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A/N: I know that this Story has been done a few times before but this is my version of how the marauders and Lily read the Philosopher's Stone so please read and review and tell me if you would like me to continue! 

Disclaimer: Everything in bold is the Philosopher's Stone written by JK Rowling. The story is not mine- the reactions to the story are mine. The characters belong to JK Rowling also! 

Chapter Three- The Letters from No one

 

“Chapter three,” Alice read. “The Letters from no one,”  

 

“Sounds like he’s going to get his letter,” Sirius said quietly, underneath his breath. James and Lily were still staring each other carefully. James had always known it would be Lily in the end. It was always Lily for him and yet there Lily was, thinking this story was true and terrified at the mere thought of ever being with him. One second he’d been single and then the next he was married, with a kid and was dead; his entire future planned before him.

 

“Do you want me to read it?” Alice asked carefully, not wanting to speak completely out of turn. James and Lily turned to look at her but said nothing. “We don’t have to if you don’t want to,”

 

“No- no,” James said suddenly. “I want too,” He held his hand in the air before looking back at Lily. “I’m just not sure Lily does,”

 

“Well aren’t you scared?” Lily cast her gaze around the room and traced everybody’s expressions before resting her eyes on James. She didn’t understand how anyone could be so calm about this. Did they not see it, did they not see the similarity, the coincidences. 

 

“Scared, why would I be scared?” James asked, bewildered. “What, because you think the book is not fictional anymore and suddenly I should be scared?”

 

“Aren’t scared of what will happen- what we’ll find out?”

 

“Evans, you’re the one that’s scaring me,” He looked at her up and down, with a look of confusion on his face. “You’re the one telling me we’re both dying in the future- you might think it’s not fictional but I still do.” He paused; she looked at him in disbelief. “So someone knows a lot about you- there’s no proof this is real and even if it was- I don’t think that even magic could conjure up something like that, knowing the future is impossible, just look what we’ve learnt in class- you should know you ‘O’ almost every one.”

 

“Someone just doesn’t know a lot about me,” She spat bitterly at him, moving a step closer. “Because I’ve told know one about me- I keep myself to myself, my family to my family and live my life the way I can.” She paused. “Do you think it’s easy for me to admit that I might marry you?” James didn’t answer and everybody else looked awkward, as if they felt they were listening in on a very private conversation. “Do you think I would freely admit to marrying you in the future, something I’ve been against for so many years, since we first met, unless I was absolutely, nearly one hundred per cent sure on the facts?”

 

James stared at her long and hard while he racked his brain for a witty reply; but she was right- she wouldn’t have said anything unless she was sure, she wouldn’t be this terrified if she we this sure. Lily was always a person who would get her facts straight before accusing; even with the marauders she wouldn’t accuse them of anything unless she knew it was them.

 

“I don’t know if it’s true,” James said finally. “I know you wouldn’t accuse with out knowing completely that it was but we all make mistakes sometimes.” Lily narrowed her eyes a little before softening them but other than that there was no change in her expression. “Have I ever thought about marrying you? Yes. Have I thought about starting a family one day when I was responsible? Off course I have, but do I want this to be real, is this how I imagined my future, envisioned it, our future? Not in a million years. I guess I don’t want to believe that it is the future.” 

 

And it was all true right down to the very last letter. He always wanted to be with lily but not like this- he didn’t believe it was true because he didn’t want to believe it was true.

 

“So what do you suggest we do about this- how are we going to figure out if I’ve made a mistake or not,” Lily asked in a voice that was solely made for head girl.

 

“I suggest,” He said in his head boy voice, trying to raise his tone to the same level as hers. “That we carry on reading the book and see where it’s leads us,” He then quietly and silently sat back down in his previous seat looking at Lily expectantly, grinning as if she knew she would give in, as if he knew her fear of the book wouldn’t over ride her curiosity of it. Lily was thinking exactly that.

 

She didn’t want to read it she was to scared to and knew that she shouldn’t read anymore. That by reading it, it could ultimately change the future, even wreck it. But then again she couldn’t find anything worse, worse than what she’d read already, surely it’d get better. After a long while she went to sit next to James, looked at him and smiled a shaky smile. James took her hand, not in a romantic way just in a way that told her that he was there that she shouldn’t be scared when he was there to protect her. She squeezed it to say thanks and then turned to Alice to read it.

 

“Chapter three,” Alice read, again. “The Letters from no one,”                

 

The escape of the Brazilian boa constrictor earned Harry his longest-ever punishment. By the time he was allowed out of his cupboard again, the summer holidays had started and Dudley had already broken his new cine-camera, crashed his remote-control aeroplane and, first time on his racing bike, knocked down old Mrs. Figg as she crossed Privet Drive on her crutches.

 
Lily sensed that someone wanted to comment- especially Sirius. She thought that they must be holding back because they wanted to ease her back into reading.

 

“Stupid spoilt, little brat,” Lily laughed weakly, but this made a wordless confirmation that it was ok for them to speak if they wished.

 

“Yeah,” Sirius agreed, in confirmation that he understood.

 

Harry was glad school was over, but there was no escaping Dudley's gang, who visited the house every single day. Piers, Dennis, Malcolm and Gordon were all big and stupid, but as Dudley was the biggest and stupidest of the lot, he was the leader.

 

The rest of them were quite happy to join in Dudley's favourite sport: Harry-hunting.

 

This was why Harry spent as much time as possible out of the house, wandering around thinking about the end of the holidays, where he could see a tiny ray of hope. When September came he would be going off to secondary school and, for the first time in his life, he wouldn't be with Dudley. Dudley had a place at Uncle Vernon's old school, Smeltings, Piers Polkiss was going there, too. Harry, on the other hand, was going to Stonewall High, the local comprehensive.

 
“No you’re not, Harry,” Remus smiled. “You’re going to Hogwarts- it says so on the back of the book,”

 

Dudley thought this was very funny.

 

"They stuff people's heads down the toilet first day at Stonewall," he told Harry. "Want to come upstairs and practice?"

 
“How horrible,” Lily gasped. “Petunia really doesn’t know how to control and bring up a child,”

 

"No thanks," said Harry. "The poor toilet's never had anything as horrible as your head down it - it might be sick."

 
Everybody in the room laughed, including Lily whom still looked a little sick herself.

 
“Signs of a true Marauder, Prongs,” Sirius said, turning to his best friend. “A good sense of humour, he’ll go far with that, from now I’m calling him my little Prongsette.”

 

Then he ran for it before Dudley could work out what he'd said.

 
“Sounds like you, Pete,” Sirius said looking at Peter in the corner, he looked very distant to the others. “If it wasn’t for the amazing similarity in looks that James has with Harry I might have questioned whether or not Lily had an affair,” Everyone laughed except Lily who looked nothing but deeply offended by the joke. Soon Sirius silenced allowing Alice to carry on reading. 

 

One day in July, Aunt Petunia took Dudley to London to buy his Smeltings uniform, leaving Harry at Mrs. Figg's. Mrs. Figg wasn't as bad as usual. It turned out she'd broken her leg tripping over one her cats and she didn't seem quite as fond of them as before. She let Harry watch television and gave him a bit of chocolate cake that tasted as though she'd had it for several years.

 

That evening, Dudley paraded around the living-room for the family in his brand-new uniform. Smeltings boys wore maroon tailcoats, orange knickerbockers and flat straw hats called boaters. They also carried knobbly sticks, used for hitting each other while the teachers weren't looking. This was supposed to be good training for later life.

 
“Sounds like anyone would look really handsome in that uniform,” Remus commented sarcastically, smirking along with his three best friends.

 

“I think I’d sooner snog Filch than wear that,” Alice looked positively shocked at the sound of it.

 

“I think I would as well,” Sirius laughed. “And I’m as straight as you get,” He then heard Remus cough something that suspiciously sounded like ‘up for debate’ but was interrupted When Alice turned back to the page and started reading.

 

As he looked at Dudley in his new knickerbockers, Uncle Vernon said gruffly that it was the proudest moment of his life. Aunt Petunia burst into tears and said she couldn't believe her Ickle Dudleykins; he looked so handsome and grown-up.

 
“Handsome, Right…” Sirius said disbelievingly. “And I’m, ugly, I’m sure,”  

 

Harry didn't trust himself to speak. He thought two of his ribs might already have cracked from trying not to laugh.

 
“Don’t blame you Harry, I don’t blame you at all,” James spoke this time, looking at the book and talking as if the situation was really happening in front of him. That Dudley was in the common room in his new uniform with his mum and dad and Harry in Alice’s place trying not to laugh. Lily however, sat silently- her mind still being boggled. The book knew about Smeltings and it knew that Petunia had always wanted to send her son there, if she were to have one.  

 

There was a horrible smell in the kitchen the next morning when Harry went for breakfast. It seemed to be coming from a large metal tub in the sink. He went to have a look. The tub was full of what looked like dirty rags swimming in grey water.

 

"What's this?" he asked Aunt Petunia. Her lips tightened as they always did if he dared to ask a question.

 

"Your new school uniform," she said.

 
“Petunia, if that goes anywhere near Harry,” Lily said threateningly. “ I swear on my life, I’ll brake every record you have!”

 

Harry looked in the bowl again.

 

"Oh," he said. "I didn't realise it had to be so wet."

 

"Don't be stupid," snapped aunt Petunia. "I'm dyeing some of Dudley's old things grey for you. It'll look like everyone else's when I've finished."

 
“What is your sister on, Evens,” Sirius shouted at her accusingly, his eyes wide with shock. “Is she smoking pot or something,” 

 

Harry seriously doubted this, but thought it best not to argue. He sat down at the table and tried not to think about how he was going to look on his first day at Stonewall High - like he was wearing bits of old elephant skin, probably.

 
James, Lily and surprisingly Sirius, glared at the book as if it had committed an unforgivable curse on them all. Lily felt a serge of indescribable anger and guilt flit through her body.

 

Dudley and Uncle Vernon came in, both with wrinkled noses because of the smell from Harry's new uniform. Uncle Vernon opened his newspaper as usual and Dudley banged his Smeltings stick, which he carried everywhere, on the table.


They heard the click of the letter-box and flop of letters on the doormat.

 

"Get the post, Dudley," said Uncle Vernon from behind his paper.

 

“Get it your self,” Alice ordered, pausing, she was too now glaring furiously at the book in her hands.

 

"Make Harry get it."

 
“You get it you fat lump,”

 

“Alice!”

 “Well,” Alice turned to Lily. “That’s exactly what he is- a big, ugly, lazy fat lump like his father.”

 “You forgot spoilt,” Sirius tried but Alice gave him the same look she was giving the book.

 

"Get the post, Harry."

 
“You get it, Merlin damn it,”

 

"Make Dudley get it."

 
“That a boy,” James said, sitting up straight. “Stick up for yourself.”

 

"Poke him with your Smeltings stick, Dudley."

 
“And it gets more abusive, isn’t mental abuse enough but no now he has to poke Harry with a sick as well,” Remus sneered, dangerously. Child abuse was something he had always felt strongly about, no matter how minor. He knew about it all too well- the usual level-headed Remus Lupin had completely lost all level-thinking when his friend Sirius Black was mentally and physically abused by his family. It had taken his friends four hours to calm him down when he found cuts all over his arm forming the word ‘Black’ in blood. 

 

Harry dodged the Smeltings stick and went to get the post.

 

“They’re monsters,” Alice exclaimed, holding the book at a distance before moving it close again.

 

“Compared to my parents,” Sirius added. “They’re saints,” They looked at him sympathetically, Sirius’s face suddenly saddened. “I should be there with him, not them,”

 

Three things lay on the doormat: a postcard from Uncle Vernon's sister Marge, who was holidaying on the Isle of Wight, a brown envelope that looked like a bill and - a letter for Harry. Harry picked it up and stared at it, his heart twanging like a giant elastic band.

 

“Hogwarts Letter, Whoop!” Sirius said excitedly, his whole face suddenly brightened. 

 

No one, ever, in his whole life, had written to him. Who would? He had no friends, no other relatives - he didn't belong to the library so he'd never even got rude notes asking for books back. Yet, here it was, a letter, addressed so plainly there could be no mistake:

 
Mr. H. Potter
the Cupboard under the Stairs
4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging
Surrey


 

The envelope was thick and heavy, made of yellowish parchment, and the address was written in emerald-green ink. There was no stamp.

 

Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger and a snake surrounding a large letter 'H'.

 
“Defiantly a Hogwarts letter,” James beamed at Lily. “Kind off makes you proud, hey Lil,”

 “Yeah,” Lily looked at James’ gleaming smile with soft eyes and smiled at how happy James looked, he’d be a great dad one day. “Yeah it does,”

 “Hey,” Sirius said his mouth dropping open in shock. “You didn’t yell at him for calling you Lil,”

 

“You’re right,” Alice grinned, pointing at her with a look that plainly said you’re-falling-for-James-Potter.    

 

“Don’t get any ideas,” She protested putting a halt to Alice’s insinuations, Alice responded by continuing to grin and then turning back to the book.

 

"Hurry up, boy!" shouted Uncle Vernon from the kitchen. "What are you doing, checking for letter-bombs?" He chuckled at his own joke.

 
“I’ll send him one if he’s not careful,”

 

Harry went back to the kitchen, still staring at his letter. He handed Uncle Vernon the bill and the postcard, sat down and slowly began to open the yellow envelope.

 

Uncle Vernon ripped open the bill, snorted in disgust and flipped over the postcard.

 

"Marge's ill," he informed Aunt Petunia. "Ate a funny whelk ..."

 

"Dad!" said Dudley suddenly. "Dad, Harry's got something!"

 
“I swear its taking all my will power not to beat up that kid,” Alice cursed, tugging at her hair irritably.

 

Harry was on the point of unfolding his letter, which was written on the same heavy parchment as the envelope, when it was jerked sharply out of his hand by Uncle Vernon.

 
“That’s his,” James snapped.

 

"That's mine!" said Harry, trying to snatch it back.

 
“Yep, defiantly you’re son, Prongs,”

 
“Why thank you, Padfoot,”

 

“No Problem, not much like you, Evans,”

 

“Hey,”

 

“Well its not, right Prongs, takes after you?”

 
“Absolutely,”

 

“Except for the green eyes,”

 

“Except for the green eyes,” James clarified.  


"Who'd be writing to you?" Sneered Uncle Vernon, shaking the letter open with one hand and glancing at it.


 

His face went from red to green faster than a set of traffic lights. And it didn't stop there. Within seconds it was the greyish white of old porridge.

 

"P-P-Petunia!" he gasped.

 

“He knows what it is then,” Remus said.


Dudley tried to grab the letter to read it, but Uncle Vernon held it high out of his reach. Aunt Petunia took it curiously and read the first line.


 

For a moment it looked as though she might faint. She clutched her throat and made a choking noise.

 

"Vernon! Oh my goodness - Vernon!"

 
“And so does my dear sister by the looks of things,” Everyone was now huddled into a small circle on the heath rug, looking at the book with interest. It was only Peter who hadn’t talked in a while, Remus eyed him carefully, he was acting stranger than usual- in fact he had barely spoken since they found out about Voldemort’s down fall.

 

They stared at each other, seeming to have forgotten that Harry and Dudley were still in the room. Dudley wasn't used to being ignored. He gave his father a sharp tap on the head with his Smeltings stick.

 

"I want to read that letter," he said loudly. "I want to read it," said Harry furiously, "as it's mine."

 

"Get out both of you," croaked Uncle Vernon, stuffing the letter back inside its envelope.

Harry didn't move.


 

"I WANT MY LETTER!" he shouted.

 

"Let me see it!" demanded Dudley.

 

"OUT!" roared Uncle Vernon, and he took both Harry and Dudley by the scruffs of their necks and threw them into the hall, slamming the kitchen door behind them.

 

Harry and Dudley promptly had a furious but silent fight over who would listen at the keyhole; Dudley won, So Harry, his glasses dangling from one ear, lay flat on his stomach to listen at the crack between the door and the floor.

 

"Vernon," Aunt Petunia was saying in a quivering voice, "look at the address - how could they possibly know where he sleeps? You don't think they're watching the house?"

 

"Watching - spying - might be following us," muttered Uncle Vernon wildly.

 

"But what should we do, Vernon? Should we write back? Tell them we don't want - "

 

Harry could see Uncle Vernon's shiny shoes pacing up and down the kitchen.

"No," he said finally. "No, we'll ignore it. If they don't get an answer ... yes, that's best ... we won't do anything ..."


 

"But -”

 

"I'm not having one in the house, Petunia! Didn't we swear when we took him in we'd stamp out all that dangerous nonsense?"

 
“Sounds like its Vernon at the root of the problem,” Alice reasoned, curling a cascade of mahogany hair around her ear. “IF it wasn’t for him then maybe she wouldn’t mind Harry being a Wizard so much- she’s only Jealous of you Lily, once upon a time didn’t she write to Dumbledore asking if she could go to Hogwarts as well,”

 

“Whoa, Evans, you’re sister wanted to come here,” James looked shocked.

 

“Yeah, that’s why she’s always been so bitter,”  

 

That evening when he got back from work, Uncle Vernon did something he'd never done before; he visited Harry in his cupboard.
"Where's my letter?" said Harry, the moment Uncle Vernon had squeezed through the door.


 

"Who's writing to me?"

 

"No one. It was addressed to you by mistake," said Uncle Vernon shortly. "I have burned it."

 

"It was not a mistake," said Harry angrily. "It had my cupboard on it."

 

"SILENCE!" yelled Uncle Vernon, and a couple of spiders fell from the ceiling. He took a few deep breaths and then forced his face into a smile, which looked quite painful.

 

“Er – yes, Harry – about this cupboard. Your aunt and I have been thinking...you’re really getting a bit big for it … we think it might be nice if you moved into Dudley's second bedroom.”
 

“He’s scared now,”

 

"Why?" said Harry.

 

"Don't ask questions!” snapped his uncle. “Take this stuff upstairs, now.”

 

The Dursleys' house had four bedrooms: one for Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, one for visitors (usually Uncle Vernon's sister, Marge), one where Dudley slept and one where Dudley kept all the toys and things that wouldn't fit into Dudley's first bedroom.


It only took Harry one trip upstairs to move everything he owned from the cupboard into his room. He sat down on the bed and stared around him.

 

Nearly everything in here was broken. the month-old cine-camera was lying on top of a small, working tank Dudley had once driven over next door's dog; in the corner was Dudley’s first-ever television set, which he'd put his foot through when his favourite programme had been cancelled; there was a large birdcage which had once held a parrot that Dudley had swapped at school for a real air-rifle, which was up on a shelf with the end all bent because Dudley had sat on it.

 

They all laughed at this, even Peter who still looked a little shaky.

 

Other shelves were full of books. They were the only things in the room that looked as if they hadn't been touched before.

 

From downstairs came the sound of Dudley bawling at his mother: "I don't want him in there ... I need that room ... make him get out ..."

 

Harry sighed and stretched out on the bed. Yesterday he'd have given anything to be up here. Today he'd rather be back in his cupboard with that letter than up here without it.

 

“Don’t worry, Harry,” Lily muttered. “When I got my letter I totally freaked out even if Sev convinced me and so I kept getting rid of the letters and the more I got rid the more came- Dumbledore doesn’t give up- you’ll get the letter one way or another.”

 

Next morning at breakfast, everyone was rather quiet. Dudley was in shock. He'd screamed, whacked his father with his Smeltings stick, been sick on purpose, kicked his mother and thrown his tortoise through the greenhouse roof and he still didn't have his room back.

 

Harry was thinking about this time yesterday and bitterly wishing he'd opened the letter in the hall.

 

Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia kept looking at each other darkly.

 

When the post arrived, Uncle Vernon, who seemed to be trying to be nice to Harry, made Dudley go and get it.

 

They heard him banging things with his Smeltings stick all the way down the hall. Then he shouted, "There's another one! Mr. H. Potter, The Smallest Bedroom, 4 Privet Drive - "

 
“Told you,”

 

With a strangled cry, Uncle Vernon leapt from his seat and ran down the hall, Harry right behind him. Uncle Vernon had to wrestle Dudley to the ground to get the letter from him, which was made difficult by the fact that Harry had grabbed Uncle Vernon around the neck from behind.

 

After a minute of confused fighting, in which everyone got hit a lot by the Smeltings stick, Uncle Vernon straightened up, gasping for breath, with Harry's letter clutched in his hand.

 

Go to your cupboard - I mean, your bedroom," he wheezed at Harry. " Dudley - go - just go."

 

Harry walked round and round his room. Someone knew he had moved out of his cupboard and they seemed to know he hadn't received his first letter. Surely that meant they'd try again? And this time he'd make sure they didn't fail. He had a plan.

 
“Like a true Marauder,” Sirius said proudly. “If you’re right my little Lily-flower and this is real I couldn’t be more proud of my godson.”

 

The repaired alarm clock rang at six o'clock the next morning. Harry turned it off quickly and dressed silently. He mustn’t wake the Dursleys. He stole downstairs without turning on any of the lights.

 

He was going to wait for the postman on the corner of Privet Drive and get the letters for number four first.

 

His heart hammered as he crept across the dark hall towards the front door –

"AAAAARRRGH!"



Harry leapt into the air - he'd trodden on something big and squashy on the doormat - something alive!


 

Lights clicked on upstairs and to his horror Harry realised that the big squashy something had been his uncle's face. Uncle Vernon had been lying at the foot of the front door in a sleeping bag, clearly making sure that Harry didn't do exactly what he'd been trying to do.

 

He shouted at Harry for about half an hour and then told him to go and make a cup of tea. Harry shuffled miserably off into the kitchen, and by the time he got back, the post had arrived, right into Uncle Vernon's lap. Harry could see three letters addressed in green ink.

 

"I want - " he began, but Uncle Vernon was tearing the letters into pieces before his eyes.

 

Uncle Vernon didn't go to work that day. He stayed at home and nailed up the letter-box.

 

See," he explained to Aunt Petunia through a mouthful of nails, "if they can't deliver, they'll just give up."

 
“You kidding me,” James said incredulously. “You think a wizard can’t think past a letterbox,” 

 

“I’m not sure that’s going to work,” Lily said uncertainly.

 

"I'm not sure that'll work, Vernon."

 

“Sister like sister,” Alice laughed.

 

"Oh, these people's minds work in strange ways, Petunia, they're not like you and me," said Uncle Vernon, trying to knock in a nail with the piece of fruit cake Aunt Petunia had just brought him.

 

On Friday, no fewer than twelve letters arrived for Harry. As they couldn't go through the letter-box they had been pushed under the door, slotted through the sides and a few even forced through the small window in the downstairs toilet.

 
“That’s more like it,” Sirius said rubbing his hands together, Harry’s bound to get one of those, like a true Marauder would,”

 

Uncle Vernon stayed at home again.

 
After burning all the letters, he got out a hammer and nails and boarded up the cracks around the front and back doors so no one could go out. He hummed 'Tiptoe through the Tulips' as he worked, and jumped at small noises. 

“Maybe Harry’s more like Lily than we thought, I’d have thought he’d get the letters this time round,”

 

On Saturday, things began to get out of hand. Twenty-four letters to Harry found their way into the house, rolled up and hidden inside each of the two dozen eggs that their very confused milkman had handed Aunt Petunia through the living-room window. While Uncle Vernon made furious telephone calls to the post office and the dairy trying to find someone to complain to, Aunt Petunia shredded the letters in her food mixer.

 

"Who on earth wants to talk to you this badly?" Dudley asked Harry in amazement.

 

“Even Dudley is smarter than his father and Dudley has the intellectual capacity of a twig,” Everyone glared at Lily in amazement. “What so when I say something insultive and its suddenly a crime, is it?” No one said a thing but turned to Alice who carried on reading.

 

On Sunday morning, Uncle Vernon sat down at the breakfast table looking tired and rather ill, but happy.


"No post on Sunday's," he reminded them happily as he spread marmalade on his newspapers,



"no damn letters today -"

 
“In his dreams maybe,” Remus coughed.

 

Something came whizzing down the kitchen chimney as he spoke and caught him sharply on the back of the head. Next moment, thirty or forty letters came pelting out of the fireplace like bullets. The Dursleys ducked, but Harry leapt into the air trying to catch one –

 
“Come on Harry, you can do it,” Sirius said encouragingly. “Harry, Harry, Harry, Harry,” He chanted, to which all the Marauder’s joined in.

 

"Out! OUT!" Uncle Vernon seized Harry around the waist and threw him into the hall.

 

When Aunt Petunia and Dudley had run out with their arms over their faces, Uncle Vernon slammed the door shut. They could hear the letters still streaming into the room, bouncing off the walls and floor.

 

"That does it," said Uncle Vernon, trying to speak calmly but pulling great tufts out of his moustache at the same time. "I want you all back here in five minutes, ready to leave. We're going away. Just pack some clothes. No arguments!"

 
“It’d not going to work,” Alice said in a singsong voice.

 

He looked so dangerous with half his moustache missing that no one dared argue. Ten minutes later they had wrenched their way through the boarded-up doors and were in the car, speeding towards the motorway. Dudley was sniffling in the back seat; his father had hit him round the head for holding them up while he tried to pack his television, video and computer in his sports bag..

 

They drove. And they drove. Even Aunt Petunia didn't dare ask where they were going. Every now and then Uncle Vernon would take a sharp turning and drive in the opposite direction for a while.

 

"Shake 'em off ... shake 'em off," he would mutter whenever he did this.

 

They didn't stop to eat or drink all day. By nightfall Dudley was howling. He'd never had such a bad day in his life. He was hungry, he'd missed five television programmes he'd wanted to see and he'd never gone so long without blowing up an alien on his computer.

 

Uncle Vernon stopped at last outside a gloomy-looking hotel on the outskirts of a big city. Dudley and Harry shared a room with twin beds and damp, musty sheets. Dudley snored but Harry stayed awake, sitting on the window-sill, staring down at the lights of passing cars and wondering...

 

They ate stale cornflakes and cold tinned tomatoes on toast for breakfast the next day. They had just finished when the owner of the hotel came over to their table.

 

"'Scuse me, but is one of you Mr. H. Potter? Only I got about an 'undred of these at the front desk."

 

“Just give it up- he’s going to get one eventually,”

 

She held up a letter so they could read the green ink address:

 
Mr. H. Potter
Room 17
Railview Hotel
Cokeworth


 

Harry made a grab for the letter but Uncle Vernon knocked his hand out of the way. The woman stared.

"I'll take them," said Uncle Vernon quickly, standing up quickly and following her from the dining-room.


 

"Wouldn't it be better just to go home, dear?" Aunt Petunia suggested timidly, hours later, but Uncle Vernon didn't seem to hear her. Exactly what he was looking for, none of them knew. He drove them into the middle of a forest, got out, looked around, shook his head, got back in the car and off they went again.

 

The same thing happened in the middle of a ploughed field, halfway across a suspension bridge and at the top of a multi-storey car park.

 

"Daddy's gone mad, hasn't he?" Dudley asked Aunt Petunia dully late that afternoon.

 

Uncle Vernon had parked at the coast, locked them all inside the car and disappeared.

It started to rain. Great drops beat on the roof of the car. Dudley snivelled.


 

"It's Monday," he told his mother.

 

"The Great Humberto's on tonight. I want to stay somewhere with a television."

Monday.


 

This reminded Harry of something. If it was Monday -and you could usually count on Dudley to know the days of the week, because of television - then tomorrow, Tuesday, was Harry's eleventh birthday.

 
“Happy Birthday Harry” Peter said nodding at the book.

 

“It’s tomorrow you idiot,” Sirius said smacking him across the head gently.

 

“Ow,”

 

Of course, his birthdays were never exactly fun -last year, the Dursleys had given him a coat-hanger and a pair of Uncle Vernon's old socks.

 
“Just what I’ve always wanted,” James said sarcastically. “And maybe next year, I’ll want a bridge so I can jump of it and die,”

 

Still, you weren't eleven every day.

 

Uncle Vernon was back and he was smiling.

 

He was also carrying a long, thin package and didn't answer Aunt Petunia when she asked what he'd bought.

 

"Found the perfect place!" he said. "Come on! Everyone out!"

It was very cold outside the car. Uncle Vernon was pointing at what looked like a large rock way out to sea. Perched on top of the rock was the most miserable little shack you could imagine. One thing was certain, there was no television in there.


 

"Storm forecast for tonight!" said Uncle Vernon gleefully, clapping his hands together. "And this gentleman's kindly agreed to lend us his boat!"

 

A toothless old man came ambling up to them, pointing, with a rather wicked grin, at an old rowing boat bobbing in the iron-grey water below them.

 

"I've already got us some rations," said Uncle Vernon, "so all aboard!"

 

It was freezing in the boat. Icy sea spray and rain crept down their necks and a chilly wind whipped their faces.


After what seemed like hours they reached the rock, where Uncle Vernon, slipping and sliding, led the way to the broken-down house.

 

The inside was horrible; it smelled strongly of seaweed, the wind whistled through the gaps in the wooden walls and the fire-place was damp and empty. There were only two rooms.


Uncle Vernon's rations turned out to be a packet of crisps each and four bananas. He tried to start a fire but the empty crisp packets just smoked and shrivelled up.

 

"Could do with some of those letters now eh?" he said cheerfully.

 
“Ha, ha, ha,” Lily spat bitterly. “Trust him to be happy at others misfortunes- I really don’t know what Petunia sees in him.”

 

He was in a very good mood. Obviously he thought nobody stood a chance of reaching them here in a storm to deliver post.

 
“You’d think that, wouldn’t you but knowing Dumbledore he’ll have a few tricks up his sleeves.”

 

Harry privately agreed, though the thought didn't cheer him up at all.

 

As night fell, the promised storm blew up around them. pray from the high waves splattered the walls of the hut and a fierce wind rattled the filthy windows.

 

Aunt Petunia found a few mouldy blankets in the second room and made up a bed for Dudley on the moth-eaten sofa. She and Uncle Vernon went off to the lumpy bed next door and Harry was left to find the softest bit of floor he could find and to curl up under the thinnest, most ragged blanket.

 

The storm raged more and more ferociously as the night went on. Harry couldn't sleep. He shivered and turned over, trying to get comfortable, his stomach rumbling with hunger.

 

Dudley's snores were drowned by the low rolls of thunder that started near midnight.

 

The lighted dial of Dudley's watch, which was dangling over the edge of the sofa on his fat wrist, told Harry he'd be eleven in ten minutes' time.

 

He lay and watched his birthday tick nearer, wondering if the Dursleys would remember at all,

 
“That’s so sad,” Alice said glumly. “That time when you, Lily, and Mary were organising my surprise party but you all pretended to forget- I was heart broken, I couldn’t imagine what I’d be like to feel that every birthday. No kid should have to deal with that,” 

 

He lay and watched his birthday tick nearer, wondering if the Dursleys would remember at all, wondering where the letter-writer was now.

 

Five minutes to go. Harry heard something creak outside.

 
“Oh Merlin what if it’s me,” Sirius said excitedly.

 

“It’s not you, you’re dead, remember,” Peter explained, crossing his legs and resting his hands on his knees.

 

“I’m not dead, Hagrid used my Motorcycle, we’ve been through this.”

 

“It’s still not you, it’s probably a rat or something” Remus said agreeing with Peter.

 

“Like me,” Peter shouted, forgetting Lily and Alice’s presence who was mildly confused by this comment.

 

“It’s not you Peter and defiantly not you Sirius, How would you know where they were?”

 

“I bet you ten galleons that it’s me,” Sirius proposed finally holding his hand out to shake on the deal, Remus took his hand and grinned.

 

“You’re so going to loose,”

 

He hoped the roof wasn't going to fall in, although it might be warmer if it did. Four minutes to go. Maybe the house in Privet Drive would be so full of letters when they got back that he'd be able to steal one somehow.

 

Three minutes to go. Was that the sea, slapping hard on the rock like that?

 
“No it’s me,” Sirius smiled.

 

“Not you,”

 

And (two minutes to go) what was that funny crunching noise?

 
“Me again,”

 

Was the rock crumbling into the sea?

 
“Still me,”

 “SHUT UP!” James shouted. “Or it will be you crumbling into the sea and not a rock,” Sirius silenced.

 

One minute to go and he'd be eleven. Thirty seconds ... twenty seconds ... ten - nine - maybe he'd wake Dudley up, just to annoy him -three - two - one -BOOM.

 

The whole shack shivered and Harry sat bolt upright, staring at the door. Someone was outside, knocking to come in.

 
Alice stopped.

 

“Why have you stopped I want to see me,” Sirius moaned, crossing his arms like Dudley would have done, if he hadn’t got his own way all the time.

 

“It’s the end of the chapter,” Alice explained. “I just thought that maybe someone else would like to read,”

 

“I will,” Sirius called, raising a long arm into the air like and excitable puppy. “That way I can read myself,”

 

“That way,” Remus interrupted. “UI can laugh even more when it turns out to be someone else. 

 

“Like me,”

 

“No, not like you Wormtail,” Sirius grabbed the book greedily and slowly, he turned the page and took a deep breathe.

 

“Chapter four,” Sirius read. “The Keeper of keys,”  

 

 
A/N: Hello, readers, hope you enjoyed it, someone commented that this story wouldn't do well, so I apologise if it's not all that great but I just though it'd be good to write. Two questions:

What was you're facourite reaction line? 

And

Do you think I should go straight to Prizinor of Azcaban after this or to chamber of Secrets first? Or just stop all together??

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