This piece was written for a challenge posted in the Shack, where the reason for a short summer at number four must be revealed. I used the first "glimpse" from the "Windows" challenge here, and expounded on it to come up with a short summer at Privet Drive for Harry.
This challenge also required: Harry receive a kiss before he leaves, the Dursley's must each have at least two lines, and there must be a mention of a tea cosy. :: shrugs ::
Anyway, I thought I would post it here, since the first bit came from here. I have to admit there are a few spots I would have liked to rework to make it a bit mure fluid, but the word count and limit (min 750/max 2000), kept me from reworking it further. Any thoughts or insight are welcome and appreciated. Best! ~ May
Harry sat on his bed at number 4 Privet Drive, fully dressed, tucked into a ball, arms wrapped round his legs as his chin rested on his knees. Another sleepless night. The owl came two days ago, and any minute the guard might arrive to escort him back to school. There would be no Hogwarts Express, and the gentle transition to the wizarding world. The train was “too risky”. The slow surge of burning rage erupted in his stomach and he closed his eyes, forcing the fury back, focusing on the twinge at his scar and keeping it to a minimum.
He shifted his thoughts to the surest means of diverting his anger, and allowed his mind to take him back to the eerie chamber with the crumbling arch. Miserable sorrow consumed him as he watched Sirius freeze and stagger back to vanish beyond the veil. The echo of his own scream and the crazed, cruel laughter from Bellatrix filled his ears, and he gritted his teeth, gripping fistfuls of his jeans, choking back sobs as the tears came, silently sliding down his cheek, glistening in the light like mercury. Let them come and take him back. Nothing could be worse than the misery he endured here wallowing in his own memories.
It had become increasingly difficult for Harry to endure the time he was forced to spend with the Dursley’s, not just because they were so incredibly foul but because they were muggles. The more time he spent in the wizarding world, the more difficult it became for him to transition back to muggle existance. Even the mundane things were becoming more and more foreign to him, and he grew more silent and sullen than ever, gazing out from under heavy brows, with brooding dark eyes.
Dudley seemed more terrified of Harry than ever, casting the same sort of nervous, frantic glances he had to the Weasley’s when they had come to collect Harry and had burst out through the firebox. His experience with the dementors had left a very marked impression, and he spent most of his time out of the house if Harry was in it. Even uncle Vernon seemed hesitant to cross him, and had taken to ignoring him rather than instigating a potentially volatile confrontation. He never said one word about Harry’s room or chores, and had even ignored his hair which was longer and more unruly than ever. The strangest of them all was Aunt Petunia, who Harry could swear had cast him more than one glance which he could not guage at all. If he didn’t know better he might have thought it was pity.
Ordinarily these things would have pleased Harry immensely, but he seemed incapable of finding joy in anything. He had received more post this year than ever, at least an owl a day, from Hermione and nearly as many from Ron. They told him every single scrap of information they came into possession of, copies of the Prophet, even the Quibbler, anything to help keep him in the loop. Hermione had been knitting like mad and had sent him two pairs of socks, a jumper and a tea cosy. Ron sent him copius amounts of sweets and samples of the twins latest and greatest merchandise. Everything sat unopened on his desk. Harry had no room in his heart for jokes or sweets.
The tears had subsided, and he gazed blearily out the window at the clouds rolling across the crescent moon. His lashes were spikey and damp, and he felt more exhausted than ever. He had slept very little after returning to Privet Drive, and what sleep he got resulted in some of the most horrific nightmares he had ever experienced. He longed for the sanctuary of his dorm room, with the tall, four poster and its heavy, velvet curtains, and wondered where he would go when the came to collect him. Ordinarily anyplace but here would suffice, but he had this niggling terror of returning to Grimmauld Place, recalling with a heavy, aching heart the last time he saw Sirius there, shoving him out the door to go with the others back to school after Christmas holidays. Harry hadn’t even said a proper good bye. If he had known it would be the last chance he would ever have to embrace his godfather...
The tears started again, silently streaming down his cheek once more and Harry was filled with misery and disgust with himself, and found himself hoping they would not arrive tonight to find him in such a state, when Hedwig began to hoot, and screech, flapping madly in her cage.
“Hedwig!” Harry whispered loudly, nearly falling off the bed when the door rattled and swung open. He prepared himself for a full on Vernon Dursley verbal assault when he saw the soft glow of wand tips, several of them, and only then realized he was gripping his own wand and had aimed it at the door.
“Very good, Potter,” Moody growled approvingly, stepping closer as his magical eye whirred loudly to survey the room.
“Here, give a girl some room,” Tonks shoved Moody aside and crossed to Harry, who noticed her hair was glossy, and black, cropped smooth at her chin, with a fringe of egytptian bangs. “Wotcher Harry,” she grinned, flashing eyes of dark indigo. Her smile slipped away when she noticed the tears still glistening on his cheeks by the light of their wands. “What’s this?” she asked softly, dropping onto the bed beside him. She brushed the hair from his forehead and dropped a soft kiss, just beside his scar.
Harry tried to ignore the clamoring about near the door and focus on Tonks when he heard a door open noisily at the end of the corridor, and what could only be the thundering footfall of Uncle Vernon. “Alright, Listen here boy!” he shouted nastily, throwing Harry’s door open and stomping in. “We have left you well enough alone and tolerated that bloody animal all summer, but I have a meeting tomorrow,” he flipped the light on, flooding the room with light and nearly fell over from shock at what he saw. “Aaaaaaaaaaa!” he shouted. “What the devil is going on here!” He sputtered, turning a violent shade of fuschia which reminded Harry of Tonks hair on her last visit to the Dursley’s.
Harry saw Moody, Mundungus Fletcher, Kingsley Shaklebolt, and Remus Lupin draw their wands simultaneously and aim them at Vernon Dursley. Another door opened loudly and muffled voices “Mum! What was that noise?”
“I don’t know Diddums but wait!”
“I thought I heard Dad shouting!” Sure enough Harry saw the door fly open open and Dudley and Aunt Petunia burst through. “Vernon what—” Petunia stopped short, her narrow face stretched in shock. “Oh! What do…what do you want?” She stepped protectively in front of Dudley, in a pathetic effort to shield his massive form from whatever danger they might pose.
“Listen you lot! Just…take the boy and get out—”
Tonks stood from the bed, and Harry saw she wore a very form fitting, leather catsuit of some sort, luggy, very tall boots and a short, filmy black cloak which fluttered as she moved. She lifted her wand, aimed it at Dursley and spoke tersely.
“No, you listen, you gargantuan hippocampus!” Her glossy, silvery lips shimmered in the light. Harry’s eyes flicked up to Uncle Vernon who looked as if he were about to implode, then shifted to Tonks who appeared uncharacteristically dangerous.
“Easy Tonks,” Remus said gently.
“What’s going on?” Petunia shrilled anxiously. “You’re here awfully…I mean,” she stammered glancing nervously between Tonks and Remus, then Kingsley and Moody. She appeared to be ignoring Mundungus. “Isn’t it awfully early? It hasn’t even been his birthday?”
“So you do know the lad’s birthday?” Moody growled.
“There’s been some…activity—”
“N..nnot…the Demetionators….” all color drained from Dudley’s cheeks and lips and he began to shake convulsively.
“That’s IT!” Vernon had found his voice at last. “Take him and GET OUT!”
“Wait!” Petunia grimaced, her lips formed a tight, thin line.
“Petunia?” Vernon asked incredulously.
“Just…tell me,” she asked Remus now, having concluded he must be the most reasonable of the group, “has he been here long enough? For the spell to work, that is?”
“Yes,” Remus nodded.
“Petun—” Vernon started to bellow at her but she cut him off short.
“Take Dudley out to bed, Vernon…dear.” Her voice was curt. Uncle Vernon cast a confused glance at Harry, turned wordlessly to gather Dudley and led him out of the room.
“Tonks,” Remus said swiftly, “the owl , if you please.”
“Right,” she twirled her wand and hurried over to Hedwig’s cage, opened it and released her out the window. Next she and Moody proceeded to cast spells about the room at Harry’s things, books, cauldron, trunk, reducing them all down to a managable size, while Harry watched it silent wonder, his tears forgotten for now.
“The spell should work, both ways,” Remus said calmly. “We’ll be guarding the house though, as we have been for some time now. If there is any reason to be alarmed, we’ll be here immediately.” Petunia nodded silently, turned on her heel and hurried to the door to leave. She paused, glanced at Harry, shoooting him that same strange look, then slipped out drawing the door shut behind her.
“Heartless wench…” Moody muttered, “Dung, take this stuff to Figgy’s. You can floo with it from there.”
“Right,” Mundungus nodded, “later then ‘arry.” Harry nodded as Mundungus floated Harry’s things out the door and down the corridor.
“We’ll follow him out and do a quick surveillance. Don’t be too long.” Kingsley gripped Remus by the shoulder in passing. “Potter,” he nodded, and Harry nodded back.
“Like I said before, Potter,” Moody shot him a gruesome grin, “good job. Reflexes. Constant vigil—”
“Oh, leave off will you?” Tonks huffed in exasperation, but Moody and Kingsley were gone.
“God, Harry,” Remus grinned, “your eyes look worse than mine. Not sleeping?”
“No,” Harry’s voice was slightly scratchy and he cleared his throat, “not really, no.”
“We’ll see to that right away.” Remus patted his back firmly, and took the opportunity to draw Harry in for a brief, but firm hug. When he drew back at last, Remus gazed into Harry’s eyes and smiled. “It’s very good to see you Harry.”
“You too.” Harry whispered.
“Ready to get the hell out of here?” Tonks leaned over Remus’ shoulder, her ebony, glossy mane swinging at her chin.
Harry was suddenly nervous and a little sick. “Erm—yeah, I mean sure…only,” he glanced down at his feet. “Where are we going?”
“Well Moody’s along so probably a thousand places or more, but eventually…to the Burrow.” Remus watched as the releif washed over Harry’s face. “We…we’re not going to headquarters Harry, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“I’m not worried,” Harry returned a little too quickly.
“Well we better scoot,” Tonks glanced at the door, “wouldn’t want to overstay our welcome.” She rolled her eyes and Harry felt the laugh bubble up from what felt like the deepest recesses of his soul. “Besides, ole Mad-Eye will likely take out half of Figgy’s cats if we don’t get going ‘ConstantVigilance!’” she mocked, drawing snickers from both Harry and from Remus.
They paused at the door and Remus drew his wand, touched it to Harry’s head and Harry felt the familiar sensation of the cool, dripping Disillusionment spell racing down to his toes, then vanished. “Stay close, when we get outside Harry,” Remus whispered, “but try not to speak. We’ll Floo from Mrs. Figg’s.” Remus and Tonks led him to the front door and out into the balmy summer night. Harry never looked back.