DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Chapter 1: Kidnapped
...all through the house/Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...
--The Night Before Christmas, Clement C. Moore
It was a clear, peaceful night on Privet Drive. The first day of August had dawned bright and sunny, making Petunia Dursley's flowers glow in a vivacious blend of colors. The evening had been quiet, filled with little talk, and much to his family's surprise, Dudley Dursley had gone to bed early, silently vowing to get rid his baby fat and replace with muscle.
Jack stood at the back door of house number four with his companions, waiting until he heard the loud snores of the fat blonde boy. Carefully, he picked the lock of the door and crept inside the kitchen, armed, like his two companions, with a switchblade and duct tape. As he crept up the stairs silently, he quickly reviewed the facts in his head: Vernon Dursley was head of a successful drills company, his wife was a housewife who gave all attention to her son, and Dudley went to a high-class private school called Smeltings. The ransom would be great for this one, for the parents had no greater joy than their son. He had observed them from far away as they loaded the newest televisions or video game systems into the house, always calling, "Dudders, look what we've got for you!" It was sick, he thought, all the love they gave to the brat. But no more.
As he came to the top of the stairs, he frowned. Two bedroom doors loomed in front of him, where only one should be closed. He knew the parents' room, but had expected to find only one bedroom occupied, and both were dark. Where was the boy staying? Or better yet, who was in the other room? Another person he could take for ransom, perhaps?
He decided to try the first door. He opened it quietly and stared at the person inside in surprise. A skinny teenage boy lay sleeping on the bed. His clothes were quite baggy. Jack could faintly see a pair of glasses on the bedstand. Was this a guest visiting the house? A friend of Dudley's? A relative? He had never seen the boy before.
"All the better for ransom," one of his companions breathed into his ear.
Jack looked at the boy doubtfully, his eyes sweeping the room. On the desk were two cards. He discerned the words "Happy Birthday, Harry" on one of them. Yes, good for another ransom, yet it would be such an inconvenience to take him along. He didn't even know anything about him.
The other companion grunted impatiently. "What do you say, Jack?"
It would be best to leave him alone, Jack thought, but his companion needed something to satisfy his desire for action.
"Go ahead," Jack whispered, closing his eyes in an apology. He moved out of the room, silently opening Dudley's bedroom door. Motioning his companion forward, he watched as the burly man clamp a hand over the boy's mouth. Dudley's eyes flew open and he struggled, but the man dragged him out of the bed and held a knife to his throat.
"Quietly, now," Jack's companion said. Dudley's eyes widened with fear and he was still as his captor hauled him down the stairs.
Harry awoke suddenly to find a hand clamped over his mouth. His yell was muffled as he struggled to reach for his wand or glasses, which were lying in the nightstand. His wand fell to the floor, and he groaned in frustration.
"Want your glasses, eh?" his captor breathed, taking the spectacles and holding them high out of Harry's reaches.
"Now," someone whispered from the doorway, "Give them to him. A man's no good without his eyesight."
Harry's glasses were dropped reluctantly into his hand. He gripped them tightly as he was dragged out of bed. He struggled violently and tried to get to his wand, but a knife flashed silver in front of him and was pressed flat against his throat.
"Feel this?" his captor breathed. "Now, you don't want me to turn it to one of the edges. Come quietly, boy, or..." He felt the knife being pressed harder. "I'll silt your throat."
Harry stopped struggling, breathing hard.
"Put on your glasses," the man at the door ordered.
The grip on his mouth moved to one at his waist and he put them on. Before he could call out, however, the hand was clamped over his mouth once more, tighter than before.
"Let's go," his captor whispered.
He dragged Harry into the kitchen and out the back door. A summer breeze ruffled his hair and he looked up at the stars in the night sky. A minute later, he was in the windowless back of a semi-large van, and to his surprise, he saw Dudley sitting there with another man.
Dudley lay still as the men bound his wrists and ankles, but the other boy fought Jack's companions violently, twisting here and there with a desperate fury.
"God, what a fighter," Jack muttered. He sat in the driver's seat of the van, staring at his unexpected captive. Waiting until the boy was tightly bound, he ordered, "Let me stay with him," and switched seats with one of his companions. The van jerked forward as he sat down in front of the boy, who stared at him with bright green eyes and said nothing.
"What's your name?" Jack asked, ignoring Dudley's whimpers.
The boy's voice was low and flat. "Harry Potter."
"Potter?" Jack frowned. "I've never heard of anyone by that name."
Harry pulled his knees close to his chest, wrapping his arms around them as best he could. "My parents are dead," he replied tonelessly.
"What are you afraid of, boy?" Jack leaned closer and reached into his back pocket for his knife.
He didn't answer.
"Spiders?" Jack ventured.
There was a pause, and he answered, "Not particularly."
Another pause. "No."
"Death?" Jack took his knife out and put it close to the boy's throat.
Harry stiffened slightly and said nothing.
Jack's eyes traveled from the boy's throat to his forehead, and he suddenly noticed a mark there, covered slightly by the black hair. He pushed the hair away with a light touch of his fingers, looking like a curious child reaching for something high in the cupboard.
Harry tensed visibly and tried to move away. Jack made out a thin scar down the center of his forehead in the shape of a lightning bolt.
"Where'd you get the scar?" Jack asked, moving back into a comfortable position against the back of the van.
Harry didn't answer. Instead, closed his eyes and settled himself against the seat behind him, his face strangely serene.
The boy is being so difficult, Jack thought irritably. He watched Harry's chest rise and fall evenly. Or maybe he's just tired.
The van moved steadily on through the night, unnoticed as the world lay asleep on the early morning of August 2.