Summary: After Vernon leaves, Petunia and the boy's move in with vampire Amar, Petunia's old college friend. This brings into being a much more cheerful Harry, with many unusual habits. Happily dark Harry. Probably slash

Rating: T just to be safe, might change later on

Will contain: Nice Petunia, vampire babies, house fires, a certain young dark lord, red heads, mysterious happenings, a sullen Dudley, unusual diets, rock music, and a happily dark Harry, all for your pleasure, or maybe not.

Notes: I know I have a lot of stories started right now, but no worries, I'll get to updating all of them.

Your House is Aflame

After Vernon left, things got better. Not exactly better financially, or spiritually, although Aunt Petunia did take to yoga and meditation, but in general, Harry rather thought that the quality of his life had improved. Mostly in the form of a room of his own, clothes that fit, and three meals a day.

Of course, there was no one there to question exactly why Vernon left in the first place, and that was a good thing for Harry, indeed. There wasn't any way to logically explain how a four year old could have frightened a man enough to get him to leave, which appeared to be exactly what Harry had done.

Things got even better when Petunia moved them to a small college town by the sea to live with an old friend from her own college days, when she was still free from Vernon.

The man's name was Amar, and he owned a funny little shop full of oddities and statues. He gave Petunia a job, and some nice rooms in his upstairs apartment, and when he wasn't calling her Miss Evans with a tiny little smile, he was waving his arms in flailing, expressive gestures and addressing her as Enid, his soul.

Amar could almost always be found smoking a cigarette, listening to rock music, and reading old biology textbooks in a small curtained alcove of his shop. He was very nice to Dudley, while simultaneously changing his diet, and he was similarly kind to Harry, although not entirely in the same way.

Harry was surprised, because even at five years old he could tell that this was not the sort of man that his aunt usually went for. In the past year, it seemed that she only ever went for the beefy, broad, business men who wore suits and drove nice cars. Amar, on the other hand, had dark skin and no hair, and his body was lean and sharp. His mode of dress ranged from long purple robes with twinkling little stars to faded jeans and a black t shirt. He also had two silver studs in his nose, and Harry had never seen him eat anything at all.

"I like him," Harry told Dudley happily while they were at the beach, slurping at his ice cream and pushing at the sand with his bare feet.

Dudley frowned. He did not slurp his ice cream, or put his feet in the sand. Instead, he pulled his knees up so that his feet rested on the towel. Unlike Harry, whose black hair was windswept and whose body was tanned and covered with sand, Dudley was looking a little pink, and his damp hair was sticking to his forehead.

"He's alright," Dudley admitted reluctantly. "I miss my dad."

Harry, who did not miss Vernon, finished off the rest of his ice cream and was now eyeing Dudley's. "Are you going to finish that?" Harry asked.

"I guess not," Dudley said morosely, handing over the cone.

"Thanks," said Harry cheerfully.

When Harry and Dudley were both six, Petunia had a baby, a little girl with Amar's dark skin and Petunia's blue eyes and a tuft of black hair on her tiny head.

"Edan," Amar said, because that was what he had taken to calling Harry. He caught Harry's sharp, pinched face between his two large hands. "You will take care of my Mallory, won't you?"

Harry nodded solemnly, looking down at the baby. He didn't know why Amar was asking him, when Dudley was the brother, but he found himself agreeing anyways. He would teach her to be strong, strong enough to survive cupboards and hunger and mean tempered uncles, at the very least.

When Mallory started getting teeth, it was discovered that she bit.

And not silly baby bites, but sharp animal like bites that bled for hours and stung a little, even days after. On the first occasion, Harry made a mess over the sink with peroxide and bandages and nearly fell of the chair he was standing on when Petunia came into the room.

"Harry!"

"I cut myself with a knife," Harry lied, with a sideways look at his small cousin, because while the general quality of his life had improved, his aunt still seemed to shy away from the non-normal.

Petunia then proceeded to place every sharp knife in the kitchen in the cupboard above the refrigerator, and this was how Amar found them, Harry still on his chair leaning over the sink, Mallory giggling on the floor, and Petunia with an armful of knives and other kitchen utensils.

Amar took Harry's hand in his large one and undid Harry's hastily wrapped bandage. He frowned at the wound and looked at Harry with sad eyes as he rewrapped it. Then he grabbed Harry off of the chair and set him on the ground. "I'll watch Mallory for now," he told Harry seriously. "Go outside and find my Enid's Antaeus," he said, meaning Dudley. "You look like you could use some sun."

Harry gave him a dubious look but did as he was told. "Bye Mal," he told his little cousin as he stepped into his shoes. She threw a block at him and Harry ducked and ran outside. He stayed outside even when the sun hurt his eyes and his head ached, and he didn't find Dudley.

What he did find was a family of red heads, who seemed to be enjoying a short vacation by the sea. He watched the younger ones kicking a worn out ball between them and laughing, and he climbed up out of the shade to join them. "I'm Harry," he said, a little shyly.

"Gred and Forge," the two twins said.

"Did you – "

"– want to play?"

Harry grinned before darting in to kick the ball away from one of them. There was a cry of surprise and then the game was on.

Several hours later, the sun had already set and Harry was lying on his stomach in the sand. The red headed boys were waving goodbye and Dudley was still nowhere to be found, and Harry was horribly, viciously awake.

Petunia was setting the table when he got back to the apartment, and Amar was twirling around the living room with Mallory and Dudley was not at all where Harry thought he would be, but instead sitting on the sofa reading a book.

The dancing stopped when Harry walked in, and Amar fixed him with a considering look.

"I'm not hungry," Harry told his aunt, frowning at the pork roast and the carrots.

"Did you have ice cream at the beach again?" his aunt asked him.

Harry almost said no, he didn't, but then he looked at Amar and Mallory and remembered that his aunt was afraid of non-normal things. "Yes," said Harry instead.

Aunt Petunia felt his forehead. "Are you alright dear?" she asked him. "You look pale and a little feverish. Maybe you should get to bed early."

Harry decided not to tell her that he wasn't tired, and didn't feel like he would be tired ever again. Instead he hopped up the three steps that would take him to his and Dudley's shared bedroom and mostly ignored Amar's sad eyes following him.

He did not fall asleep.

After that, he found two rusty looking pills on the table for him every morning, the same two that Amar took, and the kind that Aunt Petunia crushed up in Mallory's food. On the days Harry took them, he found himself feeling rather content. When he didn't, he was hungry and irritable.

He resolved to keep taking them.

When Harry turned eight, Amar, instead of his usual gifts of books and music and interesting artifacts, presented Harry with a simple black case full of hard candy, in various flavors. Amar told him that no matter how much he ate, the case would continue to replenish itself.

Harry did not ask him why. He seemed to have drawn his own conclusions after a long day of pouring over Amar's old books.

Amar had a lot of books on various subjects, from vampires and werewolves to biology and astrology, and for the most part, Harry and Dudley stayed far away from Amar's vast library, especially since a lot of the subjects went right over their heads.

When it rained, Dudley could usually be found sitting in front of his computer, with Harry at his elbow waiting impatiently for his turn. This rain, however, found Harry sitting underneath Amar's desk, incense smoking around him and a little light in his hand because the power was out.

He had on his knees a thin little leather bound book, which was full of sketches and notes written in Amar's meticulous hand writing.

It seemed to be mostly about vampires. And magic. And Harry believed it whole heartedly.

The book seemed to be an outline of basic vampirism and how it reacted to a wizard's biology. From what Harry could gather, it seemed that the rust colored pills he took each morning worked with his magic to slate any blood lust he might feel. And he continued to grow because his magical core was still growing, and he had to be big enough to contain it.

"I've grown two inches," Harry told him a few months later when Petunia was out doing the shopping and Dudley was out.

Amar looked up from the log castle he was building for Mallory. "Have you?" he asked.

Harry crouched in front of him. "So, I must be a wizard, right?"

Amar raised his eyebrows. "I don't know where you could've heard a thing like that," he said, which Harry took to mean yes indeed.

"Am I going to go to Wizard school then?" Harry asked.

"Would you like to go to Wizard school?" Amar returned.

Harry gave him a look that he hoped would read as yes, of course, and Amar smiled at him. "I don't know how it works exactly," Amar said, "but I believe you'll get a letter when you're eleven."

"What about Aunt Petunia?" Harry asked.

"We'll tell her you're gifted," Amar said with a smile.

TBC

If anyone is interested, here are some name meanings:

Amar – immortal (as in Amar is a vampire)

Antaeus – one who is opposite (as in Dudley is the opposite of Harry)

Edan – little fire (as in Harry's personality)

Enid – spirit or soul (as in Amar thinks of Petunia like his soul mate)

Mallory – unlucky (as in Amar has a terribly foreboding feeling about his daughter)