Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any characters and places within this story except, of course, those that I created myself. No money is being made from this fic.
Author's Note: Welcome to my reposting. There has been such a strong demand for this story that I am now going to repost it for your reading enjoyment. Keep in mind, this story is SLASH and is also a completed work, so updates shouldn't be far between while I work on my new story 'I'd Have Never Believed'. Many thanks go out to Victoria Ennis for beta reading this story during it's initial writing phase and also to those out there who demanded to see it up again. I love you guys. I'd also like to thank all those who had copies of this saved on their computers. It would never have been recovered without you.
P.S. On a side note, I would like to inform anyone who has never read this that it was written before HBP was released. As a matter of fact, I started writing it even before OtP was released, so naturally some things do not coincide with current Cannon, the most obvious being that Blaise Zabini is female. With that said, I don't want to hear anyone complaining that she's a girl here and a boy there, because when this was written, it was still unknown. Thank you.
And Then There Was Harry
It was late in the night, and a boy known as Harry Potter was asleep on his bed at number 4 Privet Drive. The bed was small, but Harry still fit in it nicely because he was short for his age. As he slept, his young face became troubled, the only sign that something in his dream was amiss.
Harry, you see, was a wizard-in-training, home for the summer after his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His fourth year had ended on very bad terms because the dark wizard, Voldemort, had been restored to his body. Voldemort had tried to kill Harry when the boy was only a year old, but had failed. The curse had rebounded on Voldemort, leaving him in a spirit form, dead yet still alive. The events that had restored him to his body plagued Harry's dreams and thoughts. That brings us back to Harry.
He moved slightly in his sleep, a soft moan of distress escaping his lips.
"No," he said in his sleep. "Please don't. Please. I won't run. I won't…" Suddenly his entire body began to convulse as earsplitting, pain-filled screams filled the small room. He was writhing violently in the bed when the door burst open and the lights came on.
A very large man with almost no neck, beady eyes, dark hair, and a large mustache stood watching Harry fearfully. This man was Vernon Dursley, Harry's uncle. Uncle Vernon advanced on the bed quickly and grasped Harry's shoulders just as the wave of agonized screams came to a halt. Harry continued to twitch on the bed, his breath coming in ragged gasps. Uncle Vernon shook Harry's shoulders vigorously.
"Wake up, boy!" he shouted. He knew that people with severe trauma shouldn't be left to sleep. That, and, for the first time in his life, he was concerned for the welfare of his fifteen-year-old nephew. Behind him, a tall, skinny, blonde woman with a square face and a long neck appeared in the doorway.
"What is it, Vernon?" she asked nervously.
"I don't know, Petunia!" Uncle Vernon snapped. Petunia was Harry's aunt; his mother's sister, which was why Harry came to live with the Dursleys after Voldemort had killed his parents.
Vernon looked around the room and his eyes landed on a very alert albeit quiet snowy owl sitting in an open cage on Harry's desk.
"Maybe we could send a letter to that school of his," Uncle Vernon suggested slowly.
"Do you think that's a good idea, Vernon?" Aunt Petunia asked, eyeing the owl warily.
Harry opened his eyes and turned over quickly, retching on the floor beside his bed. He groaned loudly and laid flat on his back still shaking, though not as violently as before.
"Stay with him," Uncle Vernon said, standing and moving to the door. Aunt Petunia came in and sat next to Harry on the bed.
"Hurry, Vernon," she said softly. Uncle Vernon left the room and Aunt Petunia listened as his footsteps grew fainter. After a few minutes had passed, Uncle Vernon returned holding an envelope.
"Now listen here, bird," he said threateningly to the owl.
She simply glared at him coldly.
"Her name is Hedwig," a very tired voice said from the bed.
"Harry!" Aunt Petunia exclaimed. "Oh, thank God, you're awake!"
Harry was shocked at the concern her was receiving from his relatives, but he was in too much pain to bother with thinking about it.
"Hedwig then," Uncle Vernon said sharply. "You have to take this letter to that school Harry goes to. We don't know what to do for him here."
Hedwig hooted indignantly but grabbed the letter from Uncle Vernon's hand. She gave Harry a concerned glance before flying out of the window.
"Harry, what happened?" Uncle Vernon asked. When Harry didn't reply, Uncle Vernon looked closer at him. Harry had fallen back to sleep.
"This has happened every night since he's been home, Vernon," Aunt Petunia said nervously. "I've never heard anyone scream like that."
"Maybe those wizarding types he's so fond of can help him," Uncle Vernon replied. "They'd better. This noise is grating on my nerves." The harshness of his words was belied by the concern in his eyes.
Harry woke up early the next morning, his entire body aching from the night before. He sat up slowly and groaned as his body protested the movement.
"Why must you torment me, you smarmy, snake-eyed bastard?" he said to no one in particular. He looked over the side of his bed and found that the floor had been cleaned. He got out of bed and slowly dressed as his muscles got used to the movement. Harry was busy trying to remember what happened in his dream when a soft tap on his door interrupted his musings.
He sighed and opened the door. Aunt Petunia was standing on the other side, looking at him nervously.
"How do you feel this morning, Harry?" she asked gently.
Harry didn't bother to cover up his surprise as his eyebrow arched elegantly over his beautiful green eyes.
"I'm fine," he said in a suspicious tone of voice. "I'll be down to make breakfast in a moment."
"Nonsense, Harry," Aunt Petunia replied. "Breakfast is already made. I came up to tell you."
Harry stared openly at his horse-faced aunt. "You came up here to tell me that I get some breakfast that I didn't cook?" he asked, trying to wrap his brain around what Aunt Petunia was saying.
Aunt Petunia sighed. It almost sounded regretful. Almost.
"Why don't you come down and eat something?" she asked. "After you've eaten we can talk."
Harry watched in dumbfounded silence as Aunt Petunia smiled, turned, and walked down the stairs.
'She smiled at me!' Harry thought. 'What in bloody Hell is going on here?' He shook himself from his thoughts and walked down to the kitchen.
As soon as Harry entered the room, Uncle Vernon handed him a hot cup of tea.
"You look pale," he said with concern. "Sit and eat some of these good eggs your aunt made."
Harry had to force himself to move, sitting at the table and staring at his aunt and uncle in obvious disbelief. Aunt Petunia set a plate of steaming food in front of him. He ate politely, although he was still nauseous from his bout with the Cruciatus Curse the night before. His dream was very vivid, but all he could remember now was the pain. He finished about half of what he was given and then put his fork down.
"I'm sorry," he said gently. "I don't think I can eat any more."
"Are you sure, Harry?" Aunt Petunia asked, eyeing his plate. "You barely ate half."
Harry swallowed a sarcastic comment. "I guess I could eat a little more," he said uncertainly. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were actually being nice to him and he didn't want to ruin it. He forced down the rest of his breakfast and sat back in his chair, trying to keep it down.
Aunt Petunia smiled as he sat back and picked up his plate, putting it in the sink. After that, she sat down across from him.
"We need to talk, Harry," she said gently.
"What about?" Harry asked uncertainly.
"What happened last night?" Uncle Vernon asked. "You were screaming so loud you could wake the dead."
Harry swallowed hard, wondering how to explain Voldemort to his family. "Er," he said uncertainly. "Do you remember how my parents died?"
Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon nodded slowly.
"Well," Harry went on, "the wi… er, I mean, the person who killed them wants to kill me now. I'm connected to him through my scar. When he tortures someone else, I can feel it too."
Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were staring at him in shock.
"You can feel whatever he does to them?" she asked.
"How long has this been happening?" Uncle Vernon asked.
"Er," Harry said. "For a while now. Since last year, mostly."
After the conversation about Voldemort, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were much friendlier towards Harry. Harry continued to have nightmares and pain during the nights, but now whenever he woke up Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were there, offering support. It was strange to have them be there for him, but he was glad that they finally cared enough to try to help him.
Three days later, Hedwig came with a letter for Uncle Vernon from Hogwarts. Harry was certain that an explosion was coming, but none did.
Vernon opened the letter as Hedwig landed on Harry's shoulder to watch curiously. Uncle Vernon didn't say anything. Just as Vernon opened his mouth to speak, the door opened and Aunt Petunia came in with Harry's cousin, Dudley. Dudley was very fat and looked a lot like his father, except his hair was blonde.
"Dad!" Dudley exclaimed when he saw Harry. "Harry's bird is sitting on his shoulder!" He looked like Christmas had come early. He had been at his private school, Smeltings, for summer school because his grades were bad. He was expecting Harry to get into trouble.
Uncle Vernon didn't even look up from the letter he was reading. "That's nice, son," he said distractedly.
"Mum, aren't you going to say something?" Dudley complained.
Aunt Petunia walked passed Harry and stroked Hedwig's feathers gently. "She's a lovely bird," she said.
Dudley stood in the doorway, his face red with anger. Harry gave him a smile as Dudley turned and stormed up the stairs.