[A/N – Wow. First time I've finished a long, multi-chapter fic. Yeah, it's all done (If I did it in spurts it would've been abandoned halfway through :-p) and I think I'll update this on a weekly basis. Anyway. Oh, I should warn you all, shouldn't I? Lucius/Harry fic. Rare pairing, I know, but I like it. :-) Turn back now if the idea squicks you and you don't care to, ahem, broaden your horizons. The rest of you, enjoy.
Oh, and one last thing? If anyone knows a good host that doesn't have pop-up ads (or banner, if possible, but it's got to stay free somehow…) that has FTP access, please please mention it in a review. I need somewhere to put later uncensored versions of the chapters. grin Thanks in advance.]
[Disclaimer – JK Rowling owns them all. Pity.]
Lucius wrapped the invisibility cloak tighter around himself as he peered into the window of 4 Privet Drive. A kitchen, gleaming white and spotless, he noted approvingly. Through the doorway he could see a glimpse of the living room, with beige walls, beige carpet, and beige furniture. Knickknacks were carefully lined up along the mantle above the fireplace, and he could faintly hear a gameshow on the Muggle television out of his sight.
Potter had landed Lucius in Azkaban after announcing him as a Death Eater. However, Lucius had managed to, ah, convince Fudge - with a healthy amount of gold involved - that he had been under the Imperius, due to his high position at the Ministry, the entire time. After he was released he had procured the cloak and traveled to Privet Drive.
Dumbledore had, of course, safeguarded the home against Voldemort, but Lucius doubted there was anything keeping him from taking the brat. But first he needed to observe. To avoid being caught by Potter or his relatives. And out of curiosity.
A blond boy waddled into the kitchen, and Lucius surveyed him distastefully. He looked about the same age as Potter, but was about three times heavier. It was no surprise when he opened the refrigerator and started pawing through its contents.
"Duddy?" a woman called from the living room. "Do you remember what your doctor said about snacking?"
"I'm hungry, Mum," Duddy whined.
A blonde woman strode into the kitchen, lips pursed. "We just had dinner an hour ago, Dudley," she reminded him. "You can have some carrot sticks if you'd like."
"Okay," he mumbled, but once his mother had returned to the TV, he snatched a slice of pie with his grubby, dirty hands.
This was going nowhere. Where was Potter? Lucius was aware of his habit of staying with the Weasleys for part of each holiday, but it was much too early for that - school had barely gotten out two weeks ago. He stepped back and surveyed the second story windows. He almost overlooked it at first, but one was lit. The glow was dim, almost as dark as the unoccupied rooms, but no doubt that was Potter's. The window stood apart from the rest, in that it had a thin layer of dirt covering the glass and there were spiderwebs of cracks around the frame. Typical of Potter to neglect to keep up appearances. At least his room reflected his own grooming habits.
Lucius expected to wait a few days before capturing Potter. The plan so far would be to observe for a few hours and apparate back to the manor during the dull moments to freshen up. Once he was acquainted with the family's habits, he could plan when to take Potter. Then he would show him torture worse than that he had suffered at Azkaban.
Lucius stood at the window for the next two hours, waiting for Harry to come downstairs to join his family, but he never did. At eleven, the TV was turned off (Lucius could hear Dudley's complaints from the living room), and the family looked ready for bed. Dudley climbed the stairs with difficulty, gripping the banister to balance himself upon each narrow step.
The blonde woman lingered, along with a stout dark-haired man Lucius hadn't seen before. Potter's uncle, he guessed. "Have you got any plans for tomorrow, Petunia?" he asked as she straightened the throw pillows on the couch.
She sighed. "No, I haven't. Mary Hutchinson asked me to tea, but the women she invited are all so...low-class. I had to say that I had already made arrangements elsewhere."
"I've got the day off," the man told her. "What do you say we and Dudley go out to the theater?"
"That would be nice," Petunia answered thoughtfully. "But would we do with Harry? I don't trust him alone with our things, Vernon. Who knows, he may take all the silver and run off with those friends - " her thin lips puckered " - of his and never come back."
Vernon chuckled lowly. "Wouldn't mind him never coming back. But if you're worried about the silver, I'll lock him in his room while we're gone. Can't very well steal anything when he can't even get into the dining room."
Petunia laughed. "Wonderful. I should go pick out my outfit now." And she ascended the staircase in a hurry. The man followed less eagerly, hitting a light switch on the wall, and the house went dark.
Lucius left for the night, and returned at the ungodly hour of eight AM. Harry was in the kitchen, hair messy and clothes wrinkled. How could anyone neglect their own appearance that much, Lucius wondered, even in their own house? He was stirring pancake batter wearily while Dudley hovered behind him. "I don't think you're allowed to have any," Harry told him without turning around.
"You can't tell me what to do."
Harry pointed at a chart stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet. "Have a look for yourself. You can have pancakes when - " he squinted at the chart " - you lose a hundred more pounds. Good luck."
"Maybe you won't be such a know-it-all after you get your face shoved onto a hot skillet," Dudley snarled, grabbing Harry's shoulders and pushing him downward.
Harry struggled, finally pulling his wand out of the waistband of his loose jeans. Dudley yelped and let him go. "Muuum!" he called. "Harry's going to curse me!"
Harry quickly shoved the wand in his pocket as two pairs of footsteps hurried down the stairs. Vernon appeared, red-faced, in the doorway of the kitchen. "Potter?" he growled as Petunia glared from behind him.
"Yes?" Harry returned coolly.
"What were you doing to my son?"
"Well, you see, Dudley wanted to break his diet, so I thought maybe I could help him along with this new spell I learned last year. We used it to gut pigs." Harry had again taken out his wand and was twirling it idly through his fingers.
Dudley's chubby face grew red, causing him to look amazingly like his father. "He wouldn't let me have a pancake, Mum," he explained in a pitiful tone. "I can have just one, can't I? I'm so hungry, and Harry wants me to starve."
Harry snorted, and Petunia glared at him but said nothing. "Finish up in here, Potter, then I don't want to see your face for the rest of the day," Vernon told him in a dangerous tone.
"You know, I don't think I will." Harry strode away from the stove. "I trust you can manage without me." The back door slammed, leaving all three of the Dursleys looking livid.
A moment later, he rounded the corner not five meters from Lucius. He hesitated, considering taking Potter right then. But he decided against it, because Harry was both alert and armed. While there was no doubt in Lucius's mind that Harry was less powerful and learned than himself, those were still adverse conditions. So he stood in absolute silence, watching the boy with interest.
He climbed a high tree on the border between the Dursleys' house and a neighbor's with practiced motions, perching twenty feet off the ground quite comfortably. "Damn you, Dumbledore," Lucius heard him say. He'd best lower his voice - if he was hiding from the relatives, speaking so loud wouldn't keep him hidden long. "Damn you for making me stay with them. You know perfectly well what they do to me. Why don't you care?" Lucius raised an eyebrow, waiting for an explanation, but Harry fell silent.
The Dursleys had finished making breakfast and now were sitting around the table, quite unconcerned that their nephew was gone. And, Lucius noted, Dudley had gotten a towering stack of pancakes, diet be damned.
He guessed that this happened fairly frequently, because Harry looked very secure and comfortable on the thin branch he was balanced on. Of course, his Quidditch skills might account for that. He turned back to watch the Dursleys.
"Duddy, Daddy and I are going to lunch and out to the theater today. Do you want to come?" Petunia asked.
Dudley scoffed. "No. I'm going over to Piers's for the day."
"Alright, honey. Tell his mother that I said hello, and we should have lunch together sometime."
Dudley fought back a smirk. "Yes, Mum."
Lucius was beginning to realize just why Harry didn't spend much time socializing with these people.
After breakfast they hustled about, getting ready for the day. Vernon threw open the front door, surveying the yard. Lucius pressed against the wall, despite being invisible. "Potter!" Vernon roared. "You'd best be inside this house within five minutes or we're throwing your things in the fire - " there was no doubt from this tone that he meant anything but Harry's wand and books " - and roasting your bird!"
Harry was out of Vernon's sight, but perfectly visible from Lucius's angle. He opened his eyes and threw a look of utter hatred toward the doorway. He remained quiet and motionless until the door closed, then climbed down the trunk agilely.
He entered the house, but made the mistake of leaving the door open. Lucius followed him to view the scene better.
"Petunia and I will be out for the day, and Dudley will be over at a friend's," Vernon told Harry. "You are being locked in your room until we return."
"I won't be," Harry answered coldly. "You touch me and I'll curse all of you."
A nasty smile crossed Vernon's face. "We all know that you can't do magic over the summer, or else you'll get expelled. Then where would you go, boy?"
"I'd manage in the wizarding world."
"You'll get killed." Harry's eyes narrowed and Vernon continued, "Petunia had a nice chat with that headmaster of yours awhile ago. If you don't stay here for the next year you'll get murdered by V…." He trailed off uncertainly.
"Voldemort," Harry supplied, unimpressed..
"Yes," Vernon confirmed eagerly. "So you're to stay in my house for the summer, and when you're here you abide by my rules." Harry only shrugged. "You disrespectful brat," Vernon growled, and backhanded him so hard that Harry stumbled back a few paces. Lucius watched edgily, contemplating getting involved. As pleasing as it was see Harry get pushed around, it was for the wrong reasons. And he had developed a distaste for this family that nearly overpowered his feelings toward Harry already.
"I told you not to touch me," Harry said in a low tone, withdrawing his wand. Lucius sighed inwardly.
Vernon's reaction was the opposite of Dudley's: instead of scaring him, it just enraged him. He grabbed the wand from Harry's grip and pushed him backwards forcefully. Harry's head hit the mantle with a sharp crack audible on the other side of the room, where Lucius stood motionless. He could see that Harry was struggling not to show the pain he was in.
"Now I want you in your room," Vernon told him. Harry didn't argue this time, just turned and climbed the staircase. Lucius saw a drop of blood roll down the back of his neck.
Vernon dropped the wand on a side table as if he was terrified he'd kill himself by just handling it. Lucius smirked; the stupid Muggle couldn't kill himself with a wand unless he jammed it through his chest. He watched as Vernon withdrew a set of keys, went upstairs, and a minute later came down again, smiling victoriously.
"Petunia, dear?" he called. "Are you ready?"
"Coming, Vernon," she replied from upstairs, descending the steps.
He took her hand that wasn't busy applying blush. "Where's Dudley?"
"He already left," Petunia answered. He shrugged and they left the house. Lucius was alone with Harry at last.
He grabbed Harry's wand from the side table and took the stairs two at a time, still not daring to take off the cloak in case someone happened to glance in through the windows. When he reached the upstairs hallway, he looked around to determine which room was Harry's. The only one closed. With a flap cut into the door? Lucius didn't even stop to wonder what the purpose of that was. He pulled out his own wand while pocketing Harry's and approached the shut door. "Alohomora." There was a dull click as the door unlocked, and Lucius pushed it open.
Harry was curled up on a small bed with a ratty blanket and a recently blood-stained pillow. The wound didn't look as though it would heal soon. And what fun would it be to torture Potter if he dies? With his wand he mended the gash across the back of Harry's skull and cleaned the blood from his hair and pillow.
Harry stirred, and Lucius removed the cloak, shoving it in a pocket. The boy rolled over and gazed uncomprehendingly at Lucius for a moment, then sat up, alarmed. "You're supposed to be in Azkaban," he hissed, reaching for his wand.
"I got out," Lucius replied smoothly. "Imperius curse, you know."
He saw that Harry realized that he didn't have his wand, but he didn't panic. "Why are you here?"
Lucius grinned. "Why, to repay the favor you did me, of course, Potter. Crucio!" And without even pausing to let the curse take effect, Lucius grabbed Harry's arm and apparated both of them back to the manor.