Chapter 3: Finding Answers
True to his expectations, a week later Harry received an invitation to The Burrow to spend not only the last two weeks of Summer Hols, but in fact, the rest of his summer term starting the following day. Harry quickly scribbled an acceptance note, attached it to Pigwidgeon, and went down stairs to inform his 'family' of his imminent departure.
"I expect those FREAKS not to draw too much attention to themselves when they come to collect you. We don't need the neighbors suspecting that anything ABNORMAL goes on around here," huffed Vernon over his morning coffee.
"Yes Uncle Vernon," replied Harry.
"How are they going to collect you? I won't be replacing the fireplace again will I?" questioned Petunia.
"I don't know," replied Harry honestly, "I didn't think to ask."
"Well see to it they come the normal way. Miss Hammonds in Number 3 has been looking for a bit of good gossip for a week, and I won't have it be me!" Petunia sniffed.
"Yes Aunt Petunia," Harry conceded.
"Well don't just stand there Boy! You have work to do if you expect to leave with your freaky little friends tomorrow," said Vernon.
Without further ado, Harry turned and departed the dining room for the sweltering heat of the July sun. After weeding the garden, mowing the yard, and setting out the sprinklers, Harry took refuge in the shade of the trees in the back yard, relishing in the peace and quiet of life outside of Number 4. For him, tomorrow could not come soon enough. Not only would he be free of the Dursleys, he would also be around other wizards, and more importantly, he would be able to start looking for answers to his questions. As he lay there in the soothing shade, a cool breeze began to blow and slowly lulled Harry into a late afternoon nap, pondering all the things that had happened to him over the last few months.
"The time is coming Harry. Soon, your world is going to change. And I can only hope and pray that it is for the better. Be careful who you trust Harry. There are those who will seek to tell you lies. One closest to you does not wish for you to discover the truth, for it will change everything you have ever known. One closest to you is a far darker being than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named could ever wish to be. One closest to you is using you as a means to an end. They have set up their chess board, and have put their pieces into play. Do NOT be a pawn in this person's game. You are stronger than that. Seek the answers to your questions, but do not be obvious in your quest. They are watching you. They will know you have figured out too much."
Harry once again woke with a start, and with a groan, realized that it had gotten quite dark outside. Hopefully he would be able to sneak back in. Looking around, he could feel eyes on him, but could not see from where they came. 'Probably the Order making rounds,' he thought as he carefully, and quietly worked his way back inside to his bedroom.
Looking around his room one last time to make sure he had everything he wanted to take, Harry headed down the stairs to retrieve his trunk from Uncle Vernon and to wait by the door. His note had said that someone would come to collect him promptly at 9 (though whom it didn't say), and he wanted to be ready for when they came. True to the letter, at precisely 9am Professor Snape (why him?) arrived at the Dursley's door, dressed surprisingly in muggle clothing, with a horrid sneer stretched across his sallow face.
"Potter." He greeted.
"Professor Snape? What are you doing here?" asked Harry, caught completely off guard.
"It would seem Headmaster Dumbledore has seen fit to assign my time to being your personal bodyguard," sneered the greasy potions master.
Harry could only gape.
"Well come on Potter, I haven't got all day. We don't all have the opportunities afforded to us by simply being The-Boy-Who-Lived. Some of us do work for a living," oozed Snape.
Harry grabbed his trunk (which Professor Snape had shrunk), placed it in his pocket, and followed Snape down the drive.
"How exactly are we getting to the Burrow? I don't see a car. And I don't know how to apparate," said Harry.
"As observant as ever, Potter. We are taking a port-key," sneered Snape as he pulled out an old, dirty looking sock.
Harry eyed the object warily before noticing the look on the professors' face, and then promptly grabbed onto it. Within moments he felt the familiar tug at his navel, and was quickly being whisked away to his new destination.