Harry sat with Daphne Greengrass and Blaise Zabini on his way back to London.
He had started to become quite fond of those two, while he did not spent much time with them, he enjoyed their presence. Even Harry realized how lonely he was, not that he minded terribly. Ginny would be with him next year and they were eager to explore Hogwarts.
The train soon entered Kings Cross station and Harry said his good byes to his house mates. Malfoy said: “If those disgusting muggles give you any trouble, write me and my father will make them pay most dearly! He says that no member of an ancient wizard house should be with those creatures.”
“Thank you Malfoy, I thought your father didn’t like me?”
“Oh no you are wrong, he doesn’t like your brother. Then again, who in the right state of mind would like a Gryffindor?”
Daniel and Harry met soon after and walked towards the exit to muggle London.
There they were greeted, rather unfriendly, by Vernon Dursley. He pushed and shoved them to his car, loaded their trunks in and started the engine without saying a word. Harry liked the silent treatment.
Back at Privet Drive, just as Harry and Daniel wanted to take their trunks to their room Vernon started yelling: “Boys stay were you are! I won’t have your freakish things in the house. They will come in the cupboard under the stairs and will remain there until you can leave again.”
Daniel asked: “But we have homework to do, please can you let us write the essays?”
Vernon smirked: “NO, no, your pathetic school work will have to wait. Now go to sleep I don`t want to see you again today, tomorrow you will have to do chores.”
“Yes Uncle Vernon” Daniel said weakly.
“Actually, no uncle Vernon.”
“WHAT? How dare you talk back to me?”
Harry grinned widely and pulled out his wand, pointing straight at his uncle. “You should know, one of the first spells I learned was how to turn humans into pigs.”
“ARE YOU THREATENING ME?”
“Yes, I am. We won’t do chores this summer, and we will be allowed to do our homework. You won’t ask where we are going and you will feed us appropriately.” Raising his wand directly to Vernon’s head he added, “Did I make myself clear?”
Countless emotions were running through Vernon’s face until they settled for a deep feared look. “Yes.”
“Good, you also might want to know that I can command snakes. If you treat me bad, all snakes from the entirety of Britain will attack you.” Harry lied.
Uncle Vernon just nodded, not able to wrap his head around what wizardry could do and what not he believed Harry’s fantasy.
Harry saw Daniel opening his mouth, but he quickly stepped on his feet and hissed: “If you say a thing, I will make your life hell.”
Daniel looked slightly scared at Harry`s threat but nodded and went up the stairs.
In their room both sat down on their respective beds and looked at each other.
“Harry… you know we can’t use magic”
“Shut up! Just use your bloody brain for once.”
“But how can you scare him so bad that was cruel.”
“As was how he treated us.”
“You really are a Slytherin, petty, vindictive and evil.”
“If you feel about me that way, I don`t mind. Just don`t get into my way and you will have a decent summer for once. Don’t ask where I go and what I do and we will get along just fine, okay?
Daniel didn’t respond for a minute, until he said. “When did we grow apart so much? I can barely recognise you anymore.”
Harry laughed: “Well, you stayed the same. Always wanting to save everybody and not thinking about your own wellbeing. I never was like that Daniel, but now I finally have the ability and means to actually care about myself.”
“You know, Dumbledore told me that you might be dangerous and how I should keep away from you. Hearing you talk like that makes me wonder if he is right.”
“Oh yes the great Dumbledore who gives you enough points to win the house cup for nothing. Truly a great mean,” he spat.
“For nothing?! Ron, Hermione and me risked our lives to protect the world!”
“Oh really? What exactly did you do, hm?”
“We promised to not tell anyone.”
“Ahh right, seems like a very likely story.”
“I tell you, if we had done nothing, we would be lost!”
Harry shock his head and muttered: “To think I am related to such an ill send dumbass.”
“Oh sod off” With that they started unpacking in silence.
Dinner was eaten in absolute silence. None of the Dursley’s dared to speak or even glance at Harry. Daniel tried to instigate a conversation various times but Harrys dark glances shut him up quickly. Deciding to not worry about their school stuff yet Harry and Daniel went to bed early.
Harry was lying awake for quite some time thinking about Ginny. She had not send him a response yet, he hoped nothing happened to her and Hedwig. With all her brothers at home he figured it would be a lot harder for her to sneak away.
The next morning both brothers started with their homework. As Harry had been studying a lot at Hogwarts he had far less problems solving the questions and writing essays than his brother. Harry was hoping that by learning and studying a lot in his first year, he could take it a bit slower the following years, because his schedule would certainly be full. Ginny was a rather demanding witch and stated in no unclear terms that she wants to explore every last part of Hogwarts.
“Hey Harry, could you please help me with my Potions essay? I am really struggling here.”
“ Hey Harry, do you use Gloci eggs in healing potions or for poisons?”
“Hey Harry, what do you need to keep in mind when transfiguring a needle into a spoon?”
“Open your school book.”
“Dani el, how do you deal with a vampire?”
“Oh see Harry that`s easy. A vampire will usually try to engage into a conversation with you, they need to have their victims completely vulnerable but conscious to feed on them. Therefore they will talk with you in a very friendly manner until you drop your guard, as soon as you do that they will grab your throat and bite you. Once bitten, there is no chance of revival. There is no known antidote, you either die or become a vampire.”
Daniel replied with a huge smile: “No problem Harry, if you need any further help just ask!”
By the end of the first week all their homework were done. Daniel had received quite a lot of letters from Ron, much to Harry’s dismay none of Ginny had arrived so far.
On Saturday evening however a beautiful white owl flew through the open window.
Harry, who had been in a sour mood all day because Aunt Marge was supposed to visit the next day, felt a surge of happiness welling in him.
Daniel shot Harry an odd glance and tried to grab the letter attached to Hedwig’s leg.
Fortunately for Harry, Hedwig did no appreciate it and started biting and scratching his face.
Harry burst out laughing until he walked over to his owl and took the letter.
“You better not try taking my letters again, Daniel.”
“You shouldn’t be writing to Ginny. You are a bad influence on her!”
Harry snorted and started reading the letter.
< em>I am sorry I couldn’t write you earlier, my family has gone mad!
I really don’t understand what`s up with the lot of them, but my parents and brothers act like you are the reincarnation of Voldemort or something even worse. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea.
Writing letters over the summer holidays is going to be very difficult, luckily Hedwig is such a smart owl because otherwise your letter would never had reached me.
Every time I tried getting a letter to Hedwig who was hiding close to the Burrow someone came and gave me an earful. Those gits.
But enough about me, I hope you are holding up well with your stupid relatives and brother. Did your threats work?
If you are fine with having to wait quite some time until I can read and answer your letters we will be able to keep this up. Obviously you should ask Hedwig if it is ok with her too, but I don’t think she minds. In fact, I think she enjoys the challenge of flying into my room unseen.
I fear that we might have to get used to hiding our friendship, I bet beginning next year my brothers will never let me go around Hogwarts alone. Well, as if they could keep me from exploring the castle with you. The extra challenge of hiding from my brothers might add some flavour, huh?
Ron is constantly trying to persuade my parents to let your brother stay with us, he is getting really creative with awful stories about you too.
I hope you will keep on writing, I am going spare over here.
Harry chuckled while reading her letter, which seemed to upset Daniel.
“Harry I mean it, stop writing to her! The Weasley’s are a wonderful family, I don’t want to make them sad.”
This time Harry couldn`t hold a hearty laughter back.
“What`s so funny? Do you think turning a little innocent girl is funny?”
“Oh wow Daniel, I can’t even begin to describe what a moron you are.”
Just as Harry started writing a letter back, Daniel jumped over and tried to grab Ginnys letter. Spinning around, Harry let his fist connect with Daniels jaw, who toppled on the floor moaning.
“Are you mad?!”
Taking a deep breath Harry tried to calm himself down, using some of the Occlumency exercises he read about. “I really should devote more time `to the minds arts, losing my temper over such a minor thing won`t ever do me good,” he thought.
“I am sorry Daniel, I might have overreacted.”
“Bloody well you have. Now give me the letter.”
Instead of answering Harry started to grab his belongings, folded his clothes and sorted his school stuff.
“What are you doing?”
“What do you mean? You can’t just leave, where will you go?”
“None of your business.”
“But Professor Dumbledore said we have to stay here.”
“Did he? I think he never talked to me in person. You seem rather friendly with the headmaster.”
“Professor Dumbledore is a great man, I respect him and so should you.”
Harry walked out of the room into the bath to retrieve his toothbrush.
Walking back in, Daniel stood in front of him with raised eyebrows and an expecting expression.
“Move aside Daniel, I am really not in the mood for these games now.”
“I won’t let you leave.”
Sighting Harry closed his trunk and sat down on the bed.
“Daniel, let’s make a deal. You will ask Dumbledore if I can leave, if he says yes I will go. All right?
Daniel now smiling. “Yes. I knew you would see reason.”
Daniel starting writing the letter right away, while Harry let out Hedwig. Before she flew away, Harry leaned in to her and whispered “Meet me at the Leaky Cauldron.”
Later that night, Harry sneaked out of his room with the trunk in his hand.
Just as he reached the stairs he heard someone jump up and rush towards him.
With a hurt voice he said: “You lied.”
With a sigh Harry said: “Yes, I did. In fact, I do quite regularly. Now you better let me go or you will wake Aunt Petunia, and we don’t want that, right?”
With that Harry darted down the stairs, out of the house and along the street.
Just as he was sure Daniel did not follow him, he pulled out his wand and waved it.
Barely a minute later appeared the Knights Bus with a deafening crack.
“Hey Stan, can you take me to the Leaky Cauldron?”
“Eyy ‘Arry, to the Leaky? No problem.”
Harry handed over the coins and readied himself for the short but unpleasant ride.
“Aren’t you a bit young to be out at this time of day alone?” A young women with striking pink hair asked.
“I am meeting my Grandparents at the Leaky Cauldron, don`t worry madam.”
“Ah good, well I am off here. Take care.”
“Thanks, you too.”
Harry reached the Leaky Cauldron with shaky legs but a distinct feeling of freedom in his stomach. But it might as well be his body revolting against the Knight Bus’s driving style.
“Hello Tom, is there a room free until the first of September?”
Tom nodded, never a man of many words. Something Harry appreciated greatly.
“All right, I take the room and a tea pls.”
“13 galleons please.”
After calming his stomach down with some tea, Harry felt how tired he was and dragged his trunk up to his room.
He crashed down on the mattress and slept instantly.
The next morning Harry went down to grab some breakfast. Afterwards he started writing the letter to Ginny.
< em>Hedwig is so taken with you, I don’t think she would appreciate me stopping writing letters.
Sounds like you have it a lot worse than me this year. In fact, my holidays are looking amazing right now. Threatening my relatives worked splendid. Unfortunately my brother seemed to think that I should not write letters to you. He tried to read your letter twice and keep me from writing an answer.
Therefore I left. I am glad my family left me enough money to be able to spent so much time in a hotel, then again, the Leaky is not very expensive. As long as I don`t go on a shopping spree I should be doing fine.
Do you think you will be able to leave the Burrow over the summer holidays like we did for Christmas? If so let me know.
I am looking forward to see you soon.
“Hey girl, you up to take this to Ginny?”
Hedwig nibbled on his ear a bit before offering his leg.
“Remember, nobody can see you delivering this, right? Thanks.”
Harrys beginning happiness of being able to spend the summer holidays in freedom away from the Dursley’s faded and was replaced by boredom as the weeks passed by.
He went to the library regularly, but as he couldn`t practice the spells he read about it was rather frustrating. He had never been someone who valued theory over practice.
Letters from Ginny were few and far between, but luckily the holidays were coming to an end and Ginny wrote him the date of when she would be in Diagon Alley with her family. She had managed to get away from her family just once, they didn’t seem to trust her at all, much to Ginny’s dismay.
In her last letter she had written about how her brothers rescued Daniel. It seemed a house elf had tried to keep Daniel away from Hogwarts, therefore the elf had used magic to get Daniel into trouble. Harry was glad that he left the Dursleys, obviously they now knew that using magic out of school is forbidden.
Unfortunate ly this also meant for Harry that he would not ever be able to return to his relatives, not that he minded too much. As long as the ministry didn`t get involved nobody would care where he spent his summer holidays, and if they would get involved Harry could show them what an abusive household it had been.
All in all, Harry was happy with his situation, if he just could have met with Ginny more often over the holidays.
On the last weekend before the beginning of the new school year the Weasley’s and Daniel would go to Diagon Alley to purchase their books.
Harry had already bought all of them, so he was content with waiting for an opportunity to sneak away with Ginny.
As he observed the Weasley’s he figured how difficult it would be.
Ginny caught his eye on various occasions and tried her best to get away, but a family member was always eager to accompany her.
Sighting Harry thought: “Just a couple of days until nobody will be able to do anything about us meeting.”
As they entered Flourish and Blotts Harry smelled his chance. The Weasley’s and Daniel were distracted by Gilderoy Lockhart and Harry took the opportunity to talk with Ginny behind some book shelves.
“Hey Ginny, long time no see.”
“Hi, how are you?”
“Fine, how are you holding up with your family?”
“Uhh, they are driving me insane! I am so glad to get to Hogwarts soon.”
“Yes me too.”
“Ginny? Where are you?” The loud voice of Molly Weasley droned through the shop.
“I better get back, see you on the train Harry.”
“Yes see you. I`ll reserve a compartment at the very back.”
They hugged quickly and then Harry made his way out of the shop.
“Oh, hi Draco. How are you doing?”
“Hello Harry, I am fine thank you. Harry this my father Lucius Malfoy.”
“Pleased to meet you Mr. Malfoy.” Harry said while shaking his hand. He did not like the Malfoys due to their pureblood bigotry and arrogance, but staying in their good graces seemed to be much more useful than agonizing them.
“Hello Mr. Potter, the pleasure is all mine. I am glad that you seem to be a proper wizard, unlike your brother.”
“Yes, unfortunately one can`t choose his family.”
“Too right. Well, we have to purchase the new books. Say good bye Draco.”
“What a pompous git,” Harry muttered as he made his way back to the Leaky Cauldron.
Finally the holidays came to an end. Harry got to track 9¾ early as he could hardly contain his excitement of being finally able to spend time with Ginny. The whole morning he had been shooting glances at various watches, making sure he would not miss the train.
His trunk was safely stowed in his compartment and the doors locked. The looking charm Harry used was rather weak, he tried a stronger one a couple of times, but failed miserably.
“Not the best, but it should get the point across,” he muttered to himself.
He was staring out of the window with growing anxiety, as the Weasley Clan had not made its appearance yet.
With every passing minute Harry’s dread grew, luckily just as the first departure warning whistle sound came to his ears he spotted a tiny red headed girl walking towards the train. The Weasley twins and their older brother Percy were close behind her.
Harry furrowed his eyebrows as he wondered where his brother might be, but shrugged and dismissed it. He really didn`t care what happened to him.
The train started moving and someone knocked at the door not much later.
Harry released the charm and opened it quickly with a wide grin.
“Hey Harry!” Ginny yelled as she launched into a hug that let Harry stumble.
“Woah, hi Ginny! Finally!”
“Yes you say it, finally. My family is driving me crazy, they spent the rest of yesterday telling me how bad Slytherin is and that I have to become a Gryffindor.”
“I gather they don’t want you to talk to me, even at school?”
“Right, not that I care. Luckily my brothers think being seen with their little baby sister is uncool, so we should have plenty of time to ourselves.”
“Great, so do you think you will be a Gryffindor? I hope I can talk Professor Snape into not treating you badly.”
“I really don`t know what house I will be, my whole family has been in Gryffindor. Then again, so has been yours.”
Harry chuckled. “Yes, seems like I am a special snowflake. You sure seem to be much brighter than your family, maybe you are a Ravenclaw?”
“Thank you Harry,” her wide smile sent Harry’s stomach onto a trip into his Gringotts Vaults. “I don’t mind too much which house I will be in. I think the whole house sorting is stupid.”
“I agree, I don’t see the point of it.”
“Of course, if I become a Hufflepuff I will be rather mad!”
“Oh, why is that?”
“They are so unimportant and boring, you might as well forget they exist. Being sorted there would be an insult, I am much too awesome for that house!”
“Oh is that right Miss Weasley? Letting things go to your head before even your first day at school, just what will we have to do with you?” Harry mocked her.
“Isn’t it obvious? Making sure I have a reason to let things go to my head of course!”
Both burst out in laughter and only stopped after their bellies started to hurt.
After a while Ginny climbed up to her trunk and retrieved an old diary, she started writing furiously which peaked Harry’s interest.
“I didn`t know you were keeping a diary, it looks very old. And now that I see it, it`s kind of odd.”
“Hey Ginny, are you there?!” he started shaking her slightly, which let her jerk up.
“Uhh what Harry, did you say something?”
“Yes, since when are you keeping a Diary?”
“I started last weekend, I found it in my cauldron. It`s amazing!”
“Oh really? Did your parents buy it for you?”
“I don`t know, but it’s amazing, it can write back to me!”
“Ginny, the Diary… I don’t know, it feels weird.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know how to explain it, it’s the same feeling I had whenever Professor Quirrel was near me.”
“The teacher who turned out to be possessed by You-know-who?”
“What?! He was possessed by Voldemort?”
“Yes, Ron bragged about how Daniel, Hermione and he defeated him. Didn’t Daniel tell you?”
“No, he doesn’t trust me. But that explains why I always felt so uneasy around him. I wonder if Daniel felt the same.”
“Back to the Diary, you say you feel the same? I don’t believe it, Tom is amazing and such a nice guy.”
“Yes, Tom Riddle, that’s his name.”
“The name rings something. I am sure I heard it somewhere.”
“Oh really? Maybe he was a great wizard who wants to help people now as a diary.”
“Maybe, but he feels just like Professor Quirrell. Ginny please promise me something.”
“Please promise me to not open the Diary until we know who Tom Riddle was.”
“What, why? Oh right. Because he might be like Proffessor Quirrell. But I want to write with him, he is so nice.”
“Ginny please, do it for me. I can’t shake off this feeling. Hand me over the diary, and I promise you I will find out who Tom Riddle is. Today!”
“Today? But you said you just heard it somewhere, how can you know where to look?”
“It had something to do with the Slytherin common room, I think I read it there somewhere. And I will ask Professor Snape, so far he was able to help me with everything.”
“O.K Harry, I will give you the diary today. But if it’s not dangerous, I want it back tomorrow!”
She handed over the diary with obvious reluctance and Harry stowed it safely in his trunk. He did not miss how Ginny traced his movements and how she seemed very on edge about giving him the diary.
The train slowed down and Ginny said: “We have to get dressed! Turn around.”
“Huh, why do I have to turn around?”
“Do it or I am going to hex you!”
Harry complied slowly.
“Don’t you dare to turn around, and you better start to get dressed or you will be last to leave the train.”
Understanding crept into Harry’s mind and he blushed bright red. With a slightly shaky hand he undressed and redressed in record time, trying to keep the time of standing in the compartment in his boxer shorts to a minimum.
“Ok, you can turn around now.”
“You know, I could just have left the compartment while you change.”
“Why would you make such a simple thing so complicated? I grew up with six brothers…”
Harry just shrugged, unable to come up with a good sounding answer.
As they left the train and Ginny departed towards Hagrid, Harry said: “If you get sorted into Slytherin I`ll keep a place for you. But remember, it doesn’t matter what house you will be in, I will always be your best friend!”
“Thank you Harry.” And with a smile she left.