizards who are loyal followers of recently returned You-Know-Who. It appears that You-Know-Who, who has worked in secrecy for the past year, has declared a total and open war upon the wizarding world. Last night his Death Eaters openly attacked the homes of two pure-blood wizarding families.
The first target was the home of the Lovegood-family. Paul Lovegood is famous as owner and editor of
The Quibbler magazine. Lovegood and his teen-aged daughter were absent during the attack and they so escaped injury or worse. They are said to be spending the summer in Sweden, in a search for the mythical Crumple-Horned Snorkack.
The second target was the family of Ministry of Magic employee Arthur Weasley. The whereabouts of the Weasley family are unknown, but the
Daily Prophet has learned that the family has not been at their home, The Burrow, since the beginning of the summer vacation at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which is attended by the two youngest of Weasley’s seven children. It has been confirmed that, in spite of his unknown place of residence, Weasley does attend his work at the Ministry as normal. It seems that the Weasleys, just like the Lovegoods, have escaped the attack, by not being at their homes last night.
Both homes, which are located in roughly the same area, have been completely burned down and have been marked with the Dark Mark, the symbol of You-Know-Who. At present it is unknown if both attacks were random or whether the Lovegoods and Weasleys have been targeted for a specific purpose by He who must not be named.
It seems that no one was injured or killed in these first strikes and we can only hope no one ever will.

 

Harry read the article with his mouth hanging open; he was stunned. The Burrow burned down? That couldn’t be true. He instantly thought of the Weasleys. He was glad none of them was home during the attack; they were all at Grimmauld Place, as Ron had written. The Weasleys were always so kind, and yet so poor. Could they afford a new house? Harry guessed not. Where would they go and live now then? He could almost see Mrs. Weasley worrying over the loss of The Burrow, and Mr. Weasley looking depressed.

Harry look at the burned house in the picture. He did not recognize the remains and its surroundings. It must have been the house of the Lovegoods. He clearly remembered how he met Luna Lovegood roughly a year ago in the Hogwarts’ Express and how she had joined Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Neville in an attempt to rescue Sirius at the Ministry of Magic, and how they all stumbled into a trap which had been setup by Lord Voldemort.

That trap had only worked because Harry and Voldemort could sense each other’s emotions, and sometimes even each other’s minds. Harry clearly recalled how he had seen through Voldemort’s eyes a few times before. Suddenly Harry realized where last night’s nightmare came from. Perhaps Voldemort himself was at the attacks. They weren’t a coincidence – the dreams had come to him because of the burnings by Voldemort’s followers last night.

With his mind on the attack of the Death Eaters, Harry got dressed. He felt he had to write to Ron, to say how horrible he felt about it, to show sympathy, but he could not think of the right words to say it. It could wait until after breakfast. And so Harry went downstairs, with his mind still on the burned remains of The Burrow.

*****

Harry sat down at breakfast; all three Dursleys were already in the kitchen when he arrived. Uncle Vernon did not look up from his plate when he spoke to Harry.

”We will be out today, boy,” he said. “You know the rules: don’t touch the television, don’t touch the fridge, don’t touch anything at all, and no funny stuff.”

“Where are you going?” Harry asked.

”Dudley’s going to pay another visit to Doctor Schnauzenberger,” answered Aunt

Petunia.

“And that is your fault boy!” bellowed Uncle Vernon. “If it weren’t for your abnormalities, Dudley would be perfectly fine. And now his school makes us send him to some shrink as if he is a madman!”

Harry couldn’t help but smile slightly. Dudley had been depressed ever since he encountered a couple of Dementors last year. Although the effect caused by Dementors was unpleasant, it usually wore off after eating some chocolate. Harry had two theories about it. He guessed that it kept affecting Dudley longer because he was a Muggle - although it was more likely that Dudley was mere acting as he liked the extra gifts his parents bought him to cheer him up. Not too long ago Dudley was given a shiny red moped. Dudley could probably easily keep up with Doctor Schnauzenberger with the expectation of gifts in return.

After breakfast the Dursleys left. Harry went to his room, sat behind his desk and took out some parchment and a quill. He wrote:

Dear Ron,

Right there he stopped. He wanted to show the Weasleys some support now that their house was burned down, but he could not think of a good way to put it on paper. Although his eyes were pointing towards the parchment, he did not actually see it. In his mind he had visions of the burned house, of Mrs. Weasley grieving over The Burrow, and Ron and Mr. Weasley being upset.

The doorbell rang. Harry checked his watch and saw that he had been staring at the parchment for half an hour. The doorbell rang again. Harry went downstairs and answered the door.

It was a horribly nervous looking Mrs. Figg, an old lady who lived in the neighborhood. Harry had only learned last year that she was a squib. She had a copy of the Daily Prophet tight in her hand.

“Harry,” she asked a bit nervous. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” said Harry. He was caught a bit off guard. The last time he had seen Mrs. Figg was when she gave testimony in his favor at a hearing by the Ministry of Magic, almost a year ago. He was happy to see her. Although she wasn’t a witch, she was the closest thing to the wizarding world that he had in Privet Drive.

“I saw the Dursleys go out,” she said. “I got an owl from Dumbledore this morning. I am to make sure you pack all your stuff and get on the Knight Bus to London as soon as possible.”

“Am I going to Grimmau…?”

“Shhhh!” hissed Mrs. Figg, with a finger pressed to her lips. “Yes, you are going there. But there is no need say it aloud! The louder a dragon roars the more attention it attracts. Do you read the Daily Prophet?”

“Yes,” answered Harry. “If it is about The Burrow, I have just read about that.”

Mrs. Figg nodded quietly. Obviously that was why she had brought a copy of the paper with her. And Harry suspected that it also was the reason Dumbledore wanted him back at Headquarters. Although he was happy about returning to the wizarding world, he hated the reason why. He was nervous. The wizarding world no longer was a happy place, now that Voldemort had openly attacked – attacked the home of Harry’s best friend even.

“Now, go pack,” Mrs. Figg said. “I will make sure the Dursleys know you are away until next summer. And don’t forget your Hogwarts stuff, as you will not come back here for a year.”

It took Harry less than one hour to pack everything he needed and meet Mrs. Figg again downstairs. She was mulling over the Daily Prophet’s crossword puzzle.

“Are you ready?” she asked, folding up the newspaper. “You sure you have packed everything anything? A potion with a forgotten ingredient can give a serious headache.”

“Yes,” confirmed Harry. “I’ve got all I need: Hedwig, my books, my wand, my clothes and my Firebolt.”

Although Professor Umbridge had confiscated Harry’s high quality Firebolt broomstick last year, he was given it back when she left Hogwarts at the end of last term. Harry was glad to have it back, and he never doubted that Professors McGonagall or Dumbledore would return him his broomstick once Umbridge had left Hogwarts. All the teachers at the school had found Umbridge’s rulings disagreeable.

“Good,” said Mrs. Figg. “We’d best be going then. Do you know how to signal the Knight Bus?”

“Yes,” answered Harry as they both walked outside. “I’ve been on it twice before.”

On the street Harry signaled with his wand, and seconds later, with a deafening BANG the purple triple-decker Knight Bus appeared. Harry said goodbye to Mrs. Figg and stepped onto the bus.

“Hi, ‘arry!” said conductor Stan, waving at him. “Can we call you by your name this time?”

Harry smiled. The first time he had ridden the Knight Bus he had lied and said that his name was Neville Longbottom. The second time, Harry’s friend Tonks, a member of the Order of the Phoenix, had warned Stan not to say Harry’s name out loud because it might attract unwanted attention from Voldemort or his Death Eaters.

“I guess…” Harry started.

“… better not,” finished a familiar growling voice. “You never know who is listening. He’ll be riding with me, so drop him off at the same place.”

Harry glanced to the direction where the voice came from. Mad-Eye Moody was sitting on an ancient red kitchen chair with white flowers painted on it. Just like last time, the Knight Bus was filled with mismatched chairs in daytime.

Harry sat down on a small green stool next to Moody.

“Hello,” said Moody. “Dumbledore has asked me to ride the bus with you.”

“The Order is still guarding me then, I guess?” asked Harry.

“Yes,” replied Moody. “But Dumbledore has lowered your protection for some reason. He says you don’t need it as much right now, but still he still wants someone to look after you. Arabella has been keeping an eye on your house all summer. If I didn’t have so much trust in Dumbledore, though, I’d say he’s out of his mind. Lowering the guard? One should always be alert.”

Harry and Moody talked the entire ride, but Moody wouldn’t tell Harry much news. He did not say why Dumbledore thought Harry’s guard against Voldemort could be lowered, what Voldemort was up to after the loss of the Prophecy, a few weeks ago, or anything about last night’s attack on The Burrow.

“It is better not to discuss these topics on the Knight Bus,” Moody growled.

//
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