The Sugar Quill
Author: ChaosStorm  Story: Summer of Terror  Chapter: Chapter 2: The Warning
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CHAPTER 2: THE WARNING
Even though I am Dutch, I always thought my English was pretty decent. Seeing the number of spelling and grammar mistake Axelle pointed out to me in this chapter makes clear to me that it's less decent than I thought :o) Thanks to my beta-reader Axelle for this, and for some excellent other suggestions she made to improve this chapter. Also a thank you to the people who read (and reviewed :o) ) the first chapter of this story.

CHAPTER 2: THE WARNING

Slightly nervous, Harry entered 12 Grimmauld Place, the former home of Sirius Black and now Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix – Dumbledore’s organization to fight Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Instantly, Harry felt sad again about Sirius’ death, which had happened on the same night on which Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Neville managed to keep the Prophecy out of Voldemort’s reach.

“Better be quiet in the hallway,” Moody said. “We still haven’t found a way to silence Mrs. Black.”

Harry remembered clearly how the irremovable painting of Sirius’ mother would start to scream and yell at the slightest noise. This memory had not yet vanished from Harry’s mind when Tonks entered the hallway from the kitchen. Her hair was very short and vividly green this time. She could change her appearance at will, and she was keen on experimenting with the most wild hairstyles and colors.

Wotcher, Harry,” she said happily but quietly, slamming the kitchen door behind her. Instantly the slamming door woke up the painting of Mrs. Black. The curtains covering the painting flew open and the lady in the portrait started screaming:

“BLOOD TRAITORS! VERMIN! YOU ARE BESMIRCHING THE ANCIENT AND MOST NOBLE HOUSE OF BLACK!!!”

Tonks and Moody quickly rushed forward and closed the old curtains in front of the painting; silencing Mrs. Black rather quickly.

“Sorry about that,” said Tonks, who was often prone to like accidents like these.

Although Harry’s thoughts were with Sirius, he was very happy to be back in the wizarding world, with many of his old friends. He followed Tonks and Moody to the kitchen, were Ron and Ginny sat. Harry looked at them, not really sure what to say. They had just lost their home. Harry was sure that they must be feeling awful.

“Hi,” he said in a dry, dull tone.

Ginny looked up and replied with a quiet “Hi, Harry.”

“Hey, Harry! Good to see you,” said Ron. He seemed surprisingly cheerful. “How are you?”

“I’m fine, thanks,” said Harry as he sat down at the kitchen table. “And how are you?”

“I guess you’ve read the article the Daily Prophet has written about our house?”

Harry nodded and noticed that Ginny was looking awfully sad again.

“Don’t worry about it,” said Ron smiling, but Harry could hear in the tone of his voice that he did not mean what he was saying. “It was just rubbish anyway.”

“Don’t say that!” Ginny yelled.

Harry looked at Ron. He could tell that Ron was trying to be big, to make the loss seem unimportant. Yet, this attitude seemed to hurt Ginny. He felt like telling her not to pay attention to it – but he didn’t want to paint Ron in a bad light either. So, he decided to avoid the matter.

“Where are your parents? How did they take it?” Harry asked.

“Mom was extremely upset,” Ginny said. “She’s been in bed all day long. Dad and Lupin are taking at look at what remains of The Burrow. They hope to be able to do some repairs with a few spells.”

Harry remembered the picture of the house of the Lovegoods. It had been totally destroyed. If The Burrow was in the same state, there would be no hope for any form of repair.

The last few hours of the afternoon crawled by. The three of them kept talking about the events of last night, but none knew any more than what was in the Daily Prophet. Ron kept pretending that losing his house was not much of a big deal, and the longer he acted like this, the more annoyed Ginny became.

Early in the evening Mr. Weasley and Lupin returned, both with grave looks on their faces. They both greeted Harry. Mr. Weasley wanted to say something, but he didn’t seem to be able to.

“It’s a total loss,” said Lupin in a sad voice. “We could salvage a few small things; photographs, one of Molly’s Lockhart books, and some other small stuff like that, but for the most of it… It is completely burned down. Even the most advanced magic will not be able to repair anything.”

Ginny gave a sharp little cry and ran out of the kitchen, very upset. Even Ron failed to pretend it didn’t matter. He sank down his chair, looking extremely pale.

Everyone went to bed early that evening. Harry unpacked his belongings in the room he shared with Ron last summer.

“No need to pretend that The Burrow was just rubbish,” said Harry to Ron. “I know you better than that.”

“Come on,” replied Ron. “You know it was rubbish. Everything we owned was rubbish. We didn’t lose that much.”

“It’s no use to ignore the pain. Once you realize how great the loss is, it will only hurt more. And Ginny is really upset about it.”

“Since when do you care about Ginny,” grinned Ron.

“Just stop it, will you?” said Harry. “You are hurting others with your act of pretending nothing has happened – and eventually you will hurt yourself with it too.”

Ron looked grumpy as he turned out the light.

“Goodnight, Harry,” he said in a voice which was both grumpy and sad.

Harry had a hard time getting to sleep. So much had happened in the past day. It was hard to imagine that only last morning he had woken up in Privet Drive, and now he was back in the wizarding world – facing some of the most horrible circumstances he could imagine. The Burrow burned down. Why? Why had the Death Eaters targeted the Weasleys? Because they were considered Blood Traitors? That must have been it.

Harry listened to a few soft sobs that broke the silence of the night – and he realized they were Ron’s. He decided never to mention it, so Ron could keep his dignity.

*****

The next few weeks were quiet ones. Ron kept going on with his act of pretending the loss of The Burrow was only a small thing. He usually did so in front of his family. But when he was alone with Harry, he admitted that he was only pretending, as he felt he needed to be strong for the others. Harry told him he was wrong, but Ron didn’t listen.

Mrs. Weasley finally left her bed after two days and took charge of the household of Grimmauld Place. She was being extremely nasty to Kreacher, the house elf of Grimmauld Place. She used her bad temper against him, commanding him to do a lot of work in the house. But Kreacher did not listen. He served only the Blacks and so he did not take commands from anyone else. With Sirius dead and no one left to serve, Kreacher spent most of his time in the little den where Hermione gave him a Christmas present last year. Occasionally he visited the painting of Mrs. Black, and talked to her for hours. Unfortunately for Kreacher, Mrs. Black felt herself too important to talk back. When Kreacher returned to his den, he always made sure to leave the curtains open so that Mrs. Black started yelling at the Weasleys and Harry again.

Mr. Weasley was usually at work at the Ministry. Tonks, Moody and Lupin stayed two days at Headquarters but left to do work for the Order and only passed by occasionally. From time to time members of the Order of the Phoenix passed by Headquarters, but they usually didn’t stay for long. In the case of Snape, who came along only once, Harry was very happy about this.

Fred, George and Bill visited Headquarters a few times as well to support their family. Fred and George often managed to cheer everyone up. Charlie had sent a few owls from Romania, pledging his support, and there even was an owl from Percy, who still had been avoiding most contact with his family.

Ginny got more and more annoyed by Ron’s behavior and once the two of them had a blazing row. Again, Harry wanted to say something to Ginny about not taking Ron too seriously, but he didn’t want to make Ron angry at him for talking behind his back. So he once again told Ron to stop it, but again Ron didn’t listen.

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were seen in the evenings skimming through a magazine promoting wizarding houses for sale, but they were often disappointed since all the houses were much too expensive. On top of that Ron had told Harry that The Burrow was not insured, as Ron’s parents could not afford the insurance. They had gotten an owl from Dumbledore which invited them to live at Headquarters as long as they needed.

Harry celebrated his sixteenth birthday at Grimmauld Place. Although it was sober, it was a lot better than it ever was with the Dursleys. Lupin, Fred and George came to visit and there were owls from Hermione and Hagrid.

It was in the first Friday of August when Mrs. Weasley called Harry away from his lunch.

“Harry dear,” she said. “Professor Dumbledore is here and he wishes to speak with you.”

“Dumbledore?” asked Harry, surprised. He had not expected Dumbledore at Grimmauld Place. Although Dumbledore led the Order of the Phoenix, Harry had never seen him at Headquarters yet. He also wondered what was so urgent that Dumbledore wished to talk to him immediately.

“Yes, dear,” said Mrs. Weasley. “He is waiting for you in the drawing room.”

Harry walked to the drawing room door. He knocked it twice to announce his presence but opened it before Dumbledore answered. Dumbledore was expecting him anyway.

“Good afternoon, Professor,” said Harry.

“Ah, good afternoon, Harry,” said Dumbledore. He was staring out of the window, but turned around to face Harry when he heard him enter. “How are you?”

“I’m fine,” said Harry. But he was not sure if he was telling the truth. The burning of The Burrow, the recent death of Sirius and Ron’s behavior, which seemed to hurt Ginny, all bothered him.

“Are you sure?” asked Dumbledore, glancing at Harry over his half-moon spectacles.

“Not entirely,” said Harry. “It’s being in this place, it reminds me of Sirius. I miss him.”

“That is perfectly natural, Harry. Sirius was a great man, and he surely is to be missed. Perhaps you should take some time to talk about it with your friend, Ronald. That usually helps.”

“But I think the Weasleys have other things on their minds right now, sir,” said Harry.

“Yes,” answered Dumbledore and he kept a few seconds silence. “They probably have indeed. Losing a home is a severe blow. Yet they will understand if you want to talk about Sirius, just as they have talked to you about the loss of The Burrow in the last weeks.”

Harry nodded.

“But let’s get to business, Harry,” continued Dumbledore. “I don’t have much time today, and there is something I wish to tell you.”

Dumbledore was silent for a few moments, as if he was weighing his words.

“Harry,” he continued slowly, “I ask a few things of you, all for your own safety. Do not leave Grimmauld Place until it is time to return to Hogwarts. Whatever happens in the world outside Grimmauld Place, please try not to get involved.”

“What do you mean, sir?” Harry asked confused. “Could you be a bit more specific?”

Dumbledore clearly in deep thought of how he was going to say what he wanted to say. He paced up and down the room a few steps.  And finally he said:

“Very well. However, I ask you to keep calm and not to leave Grimmauld Place this summer, no matter what happens.”

Dumbledore stopped a few seconds. He breathed heavily.

“Harry, my spies have informed me of Voldemort’s new plan. He saw how you came to Sirius’ rescue at the Ministry of Magic after the false visions he had send you. Voldemort seems to think you have not learned from what happened at the Department of Mysteries. Based on the little information he knows from the Prophecy, Voldemort is, as you already know, determined to kill you. But he knows that he can not hurt you at Privet Drive or Hogwarts and he does not know the location of Grimmauld Place. And so he has thought up of a way to lure you out of your safety.”

“To lure me out?” Harry asked. “He wants me to come to him?”

“You could say that, yes,” said Dumbledore. “The attacks on the Lovegoods and Weasleys a while back were not coincidence. Voldemort’s Death Eaters saw you and five of your friends at the Ministry of Magic on the night Sirius died. Among them were Miss Lovegood and two of the Weasleys. I strongly believe that Voldemort, in the hope you make some sort of reckless mistake and form an easy target for him, has decided to target your friends.”

“What?!” said Harry. “Voldemort is targeting my friends? But why? It’s me he wants. He does not care about the others.”

“I know, Harry, and that is why I ask you, for your own safety, not to get involved in this. Leave the protection of your friends to the Order. We are taking care of it. It was the Order which spread rumors of sightings of the Crumple-Horned Snorkack in Sweden, which led the Lovegoods safely out of Britain. We have made sure that all your friends are warned and protected. However, if you try to visit your friends to warn or help them, you will be unprotected. That is what Voldemort wants. So, Harry, please leave the safety of your friends to the Order.”

Harry did not know what to say. He just nodded.

//
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