No 4 Privet drive
It was a bright sunny day and the rays of light dimly streamed into Harry Potter's room. It was not a cosy bedroom by any stretch of the imagination and definitely did not qualify as a teenager's bedroom. It was a very small room, furnished with the bare minimum and on the thin worn out mattress was where the owner of the room lay.
Harry himself was in no better condition than the room. He nursed various injuries courtesy of his 'dear' uncle and the lack of food didn't help either. His innate magic was flickering with the strain of keeping him alive and had no surplus to heal his injuries. Added to his woes were the constant nightmares in which he saw Sirius fall through the veil in a recurring loop. It pushed his depression deeper and he felt the loss of his godfather acutely.
He stirred as the warmth permeated into his room and reached out a hand for his glasses. Sitting up was a delicate affair; a hand wrapped around his injured ribs even as he struggled to his feet. He instantly felt dizzy and desperately held onto the wall for support. His empty stomach burned with acid and he wished for something to soothe the pain. He had already lost a lot of weight and it was only two weeks into his summer holidays.
"Darn, at this rate I might not even make it to Hogwarts" he thought. Holding onto the wall he made his way out of the room knowing he had only half an hour to get the breakfast done, a meal which he would only cook and not get to taste.
"If only I had Sirius" he thought and then sighed. Those kind of things only happened to others, not to Harry Potter. Sirius was never coming back and thinking about him only brought on a slew of emotions that he was not prepared to handle now. It made it all the more unbearable knowing that he could have had a way out of this hellhole if only he had not been so reckless.
His friends had been supportive and the order members in their enthusiasm had threatened his uncle at the station which had in fact made things worse for him. They truly believed that his uncle would lay off but then, they hadn't met Vernon Dursley.
His uncle had become extra vicious and had supervised every letter that he had written to the order stating that he was fine. He was back to the cold tin of soup a day but this time he was also doing his chores and that meant his body was more malnourished, dehydrated and weakened than any other time. He was working on sheer willpower and he idly wondered what would happen if he just collapsed and let himself go. Well, in all reality his uncle would probably just throw him in the cupboard and forget all about him and ergo collapsing was not an option.
He worked around the kitchen favouring his right leg which was still smarting from his uncle's kick and quickly put together the breakfast. He started setting the table when he heard the footsteps of the three other members of the household. Harry scrambled to place the juice as his uncle seated himself. "I have been thinking Petunia, and have come to a decision" he declared. "His uncle could think? Well that's a first" Harry sneered in his mind.
However Harry tensed as Petunia turned to her husband quizzically "about what Vernon?". In response, Vernon waved casually in Harry's direction "about this nuisance that we have been saddled with". Harry bit his lip at the slight as Petunia retorted "but there's nothing we can do dear".
"No Petunia, no more. Our family does not need to be disturbed any longer; I will not stand for it. I am going to write to that old man whassis name; and make it quite clear that he has to make other arrangements and that is final". Petunia pondered over the words for a minute and nodded to herself "you are right dear. We have to stand firm. There's no reason why we can't live our lives the way we want to". Dudley who had been quiet jumped in with "does this mean I get my second room back? Yay!" he whooped.
Harry stood still hardly daring to hope. Even though his heart twinged at their harsh words and even if he knew that he should be protesting he could not bring himself to. Anything would be better than this hellhole, blood wards be damned and if there was a way out, he would take it. He decided that he would just stay silent and let things play out as they were. For once this was between the adults and he would let it be as such. For the first time he hoped that his uncle remained stubborn and indeed let him go.
"Boy!" his uncle's voice brought him out of his stupor "Get me a paper and pen right now and once I finish my letter you will send it through your bird or whatever. You understand? Any tricks and you will regret it" he demanded glaring at Harry. Harry nodded mutely and limped slowly to get the paper and pen and almost fell when someone shoved him forward. For just a moment he felt a flash of anger and then realised that it was only Dudley being his usual retarded self. "Faster freak!" he commanded "I can't wait to get rid of you" he said gleefully.
Harry under normal circumstances would have retaliated with an angry jibe but with days of no proper food and with his numerous injuries he would not win and he controlled himself with a great effort. All he wanted was to get out and if everything played out as it was happening he would soon be out of here. Or at least that's what he consoled himself with.
He handed the paper and pen to his uncle and waited as his uncle conveyed whatever he wanted to on paper. At his uncle's bidding, he then sent it to the headmaster praying that he was in a position to receive it otherwise his goose was truly cooked this summer.
Albus Dumbledore was just winding up the affairs of the school so that he could get started on his vacation when he heard the tap on his window. Most of the ministry and Hogwarts staff tended to use the floo for communication and he wondered as to who would be sending an owl to him now. Even the school year was finished for it to be some parent who had grievances.
So it was with a mixture of anxiety and trepidation that he recognised Harry Potter's owl and hastened to take the piece of paper from the bird. His anxiety became even more pronounced when he noticed that it was not parchment but muggle paper. He opened it and his eyes flew over the offensive words. He noted with distaste that there was no formal address even, just a short note coming straight to the point.
Whomsoever it may concern,
This is to let you know that we are no longer obligated to have Harry Potter in our home. Our decision is final and you may come to collect him at the earliest. The sooner we are rid of him the better it would be for everyone.
"What could have happened to elicit this?" he wondered. There had been no incidences of accidental magic and what could have been so extreme that after all these years they were washing their hands off Harry. Could it be that Harry in the aftermath of Sirius's death had said something to elicit the rude tone of the letter? He did have a temper after all.
He had to go directly and try to resolve the matter. With Lucius Malfoy's arrest and the loss of the prophecy Voldemort would be in a rage and Harry needed the safety of the blood wards. Hopefully he could settle matters until other arrangements could be made. Even the Weasleys were not an option at this moment as their wards were very basic and could not hold off any kind of attack.
Soon he was ringing the doorbell at Privet Drive number 4 and he heard the bolt slide open. He was faced with the scowling visage of Harry's obese uncle who appraised him disdainfully and ushered him inside. "We don't want you standing there for everyone to see" he hissed as he led Dumbledore inside. He then got to the point not stopping to even offer a seat to his guest "Look Mister we are done. Take the brat and leave" he said gruffly as Dumbledore tried to appease the man. "Can we discuss this perhaps over a spot of tea? Maybe we can resolve whatever misunderstandings there are. I am sure Harry did not mean to offend you in anyway" he said in a courteous tone hoping to diffuse the enraged man.
"Misunderstandings my arse...you dump the brat on us without so much as a by-your-leave and it has gone on far enough. We have done our bit and you can take over now. We are done. Take him and leave" he demanded. " please, I am sure that nothing is so dire. You have been so generous all these years and all I am asking is a couple more. You are aware that your nephew is surrounded by special circumstances which are highly dangerous and I repeat it is only for a couple of summers more" Dumbledore reasoned with the angry obese man.
"We don't care old man. If he gets into trouble it's on his head and we are done with the discussion. You either take him now or I will throw him out on the streets, something I should have done a long time ago" Vernon Dursley's voice had risen in volume and Petunia walked in on hearing the heated tone. "What is going on here...oh! It's you" she sneered on seeing Dumbledore.
" surely you can see reason. After all Harry is your sister's son" Dumbledore said trying to reason with the woman while deep inside he was beginning to have misgivings. This family was spewing venom and he wondered at the wisdom of even talking to them.
Their hatred seemed to be deeply entrenched and Petunia Dursley seemed to be no exception. Any hope of appealing to the lady's kindness was wiped out with her next words "I stand with my husband. We never wanted him and now you can take him. I suggest you leave right now. You and your kind are not welcome here" she snapped.
Dumbledore sighed and got to his feet "Perhaps if we can negotiate a monetary compensation would it help" he asked not wanting to skip that type of negotiation as well. For a moment, greed flashed over Vernon's face and then as if with great willpower he shook his head. "Who do you take us for? No amount of money can be equal to the nonsense we bear on a daily basis. So stop bribing us and get going with the brat" he snapped.
"Well if you are sure.."Dumbledore started to say but Petunia interrupted him "we are. Now get out and make sure that he never comes back" she spat angrily.
"Very well then, I can see that I have lost my case. Could you be kind enough to call Harry and we will make our way" Dumbledore said his mind already searching for a solution to this problem. "Boy! Come down here" Vernon shouted and Dumbledore heard a faint sound of a chair shifting before Harry came into view at the head of the stairs.
Dumbledore observed the boy walking slowly with a limp and holding onto the railing in a death grip. Even from a distance he could make out that the boy looked the worse for wear and he felt a flash of rage at the two excuses of humans standing before him. But this was not the time to do anything rash; his station did not permit him to curse the beings senseless even if it was warranted.
"Faster boy!" Vernon Dursley shouted as Dumbledore gave him a glare and moved to help Harry down the stairs. He felt absolute anger course through him as he took in the state of his student at close quarters.
His face had bruises that were yellowing and one hand was wrapped around his ribs. Dumbledore wrapped a hand around the boy's biceps to hold him steady and was shocked to feel the loss of his student's weight. Harry gasped at the contact and looked down unable to look at the headmaster. He was afraid of what he would see on the headmaster's face and also it was becoming a challenge to stay upright with dizziness hitting him again.
"Harry, are you alright? Will you be able to walk?" the headmaster's concerned voice floated down to him. He was definitely not alright but right now all he wanted to do was get out and so he nodded mutely. "We will apparate to Hogwarts. I am not sure how it will affect you in your current condition but I would rather have you in the infirmary at the earliest" he said with controlled fury. Harry nodded in silence as Dumbledore supported him to the back yard. "Hold on to me tight Harry, and don't worry we can get your things later" he reassured the injured boy.
Giving one last look at the sneering Dursleys he apparated both of them away to land at the infirmary of the school. Being the headmaster did have it's advantages as he was the only one who could apparate into the school and never had he appreciated the privilege as right then.
He placed a now unconscious Harry Potter on one of the beds and called for the school nurse. He was glad that the nurse had stayed a while at the school as she was helping with a case at and also coordinating with Severus to replenish the potions stock. A day later and she would have left for her vacation.
He heaved a sigh thanking the lord for small mercies and conjured himself a sofa just as the nurse bustled in. "Albus, oh my goodness! what happened?" she asked even as she summoned the potions she needed. The twinkle in the headmasters eyes died as he surveyed the array of bottled that were lined up. Skele- gro, bruise balm, nutrition potions, they all told him their story.
The nurse stopped in between the application of the bruise balm and fixed the headmaster with a glare. "If this had come from where I think it has, you better hope that they never meet me. This boy has been beaten and starved Albus. He has bruised ribs, bruised shin, has lacerations on his back and I am sure that he has not eaten in the last few days. They are fiends not humans and I have no idea how you left him there" she ranted as she continued her ministrations with the bruise balm.
"I have failed him Poppy, failed him badly. I don't know how I am going to make it up to him" Dumbledore replied wistfully. This was not what he had in mind when he chose the Dursleys and unless he moved fast the poor boy would have to face more trials and tribulations in the future. The ministry would sink its claws into the life of the boy-who-lived and there would be nothing he would be able to do.
Author notes: Hi everyone! Welcome to my new fic and I hope you like it. Please do read and review and as always I will take your views into account. Thank you.