Dear Harry, We’re all going to Diagon Alley today and I wanted to know if you were coming. We’ll be meeting at the Leaky Cauldron at around midday and Lupin says either he or one of the Order will portkey you there. If you can’t/don’t want to come then write back and we’ll send more members to take you by force. See you later Ron P.S. Happy Birthday! You’ll never believe what Hermione got you… yeah that’s right, books! I got you something much better. See you at midday. P.P.S. Before I forget, Dad might becoming an auror soon. The ministry are promoting loads of people and he’s one of them! How cool is that?! Harry smiled at the letter from his friend. He had somehow completely forgotten that it was his birthday today, what with his waking up at the crack of dawn by Dudley’s screeching that he had a nightmare about ‘those cold things’ which Harry could only assume he meant dementors by. Vernon and Petunia had also come to the same conclusion and he had spent fifteen minutes being reprimanded for sending his sweet, innocent cousin evil dreams by Vernon whilst Petunia tried to calm her wailing son. Eventually Harry had managed to escape from Vernon when Dudley had stopped crying and started complaining about being hungry, something Harry had been forced to remedy by cooking breakfast for the entire family, minus himself of course. Now he lay on his bed, reading the letters that he had charmed over to him and feeling the effects of his lack of breakfast. He hadn’t been writing to Ron or Hermione much recently and felt quite bad about it, although he knew that they both probably thought it was because of Sirius. He wondered how they felt about the fact that most of the Order had been seeing him more than they had. The next letter on the pile of many was from Hermione. Dear Harry, Happy birthday! I hope the Dursleys are treating you well, Remus says they seem to shout a lot though, and I can’t help but think that you’re the object of their yells. I’m staying at Grimmauld Place and writing home everyday – I think mum and dad aren’t too happy that I’m away at school all year round. They invited me to go skiing with them again but I said no, it’s not really my kind of thing. Ron’s been ridiculing me though, saying that skiing is stupid and why ski somewhere when you can fly on a broom. Honestly! I think he reckons muggles everywhere ski to work or something along those lines. Anyway, Arthur’s getting promoted to auror status some time soon. Ron, Ginny, Fred and George are really pleased about it, although no one else is. I don’t think that they quite understand that Arthur has a lot more chance of being injured now that his job is to catch dark wizards. Oh well, don’t tell Ron I said that, he’s really pleased about it. Speaking of Fred and George, their joke shop’s doing really well, they’ve been making lots of money with their inventions and Molly got over the fact that they’re not taking NEWTS. Have you got your OWLs yet? I got mine just before I started writing this. I got an O in everything, can you believe?! Ron’s not too pleased; he didn’t get an O in Potions so Snape won’t accept him in his potions class, even though he’s been following him round Grimmauld Place begging him to accept him into the class. Anyway I better be going now, breakfast’s almost ready. I’ll see you at twelve; Remus says he’ll portkey you to Diagon Alley. Hermione Hope you like your present. Ron and I borrowed an owl to send them to you because Pig’s just useless. He flew into the kitchen window yesterday and knocked himself out. Ever since he’s been flying directly at the fire at every opportunity and Bill had to put a shield around it to stop him setting himself and the kitchen on fire! He glanced down at the next letter as he moved the one from Hermione to one side. Seeing Hagrid's messy writing he smiled and picked up the next envelope. Hello Harry, How are you? I hope the muggles are treating you alright. I’ve been quite busy this summer, what with Grawp and everything but things are calming down a little now. I hear you’re coming to Grimmauld Place soon. I’ll see you there. I hope you got good OWL results, you’ll have got them at the same time as this. Anyway I wrote this to say Happy Birthday! And now that I have then I’ll be going to see Grawp now. Take care of yourself. Hagrid Harry’s stomach turned nastily as he glanced down amongst his letters. Sure enough there was one bearing the crest of the Ministry of Magic and he knew with sinking apprehension that it contained his OWL results. Either that or he was being expelled for illegal use of magic. He could only hope that it was the former. He wished for more letters to read but now finding any he picked up his first present instead. It was addressed to him in Hagrid’s untidy scrawl. Opening the package he found some rock cakes and a book on advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts. He ran his eye over the book and flicked through it to see the diagrams which showed drawn witches and wizards being hexes. He distinctly heard one of the pictures explaining how to properly cast a flame resistant wall of ice before he shut the book and moved it and the rock cakes (which he was wise enough not to eat) onto his desk before picking up his present from Hermione. Surely enough it consisted of books. His eyes widened when he saw what they were however. Learning To Apparate and Becoming an Animagus. He could only speculate as to how Hermione had managed to buy him these books, after all she wasn’t old enough to buy either of them! He grinned as he looked back down at her present before putting both of them next to Hagrid’s on his desk. Opening Ron’s present he found another book on advanced defence against the dark arts which he found rather hypocritical of him, considering that he had been complaining at Hermione’s present being a book and he had sent him one as well! That wasn’t all though. He had also bought him a snitch. He stared at it in amazement as it fluttered out of the box that it was wrapped in and commenced to fly around his room. It became apparent to Harry that it wasn’t just Ron that had sent the parcel. Inside he found loads of Fred and George’s stuff from their joke shop, a hand made card from Ginny, a small cake from Molly and another card signed by seemingly everyone: Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, Ginny, Bill, Charlie, Molly, Arthur, Tonks, Mad Eye, Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Remus and even Snape. He stared at the card for quite some time, taking in all the different names and staring at Snape’s in disbelief. He wondered how much Remus had to pay him to convince him to sign the card. Now, after he had put his two cards up next to his presents he realised with a sinking feeling that there was only one more envelope which lay unopened on his bed: his OWL results. “Aren’t you going to open them?” Remus asked Harry, appearing next to him with a crack, causing the latter to jump slightly. “Don’t do that!” Harry scowled at him before his eyes drifted back to the letter. He stared down at it as he turned it over and saw the seal of the Ministry of Magic. He felt butterflies in his stomach and to the side of him Remus was watching patiently. “Well you don’t have to open them.” Remus said. “But if you don’t you’re never going to find out whether or not you got an O in potions…” “I suppose…” Harry mused, “Wait, how do you know that I wanted to take potions?” “Professor McGonagall mentioned it when Ron got his results this morning.” Remus replied, “Let’s see if you managed to get into his class.” “I can’t… you do it.” Harry said and handed the letter to Remus. “If you’re sure.” Remus said and opened the letter. A smile touched his face as he scanned the letter quickly. Harry looked up at him expectantly. “You got a P in defence against the dark arts.” “What?! Let me see that!” Harry said and snatched the letter from Remus. His eyes opened wide as he saw his results, “I got an O.” He said numbly. “Snape’s going to have a fit!” He couldn’t wipe the smile from his face as he looked over his other grades. Defence Against the Dark Arts – O Potions – O Charms – O Transfiguration – EE Herbology – EE Care of Magical Creatures – EE History of Magic – A Astronomy – A Divination – P Remus smiled at Harry as the boy stared at his results. He did have very good results, although he wasn’t particularly shocked that he had failed divination. “Anyway, what are you doing here?” Harry asked Remus once he had got over his initial shock of his results. “You’re not meant to be coming until twelve.” “I know, but since you’re staying at Grimmauld Place for the rest of the summer I assumed you’d want to get your things over there first, probably argue with the Dursleys and then meet up with everyone at midday.” Remus said. “Okay then.” Harry said. He watched in interest as Remus summoned his trunk onto the bed and cast a seemingly simple charm causing all his clothes and belongings that he wanted to take with him to Grimmauld Place and then school to fly into the trunk. Remembering the spell that Tonks had cast the year before he noticed that the clothes and things were a lot more neat and orderly than they had been when Tonks performed the charm. When everything was inside Remus told Harry to shrink the case to pocket-sized, which he did to his satisfaction. “Very good, Harry.” Remus said to him as Harry took his trunk and put it in his pocket. “Now let’s go see the Dursleys.” Harry looked quite ill at ease with the idea of their going to see his magic-fearing relatives downstairs but he knew he probably didn’t have much of a choice in the matter as he followed Remus from his room. “Do we have to do this?” Harry asked him quietly as they stood in the hallway, next to the closed door leading to the front room. “You don’t, but I do.” Remus said to him, “You needn’t come in if you don’t want to.” “No, I will.” Harry said rather unhappily. “What are we waiting for?” He opened the door and stepped inside, followed by Remus. Inside the room, Vernon Dursley was sinking into an armchair by the fire whilst on the sofa opposite, Petunia sat watching the TV whilst Dudley played on his latest gameboy. Upon Harry’s entering the room they all looked up; Harry had just taken a step into the family room, and being a room for the family meant that Harry’s presence was strictly prohibited. Vernon opened his mouth to say something but shut it quickly as he saw that Harry was not unaccompanied. As he noticed Remus, dressed in robes, wand sticking out of his pocket his face changed at an alarming rate from red to white. “What do you want?!” Vernon managed to choke out of himself as he rose to his feet. “How dare you enter my home?! I must insist that you leave immediately!” Harry instinctively took a step back from his infuriated uncle but Remus stood behind him, not allowing him to move further than a few inches. He felt Remus’ reassuring hand on his shoulder as Vernon advanced another cautious step towards them. “I merely want to take Harry from your care,” Remus said, “He won’t be returning until next summer and we shall be leaving directly.” He narrowed his eyes at the man infront of him. He wondered how in a million years two sisters had chosen such different husbands as Vernon shot a contemptuous glance at the boy infront of him. He looked to Petunia who was a similarly pale colour to her husband but she sat quietly, watching the scene with interest and fear. Vernon was in a strange state of indecision on the matter at hand. On the on side he wanted to have the boy out of his house and never have him come back, on the other he knew that a wizard had just entered his house without his allowance and wanted repayment in someway. Petunia seemed to sense this as she interjected. “Just take The Boy and go.” Petunia said to Remus who looked slightly taken aback at hearing Harry referred to as ‘the boy’ but put a little more pressure on Harry’s shoulder as he pulled him away. “Come on, Harry.” Remus said to him. “You heard, boy.” Vernon said coldly, “Get out!” “Bye.” Harry said as he turned and left the room with Remus in tow. When they left the room Remus couldn’t help but notice the look of relief on Harry’s face. From a conversation with Arthur Weasley this morning he thought better than to ask for a goodbye from the Dursleys but he had never thought of how hostile they could be to him. He felt his anger surge up against the Dursleys as he recalled that it was Harry’s birthday, he knew for a fact that they would have given him nothing on the occasion and wondered briefly whether or not they had even acknowledged the day. Over the holidays he had rarely seen him interact with the Dursleys at all during the holidays and it would appear that he now knew the reason why. Harry looked at Remus who looked slightly irritated which was something new; he had never seen Remus anything but perfectly calm. He wondered if a normal person of less control over their composure would have been fuming when at his stage of irritation but decided against asking. “I can’t believe they just call you ‘boy’” Remus muttered darkly in the hallway, not really directed at Harry. “Are we going then?” Harry asked and Remus seemed to snap out of it and looked to Harry with his usual calm mask back over his face. Remus nodded, not trusting his voice in case it should betray the anger he felt against Vernon. “Portus.” He said, touching a small biro with the tip of his wand. He held it out to Harry who touched it with his finger. Vernon Dursley sighed in relief as he watched Harry and that mysterious man disappear out in the hallway after taking hold of a pen. He felt the same way each year when the boy disappeared and he could only hope that this time it would be for good. A/N: People are beginning to read my story now :o) which is fabulous! Next chapter should hold Diagon Alley and possibly Grimmauld Place. That will be up before Tuesday I think. Thanks for reading!
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