Chapter Four:


We get back home at around seven at night. I thank the Professor profusely before lugging all of my bags and my trunk up the steps to the front door. I dig around in my purse and remove my house key before turning to wave at Professor McGonagall as she pulls out of our driveway.

I let myself into the house and move swiftly upstairs. I deposit my new school supplies in my room and go take a shower. I then unpack and start looking through my books.

I go downstairs about fifteen minutes later to see that Mom has left a slice of pizza for me. I take my insulin (2.5 units) before digging in. After I eat, I go back upstairs to continue reading.

The book I find the most interesting is Magical Drafts and Potions. I love the idea of taking a few ingredients and making them into something new; something that could potentially solve most kinds of problems. It's fascinating, reading about how certain ingredients interact with each other and the way to counteract simple mistakes.

The next day is really awkward to say the least. For starters, my parents are ignoring me now, which is fine. And apparently, Harry slightly overcooked Dudley's eggs, resulting in him getting the crap beaten out of him. Then, he's expected to take care of all of the housework, and I'm expected to stay in my bedroom, out of the way. No problem there; I use the time to read through my schoolbooks. I take notes on a few things that I think I may need to remember as well.

After Dudley, Mom and Dad are asleep, I grab the first aid kit and a bobby pin. I silently make my way down the stairs, skipping the fourth one from the bottom, as it has a tendency to creak.

I look carefully around, squinting into the darkness, double checking that there is nobody up to catch me. Freaks don't deserve respect after all; ironic because they are the real freaks. I'm in the clear, though, so I approach the closet under the stairs, also known as Harry's room.

I crouch down and insert the bobby pin into the lock. I wiggle it around for a few minutes until I hear a click. Then I pull the door open, and slide inside the small closet.

Harry is lying on his side, facing away from me. His back is a mess of welts and raw flesh; I don't have to look to tell that much, the dried blood coating the back of his shirt gives it away. I turn on my phone flashlight before shaking him awake.

"Harry? It's Kenna. You need to wake up. I need to fix your back." His eyes slowly flutter open.

"Kenna?" He looks sleepily up at me, gaze unfocused. Immediately, I wonder if he's concussed.

"Yeah. Roll onto your stomach." He knows the drill by now. He quickly does as I ask, allowing me to see the full scope of damage done to his back. I clinch and clinch my fists a few times before opening the first aid kit.

I begin to carefully peel his shirt off his back, being careful to not rip it too hard and restart the bleeding. I prop my phone up so the light hits his back, then dip a cotton ball into the container of antiseptic.

Harry barely seems to notice as I dab it liberally over the wounds on his back. I make sure to get every single one, then pull out the needle and thread. I'm not an expert, my primary knowledge of stitching wounds coming from this and the Internet. But better this than nothing.

I quickly stitch up the wounds on his back; it's disturbing how quick I've gotten at this. I then press several gauze pads over the worst of the wounds.

"Sit up." I instruct. I then begin tending to Harry's face; the bruises and the black eye.

I check his pupils, just to be on safe side, and then slip out to grab him some food. At times like these, it's convenient to have diabetes; I can just say my sugar was low and they'll buy it. They won't double check or anything, they don't care enough to. I'm not their little perfect, normal child. I'm not Dudley.

We sit in silence as Harry eats what little I was able to sneak for him, specifically a granola bar and a glass of OJ. I'm leaning back against the closet door, watching my cousin. He looks so much younger than his eight years, but his eyes have a maturity and wisdom in them that you only get from being forced to grow up way too fast.

After he eats, he collapses back onto his cot. I absently run my fingers through his hair, humming a song I'd heard on the radio. He's asleep in under five minutes.

I slip back upstairs, unnoticed, and put my supplies away. I idly wonder if Harry's fate will become mine, and if so, how I'm gonna keep fixing him up. My first aid kit is already running low on supplies.

Thoughts for another day. I climb back under the covers, and stare up at my ceiling. Just a little over a month, I tell myself. Just a little over a month and then I can get out of here. And in two years, Harry can get out of here with me.

I lie in the darkness, letting my mind drift. What will classes be like? Will I finally make some friends that don't seem to care that I have diabetes?

A couple of weeks later finds me sneaking into Harry's closet with a chocolate cupcake in hand. He's sitting up, his own little birthday tradition.

"Happy birthday, Harry." I hand him the cupcake, our little birthday tradition.

"Thank you, Kenna. But won't you be in trouble for this?" I know he's sensed the tension.

"Probably not. I was actually low tonight, just in case they cared enough to double check. I treated with a bag of Skittles." I explain.

When my blood sugar is too low, I need to eat sugar to bring it back up. If my blood sugar drops low enough, I could pass out or have a seizure. It's not fun, believe me. Low blood sugars occur when there is too much insulin in the blood, so the treatment is something with a lot of sugar: a glass of juice, two rolls of Smarties, a mini pack of Skittles, stuff like that. There's also something called glucose tablets, which are about the size of a quarter and taste like jumbo smarties. Two or three of those can usually knock me back up to a good number.

But if my glucose gets too high, I need insulin to bring it down. If it gets high enough, something called ketones develop, which is basically a fancy way of saying that my body begins to break down fat for energy. If too many ketones develop, I could go into diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), where my blood turns toxic to my major organs. Ketones develop because there's not enough insulin in the blood, so the treatment is insulin, fluids to help flush them out from your system, and food to provide your body with energy from the correct source. It's a balancing act, that's for sure.

My cousin is lagging. He finishes up the cupcake, and then immediately crashes. I stay there for a minute, watching him sleep. He's so peaceful when he sleeps; like none of the hardships of the last nine years can touch him. I kiss his cheek, and then head back upstairs.