Disclaimer: Do you see a mansion? Neither do I.

Harry sat in his bed bored out of his mind. It was two weeks into summer vacation and already he had done all his assigned homework for the summer, including a Potions essay over the effects of the Pilocorpus Draught and a Charms paper over how to cast a Pennipes surculus charm, and the precautions of doing this to humans (the castee of this charm would sprout wings, with the possible danger of growing green ears on his feet). All the previously untouched Muggle books in what used to be Dudley's second room had been read already. A couple of days ago, Harry had become so desperate as to owl a request to Hermione and Ron for some entertainment. Ron had written back saying that if Harry found some entertainment could he please send half of it to the Burrow, and Hermione had owled "Hogwarts, A History," a thousand-page tome just about as interesting as stale bread. Harry was already halfway through it.

The reason Harry was so bored was really quite simple: he was presently locked into his bedroom, and was also somewhat wary of sleeping. Every night without fail Harry had the same nightmare: he would dream about the night of the third task, the night when Voldemort rose using Harry's own blood, so he could continue to breed hatred and distrust in the wizard world. Nightly the same face laughed at Harry bound to a tomb, helpless, a face devoid of all humanity. Red eyes glared out of a noseless, grey face. Harry thought that he was almost uglier than Snape. It was a small consolation to him that if he ever had to face Voldemort again, he could say so.

Upon coming home from the holidays, Harry wasn't himself. Of course, it had been a mere week from the night when he watched a classmate get murdered and helped one of the most evil wizards in history rise from the near-dead, so that was to be expected. His aunt and uncle were very understanding. After waking up to find Harry screaming in the middle of the night every night for a week, his uncle had installed a sound-proof door, complete with a padlock and a cat flap to push meals through, and left a ladder in the rose bushes, in the hope that the "Dark Lord" that Harry kept yelling about might climb up it and finish him off some night. Uncle Vernon figured getting a good night's sleep would be worth the risk of getting turned into a frog by a godfather that he didn't even know existed.

Of course, Harry knew how to pick locks. Fred and George Weasley had shown him before his second year at Hogwarts. But he didn't want his aunt and uncle to know this and find a more permanent way of caging him in, so he remained in his room until everyone was asleep. He still had around eight more hours to go.

Harry heard rustling below his window. Out of curiosity, and because he had nothing better to do, he opened his window and began poking his head out when something cold and metallic rammed him in the forehead. "Aargh!" he yelled in pain.

"Sorry," he heard from out the window, "you really should be more careful, Harry!" It was his cousin Dudley. Of course. Nothing in the world could bring Dudley more joy than to "accidentally" smash him in the head with a ladder. After minutes of grunting and heavy breathing, a head of blond hair and watery blue eyes peeked out of a massive face that was Dudley. His diet had taken great effect. Harry supposed that the school must've fed him nothing but carrot sticks all year long for Dudley to have lost so much weight, but he was merely extremely overweight now instead of ridiculously obese.

"What are you doing in my room Dudley?" Harry growled suspiciously.

"Oh, I just wanted to talk," he said defensively. "You've got to be incredibly bored up here."

"Okay, Dudley. Never in 14 years did you ever 'just want to talk.' Remember, I can do a lot more damage to you than you can do to me."

Dudley looked a little intimidated. "Come off it, Harry! I wanted to show you something really cool!" Harry pondered for a bit. He sighed.

"Okay, Dudley. But if you so much as sneeze on me, I'll let you have it!" Harry didn't really know what to make of Dudley's sudden goodwill. *Next thing you know Voldemort will be tattooing Dumbledore's name inside a giant heart on his bum* Harry thought, *Yech, bad mental image. Really bad mental image... ewwww...* He decided to direct his attention to Dudley in hopes to relieve himself from the workings of his sick, twisted mind.

"Well, one day in English class, near the beginning of last year, Professor Merian told us we had to read a book and write a report." Harry snorted. He seriously doubted Dudley had ever read a book in his life. "Well, since you weren't there to write the report for me, I had to figure out what to read."

"You mean you had to figure out *how* to read."

"Oh shush. Anyway, I asked Merian what I should read, and he gave me this book here."

"Dudley, did you climb all the way up the ladder just to show me a stupid boo--" Harry gasped. In Dudley's hand was *Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone*.


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