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Harry Potter and the ? (Prisoner of Azkaban)


After two terrible years of near-constant​ danger, our characters are convinced that this year Harry must get some peace...right? Continuation of my Reading the Book Series.

Aly Cantrell
4.5 11 reviews
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Owl Post

Skippable A/N: Here we are folks, THE highly anticipated Prisoner of Azkaban. People have been clamoring for this book since I started the first one. Personally, it’s my favorite book of the series so I’m hoping to do this one justice. Glad you’ve enjoyed the previous installments, and hope you adore this one just as much.

NONskippable A/N: I realize I haven’t given too much explanation yet, outside of the fact that this series started Oct. 19th 1980, almost exactly a year before the first book starts. Before you go on to read the fic, here’s something you should know about the going’s on;

Since the book never explicitly states when the Potter’s go into hiding, in my mind I pictured it when Harry was approximately a year and two months old. Harry was exactly a year and four months old when Voldemort killed his parent’s, so if they were in hiding now, why hasn’t Peter betrayed them yet? No, in my head the Potter’s were only in hiding for a few weeks before the whole catastrophe went down, I can’t imagine Pettigrew sitting on the information to long, let alone over a year. So as of right now, they are not in hiding. Peter is not the Secret Keeper.

Also random side notes, just because one person asked me and I’m telling everyone who reads, Lily is currently employed at the Department of Legislation, but is currently on maternity leave and should resume normal job routine by the end of this month. James is unemployed, but want’s to train to be an Auror, so like an intern? Are intern’s technically employed, since he’s not getting paid but is still working? Whatever, that’s what I’m going with.

Both Remus and Sirius don’t have job’s, Sirius is just kind of bumming around because he doesn’t really know what he wants to do with his life, and Remus work’s odd jobs and mostly lives with Sirius anyway’s.

Dang this is a long author’s note, sorry, I know you all want to get to the book, so I’m done now.

Next morning, dawned very bright and early for the household, despite their late evening they were all up and around well before a normal breakfast. Since he was the first one up, Sirius decided to make breakfast before Lily could kick him out of the kitchen, which also meant breakfast was a very quick affair. They were all settled down and ready to read within an hour of being awake, highly anxious to get reading again.

Sirius, having finished off last time, passed the book along to Harry for his start.

The narrative starts by stating the simple fact that Harry Potter was considered an unusual boy.

“Oh come on Harry, you’re not that weird,” James said bracingly “odd stuff just seems to happen to you.”

Harry grinned lightly without looking up, deciding to read the reasons he felt he was so weird before he really believed him.

Beginning to list the reasons, the first of which was that he hated his summer holidays.

“So do I” Sirius mock pouted “so are you saying I’m unusual.”

Before Harry could even answer, Remus really did mock him, saying “Sirius, Harry doesn’t have to say that. I’m saying it for him.”

While Harry laughed at the pair, Sirius just huffed and grumbled a bit with a smile.

Another reason was that he actually wanted to do his homework,

“That’s not so odd either,” Lily chuckled, getting into this now “I enjoyed doing my homework all the time. It was always something fun and unusual.”

“That’s just because you didn’t grow up around magic” James rolled his eyes “if you did, you’d just think of it as boring homework.”

but was forbidden and now did it in secret during the nights.

Then they all grimaced in disgust as they now firmly remembered where exactly Harry was, and why he would be doing that.

The last of his reasons, he was a wizard.

“Right” James drew the word out in disbelief “so what about all of that made you unusual again?”

“Well when you put it like that it’s not” Harry chuckled “but sitting around thinking about it...” he trailed off.

They all smiled indulgently at him, pleased he truly did seem to be relaxing and finally making more jokes.

The timing properly started at midnight, Harry lay awake under his bed sheet working on previously said homework, an essay about Witch Burning from the Fourteenth Century and why it was pointless, and gaining knowledge of the subject from his text entitled A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot.

“I actually remember that essay vividly,” Lily giggled “it was pretty funny to find out the lengths wizards go to hide themselves from Muggles, when Muggles can’t hardly find us when we’re not even trying to hide.”

Using his quill he was scanning the page looking for something to add to his essay and came across a likely paragraph, going into details about one witch in particular deemed Wendelin the Weird who enjoyed being caught simply for the use of using a tickle charm she’d hidden in the flames.

“I can’t imagine how she got her nickname” Sirius said, mock-puzzled and wondering why she didn’t just perform that charm herself, rather than being ‘caught’.

“How did that work though?” Harry asked, realizing the book wasn’t going to explain further. “The Muggles would have been sitting there watching, and wouldn’t they have noticed they weren’t burning up?”

Remus happily explained “since the smoke was in everyone’s eyes so much, they most often did these in open fields and such, they could just disappear before the charm wore off. Anyone who heard the loud crack it makes, just assumed it was logs or even the bones breaking, stuff like that.”

Harry nodded in understanding, having a pang in his chest as he realized this kind of answer would never go in his essay, because he hadn’t been able to ask them this. It was the small, little things that still got to him and reminded him that his home life really had sucked.

Harry carefully pulled out a bottle of ink and then used his quill to carefully begin scratching notes on the topic, silently as possible. He feared that if the family he lived with, the Dursleys, heard the pointed sound

“I always wanted to ask,” Harry butted in again “why do we use quills, instead of pens?”

Both Lily and Remus released bursts of laughter at this, Lily explaining “trust me, I think every muggle-born’s asked that at some point or another. Professor Flitwick explained it saying that it’s just more traditional. He tried to give a muggle comparison, saying it’s why some teachers still want you to use print instead of cursive on your homework, even though there’s no real difference at the end results.”

Harry shrugged and said thanks, happy that random little thing was explained.

he would definitely get in major trouble for it, likely being locked in the cupboard for the remainder of his holidays.

Their good mood was gone in an instance, all wanting to threaten or far worse to those Muggles Harry was forced to live with, but Harry wasn’t hearing of it as he read on loudly.

The Dursley family of number four, Privet Drive, was the reason that Harry never enjoyed his summer holidays.

Sirius began saying something rather foul at once, but Harry was still diligently ignoring them and continuing.

His Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and their son, Dudley, were Harry’s only living relatives. They were Muggles, and they had a very medieval attitude toward magic.

“Medieval, that about sums it up” Lily agreed bitterly.

Harry’s dead parents,

Even Harry couldn’t keep a hitch out of his voice as he forced himself to read that.

who had been a witch and wizard, were never mentioned. For years in Harry’s younger life Petunia and Vernon had done there best to keep Harry as miserable as possible, hoping to squash his hereditary magic out of him.

This time Harry had to cut across all four of them trying to continue their threats, but Harry refused to let them get on for long. He didn’t want their tempers’ spiking, and for them to possibly rile themselves up enough to go out and act on those threats.

To there horror, it hadn’t worked, so they now lived in fear of what anyone would think if they knew where Harry had spent the majority of his last two years of life at Hogwarts.

“Who exactly is anyone?” James scoffed in disgust “It’s not like they have any friends.”

Harry just sighed, not really wanting to indulge them and explain that the Dursleys were very neighborly people, often boasting loudly about the goings on of their life. He didn’t quite know what the neighborhood thought he’d been doing the past two years at school, but he knew without a doubt the Dursleys hadn’t been saying it in a good way.

All the Dursleys could get away with now was to take Harry’s magical means, including his wand, school books, and supplies and stow them away in the cupboard and forbid Harry from speaking to any of the neighbors.

This time they didn’t actually try and cut Harry off, realizing he wasn’t going to let them, so they quietly simmered and grouched about that line.

This could have been a real problem for Harry, as he had summer homework and knew one teacher in particular who would never take any excuse for him not doing it. Professor Snape would take any opportunity to give Harry a solid month’s worth of detentions for any reason.

“I can see that,” Lily agreed fairly, before any of the boys could get in a more biased opinion “a teacher would have the right to scold you for not doing homework. Though admittedly-” she continued even more loudly when James looked about to cutting her off “I do wish you had explained why you wouldn’t be able to do your homework.”

Harry just shrugged, knowing that Snape wouldn’t have cared no matter what, and never having bothered with the other teachers either.

Harry had outsmarted them though, biding his time and found an opportunity the first week of holidays. Vernon had received a new car and had brought Petunia and Dudley out front to have a look at it, boasting loudly enough that surely the neighbors heard as well.

Remus muttered something under his breath that caused Sirius to release a bark-like laughter, causing James to scowl at them mostly because he wasn’t in on the joke.

Harry had taken his chance and gone to the cupboard, picking the lock,

“Glad to see Fred and George taught you that nifty little trick” James approved.

and stowing away a majority of his school things. So long as he left no evidence of it, the Dursleys need never know he was studying magic by night.

“That’s my pup,” Sirius grinned from ear to ear “stick it to those bloody Muggles.”

All four of them were beyond pleased Harry seemed more and more likely to stand up to that rubbish family of his and even doing small things like this boosted their moral of the ratty situation.

Harry was particularly keen on staying out of their crosshairs as of late, as they were in an especially bad mood with him,

“As opposed to?” Lily asked, genuinely curious.

“Just, a normal bad mood” Harry shrugged, unable to really explain that any other way.

“So, what did they blame you for doing?” James asked without really wanting to hear the answer.

Harry sighed, remembering quite well that this essay marked the time passing from when Ron had called him. He explained the whole fiasco, which both delighted and infuriated them all at the same time. Harry regretted having told them this though when he realized the book was about to explain it, so it’s not like they could move past this.

all because he’d received a telephone call from a fellow wizard one week into the school vacation.

“At least he tried” James sighed.

It had been Ron Weasley, Harry’s best friend from school, who came from a family of wizards. This unfortunately meant that he wasn’t very skilled in using muggle objects, like phones, hence his confusion when Veron answered the call, and heard Ron bellowing at the top of his lungs ‘hello?’

“Wow” Lily muttered, rubbing at her ear “when you said he shouted, you meant it.”

“Guess next time, you should go into a bit more details with Arthur” Remus sighed.

Harry was looking down at the pages sadly, suddenly realizing that he had left out the part where Vernon had shouted at him for this mess, but had merely said this is what caused them to be extra mad at him. Now the book was possibly going to show something he didn’t particularly want his family to hear... sighing in defeat he pressed on.

Harry had happend to be in the room at the time, and could clearly hear Ron’s continued shouting that he wanted to talk to Harry. Vernon turned on Harry on the spot, fury prevalent.

Not even Lily felt pity for this horrid man, she joined in as they laughed just a bit cruelly at his ignorance of the situation.

Vernon roared right back, demanding to know who was speaking.

“Poor Ron,” Sirius chuckled “he probably doesn’t even understand he’s doing anything wrong, since that arse is responding in exactly the same way.”

“Where did he even get a hold of a phone?” James suddenly asked. “That’s not something he’d have around his house.”

“I asked” Harry shrugged “he said his Dad apparated him into town to use one.”

“Wait, you could still write to him?” Remus asked eagerly, misunderstanding how Harry had asked “So did you pick the lock on Hedwig’s cage this summer?” Remembering all too well the injustice done to that poor bird last summer.

“Actually,” Harry fully grinned this time, and deciding against correcting his assumption; really he had asked on the train ride home last year “I really was just allowed to let her out at night. Uncle- err” he corrected himself at once for the slip that he knew they all hated for addressing them as any type of family “Vernon hated the racket so much he said I could so long as the neighbors didn’t see her.”

“Probably the most decent thing they’ve done in their life” Lily beamed, taking this small victory.

“Even if it was for the most selfish of reasons” James agreed.

Ron called right back in the same tones, speaking as if from the opposite end of a football field,

Sirius couldn’t help but chuckle at the mental image.

that he was a friend of Harry’s from school. Vernon’s hate filled eyes narrowed in on Harry, who had been trying to edge back to his room.

“Uh-oh” they all muttered, Harry had left the part out that he’d been in the room when this happened.

Vernon steamed back that no Harry Potter lived there, now holding the phone as far away from his head as if it were a ticking bomb,

“I wish” James grumbled, enjoying that for a moment longer.

continuing to shout that no one had better come near his family!

“He is a bloody paranoid one, isn’t he?” Remus said in an almost conversational tone of voice, if his hands weren’t white knuckled from what he was dearly trying not to picture that man doing to Harry in retaliation for this. “Honestly, one stupid phone call, and he thinks Ron’s going to kill them all?”

“Wish he would,” Sirius huffed “actually I wish Arthur or Molly would really go over there sometime this summer, and take Harry with them, and then never come back.”

“If only” Harry agreed, though he really did want to move on now, never letting himself think like this for too long, since it wouldn’t ever come true.

Then he slammed the receiver down so hard it was in danger of breaking. The following fight was one of the worst ever in that house.

Lily released a pitiful moan at that description, not even wanting to think on what this could mean...

Vernon rampaging that how dare Harry give out that houses number, to people like him. Ron seemed to have realized that he’d gotten Harry into trouble, because he had yet to try again.

“Wait, wait, back up!” Sirius demanded “Is that all he did? Shout at you.”

“Yes” Harry said quickly...a little too quickly. They’d all had this moment before, where they genuinely wanted to question what exactly Harry was hiding about his home life there. It was something, of that they were all sure by this point, but the last time they had tried to press on the matter further Harry had gotten very uptight about the matter and had refused to speak on it, saying it wasn’t important.

There were several options, none of them good, that would cause him to do this. They wanted desperately to know, but feared if they forced Harry to tell without making one hundred percent sure he trusted them first, it could break the rather tentative hold they had on said trust. So they didn’t question the obvious lie, and waited patiently for Harry to divulge the information willingly, well as patiently as any of them really could be. They weren’t subtle about giving Harry looks that said quite clearly ‘liar.’

Harry ignored all this, now reading on as fast as possible

Harry’s other best friend from school, Hermione Granger, hadn’t made contact either. Harry had the suspicion that Ron may have sent her a warning against doing so, which Harry regretted as she did come from a muggle family and would have known perfectly well how to not only use the phone, but had enough sense not to speak of their school.

“Now that I’m not sure of,” Lily disagreed “since I can assume I’m right in saying you’ve never told your friends about how you’re treated there. So Hermione wouldn’t have found it odd at all to mention she knew you from school.”

Harry just shrugged, muttering “yeah, guess so” before quickly pressing on, they all noted Harry didn’t exactly answer the first part of his mother’s question.

So Harry had no word from any of his wizarding friends for five long weeks,

“Wait, what?” Remus snapped “I thought you said Hedwig was allowed out? Why on earth aren’t you sending them mail?”

“I said I wouldn’t” Harry said like he thought it was obvious, rather annoyed he really couldn’t just skip this part.

“Harry,” James groaned “this is one time you could have lied! Merlin, they wouldn’t even know the difference.”

Harry just shrugged again, which was all too common an occurrence whenever this type of thing was brought up. Usually the boy was more than willing to talk and interact with them, asking questions and demanding details, and always more than willing to say what went on around school where some of the deadliest things had happened to him. The fact that he was so closed up about this particular subject continued scaring them the longer this dragged on.

making the summer drag on as horribly as the last one. The one improvement on the situation was his owl, Hedwig. She’d finally been allowed out at night, after Harry promised not to let her send or receive mail.

They all clenched up and muttered a bit more, and were growing beyond frustrated at Harry’s not letting them get a word in this time.

The only reason this had even been allowed was because of the racket she made when Vernon had caged her up last summer. Speaking of Hedwig, Harry rolled out from under his bed, eyes burning and putting away his homework for the night into a loose floorboard under his bed.

“Props for finding that” James grinned weakly, happy he had any reason to do so again. Merlin, were they only on the first chapter and he was already feeling like crap again?

Then he stood and glanced around his room, noting his owls empty cage, before his eyes landed on the clock and he felt an odd jolt in him. The time now read one in the morning, meaning that Harry was now officially thirteen years old.

Then the four of them released pitiful sighs, knowing by now not to even ask about how this birthday was going to go, and only hoping it went at least a little better than last year...Merlin almost anything would be better than last year!

Yet another unusual thing about Harry was how little he looked forward to his birthdays.

“Yeah, I’ve got nothing for that” James huffed in disgust, wishing with everything he owned he could fix that. His friends clearly couldn’t do anything for Harry, even on this day in particular, so Harry’s hatred for his birthday was both founded, and unarguable, plus just down right depressing.

“Congratulations Harry,” Sirius said in a falsely bright voice “we agree, you’re unusual.”

Harry really did laugh then, making them all feel just that little bit better.

He had never received a birthday card in his life.

Harry joined in on their wince of pain this time, not really appreciating that little reminder.

The Dursleys had made a practice of not even acknowledging the date, and Harry had no suspicions that this would change. His eyes again landed on Hedwig’s empty cage. She’d been gone for some time now, but Harry wasn’t exactly worried, she’d been gone longer. He was just hoping she would come back soon, as she was the only living thing in this area who didn’t flinch at the sight of him.

“I can see how you would find that depressing” James sighed.

Harry then glanced in a mirror and reflected on his own physical appearance, thinking how he was still rather slight for his age with wild black hair, green eyes behind the glasses, and a lightning shaped scar. This scar just so happend to be the most unusual thing about Harry yet.

“Fair point on that” Remus agreed “so you were right twice over now.”

Harry just smiled weakly this time, knowing they weren’t about to appreciate his remembering of how he got this scar, so hoping to get past this part quickly he speed read.

Harry had not received it in the lie the Dursleys had told him, that Lily and James Potter had died in a car crash.

‘Pig’s tail’ Lily comforted herself when she made to start screaming all over again because of that lie ‘just remember, they did get their due.’

They had been murdered,

James winced, and he probably always would whenever he was forced to hear that sentence. It didn’t matter how many times it appeared, it would never not be weird, and heartbreaking.

by Lord Voldemort, the most evil wizard to ever have existed. He had sought out Harry’s line and dispersed of his parents, but when he’d turned his wand on then one year old Harry, it had backfired, causing Voldemort to disappear that same night, and leaving Harry with fame. Sadly Voldemort was not gone for good, as Harry had now come face to face with him twice, and all things considering, he felt rather grateful to have reached another birthday at all.

There were several times many of them made to interrupt during that summarization of his last thirteen years of life, but it wasn’t anything he hadn’t heard already, and it was depressing enough to think about in his spare time. He didn’t want his family to be sitting around thinking about it any more than he had to.

Harry wandered over to the window and leaned out, letting the night air blow against his face as his mind continued to travel, until his eyes caught sight of an odd something heading for him.

“Crap” they all muttered at once, thinking ‘it wasn’t possible!’ Harry was in a town full of Muggles, nothing too dangerous could be happening to him...right?

He froze for a moment, hand on the window and prepared to slam it shut,

“Glad you at least had that sense” Lily said uneasily.

before he recognized the shape as it passed below a street lamp and Harry lept aside.

“What was it” Remus asked, mixtures of eagerness and fear still lingering.

Harry chuckled when he told them, making Lily say “aw, the poor thing” while the boys laughed at the scene Harry described.

Through the window came three owls, two supporting the middle one creating such an odd shape. The middle bird was half unconscious, and they all landed on Harry’s bed with a whump.

“He’s not really dead, is he?” Lily noted with worry.

There was something tied to all three of their legs, and Harry recognized the middle owl that was currently passed out as Errol, the Weasleys family owl.

“Oh, hey!” James yelped, grinning with glee now. “So this means Ron did send you something! Ha, can’t imagine why he hasn’t done it before now.”

“He knew he’d gotten me in trouble” Harry reminded.

“Yes,” Sirius waved his hand, trying to avoid screaming about that ‘trouble’ all over again “but that was because of the phone. Why wouldn’t he have sent you mail again?”

Harry just sighed, he understood Ron’s reasons, but he didn’t know how to explain it to them.

“It’s a good thing you were awake for this anyway,” Lily said, going back to the original point of this “because that would have been odd to wake up for.”

Harry ran forward and quickly unloaded the owl, setting its package aside and instead carrying the bird over to Hedwig’s cage so that he could get a drink.

Lily beamed with unsuppressed glee, happy to see Harry taking the time to help out this owl rather than go right to his mail.

Harry then turned his attention to the other two owls, the white one being his own Hedwig, but the last unfamiliar in color though what it was carrying was clearly a marked package with the Hogwarts crest.

“Nice,” Sirius grinned “so you got your Hogwarts letter on top of everything else today, and” he continued almost bouncing with glee “that’ll contain your Hogsmeade letter?”

For just a moment, Harry went as bright-eyed as Sirius. He’d heard all about Hogsmeade from the older students, and he was as keen to go as anyone, then that smile trickled right off his face when he realized who he was going to have to ask to sign it. They all noted his changing expression at once, and sadly didn’t have to ask what it was about.

They all dearly wanted to sit around and make threats that those useless Dursleys had better sign Harry’s form, but recognized it would only make Harry feel worse the longer they leaned on the subject, so they just desperately hoped Harry found a way to convince them.

Harry untied his parcel as well, and the school owl departed again at once, leaving Harry to look after his own pet curiously and remove a parcel from her leg as well. Turning back to Errol’s package first, he tore apart the paper to find a birthday card slipping out and a present still wrapped.

Harry couldn’t help it, his voice spiked with emotion as well, feeling a little silly something so small would mean so much to him, but not any kind of ashamed the people in the room all looked as if it was their own birthday as well. Surely, since they seemed just as happy if not more than him about this, it wasn’t silly at all.

He found a newspaper clipping as well, the title of which declaring who had won a Ministry Employee Scoop Grand Prize; Arthur Weasley.

“Sweet,” Lily grinned “no one deserves that as much as them!”

“Best thing that could have happened to them” James agreed.

The article then described Ron’s dad’s position in the ministry, and how the family were currently using the money to spend the holidays in Egypt, and would return shortly so that five of their kids could go back to school at Hogwarts in the fall. The accompanying picture showed the nine Weasleys.

Harry at once began wondering why this photo felt significant. Why would it mean anything to him, except a nice reminder of his favorite family (outside of his own right now.) He brushed past it, wondering if he was really losing it.

The picture detailed each of the siblings that Harry recognized, including Ron with his pet rat Scabbers sitting on his shoulder, both of his parents, all of his elder brothers, and his only younger sister Ginny.

“Wish I could see that picture,” Sirius chuckled “must be funny to see them all squeezed in so tight for the camera.”

Harry gave a little start and gave Sirius quite a look, one the others didn’t even know how to describe. It wasn’t truly recognition, but Harry knew this sentence was important to him... it was gone. He just shrugged, not really letting himself think about it too much since it was probably nothing.

Harry was more then pleased to hear of this news, knowing that no family deserved the pile of gold more.

“Hey, you said there were nine of them in the picture” Remus pouted “how come you didn’t finally describe the mysterious Charlie and Bill Weasley.”

“Cause the picture wasn’t that good,” Harry shrugged “just an old black and white one, and I could pick out two I didn’t recognize. I’m sure I meet them eventually” he finished with conviction.

Harry then turned his attention to the written note attached in Ron’s handwriting, beginning with a birthday greeting for Harry, and going on to apologize for clearly getting Harry into trouble. He’d asked his Dad, who had suggested maybe he shouldn’t have shouted.

Sirius couldn’t help but release a surprised snort of laughter, while James said “a fair thing to think, if you’d never worked one before and didn’t know.”

Then he described his time there in Egypt, but did promise that they’d have enough left over for him to get a new wand before he went back to school.

“Thank Merlin” Lily chuckled.

“I don’t know, I agree with Harry,” Remus laughed “it did come in handy there at the end.”

“Yes well, it was gone now, so we couldn’t have kept it anyways” Harry reminded, still grinning.

Harry remembered all too vividly how Ron’s wand had exploded at the end of last year, after having spent the whole of the year nearly being snapped in half when their flying car had crashed into a tree.

“Just thinking about that sentence without knowing the background of it,” Sirius cackled “makes it even more priceless!”

“So, I forgot to ask,” Lily said, having to speak a bit louder than usual over Sirius for Harry to hear her “did you ever tell anyone about the car? Or is it still in the Forest?”

“I told Dumbledore and McGonagall how we got away from the spiders,” Harry admitted “but as far as I know, no one went in and got it out. It’s still in there.”

“Where I hope it stays” James grinned.

Ron then informed that they would be back in time to get some stuff in London the last week of holiday, and if Harry had a chance of meeting them there?

“That brings up a good point I hadn’t thought of,” Lily said, frowning once again as she asked “how are you going to get your school supplies this year? There’s no way they’re going to drive you up to London, and even if they did I certainly don’t want them knowing about your Gringotts Vault.”

Harry just shrugged, saying honestly “can’t remember exactly, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I’m sure when Ron gets back from Egypt, I can go stay round his place again, and someone there would have made sure I’d gone.” Harry frowned as he finished saying this, feeling how wrong those words were. He got his school supplies, no the part that was bothering him was in saying he stayed with Ron. He had a very bad feeling all of a sudden, like something had happened at the Dursleys... the thought was gone. Even now as he decided not to push it, he could feel the beginnings of a pounding headache returning even as he thought to try, so with nothing else for it he read.

Ron began to finish off by telling Harry not to let the Muggles get him down,

All four of them scowled heavily, wondering just how much Harry had told his friends about how that lot treated him. Just like with any other time though, whenever they asked Harry about it, he remained suspiciously closed up.

and hoped to see him soon. Then he added a P.S., pointing out that Percy was now Head Boy.

“Oh, this ought to be great” Sirius muttered sourly, as if that boy wasn’t big-headed enough already, no now he was given even more responsibility.

Harry turned to the added on parcel now and unwrapped it to find a min glass spinning top.

“Nice, it’s a Sneakoscope” James said eagerly, finding this a rather fun toy when he was a kid.

“A bit useless around school, what with so much untrustworthy students hanging around,” Remus chuckled “but fun all the same.”

Harry dearly wanted to ask what it was, or what it did, but hoping Ron might explain he instead read.

Harry read the attached letter, which was from Ron explaining that he’d given Harry a Sneakoscope which was used to detect people who were untrustworthy. Ron didn’t put too much stock in it,

“Nonsense,” Sirius scoffed “they’re plenty useful.”

because even as he’d been sending it, it had been going off. Though that could have been because Fred and George had been putting beetles in someone’s soup.

“That’ll do it,” Lily chuckled “those twins are as untrustworthy as it comes.”

“Well that’s a bit harsh,” James grinned without any real heat, knowing she didn’t mean it “I like them, they’re good for a laugh.”

“Which explains why I don’t trust them” Lily smiled indulgently at him and all the other boys who were chuckling at their joshing.

Harry carefully placed his top down, watching it balance and stay still in the dim lighting.

‘I don’t know’ Remus thought, frowning suddenly ‘I don’t trust any of those Dursleys as far as I can throw them, so I really wouldn’t have been too surprised if it had gone off then.’ It hadn’t though, so he just ignored it for now.

Harry then turned happily to his other present, the one Hedwig had come with, which turned out to be from Hermione.

“Aw,” Lily cooed “Hedwig went out to find Hermione, that is so sweet! I love your owl.”

Harry nodded in fervent agreement.

Her letter began by saying that she had indeed heard from Ron about that phone call, and hoped he was alright.

“About as alright as he ever is there” James muttered bitterly.

Harry sighed, wishing desperately the book would quite mentioning this now.

She was on vacation out in France and had wanted to send Harry something, but hadn’t known how, what if they’d open it through customs?

“Which is another reason we invented our own postal system” Sirius chuckled.

Then Hedwig had arrived and Hermione was able to send her present which she’d ordered via owl-order, through the daily prophet.

“Why haven’t you subscribed to that yet?” James asked curiously.

“Hadn’t quite found it relevant enough yet,” Harry shrugged “reading the paper just didn’t interest me.”

Hermione then went on to say that she was learning a lot over here, but was slightly jealous that Ron was in Egypt learning about there ancient customs.

“Oh yes,” Remus nodded, trying his hardest to sound serious as he continued “I am so sure learning’s exactly what’s on Ron’s mind as he goes around those pyramids” he couldn’t hold the expression much longer as he burst into laughter.

Hermione had learned so much that she’d rewritten their history of magic essay, which was now two rolls of parchment more then asked for.

All four boys gawked at this, while Lily simply smirked and shrugged, completely unsurprised by this.

Hermione finished by saying she was going to be back in London at the same time as Ron, and hoped to see Harry then. She also added a P.S. commenting on Percy’s Head Boyship, and how unpleased Ron seemed about it.

They all chuckled, glad to see Hermione still had her sense of humor.

Harry laughed as he turned his attention on her wrapped gift, feeling how heavy it was, and imagining it to be a complicated book of advanced spells.

James and Sirius frowned at the thought, but Lily and Remus scoffed, as Remus said “I doubt that. Hermione might be bad around exam time, but she’s hardly pressured either of you to be studying more. No, I’m sure Hermione got you something she thought you’d really like.”

Harry looked very eager and curious now as he read.

It was the opposite. When Harry unwrapped it he found a Broomstick Servicing Kit inside.

“Nice” all five of them praised, Remus giving his two friends rather superior looks.

“Alright Moony,” Sirius scoffed “knock off that, so you were right, again.”

Harry chuckled affectionately as Remus’ look only increased.

Inside were several objects all geared towards maintaining and keeping up a broom. Apart from his friends, one thing Harry missed the very most about Hogwarts was playing on his house Quidditch team.

“Can’t blame you there” Sirius agreed with a groan, it had been ages since he’d been out flying, let alone played a game.

Harry happend to own a very good racing broom, a Nimbus Two Thousand, which was one of his most prized possessions.

“One of?” James questioned, a teasing smirk lighting his features.

Harry smirked and said “yes, one of. I’m sure you can guess the other.”

Sirius and Remus both snorted in appreciation at James rather put out look, he had been hoping Harry would correct him and say that his invisibility cloak was his most treasured object, and here his own son was, obviously teasing him and purposely saying the exact opposite.

Harry carefully placed this present aside and picked up his last bit of mail, which he recognized as being from Hagrid.

“Oh, so Hagrid sent you a letter along with your Hogwarts’ stuff,” Lily beamed “wonder what he’s been up to this summer.”

Harry had only begun to unwrap the present however, and caught the hints of a book cover, when the object began to move, and snapped at him.

“Snapped?” Remus yelped, fear coming back at once. “What on earth could Hagrid have sent you that snap’s?”

Harry was frowning, trying his best to describe what he had only gotten a glimpse of, but he wasn’t doing a good job, so he turned back to the book in hopes for a better description.

Harry froze, knowing from first hand experience that Hagrid didn’t always have a good gage when it came to dangerous things.

Sirius released a weak chuckle, no one was going to argue Harry on that point.

The gamekeeper had been known to befriend giant spiders and sneak illegal dragon eggs into his home,

“And that’s just the tip of it all” James muttered.

so Harry’s caution now was quite warranted. He gingerly began unwrapping the rest of the parcel, now clutching his lamp as a defense should he need it, and out fell a book.

“A book?” Lily repeated faintly.

“A biting book?” James probed, looking like he was sure Harry was messing with him this time.

Now knowing the book in his hands was going to properly explain he read on curiously.

Harry only just made out the title The Monster Book of Monsters, before the book rolled itself right off of the bed, landing with a thunk, and beginning to scuttle around on its cover like some odd crab.

Sirius released a low, throaty whistle as he said “damn, points for originality anyway. A book about monsters, that’s kind of a monster itself.”

“Guess it’s no weirder than the invisibility books on invisibility” James agreed, still frowning at the odd little thing, and unable to stop himself from wondering why Hagrid would have sent that to Harry.

Harry tensed up at once, fearing that any noise made would draw unwanted attention. Harry tried to creep after the object, being as quiet as possible,

“But this would have been such a sight to walk in on,” Remus muttered “a book attacking them.” Still hoping right along with Harry that the momentary humor it would have provided at the Dursleys freaking out over this wasn’t really going to happen, in favor of what they might do after the shock had worn off.

Harry reached out to pick up the book again, when it snapped closed over his fingers and scuttled away.

“Must have been quite the sight” Sirius really did laugh this time, unable to help himself at the rather annoyed look on Harry’s face that he was being bested by a book!

Harry scrambled after it, threw himself on top of it, managing to flatten it in place. From the room over, he heard Vernon give a cough.

Then all four of them winced, already sick of this constant enjoyment flashing to fear and anger every other paragraph, all because of the house he was in.

Hedwig and Errol watched with interest

Even Lily couldn’t stop herself from giggling at that image, it must have been quite a sight.

as Harry got to his feet while keeping the book clamped tight to his chest and staggered over to a drawer, drawing out a belt, and clamping the book firmly shut. The book shuddered in clear angr, but was no longer able to go anywhere as Harry sagged back onto the bed and found Hagrid’s accompanying note and read first a birthday greeting, then a cryptic comment saying that Harry may need this for his next year.

“That’s right,” James suddenly brightened “Harry’s taking Care of Magical Creatures this year! Hagrid might have sent that to him, for a jump start on the class.”

“Well that was nice,” Lily sighed “though I’d much rather he’d just sent him whatever the school says.”

Hagrid didn’t put any further information in the note, saying he’d explain more when he saw him.

“Tell you what?” Sirius asked in confusion.

“Why on earth would any of us know” Harry pointed out, grinning over at him. Sirius shrugged, smirking right back.

Then Hagrid signed off his letter, and Harry instead went to his very last piece of mail from school, which contained it’s normal Hogwarts school list, plus an extra note this year explaining all about Hogsmeade and how he’d have to get a signed permission form to enter. Harry’s enthusiasm wasn’t very high when he realized who he was going to have to ask to sign it.

They all sighed, that old pang returning with a vengeance. Harry shouldn’t have had to worry about asking permission for this, it should have been as simple as him going to see his parents and having a nice conversation about all the shops available. This horrid reminder that he couldn’t do this hurt worse every time they thought about it.

Harry glanced over at his clock again and found two hours had passed, and itching with sleep, decided to worry about it in the morning. Leaning up to a chart above his bed, Harry crossed off another day passed until September first arrived and he could return to Hogwarts.

“I did that all the time” Sirius nodded in agreement, “it helps the wait not seem as long.”

Harry shared another smile with Sirius, oddly happy they had such a random thing in common.

Then he took off his glasses and fell asleep facing his birthday cards. Though Harry considered himself an unusual person, for the first time in his life, he was happy it was his birthday.

“Well that was a depressing end” Remus said in a forced chipper voice as he leaned over to take the book.

“And it’s only going to get worse” Harry muttered, now knowing that vague feeling from before was growing stronger inside. Something really awful happened on this birthday, which was saying something when compared to his other birthdays.

Like I said, NOT regularly updating this again until I finish the second book, so consider this kind of like a teaser for those who haven’t read it yet.

Because someone asked, and it’s a very good question, no there will not be anyone else joining the reading series. I did seriously consider adding Hermione and Ron sometime during the fourth book, but I’m still enjoying my idea that they don’t really know what’s going on. If any other people did join from the future, then they would ruin all sorts of stuff like Sirius, and Dumbledore, and countless other death’s I’m still going to enjoy being a surprise. I could erase their memory, but it’s the same reason I’m not going to be adding anyone from this timeline. If I have any other characters from their own time join, like say Molly and Arthur, then I would have to constantly deal with go back and read the book themselves, or ‘we’ll explain later’ and just yeah not worth it. The five that are there are what you guys got.

P.s. If there are any book mistakes you’d like me to explain feel free to ask, and I will try and go back and fix them. Geeze this chapters almost as much my talking as the character’s.

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