Harry had a much tougher time climbing back up his house and into his room, he felt one of the bars along the trellis snap under his weight and he hoped Uncle Vernon would blame it on something other than him, or if Harry was lucky Uncle Vernon wouldn’t notice at all. Kiden’s light was out and her window shut by the time Harry reached his window. Harry did his best not to make a sound climbing back into the house. Thankfully he could hear his Uncle’s snore echoing down the hall, and a slightly smaller snore bellowing from Dudley’s room.
It was several days before Uncle Vernon let Harry out of his room, and that was to work. Harry had clipped the lawn, trimmed the hedges, and fixed a random broken section of the rose trellis. He stopped only to see Dudley talking to Kiden.
Kiden was leaning on the lamp post that stood on the sidewalk between her house and the Dursley’s house. She was lounging with one foot propped up on the post with a cigarette pressed between her lips. Harry came over to them curiously.
“Because I don’t think you’re interesting,” Kiden said plainly, Harry wasn’t sure the nature of their conversation but he had never heard anyone tell Dudley he was boring before. She proceeded to blow a puff of smoke in his face then she smiled at Harry and threw an arm around his shoulder, “Hey there tiger.”
“Hello,” Harry said blandly.
“Now you see this is a man of interest. He lives with his aunt and uncle who hide him away when visitors come over…I bet he’s got some skeletons, and that’s fascinating.”
“He’s a freak,” Dudley said with as much conviction as he could.
Kiden swung around the lamp post with one hand laughing wildly the whole time, “I have no doubts there.” She stopped to look at Dudley, “Calling people names won’t win you a smoke that you don’t even know what to do with. Now why don’t you run along and tell your parents that I’m smoking on their front lawn and I have every intention of throwing my butt in their yard.” Dudley’s face turned red, and Harry noticed he’d seen that same expression on Uncle Vernon’s face. “Oh and Dudley, if you do tell your parents that, rest assured I’ll be telling them and my parents that you were trying to bum a cigarette; I just wanted to give you a heads up.” Kiden smiled mockingly at Dudley.
When Dudley disappeared after much angry sputtering Kiden plopped down on the curb side facing away from Harry. She flicked a bit of ashes away. He really didn’t know how to approach her, she was not like anyone he’d met before…and he wasn’t really sure if they were getting along or not. He chose to go to her because he was certain he didn’t want to be on her bad side.
“I thought you were going to quit,” Harry said.
“So did I,” Kiden said blowing smoke off the other way. She looked over her shoulder at him then nodded next to her, “Sit, if you want.”
“Do your foster parents know about that?” Harry asked as he plopped down next to her.
Kiden wrinkled her brow after taking along puff, “Are you kiddin’? Heck no.”
“Then why did you tell Dudley-”
“You think I want him telling his parents on me?” Kiden made childish face when she said ‘telling’. “’Cause I don’t. And I don’t want them to be enemies either…my fosters and your aunt and uncle. He won’t tell them now. So, Harry Potter…how the hell are you? I haven’t seen you in a couple days.”
“Never better,” Harry said sarcastically.
Kiden pooched out her bottom lip and nodded, “Sarcasm, I like that. Now tell me,” she poked a finger in his shoulder, “how the hell are you, really?”
“I can’t wait to go back to school.”
“Wow, that may be a first,” Kiden said dryly. Harry noticed, she always spoke flatly, never had he heard her use inflection. She was mellow, uncaring, and nonchalant. She looked over to him, she squinted at him from the sun in her eyes. “I’ve never heard anyone say they want to go back to school – course,” she cocked her head to the side thoughtfully, “I hung out with people whose favorite hobby was skipping class.” She shrugged and added rhetorically, “To each his own.”
Harry chuckled, Kiden had no idea what the situation was. He had to admit, it was nice having someone in the Muggle world that didn’t hate him, and though Kiden was no Ron or Hermione it was pleasant to have her nearby so he didn’t feel so detested all the time.
“So, is there any place around here that you could show me where I can get away from the grown ups and not really be bothered by anybody else either?” Kiden asked.
“Are you staying awhile longer then?” Harry asked. “They haven’t found your father yet?”
“Nope,” Kiden shrugged. “To be honest I don’t think they will, this is a wild goose chase. Be serious Harry, even if they do find him, if he’s in a nut house, what are the chances he’s going to be able to write anyhow? Or even have the available sense to sign me over?”
“Sounds like you don’t want to be signed over to your foster parents anyhow. What are their names?” Harry asked, realizing she hadn’t told him.
“Joan and John Travis,” Kiden said flicking the end of her cigarette out into the road. Impulsively Harry went over and picked it up, then tossed it into the sewer drain. She sighed with a lopsided smile, “Neat, my own personal maid.”
Harry glowered at her and she nudged him, “Hey tiger, I’m just joking with you.” She looked across the street and watched Mrs. Figg, followed by a herd of cats, bring her trash out. Kiden gave her a brief wave with Mrs. Figg followed with a nod and a wave. Harry watched Mrs. Figg stare at them intently and he wondered what she was thinking; he hoped it was nothing about last summer and the dementor.
Kiden leaned back on her hands casually watching the old lady, “That woman has been at our house everyday since we moved in. She’s always talking to my parents about me. I think she tells on me for smoking late at night. It’s strange; she’s always watching me…like I’m going to break into her house or something.” Kiden snorted a laugh, “Well, that’s not going to happen, I mean what would I want with her cats. Plus I’m not a breaking and entering kind’a girl, not too much into breaking the law – except for the underage smoking bit.”
Harry looked at her, and once again the urge to pounce on her and demand what she wanted came over him. The thought came to him, once more, that someone from the wizarding world had sent her to kill him, and Mrs. Figg knew that. Harry reasoned with himself again though, she was just a normal run of the mill Muggle, like all his neighbors…except Mrs. Figg.
“So you didn’t answer my question,” Harry said. “Do you want to be signed over?”
“Know what I found out?” Kiden said passing over his question again. “Remember how I told you my father lives here? Well, it turns out I’m actually a British citizen.” She laughed a single time. “Imagine, with this accent? I was born over here, apparently my mom was British too. The Travis’s have had me all along and they are American, so they took me back with them…after a short stay here. Because I’m a foster though, and not adopted, I have to remain as a Brit until I’m eighteen, pretty crazy right?”
“Not really okay!” Kiden barked. “No, there, how’s that? I don’t know why, they’ve always been kind and they take really good care of me. But there’s something strange going on. I can’t explain it because I don’t get it. Everything about me is in a closed file owned by the government. The Travis’s won’t tell me anything either…and I hate not knowing who I am. As soon as I’m adopted, the case is closed. Good enough for you?” Kiden got to her feet and brushed her bottom off and turned to stalk off.
“Kid wait!” Harry called.
“What?” She turned angrily.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to push it and make you angry with me.”
“Yeah, well ya did.” Kiden barked.
Harry looked at the ground and then back up to her. “I could show you where the park is, the only people who go there are kids early in the day. The rest of the day it’s vacant.”
A devilish looking grin passed over Kiden’s face, “You’ve been redeemed. Sounds like just the spot I was looking for. When do we go?”
Harry pushed his glasses up on his nose, “I could show you now.”
Kiden nodded, “Lets go.”
Harry explained where they were going as they went. He watched her slink along beside him. She kind of loped as she walked, both fists jammed in her pockets, her head down, and her wild blonde hair bouncing with her steps. He couldn’t figure out what genre of teenagers she fit in with, because all the Americans he had seen were usually pristine or prissy. Kiden was anything but either of these. He had never seen her in anything but pants, that were far too large, cut off about half way up her calf and frayed, black boots, a plain tank top, and the same black sweat shirt. She didn’t seem to care what anyone thought of her.
“So,” she said, scuffing her feet with each step, “wanna tell me why you like school so much?”
“I have friends there,” Harry said honestly.
“Fair enough,” she nodded in acceptance of that explanation. “I hate school, just so we’re clear.” She told him. “My fosters sent me to this Catholic school back home with the thought that it’d help with my not wanting to go to school. I just ended up causing some trouble with a nun, so I got sent back to the local high school. I hear private schools are really popular over here, do you go to a private school?”
“Oh yes,” Harry said.
“Really? The Dullies fork up the cash for that?”
Harry shook his head, “No, I have some money that my parents left me.”
“Ahhhh,” she nodded. “I think we’re staying long enough for me to go to school. Joan told me, but I can’t remember the name – Stonewall High I think. To be honest, I don’t think I’m going to like the uniforms.”
“That was where I would have gone.” Harry said, remembering back to the day Aunt Petunia was dying Dudley’s old clothes for him to wear to school. He shook it off, that seem like another life time. “What year will you be?”
“Freshman, I think you call it fourth year. I’m fourteen.” Kiden looked over to him. “It’s not so bad then, Stonewall High I mean?”
“I don’t know,” Harry said. Thinking on her question he really couldn’t remember what school was like before Hogwarts. “Are you afraid?”
“Of what?” Kiden looked at him surprised. “School? No.” She snorted and then waved a hand, “I’ll just find friends and skip like I used to. I don’t suppose your private school is anywhere near here?”
Harry shook his head, “No.”
“Dang it!” She said. “Oh well, I guess there will be no skipping with you then.”
“I don’t skip,” Harry said.
“Oh,” Kiden chuckled. “Too good for that huh?”
“No,” Harry said, “well, I guess. I just can’t afford to miss classes. My school is very difficult. And I have one professor who would be glad to have me expelled; so he watches my every move just to have an excuse to get me out.”
“And you like this place?” She asked skeptically.
“It’s just one professor,” Harry admitted, then he shrugged, “it’s where I belong, and my friends are there.”
“Oh yeah, right, the friends thing.” Kiden nodded. “It can’t be all that bad living with your aunt and uncle.”
“If only that were true.” Harry sighed. “Well, here we are.”
Kiden walked up in front of him and looked over the empty swings and things. The sky was gray and not a person was anywhere to be seen. She turned back to him, “Harry, its perf-”
Harry only had time to blink. Kiden didn’t finish her sentence and when he opened his eyes she wasn’t there anymore. Harry shook his head, “Kid?” He looked around the park and way across the way, on the other side of the park, he saw her. She was perched up on the back of a bench, her chin resting on both her hands, bored-like. When he turned to her she bounced off the bench and slinked over to him.
“What…” Harry pointed to the bench then to the spot in front of him, “You were…and then…how…what happened?”
“What are you talking about?” Kiden raised an eyebrow at him.
“You were just saying ‘Harry, its perf-’ and then you were all the way over there.” Harry pointed at the bench.
“Are ya feelin’ all right?” Kiden asked. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I did tell you it was perfect. Because it is,” she perked.
“But Kiden, you-”
“Harry, stop all right? You’re creeping me out again.” Kiden said seriously.
Harry shook his head, he was certain he hadn’t been seeing things; he was almost positive she vanished and then reappeared half way across the park. “Can you do magic?” He asked suddenly, it seemed like a fair question to him…and if she was absolutely clueless he was fairly certain he could play it off as a joke.
Kiden laughed and wrinkled her brow at him, “Yeah Harry, right. Sure I can,” she mockingly.
“Right,” Harry nodded.
“Listen, I gotta go,” she said, “it’s getting late and the fosters are going to start to worry, but thanks for showing me the great place to sneak off to.”
Harry shrugged in response and watched her disappear in the distance. He was sure she had done something but he couldn’t explain it…and he wasn’t really sure he could believe it.
Harry stood in the park for some time going over and over what happened. It had to be what he thought he saw, that was the only explanation of why she had to leave so suddenly. She would be getting an owl soon, kicking her out of school for doing underage magic. ‘No,’ he thought, ‘they don’t kick Muggles out of High School for magic. She’s going to Stonewall, she can’t be a witch.’
Finally, after more than thirty minutes of struggling with what really happened he decided to go to her house and confront her again; and maybe catch her getting an expulsion letter.
Harry paused at the door to her house and considered just accepting that he was, in fact, seeing things. He stood there only for a moment before reaching up and giving the door a quick wrap.
“Hello Harry,” Joan Travis answered the door.
“Hello Mrs. Travis, is Kiden home?”
“Yes, she’s in her room.” The dark haired lady Harry had seen the first night he returned to Privet drive opened the door a little wider, “You can go on up.”
“Thank you,” Harry bowed his head and then dashed up the stairs to her room. He knew exactly where it was because Kiden’s house was a mirror image of the Dursley’s house and her room would be opposite to where his was. ‘She knew how to strap a letter to Hedwig’s leg,’ he thought, ‘she has to be a witch. She might really be here to get me after all.’
Kiden’s door was open.
“Hello?” Harry poked his head in. Her bed was unmade, stray dirty clothes lie on the floor, the closet doors were open, a basket of clean clothes sat on the nightstand, and a mound of papers were piled up on her desk, but there was no Kiden to be seen. Harry stepped into the room. His eyes went to the pile of papers. The one on top was a letter, it wasn’t an expulsion letter, Harry could tell that right away, because it was written on lined unofficial paper. He wanted desperately to read over it, but something in his head told him that was wrong. Harry couldn’t bare it, he snatched up the letter and scanned the first few lines quickly.
Hey bitch! How’s life across the sea? You found that punk who impregnated your momma yet so you can get back over here? Life just isn’t the same without you, and high school next year is going to be even more of a drag without my best friend.
Harry quit reading at that point, he was wrong about her…Kiden was just a Muggle. He sighed and tossed the letter back on the pile feeling like a heel for going through her personal stuff, until the letter was caught by the wind and drifted off the pile and to the ground next to his feet. The envelope that sat atop the pile was now exposed, written in the same scrawl as the letter itself. Harry picked it up with a trembling, unbelieving hand. The envelope was addressed:
2 Privet Drive
Harry thought for sure he stopped breathing, she was a traitor; a lying traitor! Just then Kiden appeared in the doorway, wrapped in nothing but a towel. Her always disheveled hair was now wet and disheveled.
“Hey tiger,” she grinned.
“Don’t hey me!” Harry dove at her and pinned her to the wall. “You thought you could hide forever, and I’d never know. Didn’t you!?”
“What the hell Harry!?” Kiden shouted. “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
“Of course you do, and so does Mrs. Figg; that’s why she’s been watching you!”
“Harry,” Kiden’s voice turned dangerously low, “get off me or you’re going to be sorry you met me.”
“Your threats won’t work on me Malfoy!”
“Harry,” she said calmly, “I’m only going to say it one more time before I hit you, now get off me.”
Harry gave her a slight push into the wall.
“Now, you want to explain what the hell you’re talking about,” Kiden said adjusting her towel, but Harry didn’t hear her.
His anger was boiling over, he was seething. “Stay away from me,” he growled.
“Harry,” Kiden protested, but Harry had already stalked off quickly. “Harry? Harry!”
Harry didn’t pause, he didn’t wait, and he didn’t listen to her; she was the enemy.
Harry slammed the door to his own house when he entered. He didn’t stop when Aunt Petunia shouted at him for doing so, nor did he stop when Uncle Vernon screamed that he hadn’t finished the lawn yet.
Harry only stopped when he reached his desk. He plopped down and took out one of the sheets of paper from the note pad he had found earlier. And he started to write.
I need you to do me a favor, please. Research the Malfoy family line. I must know where Kiden Malfoy lies. I fear that the Malfoys have sent someone into the Muggle world after me. Let me know when you find something please.
Immediately he went to Hedwig and tied the letter to her leg. Despite his Uncle forbidding him to send letters to his friends he walked straight to the window and let Hedwig sore, and then he promptly snapped the shade shut so he couldn’t see Kiden’s window.
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