A/N: Hey guys, AuroraRose2081 here. This is my newest Harry Potter story idea, and I'd love to know what you all think about it! Should I continue? Any ideas for what'll happen between our favorite pair? Let me know in the comments, enjoy!
Chapter 1 - The Boy Who Endured
Harry James Potter knew his place in the world. He could fantasize all he wanted about what life would be like elsewhere, but it only hurt him more to think about it. Harry did that sometimes; imagining. Wondering what it was like to take long walks on the beach, hand in hand with a Mum and a Dad on either side of him. What it was like to share bowls of ice cream, or watch something on the telly, or to even just hear the two playfully bickering in the living room on a Summers day.
But no. He was Harry 'god dammed' Potter. He didn't get anything. Nope, his cousin Dudley got all of it. He got the ice cream, and the beach, and the Telly. Because Harry knew that Dudley was the blood of Vernon and Petunia Dursley. And he, a Potter, was not. It was a simple enough concept to understand, even for a sheltered 11 year old boy who lived under the stairs. 'Do this, do that, don't break the China Harry, whoops you did anyway! A swift kick to the gut will fix it!' Harry could practically imagine his Uncle Vernon's thought process in that respect. There were never any apologies, no praise, not even just...quiet respect. Nope, all those things were reserved for Dudley. Just like everything else.
The only thing Harry had was his small closet bedroom under the stairs of No. 4 Privet Drive, and the hope that something, someday would happen to him. Today (his birthday) was one of those days. Harry had been forcefully locked out of his closet home by Uncle Vernon, and instead sat perched on one of the steps overlooking the drawing room, quietly listening in on his Aunt and Uncle's conversation.
"Isn't it exciting Vernon?" Aunt Petunia questioned, a sickly sweet smile practically gleaming in her very tone. It made Harry want to gag, "I'm just putting the finishing touches on the cake,"
Uncle Vernon was standing at the window. His beady eyes barely poked from under his brow as he watched movers scurry back and forth from across the yard. Harry already knew that the neighbors across the street had moved away, as his Uncle had been watching them all morning,
"That's nice dear," the man said, half distracted as he puffed at his pipe, "hopefully these are normal people moving in, don't you agree, love?"
Uncle Vernon turned to shoot a glance at Harry, who was sitting doing nothing, as per usual,
"I heard from Gretchen that they are a lovely couple, dentists, with a daughter just Dudleys age. Wouldn't that be wonderful, Vernon?"
"Dentists? A highly respected profession indeed. Perhaps you best but some extra frosting on that love, it's looking a tad bare,"
There was a sickly sweet giggle from Petunia as Harry rolled his eyes slightly. There had been no other news except the neighbors for the past few days. These would be the same kinds of people who always moved to Privet Drive. Quiet and reserved - more of a keep to themselves type. Harry hadn't known this couple had a daughter, but she would probably be the same as all of Dudleys friends; mundane. She wouldn't like him cause he was a 'freak',
At his Uncle Vernon's order, Harry begrudgingly stood from the staircase and padded into the kitchen without complaint. Aunt Petunia was already wiping her hands on a washcloth there as Vernon pointed a sausage finger,
"Wrap this cake up. Don't ruin it! Hear me, boy?"
Harry nodded quietly as he stood near the cake, watching as his Aunt and Uncle disappeared up the stairs to get ready. Harry fought his urge to just smash the cake out of spite,
'One wrong move and Uncle Vernon might clobber me again,'
That's all Harry really thought about anymore. Where would Uncle Vernon smack him next? The face wasn't bad, but the big man had a tendency to go for Harry's ribs. Twisting a lip at the mere thought, the dammed freak turned back to the dessert. Surrounding it with clear plastic as carefully as he could, Harry completed the task before wandering back towards the window. A sleek black town car was parked in the driveway now, which meant the new family had arrived. Harry resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the mere thought of them.
While watching though, the moving lorry disappeared as well, apparently finished with the setting of furniture. The house across the neighborhood was the largest on the Drive, and was No. 1 on the street. Harry had always wondered what it was like on the inside. He could imagine it like a castle, with turrets and cannons and armed guards guarding the doors. Yep, the new neighbors were definitely Knights of the Round Table in disguise. Glancing up at the second story out of curiosity, there was a movement of curtains as someone came to look out the window. Harry couldn't see them clearly, but they made eye contact from across the street and stared for a long while at one another.
"Boy! Come away from that window and get the cake!"
Harry turned to his his fat Uncle, whom was standing in his finest black cover up and pants, his stomach bulging past the silver of his belt. Aunt Petunia was in one of her nice dresses, and had applied an ungodly amount of makeup. If Dudley weren't at a friends house, he would have been gussied up as well. Harry didn't have any nice clothes. Just another thing Dudley got to have that he didn't.
"We don't have all day boy! Hurry up!"
Harry merely nodded and went to the kitchen to grab the cake, holding it carefully with both his hands as he followed his relatives out the door and across the street. The house was big up close, and to Harry, definitely looked like a castle. There was a moment before someone decided to answer Uncle Vernon's knocking.
He was tall and broad, with the body of a man Uncle Vernon only hoped to be. His sandy hair was swept neatly to one side, and he wore a perfectly clean suit,
"Can I help you with something?" He asked, rattling Harry's very soul with his deep baritone. This new neighbor was definitely someone Harry didn't want to mess with.
"Hello. I am Vernon Dursley and this is my wife Petunia. We just live across the street, and came to welcome you to Privet Drive,"
Before the man could answer, probably with a 'thanks, nice to meet you, goodbye,' a woman came to the door. She had long caramel locks and bright marble eyes, and was twice as beautiful as Aunt Petunia on her best days,
"Oh how nice. My name is Emma Granger, this is my husband Dan. Please, come in. We were just getting settled,"
The man, Dan, hesitated before stepping aside for Vernon and Petunia to enter. Upon catching Harry's eyes, a small smile lifted up to the corner of his lips. Harry couldn't tell if it was genuine or just pitiful (or maybe a bit of both?).
"You can take that to the kitchen, my boy," he commanded, "right down the hall there,"
Resisting the urge to stick out his tongue, Harry made a small noise in the back of his throat and followed Dan Granger's instructions. The house wasn't a castle to his own disappointment, but it was sure big - at least bigger then Harry's closet. Even the Grangers probably had a bigger space hidden under the stairs then the Dursley's! Scowling, Harry found the kitchen and placed the Cake down on the counter. He wouldn't get a piece of it if the Dursley's had anything to say about it. Maybe he could smuggle one without anyone noticing? 'Probably a bad idea,' Harry immediately thought, remembering the pain from the last time Uncle Vernon had beat him over something so small.
Harry looked at the cake and once again thought about smashing it, but became distracted at the flurry of movement in the hallway next to the kitchen. Harry was barely turned in time to see a figure dart through, though they looked more like a blur. Moving quickly, Harry opened the door the intruder had exited, and could just see a navy clad figure disappear around the side of the house,
"Lose something, ma' boy?"
Harry turned away from the backyard as Dan Granger's voice got his attention. Opening his mouth, nothing came out. Harry wasn't really good with authority figures and he knew it. And Dan Granger definitely counted as an authority figure,
"I thought I saw someone," Harry managed to spit out last minute, "they ran out there,"
Harry pointed outside as Dan Granger shook his head,
"I don't see anyone. Say, why don't you come and join us in the living room?"
Harry puffed out his cheeks slightly in irritation. No one ever believed him about anything. There could have been a thief in the house and no one would have been the wiser, 'its their house,' Harry grumbled in his mind, turning to leave Dan Granger in the back hall as he tromped back towards the main parlor,
"Harry, my boy, you're still here?" Uncle Vernon's voice betrayed every true meaning of the man as Harry stood awkwardly in the open, stiff with two dark pairs of eyes on him, and one oblivious marble pair, "why don't you go along and play? See if you can find those...friends, you're hanging around with,"
What friends? Harry smirked slightly at his Uncle's words. He didn't have friends. Dudley had all the friends. He, Harry Potter, had his closet, some cobwebs and a few toy soldiers on horses,
"Well go on," Uncle Vernon prodded, "no need to just stand there like a gaping fish,"
"Yes sir," the phrase was barely a mumble as Harry moved to leave the house, twisting his lip as Uncle Vernon chuckled from the sofa,
"He's such a playful boy. Lots of friends you know-"
Lies. Wasn't it always said that one shouldn't tell them? Well, Uncle Vernon was good at that. Telling lies. Especially lies about Harry. 'Oh he's athletic. He wants to be a doctor. He's a playful boy with lots of friends! He and my Dudley get along just swell.' All of them were lies, lies, lies! Kicking a rock frustrated as he strode away from Privet Drive, Harry moved in the direction of the neighborhood park down the street. The sky was dark and cloudy, similar to Harry's current mood as he walked without any real purpose, ignoring the wind tousling his dark hair. He hated his Uncle. He hated his Aunt and Dudley, and the neighbors and Privet Drive, and just...everything!
Kicking another stone, this one flew over the small ditch leading into the playground. Only the stone rolled and landed at someone's feet. Harry was expecting one of Dudley's friends, or a bully, or just someone he hated. But instead, sitting alone on a swing in the midst of the windstorm was a girl. Stopping in his tracks as they looked at one another in shocked silence, Harry could see the hatred on her face too, though it was melting away into what looked like fear. Even if they hadn't even met yet, Harry knew. He knew he hated everything and everyone on Privet Drive, everyone except her. Everyone except for the girl with the haunted look in her eyes, and dressed in navy.