The Sugar Quill
Author: Arabella (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Chance Encounters  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Based on the works of J.K. Rowling

Five-year old Harry Potter struggled madly against his wide, towering Uncle Vernon at the door to a men's wear shop in London. Uncle Dursley was attempting, unsuccessfully, to shove a too-small, smelly baseball cap over Harry's unkempt black hair. The hat scraped miserably against the tender-looking pink scar that was etched on Harry's forehead.

"Ow!" cried Harry. "Gerroff!"

"STAY - RUDDY - STILL!" bellowed Uncle Vernon, as young Harry ducked beneath his arm and wheeled in another direction.

"Don't, Dad!" whined Harry's pudgy blond cousin, Dudley, who was elbowing them both repeatedly. "I don't want him wearing my old hat!"

"I - know - son - " panted Uncle Vernon. "But - we can't - have - anymore of those - PEOPLE - staring at that - blasted - SCAR!" With the last word, Uncle Vernon finally managed to wedge the cap down over his nephew's unhappy head, where it covered not only his scar, but his ears and eyebrows, banging his glasses halfway down his nose.

Harry winced, and felt his ears pinching. He reached up to rip the thing from his head, but both his hands were caught by one of his uncle's large, sweaty ones.

"And don't take it off!" he barked at Harry. "Or I'll throw you in the street and you can find your own way back to Privet Drive!"

Harry was just old enough to be alarmed by this threat. He knew his uncle was serious. After all, the Dursleys didn't care much for Harry - they'd made a point of treating him badly ever since his parents had died in a car accident four years before, leaving him in the Dursleys' care. Even at the age of five, Harry was made to sleep in a dark, spidery cupboard underneath their stairs, and to wear Dudley's repulsive hand-me-down clothing.

Even though it was a lousy life with the Dursleys, Harry thought it would probably be worse without any house at all. He therefore took his hands down and stopped fighting, trying to ignore the numbness in his ears and forehead, where the hat pressed into his skin.

"Good," growled Uncle Vernon. "Now don't make any trouble, boy. Dudley and I need to be fitted for sports coats. You just sit in a chair and keep your mouth shut."

Harry thought that the only sports coats that would fit the Dursleys would have to be tent-sized. He scowled under his hat brim, where his uncle couldn't see, but he nodded. He'd sit in a chair and keep his mouth shut. There wasn't anything else to do, anyway.

"Good," growled his uncle a second time. "Now come on, Dudley, let's get started. Where's your mother?" Uncle Vernon looked around impatiently for his wife. "PETUNIA!" he shouted into the street.

"Mum went to the toy shop," said Dudley, pointing along the way with a fat finger. "I told her I want a new soaker gun today, and she had to go and get it right now!"

Beneath the hat brim, Harry's scowl evaporated. A toy shop? He followed his cousin's finger along the sidewalk and saw a bright, bubbly looking sign. He hadn't learned to read very much yet, so the name of the shop was unclear - but by the looks of it, it was definitely full of toys. He glanced sideways at his uncle and cousin, who had turned to the door of the men's wear shop, and were going in. They were no longer paying close attention to Harry.

"Go get in a chair," barked Uncle Vernon over his shoulder.

"Okay," said Harry, pretending to follow right behind them. But at the last second, he pivoted, shot back out the door, and ran toward the bubbly looking sign. He forgot that he might be thrown into the street. He forgot that he was wearing a silly looking cap. He forgot that he would probably run directly into his Aunt Petunia, who would punish him on the spot. He was going to play with the toys, and nobody was going to stop him.

Harry had very little experience with toys. Dudley had every single good one that had ever come out - in fact, he had so many that they filled two rooms - but Harry was forbidden even to touch them. This was his chance to get his hands on something fun. Even if he couldn't buy anything, he could play around for a few minutes, which was better than nothing.

With a last look behind him to be sure that no one had followed, Harry sprinted into the shop. The moment his feet crossed the threshold, he broke into a wide grin and would probably have started to laugh at all the wonderful things he saw around him – had it not been for a great, jarring thud that sent him to the floor.

Harry had smacked, full-body, into a slightly older boy. Both of them toppled to the ground, taking an enormous stack of glow-in-the-dark spaceships with them. The spaceships fell in every direction, clattering to the floor and skidding off down the aisles as Harry and the other boy rubbed their heads and grimaced. Harry pushed his glasses back up onto his nose, looking anxiously from side to side for his Aunt Petunia. If she should see him in here, knocking things down -

"That'll be a huge bump!" said the other boy happily, pushing back his bright red hair and feeling his head where he had hit it against Harry's.

"Sorry," said Harry, scrambling to his feet.

"S'all right! It'll look nice and scary, and Mum'll know I'm me!" the red-haired boy assured him, grinning from ear to freckled ear.

Harry had no idea what he was talking about - how could his mum not know him? - until another boy came around the toppled spaceships at a full run, and pulled the first boy to his feet. Harry blinked and stared, thinking he was seeing double. This boy was identical to the first, except that he did not have a large, egg-shaped bruise rising up above his eye.

"Whoa!" said the second boy, surveying the fallen stack of toys. "You've made a heaping mess! Better run for it before the store clerk catches you!"

The twin boys chortled and headed toward the entrance of the store. But just an instant later, they jumped backwards as if they'd been electrocuted, and looked both ways for somewhere else to run. A rather short, plump, motherish woman had appeared in the entryway, and pushed it wide open. Harry thought she would have been a delightful looking person were it not for the unmistakable anger in her eyes.

"FRED! GEORGE!" she shrieked. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!"

Harry, who was in no hurry to draw attention to himself in case his Aunt Petunia was right nearby, ducked behind a display of fluffy, stuffed bears. Feeling some concern for the fate of the red-haired twins, he peeked around at them - and was surprised to find that they did not look in the least afraid of their furious mother. In fact, they both sighed resignedly, as though this was a situation they were quite used to.

"It wasn't us!"

"I just ran into somebody, not my fault at all, Mum - "

"And then I came 'round the corner -"

"Haven't done anything wrong! Can't blame us!"

The two boys looked quite satisfied with this explanation, and proceeded to walk toward the door with an air of total innocence.

"STOP RIGHT THERE!" Their mother reached out both her hands and grabbed each of her sons by an arm. "Don't try that with me! You haven't done anything wrong? I TOLD you to stay in the chairs by the dressing room. Did you?"

"No," said the boys together, stifling snorts of laughter. Harry couldn't help but smile at their humor. Their mother, however, did not.

"Your father just needs a Muggle coat so he can attend his conference without making a spectacle of himself - one tiny trip out into London and you both disappear - it is difficult ENOUGH to do all this without having to go running after the two of you!"

Harry frowned slightly. A Muggle coat? What was that?

The twin boys hung their heads, but Harry could see they were still laughing and poking one another in the ribs.

"It is NOT FUNNY!" cried their mother, looking extremely harassed. "I suppose you don't like coming to London with us? Maybe you'd rather we left you at home next summer, and put Percy in charge?" Both boys froze. This was clearly the worst of all possible threats.

"But he's only nine!" wailed one of the twins.

"Not Percy!" cried the other.

"Oh, yes," continued their mother, pressing her advantage. "Percy would keep an eye on you! Cause one more bit of trouble," she warned her sons, "and you won't come back to London until it's your own turn to go to Hogwarts. I've had enough to do in Diagon Alley today for Bill and Charlie without having to go chasing down the street -"

"We're really, really sorry, Mum!" howled the two boys together, sounding far more afraid of being left home alone with Percy than they sounded sorry about running off to the toy shop. Harry grinned behind the teddy bear display, wondering where on earth Diagon Alley was, and what it meant to go to Hogwarts.

"Well, you should be sorry!" huffed their mother. But she was beginning to look and sound as pleasant as Harry had guessed she might be, as she ushered her twin sons through the door to the street. "Come along back with me, then. I know you must be getting bored, dears, but we're almost through now, and then it'll just be a minute by Floo Powder 'til we're home again."

The door shut with a bang and the tinkling of door bells. Harry shook his head sharply. He thought he'd heard the woman say.... Floo Powder. But rather than puzzle over it, he shrugged. He didn't have much longer to explore, and there were aisles full of toys all around him. Harry wheeled around and went down the first row he came to, checking first to be sure that his Aunt Petunia was nowhere in sight.

It was an aisle filled with boxed board games, still in their plastic wrappers, shining and perfectly stacked along the shelves. Harry tried to read a few of the names, but gave up after a moment - the only one he could manage was "Life". He frowned. This was a boring sort of aisle. He wanted to get to the planes and things - and there, at the end of the aisle was a whole shelf full of them! The shelf was directly behind a small girl his own age. She was sitting on the floor in front of it with her elbows on her knees, leaning toward one of the many boxes and looking at it intently.

"Thcrabble," she was whispering to herself. "Uthe the tile letterth to form wordth - each letter hath a point value - the perthon with the highest thcore ith the winner."

Harry looked down at her. Clearly she could read the boxes without any trouble and in doing so she was blocking up the whole aisle. "'Scuse me," he said to her. "I'm trying to get at the planes."

The little girl looked up at him and smiled. There was a huge gap where her front teeth should have been, and her brown braids ended in bushy tufts. "Thure," she said easily, and stood up. She was just about his height. She hoisted up the Scrabble box, which was far too heavy for her little arms, and showed it to him. "Have you ever played thith? It'th Thcrabble. It lookth fun, doethn't it? You can make wordth and get pointh. I think I'd be good at it. I know a lot of wordth."

She lisped all this very quickly, and Harry stared at her. "Er - no," he said. "I never played that."

"Oh, well, neither have I. But I will, I think. I'm going to athk Mum if I can get it. I'd like to thee if I can learn more wordth before I start in thchool." She smiled at him again, and the tip of her tongue poked through the gap in her teeth. "Do you thtart in thchool thith year?"

Harry nodded shortly and glanced over the girl's shoulder. He didn't want to push her out of the way, but he didn't have much time, and he was starting to feel desperate. The airplanes were right there. He didn't want to stand around talking about Scrabble, or school, but he didn't have any idea how to get by her.

"Look -" he began. But he didn't have to finish.

"Hermione!" came a woman's voice from across the store. The little girl turned her head toward the voice, and Harry assumed it must be her mother. "Sweetheart, come here, I've found a doll I think you'll like."

The little girl sighed. "A doll?" she repeated, looking down at the box in her arms as though Scrabble were much better than dolls.

Harry perked up at her distress. This was a perfect way out. "Go tell your mum that!" he encouraged. "Take Scrabble over there and show her!"

The girl beamed at Harry. "That'th true, I will!" she said.

"Hermione!" came the woman's voice, a tad worriedly this time.

"Coming, Mum!" the girl called back. Flashing her toothless grin at Harry once more, she hefted the Scrabble box tightly in her arms, spun around to join her mother, and came to an abrupt, smacking halt.

She had ploughed directly into a boy of the same age, but taller than the two of them, who had the same bright red hair that Harry had seen earlier on the twin boys. He had come around the corner at a top-speed run, and had been looking backwards over his shoulder. But this didn't stop him from taking offense at being run into.

"Hey, watch out!" he snapped, rubbing his freckled arms where the little girl had slammed them with the Scrabble box. "Look where you're going!"

The girl looked insulted. "Why don't YOU look where YOU’RE going?" she asked defensively. "I wath jutht going 'round the corner. YOU were the one running and not looking, tho it'th really YOUR fault, ithn't it?"

The boy with the freckles rolled his eyes. "Oy, shut it," he said, and pushed past the girl toward the shelf where Harry was now standing. "I'm trying to play and you're blocking up the planes."

"Well, I wath trying to play, too!" said the girl hotly, tossing her little braids. "I wath reading about Thcrabble, wathn't I?" She looked at Harry for support.

"Scrabble!" snorted the red-haired boy. "What’s that? I never heard of it."

"It’th a word game," retorted the girl.

"A word – well, I don't call that playing." And Harry, who personally agreed with this, nodded his head.

The little girl stamped her foot at them. "Honethtly!" she lisped at them huffily.

"HERMIONE!" came her mother's voice for the third time, now sounding impatient.

"Coming!" cried the girl again. She flashed her eyes angrily at the two boys, then turned away from them with her nose in the air. "Goodbye," she said loftily. And then she stomped around the corner with the Scrabble box.

To Harry's great amusement, the red-haired boy made a terrible face after the girl. Then he grinned. "You playing with the planes, too?" he asked.

"That all right?" asked Harry, hopefully.

"'Course," said the boy. "Planes are the greatest. I never get to play with them."

Harry sympathized completely. "Me either," he said, thinking of all his cousin Dudley's planes, and how he was never allowed to do so much as pick them up.

The other boy wrinkled his freckled nose. "Yeah, you can only find them in Muggle shops, and my Mum and Dad hardly ever go."

Harry frowned. That word again. "Muggle?" he repeated, carefully pronouncing the word.

"Yeah, you know," said the other boy casually, picking up a large, black plane and swooping it through the air and making a whooshing noise. "Muggles. People who -" but then he stopped abruptly and laughed. "If you don't know, then you probably are one. Dad says that's a rule." He whooshed the plane in his hand once more. "C'mon, have one," he said, handing Harry a red plane with gold wings. Forgetting about Muggles for the second time, Harry began to fly his plane in circles around the black one.

The two boys were entirely caught up for several minutes, and Harry was enjoying himself completely. He would have liked to sit and play awhile longer, but something occurred to him that gave him a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. The twins he had seen earlier - they looked awfully like the boy he was playing with right now. He wondered if -

"D'you have brothers?" he asked the boy tentatively.

"Five of them," said the boy with a small sigh. "Two are over there somewhere." He waved his hand carelessly in the direction of the front of the store, continuing to fly his plane.

But Harry landed his plane with a crash. "They're not over there, though," he said, a note of panic creeping into his voice.

The red-haired boy's plane froze in the air. "What d'you mean?" he demanded.

"I mean, I saw two boys get dragged out of here by their mum - and they had the same hair you have."

"Were they - twins?" The boy's skin had gone pale behind his freckles.

Harry nodded, and the other boy swallowed hard.

"They LEFT me?" he said in horror.

"They didn't mean it," Harry said quickly, "They got dragged out! Your mum was mad at them, and she took them back to the coat shop."

"Where's that?" wailed the boy. "I dunno my way 'round London - it's my first time coming to Diagon Alley with everybody!" He looked positively panicked.

Harry thought fast. "Well, I know where the coat shop is - my uncle's there getting a coat, too - want to go back there and see if we can find them?"

The freckled boy nodded tensely and dropped his plane on the ground. With a longing look back at the toys, Harry set his face, and led the way out of the shop. He was so busy hoping that they would find the other boy's mother that he forgot to worry about Aunt Petunia, and foolishly headed straight down the soaker gun aisle.

"YOU!!!" came a loud, angry gasp from the end of the aisle. It was Aunt Petunia, carrying a just-purchased soaker gun, and heading at Harry full steam. She looked incredibly unpleasant. "What are you doing in here!?" she shrilled at him. "You were supposed to stay with your uncle, you horrid child!"

Harry flinched and stepped back. He was in serious trouble now. But the other boy, Harry noticed, had balled his freckled fists and edged slightly in front of him. "Is that how my mum was yelling?" he asked in an undertone.

"No," said Harry. "She was a lot nicer about it." He sighed heavily as Aunt Petunia grabbed his shirtfront and began dragging him toward the exit. The red-haired boy followed quickly behind them, though Harry rather wished he wouldn't. He didn't want anybody hearing Aunt Petunia's screeches.

"UNGRATEFUL! How DARE you wander off! ALWAYS making trouble! Your uncle will give you a good thrashing! NEVER bringing you with us again! Leaving you with Mrs. Figg! That is FINAL!"

Harry cringed. They were now passing the front counter, and a number of people were staring at him - including the little girl with the bushy braids. Her look was mostly sympathetic, but she couldn't help tutting her tongue reprovingly through the gap in her teeth, just once.

"Know-it-all," muttered the red-haired boy. Harry glanced around to see that he had made another horrible face at the girl. She merely gave him a maddeningly grown-up sort of look, then whirled back to the counter and ignored them.

"Mum, can we go to the book-thop nextht? Pleathe can we?" were the last words Harry heard out of the little girl as his Aunt Petunia threw open the door and wrenched him through it.

Seconds later, it seemed, Harry was inside the men's clothing store, standing before his Uncle Vernon, who was so enraged that veins threatened to pop in his temples.

"WHERE - HAVE - YOU - BEEN???" he bellowed, red in the face.

At the same moment, from across the shop, Harry heard a familiar woman's voice cry out, "What do you MEAN, you LEFT him?! Where is your brother?"

The red-haired boy breathed a sigh of relief. "That's Mum," he said happily to Harry. But the fact that he had spoken to Harry caused Uncle Vernon's face to go from its usual blustery red to an unnatural shade of purple.

"Who's that there?" he barked, pointing over Harry's shoulder at the freckled boy. "You haven't GOT any friends!"

But Harry didn't answer him. Instead he turned and whispered, "Go on, don't get caught with me, you'll just get in trouble." The red-haired boy nodded.

"Yeah, I have to go," he whispered back, "Mum's all worried." But before he went, he shot a very dirty look at Uncle Vernon that pleased Harry greatly. Harry watched wistfully as the boy headed across the shop toward his large, red-headed family.

"I ASKED YOU A QUESTION!" Uncle Vernon was back to his usual bellow. "YOU'D RUDDY WELL ANSWER! WHERE - WERE - YOU??"

Harry flushed. Now everyone in this shop was staring at him, too. "Toy shop," he barely muttered.

"Well I hope you enjoyed it," hissed Aunt Petunia. "It's the last time you'll ever see one."

"When we get home," whined Dudley, grabbing at his mother's packages in search of his new soaker gun, "you should lock him in the closet all summer. I'm sick of him."

"I will," snarled Uncle Vernon at Harry. "Now SIT!" he barked, and pointed toward a chair.

Harry sat reluctantly, feeling gloomy. Now he had no one to play with. He gazed enviously across the store at the red-haired boy, who had joined a happy, chattering crowd of people - Harry counted two parents, six brothers and one tiny redheaded girl. The girl was peering back at him curiously. Harry watched as she wrinkled her little nose in concentration and stepped toward him.

Just then, something hit Harry in the head so hard that it knocked both his baseball cap and his glasses to the floor, and he hollered in pain. Dudley had batted him with the new soaker gun, for no apparent reason. Harry dove to avoid a second blow, and fumbled for his glasses. When he had them on, he looked up swiftly for Dudley, but found only the little redheaded girl. To his surprise, she was pointing at his forehead in amazement, with one tiny hand clapped over her mouth.

"Ron!" she piped breathlessly, taking her hand down for a moment. "Ron, Ron, come look! It's - "

But she didn't get to finish. At exactly the same moment that the red-haired boy came to see what his sister was pointing at, Uncle Vernon crammed the baseball cap back down on Harry's head with a furious and painful swat. He dragged Harry to the front of the store, past the boy and past his sister, who was still bobbing excitedly on her toes and looking up at him with awe.

"See you," said Harry weakly, to the boy.

"'Bye," the boy returned, looking dubiously at Uncle Vernon.

"Ron! I know who that is! It's -" Harry heard the little girl still piping anxiously, but her brother cut her off.

"C'mon, Ginny. We're going back to the Burrow."

"But, Ron, that's-"

"Hush up!" said her brother impatiently, pulling her toward their family, who were now going out of the shop. Harry exchanged a final, friendly look with the boy before he yanked his little sister through the door.

"Oh, please listen to me!" cried the tiny girl as the door swung shut. "Ron, that was Harry Potter!"

"Oh, come off it," were the last words Harry heard from the red-haired boy, before his family went past the windows, and out of sight.

Harry was stunned. Had that girl known his name? It had certainly sounded like his name - but how was that possible? And why had she been pointing at his scar? Come to think of it, Uncle Vernon was always trying to cover his scar, because people had done that before. It was such a perplexing event that he was even willing to risk asking Aunt Petunia about it.

"Er," he began cautiously at his aunt's elbow, "I think that girl knew who I was."

"What!?" Petunia Dursley looked horrified. "Who? Where?" She looked in every direction at once, her head swiveling rapidly on her long neck.

"She's gone," Harry said, "but she pointed at my forehead and I think she said my name."

"IMPOSSIBLE!!" shrieked his aunt, now looking truly frightened. "Nobody knows who you are! You're nothing! You're no one!" Still whipping her head from side to side as if she feared being attacked at any second, Aunt Petunia began to tug on her husband's sleeve. "Vernon," she whispered, "We have to go now. The boy's been.... spotted."

Uncle Vernon went pale. "HURRY UP!" he barked at the sales clerk, who hurriedly wrote out a receipt and held it out. Uncle Vernon snatched it, grabbed Harry by the back of the neck, and propelled him from the shop in a violent hurry. Harry struggled against his hand, but it wasn't any good. In a moment, he had been thrown headfirst into the backseat of the Dursleys' car, and the door slammed rapidly behind him, just missing his feet. Harry barely had time to sit up before Uncle Vernon had started the car, and pulled away from the curb with a great loud screech.

Confused and angry, Harry yanked the too-tight baseball cap from over his hair and ears, and pressed his sore forehead against the cool glass of the car window. He stared miserably out at London, as the store-fronts flashed past. He'd probably never come back here again - he'd never get a plane to fly, or friends to play with - he'd never get away from the Dursleys.

The car passed a bookshop and Harry saw the girl with the braids standing outside the window with her mother. She caught eyes with him as they drove by, and she waved a little anxiously, glancing at his Aunt Petunia. Harry shrugged and smiled. She smiled back broadly, tongue poking through her teeth. This cheered Harry up a great deal, but it didn't last - Uncle Vernon noticed what was happening in the rear-view mirror, turned around, and smashed Harry's black bangs down with one sweaty palm, plastering his hair over the scar on his forehead.

"It's that or the hat," he snarled. "Don't touch it."

A minute later, the Dursleys' car passed a crowd of redheads who were gathered by a brick wall. Uncle Vernon hit the brakes sharply. They had come to a red light. Thankful for the pause, Harry watched as the motherish woman corralled her seven children into a sort of line - and then their father looked both ways, and took out something that looked like a long, thin stick. What was it? Harry waved frantically, trying to catch the attention of the freckled boy. When he did, the boy waved back with a grin, then pointed to Uncle Dursley and contorted his face horribly. Harry laughed out loud.

"SHUT UP!" hollered Dudley, beside him, who was watching this exchange. He reached across the seat and grabbed Harry's neck from behind. Harry was forced to turn away from the red-haired boy in order to fight against his cousin. He wrenched his neck out of Dudley's grip and smacked out at him with both hands.

"Don't you DARE strike my Dudley!" shrieked Aunt Petunia, reaching around the seat and swatting Harry back to his window. "Diddy, darling, are you all right?" The scuffle was ended as quickly as it began, but it was too late for Harry. By the time he turned back to the window, the red-haired family had vanished from sight. All nine of them were gone. Harry couldn't imagine where they could have got off to - all he saw there now was a brick wall - but it didn't matter. He heaved a sigh. It had been nice for a moment, laughing with that freckled boy. Now he was going back to the Dursleys', where nothing was ever any fun.

He glanced over at Dudley unhappily, looked back at the brick wall - and nearly jumped out of his skin. He could have sworn - but no, it was impossible - that someone had just come - through it. And that same someone was looking right at him, with an expression Harry couldn't read. It made his heart thump strangely.

It was an older man, with half-moon spectacles and long, silvery hair and beard. Harry knew this man - he was sure of it, though he couldn't exactly say why. The man was looking at him intently. His blue eyes were grave, but kind, and his face wore the barest hint of a smile. Harry smiled back, and the man's face broke into a full, twinkling beam behind his beard. Harry, who couldn't remember ever having been smiled at like that, felt a warmth swell up in his chest. Suddenly he felt much better about everything, even though Dudley was poking him continually in the back with the nozzle of the soaker gun.

The light turned green at that moment, and the Dursleys' car lurched through the intersection. Uncle Vernon, apparently still very keen to get out of London, was muttering "Those PEOPLE, those ruddy PEOPLE," again and again under his breath. But Harry didn't care what Uncle Vernon was saying. He had turned fully around in his seat to watch the silver-bearded man as the car drove away. He pressed his hands to the window.

Harry knew it didn't make sense, but somehow he felt enormously comforted by the presence of the older man, and the man seemed to sense it, because he didn't break eye-contact even for a second. Harry had the oddest idea that he had met this man before, and would meet him again. But for now, he was content to lay his forehead against the back window as the car went forward, watching the man become smaller and smaller, his hair glinting silver in the late city sun. And, just as he was becoming too small to see clearly, Harry thought he saw the man wink and touch his forehead.

Astonished, Harry reached up and touched his own forehead. His scar was still covered by his thick, black bangs. Yet somehow, the man had known....hadn't he?

Now it was very difficult to see the bearded man- and suddenly Harry couldn't see him at all. It seemed he had... slipped back through the brick wall. Harry gaped.

Because that, of course, was impossible.

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