Over my vacation, I decided to start this new story I've been thinking about writing for a while. I wrote a rough draft and, well, came out with the first five chapters! Don't ask me how- I'm like a mad scientist when I start writing!
Please let me know what you think- I had some doubts about this fic. Alrighty then, I'm armed with my Hershey bar and keyboard and I'm ready to roll!
Disclaimer: I actually don't own Harry Potter, unlike what many believe. I can see how you'd be easily confused, though. You can have something prescribed for that.
A woman walked past the quiet dark houses of Privet Drive. The lawns guarding these houses were dying in the summer heat. It was almost dusk, yet still very hot outside. The woman's footsteps echoed on the black pavement, making a sinister, eerie clicking on the sidewalk. Her face was determined, so serious it was almost grave. Yet, her heart fluttered as lightly as a butterfly's wings, filled with happiness.
The woman reached house number four and knocked on the door. Another woman answered. She had a horse-like appearance, with a long neck and small beady eyes. However, her stomach was bulging, sheltering the growing life inside her.
"Can I help you?" The horse woman asked suspiciously. She was not fond of strangers, especially ones who came at night.
"I think so." The other woman reached into her old leather purse and pulled out a small business card. "My name is Tabitha Royce. I've heard through…er…mutual friends that a certain Dursley family was looking for a live-in house keeper during Mrs. Dursley's pregnancy. Would that be you?" The woman questioned, keeping a crisp and polite tone eventhough she was boiling with emotion on the inside.
Petunia Dursley rubbed her enormous stomache and observed this woman. She had thin black hair pulled into a tight bun at the base of her neck. Her blue uniform look sharp and freshly ironed. Her sensible black shoes were shined and her stockings looked brand new. She looked to be in her mid to late thirties. The woman wore little make-up and had a strict look about her. There was, however, a softness in her high cheeks and a slight glimmer in her navy blue eyes. She seemed like someone who would only be kind when…necessary.
"Alright. I suppose we could take you on. We have a guest bedroom on the second floor. Please come in and wait in the parlor while I tidy it up."
"Tidying up" consisted of forcing the boy who lived in the bedroom out and back into the cupboard where he had spent half his life. The boy went quietly so as not to anger her aunt in her delicate stage of pregnancy. He also had far more important matters on his mind.
Petunia returned to the parlor where her guest was looking at several framed pictures that were hanging on the wall. The first was of a younger Petunia in her wedding dress with her arm around a large man with a hideous mustache. The next was Petunia and her husband holding a large ball of what seemed like blankets. Another photo was of a chubby child on a tricycle. There were several photographs like these, including ones of the boy in the drivers seat of his car, fishing by a lake, with a very large woman who looked like his father, and on his computer. As each picture progressed, the boy seemed to gain more weight.
"And who is this handsome young man?" The woman gave a strained smile and pointed to the fat boy in the photos.
Petunia smiled proudly. "My son, Dudley. He's a charming boy, you'll just love him. These are the more recent pictures of him." She pointed to a picture of the fat blob. He looked about sixteen and ever bigger than ever. He was holding up a large trophy. Petunia nodded towards where the aforementioned trophy was displayed behind them.
"Duddy's very athletic. He'll probably be a professional boxer one day." Petunia's pride for her son was starting to sicken her guest.
"Lovely." The stranger nodded. She couldn't stomache giving a compliment. "Is Dudley your only child? Besides the one to come, I mean." She gestured towards Petunia's bulging frame.
Petunia's proud smile faltered. Should she tell this woman about the Potter boy? He is such an embarrassment to the family, Petunia thought bitterly. Yet, if this woman would be living with them, she would find out about him eventually. Better sooner than later.
"Yes." Petunia started. "But my nephew is staying with us for the summer holidays before he goes back to boarding school." She spoke hurridly, ashamed. "He's an orphan." For good measure Petunia added, "the poor boy," not very convincing. Petunia lowered her voice to a whisper. "He's not exactly, er, right in the head, you could say. Best to try and stay out of his way."
The woman felt her teeth grind in anger. She had a feeling that the boy would be mistreated by the Dursleys. This was obviously not going to be a comfortable stay, but she had to be here. She had not waited a decade and a half to quit at the most delicate stage of her plan. She nodded.
"Excellent. Now, lets talk about your pay." Petunia eased herself onto the couch, careful not to disturb her baby. The woman followed suit into a straitbacked, wooden chair. The two discussed money and hours and such. When they finished, Petunia summoned her family downstairs. "Vernon! Dudley-kins!" She called sweetly. "And Potter, get down here!" She hollered as an afterthought.
Vernon Dursley came hurdling down the stair, tripping on the way. He was beside himself with worry. "What is it dear? Is the baby coming?" Vernon asked his wife frantically.
"No Vernon, relax. I want you to meet our new live-in housekeeper, Tabitha Royce."
Vernon shook her hand looking very relieved. "Pleasure." A huge teenager appeared behind him. Dudley Dursley nodded sourly to the woman.
"Where is that horrid boy?" Petunia scowled.
"Boy! Get down here now!" Vernon yelled.
The woman looked towards the staircase. Time seemed to slow down. She first heard him, the pounding of his feet on the ground almost matching the pounding of her heart. Before she could prepare herself, the boy appeared before her. It was a good thing she was sitting down, for her legs would have failed her if she had been standing.
His eyes met hers for a split second. The woman's heart broke at the sight of them. So filled with sadness and despair. She remembered just in time that she was supposed to dislike the boy. The Dursleys would never keep her if they thought she had feelings for him. She managed to give him a curt nod. Her face was impassive, though she was working very hard to keep it that way. He looked so much like him…
Through her thoughts, the woman missed Vernon's introductions. "Hello." The boy mumbled. He looked weary, almost as if the Dursleys were bothering him by being in his presence. The woman was sure this was just the face he put on. She took a guess at where he has learned that haughty bored look.
"Can I go now?" Dudley whined loudly to his father.
Vernon brushed him off with a wave of his hand. "Thank you very much for coming. We expected things to be difficult while Petty was pregnant, but it has been harder than we thought." Vernon rambled as Dudley thundered back up the staircase. The other boy left as well, though both to separate rooms.
The woman collected herself and tore her eyes away from the boy. She nodded to Vernon. "Thank you for the job. I hope you don't mind, I have brought my pet parakeet. Please don't worry, she is very well trained and won't dirty her cage or bother you in any way. She makes very little noise." She informed them coolly. This was another vital part of her plan.
Petunia's lips thinned at mention of animals in her house, but when she glanced at the small bird in the cage, she saw it was very small and was not making any noise. Petunia knew that the creature would soil its cage, but the woman would have to clean that herself. Besides, she was becoming desperate for extra help. Cooking and cleaning had become tiresome for her during her pregnancy and she needed all the assistance she could get.
"That shouldn't be a problem, then." Petunia glaced at her husband before standing. "Now let me show you to your room." She started to climb the staicase.
Vernon took the woman's trunk and birdcage up the stairs following Petunia's lead. The woman went as well. When they reached the upstairs hallway, Petunia opened a door at the far left side. "This is the guest bedroom." Vernon dropped the trunk at the foot of the bed and placed the bird cage on the dresser.
"What's that?" The woman pointed to a thin green book on the wooden nightside table. It was titled Quidditch Through The Ages.
Petunia paled at the sight of the book. She snatched it off the table and quickly pocketed it. "Probably one of Dudley's comic books. He's always leaving them around. She gave a false, shrill laugh.
The woman nodded, giving her a small understanding smile. She looked around the room, observing. Her eyes stopped at the entrance. "Do you have a cat?" She gestured to the cat flap nailed to the base of the door.
"We used to." Vernon covered abruptly. He shot a fleeting glance at his wife. "It died. A year ago. We never got around to taking out the flap."
"And your cat only ever went in this room? There aren't cat flaps on any of your other doors." The woman commented, slightly suspicious. What had they done to the boy when he stayed in here?
"It liked going in here." Vernon lied.
"What is that?" The woman looked out the window. She was referring to the few metal bars that were nailed to the sides. Its ends were torn, as if they had somehow been ripped off by a very strong, large creature.
Neither of the Dursleys could answer that right away.
"We were, er, wondering the same thing actually. Those metal bits were on the house when we moved in." Petunia assured her in a panic.
The woman was still suspicious, but gave up interrogating the Dursleys for the moment. "I see. Well, if it's alright with you, I'll settle in tonight and start tomorrow morning."
"That'll be fine." Petunia and Vernon closed the door behind them, proud of themselves for thinking of such wonderful excuses for the evidence of torture in their guest bedroom.
I know, the first chapter is a little boring. But once you find out who the mysterious woman is (which you will know by the next chapter), the story becomes much more interesting. I promise!
Anyone who guesses her identity correctly gets a lollypop!
Off to pre-order the Half Blood Prince! (thank the lordie for Barnes and Noble!)
Hugs and kisses,