The rain pounded on the rooftops as the clock struck eleven at Number Four, Private Drive. If the people in the surrounding houses had been awake at that hour of the night, and had it not been a new moon, they might have been surprised to a snowy white owl battling its way through the wind toward the house. What on earth was an owl doing there, in that rain, at that time of night? Such things just didn’t happen on Private Drive. But there was one person who was wide awake, and had been expecting the owl for some hours. “Hedwig!” Harry cried, throwing open the window to let the bird in. “I thought you’d never make it tonight, with the rain and all.” The owl nibbled at his ear affectionately as he untied the parcels she was carrying. This summer had been the worst so far for Harry. Not only did he have to deal with his aunt, uncle, and horrible cousin, but now the closest person to being real family, his godfather, was dead, and he was left with the unshakeable knowledge that it was all his fault. He had the entire summer, which he spent mostly alone in his room, to brood about that and to worry about his eventual confrontation with Voldemort. In fact, the only things that lifted his gloomy demeanor were letters from his friends. “Let’s see what you’ve brought me, then.” Harry began to unwrap the parcels and set them on the desk in front of him. “Now, where has that flashlight gone to?” But his search was cut short by a light tapping on the window. Harry opened the window to find another owl, which he brought in out of the rain. This one was grey, with large, penetrating eyes. After Harry retrieved the note from the owl’s leg, it promptly took off and flew back out the window. “Maybe this is it!” he thought to himself, while still rummaging around for the flashlight. Four weeks earlier, he sent letters to the members of his illegal defense against the dark arts group asking them whether or not they wanted to continue the group. The response was overwhelming: everyone who replied was for it. In fact, everyone had replied with the exception of one particular Ravenclaw entering her fifth year. But even as he turned on the flashlight and read the address, he knew that it was not sent by Luna Lovegood. Thinking back to their conversation during the end of the year banquet, he let out a small sigh of disappointment. The envelope was addressed to “Mr. Harry Potter,” and written with vaguely familiar narrow handwriting. Harry opened it up and read: Harry, I hope that your summer has been peaceful so far, considering the events which conceived it. I am writing to inform you that in addition to your normal classes this coming year, you will be receiving dueling lessons from me twice weekly. Please account for this when scheduling Quiddich practices and D.A. meetings. “So he does want us to continue with that,” Harry breathed before continuing: Congratulations on your O.W.L. scores and good luck with your upcoming responsibilities this year. Sincerely, Albus Percieval Wulfric Brian Dumbledore Headmaster, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry “Additional responsibilities?” Harry began, but then suddenly remembered: the prophecy. Either he would have to kill Lord Voldemort or be killed. “Well, at least now I get Dumbledore’s help,” he thought, before turning to the parcels. The first was from Ron. Harry could tell because of the uniquely terrible handwriting that littered the front. After opening the parcel he took out and read the letter, written in similarly poor handwriting. Hey Harry, Don’t worry, we’ll be coming to get you soon, so you won’t be spending much more time with the muggles. I probably won’t be there, but I’m sure my dad will be going, says he wants to ask the muggles about the “Compoder” or something. I’ll never understand it. Anyway, thought you’d enjoy these. Don’t let the muggles get you down. -Ron Harry emptied the contents of the parcel on his bed to find a dozen or so chocolate frogs. Smiling to himself, he picked up the letter from the second parcel. Harry, We’re hoping that you’re feeling better since your last letter. Your cousin Dudley sounds terrible, but you can’t go losing your temper like that. The image of Dudley running around the kitchen after their last fight, screaming his head off because of the wings that had suddenly sprouted from his piggish back returned to Harry’s mind. He had to work hard at stifling a loud chuckle as he returned to the letter. We’ll be getting you soon. Dumbledore says that you’ll probably be staying with Lupin at Grimmauld Place for a while, but don’t worry, we’ll be getting there a couple days after you. Enjoy this; hopefully it will help combat Ron’s gift. Love, Hermione True to her nature, Hermione had enclosed a toothbrush and dental floss. Harry could not help but laugh as he thought about the letter. Seconds later, he sobered up when he remembered where he would be staying. Of all the places in the world, Grimmauld Place was one of the few in which he would less rather stay than at the Dursleys’. It brought back too many painful memories of Sirius, and the thought of being abandoned there with that filthy, evil elf, Kreacher, was almost too much. “It won’t be so bad, though,” Harry thought. “At least Lupin will be there. He’s always been nice to me.” Harry sat back down on his bed, opened up one of the chocolate frogs and examined the card.
Godric Gryffindor Co-founder of Hogwarts One of the greatest wizards of all time, Godrick Gryffindor is best remembered as one of the founders of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Gryffindor was known for his bravery and chivalry.
On the other side was a picture of a handsome, tall man wearing a hat and carrying a sword. He had dark blonde hair and green eyes, which looked around the picture, then up at Harry. He seemed a rugged sort of man, up for a challenge. “Where dwell the brave at heart…” Harry muttered, growing drowsy. The rain pounding on the rooftop was relaxing, lulling him to sleep. He dropped the card on the ground, but was asleep before it landed.

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