The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.
The characters and situations of Harry Potter depicted in this story are the
legal property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, and AOL Time Warner, and have been used without
permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
No profit is being made off this story. It is for entertainment purposes
Harry Potter woke from a restless night’s sleep
with a sense of foreboding and a pounding heart.He sat straight up in bed fighting the tears
that threatened to come.
Although he had not dreamed of Voldemort that
night, he had dreamed of something
just as terrible. With a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, he threw
himself violently on his stomach and buried his head in his pillow.Closing his eyes, he tried unsuccessfully to
block out the pain.
Had it been only three weeks since the end of term
and that fateful night at the Department of Mysteries? Sometimes it felt
like yesterday, and sometimes it felt as if it had happened in another lifetime
to another person. So many thoughts jumbled through his head that he
wished he had a Pensieve like Dumbledore’s.He’d give anything to siphon out some of the
more troubling thoughts and memories.If
he didn’t find some way to relieve the tension, he knew he’d lose his mind.
Unfortunately, his mind would not cooperate.Unable to stop them, the thoughts began to
stream through his consciousness against his will.They came randomly, without rhyme or reason,
each with its own set of memories and pain.
Sirius’ once handsome, now haggard face, smiling at him across the
kitchen table at Grimmauld
Place.Falling backwards through the veil… Lupin
holding him back as he screamed….
Voldemort’s cold, red eyes… possessing him, trying
to take control of him.The pain… that
feeling of wanting to die, of wanting Dumbledore to put him out of his misery…
His parents… his mother’s scream and a cold,
falling in a heap, dead…
Neither can live while the other survives...
“Boy! Wake up and get down here!” a voice
screeched from the bottom of the stairs. Aunt Petunia sounded as if she
were in a horrid mood this morning. Briefly, Harry wondered what he had
done (or rather what he had not done) this time, to cause his aunt to sound so
“Coming, Aunt Petunia,” Harry yelled back.Rubbing his eyes, he reached for his glasses.As he pulled himself out of bed, he caught
sight of himself in the mirror attached to the back of the wardrobe door. What he saw neither surprised him nor caused
him great satisfaction.
He had grown over the past year and even his old
pajamas were beginning to show the strain a 15-soon-to-be-16-year-old boy could
put on his garments. Since they had once belonged to his whale of a
cousin, Dudley, it was not surprising that Harry’s appearance was scruffy-looking.
At least the growth spurt had helped the fit somewhat. No longer baggy,
they were very well used. He chuckled humorously to himself as he
stared.That was one of the many things
he and Ron had in common.Used clothes.
Searching through a pile of dirty clothes on his
floor, he pulled out an old shirt and a pair of trousers that had also once
belonged to Dudley. If he didn’t have so many more important things on
his mind, he’d feel very self-conscious about his appearance.As it was, he didn’t expect anyone he knew to
see him today.What did it matter what
he looked like?
The only thing he was thoroughly satisfied with
was his shoes.His trainers were the
only decent thing he owned, next to his school robes.He had Hermione to thank for that.His best friend had put a charm on them
before the last Hogsmeade trip of the year. She had been appalled at the
condition that they had been in, and shocked to see Harry trying to squeeze his
now size ten feet into the size eight shoes. They were beginning to pinch as he
walked and his toes were even starting to stick out of the front where the sole
was coming loose.
Thanks to several clever little charms, his shoes
now fit him perfectly and looked almost brand new. He smiled at the
memory - one of the few from last year that he considered worthy of recalling -
as he pulled them on. He was sure he heard Hermione mutter something
along the line of “bloody relatives” and some other very uncharacteristic things
related to the treatment he received from his so-called family while fixing
them.Some of the ice that surrounded
his heart melted at the thought of how much his friends cared for him.
Speaking of family… Harry winced as he heard his
beefy Uncle Vernon bellow from below. “What’s taking you so long, boy? Your Aunt told you to get down here now!”
Sighing, Harry ran a hand through his mop of messy
black hair. Knowing that a brush would make little improvement to the perpetual
mess that seemed to have a mind of its own, he didn’t bother with it and left
the isolation of his room.Bounding
noisily down the steps of number 4 Privet Drive, he knew he could worry about the rest later.
Vernon Dursley was waiting for him at the bottom
of the steps, a menacing look on his purplish face.“Could you have taken any longer?” he
“Sorry, Uncle Vernon. I was just getting dressed,” he said, trying to keep
his voice even and neutral.
“And another thing,” his Uncle said through
clenched teeth. “Kindly treat my house with a little more respect.
Coming down those steps like that is unacceptable.You’d do well to remember that in future,
Harry knew very well that Dudley
usually came stomping down the steps every day around , but he did not think it prudent to point this fact
out. Instead he replied dully, “Yes, Uncle Vernon.”
Not knowing what to make of Harry’s lack of fight,
Vernon stared hard at his nephew. Knowing the circumstances
surrounding the boy and all his troubles caused him pause, momentarily making
him re-think his plans. Just as soon as he had these thoughts, however, they were
immediately wiped away with the anticipation of his upcoming trip.
Vernon had slaved over his company, Grunnings, for close to 20
years now. Finally the hard work was paying off. He and Petunia were
off to a retreat this weekend for company members to hobnob, socialise, and “network.” He’d be damned if the ungrateful
little runt would spoil it for him, even if that Voldemorsey-whosey
person was back!
“Now listen, boy,” Vernon said with a twisted grimace, staring at Harry hard and
pointing a stubby finger at his chest. “Your aunt and I are going away
for a few days.”
Harry looked up sharply at his aunt and uncle, and
noticed for the first time their neat and pristine travelling clothes and the packed suitcases stacked near the
door. A warm feeling began to spread through his chest and the hint of a
smile played on his lips. A weekend free of Dursleys! What could be
Before he could wrap his mind around the
possibilities, his hopes were shattered by the smirk on his uncle and aunt’s
faces. Briefly, Harry wondered if crazy old Mrs. Figg had been enlisted
to watch over him. That wouldn’t be too bad, Harry mused. He had
recently found out that the batty old lady was actually a Squib. He did
not relish spending the weekend with Mr. Paws and the
other cats that shared Mrs. Figg’s musty, cabbage-smelling house, though.
He needn’t have worried however, because Vernon had other plans.“I
have my doubts about leaving you here to have free run of the house, but taking
you with us is out of the question so I’m doing the next best thing.”
Here, he paused to smirk, a self-satisfied, almost gleeful look on his beefy
face. “Dudley will be around to keep an eye on you and make sure there’s
no funny business going on.”
Harry’s heart sank. Dudley in
charge was worse than a hundred of Mrs. Figg’s cats. Dudley took
great pleasure in making Harry’s life as miserable as possible. As a child,
his cousin had tormented Harry, using him as a punching bag and the butt of all
his jokes. Frequently, Dudley and his friends taunted Harry with names
such as “freak” and “weirdo” because strange things always seemed to happen
around him. This was bad.
Uncle Vernon went on, seeming to take great
pleasure in the miserable look plastered on Harry’s face. “We’ll be back
late on Sunday. While we are gone, I expect you to remain in the house,
preferably in your room. No need for the neighbours to be subjected to your unnaturalness. If I hear
even a hint of anything out of the ordinary while we’re away, I promise you
will regret it. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, Uncle Vernon,” Harry said benignly. What did he care if the Dursleys
were around or not? He pretty much stuck to himself and his own demons,
holed up in his room or wandering the neighbourhood
trying not to think about… things, and staying out of Dudley’s way.
Suspicious with his nephew’s compliant behaviour, Harry’s uncle narrowed his eyes and cocked an
eyebrow. It was his aunt, however, that spoke next. “You are not to
make a mess of the house while we are away. There’s a list of jobs posted
in the kitchen, and I expect each and every one to be completed by the time I
return. Do I make myself
“Yes, Aunt Petunia,” Harry repeated in the same,
irritatingly benign voice.
His aunt narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously,
like she was trying to figure out his game.“And one more thing…Duddikins is having a few of his little
friends over this afternoon. Try to stay out of his way. He doesn’t
need the likes of you ruining his little get together.”Almost as an afterthought, she said sternly,
“And don’t even think of eating any of the food I’ve prepared.I’ve left your meals in containers in the
Harry tried desperately not to panic at the idea
of a house full of Dudley’s friends.His aunt
was talking about the group of troublemakers as if they were five and having a
little tea party.Harry knew what kind
of parties Dudley and his gang had, and he swore to make himself scarce this
weekend.He’d be damned if he’d make
himself the target of his git cousin. Not with everything else.
“Come, Petunia,” Vernon
her out the door. “We mustn’t dawdle any longer. Dudley
is a responsible young man and I’m sure he can handle this ruffian. We
mustn’t be late. Want to make a good impression, eh?” Vernon
shot one last glare back at Harry as he made to shut the door. “Remember,
boy. No funny business!” With that last warning, they were gone.
The Sugar Quill was created by Zsenya and Arabella. For
questions, please send us an Owl!
-- Powered by SQ3 : Coded by David : Design by James --