The Sugar Quill
Author: Elaina Riddle  Story: A Life Without Fear  Chapter: Chapter One : An Unexpected Letter
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A Life Without Fear

A Life Without Fear

 

 

Chapter One

An Unexpected Letter

 

 

 

“Oi, get up Potter you lazy arse. It’s going to be light soon and I don’t want to burn my bloody hands off.” Ron’s voice echoed in Harry’s ears as he flipped over, reaching for his glasses on his bedside table. His heart was still pounding from the dream he had been having for the millionth time since the war had ended.

It had all ended on the day before graduation. Everyone had been leaving their last class, talking excitedly about their summer plans, when there was a huge explosion from the grounds. Everyone had dropped to the ground, but the few who where left standing had drawn their wands and were walking cautiously towards the window to see what had happened.

Ron had pushed Hermione behind him as he walked with Harry to the window. Standing in the middle of the grounds, with his Death Eaters flagging behind him, was Voldemort. Then there was always a flash of red that he couldn’t quite make out before the dream abruptly ended.

 Harry had managed to block a lot of the memory of what took place from his mind. He could remember bits and pieces of it, which he experienced in his dreams countless times, like a broken movie. The screaming, seeing Ron, then Hermione fall from the curse Harry was sure at the time had killed them. Then the burning he had felt in his heart the moment Voldemort fell. He was gone for good.

Harry shook his head trying to clear it. The war was over he didn’t need to dwell on it. He was starting a new life, a life he felt he deserved, with his two best friends who were alive and well, and yelling for him to hurry his bloody arse up. At least Ron was.

They had been lucky after graduation to find an old house for sale not far from the Burrow. It needed a lot of work, considering no one had lived in it for years but Ron had finally convinced them that fixing it up would be something fun they could do together.

This morning they planned to work on the roof; a few shingles were missing and a few needed to be replaced. Ron had said he wanted to get it done before the sun rose too high. They had learned their lesson on their first day when they had all had a lie-in till about noon, then decided to work on the front yard. By two o’clock they were so badly burned that Hermione had to make a special run to the apothecary for a few sunburn antidotes to take the pain away.

Harry dressed as quickly as he could in the dark of his room. His room was pretty big compared to the other rooms he had claimed over the years, three of which he had shared with Ron. All four bedrooms in the house were pretty good size. Ron and Hermione had taken the master bedroom, leaving one room as a spare and the other as a study.

When he finally made it outside Ron had already torn up half the roof. Harry climbed up the ladder on the side feeling too tired to Apparate; no doubt Ron had used the ladder as well. Hermione had decided to fix up her greenhouse since being afraid of heights would make her of no use on the roof.

By eight Harry and Ron had finished re-shingling the roof and felt they could call it a day. The sun had risen but wasn’t quite unbearable. They sat on the edge of the roof drinking cold butterbeer as they watched Hermione move potted plants in and out of her greenhouse. 

“You know, sometimes it still feels like a dream, like I’m going to wake up any minute and find we’re still at war.” Ron said, staring off as he took another long swig of his butterbeer, “Seven long years we’ve waited and now we have a chance to be happy and normal.”

Harry shook his head smiling. It was a relief to know they didn’t have to hide anymore or be on guard anytime they stepped out. The few remaining Death Eaters on the loose were of no big threat; they were more scared of being caught, which would be soon as the Aurors were hot on their tails.

“Ron do you think you could come down and help me?” Hermione yelled from below, her hand shielding her eyes from the glaring sun so she could see them.

Ron finished off his butterbeer and Apparated next to her.It caused her to shriek happily when he took her into his sweaty arms and kissed her. Harry took his cue and Apparated into his own room, not wanting to be exposed to any thing he’d rather not see.

He got some fresh clothes from his drawers and headed to the shower. He stood in the water for almost an hour letting it fall down his body. It felt so good to relax, it was a comfort he had been denied for so long that his body yearned for it. When he finally made it back to his room he was surprised to see a brown tawny owl drinking from Hedwig's water bowl. Upon noticing him the owl turned and stuck out its leg. Harry walked over and untied the letter.

“Thank you.” Harry said as the owl ruffled its feathers and took flight, disappearing through his open window.

Harry had noticed the tawny owl as being one of the Hogwarts school owls but who was the letter from? Dumbledore had already sent him a letter earlier in the week to see how he was getting along. Harry sat on the bed and turned the envelope around in his fingers. There was no writing except his name and address. He carefully opened the seal with his wand.

When he pulled out the parchment he caught the smell of something he couldn‘t place. His heart dropped when he recognized the handwriting.

 

Hi Harry,

            I know you're probably wondering why in the entire wizarding world am I writing to you. Well honestly I just wanted to see how you are doing as I haven’t seen you since before the war. Mum wrote me in Romania this summer to tell me about the house Ron found with you and Hermione. She was so happy that he had found a place so close to the Burrow. I just hope Ron isn’t already driving you mad.

Hogwarts feels so lonely without you, Ron, and Hermione. It made it even worse when Mum sent me to live with Charlie for the summer, not that it wasn’t fun, it’s just I didn’t even get to spend time at home with you three before I had to come back here. So now I’m sitting here in the Gryffindor common room whining to you about it in a letter.

But there’s always Christmas if I don’t stay for the ball they’re planning for this year.  We’ll see. I hope you're doing well! Write back if you get a chance.

                                                            Sincerely,

                                                            Ginny Weasley

 

Harry read the letter through twice, a funny feeling twisting through his stomach. He had been pretty upset that Mrs. Weasley had sent Ginny to spend the summer with Charlie in Romania after the war but at the time he couldn’t understand why. As the summer pushed on he had come to the sudden realization that he missed her company.

Even though they had never had a real conversation she had always been there with him when he needed it most. When Ron and Hermione would sneak off to be alone, Ginny would always sit in the seat next to him by the fire reading or doing homework just to keep him company. When he’d go fly to clear his mind she was there laying on the grass watching him. During the war it was like she had appeared out of nowhere, he had locked eyes with her for a second but in that second it was if her eyes where trying to tell him something. At the time he was sure he knew what it was but now he could hardly remember why she had looked so hurt. After that she had not left his side, saving him a few times from curses that were aimed at his back. But yet they never said one word to each other and even now she had said nothing to him about it in her letter.

He knew he should write her back but what would he say? Thank you for being there for me and saving my life? That was something he wanted to tell her in person, but how long would it be before he got a chance? She had said she wasn’t sure if she was coming home for Christmas, and this was something he felt he needed to tell her as soon as he could. He didn’t want her to get the idea that he was a huge git that didn’t appreciate what she had done for him.

Harry pulled out a piece of parchment from his trunk, which was lying at the foot of his bed. The only people he had ever written to had been Ron, Hermione, Sirius, and Hagrid but having to write to Ginny and tell her how he felt was torture. He didn’t want to say too much because he wasn’t quite sure how much he really cared about her, and he didn’t want to say too little because he didn’t want her to think he wasn’t sincere in his thanking her. It had been over two hours before he had written a letter he felt he could send to her.

Harry put his letter to Ginny in an envelope and placed it on his dresser. Hedwig hadn’t come back from hunting yet and he really didn’t want to ask Ron if he could use Pig to deliver a letter to his sister.

“Harry?” Someone had called from the hall as they knocked on the door causing him to dive to the floor, his wand drawn. “Harry, Ron and I are heading over to the Burrow for lunch did you want to come?”

Harry stood up cursing softly to himself and walked over to his bedroom door.

“I’m sorry, did I scare you?” Hermione said with worry in her eyes as they fell on his wand.

“A little but I’m okay.”

“I’m sorry… I still jump a little any time Ron hugs me from behind.” Hermione said before she realized she had said something personal and blushed.

Harry laughed.

“Don’t laugh at me.” Hermione said unable to stop the smile that formed on her face as she swatted at his arm.

“What’s he laughing at?” Ron said coming up behind Hermione and giving her a hug causing them both to laugh even harder when she jumped. Ron raised his eyebrow in confusion.

“Well let me get some shoes on and I’ll meet you two there.” Harry said turning to face his bed.

“Oh well we’re in no hurry. We’ll wait for you.” Ron said walking over and plopping himself down on Harry’s bed, “ Mum said Charlie and Bill are coming home this weekend and she wants to have a dinner. The whole family’s going to be there. Well except for Ginny.”

'Except Ginny,' Harry thought sadly as he sat at the edge of his bed to tie his shoes. He shook his head. 'We’re just friends, just friends,' He repeated to himself as he finished.

“Hey what’s this?” Harry turned to see Ron holding his letter addressed to Ginny. 'Oh bloody hell, here we go.'

“Why are you writing to my sister?” Ron asked his eye's gleaming.

“Well um, she wrote to me and I just thought it would be nice if I wrote her back,” Harry said trying to sound casual.

“She wrote to you and you're writing her back?” Ron smiled and looked over at Hermione who was smiling just as big.

 “Yes, so if you wouldn’t mind?” Harry said holding his hand out for the letter, just as Hedwig flew through his window. Ron looked at Harry’s hand then at the letter, obviously contemplating whether he should give it to him or not. When Ron finally handed it over, smiling that annoying smile, Harry walked over to Hedwig and tied it to her outstretched leg. Hedwig circled Harry once before flying out his window.

 

 

* I'd like to thank my Beta Lallybroch and for those of you who will have the same question: How did Voldemort and the Death Eaters get onto Hogwarts grounds? This will be answered later in the story.

 

 

 

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