It was quite a beautiful night in Little Whinging. The night's sky was vividly clear with plenty of brightly shining stars. The air was warm yet had a breeze, not too hot nor too cold. It was the perfect evening for a photographer; which is exactly what eleven-year-old Colin Creevey thought when he forced his brother to accompany him as he captured near perfect snapshots.
"Are we done yet?" Dennis whined. "I hate carrying this thing!" he motioned to the rolls of film that was firmly in his arms.
Colin sighed impatiently. Dennis didn't share his love for photography; so he spent this walk mostly complaining. "Soon. Stop complaining."
Dennis grumbled something unintelligible.
Colin's annoyance didn't last; he became distracted by the superlative position the moon was in. He ever so carefully took four or five pictures; each one looking better than the last. He was so engrossed that he barely heard a small voice say,
"Do you really have to leave?"
Colin whirled around to face his brother and was startled to see his eyes were red, as if he was trying to hold back tears. "Hey now," Colin sat his camera on the ground so he could embrace Dennis. "What's with the tears?"
The nine year old sniffled. . "You're leaving and I'll be alone." Colin's heart broke a little. He'd been so excited to find out that he was a wizard and was to go to school for it that he hadn't even considered Dennis' feelings. "I don't want you to go!"
Colin rested his chin on his brother's head. "I know you don't," he squeezed him gently. "But I'll take lots of pictures and I'll write everyday."
"Promise?" Dennis lower lip quivered.
"I promise," Colin assured him.
This seemed to cheer Dennis up a bit. "Okay," he said quietly.
Colin patted his back and let him go. He let out a gasp as a big, furry dog suddenly appeared from the shadows. Dennis squeaked, hurriedly moving to hide from behind his big brother.
"Nice doggy," Colin said slowly. "Nice doggy." His stomach dropped when it became clear the dog was eyeing his camera. "Shoo!" he raised his voice. "Shoo!"
The dog rushed forward and the brother's huddled and braced themselves. But the dog hadn't gone after them; it had grabbed Colin's camera by the strap.
"Hey!" Colin shrieked. "Give me that back!" Momentarily forgetting about Dennis, he ran after the dog; he yelled, too, not even caring that it was after eleven at night and that most people were settled into bed. Dennis tried to catch up with him; he ran as fast as his little legs would carry him.
Colin's chest burned from the lack of air. He was sure they'd been running for a mile or so. They'd been yelled at by a few people when they ran right through their yards; not that he cared. He just wanted his camera back. He could hear Dennis panting behind him, this relieved him. At least he hadn't left his brother behind. His mum would have a fit.
Luckily for them, the dog ran right into another yard, this time with a fence with a door that happened to be open. 'Follow me Dennis!" Colin yelled, running into the yard.
"What do you think I've been doing?" Dennis panted but followed him nonetheless.
Colin breathed a sigh of relief when he spotted his camera in the middle of the yard. He picked it up, hugging it to his chest. He was very pleased to see there was no damages. The dog, strangely, was no where to be found.
"There," Dennis finally caught up. "Now you have your camera back. Let's go home, mum's probably worrying," He turned to leave but noticed Colin was staring upward. "What are you looking at?"
"See that bedroom window?" Colin pointed. "It's got bars!"
Dennis' jaw dropped. "Who would put bars on their windows?"
Colin frowned. "I don't think it's voluntary."
"What?" Dennis blinked in confusion.
"Never mind," his brother said quickly. He felt very concerned. Who lived there? What on earth did they do to warrant this? As if on cue, a boy came to the window. He didn't appear to notice Dennis or Colin. He just stared yearningly out the window; or as best as he could between the bars.
"He looks to be the same age as me!" Colin gasped. "We've got to do something!" he told his brother, seriously.
Dennis wasn't much help. "Let's go home and tell mum."
Colin shook his head. "We've got to do something now!"
"But what do we do?"
Colin's mind was racing. He just had to help the boy out. But how? The boy wasn't at the window anymore. Hmmm. He tried to think real hard. He thought about looking for a rope to pull the bars off but quickly dismissed the idea. He and Dennis didn't have that kind of strength. Colin sighed heavily. There was no way they could help him. Just as he was about to tell Dennis they were leaving, something miraculous happened: the bars, as if suddenly detached from their place, dropped and fell into the rose bush.
The boys didn't know how to react. The window where they had been looked like the bars hadn't even been there.
"Did you do that?" Dennis asked, amazed.
'I-I don't know," Colin stuttered.
The boy was back at the window now. He finally noticed them and stared at them bemused. "Did you do that?" the boy asked, curiously.
"I think so?" Colin said, making it sound like a question.
The boy looked around before inquiring, "Are you a wizard too?"
Shocked, Colin said, "Yes, I am." He wasn't aware there was another wizard living so close!
The boy looked a bit worried. "Can I come with you two?" He wasn't speaking very loudly. Perhaps he didn't want his parents to hear him, Colin reasoned.
Dennis and Colin exchanged looks. They weren't sure how their parents would react to them bringing home another boy; especially since they were helping him escape.
"Sure," Colin said finally. "You can come with us." Seconds later, the boy began throwing out his things. Colin and Dennis did their best to catch them. The boy struggled to get his trunk over and onto the ledge but somehow managed. He had a pretty owl, too. It was snowy white. He didn't bother with a cage, just told the bird to follow them.
Can wizards speak to animals? Colin wondered.
When it came to be the boy's turn, he hed one leg out when the brother's heard someone shout. It turned out to be a an overweight, middle aged man. Probably his father, Colin reckoned. He grabbed the boy by his arm and pulled rather hard. The boy winced and tried to get away.
"Let him go you big bully!" Dennis shouted angrily. He crossed his arms and glared up at the man in a way he thought was threatening.
But the man ignored him. He kept his grip but the boy had another idea. He jumped out the window and the man let go; unfortunately for him he also fell out. He fell face first into the rose bush and on the bars; effectively knocking him out. The boy was more graceful; he landed on his feet. Judging by his expression, he was as surprised at they were.
"Wow," Dennis said at last. "That was cool!" he jumped and down excitedly.
"Is he going to be okay?" Colin motioned to the man in the rose bush.
The boy acted like he didn't really care. "He'll be fine."
"We should, er, get back home. It's way after midnight," Colin glanced at his wristwatch.
The boy nodded and began to pick up his things. He didn't ask for assistance either, just tried to carry everything in his scrawny arms.
"Dennis, take his books, please," Colin ordered. "I'll help you with your trunk," he smiled at the surprised expression on the boy's face.
"Thank you," he said once he found his voice. "I'm Harry, by the way. Harry Potter." He obviously was waiting for something, what, Colin didn't know. But he was watching the brother's with anticipation.
"I'm Colin Creevey," he introduced himself, cheerfully. "This is my little brother, Dennis. He's nine. I'm eleven. Are you starting Hogwart's too?" They began walking out of the yard and were nearing the sidewalk.
Harry shook his head no. "I started Hogwarts last year. I'll be a second year Gryffindor."
Colin grinned widely. "Oh, is that the house you're in? Professor McGonagall told me there are four houses and they each stand for certain traits. What's Gryffindor's again?"
"Bravery, recklessness," Harry replied.
"Is it true that Slytherin is made up of bad people?" Colin asked in a hush whisper.
Harry thought for a moment. "Well, a good lot of them are. I wouldn't say all of them. I was almost put in Slytherin."
"Really?" Colin said in awe. "You don't seem like a bad bloke. But I do wonder, why did your parents put bars on your window?"
Harry sucked in a breath. "They aren't my parents. My parents are dead. I live with my aunt, uncle and cousin."
"How did they die?" Dennis blurted out.
"Dennis!" Colin scolded. "You don't just ask that! Have some tact will you?"
"Sorry," Dennis mumbled.
"It's alright," Harry assured. "I'm actually surprised you don't know. I assumed you did. Everyone else does." He was quiet for a minute. "You're a Muggleborn aren't you?"
"Muggles are non magic people, correct?" Colin questioned.
"Then yes, I am."
"Makes sense," Harry said thoughtfully. "Did Professor McGonagall tell you about Voldemort?"
"I don't believe so."
"Voldemort, everyone calls him You-Know-Who-"
"Why do they call him that?" Dennis giggled.
"If you'd shut up we'd find out," Colin rolled his eyes.
Harry continued, "Voldemort was a dark wizard who killed my parents with some kind of curse. He tried to kill me but couldn't. I'm not sure why. Last year at school he tried to kill me again. He wanted the Sorcerer's Stone so he could come back to power. He was in the back of my Defense teacher's head."
"Cool!" Dennis exclaimed while Colin looked a bit queasy.
"The back of his...head?"
"Yeah," Harry grimaced a bit. "it was quite odd."
"I bet," Colin muttered.
The boys kept walking, stopping occasionally for Colin to take a picture.
"You like photography?" Harry asked, smiling.
"Don't get him started," Dennis muttered, rolling his eyes.
"I love it!" Colin began explaining some of his best shots.
"You got him started," Dennis sighed fondly.
Dennis decided he rather liked Harry so far. He did, though, feel a tad jealous when he and his brother discussed wizard stuff. He wanted to be a wizard so bad. It sounded so fun! Well, maybe Colin and Harry could show him cool spells sometime.
The Creevey house soon became in sight. Dennis excitedly pointed it out.
"My bedroom's upstairs," he told Harry.
"Our bedrooms are upstairs," Colin corrected but Dennis waved it off.
"Yeah, what he said."
They arrived at the driveway. Colin ever so gently opened the door, praying that his parents weren't up.
"Our dad's a milkman, so it's not much," Colin rubbed the back of his neck.
"I think it's brilliant," Harry breathed. The Creevey brother's smiled at him.
"Where have you boys been?" An angry voice echoed.
"Uh oh," Dennis mumbled.