A/N: Sorry this took so long. Life is so full of suckage right now, and I'm also trying to study (started Uni, very cool - BA of Languages) anyway, here's the new chapter, hope you like, leave a review on the way out and let me know what you think! Love xx Shezzi
Dawn and Harry lay together under the moth-eaten blanket, staring at Dudley’s watch, a cake drawn into the ground in front of them. The watch flicked over to midnight and they leaned in together to blow out the eleven candles when the entire shack shook, a great booming noise echoing throughout its structure. Someone was outside, knocking to come in.
They knocked again. Dudley jerked upright on the couch, eyes wide, expression confused. “Where’s the cannon?” he asked stupidly.
Uncle Vernon skidded into the room, Aunt Petunia behind him, a rifle clutched in his meaty hands. “Who’s there? I warn you, I’m armed!”
There was a pause, then, with a great splintering crash, the door came right off its hinges and hit the floor.
A giant of a man was standing in the doorway. His face was almost completely hidden by a long, shaggy mane of hair and a wild, tangled beard, but you could make out his eyes, glinting like black beetles under all the hair.
He squeezed his way into the hut, stooping so that his head just brushed the ceiling. He bent down, picked up the door and fitted it easily back into its frame. The noise of the storm outside dropped a little. He turned to look at them all.
“Couldn’t make us a cup o’ tea, could yeh? It’s not been an easy journey…” He strode over to the sofa where Dudley sat frozen with fear. “Budge up, yeh great lump.”
Dudley squeake d and ran to hide behind his mother, who was crouching, terrified, behind Uncle Vernon.
“An here are Harry an’ Dawn!” said the giant.
The twins looked up into the fierce, wild, shadowy face and saw that the beetle eyes were crinkled in a smile.
“Las’ time I saw the two of yeh, yeh was only babies,” he told them, eyes shining brightly. “You, Harry, you look like yer dad, but yeh’ve got yer mum’s eyes, and Dawn, yer the spitting image of Lily but with James’ eyes.”
Uncle Vernon made a funny rasping noise. “I demand that you leave at once, sir!” he said. “You are breaking and entering!”
“Ah, shut up, Dursley, yeh great prune,” said the giant. He reached over the back of the sofa, jerked the gun out of Uncle Vernon’s hands, bent it into a knot as easily as if it had been made of rubber, and threw it into a corner of the room.
Uncle Vernon made another funny noise, like a mouse being trodden on. Dawn smirked, her sardonic amusement warming Harry slightly.
“Anyway – you two,” said the giant, turning his back on the Dursleys, “a very happy birthday to yeh. Got summat fer yeh here – I mighta sat on it at some point, but it’ll taste all right.” From an inside pocket of his black overcoat he pulled a slightly squashed box. Harry opened it with trembling fingers. Inside was a large, sticky chocolate cake with ‘Happy Birthday Harry and Dawn’ written on it in green icing.
The twins looked up at the giant, Dawn’s finger already covered in chocolate icing.
Harry opened his mouth, intending to say thank you, but what came out was, “Who are you?”
The giant chuckled. “True, I haven’t introduced meself. Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts.” He held out an enormous hand and shook first Harry then Dawn’s. “What about that tea then, eh?” he said, rubbing his hands together. “I’d not say no to summat stronger if yeh’ve got it, mind.”
His eyes fell on the empty grate with the shriveled chip packets in it and he snorted. He bent down over the fireplace; they couldn’t see what he was doing but when he drew back a second later, there was a roaring fire there. It filled the whole damp hut with flickering light and the twins felt the warmth wash over him as though they’d sunk into a hot bath.
The giant sat back down on the sofa, which sagged under his weight, and began taking all sorts of things out of the pockets of his coat: a copper kettle, a squashy packet of sausages, a poker, a teapot, several chipped mugs and a bottle of some amber liquid which he took a swig from before starting to make tea. Soon the hut was full of the sound and smell of sizzling sausage. Nobody said a thing while the giant was working, but as he slid the first six fat, juicy, slightly burnt sausages from the poker, Dudley fidgeted a little.
Dawn gave him a disgusted look even as Uncle Vernon scolded him sharply, “Don’t touch anything he gives you, Dudley.”
The giant chuckled darkly. “Yer great puddin’ of a son don’ need fattenin’ up any more, Dursley, don’ worry.”
Dawn grinned, her liking for the giant growing as he passed sausages to her and to Harry. The twins bit into them greedily, sighing happily, but still couldn’t take their eyes off Hagrid. They glanced momentarily at each other, and from mutual consent, Harry spoke. “I’m sorry, but we still don’t really know who you are.”
The giant took a gulp of tea and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Call me Hagrid,” he said, “everyone does. An’ like I told yeh, I’m Keeper of Keys at Hogwarts – yeh’ll know all about Hogwarts, o’ course.”
“Er…no,” said Harry.
“Nope,” said Dawn at the same time.
Seeing Hagrid’s shocked look, the twin’s both flinched slightly. “Sorry,” they said at the same time.”Sorry?”
barked Hagrid, turning to stare at the Dursleys, who shrank back into the shadows. “It’s them as should be sorry! I knew yeh weren’t getting yer letters but I never thought yeh wouldn’t even know abou’ Hogwarts, fer cryin’ out loud! Did yeh never wonder where yer parents learnt it all?”
“All what?” asked Dawn, confused, Harry echoing her question.
“ALL WHAT?” Hagrid thundered. “Now wait jus’ one second!” He had leapt to his feet. In his anger he seemed to fill the whole hut. The Dursleys were cowering against the wall. Dawn watched appreciatively as her relatives cowered the way they had made her and her brother do for so long. “Do you mean ter tell me,” he growled at the Dursleys, ‘that these two – these children – know nothin’ abou’ – about ANYTHING?”
Harry and Dawn both thought this was going a bit far. Harry spoke up for the two of them. “We know some
things,” he said. “We can, you know, do maths and stuff, and Dawn’s really smart.”
“So are you,” replied his twin, embarrassed.
But Hagrid simply waved his hand and said, “About our
world, I mean. Your
world. Yer parents’ world.
Hagrid looked as if he was about to explode. “DURSLEY!” he boomed.
Uncle Vernon, who to Dawn’s delight had gone very pale, whispered something that sounded like ‘Mimblewimble’. Hagrid stared wildly at Harry.
“But yeh must know about yer mum and dad,” he said. “I mean, they’re famous. You’re both
“What? Our – our mum and dad weren’t famous, were they?” Harry and Dawn exchanged confused glances, eyes wide.
“Yeh don’ know…yeh don’ know…” Hagrid ran his fingers through his hair, fixing Harry and Dawn with a bewildered stare. “Yeh don’ know what yehs are
?” he said finally.
Uncle Vernon suddenly found his voice. “Stop!” he commanded. “Stop right there, sir! I forbid you to tell those children anything!”
A braver man than Vernon Dursley would have quailed under the furious look Hagrid now gave him; when Hagrid spoke, his every syllable trembled with rage. “You never told them? Never told them what was in the letter that Dumbledore left fer them? I was there! I saw Dumbledore leave it, Dursley! An’ you’ve kept it from them all these years?”
“Kept what from us?” said Harry eagerly while Dawn fumed.
“STOP! I FORBID YOU!” yelled Uncle Vernon in panic.
Aunt Petunia gave a gasp of horror.
“Ah, go boil yer heads, both of yeh,” said Hagrid. “Dawn, Harry, yer wizards…well, a witch and a wizard.”
There was silence inside the hut. Only the sea and the whistling wind could be heard.
“I’m a what?” gasped Harry and Dawn together.
“A witch and a wizard, o’course,” said Hagrid, sitting back down on the sofa, which groaned and sank even lower, “an’ thumpin’ good’un’s, I’d say, once yeh’ve been trained up a bit. With a mum an’ dad like yours, what else would yeh be? An’ I reckon it’s abou’ time yeh read your letter.”
Harry stretched out his hand at last to take the yellowish envelopes, addressed in emerald green writing to Mr H. Potter and Miss D. Potter, The Floor, Hut-on-the-Rock, The Sea.
He passed Dawn hers, they opened the letters simultaneously and read:HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump International Confederation of Wizards)
Dear Mr(Miss) Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
Questions exploded inside Harry and Dawn’s heads like fireworks and they couldn’t decide which to ask first. They were stunned by their own and each other’s emotions, shock, surprise, confusion and just a touch of fear. After a few minutes, Harry stammered out the question that confused him the most. “What does it mean, they await my owl?”
“Gallopin’ Gorgons, that reminds me,” said Hagrid, clapping his hand to his forehead with enough force to knock over a cart horse, and from yet another pocket inside his overcoat he pulled an owl – a real, live, rather ruffled-looking owl – a long quill and a roll of parchment. With his tongue between his teeth he scribbled a note which Harry could read upside-down:Dear Mr Dumbledore,
Given Harry and Dawn their letters. Taking them to buy their things tomorrow. Weather’s horrible. Hope you’re well.
Hagrid rolled up the note, gave it to the owl, which clamped it in its beak, went to the door and threw the owl out into the storm. Then he came back and sat down as though this was as normal as talking on the telephone.
Dawn reached over and pushed Harry’s jaw up, closing his mouth gently.
“Where was I?” said Hagrid, but at that moment, Uncle Vernon, still ashen-faced but looking very angry, moved into the firelight.
“They’re not going,” he said.
Hagrid grunted. “I’d like to see a great Muggle like you stop ‘em,” he said.
“A what?” said Harry, and Dawn leaned forward, both interested.
“A Muggle,” said Hagrid. “It’s what we call non-magic folk like them. An’ it’s your bad luck that the two o’ you grew up in a family o’ the biggest Muggles I ever laid eyes on.”
“We swore when we took them in we’d put a stop to that rubbish,” said Uncle Vernon, “Swore we’d stamp it out of them! Wizards, indeed!”
” demanded Dawn, coldly furious as she glared at her Uncle. “You knew that we were magical?”
“Knew!” shrieked Aunt Petunia suddenly. “Knew!
Of course we knew! How could you not be, my dratted sister being what she was? Oh, she got a letter just like those and disappeared off to that – that school
- and came home every holiday with her pockets full of frog-spawn, turning teacups into rats. I was the only one who saw her for what she was – a freak! But for my mother and father, oh no, it was Lily this and Lily that, they were proud of having a witch in the family!”
She stopped to draw a deep breath and then went ranting on. It seemed she had been wanting to say all this for years.
“Then she met that Potter at school and they left and got married and had the two of you, and of course I knew you’d both be just the same, just as strange, just as – as - abnormal
- and then, if you please, she went and got herself blown up and we got landed with the two of you!”
Harry had gone very white, but Dawn was already on her feet, eyes literally sparking with rage. “BLOWN UP! You told us they died in a car crash!” Harry wrapped an arm around Dawn’s shoulders and sat, pulling her back down to the floor.
“CAR CRASH!” roared Hagrid, jumping up so angrily that the Dursleys scuttled back to their corner. “How could a car crash kill Lily an’ James Potter? It’s an outrage! A scandal! Harry and Dawn Potter not knowin’ their own story when every kid in our world knows their names!”
“But why? What happened?” Harry asked urgently.
The anger faded from Hagrid’s face. He looked suddenly anxious. “I never expected this,” he said, in a low, worried voice. “I had no idea, when Dumbledore told me there might be trouble getting hold of yehs, how much yeh didn’t know. Ah, Harry, Dawn, I don’ know if I’m the right person ter tell yeh – but someone’s gotta – yeh can’t go off ter Hogwarts not knowin’.”
He threw a dirty look at the Dursleys.
“Well, it’s best yeh know as much as I can tell yeh – mind, I can’t tell yeh everythin’, it’s a great myst’ry, parts of it…” He sat down, stared into the fire for a few seconds and then said, “It begins, I suppose, with – with a person called – but it’s incredible yeh don’t know his name, everyone in our world knows –”
“Well – I don’ like sayin’ the name if I can help it. No one does.”
“Why not?” demanded Dawn, confused.
“Gulpin’ gargoyles, Dawn, people are still scared. Blimey, this is difficult. See, there was this wizard who went…bad. As bad as you could go. Worse. Worse than worse. His name was…” Hagrid gulped, but no words came out.
“Could you write it down?” Harry suggested.
“Nah – can’t spell it. All right - Voldemort.
” Hagrid shuddered. “Don’ make me say it again. Anyway, this – this wizard, about twenty years ago now, started looking’ fer followers. Got ‘em, too – some were afraid, some just wanted a bit o’ his power, ‘cause he was getting’ himself power, all right. Dark days, Harry. Didn’t know who ter trust, didn’t dare get friendly with strange wizards or witches…Terrible things happened. He was takin’ over. ‘Course, some stood up to him – an’ he killed ‘em. Horribly. One o’ the only safe places left was Hogwarts. Reckon Dumbledore’s the only one You-Know-Who was afraid of. Didn’t dare try takin’ the school, not jus’ then, anyway.
“Now, yer mum an’ dad were as good a witch an’ wizard as I ever knew. Head Boy an’ Girl at Hogwarts in their day! Suppose the myst’ry is why You-Know-Who never tried to get ‘em on his side before…probably knew they were too close ter Dumbledore ter want anythin’ ter do with the Dark Side.
“Maybe he though he could persuade ‘em…maybe he just wanted ‘em outta the way. All anyone knows is, he turned up in the village where you was all living, on Hallowe’en ten years ago. You two was just a year old. He came ter yer house an’ – an’ –”
Hagrid suddenly pulled out a very dirty, spotted handkerchief and blew his nose with a sound like a foghorn.
“Sorry,” he said. “But it’s that sad – knew yer mum an’ dad, an’ nicer people yeh couldn’t find – anyway –
“You know who killed ‘em. An’ then – an’ this is the real myst’ry of the thing – he tried to kill you, too. Wanted ter make a clean job of it, I suppose, or maybe he just liked killin’ by then. But he couldn’t do it. Never wondered how you got that mark on yer forehead, Harry? Or that one on yer hand, Dawn? Those were no ordinary cuts. That’s what yeh get when a powerful, evil curse touches yeh – took care of yer mum an’ dad an’ yer house, even – but it didn’t work on you, an’ that’s why yer famous, the pair of yeh. No one ever lived after he decided to kill ‘em, no one except you two, an’ he’d killed some o’ the best witches an’ wizards of the age – the McKinnons, the Bones, the Prewetts – an’ you was only babies, an’ you lived.”
Something very painful was going on in both Harry and Dawn’s minds. As Hagrid’s story came to a close, they saw again the blinding flash of green light, more clearly than they had ever remembered it before – and they remembered something else, for the first time in his life – a high, cold, cruel laugh.
Hagrid was watching him sadly.
“Took yer two from the ruined house myself, on Dumbledore’s orders. Brought the both of yeh ter this lot…”
“Load of old tosh,” said Uncle Vernon. Harry jumped, he had almost forgotten that the Dursleys were there.
Uncle Vernon certainly seemed to have got back his courage. He was glaring at Hagrid and his fists were clenched. “Now you listen here, you two,” he snarled. Dawn immediately placed herself between her brother and her uncle, glaring at him. “I accept there’s something strange about you, probably nothing a good beating wouldn’t have cured…”
“Because you and your stupid, fat, ugly son didn’t try that often enough these past ten years, you bastard,” snarled Dawn, glaring at her uncle.
“You shut up, girl,” her uncle snarled back. Dawn growled at him but stayed where she was, protecting Harry. “As for all this about your parents, well, they were wierdos, no denying it, and the world’s better off without them in my opinion – asked for all they got, getting mixed up with these wizarding types – just what I expected, always knew they’d come to a sticky end –”
But at that moment, Hagrid leapt from the sofa and drew a battered pink umbrella from inside his coat. Pointing this at Uncle Vernon like a sword, he said, “I’m warning you, Dursley – I’m warning you – one more word…” He glanced over his shoulder at Dawn. “They beat you?” Dawn nodded, her expression contemptuous and her eyes as cold as ice as she looked at her relatives.
“They earned every lick…” Uncle Vernon started, but quailed when Hagrid turned back to face him, expression thunderous. In danger of being speared on the end of an umbrella by a bearded giant, Uncle Vernon’s courage failed again; he flattened himself against the wall and fell silent.
“That’s better. And you haven’t heard the last of this, either,” Hagrid said. Breathing heavily, he sat back down on the sofa, which this time sagged right down to the floor.
Harry, meanwhile, still had questions to ask, hundreds of them. He reached up and took Dawn’s hand, giving a gentle tug to bring her back down to the floor. “But what happened to Vol – sorry – I mean, You-Know-Who?”
“Good question, Harry. Disappeared. Vanished. Same night he tried ter kill you. Makes the two of yeh even more famous. That’s the biggest myst’ry, see…he was getting’ more an’ more powerful – why’d he go?
“Some say he died. Codswallop, in my opinion. Dunno if he had enough human left in him to die. Some way he’s still out there, bidin’ his time, like, but I don’ believe it. People who was on his side came back ter ours. Some of ‘em came outta kinda trances. Don’ rechon they could’ve done if he was comin’ back.
“Most of us reckon he’s still out there somewhere but lost his powers. Too weak to carry on. ‘Cause somethin’ about you two finished him. There was somethin’ goin’ on that night he hadn’t counted on – I dunno what it was, no one does – but somethin’ about you stumped him, all right.”
Hagrid looked at the twins with warmth and respect blazing in his eyes, but they, instead of feeling pleased and proud, suddenly felt quite sure that there had been a horrible mistake and all of this was going to be taken away. Magical? Them? Dawn felt Harry’s fear as well as her own, and it dried up her mouth to the point where she couldn’t speak. Their feelings were the same; if they had spent their entire lives being abused by those around them, why hadn’t they done anything about it? If they had once defeated the greatest sorcerer in the world, how come Dudley had always been able to kick them around like footballs?
Harry found his voice first and croaked, “Hagrid, I think you must have made a mistake. I don’t think we can be wizards.”
To his surprise, Hagrid chuckled. “Not a wizard, eh? Never made anything happen when you was scared, or angry? Either of you?”
Harry looked into the fire, Dawn’s head now resting upon his shoulder. Now he came to think about it…every odd thing that had ever made their aunt and uncle furious with them had happened when he, Harry, or Dawn, had been upset or angry. He remembered, with vivid detail, Dawn’s rage when Dudley pushed him down in the snake house, and the odd spark he had felt from Dawn before all of the snakes were let loose. He remembered the time that he and Dawn had been separated in the schoolyard and Dudley’s gang was chasing him, and he had somehow found himself out of their reach up on the roof. He could feel Dawn relax against him and knew that she had realized the same things he had.
Harry and Dawn looked back at Hagrid, smiling widely, and saw that Hagrid was positively beaming at them.
“See?” said Hagrid. “Harry and Dawn Potter, not wizards – you wait, you’ll be right famous at Hogwarts.”
But Uncle Vernon wasn’t going to give in without a fight. “Haven’t I told you they’re not going?” he hissed. “They’re going to Stonewall High and they’ll be grateful for it. I’ve read those letters and they need all sorts of rubbish – spell books and wands and and – ”
“If’n they wants ter go, a great Muggle like you won’t stop them,” growled Hagrid. “Stop Lily and James Potters children goin’ ter Hogwarts! Yer mad. Their names’ been down since they was born. They’re off ter the finest school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world. Seven years there and they won’t know themselves. They’ll be with youngsters of their own sort, fer a change, an they’ll be under the greatest Headmaster Hogwarts ever had, Albus Dumbled-“
“I AM NOT PAYING FOR SOME CRACKPOT OLD FOOL TO TEACH THEM MAGIC TRICKS!” yelled Uncle Vernon.
But he had finally gone too far. The fury that had been smoldering in Hagrid’s eyes since he heard about the beatings erupted. He seized his umbrella and whirled it over his head. “NEVER –“ he thundered, “- INSULT – ALBUS – DUMBLEDORE – IN – FRONT – OF – ME!”
He brought the umbrella swishing down through the air to point at Dudley – there was a flash of violet light, a sound like a firecracker, a sharp squeal and next second, Dudley was dancing on the spot with his hands clasped over his fat bottom, howling in pain. When he turned his back on them, Harry saw a curly pig’s tail poking through a hole in his trousers.
Dawn snorted with laughter, ending up rolling around on the floor, laughing so hard she could hardly breathe.
Uncle Vernon roared. Pulling Aunt Petunia and Dudley into the other room, he cast one last terrified look at Hagrid and slammed the door behind them.
Hagrid put down his umbrella and stroked his beard. “I shouldn’ta done that. Not sorry I lost my temper an’ he deserved it an’ all bu’…I shouldn’ta done that. Didn’t work anyway. Meant ter turn him inter a pig, but I suppose he was so much like a pig anyway there wasn’t much left ter do.” Dawn snorted with laughter once more, knowing the truth of that statement.
Hagrid cast a sideways look at the twins where they were on the floor, Dawn slowly recovering from her mirthful convulsions, Harry looking highly amused. “Be grateful if yeh didn’t mention that ter anyone at Hogwarts,” he said. “I’m – er – not supposed ter do magic, strictly speakin’. I was allowed ter do a bit ter follow yeh an’ get yer letters to yeh an’ stuff – one o’ the reasons I was so keen ter take on the job – “
“Why aren’t you supposed to do magic?” asked Dawn, curious, hiccupping slightly.
“Oh, well - I was at Hogwarts meself but I – er – got expelled, ter tell yeh the truth. In me third year. They snapped me wand in half an’ everything. But Dumbledore let me stay on as gamekeeper. Great man, Dumbledore.”
“Why were you expelled?”
“It’s getting’ late and we’ve got lots ter do tomorrow,” said Hagrid loudly. “Gotta get up ter town, get all yer books an’ that.”
He took off his thick black coat and threw it to Harr. “You can kip under that, Harry. Don’ mind if it wriggles a bit, I think I still got a couple o’ dormice in one o’ the pockets. Dawn…” he glanced around, immediately dismissing the holey blankets.
“Don’t worry, we’ll be fine,” Dawn said, settling beside Harry and taking her share of coat. “We’re used to sharing.”
Hagrid frowned as he watched the two curl up together, knowing exactly what that said about their home life.