Chapter 9

"I've arranged for a helicopter to take you back to England," Margaret said to Harry. "I'm certainly not going to ask how you got to Nantucket, since you don't have a license."

"I don't know if you'd believe it if I told you," Harry replied thoughtfully.

"Then we won't discuss it any further," Margaret stated firmly. She looked down at her shoes. "I - I wish you didn't have to go back at all."

"But you know I do. It won't be so bad once I get back to Hogwarts," Harry assured her. "And after the last two summers, Dudley's afraid to come near me. But I will miss everyone I've met here terribly Well, except for Flagg."

"We'll miss you too." Margaret choked. She reached up, put her arms around Harry and kissed his cheek. "You know how to reach me if you need me."

Harry hugged her back. "Yes, I do. We'll see each other again soon."

"Of course we will." Margaret finally released Harry. "The others are waiting outside to say good-bye. You know, you're one of our family now."

"I'm not likely to forget that," Harry told her. "You've made me a lot more welcome than Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia ever did."

"Well, they're idiots!" Margaret snapped. "Go on now, before that chopper gets here."

As she had promised, the rest of the 4077 family was waiting to say their farewells. Harry shook hands with Klinger and Colonel Potter. "You stay in touch, son. And don't you forget what I told you," the Colonel said. He patted Harry's bandaged hand. "Take it easy."

"I will, sir. And thank you," Harry replied.

"If you're ever in Hannibal, look us up," Klinger added. "Our spare room is always ready for you, kiddo."

Harry nodded gratefully and moved down the line to Dr. Freedman. "It's been a privilege to get to know you, Harry," Sidney said warmly. "Welcome to the gang."

"Thank you, sir," Harry answered.

"If you're ever near Mill Valley, be sure to stop by," BJ said. "You're always welcome."

"Take care of yourself, Harry," Peg said softly as she hugged him tight.

"I will. Thanks," Harry said.

Trapper thumped him lightly on the shoulder. "Let us hear from you once you get back. Don't be a stranger now."

"I won't," Harry promised. "You've all been so nice -"

"Well, you're a great kid," Trapper said. "So long, Harry."

Dr. Winchester made a great pretense of checking Harry's hand. "I cannot tell you what a rare pleasure it has been. Please be careful and don't do anything rash."

"I'll never forget what we talked about," Harry said sincerely. "Thank you, Dr. Winchester." Charles cleared his throat. "You will accomplish great things, Harry. I'm very proud to say I know you."

"Thank you, Dr. Winchester," Harry said. "I feel the same way about you."

Father Mulcahy raised his hand and signed a cross. "Bless you, Harry Potter," he said simply. "God be with you in all that you do."

"Thank you, Father," Harry said. "That means a lot to me. I'm glad to have met you. All of you." He turned at last to Hawkeye.

"I'm afraid a handshake won't do it," Hawkeye said with a smile. He put his arms around Harry and held him close. "One more person I've got to worry about. Don't leave us in suspense, all right? I expect to hear from you often and don't leave anything out."

"I won't," Harry assured him. "Thanks a lot, Hawkeye. For everything."

"No, thank you, Harry," Hawkeye returned. "It's an honor to have you in the family. You are now officially one of us."

The rest of the family all cheered loudly. Then one by one, they began subtly drifting toward the exits.

Em stood on tiptoe and embraced Harry. "Thanks more than I can say for making sure Kim and Dad got home safe," she whispered in his ear. "Come back to us soon."

Harry nodded "I will, just as soon as I can."

Radar looked like he was trying very hard not to cry. "You behave yourself," he said gruffly, "or I'll come over to England and kick your butt."

Harry grinned and nodded. "Abyssinia, Radar." The two men hugged each other tight.

The adults had left by now, leaving Harry and Kim alone. "Seems like - we're always saying good-bye," Kim said in a choked voice.

Harry put his arms around her and held her close, "Yes, we are. But we'll be back together soon. I know we will."

Kim looked up and smiled. "Father Mulcahy says it it's right, we'll be there for each other." She carefully slid her arms around Harry's waist, being mindful of her cast.

"Father Mulcahy is a very wise man," Harry agreed.

"Even so, I'll never be as glad to see you as I was when Flagg marched you and Uncle Radar through that door," Kim said softly. "I thought I could take him all by myself - boy, how wrong was that idea?"

"You don't ever have to go it alone, Kim," Harry told her. "I'm always be here for you - just like Hawkeye and Radar and everyone else."

Kim cuddled closer. "I know. Thank you, Harry, for being one of those people."

"Thank you for sharing them with me. They're all great and it's going to be very hard to leave them," Harry replied. "But I'll still miss you most of all."

They kissed each other very tenderly and then held on for a few minutes more.

Margaret tiptoed in. "The chopper's here," she whispered sorrowfully. "It's waiting for you outside."

Kim reached up and gently touched Harry's cheek. "You'd better listen to what Colonel Potter says and take care of yourself. He really means it and so do I."

"You look out for yourself, Kim," Harry returned. "No more trying to do everything alone. Promise me you won't."

Kim nodded. "I promise." Harry kissed her again and then he was gone.

Aunt Margaret came over and put her arm around her goddaughter. "It seems like next summer is a long way off, doesn't it?"

"It sure does," Kim sighed. "Aunt Margaret, do you know what? There was so much love and genuine affection for Harry here in this room. I'm almost glad the creep decided to kidnap Hawkeye."

Margaret looked around and then said in a lower voice, "So am I, Kimmie. I don't suppose we'll ever know the real reason why Flagg did it. I guess it really doesn't matter though, does it?"

"He's out of his mind," Kim said. "You know, after he made such a show of having Hawkeye write up all his demands, he never did call the White House. Maybe because Harry and Uncle Radar showed up. They are really awesome, Aunt Margaret."

Margaret smiled and hugged Kim. "Yes, they are, darling. Yes, they are. We're lucky to have them in our family."

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