An Issue Over Trust

By: Corbin

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Harry stops writing to the Order and Dumbledore sends Snape to check out why. Mentions of abuse.

--Thanks again Molly for beta reading for me!

Normally for Harry Potter the coming of the dawn brought hope to his thoughts. It meant that there was one less day to put up with his relatives and he was one day closer to another term at Hogwarts. Recently, though, all the dawn brought with it was misery.

Harry had only been a small child when his parents were murdered by Lord Voldemort, so he shouldn't really have missed them. How could he miss what he barely knew? He did long for decent company. To be loved by a family would have been nice. The thoughts of the way his life could have been tormented Harry almost as much as the reality of the way his life was now.

It wasn't good to dwell on the way things could have been, but that didn't stop him from doing it. When he wasn't at school, Harry's life consisted of chores, being belittled and a slow diet of starvation. At first he took it in stride; after all, he had lived this way for his entire life.

Harry sat on the edge of his bed reciting the various ingredients to potions and reciting other things that he was supposed to know before the next term. At least schoolwork was a distraction from the boredom of being kept prisoner in his own bedroom. It was dull and lonely in his bedroom, but at least he was safe from his relatives and their comments about him.

Hours later, Harry walked downstairs quietly to fix dinner for the family. He stood back and watched them eating. He knew better than to ask for a share of the meal; to ask for anything was to ask for denial. If he kept quiet then perhaps they would leave whatever they didn't want for him.

It wasn't a lucky night for Harry. The plates had been scraped completely clean thanks to Dudley. As Harry stood washing dishes, his belly rumbled. It had been three days since his last meal; would tomorrow be the fourth day in his forced fast? Harry hoped not, since eventually he wouldn't be able to do chores without something to feed his muscles. Vernon liked to force Harry to wait for long periods between meals, and this was the longest in-between period Harry had been without.

Later that evening Harry lay listening to his unhappy stomach as he tried to fall asleep. It was difficult to sleep while he felt so poorly, but he was grateful when sleep came and temporarily quieted his need for food. Harry was sleeping deeply sometime later. He didn't even hear the footsteps coming up the stairs to his room. The noise of his locks being undone didn't rouse him.

Harry was jolted awake when he felt a strong fist yank him up by the shirt collar. Disorientation swirled through Harry as sleep held fast to his thoughts. It took him several seconds to realize that it was his uncle in the room shaking the stuffing out of him. After a few moments Harry tried to recall what he had done now.

Harry allowed his uncle's harsh words to wash over him like rainwater. He tuned the angry yelling out completely as he replayed the events of the day over in his mind. He had gotten up and cleaned himself up before going down and making breakfast for everyone but himself. He'd cleaned up the dishes after the meal and then went out to work on the front yard. He remembered mowing the grass, weeding the flowers and pruning them. Then he'd started the watering of everything. He had almost finished when . . . he'd been surprised by his aunt's voice. He had managed to lose track of time! He was late to fix their lunch. Harry had dropped the hose and ran into the house to wash his hands and fix their meal.

So that must have been the reason for Vernon's anger; he'd completely forgotten to put the garden hose away. It really wasn't that big a deal, but Harry's uncle needed little provocation to set him off.

A sharp noise and a flash of pain brought Harry out of his thoughts. What had happened? His cheek was burning with heat, and seconds later the other cheek burned just as fiercely. Harry stared wide eyed in disbelief. Vernon had hit him. Harry knew that Vernon and the others all hated him, but he'd never been struck before. It had all been just cruelty through words and ignoring his existence before now.

"Pay attention to me when I'm yelling at you! You freak!" Vernon growled angrily. His face was deep red and Harry could see him curling his hand into a fist. Harry wished that he could disappear, but sadly he did not know how.

Everything ached and pulsed with pain. Some pain was sharp and some of it was dull, but all Harry knew was that he hurt. No position gave any comfort. Harry lay on his bed and listened to the painful rhythm of his breathing and tried to forget what he'd just experienced.

He groaned in dread as he heard the warning sound of his door being unlocked again. Several hours had passed since Vernon had vented on Harry, but Harry felt as though he had just received some of the blows only seconds ago. He wasn't ready for another go. It was way too soon.

"Think you can just lie around all day? You've got chores to do! Now get to it before I give you something to mope about!"

Harry wanted to get up and respond to his uncle's voice. He wanted to obey, but his body hurt and he was weak from no food. He attempted to get up and failed.

Harry flinched as a meaty paw grabbed him by the scruff and hauled him up. He couldn't get his feet beneath him, and before he'd had time to register what was going on he was being dragged to the stairs. Without warning Vernon tossed Harry down the stairs and shouted at the boy as he tumbled to the floor below. Harry lay on the floor and wondered if he'd broken anything. He didn't think he had been badly hurt from the fall, but it was difficult to tell new pains from old ones.

As Vernon pulled Harry to his feet once more Harry realized what was going on. He wasn't going to put Harry to work. Vernon was headed for Harry's old bedroom. In a weakened attempt to resist Harry reached up and pulled against his uncle's iron grip. The boy protested in vain as he was shoved into the tiny compartment and shut away in the darkness.

All Harry could think as he crouched in the small space was that he wished that he had taken the time to put that stupid garden hose away. This was all his fault; he'd managed to ruin what little privilege he'd gained from his relatives. No one could help him now. He felt certain of that.