Harry awoke early the next morning when a postal owl dropped a small bundle on his stomach. The owl hooted a soft "hello" to Hedwig and soared from the window. Harry untied the bundle containing a week's worth of "The Daily Prophet". Since the rebirth of Lord Voldemort, Harry wanted to keep abreast of wizarding news.
The emerald eyes shone as Harry discovered a small advertisement buried in the middle of the newspaper — "Pinkham's Photo Restoration — No job too big, no job too small". Harry stared at the damaged photograph of his mother and her friend one more time. Gathering his parchment, quill and ink, Harry penned a short note to the wizards at Pinkham's Photo Restoration asking if it was possible to repair the enclosed photograph, and if so, how much it would cost. As a last minute thought, Harry also requested an exact duplicate of the photograph if it could be repaired.
Tying the note and the photograph securely to Hedwig's leg, Harry sent her off into the sunrise. If they could repair the photograph, maybe Sirius or Remus could tell him who Luci was. Harry knew so little about his mother. Maybe Luci, if he could find her, would be willing to tell him something about his mother while she was at Hogwarts.
Hedwig returned the next day with a reply. For two galleons, one sickle and five knuts, the photo restorers could do as he asked. Harry pulled a small bag of coins from his school trunk. He always kept some wizard and Muggle money on hand for emergencies. Harry removed two galleons and two sickles from the bag and early that evening he sent Hedwig back with the money and confirmation.
Aunt Petunia kept Harry busy the next few days. She had decided to clean the house, top to bottom and to repaint the kitchen. Exhausted after a day of deep cleaning, Harry crept into his rooms and stopped. Hedwig was out of her cage, attempting to untie the bindings holding a large envelope from the legs of a brown barn owl. Harry stroked her feathers gently and she hopped over to the desk chair. Harry made quick work of the bindings, releasing the barn owl. With a grateful hoot, the large owl took a sip of water and flew out the window.
The return address on the envelope read "Pinkham's Photo Restoration". Before Harry could open the envelope, Uncle Vernon bellowed for him to "get his arse downstairs immediately". With a softly muttered curse, Harry hid the envelope in his hiding place beneath the loose floorboards.
One and a half hours later Harry limped back up to his bedroom and quickly grabbed a clean t-shirt and boxers before hurrying to the bathroom for a quick shower. Harry winced as the warm water hit the fresh welts on his back and legs; Uncle Vernon had whipped him with his belt upon discovering that the leftover kitchen paint had been spilled on the garage floor.
Of course, Dudley had spilled the paint, but Harry, as usual, took the blame. Harry cleaned up the spilled paint, endured an ear-shattering lecture on being "a wasted bit of human flesh" and bore fifteen lashes with a leather belt. Only then was he given ten minutes to use the bathroom and take a shower before he would be locked into his bedroom for three days, without meals.
Harry filled four large empty juice bottles with drinking water for Hedwig and himself. He hid them in his wardrobe. Uncle Vernon handed Harry an old pan to relieve himself in and dead bolted the door behind him. Harry heard the three locks slide into place.
Hedwig watched silently from atop her cage, her large amber eyes following his movements. She flew up and perched on his shoulder, nibbling at his still wet hair with affection.
"S'alright, girl," Harry whispered. "Still have some food left over from my birthday."
Harry lifted his snowy owl from his shoulder and set her on the bed. He kneeled on the floor and opened the secret compartment beneath the loose floorboard. The slight wizard removed the envelope containing the photographs and two of Mrs. Weasley's meat pies. She had charmed them to remain fresh for at least a month.
Harry broke one of the pies in half; he set one of the halves on his desk in a stray bit of wrap. Hedwig hopped over and delicately began nibbling at the pie.
Harry finished the small pies quickly; they were very filling. He suspected that Mrs. Weasley had charmed them to do that as well. After taking a small sip of water from a juice bottle, Harry wiped his hands clean on his damp bath towel.
Wincing slightly, the emerald-eyed young man sat down, staring at the envelope in his lap for a few moments. Finally, he turned it over and unfastened the clasp sealing the envelope. He pulled out two flat pieces of cardboard. His six knuts change was taped to one of the pieces of cardboard.
Harry held the original photograph and watched his mother and her friend play a piano duet. He watched in amusement as Lily turned and playfully teased her companion, the other figure smirked and they both began to laugh. Harry watched them interact over and over again, mesmerized by his mother as a fourteen year old girl. He could now see why everyone always told him he had her eyes. They sparkled with a laughter that was reflected in the blue-gray eyes of her friend. Harry examined Luci, wondering why she seemed familiar to him. Luci had white blond hair, thin elfish features and a practiced smirk. With a start, the young wizard realized that Luci was not a girl as he had originally thought. White blond hair. Smirk. Luci was Lucius Malfoy.
Harry puzzled over the photograph for quite some time. His Muggle born mother had been friends with the mudblood hating future Death Eater himself, Lucius Malfoy.
How in hell had that happened?
Algernon, Hermione Granger's new owl was waiting patiently for Harry when he awoke the next morning. After his parcel was removed, the gray owl joined Hedwig on her perch and closed his eyes.
Hermione sent a bag of sugar free hard candy and a short note. She asked her usual question of whether he had he finished his summer homework and to inform him she was spending the rest of the summer with the Weasleys at the Burrow. She made tentative plans to meet in Diagon Alley at the end of August, or if not, on the Hogwarts Express September 1st.
Hermione still kept the lines of communication open, but the Gryffindor Trio had started to drift apart during their fifth year. Hermione had poured herself into studying for the O.W.L.S. Harry withdrew into himself after Cedric's death and the resurrection of Voldemort; he, too, devoted much of his time to his studies after realizing that he needed to be better prepared for the eventual war with the Dark. And Ron, always the reluctant scholar, found himself with two library haunting best friends. After too many unsuccessful attempts to disrupt their studies for something more fun, he began to spend less time with them and more time practicing Quidditch, hanging out with the other athletes and flirting with the opposite sex.
An idea was forming in the back of Harry's mind. He pulled out a fresh piece of parchment, ink and quill.
Send my best to the Weasleys and please let Mrs. Weasley know that her meat pies are a lifesaver.
I found a box while cleaning out the Dursley's attic that contained several photographs of my mother when she was 8-10 years as well as some beginning piano books.
Do you know how to play the piano? I would really like to learn how to play. When I was seven, Dudley had piano lessons and I learned the scales but Aunt Petunia never let me touch her piano.
I'll have to let you know my plans on going to Diagon Alley, but in any case, I will see you on the Hogwarts Express September First.
Harry also wrote a small note to Sirius and Remus telling them that he found his mother's music books and asked if they could tell him anything about her music or her musical friends. Harry wasn't sure why, but he didn't want anyone to know about the wizard photograph yet.
Harry let the owls sleep awhile before he sent them off with their messages. One nice thing about being locked into your own room, you didn't have to do chores. Harry studied the beginning piano books and tried to remember where the keys were located.
He stared at the stars through his window suddenly feeling very isolated and alone. A decision made, he wrote one more letter before he fell into an uneasy sleep. Hedwig could deliver it when she returned.
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