The Sugar Quill
Author: gijane7702  Story: Harry Potter and the Hunt for the Horcruxes  Chapter: Chapter One- A Surprise at Home
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Harry Potter and the Hunt for the Horcruxes

Harry Potter and the Hunt for the Horcruxes

 

Gijane

 

Rated: PG13 (innuendo)

 

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry, Ron, Hermione, or any of the others. They are the property of J K Rowling, Bloomsbury, Scholastic, Warner Brothers, Disney, and whoever else owns a piece of Mr Potter’s magical world. I’m just borrowing them until we get Book 7 and Ms Rowling blows all my theories out of the water.

 

Summary: A Year 7 fic. Begins the same day ‘HBP’ ends. The students boarded the Hogwarts Express to go home right after Dumbledore’s funeral.  Shaping up to be an epic, expect 30+ chapters (*sigh*).

 

Chapter Notes: Needed to get Harry home and set the background for the fic. Italics are inner thoughts.

 

Special thanks to Darker_Rage, my pre-beta. Thanks to Whimsy, my SQ beta.

 

Chapter One- A Surprise at Home

 

            Harry Potter sighed as he stood in the late afternoon sun at the front gate to number four, Privet Drive, home of the Dursley family. This was the last place in the world that he wanted to be, but he had promised Professor Dumbledore that he would return to his aunt and uncle’s home one last time before he came of age. Returning here to Privet Drive was necessary to protect Harry from Lord Voldemort. Lily’s sacrifice had invoked powerful magic, and as long as he could call his aunt’s house his home, Voldemort could not harm him there. However, that didn’t mean he had to like living with the Dursleys. Harry shifted his owl’s cage up higher, picked up his trunk handle, and began to march to the front door. He was about halfway up the path when the front door was ripped open by his uncle.

Vernon Dursley was red in the face as he came stomping down the path. Coming face to face with Harry, his big black moustache bristled as he roared, “I can’t believe that you actually had the nerve to return here!”

Harry noted the neighbours from number two peeking out from behind their curtains. He looked his uncle up and down, and then peered around his large body to see his bony blonde aunt hovering anxiously at the front door. Smiling almost maliciously at her, he said, “Please inform your husband, again, of why I am required to be here. So…here I am. Where’s Dudley?” he asked, looking around for his cousin. It was half term.

 “Never you mind where my son is!” Uncle Vernon bellowed, completely oblivious to the neighbours now hanging on his every word.

“Well,” said Harry dryly, “if it’s none of my business where my cousin is, then I’ll just go to my room. And don’t you worry; I’ll be gone the day after my birthday…never to return.”

            Harry stalked past his uncle, heading towards the front door. As he made to go inside, Vernon called out, “Not soon enough, if you ask me!” Harry paused.

Vernon then realised Harry’s words.  “What do you mean you’re leaving the day after your birthday? You’ll only be 17 at the end of July; you won’t be an adult yet. I’m legally responsible for you until you’re 18. What will the neighbours think if you’re gone early?”

Harry looked at him scathingly “If you had ever tried to understand my mother, her sister-” he emphasised the word ‘sister’, jerking his head towards the still mute Petunia, “me, or our world, you would have known that in the wizarding world, 17 is the legal age. Professor Dumbledore told you that just last year. But have you ever tried to do that? No.” He looked his aunt up and down and then continued, “To you my mother was…what were your words? Oh, yes, ‘a freak…transfiguring teacups and carrying pocketfuls of frogspawn’. Neither she nor my father were worthy of you or your precious Vernon.” Harry turned and shot his uncle a vicious look, then spun back to face his aunt “And I’m surprised that either of you even knows when my birthday is. We certainly never celebrated it. On the other hand, it seems you are counting down the days until you can legally get rid of me. Well, good news, it’s in a fortnight, not in a year.”

Without waiting for either Dursley’s answer, Harry shoved past Aunt Petunia, knocking into her with Hedwig’s cage, and went up the stairs to his bedroom and slammed his door. Leaning against it he realised he shouldn’t have said all that with the neighbours listening in, but he really didn’t care. Glancing at Hedwig, he grinned suddenly and said to her as he put her cage on the dresser, “Well… that went as well as I imagined it would.”

            Hedwig hooted dolefully in response and blinked her large amber eyes at him.          

 

Hunger finally forced Harry out of his room. During the ride to King’s Cross that afternoon, he had asked Ron and Hermione to send him food. However, since both of them had been home only a few hours, they wouldn’t have had the time yet. He would have to go downstairs and face his aunt and uncle. Cautiously creeping through the hallway and down the stairs, he spotted his uncle in the living room, watching the late night news. Vernon caught sight of Harry, but did not acknowledge him.

Harry had heard a very loud fight between the Dursleys earlier in the day. He could not recall hearing his aunt and uncle fighting like that before; indeed, he had never heard them fight at all. He had heard his and his mother’s names come up often. It seemed that Uncle Vernon wanted him gone, but Aunt Petunia, mindful of the charm she had sealed when she took her nephew in, had put her foot down. Harry was staying, end of story.

            Harry pushed open the kitchen door and came face to face with his aunt, who was sitting at the table having a cup of tea. He was not expecting her; since it was so quiet, he had presumed that she had gone to bed. They made eye contact, but neither said anything. Following her nod, Harry went over to the refrigerator where he found a plate of supper made up for him. Surprised, he silently popped it into the microwave and waited for it to warm.

He nearly jumped when Petunia suddenly said, “There is some birdseed mix in the right cupboard for your owl. I picked it up at the pet shop knowing you were coming home, but I just realised I’m not sure if it will eat mix.”

Staring at her in disbelief, Harry managed to get out, “Her. Her name is Hedwig, and yes, she will eat seed… er… thanks.”

He jerked back around as the microwave timer went off. Removing his meal, Harry mumbled goodnight and hurried out of the kitchen. Vernon grunted as he passed the living room in a rush.

            He was halfway up the stairs when he realised that he did not have either a fork or a knife or Hedwig’s seeds. He stood there, in the middle of the stairs, debating whether he should go back into the kitchen when the kitchen door swung open and Aunt Petunia strolled out holding a knife and fork and the birdseed mix box. Another grunt came from the living room.

            Petunia drew in a breath. Harry watched as she marched herself over to the foot of the staircase. Mesmerised, he suddenly found himself on the second step, eye level with her. Handing him the cutlery and the mix, she said to him, “You’ve probably been told this already, but you have Lily’s eyes. They were my mother’s eyes as well. Other than that, you look just like your father, James.”

            With that, she pivoted on her heel and joined her husband in the living room, leaving her nephew in total shock on the stairs.

 

           

Harry waited until Uncle Vernon had gone off to work the next morning before heading down stairs. He had spent most of the night tossing and turning in bed, wondering if his aunt was under the Imperius Curse or if she had been kidnapped and some Death Eater was here instead, using Polyjuice Potion. Then he realised that was ridiculous, so Harry had gone back to wondering what was wrong with his aunt. Uncle Vernon was acting normally, but Aunt Petunia was not.

Harry could not recall even a single instance of his aunt ever speaking to him of his mother before, never mind his father! Harry was shocked she even knew his name. Harry had been told many times by many different people that he looked just like his father, except for his mother’s eyes. He was used to it by now. However, to hear Aunt Petunia say it had thrown him completely.

            After tipping some birdseed mix into her cage, Harry said goodbye to a sleepy Hedwig and left his room.

            Petunia was in the kitchen rinsing Vernon’s breakfast dishes when he walked in. Making eye contact, she started, blinked, then muttered, “Good morning.”

            Harry was floored again. In the sixteen years that he had been living with Petunia Dursley, not once had she ever said ‘good morning’ to him. She had usually barked out an order at him instead         

“Don’t just stand there with your mouth open. Sit down, Harry.”

There, that’s more like it. Harry thought to himself.

He managed to find his seat at the kitchen table. Petunia quickly fried a couple of eggs, made tea and toast, then slid the plate and cup in front of him. She then handed him a message, but before he could read it, she told him what it said.

“A Hermione Granger telephoned you earlier this morning, very polite young lady. That’s her parent’s mobile number. She asks that you return her call right away, something about a…burrow.”

Harry’s heart leapt into his throat. Why was Hermione heading to the Burrow already? When Nymphadora Tonks had Disapparated from the corner of Privet Drive less than 24 hours ago, everything had been okay. Hermione had been home with her parents for less than a day. Granted, her parents were Muggles and she wouldn’t want to miss anything in the wizarding world, especially with the war going on, but she had said that she was looking forward to seeing her parents for a bit.

Harry must have had a horrified look on his face because Petunia quickly added, “She said not to worry, that nothing was wrong, just that she and her parents were headed to this burrow.”

Harry closed his eyes in relief, but jerked them back open when Petunia spoke again.

 “Is this good news? Has this Lord Voldemort started killing again? That’s what has been going on, correct? The hurricane the West Country had late last year, that wasn’t a hurricane, it was magic, wasn’t it? Those two unresolved murders? And the collapsing bridge, too?”

She started to ask more questions, but Harry cut her off. “Hermione is Muggle-born, and her parents are Muggles, which means non-magical. They’re heading to the Burrow, which is the name of my other friend Ron’s family home, probably for protection. The hurricane, the collapsing bridge, and Madam Bones’ and Vance’s murders were magic, not accidents. So yes, Voldemort has started killing again. The war is not going well. The Dementors, the giants, and most of the werewolves are on his side, all the Death Eaters have been freed from Azkaban, Sirius is gone, and now…Dumbledore…” Harry’s voice cracked and he trailed off.

 Petunia frowned, looking as if she was trying to remember something. “Sirius was your godfather. The one that left you the house and the gold. Dumbledore was the man that came here to get you last year?”

“Yes.” Harry replied simply.

“What’s wrong with him? He was rather rude last year, you know,” Petunia sniffed her disapproval.

“He’s dead. That’s why I’m here so early.”

“Dead?! Did Voldemort kill him?”

“In a fashion.” Harry did not want to be having this conversation.

“In a fashion? Did he do it personally?”

 “No, not personally. He had someone else do it, but on his orders.”

“Oh, my,” Petunia squeaked

“Precisely.” Harry sighed, took off his glasses, and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

 “I know about Dementors, but werewolves and giants as well? Oh my.”

 “Oh my, exactly. Giants, as in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ giants, but much meaner. Werewolves that will bite you, and Dementors that will suck out your soul.” Harry turned, replacing his glasses, to see that Petunia was looking very worried.

 “If your friend Hermione’s… Muggle parents are heading to the wizarding world to be safe… shouldn’t we?”

Harry smiled, suddenly realising why his aunt was being so nice to him. She was looking for magical protection. “I’m going to owl Professor McGonagall, the new Headmistress, after I ring Hermione. Maybe we can get the Ministry of Magic to have an Auror watch the house after I leave. On the other hand, perhaps I can move you to Grimmauld Place. No one would find you there. You are, after all, still my family, no matter how you treated me when I was younger.”  Harry grinned to himself, picturing the magic hating Dursleys in a house as magical as Number 12, Grimmauld Place.

Aunt Petunia didn’t say anything as she digested the fact that Harry was willing to help her and her family. She then suddenly blurted out, “What about Dudley? He’s at Marge’s for half term. Then he and the Polkisses are going to Disney World the day after school ends and he won’t be back for three weeks. Will he be safe all the way over in America?”

Harry now knew where his cousin was. He would reserve judgement on his aunt for later. “Probably, but I’ll include that in my owl to Professor McGonagall. Perhaps she can owl America to have an American Auror watch over him.” 

“There are American wizards?” Petunia asked, stunned.

Harry allowed himself a small smile at her amazement, “There are wizards all over the world, in every country.” Petunia looked like she was going to ask more questions, but Harry, who had finished his breakfast and had had enough of his aunt, said, “Let me ring Hermione and see what she has to say.”

Leaving his plate and cup on the table, he was not surprised to see Petunia pick them up immediately and load them into the dishwasher. Harry shook his head, and then traipsed into the hallway to the telephone. Dialling the number, he had only to wait for one ring before Hermione picked up.

“Harry!” she yelled into the speaker breathlessly.

“Were you holding the mobile in your hand, staring at it, waiting for me to ring?” he joked, knowing she had been. He could picture her blushing.

“Shut up, Harry,” she said bossily. “Did your aunt give you my message?”

“Yep, you and your parents are heading to the Burrow. For protection, I’m guessing. Lucky you. I’m stuck here for almost two months. I know I said that I wanted to leave quickly, but Professor McGonagall wants me to stay until the day after my birthday. Where did you get this number from anyway?”

“You gave the Dursley’s number to us at the end of second year, remember? I kept it, just in case. Gave it to Mum. Ron and I aren’t staying at the Burrow; Mr and Mrs Weasley are moving, with my parents, as soon as they get another Order headquarters set up. We‘re coming there to be with you. We promised you just yesterday that we’d be with you every step of the way. Goodness, Harry! Don’t you remember?”

Harry was stunned. Ron and Hermione were coming here to Privet Drive. To be with him.

“Harry?” Hermione asked, “Harry, are you okay?”

Blinking himself into the present, Harry said, “Yeah…sorry. How are you and Ron getting here?”

“On the train.”

“The train? Why don’t you just Apparate here?”

“Harry, if the Ministry of Magic can track magical happenings in a Muggle location, you can bet that Voldemort can as well. We don’t want to attract either the Ministry or Voldemort’s attention. Plus, Ron hasn’t retaken his Apparition test yet, so he can’t.” Hermione said in a disapproving tone. “Therefore, we catch one train at Ottery St Catchpole that takes us to London Paddington. Tonks and Lupin are going to meet us there. Then we’ll all take the Underground to King’s Cross, then Ron and I will get the same train you and Tonks took yesterday to Little Whinging. It’s going to take a while, but we’ll find something to do to pass the time.”

Harry grinned, imagining how Ron would probably want to spend hours stuck on a train alone with Hermione. Ron liked Hermione (like that), Hermione liked Ron (like that), but both were either too stupid or too stubborn to tell each other. Harry had sworn to knock their heads together on more than one occasion He snapped back into the present again as he realised that Hermione had kept chatting away at him.

“Weren’t they so cute yesterday at King’s Cross? She was going to be gone for what, three or four hours, and they said goodbye as if they’d never see each other again. I’m glad he’s over the age difference thing…and the werewolf thing. They’re so happy together.”

Was Harry imagining it or was there a slight sour tone to Hermione’s voice? Was she jealous of what Tonks and Lupin had? She probably wants it for herself, but Ron is too thick to catch her subtle hints, Harry thought to himself. He was going to have to have a serious talk with Ron. 

Harry felt a sudden twinge of regret for breaking up with Ginny. He loved Ginny Weasley, but he had to protect her. Everyone who had got close to him had wound up dead: his parents, Sirius, even Dumbledore. He wasn’t going to risk Ginny’s life (he knew Voldemort would use her as bait; he’d done it before), regardless of what she said to him.

“Is Ginny coming with you?” Harry asked Hermione, trying to sound casual. Please, please, please. He thought.

“She wanted to, but no.”

Damn!

“Ron owled early this morning that war had broken out at the Burrow when Mrs Weasley told her she couldn’t come. Since she’s still underage, she has to obey her mother. Have you ever seen Ginny in a rage? It’s not pretty. I’m sure all the boys took cover,” Hermione laughed.

Harry grinned to himself. He could well imagine petite, red headed Ginny in a rage. Hermione was right: it would not be pretty, and the Weasley boys would have taken cover.

“You should have seen my aunt earlier. She cooked me - “he emphasised ‘me’, “breakfast. If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn she was under the Imperius Curse or a Death Eater in disguise.”

“She’s that different, Harry? I wonder what happened to change her so much.”

“She’s looking for magical protection for her family. She’s not stupid, I’ll give her that much. I just told her that I’m going to owl Professor McGonagall next, to see what the Ministry can do, so we’ll see what happens. It’s scary, Hermione, her being nice and civil towards me. She told me last night that I had my mum’s eyes, but other than that, I was all James. She knew my dad’s name!”

“Very strange.” Hermione paused. “Maybe she’s a bit remorseful as well, Harry, since she knows you’re leaving forever soon.  Look, I have to go. Ron and I will be there soon. Hang on for another couple of days.”

“I’m not so sure about her. I’ll reserve judgement for a bit longer.” Harry paused.  “I’m going to hide in my room. I’ll see you two soon. Be safe and be cautious, even if you’re on the Muggle train.”

“I’m perfectly aware of the dangers, Harry,” Hermione chastised him.

“I’m serious, Hermione!” Harry said. “Tell Tonks and Lupin hello for me. And all the Weasleys. And your parents.”

“I know, I’m sorry. I promise we’ll be safe. You be safe too. You’ll see them all for Bill and Fleur’s wedding, but I’ll tell them you said ‘hello’. Bye, Harry.”

With that, the line went dead. Harry smiled to himself as he hung up the receiver, knowing that despite all that had happened in the past few days, everything was going to be okay.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TBC

 

 

 

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