Harry gets a familiar feathered friend and a connection to two people he has always wanted to see.
(A/N: I think this might just be the third or fourth time Harry has been unconscious since he left Privet Drive and he hasn’t even got to Hogwarts yet! I may actually decide to keep a running total of the amount of times he ends up unconscious! I hope you guys like this chapter!)
Harry awoke feeling as though the sky had fallen on his head. He shifted slightly and tried to raise his head, only to whimper with pain and lower it back onto the pillow as a blast of pain smashed into his head like a four-hundred-pound anvil. “Easy…” said Annette, whom sat beside the bed with an ice-pack in one hand. She carefully wrapped it in a piece of cloth and laid it on Harry’s forehead.
Harry gave a soft moan, “How long was I asleep this time?” he queried, each syllable sending a stab of pain through his skull.
Annette frowned, “Only about six hours. I didn’t know what to think when Tom came back with you unconscious in his arms and explained what had happened.”
Harry groaned again, and then realized something. He looked around best he could without moving his head too much, but couldn’t see his bag or Excalibur, “Where are the sword and my bag?” he asked.
Annette smiled, “Your sword is leaning against the bedside table and your Pensieve is sitting on the chest of drawers over there. We didn’t look in.”
Harry nodded, grimacing as he did so. Resting his head back on the pillow, he noticed that Annette was rummaging in a small bag. After a second she pulled out a few bottles. Harry raised an eyebrow, wincing at the pain in his forehead. The bag looked way too small for the bottles to have fitted but, he thought wryly; where magic was concerned he’d more or less learnt not to question it. He took the bottle Annette handed him and looked up at her. She carefully helped him unscrew the lid and tip the liquid into his mouth. He almost gagged; it tasted like honey and mackerel, but as soon as he’d choked it all down he started to feel much better. Even so, he still had to resist the urge to retch. Annette smiled at him, “Not a very nice taste, is it?”
Harry shook his head, “No… it’s revolting. By the way, I noticed a pet shop halfway down the street. I was wondering if…”
Annette smiled, “You want to buy a pet?” Harry nodded, and Annette gave him a small smile, “Of course. I’ll take you into the Alley later today. Is that alright?” Harry nodded again, so she said, “Ok. You just lie down and have a nap. I’ll come wake you when I’m ready to take you into the Alley.” Harry nodded, and as he lay back down Annette left, closing the door quietly behind her.
Annette never woke Harry up. She let him sleep peacefully throughout the rest of the day and the entire night, purely because when she came into the room to rouse him he looked so happy and contented in his dream that she didn’t want to wake him. Instead she just smiled and left again.
Harry was still flying high above the clouds, the girls keeping pace with ease. He looked left and right hoping, as he always did in the dream, to catch a brief glimpse of the girls’ faces. This time seemed somewhat different however; he had the strangest feeling that there was another with them. Following a strange instinct that he recognized as what had been there all through his youth but hadn’t recently needed to use; he looked up. What was above him made his jaw drop; the most beautiful bird he had ever seen in his life was soaring above them. Only now did Harry notice the music; stunning harmonies almost unearthly in their perfection, which lifted his heart and made Harry feel as if his spirit was singing along with the creature.
Down in the alley, inside Eyelops’ Owl Emporium, a snowy owl awoke. Her ice-blue eyes shone out in the gloom of the dark shop as she scanned the room. She couldn’t ascertain what had caused her to awake, but she had an image in her mind of flying high above the clouds, with five other people flying below her. Then the middle figure looked up at her, and she suddenly became aware of an urge to open her beak and sing. So she did; she opened her beak and sang out loud. She realized that he had come; her true master. Many people had tried to buy her, but her ferocious attitude and vicious liking for pecking generally deterred them. Now however, she realized as she ruffled her feathers slightly and hunched in on herself to go back to sleep, her true master had arrived, and she would be there for him to take her when he was ready.
When Harry woke the next day, the first thing he did was shed a few tears. The birdsong in his dream had been so beautiful that the real world now seemed unbearably grim and morose.
After washing and dressing, he went downstairs. Several people greeted him when he entered; Harold Perkins was, by this time, a common sight in the Leaky Cauldron. Tom had put it about that he and Annette had adopted Harold after his Muggle parents were murdered during the last war. It was, Harry reflected as he returned the greetings, partly true. He adopted a broad smile as he remembered that Annette was going to take him into Diagon Alley to buy him a pet. Tom greeted him cheerfully from behind the bar, plonking a large plate of bacon and eggs down on the wooden surface. Harry finished greeting the patrons and climbed onto a chair at the bar, where he happily tucked into his breakfast.
After Harry had eaten all his breakfast, he happily ran back upstairs to his room, where he grabbed Excalibur and strapped it onto his back, then strapped the holster containing Erwydd to his left forearm. He wasn’t willing to go anywhere without the sword or his staff, in case someone decided to try stealing them. Then he met Annette down in the bar, where she affectionately ruffled his hair and hugged him before walking out to the back yard. Tapping the wall with her wand, she walked Harry slowly down the street to Eyelop’s Owl Emporium, where Harry looked around at all the birds. None looked like the bird he had seen in his dream. Finally his eyes fell upon a gorgeous female snowy owl which was surveying him from a roof-beam. As he gazed up at the bird, she gave a soft hoot and flew silently down to him. He raised one arm and she landed on it, surveying him with ice-blue eyes. She had a certain familiarity around her that made Harry sure he had found the bird from last night’s dream.
“That’s very odd, she genuinely seems to like you,” stated the shopkeeper when Harry paid for his owl, “That particular bird generally has a really rotten attitude.”
Harry shrugged, smiling at the owl sitting on his shoulder and gazing at him with her large, round, ice-blue eyes. After paying for some owl-treats, a cage and a perch for her as well, they departed the shop. The owl kept nuzzling her head against Harry’s cheek. By the time they reached the entrance to the Alley again, Harry had come up with a name for the owl; Hedwig. After explaining this to Annette, he looked up at his new owl, “What do you think? Do you like that name?” The owl nodded her head once and hooted softly.
“She’s very smart, isn’t she?” commented Annette, stroking Hedwig’s head. Hedwig gave a pleased hoot at the comment.
Harry laughed, tickling the bird under her beak. She closed her eyes joyfully. There was a momentary pause, in which a tall man striding down the alley towards them suddenly cried, “Annette Deadman! Wha’ are ye doin’ ‘ere?”
Annette looked around and smiled, “Hello, Hagrid! How are you today?”
Hagrid smiled behind his huge beard, and Harry eyed him cautiously, raising his right hand to his sword. The huge person raised his massive eyebrows, each of which could have thatched a fair-sized cottage, “Who’s this young ‘un, Annette?”
Annette put a restraining hand on Harry’s shoulder and gave him a warning glance, and he lowered his hand. Unnoticed by anyone, he extended Erwydd into his palm and extended it to staff-size. Hagrid’s eyes widened, “How’d ye do tha’?”
Harry scowled, “I have a few skills which are somewhat useful, who are you?”
The huge man gave Harry a friendly smile, his beetle-black eyes twinkling, “I’m Hagrid, groundskeeper of Hogwarts School! You’ll see me when you come to Hogwarts; maybe you could visit my hut by the forest one day and we can have tea!”
Harry gave him a small smile, “I’d like that!”
The man chuckled heartily, before turning back to Annette, “Well, I’ll be seeing you Annette, got to go get some stuff! Goodbye!” He hurried off.
Harry turned to Annette, looking puzzled. She smiled, “Hagrid is a good person. A little clumsy, but otherwise he’s a good person.” Harry nodded, quietly scratching Hedwig under the beak. She affectionately butted her head against him again, and he smiled.
Professor Dumbledore strode back down the garden path at #4 Privet Drive feeling slightly worried. He had delved into the Dursley family’s memories and discovered that the boy had exhibited massive accidental magic and been kicked out of the house as a result. What was worse, the boy could not be traced at all now. He was only nine, therefore he had no wand to trace, and since all the pointing, tracking, finding and tracing spells he had used to get an idea of the child’s whereabouts were not working, Dumbledore had no choice but to surmise that the boy was under a Fidelius Charm. Things were getting more serious by the moment, Harry Potter had to be under his control or all his plans for the greater good would be for naught.
Harry stroked Hedwig where she sat on his chest of drawers beside his Pensieve. He was about to enter the Pensieve to visit the memories of his parents inside. Tom had explained the whole thing to Harry when Harry told him what he was planning. He had also taken the time to explain how to use the Pensieve to Harry, so now Harry stood over the Pensieve with Tom, stroked Hedwig one more time for luck, and bent over, dipping his face into the Pensieve.
Harry landed on his feet beside Tom in a large room he didn’t recognize. He looked around for a second, before a cry made him whirl round. A man and a woman stood before him. The man was tall, with unruly black hair and hazel eyes. The woman was slightly shorter, with dark red hair and emerald green almond-shaped eyes. Both were smiling at Harry, but regarded Tom with expressions of confusion, “Tom? What are you doing here?”
Tom stared at the man and woman, “James? Lily? Is that really you?” They nodded, but then turned back to their son.
Lily spoke first, “Harry; oh how you’ve grown. Last time we saw you, you were just a baby. How are you?”
Harry swallowed, then threw himself into his mother’s arms and sobbed into her shoulder. She slipped her arms around him and hugged him tightly to her. James put his arms around both of them, and they stood for a moment with the air of people who have not enjoyed this level of closeness for eight years.
“So why are you here, Tom?” asked James as they all sat down in the living room, Harry cuddled up to his mother. She had refused to let go of him when they had retired to the living room.
Tom began explaining how Harry had turned up at the Leaky Cauldron and everything that had happened since. Harry then began explaining what had happened before he arrived at the Leaky Cauldron. By the time he was finished, James and Lily were wearing expressions that seemed both horrified and absolutely furious at the same time. Harry felt uneasy; though he had seen neither of his parents for eight years and as such had no memories of them aside from the present ones, he didn’t really want to upset them. Lily noticed this and gently cupped Harry’s chin in her hand, her emerald eyes shining. “Oh my son,” she said, enfolding Harry into a hug, “I love you so much, as does James. But if this has happened to you, then somebody has betrayed us, and I have a very sneaky suspicion as to who it is. But we’ll get to that later. For now, you should go sleep. We can have another conversation soon.”
Harry nodded, hugged his parents one more time and then he and Tom departed the Pensieve.
(A/N: Well, that’s another chapter of Heir of Sword and Stave completed. I’m sorry this took a while to complete, but I was writing more to TCML in combination with beta-ing Dark Dragen’s HPxBleach crossover fic. If you are a Bleach fan, I recommend you go and read it, it’s very good. It’s not every day you find a good HPxBleach crossover. Anyway, I finally finished beta-ing it and succeeded in finishing this chapter as well. I’m about halfway done on the second chapter of TCML too, so that should be posted sometime soon. Well, I should wrap this up before I start to ramble. Thank you for reading and GOOD NIGHT!)