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A Social Call

The following short story borrows characters, scenes, and canon from JK Rowling’s creation. This story takes place after The Deathly Hallows.

Chapter 1
The Unwelcome Meeting

The kitchen was quiet one Tuesday morning, as Harry sat at the table, nibbling on a piece of toast, and sipping coffee as he perused that day’s copy of the Daily Prophet. He had just finished his breakfast of eggs and bacon that Kreacher, his house elf had made. Since the fall of Voldemort, and his instant renewal of fame, Harry had finally gotten a day to himself, without interviews, visitors, questions, or invitations. Kreacher was now faithful, and friendly, to not only Harry, but anyone who came calling as well. 

He practically beamed when Ron and Hermione would stop over Harry’s house at Grimmauld Place. Harry had just moved in last week, and was seeking contractors to renovate the house to its original grandeur, minus the house elf heads, grim reminders of pureblood ideals, and any other morbid thing Harry could find. 

Harry intended to restore Sirius’ name to the Black family tree, and had left his room decorated as he had found it, though it was now clean and tidied up. Harry had just recently hired Mildred’s Magical Merry Maids to come in and give the house a thorough shakedown, removing all the dust, grime, and spiders, which Ron liked particularly well, from number twelve. Aunt Petunia would have been impressed, despite the magic used to clean up what Ron had affectionately given Harry’s place, the unofficial name of ‘The Hovel’.  It was sort of like, ‘The Burrow’, only shabbier. Harry thought it was funny, but Hermione chided Ron for it. 

Today, Harry was purchasing new dress robes in Diagon Alley from Madam Malkin’s shop, to attend the funeral of people who died fighting the Death eaters. His old set had already become too short for him since the Yule Ball in his fourth year at Hogwarts. So many had perished needlessly, fighting Voldemort and the Death Eaters.  Harry still could not get used to the fact that some of the people he cared for were among them, including Lupin, Tonks, and Fred. Harry got up from the table, folding the Daily Prophet. Kreacher came hurrying over. 

“Has master finished his breakfast? Would you like anything else?” asked Kreacher, in a very stately voice. 

“No, no thanks Kreacher. I couldn’t eat another bite. But I must say that was one of the best breakfasts I have eaten. You are a wonderful cook.” 

“Master gives Kreacher much credit for his simple meals.” replied Kreacher, who had the equivalent blush of a person spreading across his face. 

“No, really Kreacher, I really enjoyed that breakfast. You could not have made it better, thank you.” replied Harry. 

Bowing as low as he could, Kreacher backed away and proceeded to clear the table. With a snap of his fingers, it had cleaned itself, as if no one had been eating there.

Carrying the Daily Prophet under his arm, Harry walked upstairs to wash and change out of his pajamas. After washing, he sat on his bed, deep in thought. In the corner, sat Hedwig’s empty cage. Harry missed her, and often thought about getting another owl, but had conflicting feelings of being a traitor to her, as if her death meant nothing to him. Hermione, Ron, and others thought it was okay for Harry to find another owl, but he could not bring himself to go through with it. 

Perhaps one day soon, but not at this time, when so many things required closure. Funerals to attend, respects to be given, families to console, and people to bury. It was all so mind-boggling. Harry felt responsible, though he had been told numerous times, that he was not, that Voldemort had been the one to blame, along with his Death Eaters. It wasn’t much consolation to him however, and there were times that Harry would withdraw from everyone as of late, sinking into a kind of despair. 

It felt like one of those times again.  Harry’s mind racing with coming events and past memories, melding into one large jumble.  His tortured mind always active, his sleep was fitful, and full of dreams.  It was a wonder Harry got any sleep at all. The restlessness was beginning to show.  Harry’s eyes were accented with dark circles, and his hair appeared more disheveled than usual. 

Unconsciously, Harry got up from his bed, compelled by an unknown force to get on with the day. In a daze, he mechanically walked over to the wardrobe, opened it, and pulled out a clean set of robes, and dressed. Afterward, Harry walked over to the fireplace, bayed Kreacher a farewell, and, using the flue network that had been linked to his house for easy getaways, proceeded to spin out of Grimmauld Place, into the Leaky Cauldron in London.  Tom, the bartender, greeted him with a large toothless grin. 

“Master Harry, how are things this fine day?” 

“Fine, thanks Tom,” said Harry flatly, not looking at Tom, but began brushing the dust off his robes. 

“Shall I get you anything? Coffee, or tea perhaps?” asked Tom, his smile faltering somewhat. 

“No, no, I’m fine. I’ve eaten.” stated Harry, his voice still somewhat flat. 

“Today is supposed to be quite warm and sunny.” said Tom, attempting to carry a conversation, sensing Harry’s distance. 

“Should be good shopping in Diagon Alley then.” answered Harry, his eyes finally taking in Tom’s face. Harry could tell Tom saw angst in his eyes, a look of what Harry could describe as pity on his face.

“Well, have a good day,” said Tom, resolving to not question Harry’s mood. 

“Thanks, Tom.” said Harry, forcing a smile on his face, which did not change Tom’s concern for Harry in the least 

Turning, Harry walked out of the Leaky Cauldron’s back door, into the back yard and proceeded to tap the bricks to get into Diagon Alley. Once there, Harry had noticed the difference as though night became day in the blink of an eye. No longer were there hurried people moving about with the look of fear in their eyes or worry on their faces. 

All the wanted posters that lined the shop windows had been taken, or rather, blasted away. Harry had noticed this because they appeared to have been burned, no doubt by jubilant witches and wizards who gloried in the demise of Voldemort.  They took out their frustrations and stress on these posters by blasting them from the windows, turning them to ash.  Remnants blew along the alley, their edges burned and crumpled. 

Standing in the middle of the alley, Harry suddenly thought about Fred and Georges’ joke shop. He was not far from where it was located, and wondered if George might be there. Harry set off in that direction, and soon came upon the store front. It was closed till further notice, as the sign, hung hastily on the door stated. Harry could not see anyone as he peered inside, though a couple lights glowed dimly. Harry had the distinct feeling that George was inside, grieving over Fred’s death. The two of them were inseparable. Now, they were separated forever in this life. 

The Weasley’s house seemed a bit hollow these days, their moods somber. Molly seemed to be taking it the hardest. At times, she could be heard mumbling to herself about things she should have done and not done. Author, Ginny, and the others had grown concerned about her mental state, but Molly refused any kind of counsel over the loss of her son. She claimed that she was fine, and asked to be kindly left alone.  Everyone did leave her be most of the time, though the family never stopped their attempts to distract Molly from her thoughts, and involve her in what were, at times, frivolous things. 

Harry’s cluttered mind, by process of elimination, made its way to Ginny, and how she had been handling all this. For the most part, she seemed okay, keeping up her usual manner.  She  even joked once or twice that Harry could recall, but he could tell she was also hurting inside, and refusing to let it show. She had been to Grimmauld Place twice since the final death of Voldemort, and each time, seemed on the verge of letting her feelings show, but held fast to her demeanor. Harry thought that she somehow gained comfort from her visits with him. 

Their companionship was one of the few things that made life bearable at this time. Harry was falling more in love with Ginny each passing day, further complicating the feelings that he was the one who caused their suffering, as well as everyone else’. 

His mind returning to the present, Harry turned from Wizard Wheezes’, and made his way to Madam Malkin’s shop. Inside, Harry found Madam Malkin bustling around, moving various sets of robes from one place to another, giving instructions to sewing machines, which were busy altering robes of their own accord. Madam Malkin did not notice Harry come in, though the bell on the door had rung when he entered. Harry dismissed this as the noise of the machines drowning out the bell, but Madam Malkin seemed distracted and frazzled. Harry coughed slightly, hoping to get her attention. 

Stopping in her tracks, Madam Malkin turned, her face taught with lines of both age and wear, spotted Harry. “Oh. Mr. Potter, I didn’t see you come in.” 

I’ve just arrived.” Replied Harry, watching Madam Malkin and how she seemed to have aged ten years since the last time he saw her. 

“Can I…, with anything dear?” asked Madam Malkin, seeming distracted. 

“Well, I’ve come to get some new dress robes for the funerals…” Harry broke off, not  able to complete his thought. It seemed very difficult to bring up the subject, but Madam Malkin seemed to understand. 

“Yes, that is all I have been doing for three days now, since everything happened, is new robes for funerals, memorials, and parties. 

“Parties?” asked Harry. 

“Apparently, some still believe a celebration is in order for ‘you know who’s’ demise. I find it disgraceful myself, but what can I do? I’m getting too old for this sort of thing, and it has crossed my mind to retire from this business. I plan to go far away from here, to live out what remains of my life in peace.” 

Harry said nothing to this statement, but could understand where she stood. Madam Malkin had been a seamstress for many years, and can remember his first time here, which was a mere seven and a half years ago, but already seemed much longer. 

“Would you step up here, and let me take some measurements?” asked Madam Malkin. 

Harry walked over to a circular platform, where Madam Malkin proceeded to pull out a measuring tape that floated through the air, and began its own measuring, calling out numbers with a reedy voice. Once finished, Harry picked out a new set from the racks, and brought them to the counter. From behind him, Harry heard the bell on the door ring again. He did not immediately look around till he heard a whispered voice call his name. 

“Potter,” said the voice that Harry faintly recognized at first. 

Turning, Harry saw the last person he thought he would ever see again in his life. The shock virtually paralyzed him to the spot. There stood Draco Malfoy, looking eager, and worried at the same time. In his hand, Harry noticed Draco held what looked like an envelope. 

“Potter, can I talk to you for moment, its important.” said Draco, looking around nervously.

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