Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number four, Privet Drive. Mr. Vernon Dursley had been woken in the early hours of the morning by a loud, hooting noise from his niece, Emily, and his nephew, Harry's room.
"Third time this week!" He roared across the table. "If neither of you can control those owls then they'll have to go!"
It was Harry's turn to explain to their aunt and uncle, because Emily tried last time and it got nowhere.
"They are bored" he said. "They are used to flying around outside. If I could just let her out at night…"
"Do I look stupid?" snarled Uncle Vernon, a bit of fried egg dangling from his bushy moustache. Emily figured that it was a rhetorical question and that he didn't want an answer, and she wasn't sure that he would like the answer she gave. "I know what'll happen if that owl's let out"
He exchanged a dark look with Aunt Petunia.
Harry once again tried to argue back but his words were drowned by a long, loud belch from the Dursleys' son, Dudley.
"I want more bacon"
"There's more in the frying pan, sweetgums" said Aunt Petunia, turning misty eyes on her massive son. "We must feed you up while we've got the chance…I don't like the sound of that school food…"
"Nonsense, Petunia, I never went hungry when I was at Smeltingtons", said Uncle Vernon heartily. "Dudley gets enough, don't you, son?"
Dudley, who was so large his bottom drooped over either side of the kitchen chair, grinned and turned to Harry.
"Pass the frying pan"
"You've forgotten the magic word", said Harry irritably.
Emily smiled at Harry's choice of words. The summer has been interesting because for the first few weeks Dudley was petrified of Harry and Emily. Luckily this did mean that he left her alone, which gave her loads of time to read her advanced potions book, sadly she couldn't do any potion work, but reading it was good enough. However, over the next few weeks Dudley had returned to his normal self, well as normal as Dudley could be, however mentioning magic was still a touchy subject. The effect that Harry's simple sentence had on the rest of the family was incredible: Dudley gasped and fell off his chair with a crash that shook the whole kitchen; Mrs. Dursley gave a small scream and clapped her hands to her mouth; Mr. Dursley jumped up to his feet, veins throbbing in his temples.
"Oh, come on! Harry only meant 'please'!" said Emily. He didn't mean-"
"WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU BOTH!" thundered their uncle, spraying spit over the table, "ABOUT SAYING THE M WORD IN OUR HOUSE?"
"But I-" started Emily.
"HOW DARE YOU THREATEN DUDLEY!" roared Uncle Vernon pounding the table with his fist.
"I just-" began Harry.
"I WARNED YOU! I WILL NOT TOLERATE MENTION OF YOUR ABNORMALITY UNDER THIS ROOF!"
Emily stared from her purple faced uncle to his pale aunt, who was trying to haul Dudley to his feet.
"All right" said Harry, "all right"
Uncle Vernon sat back down, breathing like a winded rhinoceros and watching Harry and Emily from the corner of his small, sharp eyes.
Ever since Harry and Emily had come home for the summer holidays, Uncle Vernon had been treating the pair of them like an unexploded bomb that could go off at any moment, because neither of them were normal. As a matter of fact, they were as not normal as you could get – this in Emily's opinion was extremely rich coming from the Dursley family.
Emily Potter and her twin Harry, were wizards – wizard's fresh from their first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And if the Dursley's were unhappy to have them back under their roof, this was nothing compared to how Harry and Emily felt.
Emily could only speak for herself but she missed Hogwarts so much, it felt more like home than living with the Dursley's would ever be. Emily missed the castle with its secret passageways that her and Elysia would use to get out and race, she missed broom racing, the ghosts (even Peeves), her lessons, post arriving by owl (the letterbox was not nearly as exciting), eating banquets in the Great Hall, sleeping in a four-poster bed, visiting Hagrid and drinking tea with him.
All Emily's spell books, her wand, robes, cauldron and anything else Uncle Vernon deemed magical was locked in the cupboard under the stairs. The only reason Emily managed to get her potions book was because she managed to pick the lock and get it out. Unfortunately, she couldn't take out all the things she needed because Uncle Vernon became very suspicious after he found the lock wasn't locked at all- this only added to Emily's frustration at the situation, after all what did the Dursley's care if Emily had to return to Hogwarts with none of her homework done? The Dursley's were what wizards called Muggles (not a drop of magical blood in their veins) and as far as they were concerned, having wizards in the family was a matter of deepest shame. Uncle Vernon had even padlocked Emily's owl, Archimedes, inside his cage, to stop him from carrying messages to anyone in the wizarding world.
Emily didn't resemble anyone else in her family (well apart from Harry, but that's down to the whole twin thing). Uncle Vernon was large and neckless, with an enormous moustache; Aunt Petunia was horse-faced and bony; Dudley was blond, pink and porky. In complete contrast to this was Harry and Emily. Harry was small, skinny, with brilliant green eyes and jet-black hair that was always untidy. He wore round glasses, and on his forehead, was a thin lightning shaped scar. Emily was much the same, small and skinny (Emily blamed Dudley for this) and had the same bright green eyes. Like Harry she had black Harry, except hers always managed to look tidy, and fell in gentle beach waves that framed her face and instead of round glasses she had square ones, but unlike Harry didn't have a lightning shaped scar, or any scar.
It was Harry's scar that made the Potter name famous, and made Harry a famous individual in the wizarding world. It was the scar that had brought Emily and Harry to the Dursley's doorstep eleven years ago.
At the age of one, Harry somehow survived a curse from the greatest dark sorcerer of all time, Lord Voldemort. Voldemort was responsible for the deaths of Emily's parents and that was what brought them to the Dursley's. Emily and Harry were raised by their dead mother's sister and her husband. Emily had spent ten years with the Dursley's, never understanding why they hated her so much, believing the Dursley's story that her parents died in a car crash.
It was only until a year ago, Hogwarts had written to Emily and Harry and the whole story came out. Emily and Harry had taken their place at wizard school, where Harry was famous and Emily was one of the most popular girls in Hogwarts…but now they were now back with the Dursley's for the summer, back to being treated like dogs that had rolled in something smelly.
The Dursley's hadn't even remembered that today happened to be Harry and Emily's twelfth birthday. Of course, neither of them had particularly high hopes; they'd never given either of them a proper present, let alone a cake – but to ignore it completely… At that moment, Uncle Vernon cleared his throat importantly and said, "Now, as we all know, today is a very important say".
Harry looked up, hardly daring to believe it, and kicked Emily under the table in astonishment. Emily had already noticed and was looking up at Uncle Vernon as if he had grown a second head.
"This could well be the day I make the biggest deal of my career" said Uncle Vernon.
Emily returned to her toast, as did Harry. Of course, she thought angrily, Uncle Vernon was talking about this stupid dinner party. He had talked about nothing else but this dinner party for a fortnight. Some rich builder and his wife were coming to dinner and Uncle Vernon was hoping to get a huge order from him (Uncle Vernon's company made drills).
"I think we should run through the schedule one more time", said Uncle Vernon. "We should all be in position at eight o'clock. Petunia you will be-?"
"In the lounge", said Aunt Petunia promptly, "waiting to welcome them graciously into our home"
"Good, good. And Dudley?"
"I'll be waiting to open the door". Dudley put on a foul, simpering smile. "May I take your coats, Mr. and Mrs. Mason?"
"They'll love him!" cried Aunt Petunia rapturously.
"Excellent Dudley" said Uncle Vernon. The he turned around on Harry and Emily. "And you two?"
"I'll be in my bedroom, making no noise and pretending I'm not there" said Harry tonelessly.
Uncle Vernon looked at Emily.
"What he said" muttered Emily.
"Exactly" said Uncle Vernon nastily. "I will lead them into the lounge, introduce you, Petunia, and pour them drinks. At eight fifteen-"
"I'll announce dinner" said Aunt Petunia.
"And Dudley you'll say-?"
"May I take you through to the dining room, Mrs. Mason?" said Dudley, offering his fat arm to the invisible lady.
"My perfect little gentlemen!" sniffed Aunt Petunia.
"And you two?" said Uncle Vernon viciously to Harry and Emily.
"I'll be in my bedroom, making no noise and pretend I'm not there" said Harry dully.
"What he said" repeated Emily.
"Precisely, Now, we should aim to get in a few good compliments at dinner, Petunia, any ideas?"
"Vernon tells me you are a wonderful golfer, Mr. Mason… Do tell me where you bought your dress, Mrs. Mason…"
"How about: 'We had to write an essay about our hero at school Mr. Mason, and I wrote about you'"
This was too much for Aunt Petunia and Emily. Aunt Petunia burst into tears and hugged her son, while Emily felt like she was going to be sick, Harry meanwhile had decided to duck under the table to try and hide his laughter.
"And you two?"
Emily noticed that Harry was struggling to conceal his laughter so Emily took Harry's line.
"I'll be in my room, making no noise and pretending I'm not there" she said calmly.
Uncle Vernon raised an eyebrow but said nothing and only looked to Harry.
"What she said" confirmed Harry.
"Too right you will", said Uncle Vernon forcefully. "The Masons don't know anything about you and it's going to stay that way. When dinners over, you take Mrs. Mason back to the lounge for coffee, Petunia, and I'll bring the subject round to drills. With any luck, I'll have the deal signed and sealed before the news at Ten. We'll be shopping for a holiday home in Majorca this time tomorrow."
Emily couldn't care less about a holiday home, no matter where in the world it was, because it was highly unlikely that she or Harry would ever be allowed to go there anyway.
"Right I'm off into town to pick up the dinner jackets for Dudley and me. And you two" he snarled at them both, "both of you stay out of your aunt's way while she's cleaning"
Emily saw Harry leave out through the back door, Emily decided that she would just go upstairs to her room. This wasn't one of the best birthday's but by no means was it the worst, her and Harry had been through worse than this. She looked over to Archimedes cage and wished she could let him out, she longed to hear something from Suzie or Elysia or Rebecca or Ron or Hermione, someone. Emily remembering Ron promising that her and Harry would come to his for some of the summer and she never wanted it more than now. Emily was extremely tempted to release Archimedes from his cage using magic but figured she shouldn't because she wasn't allowed to do magic outside Hogwarts, not that the Dursley's knew that, she wouldn't risk them ever finding out if they did her and Harry would lose their leverage over them.
From her bedroom window, she could now hear the sounds of Harry and Dudley bickering. This was not going to end well and she knew it, Harry had a bad habit of rising to the bait that Dudley gave him, which only resulted in Harry getting punished and her as well because somehow 'she was involved'. Emily was certain that if Harry mocked Dudley, she would still have had some kind of involvement even if she was living in Denmark. Emily's thoughts were confirmed when she heard the unmistakable screams of Dudley.
"MUUUUUUM!" howled Dudley, which became louder as he entered the house again.
Then came the shrill voice of Aunt Petunia screaming for Harry, she could hear the lecture and could practically picture Dudley cowering behind his mum for protection. Then it came.
"EMILY! GET DOWN HERE NOW!" bellowed Aunt Petunia.
Emily let out a loud sigh and headed down stairs. It was pretty much as she expected, Dudley was in fact cowering behind Aunt Petunia, Aunt Petunia looked as though she had swallowed a lemon whole and Harry looked like he was ready explode.
"Both of you will do some house cleaning seeming as you have spare time to threaten Dudley"
"I haven't done anything" pointed out Emily.
"Oh, you were involved, you two, always up to…tricks!" she spat.
"You mean magic tricks?" said Emily with smirk.
Aunt Petunia opened and closed her mouth like a fish, trying to form a sentence.
"Well if I'm going to be punished then I might as well have done something to deserve it" added Emily with a smile.
Once Aunt Petunia had composed herself she then warned them that if they didn't finish the work then they wouldn't eat. Emily cleaned the bathroom, hoovered the stairs, dusted the living room and was made to make caramel apple pie for the 'very important guests'. Eventually Aunt Petunia told her to go outside and help Harry with the weeding.
Harry heard the back-door slam and turned around to see Emily walk out with an irritated look.
"You been sent out here too?" he asked.
"Yea, I've been told to do some weeding" replied Emily.
It was not until half past seven that they were both called in and by that point, Emily's knees hurt from kneeling most of the afternoon and her hands had blisters from the scrubbing Aunt Petunia made her do I the bathroom, not to mention the fact that she felt like she had sun burn on the back of her neck.
"If only they could see the famous Harry Potter now, eh?" joked Emily.
"Shut up, besides I didn't think the 'Queen of Gryffindor' did weeding" commented Harry with a smirk.
"She wouldn't if she wasn't forced to" grumbled Emily.
"Will you two hurry up! And walk on the newspaper!" called Aunt Petunia.
Emily saw the nights meal and it looked good and smelled even better, her stomach was grumbling after the work she had done.
"Eat quickly! The Masons will be here soon!" snapped Aunt Petunia, pointing to the slices of bread and a lump of cheese on the kitchen table. She was already wearing the salmon pink cocktail dress.
Harry and Emily washed their hands and bolted down their pitiful supper. The moment Emily and Harry had finished, Aunt petunia whisked away their plates. "Upstairs! Hurry!"
As Emily passed the door in the living room, she glimpsed at Uncle Vernon and Dudley in bow-ties and dinner-jackets. Emily had barely reached the top of the landing when the doorbell rang and Uncle Vernon's furious face appeared before her.
"Remember girl – either of you make one sound…"
Emily tiptoed to the bedroom and collapsed onto the bed. She thought Harry had done the same until she looked up and realized why he wasn't lying on his bed, it wasn't until she turned her head that she realized why. Someone else was already sitting on it.