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Harry Potter and the Heritage of the Snake

The First Day

Mr. Dursley's day was absolutely strange.

The strange thing wasn't that it was his first day at work after his return, or that not a single one of these madmen on motorbikes raced past him on his way to work, or that the doughnuts at the café were for the first time tasty. The strangest thing also wasn't that his assistant had actually been on time, no, the strangest thing was that nobody, not a single colleague, seemd to have noticed his absence. And that was indeed strange, for he was the boss. Nevertheless no one, not one of his co-workers at Grunnings, seemed to have realized that he had vanised for nearly half a year. The company still stood where it had been before, the vans with the new drills still left on time and the workers looked exactly as tired and nerved as always when he parked his car in front of the main building at nine o'clock. Nobody cared for him more than usual. And when Mr. Dursley sat in his office, which also hadn't changed since his departure in last July (apart from the calender, which showed today's date) and checked the books, he couldn't find any irregularities. Moreover, the company seemed to be in excellent condition, in better condition (said a small, soft voice in the back of his head) than it would be if he had come to work last year, although nobody had been hired to do his work in his stead. Even his salary had still been payed.

Mr. Dursley wasn't a stupid man. Neither was he naive. Definitely, very definitely, this was because of this lot. Nearly a year he'd had to live under the same roof with that lilac-top hatted lunatic and the fat one with the shrieking voice, had only recently escaped their company (if you would call it company!), only to realize on his return that they had meddled in his business. Usually, that shouln't have been a surprise, because he knew how impudent this lot were, of course. Hadn't they given his son a pig's tail, blown up his sister and ruined his newly furnished living room? Why should did these people care about not having a right to meddle with the business of a well-doing family company which formed the spine of the British economy? Why should these people care about the school year which his son had to repeat now (although, as the small, soft voice in the back of his head said tentatively, Dudley's marks had pressed that anyways?)? Much more than the lost school term, Mr. Dursley was infuriated with the fact that Dudder's boxing career had been serverely damaged because of one year of missed trainings and fights.

And they didn't only meddle with his and his family's lives, he thought while looking out of his window inside his office in the break (he had left the cafeteria nervously, after everybody had only treated him with the usual mix of fear and bootlicking) and watching dozens of owls flying through town. It was precisely like seventeen years ago, when that whole nonsense had started. Mr. Dursley took a sip of tea and blinked grumpily. Yes, precisely like seventeen years ago, when that Lord Waldimord had vanished for the first time. This time he was gone forever, the lilac lunatic had squealed when he had brought them home, before vanishing with a loud crack that had made the inquisitive neighbour from Number Six stretch her enormous neck over the hedge to see what was going on. But Mr. Dursley was not a stupid man. Neither was he naive. He would have wagered his mustache (if he did wager, which he'd never do as decent people would never do that) on the fact that this nonsense wasn't over yet. He finished his cup of tea and placed it on the edge of his desk, then he bellowed over to his assistant to make her remove the cup and that he wished to be undisturbed. He even considered to call home, but then decided against it. It was unnecessary to make Petunia more uneasy, she had not taken the whole affair as good as he had. That's just how women are, Mr. Dursley thought while hammering on the desk whith his knuckles, they didn't see things as clearly as men did. He went back to work, but loosened his tie before, because it was a very hot day. It had become increasingly hot in the last week, since this Die-mentors which had nearly killed his son three years ago had disappeared. Those idiots on the radio made climate change responsible for it, but Mr. Dursley had always known that this was just another of this greeny-lunatics.

Maybe they should move, he thought while checking the sketches for a new drill and scratching his nose. Maybe they should sell the house, at the recent economocical climate this would be a good idea. Maybe they should make a fresh start somewhere else, where this lot wouldn't find them (It doesn't matter, the small soft voice in the back of his head said, you've tried to run away from them before, and what was the result?). At least they were rid of the boy. Mr. Dursley had no idea what had become of him, the only thing that mattered was that he was gone for good. And if he remained gone for good, maybe this lot would leave him and his family alone for good. No, what had he been thinking? Sell the house? The house, their house, to which they had returned only recently? The home where they could now finally live in peace without the danger that some abnormities appeared on the doorstep? He snorted.

At least he would now be able to invite his business partners without having to fear that the weirdo threw them and their wives cake in the necks. While thinking about that episode, he grabbed his pencil so hard that it cracked in the middle. He snorted furiously and threw it through the office inside the bin. No, never again flying cakes, loose giant snakes and blown-up family members (thank God Martha didn't remember that!).

He spent the remainder of the afternoon with yelling at two suppliers, three colleagues and one agent, then he left his office at five p.m., now in a better mood. While walking to his car, he looked around nervously, but unlike seventeen years ago, no strange-clothed people were to be seen. On the drive home he drove extremely careful, for since his car had disappeared into nothing and turned up again a moment later in the Midlands with that lunatics inside it, he didn't trust it like he had before.

But it brought him home safely, where his formerly perfectly cultivated garden was still growing exuberantly. That was typical for this lot, Mr. Dursley thought while looking for his door keys. Grabbing honest and law-abiding citizens into the blue just like that and then bringing them back the same way, doing strange things with other people so that they didn't notice their absence, and then forgetting to tend to the mow the lawn. What the people might think! But what better to expect from somebody who didn't even own a driver's license..-in front of his door sat a tabby cat and licked its paw. Mr. Dursley stopped dead in his tracks, next to the still open car door, with his black briefcase in the left hand and the other one on the car door. His heart fell into his boots. This just couldn't be happening. No, no, really, that really was unfair. The whole affair should have been over, done for good, oh dear, what now?

He didn't know how long he remained there unmoving, with half-open mouth and racing heart, but at some point he realized that the giraffe-gaffer from Number Six pressed her nose against her kitchen window and watched him. He took a deep breath, slammed the car door shut, blew himself up to his whole size, and then marched upon the tabby cat.

''Clear away'', he pressed through his teeth without opening his mouth properly so that the neighbours couldn't see that he was actually talking to a cat. His interlocutor, however, didn't stop licking her right front paw.

''Shhhh!', he hissed and suddenly the cat jumped and vanished through the hedge. Mr. Dursley squealed desperately, forced the key into the front door, turned it around and slammed the door shut behind him. Inside, he leaned against it, sweating, as if he feared that the cat might hammer it down from outside. Stay calm, stay calm, he told himself when nothing of that sort happened. It was just a normal cat. He counted up to a hundred in his head, then he opened his eyes. Everything was peaceful and quiet, the corridor was as clean as ever, the floor carpet was freshly purified and from the living room he could hear the TV and Dudley's voice.

Mr. Dursley cleaned his shoes, then he put his suit at the wardrobe.

''Petunia, Darling, I'm home!''

I'll take care of the lawn tomorrow, he thought weakly while taking off his tie. It's too hot for that now, and I have to drink something. Urgently. So he went to the kitchen and emptied a glass of Gin in one drop. Mr. Dursley took a deep breath again. It's over, he told himself, while he nervously ripped single hairs from his beard, you have to calm down. It's over. That was just a normal cat, that whole story lies behind us. He went over to the living room to sit down in his favourite armchair next to Petunia and Dudley, but someone was already sitting there.

The boy.

Leaving Privet Drive

Uncle Vernons face switched from white to red and back like a redlight.

''You'', he said, ''what are you doing here?''

- ''Talk. Sit down'', Harry said and nodded over to Aunt Petunia and Dudley, who had sat motionless on the couch since his arrival ten minutes ago. He had expected that Uncle Vernon was with them, because a usual day of Vernon Dursley's life went exactly the same way: entering the house at quarter past five, sitting in front of the TV two minutes later, eagerly waiting for the ham and eggs which his wife would bring him at 5:20 so that he could eat it while watching the evening news at half past five. But for some reason, his uncle was late today and so Harry had had to spend ten awkward silent minutes with his aunt and cousin in the living room. Once or twice, Dudley opened his mouth as if he was about to say something, but every time, he decided against it.

''You don't tell me what to do in my own house, boy'', Uncle Vernon hissed, who had obviously managed to deal with the shock of having Harry back in his house. They stared at each other for a moment, then Uncle Vernon sat down next to his wife and son very slowly - and jumped back on his feet very fast.

''What's this thing doing here again?''

Only now he seemed to have noticed Kreacher sitting on the floor next to Harry's armchair.

''He's here with me'', Harry said, rather nerved.

There was no reason for Uncle Vernon to complain about Kreacher's behaviour, Harry thought. There was also no reason for Aunt Petunia to send Kreacher disgusted and fearful look's every two seconds, he thought. Sure, on his last visit in Number Four, Privet Drive, Kreacher hadn't managed to leave a good impression, for he had drooled the new carpet on the floor (whose predecessor had not survived the Weasley's visit in the living room) and screamed loud enough to be heard back in Brighton, but this time there was nothing wrong with his behaviour. He was clad in the clean toga of a Hogwarts house elf, didn't take the slightest interest in the Dursleys and admired the new flat screen TV in the corner.

Uncle Vernon sat again and put his arm protectively around Dudley, as if Harry was about to attack his cousin. Dudley looked nerved.

''I don't think there is anythiny we need to talk about, boy'', Uncle Vernon said.

„There's lots to talk about'', Harry said coolly. ''First, I would like to know how the last year has been for you.''

- ''Why would you care?'', Uncle Vernon spat.

Harry didn't answer and for a while nothing happened except that the thick fury vein at Uncle Vernon's head started to pulse, then Dudley coughed silently.

''We were at Dedalus's. In the Midlands.''

- ''What was it like?'', Harry asked.

- ''Like prison'', Uncle Vernon snorted. ''We weren't allowed to leave the house for nearly a year, as if we were some kind of criminals...''

- ''You weren't allowed to leave the house because it hadn't been safe for you'', Harry said irritated.

Uncle Vernon made a fist. ''Nearly a year in the presence of these two lunatics, boy, but of course you don't understand that...''

- ''No, I really don't'', Harry said, wishing farewell to his good intentions. ''You spent that year in safety, had good meals every day and were able to sleep in peace, while I was on the run. I really don't understand how you can possibly be upset. But I shouldn't be surprised, because I was with Dedalus and Hestia, before I came here.''

- ''And what did those lunatics say?'', Uncle Vernon asked, his piggy eyes narrowed.

''They said enough for me to know that you gave them a hard time'', Harry said, getting louder. ''Dedalus kept you safe in his own house, these two risked their lives for you every day, but you never showed the tiniest bit of gratitude, you didn't even share your meals with them!''

- ''Like we would risk it that Dudley eats someting this lot cooked!'', Aunt Petunia exclaimed, speaking for the first time since Harry had crosssed the doorstep. Dudley tried to say something, but Uncle Vernon crossed him.

''Gratitude!'', he snorted. ''Gratitude! Do you want to teach us manners now, boy? After we everything we suffered because of you?''

Kreacher stopped claiming to admire the TV and narrowed his eyes.

„Shall Kreacher teach him manners, Master Harry?''

- ''No need for that, Kreacher. I'll see to it'', Harry said.

He turned to Aunt Petunia. ''They use the same ingredients which you use, it's only faster because they use magic-''

- ''THE M-WORD ISN'T USED IN THIS HOUSE, BOY!'', Uncle Vernon thundered and crushed his massive fist on the couch.

Harry forced himself to remain cool. ''They even bewitched a mannequin for Dudley so that he was able to train boxing.''

Dudley nodded. ''Yeah, that was Dedalus. He was quite interested in boxing-''

- ''Interested'', Uncle Vernon snorted. ''Boxing with a mannequin, be glad that your future opponents didn't see you, that lilac lunatic-''

- ''Dedalus isn't a lunatic'', Harry said, leaning forward. ''He spent the whole year protecting your lives, putting himself in serious danger. Hestia and he even stayed with you when it came to battle instead of joining the fighting. They both spent their entire life fighting Voldemort, but they put that aside to to protect you. And you didn't even shake their hands when they brought you home safely.''

Once again, Harry noticed how absurd it was that his uncle, who exploded at the bare use of ''the m-word'' didn't even flinch when the name of the darkest magician of all times was uttered.

''There was a battle?'', Aunt Petunia asked while Uncle Vernon thought about an adequate answer.

- ''Yes, there was a battle'', Harry said. ''We won, Voldemort's finished.''

- ''Forever?'', she asked and Harry nodded.

''Did you kill him?'', Dudley asked.

''Sort of'', Harry said.

''Oho'', Uncle Vernon snorted. ''So now you're a murderer, just like your godfather was?''

- ''Sirius didn't murder anybody.''

- ''But you did.''

- ''Strictly speaking, it was rather some sort of suicide, but yes.''

Uncle Vernon licked his lips. ''That's why you're here, isn't it? Hiding from the authorities? From this - Ministry for Magic?''

- ''Don't make yourself more stupid than you are'', Harry said. ''I won't have to hide myself from anyone for the rest of my life. It's over. Forever.''

- ''Don't you dare talking to your uncle like that!'', Aunt Petunia exclaimed.

Outside, the neighbour from Number Two started his lawn mover. Uncle Vernon turned scarlet, most likely because his own lawn was growing wildly outside.

''What did they do with our lives?'', he asked. ''Nobody at the firm noticed that I've been away.''

- ''Obscurity and confunding spells'', Harry said, although he had no idea how that actually worked.

''They even manipulated the accounts'', Uncle Vernon snorted. ''That criminal lot.''

Harry took a deep breath. It was enough. He felt seventeen years of fury on Aunt and Uncle raise in himself, and there was no reason left to hold them back any more.

''Stop talking about my friend like that.''

- ''Stop talking to me like that, boy! If we hadn't taken you-''

Harry jumped to his feet and realized that Kreacher had done the same.

''Yeah, you took me in, I've heard the rest of it! And that's the single good thing you did to me in seventeen years!''

- ''Ungrateful boy- here you stand, in the clothes we bought for you- ''

- ''Those are my own, you see? That's why they're actually my size'', Harry hissed. ''You only gave me Dudley's old things which were ten numbers too big for me, you let me live in the cupboard under the stairs for ten years, put me behind bars and fed me through the cat's door like a criminal, told everyone around I'd be going to that St. Brutus's for heavy criminals-''

- ''YOU EARNED IT, BOY!'', Uncle Vernon thundered. ''You set a snake on my son, blew up my poor sister, and Mr. and Mrs. Mason haven't talked to me since you put that cake-''

''YOU'VE TREATED ME LIKE AN ANIMAL!'', Harry screamed. ''I never was allowed to eat the things I liked, I didn't get a single flinch of love in this house, Mrs. Figg was even cruel to me because she thought you wouldn't let her take me again if I liked it at her's-''

- ''HAVEN'T EVEN STARTED WITH THAT MENTAL FRIENDS OF YOURS, DUDLEY'S TAIL, THE LIVING ROOM EXPLODES, A WHOLE YEAR WITH THAT LILAC LUNATIC AND THE FAT-''

- ''I'VE LIVED IN A TENT'', Harry answered, ''I HAD TO FIGHT FOR MY LIFE, I WAS RUNNING AWAY EVERY DAY, I SAW FRIENDS DIE-''

- ''I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR GODDAMN FRIENDS'', Uncle Vernon roared, and that was where he went too far.

Harry drew his wand and pressed it against his uncle's chest. Uncle Vernon's shirt started to smoke and he fell back on the couch with a frightened squeal. Aunt Petunia's horseface was pale, Dudley hid his face behind his hands.

''You'll never get it, will you?'', Harry said hoarsely, his wand still aimed at his uncle. ''You'll never understand what courage or decency means, you'll always be a cruel little man who is scared of everything he doesn't understand.''

- ''Don't you dare'', Aunt Petunia started, but Harry stared her down furiously.

''Shut up, you're even worse'', he said and looked into her eyes, which were so different from her sister's. ''I know everything. I know how it really was when you were children. You, my mother, and Snape.''

Aunt Petunia pressed her hands against her mouth and stared at him.
''She still loved you until the end, although you were so cruel to her, but you pretended that she didn't even exist, told her son lies about her, and why? All out of pure jealousy. Because she was able to do magic. And you couldn't.''

Dudley and Uncle Vernon stared at her, while she seemed to be unable to take her eyes off of Harry's face.

''You two really deserve each other'', Harry said bitterly. ''You'll never see me again. Looking at you makes me sick.''

He put the phoenix stick back into his pockets and went to the door, followed by Kreacher. At the door, he turned around for a last time. Uncle Vernon was still staring at his wife. Aunt Petunia was crying silently. Dudley looked at him.

''Take care, Harry'', Dudley said.

''You too, Dudley.''

Harry took Kreacher's hand and felt himself being pulled into nothing, leaving Privet Drive forever.


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