Ron poked his head out of the pot-bellied stove and groaned. "Not yet,
Harry!" He extracted an arm and placed it on the icy wooden floor.
There was a thunk behind him, and his legs were squashed.
"Bloody buggery buzzard-balls!" Harry shouted. "Oh, my neck!"
"My legs," Ron shouted back, trying to free his other arm.
"Can't," came Harry's muffled voice. "Filch was coming."
Muttering, Ron squeezed his other arm through, then hauled himself out
and onto the floor. Harry's legs emerged, then his body, and finally his
head and arms, every inch covered in soot. Ron started to laugh,
but Harry beat him.
"You're covered in soot!"
Ron scowled. "You, too. Where are we?"
Harry looked around. It was a small shack, a slab of wood for
a table, kettle on the stove, blizzard howling outside. The ambient
temperature was a moderate freezing.
"Oops." Harry's eyes widened. "Fred and George gave me that
"Well," Ron said, trying to dust himself off, "we got away from the
dance." They both grinned. "Honestly," Ron burst out, "Bill
says girls get better, but when?"
Harry shrugged. "Hermione's getting worse. That thing
with the dress--"
Ron nodded glumly. "And the hair."
"And the shoes! Red? Burgundy? What do I know?"
"It's us against them, I say." Ron wandered around. "Here!"
He picked up a ladle and smacked it into a large bucket. There was
a crack, then a splash. "Bit cold to wash with, though."
Harry fumbled for his wand, then pointed it at the stove. "Ignatio!"
Nothing happened. "Maybe I broke it," Harry said, shaking his
"Let me try." Ron waved his battered wand. "Ignatio!"
"Okay." Harry pointed his wand at the table. "Reducio."
Nothing. "Ron," he said slowly. "Where are we?"
Ron's blinked. "Does your scar hurt?" Harry shook his head.
"Dad says magic doesn't work some places. C'mon, Harry, light it
the Muggle way. I'm getting cold."
It took longer, but soon they had a good fire. They washed off and hung
their clothes to dry.
"I love Muggle food," Ron said, chewing on beef jerky. "It's so...primitive."
"Dumbledore should be here by now," Harry said.
"Hey. Harry." Ron put an arm around him, draping his blanket
so it covered them both. "He can't scry us with no magic here, but
Moody will be on it. And Sirius will be looking..."
"Hermione always figures something out."
"That's the spirit! She'll know the Muggle ways to look." Ron
looked over. "People care about you, Harry. They'll be here
as soon as possible."
Harry wiped his nose. "Yeah."
They sat, the wind howling, the fire crackling merrily.
"Harry," Ron whispered.
"Yeah," Harry said, hair hanging thick over his forehead.
"I don't think I'll ever like girls."
Harry sighed. "Me, neither."
Ron shifted closer. "Harry?"
Harry turned, and smiled.
Sprawled on the mattress, panting, they heard a loud Pop! from
"Oh! Pardon me!" Dumbledore gasped and vanished.
"No! Wait!" Harry scrambled over and put his mouth right over
the flue. "Professor, help! We're stuck!"
Snape's voice drifted out. "...always disobeying rules...I'll
"No!" Dumbledore's voice echoed sharply. "Boys, I'm coming."
"Oh, criminy," Ron said, throwing clothes at Harry. They were
mostly dressed when Dumbledore apparated, hands over his eyes.
"Please, take us home," Ron said.
Dumbledore pointed his wand. "Relocatius,eh," he said and
"Huh?" Harry said.
"Dear boy, you're in Canada. And that's Ron's shirt. And
Professor Snape awaits your arrival."
Harry whimpered. "Help?"
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. "Perhaps," he said, and waved his
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