There was complete silence except for the sudden clink as the last ball fell into the pocket. A young boy with raven black hair could only stare in disbelief.
“Best two out of three!” he shouted to a smaller, slightly rounder boy.
He and several other boys around his age were standing around a pool table in a local club.
“I don’t know Harry, looks to me like it’s already best four out of seven.”
“Shut up Dean.”
It was a weekly ritual now that Dean, Ron, Neville and himself would get together and hang out at their favourite club. As always Neville was creaming the lot of them in pool and tonight Harry was determined to beat him.
“Yeah Harry. As much fun as it is, I don’t really feel up to beating you again,” said a smiling Neville. “I mean it is getting late and all.”
“He’s right Harry,” said Ron as he started putting on his coat. “I have to be getting home myself and I need to use your fireplace.”
Sighing in defeat Harry dropped his cue and went to pay the owner for their games. “Don’t think you’re getting off easy Longbottom. Next week I’ve got you beat.”
Harry could remember the first time those words had escaped his lips. It was earlier this summer when the four of them had found this place. It came as a huge surprise to everyone when a friendly game of pool between friends turned into a hopeless battle as Neville refused to miss a shot.
As the four boys walked down the streets of London they were already planning when they would meet next. They had just decided on the usual time and place when Dean and Neville had to part ways to get home.
“See you guys later. Maybe next week we’ll head over to your place, okay Harry?”
“Sure thing Dean. Just remind me later so I can give the place a small clean up. Honestly, you’d think after all that time with the muggles I should have learned to clean up. See you later Neville.”
The two boys waved and disappeared down the street leaving Harry and Ron to walk the rest of the way on their own. Almost a half hour later they came to a stop in front of a small white house, trenched between the rows of apartment buildings lining the street.
“Home sweet home,” said Harry looking up. No matter how many times he said it a small smile always crossed his face as he thought of this place as his home.
Having lived most of his life in small cramped placed, such as the closet in the Dursley’s house, having a real place that belonged to him alone was the proudest moment of his life. He had found the place late in his 5th year, with the help of that year’s Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, Mrs. Figg. Sirius and Dumbledore were dead set against the idea of him living on his own. Finally after agreeing to let them put a full assortment of protection charms surrounding the property, and promising not to move in until his 16th birthday, they gave their approval.
A not so gentle punch in the arm shook Harry from his thoughts. “Don’t just stand there Harry. Open the door,” shouted Ron.
Taking out his keys Harry could only laugh at his friend’s impatience. “You haven’t changed a bit Ron.”
Opening the door Harry proceeded to take off his shoes and jacket and follow Ron, who was already walking into the living room.
“Sure I can’t interest you in a cup of coffee or anything before you go?”
“Sorry Harry. I’d love to but mom wants me home before it gets too late. I’ve have a feeling there’s a yard just waiting to be de-gnomed when I get up tomorrow.”
Harry gave a small shrug and knelt down by the fireplace to start preparing a small fire for Ron to use.
“I can’t wait until we’re finished next year. Starting a fire is a lot easier using magic then doing it the muggle way,” complained Harry.
“Honestly! You stare down dark lords without breaking a sweat, but when it comes to a little job like this you’re hopeless. You need to sort out your priorities my friend. Besides, maybe the Ministry will turn a blind eye for the Boy-Who-Lived?”
Harry just shook his head. “Don’t even get me started Ron,” he said as he threw a handful of Floo powder into the fire.
“Owl me tomorrow?” asked Ron, already putting one foot into the fire.
“Count on it. G’night Ron.”
“G’night Harry. The Burrow!” and with that Ron vanished in a puff of smoke leaving Harry alone in his living room.
Deciding that it was still too early to turn in for the night, Harry put on some music and raided the kitchen for a snack. After finding some popcorn Harry lay back on the couch and stretched out.