Albus Dumbledore keeps a secret that may be the very downfall of the wizarding world. Will Voldemort learn of this secret which Dumbledore values more than the prophecy? Or, will someone find out...
Chapter 4: The Doppelganger pt. 1
Harry stood shivering in the cold, moonlit night. He looked around him, confused. He was surrounded by gravestones, statues, and tombs. He momentarily looked at himself. He was naked, and slightly covered with mud. He, then, noticed the hole he crawled out off the wet ground. It only took him seconds to realize, he actually died and was buried. His conversation with his Uncle Max wasn’t a dream. It was real. He, then, curiously searched for his gravestone. He knew it was kind of morbid. But, he wanted to read the epitaph. He didn’t find one, or any grave marker for that matter. For a moment, he grimly looked at his unmarked grave. It seemed his family didn’t think much of him. Ignoring the cold breeze and wet ground, he uncaringly walked away.
“Oi! You! Stop right there!”
Harry had been walking for a while, when he heard the shout. He stopped, and slowly turned around. He nervously searched the ground, until he spotted the owner of the voice. It was an old man, probably in his eighties. Harry relaxed a little. He was glad it wasn’t a Hit Wizard. He guessed the old bloke was the grave-keeper. He wasn’t sure, but he hoped the grave-keeper could help him.
“Who are you? What are you doing here? You’re one of those nasty boys from the village, aren’t you? Have you no shame, parading around naked? What evil deeds have you been doing in my graveyard?”
Harry noticed the old man walked with a limp. And, he sounded very angry. As the old man walked closer, Harry also noticed he looked nervous. He couldn’t imagine why. The old man kept talking as he walked closer. Harry was beginning to have second thought. After a few moments of uncertainty, he decided the grave-keeper wouldn’t be a good listener. So, he turned around, and ran as fast as he could.
“Oi! You get back here! Don’t think I won’t recognize you! I know what your bum looks like!”
Luna Lovegood was oblivious to all the decorative statues and gravestones she passed. She just visited her mum’s grave. She knew it was dangerous to go alone, but she went anyway. She couldn’t ask her father, because she already knew what his answer was going to be. So, to avoid any unpleasant disagreement, she sneaked out. She only hoped her father wouldn’t be cross with her, again. After all, it was her mother’s death anniversary.
She reached the corner of a rather large mausoleum, when something slammed into her from her left side. She fell on her arse, with a cry of surprise. Although her bottom was aching from the hard fall, she tried to see what hit her. From the light provided by the bright full moon, she saw a person…a dirty, naked person, lying not too far from her. Their accidental collision must have thrown the other person on the ground too.
She achingly stood up. At the same time, she fumblingly brought out her wand. She nervously pointed it at the stranger. For a moment, she was undecided whether to run, or wait to see if the other person was alright. She saw the other person briefly shook his head, before looking back at her over his left shoulder. The boy slowly stood up, and faced her. His hands were covering his private. Her eyes curiously traveled from his big toes, paused at his dirty hands, before looking straight at his confuse and wary face.
“Luna?” the boy asked, uncertainly.
“Yes?” she answered warily. She took a couple of steps backward in case the boy decided to jump her.
“Wait! Don’t run!” The boy quickly raised his right hand, as if he was going to grab her. But, he also immediately put it down. He obviously remembered, he was trying to cover something. “It’s me… Harry. I need your help,” he said earnestly. Then, he briefly glanced at her wand. “You don’t really need that. I’m harmless, as you can see.”
The boy, named Harry, self-consciously smiled at her. She suspiciously studied him for a moment. And then, an embarrassing memory from her childhood sprung to mind. It wasn’t actually the embarrassing event that was memorable. It was the rhyme the other children were chanting, while teasing her. In an unconscious volition, she softly recited the rhyme. “I see London, I see France…” She awkwardly stopped, when she realized she was reciting the rhyme out loud.
The boy, Harry, just quirkily smiled at her. “Yeah… Well… You’re definitely looking at the whole world right now.”
Luna was secretly impressed with the naked boy’s confident manner. If it was Ronald or Neville, they would have run for cover by now. “Not really,” she replied with a shy smile. “You’re covering Ireland.” She heard the boy chuckle.
“Well, you’ll have to see that part of the world some other time,” the boy, Harry, said mischievously. Luna helplessly blushed. After that, there was an awkward moment of silence. “So, will you help me, Luna? I really need your help right now.”
Luna warily studied the boy’s face. “How did you know my name?”
“What?” The boy looked at her in disbelief. “How did I know your name? Why won’t I know your name? We were introduced. Don’t you remember?” Luna slowly shook her head. She was beginning to feel confuse herself. The boy deeply sighed, looking disappointed. “Fine… Play dumb. I guess I should have expected this. I’m a wanted man after all.”
Luna nervously tightened her grip on her wand a little. But, the naked boy just turned around. With the threat of danger moving away, she slowly lowered her wand. For a moment, she was fascinated by the movement of his tight bottom. But, after a few steps, the naked boy suddenly stopped, and walked back toward her. She immediately aimed her wand at the boy again.
The boy, Harry, stopped short. “Hey… There’s really no need for that. I’m not going to hurt you.” The boy nervously smiled at her. Luna uncertainly lowered her wand. “Thank you,” he said, sounding relieve. “This may sound odd, but…do you happen to know which way is London?”
Luna pointed at the direction of the full moon, which was slightly behind the boy’s right. He looked towards the direction she was pointing. With the light of the moon shining directly on him, she realized the smudges on his face were not all dirt. There were also traces of dry blood on his cheeks. She judged him to be at the same age as Neville and Ronald.
The boy, Harry, turned his attention back to her. He smiled gratefully. “Thanks.” He was about to leave, when he seemed to remember something else. “One more thing… Do you also know where the bus stop is?”
“Yes.” Luna noticed the boy slightly shivered. She took pity on him. “You must feel very cold by now.” She saw him nod briefly. She apologetically smiled. “I wish I can conjure some clothes for you. But, I’m not allowed to do magic during summer.” And then, an idea struck her. Immediately, she pulled off the black cloak she was wearing, and handed it to him. “This should modestly cover you, until you find suitable clothes.”
The boy smiled gratefully. “Thanks.” Luna interestedly looked every which way, but Harry’s direction. “I’m done. Well, how do I look?”
What she saw almost made her laugh out loud. The cloak looked short and small on his tall, thin frame. “Like a wizard,” she replied kindly, guessing he was one. She, then, raised her wand head high, with the tip pointing up. She noticed Harry tensed slightly.
Harry jumped in surprise as a big, purple bus suddenly appeared behind him. The door of the bus opened, and a pimply man, wearing a shabby conductor’s uniform, stepped out. “Where to Miss?” he asked in a bored voice.
“Home,” Luna answered simply.
The conductor raised his right eyebrow quizzically. “And, where is home, Miss?”
Luna, then, expectantly looked at Harry. The conductor also turned to him, baffled. Harry quizzically looked at Luna. It took a second or two, before he caught on. “Oh… Uhm… Wicker Farm in Leighton. Do you stop there?”
The conductor smiled proudly. “We stopped anywhere in England, except in water.” The conductor leaned close to Harry, and conspiratorially whispered, “Ern hates to get wet, you see.” He, then, stood straight, nodding in satisfaction. “Alright then… My name’s Stan Shunpike. Welcome to the Knight Bus.”
The owl swiveled its head almost one hundred eighty degrees. It repeated the same movement, but this time, in the opposite direction. Owls were common in Leighton. But, what was uncommon was this owl’s coloration. It was snowy white. One would think it should have shed its white feathers, since winter was long past. But, this owl was different. This owl was hatched with snowy white feathers. And, after years of captivity, it got a chance to escape, before eating a meal. So, it was very hungry.
Since nightfall, the owl kept a vigilant eye for a fat, juicy rat. After a long while, its patience was rewarded. A fat, juicy rat crept out of its burrow. It was very cautious, at first. It constantly sniffed the air for hidden predator, before setting out to look for food. The rat’s foraging led it to an open dirt path. It stopped. It found a rotting fruit on the ground. The owl wasted no time. It slowly spread its wings, gracefully let itself fall, and silently glided toward its prey.
The rat was run over by a big, purple bus that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. The owl quickly veered right, before it hit the bus’ windshield. It circled high in the night sky to see the fate of its dinner. Suddenly, the bus’ door opened, and a human with a messy, black hair unsteadily stepped out. Thinking it was the culprit for losing its dinner; the owl nose-dived.
Harry unsteadily stood beside the bus, near Luna’s window. “Thanks again for helping me.” He smiled charmingly, despite the nerve-wracking trip. “I hope you’ll let me buy you lunch, when we go to Diagon Alley.”
Luna smiled shyly. “If you like.” Then, she saw something dropped on Harry’s head.
“What the…” Harry wonderingly touched the top of his head. When he inspected his hand, he saw a gooey, whitish substance. “What is this?” He brought it near his nose, and smelled it. It was bird dropping. He curiously looked up, and immediately saw an owl heading his way. He got a sudden feeling the owl was going to drop another one on him. “Oh, shite.” Worried, he started walking backward, keeping one eye on the fast approaching owl. “Bye, Luna. See you soon.” Then, he turned around, and ran home as fast as he could.
“Bye, Harry!” cried Luna, waving goodbye.
“That is one weird boy,” Stan commented, amusedly shaking his head. “Never seen anyone spent so much time rolling on the floor, as much as, he did.”
“I guess.” Luna thoughtfully watched Harry as he disappeared into the night. The snowy, white owl was determinedly following him. She was very curious. She couldn’t remember ever meeting Harry. But, he talked to her as if they knew each other for quite a while. Granted they didn’t talk much during the trip. He mostly rolled around on the floor. As the Knight Bus revved its engine again, she wondered if Harry found it fun. She decided to try it on her trip home.
Harry didn’t stop running, until he saw his house from a distance. He quickly hid behind a big tree, and carefully searched the night sky. He didn’t see any sign of the mad owl. He breathed a sigh of relief. For a moment, he wondered why the owl showed aggression to him. He couldn’t remember hurting any owl before. “It’s probably gone mad from accidentally eating a diseased rat. Yeah, that must be it.” Carefully searching the night sky again, he still saw no sign of the mad owl. Confident he lost the flying demon, he continued on his way home.
Unlike the last time, Harry didn’t immediately go inside his house. He learned his lesson. He carefully observed it first from a safe, hidden distance. As far as he could tell, there was no one around. Everything was quiet. The sitting room light was on. But, he could easily explain that. He didn’t get the chance to turn it off. He warily walked toward the left side of his house, constantly looking around him. He stopped underneath his second floor, bedroom window. He could have used the front door. But, caution prevailed. After making sure no one was watching, he started to climb up. Unknown to him, calmly perched on a branch of a cherry tree, a snowy white owl was quietly watching his progress.
Harry was a little surprise, when he found his window unlock. With a soft grunt, he managed to squeeze through. But, instead of landing on the floor, as he expected, he landed on a soft bed. “Damn, someone moved my bed.” With the help from the light of the full moon, he gave his room a quick look. He noticed a big difference. The walls were lined with stuff dolls and pictures. There was more furniture. He quizzically sniffed the air. And, it smelled…nice, too. Someone was using his bedroom.
He slowly got off the bed, and quietly moved around the room. He carefully picked up a small, ceramic unicorn, and curiously studied it. Suddenly, the door opened, and the light went on. He quickly turned around, still holding the unicorn figurine. A girl, in a white, sleeping gown, holding a stuff unicorn, stood just inside the doorframe. She didn’t notice him yet, because she was talking to her unicorn doll. Harry immediately looked around him, frantically searching for a place to hide. But then, the girl looked up, and saw him...
“No, no, no, don’t scream. I’m not going to hurt you,” Harry begged anxiously. He slowly approached the little girl, but not closed enough to scare her some more, or so he thought.
“Please, please, don’t scream. I’m not going to hurt you…really.” Harry slowly went down on one knee to be on the girl’s eye level. He tried to show the girl she’s in no danger by smiling. But, it didn’t work. The girl was scared out of her wits.
“Marie Rose, honey, what is going on?” A light, blond-haired woman with curlers on head appeared behind the little girl. She abruptly stopped in fright, when she saw him.
“MUM! MUM! THERE’S A MAN IN MY ROOM!” The girl screamed, hiding behind her mother.
Harry nervously stood up. The mother, with her daughter, slowly backed out of the room. “Who are you?” she asked in a frightened voice. “What are you doing in my daughter’s room?”
“I can explain. You see…” Harry awkwardly began. He saw the mother quickly glanced at his black cloak.
“You’re a Death Eater,” she said accusingly, more frightened.
“Me?” Harry was surprised. “No, no, you’re mistaken. I’m not a Death Eater. If you’ll let me explain…”
“Stay away from my daughter!” the mother screamed at him in a terrified voice. “Stay away!” The mother continued slowly backing out of the room, until her back hit the wall outside.
“Mum…” the girl softly cried in protest. It was her daughter’s back, which hit the wall outside. Her mother ignored her.
Harry was beginning to lose his patience. He was tired. He was hungry. And, he needed to take a shower. “Look, lady… I’m telling you. I’m not a Death Eater! If I am, which I’m not, will I still be arguing with you, whether I’m a Death Eater or not?” His argument must have penetrated the frightened mother’s senses. She didn’t run. She uneasily stood just outside the door, dubiously looking at him. Harry considered it a good sign. “I’m not here to hurt you, or your daughter. I promise I’ll leave. Just let me take a quick shower, and a change of clothes.”
“No!” Even though the mother still looked a little nervous, she recovered some of her composure. “Leave, or…or I’ll call the police.”
“Call the police? I haven’t done anything wrong.” Harry tried to keep his anger from showing. “I don’t know who you, people, are. And, I don’t care. But, this is my house! And, this is my room! You are trespassing. I should be the one calling the police.”
“Your house? Your room?” The mother marched angrily back into the room, dragging her daughter along. She stopped just a meter away from Harry. Any sign of her nervousness, or fear was all gone. Her blue eyes were blazing, as she looked up to meet Harry’s angry glare. “I’ll have you know. My husband and I have lived in this house for many years. If anyone’s trespassing, it’s you. Now leave…or I’m calling the police, right now.”
“Oh yeah? Well, let me tell you… I practically grew up it in this house. I’ve never seen you or your daughter around here, or in the village. My Uncle Max left me this house, after he died.” Harry noticed the woman turned slightly pale.
“Max? He’s dead?” The woman looked at him in disbelief and fear.
The little girl, who was quietly watching in fright so far, saw how the strange man made her mother very upset. She found her courage, stepped up to him, and kicked his left shin. She angrily glared at him too, for good measure.
“Marie Rose…” The mother pulled her belligerent daughter back to her side. “You’re lying. He can’t be dead. He just left yesterday.” Now, her expression matched that of her daughter.
“What? That can’t be right.” Harry looked incredulously at the woman. “Wait a minute… Are we talking about the same person? My uncle’s name was Max Fedwick.”
The mother gasped in surprise. “He’s my husband. I’m Rosemarie Fedwick.”
“Your husband?” Harry was very confused. His uncle didn’t tell him he remarried. And, he knew his uncle would tell him an important thing like that. He suddenly got the feeling, something wasn’t right. “Now, I know you’re lying. Where’s your proof?” The woman authoritatively pointed at a picture frame, sitting on top of the bedside table. Harry immediately went over, and picked it up. Sure enough, it showed the woman, his Uncle Max, and the little girl. The woman and the little girl looked a lot younger, but it was them. And then, a memory of the same picture flashed through his mind. “But… But you’re dead…both of you…” He confusedly looked at both mother and daughter. “Uncle Max said you both died a long time ago. And Uncle Max… Uncle Max died a few weeks ago. I know, because I was there when he died.” Feeling suddenly dizzy, he slowly sat down on the side of the bed. There was a lost look on his face. “I don’t understand. How can you all be alive?”
“I don’t know.” Mrs. Fedwick carefully studied the stranger’s face. She, then, noticed the caked blood on his forehead. “But, as you can see, my daughter and I are very much alive.” Thinking Harry was suffering from a head trauma, she took pity on him. “Now, be a good dear and stay right here, okay? I’ll call a doctor. I think you have an open wound on your forehead. Do you remember how you got it?”
Harry chuckled humorlessly. “I don’t need a doctor. I need a psychiatrist. I must be going mad.” He momentarily studied the worried face of the woman. He wondered, if he was hallucinating.
At first, Harry thought he was hearing things. But, when he heard the front door creaked open, he became suspicious. “Are you expecting a visitor?”
“No,” answered Mrs. Fedwick, puzzled. “I don’t know anyone, who will visit us at this time of night.”
Harry was quickly on his feet, alert. “Take your daughter, and go to your bedroom.” When both mother and daughter didn’t move, he hastily shepherded the two out of the door, and into the master bedroom. He quickly closed the door, and locked it. “Stay here. Block the door after I leave. And, no matter what you hear, don’t leave this room, understood?”
“What’s going on?” Mrs. Fedwick asked nervously.
“I’m not really sure, but I think you have Death Eaters, coming late for dinner.” Harry saw Mrs. Fedwick protectively hugged her daughter. He was about to leave, when he remembered something. He swiftly walked toward the closet, and opened the louver doors. He removed the boxes on the upper shelf. “Where are the guns?” he tensely asked Mrs. Fedwick.
“We don’t keep guns in the house.” Harry silently swore. His uncle must have started storing weapons inside the house, after his wife and daughter died. “Wait… I do have one.” Harry impatiently watched the mother, as she opened an old shoe box on the floor. With great care, she picked up something inside. She, then, hastily brought it to him. “This belonged to my mother. I hope this helps.” It was a wand.
Harry nodded in approval. He felt relieved. At least, he got something to fight off the intruders. “Remember, stay here. And, don’t forget to block the door.” For a moment, he thoughtfully regarded both mother and child. There was no guarantee the Death Eaters wouldn’t get past him. If that happened, what would he do? Then, he remembered something again. “On second thought, I got a better idea.” He extended his hand to the little girl. “Give me your hand.” Marie Rose merely hugged her mother tighter.
“What are you going to do?” Mrs. Fedwick asked anxiously.
“I’ll apparate us out of here,” Harry answered with a note of urgency his voice. “I can only take one person at a time.” He extended his hand to the little girl again. “Give me your hand.” The girl looked at her mother for approval.
“It’s alright, honey. Go with him,” Mrs. Fedwick assured her scared daughter in a soothing voice. The girl hesitantly held Harry’s hand.
“I’ll come back for you.” In a blink of an eye, Harry and the girl disappeared.
Mrs. Fedwick stood fearfully in the middle of her bedroom. She could now hear faint voices, and footsteps coming up the stairs. To buy some time, she tried to push the big, heavy drawer to the door. But, she wasn’t strong enough to even move it. She used the bed and small tables instead, to block the door. Then, she stood back, and waited tensely. She watched in fear, as the doorknob slowly turned.
“Oi! This one is locked.”
“Unlock it then.”
The lock clicked open. Again, the doorknob slowly turned. As the door slowly opened, it hit the table.
“Something is blocking the door from the inside.”
“I’m not going to waste my time pushing the bloody door. I’ll just blow it up.”
Mrs. Fedwick retreated fearfully to the farthest part of her bedroom, wishing for the stranger to come back. Then, suddenly, the man was right beside her. Before they disappeared, she saw her bedroom door blew up into tiny pieces.
Mrs. Fedwick woke up early, and set out to do her daily chores. As she cooked breakfast, she couldn’t help thinking about last night’s near encounter with Death Eaters. Thanks to the stranger, whose name was Harry Evans, they were saved. He side-along apparated her and her daughter in their family’s cottage in Scotland. She and Harry talked a bit, after Marie Rose went to bed. She knew it would take time. But, she hoped her daughter would forget her terrifying experience.
Her talk with Harry revealed Max took care of him. Her husband acted as Harry’s guardian, after he found out the young man’s relative was abusing him. She felt proud of her husband. He was a good and kind man, despite his profession. However, she was concern with Harry’s mental health. It seemed he wasn’t right in the head. He kept insisting they were dead. And, she kept insisting they were not. In the end, Harry let the matter rest. She got the feeling there was more to tell. But, she respected the man’s privacy, and didn’t question him further.
“Good morning, Mrs. Fedwick.” She turned around, and saw Harry standing by the doorway.
She gave him a warm smile. Now that he was clean and properly clothed, she quickly noticed his youthful appearance. Then, she saw the exposed lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead. She silently gasped. Her eyes grew wide in surprise. He wasn’t Harry Evans like he said. He was Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived. With supreme effort, she tried to curve her rising feeling of anger. Even though he lied to her, he saved their lives after all. She decided to have a quiet talk with him again. She would ask him what was really going on. Not wanting to make the boy feel uncomfortable, she tried to act as if she didn’t notice a thing.
“Good morning, Harry. Have a seat. Breakfast is almost ready.” Mrs. Fedwick returned to her cooking without a fuss.
“That smells good. I hope you cook a lot, because I’m starving.” Harry stood beside her, and appreciatively inspected her cooking. “Hmmm…delicious.”
Mrs. Fedwick smiled, slightly pleased. “Here, make yourself useful, and put these on the table.” She handed him the plates of food. He did more than that, though. He also put knives, forks, cups, and plates on the table. For a moment, she wondered how he knew, where everything was kept. “Could you watch this for me? I have to wake up Marie Rose, or she’ll sleep the whole day.”
“No problem.” Harry took the spatula, and expertly stirred the egg on the frying pan.
When Mrs. Fedwick came back with her daughter, everything was already set on the table, including the hot tea. Mrs. Fedwick sat on the end of the table with her back towards the window. Her daughter sat on her left. Harry sat on the other end of the table. They ate in good spirit. Even the little girl got a happy smile on her face. It seemed she already forgot last night’s terrifying incident. But, she hadn’t forgiven Harry, though, for scaring her. Out of the blue, Marie Rose asked Harry a question.
“Are you Harry Potter?” Mrs. Fedwick heard her little girl asked innocently, although her eyes glinted with excitement.
“Marie Rose!” Mrs. Fedwick was embarrassed for her daughter. “Don’t mind her, Harry. She’s sometimes too nosey for her own good.”
“It’s alright.” Harry smiled graciously at the shocked mother. “I’m Harry Potter. Well, that’s the name I was given the day I was born. I never knew my parents. No one told me about the House of Potter, either.” For a briefest moment, there was sad look on his face. “I grew up with the name Harry Evans. And, as far as I can remember, I have always been called Harry Evans. So…” Harry nonchalantly shrugged. “I use the name Harry Evans.”
Mrs. Fedwick was secretly ashamed. She had been thinking all sorts of things why Harry lied to her. There was a simple explanation all along. Now, she felt sorry for Harry. It seemed he grew up, not knowing anything about his family.
“Can I have your autograph?” her daughter, then, asked shamelessly.
“Marie Rose!” Mrs. Fedwick was again shocked at her daughter’s audacity.
“Sure,” Harry casually agreed, chuckling with amusement. “Can’t imagine why you want my autograph, though.”
“Are you joking?” exclaimed Marie Rose in disbelief. “You’re Harry Potter!”
“So?” Harry lightly asked, puzzled.
“You’re famous!” Marie Rose blurted excitedly.
Harry chuckled, amusement dancing in his eyes. “Famous? You must have me mistaken for someone else.”
At Harry’s words, it was Mrs. Fedwick’s turn to look puzzled. She couldn’t tell whether Harry was serious, or was just joking. She very much doubted nobody told him, what he was famous for. Dumbledore would surely let him know.
Mrs. Fedwick turned around, and saw an owl outside the window. She heard her daughter squeal in excitement. Marie Rose turned eleven last week. And ever since, she was hoping to receive a letter from Hogwarts. Mrs. Fedwick worriedly watched her daughter.
“Mum, it’s here! My Hogwarts letter is here!” Marie Rose quickly stood up, almost knocking her chair down.
Harry momentarily stopped eating. He curiously watched the girl happily ran to the window. He, then, looked at the object of the girl’s excitement. His eyes opened wide in horror. He unconsciously dropped his fork and knife. It was the owl from hell. He quickly stood up, knocking his chair down.
“Don’t open that window!” Harry shouted urgently. But, it was too late. Marie Rose already opened it.
The snowy owl headed straight for Harry. It hovered near his head and pecked him, repeatedly. Harry protectively crossed his arms over his head, and aimlessly ran around the kitchen. “Get away! Get away from me, you stupid owl!” At hearing the insult, the owl redoubled its effort. In order to escape the mad owl’s onslaught, Harry desperately grabbed the fruit basket on the table. He quickly put it on like a helmet, dumping all the fruits on himself at the same time. The snowy owl, satisfied with its revenge, pecked Harry’s right hand one last time. Then, the owl flew near Harry’s plate, grabbed his last sausage, and flew out the window again.
“She likes you.” Mrs. Fedwick amusedly watched the snowy owl perched on a nearby tree outside.
“I very much doubt that.” Still protectively holding the fruit basket over his head, Harry warily approached the window. He saw the owl, swallowing the food she took. “How can you tell it’s a she?”
“When you’ve been around owls for too long, you’ll notice the difference. She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” Mrs. Fedwick and Harry continued to watch the owl. They didn’t see the look of disappointment settled over Marie Rose’s face.
“She’s beautiful alright,” admitted Harry grudgingly. “But, she’s a menace. I don’t know why she’s picking on me. I haven’t seen her before in my life.”
“Like I said, she likes you. Maybe, that’s why.” Mrs. Fedwick gave Harry a reassuring smile, before looking at her daughter. What she saw on Marie Rose’s face nearly broke her heart. “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.” Mrs. Fedwick immediately hugged her daughter, consoling her.
“I’ll be in my room, mum.” Marie Rose ran tearfully out of the kitchen. Mrs. Fedwick didn’t stop her. She knew what her daughter was feeling right now. She would talk to her later to help ease the pain.
Harry also watched the little girl leave. He felt sorry for her. He knew exactly how she felt. He could still remember his deep disappointment. “I’m sorry about your daughter. I just hope she’s going to be alright. When I didn’t receive my Hogwarts letter, I felt terrible.” For a moment, his memory took him to that time and place in his Aunt Petunia’s kitchen. “A squib is not special.”
“How dare you say that, Harry Potter?!” When he turned his attention to Mrs. Fedwick, there was a very displeased look on her face.
“What?” Harry was baffled. “What did I say?”
Mrs. Fedwick merely walked past him, and crossly picked up the plates on the table. She threw the unfinished food in the bin, and piled the plates in the sink. She turned on the tap, and let water soaked the plates for a moment.
Harry knew he somehow offended Mrs. Fedwick. “Could you please tell me what I said wrong?”
She stopped what she was doing, and crossly faced Harry. “My daughter may be a squib, but she’s special. I was born a squib. All my life witches and wizards call me names. I learned to ignore them. You may have saved us from those Death Eaters, but I won’t have you belittling my daughter.”
“I’m not…” Mrs. Fedwick turned her back on him again, before he could explain.
“I know we owe you a life debt, but I’ll appreciate it if you leave.” Mrs. Fedwick tensely began scrubbing the plates with soap, and filing them to one side.
Harry felt an ache in his heart. “I wasn’t mocking your daughter. I was talking to myself. I’m sorry if you heard what I said.” From the way Mrs. Fedwick ignored him, he assumed she didn’t believe him. “Thank you for my clothes. And, breakfast was delicious.” Still, the squib mother ignored him. “I wouldn’t go back to Wicker Farm, if I were you. Death Eaters already know you live there. I suggest you tell Uncle Max to find a new house.” Slowly, he pulled out Mrs. Fedwick’s wand from his back pocket. He sadly looked at it for a moment, before setting it down on the table.
“You can take that wand with you.” Harry suddenly looked up, and saw Mrs. Fedwick enigmatically watching him. “All it brought me were heartaches and disappointments.” He nodded sadly, remembering what his Uncle Max told him about his wife.
The sun was already high, when Harry walked out the door. For a moment, he stood still on the stoop. He breathed deeply to loosen the tight feeling in his chest. Then, he indifferently looked around him. He could see it was a beautiful day. The sky was clear. Leaves lazily swayed at the soft breeze. Fresh, clean air filled his lungs.
Harry curiously searched the source of the call. He found the snowy owl, perched on a low branch of a tree, not too far from him. He smiled with amusement. “Why do I get the feeling you’re following me?”
“Strange as it may sound, I think I’m going to miss you.” He sadly smiled at the snowy owl. “I’m going now. Don’t even think of following me, okay?” Firmly holding Mrs. Fedwick’s wand, he disapparated. The snowy owl tilted her head to one side for a moment. Then, she gracefully launched herself into the air, and flew toward the general direction of London.
Meanwhile, inside the house, Mrs. Fedwick already finished washing all the dishes and utensils. She was busy toweling them dry, when she heard loud pattering of feet, going down the stairs.
“Mum! Mum!” Marie Rose excitedly ran up to her mother. She was waving a parchment. “Mum, look! It’s my letter! I’m going to Hogwarts!” The girl eagerly gave the parchment to her mother.
With shaking hands, Mrs. Fedwick slowly opened the parchment. Sure enough, it was her daughter’s acceptance letter from Hogwarts. She burst into tears. She quickly reached for her daughter, and happily hugged her. Her fear that her daughter was going to be a squib was unfounded.
After a moment, Marie Rose eagerly wiggled out of her mother’s tight embrace. “Are we going to Diagon Alley now? I want to buy my books, and potions, and parchments. May I have a white owl for a pet, like Harry’s?”
“Harry…” Mrs. Fedwick suddenly remembered her unkind words to the young man. She owed Harry an apology. “Stay here for a minute, okay?” She quickly ran to the front door, and anxiously searched the front yard. But, Harry was already gone. Then, she heard a fluttering of wings. She curiously looked up, and saw the snowy owl flying away.