I don't own anything worth millions.

Harry Potter and the Runespoor Shield

By Ms Spider

     The crunch of gravel told Harry Potter his Uncle Vernon had left for work.  He stared at the ceiling knowing he was hungry but he had no appetite. Harry heard his cousin, Dudley, snoring in the next room.  Sighing he rolled off his bed and went to the wardrobe. 

A strange fresh sent wafted out when he opened the wardrobe.  He had to smile at the first new clothes he had ever had at the Dursleys'.  Aunt Petunia had taken him shopping once a week since he had returned home. Uncle Vernon had even encouraged him to eat more.  The threat of a host of wizards descending on them if they did not treat Harry better had done wonders for his life here on Privet Drive. Harry grinned with the memory of the Dursleys' horror of the incident, as he got dressed. 

Harry paused in front of the mirror.  With clothes that fit from shirt to shoe, he didn't look half bad he thought.  Harry didn't try to flatten the hair sticking up on his head.  He knew it was a waste of time.  Still skinny, he thought. Taller though.  His eyes traveled the length of his body up to his face not looking into his eyes.  His eyes went instead to the scar on his forehead.  Still the same, he sighed.  As much as it hurt sometimes it's a wonder it doesn't change in some way, he mused.  Slowly his gaze drifted to his own eyes.  Still vivid green, like his mother's as everybody told him.  This didn't bring a smile to even his thoughts. 

Everything seemed the same.  After all he had been through, all he had seen, he swallowed a lump in his throat.  All the pain he had felt, one would think something would change, that there would be some outward reflection of his experiences.  He met his own eyes, reluctantly.  Even through his glasses, he couldn't hide his grief or his guilt.  It had become a daily ritual for Harry, every morning to face himself.  To force himself to admit the mistakes he had made just a month ago. 

Every morning, after the grief and guilt, a surge of anger followed.  It wasn't entirely his fault.  If he had been told.  If Dumbledore had told him about, the prophecy, the real reason he needed to study occlumency. If he had just told him everything, he wouldn't have been tricked into believing Sirius was in trouble.  Harry wondered if he would ever get over this anger toward Dumbledore.  His trust in the headmaster of Hogwarts had been severely breached.  And he desperately needed someone to trust. 

"If you can't trust Dumbledore who can you trust?"  Ron and Hermione's voices echoed in his head.  Deep down Harry knew this was true but sitting around with no one to talk to face to face made it very hard to let go of his resentment.  Letters from his friends helped.  Harry glanced at the pile of post on his desk.  But sometimes he just needed to talk to someone.  And when he needed someone the most, he always seemed to be stuck here on Privet drive.  And it didn't help knowing why he had to stay here.

Harry sighed and decided to go to the kitchen for some tea and toast.  Quietly he made his way down the stairs.  Dudley usually didn't rouse until noon.  Even though Dudley was now terrified of Harry and what might happen if he did anything to his smaller cousin, Harry still preferred Dudley asleep.  At the bottom of the steps Harry heard his aunt in the kitchen.    He walked down the hall and into the kitchen.  He cleared his throat.  "Morning," he said quietly testing her mood.

Petunia stared at him for a moment.  "Morning, what do you want for breakfast?"  She asked finally.

"Just tea and toast, please."  He slid onto a chair at the kitchen table.  She continued to stare at him for a moment then turned away.  Harry hated these moments. His mother's blood was the reason he had to be here.  He reminded himself.  She put a shield of love around him when she died to save his life.  Now her sister was protecting him too, reluctantly and bitterly as Dumbledore had said. The air was so tense.  It was even worse when his Uncle Vernon was there.   His aunt placed a cup of tea in front of him along with a stack of toast.  Harry reached for the marmalade.  "Thanks."   He muttered.  

His aunt continued her cleaning of the kitchen without speaking.  She pulled a chair over to the cupboard to put something away in the upper cabinet.  Harry watched her stretch to put the item in the back then she closed the cupboard door.  Suddenly her shoe slipped on the highly polished chair, she flailed her arms trying to regain her balance.  A slight screech came from her as she fell.  But Aunt Petunia never hit the floor.  With reactions honed from playing Quidditch, Harry caught her easily and set her gently on the floor.  He looked down at her scared face.  

"Thank you," She gasped still gripping his arms.

 It was then Harry really noticed, he was looking DOWN on his aunt.  He must have grown quite a bit.  "No problem."  He kept his face passive.  He knew any second his aunt would get her composure back.  No reason to believe she would treat him any different.  As if in answer to that though, she hastily let go of him and turned away to the sink.  

Harry sat back down.  Maybe he should be grateful for the thank you and let it go at that.  He thought.  But a surge of bitterness, of tiredness over her treatment of him compelled him to ask.  "What was my mother like?  When you knew her?"

Aunt Petunia's shoulders stiffen.  "I don't want to talk about it."  She answered stiffly.

"You must have liked her sometime, before Hogwarts.  I mean she was your sister.  You couldn't have hated her all your life."  Harry continued as if she hadn't answered.

"I dddidn't hate her."  She stammered and glanced around like someone would hear them.  "I am not talking about this."

"There's nobody here but us.  Dudley won't be up till noon.  And I do want to talk about it."  Harry said firmly.  Then Harry added more gently, "Look, I have only this summer and next to be here.  Can't you tell me anything?"

His aunt didn't say anything.  She bustled around getting a cup a tea with her back to him.  He waited.  At last she quietly sat down beside him with her cup.  Harry was surprised to see streaks of tears on her face. 

"We were very close before she got that accursed letter."  Aunt Petunia said so quietly Harry could barely hear her.  "I'm only three years older than her."  Her voice choked.  "I don't know what I can tell you.  We were just two little girls playing together until…" she trailed off not wanting to repeat herself. 

"What was her favorite color?"  Harry asked quickly.  "What did she dream about doing?" 

"Lily? She wanted to be a ballerina.  She loved to dance."  Aunt Petunia almost laughed.  "Or I should say spin.  It wasn't really dancing.  She liked blue and green.  She hated her red hair.  It was a brighter red when she was younger.  It got darker." She stopped as more tears rolled down her face.

"Did you know my father too?"  Harry wanted to hear everything. He couldn't believe Aunt Petunia was talking to him. 

A slight smile twitched at Aunt Petunia's lips.  "The summer after Lily and James graduated, he was always hanging around our parents' house.  Him and all his friends." 

"You met Lupin and Sirius?"  Harry jaw dropped when his aunt smiled even if briefly.

"Yes, and another boy, Peter, I think his name was.  He didn't come around as often as the others."  She saw Harry's face darken with the mention of the name and she looked at him questioningly.

"He betrayed my parents to Voldemort."  Harry growled softly.  "He told him where they were hiding."

"OH," Aunt Petunia sat back, a look of relief in her face.  "I never could believe Sirius had betrayed them.  They were too much like brothers, him and James." 

 "I don't understand why you started ignoring her.  You said your parents didn't mind her being a witch."  He knew this was a touchy subject but he wanted to know.

For a long time Aunt Petunia didn't answer.  Her jaw was clenched.  "You aren't the only person to loose their parents because of Voldemort."  She finally managed to utter. 

"What?"  Harry's mouth dropped open.  "Your…. And my mom's parents, were killed by Voldemort?"  He felt a knot twist in his stomach.  "How?  When?"

Petunia had gone very pale.  "It was the spring after Lily had graduated.  She became engaged to James and his parents wanted to give them an engagement party."  She let out a breath she had taken.   "Our parents were invited to their house as was I and my fiancée, Vernon."  She closed her eyes but they blinked furiously underneath the lids.  "Vernon had worked over so we were late getting there."  Each sentence seemed harder for her to speak. 

"As we approached the neighborhood we saw a green glow."  Her breath became quick and shallow.  "When we came to the house…there was this great green skull in the sky over the house."  She looked up when Harry gasped. "Yes, Vernon had no idea what it meant.  I was hysterical.  I knew.  I ran into the house.  Lily and James were already there." Her voice broke. "James on his knees by his parents' bodies and Lily weeping over ours."  She covered her face with her hands.  Now her voice was muffled.  "They were just laid out there and staring…"

"I didn't know."  Harry said softly.  "Nobody told me.  Why weren't my parents killed too?"

"They arrived after it happened. They were too late…" Aunt Petunia emerged from behind her hands. She reached for her teacup and took a sip.  "Vernon was appalled.  He said it was either him or them.  He wasn't putting his life in danger. I agreed.  I was so angry.  If my father and mother hadn't gone to a wizard's home they would still be alive." 

"People die all the time.  They don't have to be associated with the magical world to manage it."  Harry stated quietly.  "So after that you didn't speak to my Mom?"

"Oh, we wrote back and forth for a bit."  Aunt Petunia said tiredly.  "Vernon didn't like the owls coming around.  The last note I got from her told me she was going into hiding with her husband and little boy.  She couldn't say where or for how long." Another tear rolled down her face.

"Thanks for telling me this.  I know it was hard for you." Harry reached out and touched her hand.  Her eyes fixed on the touch and she seemed to be holding her breath.

"Come with me."  She abruptly rose.  She opened the kitchen door that led to the back garden.  Briskly she walked to the garden shed and opened the door.  She moved a couple of tools and a box then pointed to the wooden floor of the shed. "Pry up those two boards." 

Harry grabbed a shovel and lifted the thick planks.  Underneath, a shallow hole contained two cardboard boxes and a small trunk.  With nod from his aunt Harry removed the containers from the hole.  He started to open one.

"Not here." Aunt Petunia hissed. "Take them to your room.  You might as well have them.  I haven't looked at them for years."  She stared at Harry as if he had caught her in some lie then turned and left.