Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Touch of Destiny


by fatlewis 2 reviews

Dumbledore finds his powers beginning to decline, while Voldemort's are growing. Harry discovers new powers, but will the Wizarding World accept them? The Prophecy is revealed to all, but is it o...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Fred, George, Harry, Molly Weasley, Sirius - Warnings: [!] [!!] [!!!] [?] - Published: 2006-09-11 - Updated: 2006-09-12 - 6396 words

Chapter Two

Harry Potter sighed quietly in the backseat of the Dursley's sedan as the car pulled into the driveway of number four Privet Drive. It had been an abnormally quiet ride back from King's Cross Station, which had suited Harry just fine. He didn't have anything to say to his horrible relatives anyway. It was nice to see that the warning, no, the threat, that Alastor Moody and some of the other Order members had given his relatives back at the station had, at least allowed him some peace and quiet during the hour long-ride back from the station. He didn't expect it to last much longer though. The Order, for all their good intentions, just didn't understand the type of people that his relatives were. If they did, they wouldn't have even bothered trying to help.

He was expecting his uncle to tear into him at any moment for the incident at the station. In fact, he had spent a good part of the ride back imagining the expected tirade, and trying to decide just which angry color his Uncle would reach by the time he was finished. Harry had finally decided on light purple because it was his favorite. It always reminded him of the hideous purple stuffed walrus that his cousin Dudley had stolen from a smaller child at a Carnival when he and Dudley were both ten. Much to Harry's amusement, Dudley had named the stuffed animal 'Vern'.

The car stopped and his uncle killed the engine. His aunt quickly got out of the car and headed inside. Vernon hit the button on the dash that released the boot and followed his wife inside without a word. Dudley continued to sit in the backseat unmoving. He seemed to be heavily engrossed in some article in the boxing magazine that he was reading. Apparently, he had decided to finish reading before he went inside, or he was having a difficult time deciphering one of the larger words in the article. He got out of the car and took Hedwig's cage up to his small room before returning to get his school trunk from the boot. He smirked at the thought of his simple minded cousin; he had probably spent the majority of the ride trying to sound out, and understand, the words 'technical knockout'.

By the time Harry returned to the car for his trunk, Dudley was closing his magazine and beginning the process of extricating his massive frame from the backseat.
He paid no mind to the struggling Dudley, wrenched his large trunk out of the car, and began to drag it inside. He had taken only a few steps towards the house when Dudley slammed an elbow into the small of his back as he passed him, causing him to drop his trunk. Dudley turned and glared at him threateningly, daring him to do anything about it. When he saw that no response was forthcoming from Harry, he turned once again and went inside slamming the front door behind him.

With a sigh, Harry bent down to retrieve his trunk. Well, he thought resignedly, it was nice while it lasted. He began dragging his heavy trunk towards the house again when he stopped suddenly; something was wrong. He felt a sudden swooping sensation in his stomach, like he had experienced when he had fallen from his broom in his third year, and his skin erupted in goose-bumps. He dropped into a crouch and his heart started violently hammering away in his chest as he looked around for the source of his unease. Seeing nothing, he hurried to get inside with his trunk. He took another step when he caught, out of the corner of his eye; a beam of pale yellow spell light headed his way from the hedge line that separated number four, Privet Drive from the neighbor in number three.

Harry couldn't get to his wand in time to even consider trying to shield against the fast-moving spell, so, with a violent heave he tried to throw his trunk between his body and the unknown spell. Harry was relieved when the spell struck the trunk, but before he could react to his attacker, the heavy trunk that he was struggling with suddenly weighed much less. Since Harry was pulling violently on his trunk when it happened, he overbalanced and spun in an awkward looking pirouette before slamming into the lawn face first. His now feather light trunk slipped from his grasp as he twisted and bounced across the yard before coming to a stop on the sidewalk some thirty feet away.

As Harry spit out a blade of grass and pushed himself back onto his feet, he shook his head as he realized what just happened. Apparently, whomever The Order had on guard duty at the moment, had seen the difficulty he was having with his trunk and decided to lend a hand. He reddened in embarrassment, and quickly ran over to retrieve his trunk. He paused, trunk in hand, before he opened the door and shot a hushed and sarcastic "thanks a lot" to his hidden minder. He heard a soft snort and the tinkle of feminine laughter in response. As he stepped inside and closed the door behind him, he thought with a smile, Must have been Tonks. Only she could turn helping someone into such an utter disaster.

As soon as the door shut, Harry felt a strong hand grab him by the shoulder. He was quickly spun around and slammed violently into the foyer wall. Harry watched distractedly as a framed photo of baby Dudley in a Father Christmas hat was knocked from its place of honor on the wall by the sudden impact, and fell, shattering on the floor. Harry turned to regard his irate uncle as he pinned him to the wall and brought his pinched angry eyes and bulbous red face to within a few inches of Harry's nose.

The strong smell of onions almost overpowered Harry as his Uncle began to speak, grinding out his words in a harsh and deadly whisper. "Don't believe for one second that those freakish friends of yours that accosted us at the station intimidated me in any way. I will not be told how to act in my own home!" Harry thought it sounded like he was trying to convince himself of his words as he spoke.

Vernon paused as he removed his hand from Harry's shoulder and gripped him firmly by the throat. He moved in closer to Harry until his saliva covered lips were almost touching his ear and continued. "Understand this, you ungrateful little shite, if you so much as put one toe over the line this summer, I will beat you so badly that you will be lucky to leave your room under your own power for a month! Don't test me." He pulled Harry away from the wall and slammed him back into it to emphasize his point, before he released him, and made to leave the room.

Harry had looked death in the face too many times to be cowed by the blustering threats of his bully of an Uncle. His green eyes flashed with anger, I won't allow him to push me around ever again. he thought as he watched his Uncle turn to leave.

"No, Uncle Vernon, I am not afraid of you. You're nothing but a weak, posturing old windbag." Harry whispered under his breath.

Apparently, it wasn't quiet enough because, his Uncle spun on him faster than a man his size should have been able to move, with his meaty fist pulled back to strike.

"YOU ARROGANT LITTLE BERK! I'LL SHOW YOU WEAK!" Vernon roared as his fist descended towards Harry's jaw.

STUPID! Harry chided himself as he closed his eyes. Why didn't I at least pull my wand, before I spoke?

Harry didn't run or try to dodge the blow. He knew from experience that if he did, then things would only be worse when his Uncle was finally able to corner him. No, he just stood there - furious with himself - raised his chin in defiance, and waited for the blow to fall; but it never did.

Harry heard his Uncle give a loud "UMPFF" and opened his eyes to see the man stagger back and fall to one knee, clutching his chest as if he had been struck. He leveled an accusing glare at Harry, pointed a shaking finger up the stairs, and grunted, somewhat breathlessly, "Up-Upstairs you F-FREAK!" before pausing to suck in a deep breath, "I d-don't want to see you for the r-rest of the summer!"

Harry thanked his lucky stars for whatever had just happened to stop his Uncle from pummeling him, grabbed his still-feather-light trunk, edged carefully around his uncle as he struggled for breath, and bounded up the stairs taking them two at a time. He heard Dudley yell, "Mum, come quick! Harry did something to Dad!" and a shriek from his aunt, before he shut his bedroom door, effectively cutting off the sounds of their voices.

He walked over and deposited his trunk at the foot of his bed, removed his wand from the waistband of his jeans, and flopped down onto his back on the thin mattress. Harry lay silently for a few minutes and allowed the adrenaline that was pumping through is body, from the confrontation to disperse. Well, he thought sardonically, this is definitely going to a long summer. I wonder what happened to Uncle Vernon down stairs. Did I perform some type of accidental magic that pushed him away and stopped him from attacking me? He opened his eyes and briefly scanned his room. Well, no Ministry owls in sight. That's too bad, another letter from Malfalda Hopkirk would have, REALLY, made today perfect. Tonks, or whoever my guard is today, must have hit him with something then. Wait, speaking of that, how did I know that someone was there before they fired that spell at my trunk?

Dismissing his thoughts for the moment, Harry walked over to Hedwig's cage and opened the door. He reached into the cage to stroke his owl, but hastily withdrew his hand when Hedwig nipped it, a little too hard, and broke the skin.

"OUCH!" Harry exclaimed, and he shook his hand at the unexpected pain. He regarded his snowy owl with narrowed eyes as she flew from her cage and perched on the edge of his worn desk. "Well that wasn't necessary," Harry scolded, as he examined the small trickle of blood that was running down his injured finger. "You got me pretty good." Hedwig just tilted her head in response and stared at him with her large amber eyes.

Harry walked to his trunk, opened the lid, and sifted through its disorganized contents until he found the bag of owl treats he was looking for and one of Dudley's old t-shirts. He carefully ripped a strip of fabric from the shirt and wrapped it around his finger to stem the free flowing blood. True, he could have just headed down the hall to the loo for a band aid, but he didn't want to chance another run in with the Dursleys just yet. After he dressed his wound, he took the treats and was about to present one to Hedwig, when he thought better of it, and settled for placing the treat about a foot away from Hedwig.

Fool me once... Harry thought distractedly as he moved to open his window. The fresh air streaming in did much to counter the overly-antiseptic smell that lingered in his room. Apparently, his aunt had tried to purge any 'freakiness' that Harry might have left behind at the end of last summer, with the liberal use of cleaning products, whose various odors still lingered heavily in the air. Whatever the reason, the smells were definitely making his headache worse.

He removed his glasses and made to lie back on his bed, as he said, "Hedwig, why don't you go out and have a fly. I have a headache and I'm going to take a quick nap so I'm afraid I won't be very good company for a while." He shut his eyes as he gently massaged his temples, and he heard Hedwig give a doleful hoot followed by the soft flutter of her wings as she flew out the open window.

Despite the pounding of his head, Harry was able to drift of to sleep after a few minutes. Ever since he had been possessed by Voldemort at the Ministry, Harry had been bothered by frequent headaches. It wasn't pain in his scar this time though: he hadn't felt so much as a twinge in it since he had left the Ministry, for which he was very grateful. No, these were just regular everyday headaches. Unfortunately, they had gotten so frequent, that he had ended up consulting with Madame Pomfrey, Hogwart's resident healer, before he left school.

Madame Pomfrey had never heard of a possession as painful as the one he described experiencing at the Ministry, but she was quick to blame the connection he shared with Voldemort, through his scar, for the pain. The kindly matron had run a few tests on him to see what might be causing the frequent headaches that he was complaining of. When the tests had all come back negative, she chalked the whole thing up to lingering stress from his O.W.L exams combined with the unresolved guilt he felt at the recent loss of his godfather. The Headmaster had apparently notified the entire staff about the death of Sirius Black, and asked for them to keep an eye on Harry, lest he begin to slip into depression. This revelation about the Headmaster, while it annoyed Harry to no end, didn't surprise him much. It simply fueled the growing grudge he felt towards the man.

Sometime later, Harry was awakened from his nap by a soft thud. He sat up groggily and put on his glasses. He shot a glance at his alarm clock to see how long he had been asleep, but then sighed in frustration. He had forgotten that the stupid thing was broken. The LED that displayed the hour had burned out at some point during the previous summer. All that he could determine from it was that it was in the PM. 'Absolutely useless' he thought absently as he stood to find the source of the noise that woke him.

It didn't take him long at all to find the source of the disturbance. He saw a quivering bundle of feathers on the floor next to a large package that must have been the owl's burden. Harry recognized the bird immediately as Errol, the Weasley's elderly family owl. He gingerly picked the exhausted owl up and set him on his pillow to rest as he examined the package. There was a letter addressed to him, in Mrs. Weasley's sprawling script, tied to box with coarse twine. He put the letter aside for the moment and opened the box to find it filled with several samples of Mrs. Weasley's wonderful cooking. He picked up a pastry wrapped meat tart from the top of the pile and, setting the rest of his box of goodies aside for the moment, he picked up the letter, opened it, and, meat tart in hand, he began to read. He smiled in satisfaction when, with his first bite of the meat tart, he discovered it was still warm.

Harry Dear,

I know you must have just returned to your relatives several hours ago, but I think it is highly unlikely that those horrible relatives of yours would have a hot meal waiting to welcome you home. I sent this package out with Errol just before we left to meet you children at the train station. The poor dear means well, but he just can't get around as fast as he used to. Arthur and I are looking into getting a replacement for him, but until we can find one, we will just make do with Errol.

Oh Harry, I must tell you, I begged and pleaded with Albus for two solid weeks, but he refused to even consider placing you anywhere but at your relatives, 'at least for the time being' as he put it. Don't you worry about it dear; I won't let up on him for a minute until he gives in and sends you here to the Burrow where you belong. I don't know if any of my children have mentioned it or not but I can be very tenacious when I have to. Let's see, how do Fred and George put it? Oh yes, they say I can be an 'unbearable nag sometimes'. Ha-Ha! Its okay to laugh, dear, it does the soul good.

And Harry did just that, as he took a break from the letter and had another bite of his tart.

As I was saying, I haven't been able to sway Albus yet, but I will keep at him until he gives in. Hopefully, we will have you away from there in short order. Till then, I have decided that I will just have to do the best I can under the circumstances. I have seen how horribly drawn and underfed you always look when we get you back from those terrible Muggles. I have decided that I can, and will prevent that from happening to you this year. The package of food that I included with this letter is the first of many that I will be sending you this summer. I asked Bill for help, and he was able to find a long lasting Warming Charm that I enchanted this box with (and those to follow). According to Bill, the charm should keep your food pipin' hot and fresh for at least three days. So, I expect to see you healthy and well-fed when we get you away from that place.

Oh Harry, I was so, so, sorry to hear about Sirius. He and I may not have always seen eye to eye about things, but he was a wonderful and resilient man who loved you dearly, as we all do. We will all miss him. Harry, I know that I could never replace Sirius, but if you ever need to talk about anything, anything at all, you can always come to me.

Well I guess that's it for now, Arthur is saying that we really must be getting to the station now. I think its still a little early, but between you and me, he gets so worked up at the thought of being around muggles, that I think he likes to get there early so he can spend just a few minutes watching them.

Well, goodbye for now Harry, and enjoy your care package. If you would like anything special in the next one, please let me know and I will do my best.

Molly Weasley

Harry began to refold the letter and he wondered, not for the first time, if Ron, Ginny, or any of the Weasley children for that matter, realized how truly lucky they were to have such wonderful and caring parents as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.

As he set aside Molly's note, he realized that he had lost his make-shift bandage during his nap. He was pleased to note that the bleeding had stopped. He casually popped his injured finger into his mouth to moisten it, and scanned his bed for the discarded bandage. Spotting it next to his pillow, he grabbed it and began to swab at the dried blood so he could inspect the cut. His brow wrinkled in confusion as he regarded the spot where Hedwig had bitten him; there was no cut.

What the hell is going on? Harry wondered. There is no way that could completely have healed already. He gave a frustrated sigh and flopped back onto his bed. His short nap had done nothing to ease his headache so he didn't want to try and solve this particular mystery just now.

Harry was startled from his thoughts when a small grey pigeon flew in through his window and perched on his desk. He was just about to shoo the lost bird back out the window when he noticed that the pigeon had a thin leather strap around its neck that held a pouch of some sort. A carrier pigeon? Harry wondered to himself. He knew that muggles had used them to carry messages during the First World War, but as far as he was aware, they weren't used by wizards.

His curiosity got the better of him and he asked the bird, "Do you have something for me?" The bird just stared blankly at him in response.

He approached the pigeon and carefully opened the pouch on the bird's neck. Harry couldn't imagine what could be in a pouch so small, but as he carefully stuck two fingers into it to probe for the contents. He realized that the small pouch was enchanted to be many times larger on the inside than it appeared. Harry smiled; even after five years in the Wizarding World, magic still surprised him. He removed the contents of the pouch and regarded them carefully. It was a thin, silvery envelope - slightly larger than the two hands he held it in - that appeared to be made of metal rather than paper. 'Master Harry Potter' was embossed on the front in black lettering, and on the reverse, the strange envelope was sealed in wax and stamped with the emblem of Gringotts bank.

Intrigued, Harry quickly broke open the seal of the metallic envelope and upended it, spilling its contents onto his bed. It contained a smaller, normal-looking envelope and a neatly folded sheet of parchment. He picked up the parchment first, and began to read.

Harry James Potter,

Please accept the condolences of Gringotts Wizarding Bank in regards to the recent passing of one, Sirius Black. While we here at Gringotts, realize, that in your time of loss, dealing with Mr. Black's estate may be a particularly distasteful task, we, unfortunately, find ourselves duty-bound, as the executors of said estate, to see that all matters are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner in keeping with Mr. Black's final wishes.

We hereby notify you, that your presence is required on July the 15th at one o'clock in the afternoon for the reading of Mr. Black's Last Will and Testament and the distribution of all assets associated with his estate. As Mr. Black's sole heir, it is imperative that you are in attendance at this time, lest legal claims, which Mr. Black expressly desired to avoid, come into play.

Please find the enclosed letter which we at Gringotts received from Mr. Black on June the 1st of this year, along with instructions that it be delivered to you in the event of his passing.

May all your dealings be profitable,
Chief Goblin in charge of Hereditary Estates

For a long while, Harry just sat in silence holding the letter from Gringotts in his sweaty hands. It was all too much, too soon, and he didn't want to deal with any of it. HammerGleam had been right about that. He carefully picked up the letter Sirius had left him and gently traced the letters of his name, as if trying to force some connection to his godfather, by tracing the marks the man's quill had made on the envelope.

He was afraid of what he might find in Sirius' letter. He was afraid that if he opened it, then Sirius would really be gone, and, if Harry was honest with himself, he wasn't sure that he could deal with that just yet. He was afraid that he wouldn't be able to go on by himself. He had spent most of his life not knowing anything about his parents and what it meant to be loved. Now that he had experienced those things, he felt the pain of their loss that much more clearly.

He was also angry. Yes, he was angry at himself, for being tricked by Voldemort and causing, however indirectly, Sirius' fall. He was angry with the Wizarding World for condemning an innocent man to the Hell on Earth that was Azkaban, without so much as a trial. He was angry at Dumbledore for not doing more to help Sirius, and in turn denying he, Harry the loving home that he should have rightfully had with Sirius. Damn it, he was the most respected wizard in the world, and whether or not he believed in Sirius' innocence, Dumbledore at least should have ensured that he'd stood trial. But what bothered Harry the most was that he was also angry with Sirius for leaving him. He didn't want to, and he felt terribly guilty about it, but it was the truth.

As Harry sat there, absorbed with a swirl of conflicting and powerful emotions, he made his decision. With a determined sniff, he swiped the back of his hand across his eyes to clear the tears that had begun to pool in them. He would move on, and move beyond this: he had to. He owed it to Sirius, to his parents, to Cedric, and to everyone who had been lost at Voldemort's hand. If it was his destiny to stop the monster, to kill or be killed as it were, then he vowed to himself that he that he would not allow himself to die until he had seen Voldemort fall once and for all. He had spent many sleepless nights cursing fate, but now he found himself oddly comforted and at peace. His hand might be destined to take life, but, in doing so, it would also be giving life to thousands, and that, that was something he could live with.

Harry pushed his thoughts aside for now. He would deal with them tomorrow. Tonight, he had something important to do. It was time for him to say goodbye to a dear friend. With a deep breath, Harry opened the letter and, although a single tear rolled down his cheek, he was smiling as he started to read.


If you are reading this, then I am dead. Sorry about being so blunt kiddo, but I have started this letter seven times already and that was the best I could come up with.

Your father and I once visited a fortune teller at a carnival during the summer following our seventh year. Now, the woman was an absolute nutter and she predicted such unbelievably asinine things for the two of us that it was nearly impossible... Anyways, I am getting off track, I remember the look of horror on your father's face when the old bat predicted that no matter how hard, or often he tried, he would never produce anything but girls. She also predicted that I would die, either in bed with the Broadmoor triplets or in battle. I rather liked that prediction, and while I always rather hoped to go out with a "BANG" so to speak, seeing as how I haven't seen the Broadmoors in over eighteen years, I will have to assume that I died, no less heroically mind you, in battle.

Death is a very hard thing to deal with Harry. After your parents were killed, I was angry for a very long time. At first I thought I was angry at Peter and Voldemort, and believe me I was. But once I was in Azkaban, and had more than my fair share of time to think about such things, I realized that I was angry with your parents, for leaving us both alone, and I was also angry with myself, because I never told them what they meant to me. It almost broke me when I came to that realization, after all; I didn't want to be angry with them, I loved them and missed them desperately, but I was. What I wouldn't have given to have five minutes just to say goodbye to them both and to let them know how much they meant to me. I never had the chance though, and that was one of the reasons that I decided to write you this letter. If the worst were to happen, I wanted us to have a chance to say goodbye, even if the conversation is, unfortunately one sided.

Harry, I know that it is painful, but it is okay to hurt. The pain lets us know that we are still alive and, while it may not feel like it, it does get better with time. It is also okay if you are angry with me, it is, once again a natural part of the healing process. When you are ready, please forgive me for leaving you, but, most importantly, forgive yourself. Face it Harry, I know you well enough to realize that you probably blame yourself, in some way, for whatever happened to me.

You are a remarkable young man Harry. To have become the man that you are when faced with the hardship that was forced upon you at such a young age is simply inspiring. The too-short moments that I was able to spend with you, getting to know you, meant more to me than you can ever realize. I was dead once before Harry. In Azkaban, I had given up the will to live but for you, the thought of you, that you were somewhere out their needing me. You gave me hope and a reason to fight.

I am going to try to close this out now, not because I want to go, but because I am afraid that I am going to start blubbering uncontrollably at any moment. I just don't think that I'll have the strength to rewrite this letter if my tears ruin it.

I am so VERY proud of you Harry, and I will never forget you. From the first moment that your mother told your father that she was pregnant with you, you were the apple of their eyes, but you also became the apple of mine. I never had the opportunity to have children of my own, and it was something that I always thought that I would regret when I was faced with my end. But if it comes, I find myself with no regrets. That I was able to find you again, that you were able to open up your heart to me, and that we were able to share what precious little time that God granted us, these are the things that I remember now as I face my death. Harry, you brought joy back into my life, and I want to thank you for that. I love you, Harry.

With all the Love in this World and the Next,
Sirius Orion Black

"I love you too, Sirius." He was able to choke out as his tears rolled unchecked down his face and he added in a barely audible voice, "And I'll never forget you." before he collapsed back onto his bed and gave in completely as the cathartic sobs overtook him. Harry wasn't sure how long he had lay there, but when his pain finally abated, he realized that it was now dark out. He looked around the room and noticed that Errol was gone and that Hedwig had returned. Hedwig regarded him with concern apparent in her intelligent amber eyes, as she perched on his desk.

Harry got up and wiped his tear-stained face as he walked over to gently stroke Hedwig's soft, white feathers, which she allowed this time. "I'm not there yet, girl," he whispered softly to her, "but I think I'm on my way." He realized that it was the truth, too. He felt like a great weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

With a cleansing sigh, he walked back over to his bed. He picked up the letter from Sirius and reverently refolded it, and returned it to its envelope before setting it on his nightstand. Harry picked up Mrs. Weasley's letter and envelope, to stow that one as well, but he froze as another, smaller, piece of folded orange parchment fell out of her envelope and floated to the floor. He stared cautiously at the third note as he decided whether or not to open it. It had been a rough, and emotionally trying day so far and Harry wasn't sure how much more he could take.

The Parchment bore the words "OUR DEAR HARRIKINS" on it with each letter apparently written in a different color ink. It didn't take a lot of thought on his part to realize that this letter could only be from one person, or in this case people. It was obviously from Fred and George, no one else he knew was as theatrical as those two maniacs. With a deep breath, Harry grabbed the letter off the floor, opened it quickly, and began to read. After all, knowing those two, the letter was likely to turn into some type of maniacal Howler if he left it unopened for too long.

Dear Harrikins,

We hope you don't mind terribly, but we decided to highjack Errol on his way from the Burrow so that we could add our own contribution to Mums little bundle. G.

Yes, quite right brother, we thought that we should give you a practical demonstration of just what your generous investment in Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes is helping to develop. F.

Be careful Fred, or you'll end up letting the boggart out of the box to early and ruin the surprise. G.

Too true brother mine, you have my deepest apologies. Anyways, as I was saying, we have taken the liberty of adding a little something, just for you, to one of Mum's treats. F.

We assure you that it is nothing dangerous or, too long-lasting. It's just a bit of harmless fun. G.

Are you sure about this George? We did have some inconsistencies during the testing phase. F.

Now Fred, of course I'm sure, I told you that I was able to balance that out by adding a few more Doxy eggs which... G.

Yes, but didn't that... F.

It would have, but, had you let me finish. You would have heard me explain that I fixed that problem by adding a handful of crushed Lacewing flies. G.

Oh, sorry about that. Anyhow, we should wrap this up because I fear we may have started to ramble just now. F.

We can't have that, now can we? G.

No, definitely not. In an effort to ease your probably-troubled mind, we promise that we will leave all of Mum's baskets untampered with in the future. F.

Yes, we will even swear an oath, in the name of all that is good and funny, that this is just a one time thing. G.

Do tell use if those relatives of yours are giving you any trouble though . F.

Yes, we have more than a few products that are in need of further testing, and we can think of no one more deserving than them. G.

Fred and George

P.S. Harry mate, don't tell George I told you, but we tampered with the meat pie. I just didn't feel right about pranking our one and only investor. F.

P.P.S. Don't tell Fred, but I know he told you about the meat pie. I agree with him in this case, and I would have told you myself if he didn't.

The color had drained from Harry's face as he read the note. He stared at the half-eaten meat pie as if it had betrayed him, and hopped up to throw the pie into his waste bin before any further damage could be done. Harry cursed his luck as he stood deep in thought for a moment, trying to decide what to do. Typical, he thought with a rueful shake of his head. I would have to pick the only thing out of that box that the twins had tampered with.

Finally, after deciding that the twins would never hurt him intentionally, he resigned himself to the fact that he had little choice now but to ride out whatever storm they had planned for him. With a deep breath, he turned to regard himself in the cracked mirror that hung from the back of his bedroom door. What he saw caused him to gasp in shock. The familiar face that he had been hoping to see was gone. In its place, complete with the hooked nose, beady black eyes, and stringy curtains of greasy black hair, was the reflection of Severus Snape.

Harry stood stock-still for a good five minutes before he brought his hand up to feel his face. The changes felt real too. He really had to hand it to the twins, they were absolute masters at their craft. In fact, if anyone from the wizarding world had walked into his room just then, they would have been extremely confused as to why Professor Snape was in Harry Potter's house, wearing Harry Potter's glasses, and dressed in his cousin Dudley's cast-offs. Some, like Remus Lupin for instance, would have attacked him on the spot, demanding to know what he had done with Harry. At least he was able to take solace in the fact that Snape's skinny frame looked even more pathetic in his cousin's old clothes than he did himself.

The thought of that caused Harry to laugh and run his hand through his hair like he normally did. "Eww" was his response as he jerked his hand away from, not his unruly black hair, but Snape's greasy mop. He held his hand out in front of his face and grimaced at the oily sheen that the brief contact with his hair and had left on it. An evil grin crept onto his face - Harry thought it looked particularly fitting on his new face - and he grabbed a towel, veritably skipping out of his room. He had the opportunity to do what countless Hogwarts students had only dreamed of. Yes, today someone was finally going to make Professor Snape wash his hair.

A/N: Thanks for reading.
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