Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Friends don't belong to me, shockingly.
So this is the first part of a series of loosely connected drabble-y fics, all revolving around Harry's every fifth birthday. (This one is five; the next will be ten, then fifteen and so on.) I don't know how often I'll update or how many birthdays I'll actually get to.
Part One: Five
The cupboard was too warm and his oversized pajamas felt scratchy and uncomfortable, but Harry was happy. Well and truly happy – because today was his fifth birthday and he'd been a good boy for ages and ages and hadn't made anything freakish happen at all for weeks, and maybe he'd finally get a present or two and a chocolate cake and Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia would sing Happy Birthday to him and smile at him like they did at Dudley.
He held his breath in anticipation when he heard the thundering noise above his head that meant Dudley, awake in time to watch his favorite cartoons, was pounding his way down the stairs. He only did it so loudly to wake up Harry and to make the spiders fall on him, but even that didn't ruin his mood today.
It was his birthday, and he'd been good. He'd been better than good – he'd been normal. And now Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon would ruffle his hair like they did Dudley's, and Uncle Vernon would call him 'sport' and Aunt Petunia would hug him and they'd take him to the park and hang his drawings up on the fridge and act like he was theirs.
He'd finally belong. He knew it. He'd been good, he knew he had, and Uncle Vernon had hardly yelled at him in days and Aunt Petunia hadn't called him any names for a while and recently even Dudley had been more interested in his shows than in Harry Hunting.
He strained his ears, and could hear more footsteps above. Uncle Vernon's heavy tread and Petunia's quieter, sharper step made an odd chorus of whumpclacks that normally would have made him grin, but now just made him nervous. Sucking in a huge gulp of air and holding it so it'd fill him up like candy and hot chocolate and everything he just knew he'd have from now on, Harry perched on the edge of his cot, hands fisted in his pajama top. He'd finally belong.
He'd been good.
His lungs started to burn a little from the strain of holding his breath before the cupboard door opened at last, and he exhaled sharply when he saw his aunt standing there. Petunia glanced in at him, and her eyes went a bit wide and her lips curled oddly and Harry was almost tempted to laugh at the strange expression, but he wasn't so sure of himself yet that he'd risk it. His aunt and uncle always yelled at him when he laughed.
"Boy," his aunt hissed, shuddering, "Get that spider out of your hair."
Startled, Harry reached up and swatted at his head, and sure enough a spider tumbled off his head and onto his cot. It skittered away immediately, and if Aunt Petunia hadn't been watching him he might have apologized, but Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon didn't like it when he talked to anyone or anything that didn't talk to him first.
"Wash up and get dressed, and be quick about it," his aunt ordered, already turning away. "Today's a big day."
Harry's breath caught and his head jerked up and he'd been right, he'd been good –
"We're visiting Aunt Marge," she finished.
Aunt Marge. Aunt Marge hated him and she glared at him and this wasn't how it was supposed to go, and why would she want him to be there on his birthday anyway?
Harry frowned. Maybe they'd forgotten? He hadn't made a fuss about his birthday like Dudley did, so maybe there'd been nothing to remind them that he was five whole years old now.
Wondering how to make them remember without making them mad, he edged out of his cupboard, eyes flicking from Dudley to Uncle Vernon to Aunt Petunia. Dudley and Uncle Vernon were at the table already, and Aunt Petunia had gone to the stove – she was making bacon and eggs and toast. Harry's mouth watered a bit, and he wondered if he'd get some of the bacon and eggs, and not just a dry scrap of toast, if he reminded them that today was a big day for him, too.
"What are you waiting for?" Uncle Vernon grunted, eying him through squinty, watery blue eyes, his blonde moustache twitching. "You heard your aunt! We need to get you to Mrs. Figg."
Harry's heart didn't sink. It plummeted straight to the pit of his stomach, where it twisted up tight and swirled around and made him feel queasy and a little weak. He didn't like Aunt Marge but he'd thought…he'd thought maybe Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia would want him there, would want him with them, now that he was five years old and a good boy.
"Mrs. Figg?" he repeated, and his voice came out a little thinner than normal. "But – "
"Well, we can hardly take you to Marge's lovely house, who knows what you'd do to it! And we certainly aren't about to leave you here alone to destroy our own home," Petunia said sharply.
"The boy's hopeless," Uncle Vernon muttered to his wife after sending Harry a dark glower, "Completely useless."
He hated it when they talked about him like he wasn't there.
Later, Harry felt stupid and useless and all the other things his aunt and uncle normally called him, but at the time it seemed vital – imperative – that he open up his mouth and announce, "I'm five. It's my birfday."
Uncle Vernon snorted, making the ends of his moustache flutter. "Useless," he repeated, glowering at his newspaper as Aunt Petunia's bacon sizzled in the pan. "Go wash up, boy, and quickly or you'll do without breakfast! Mustn't keep Mrs. Figg waiting."
Dudley snickered, and Harry felt for a moment like he couldn't move, like he'd stand there and stare and feel stupid forever.
And he really was stupid. He'd been so stupid to think things would be any different just because it was his birthday; he'd been stupid to think he'd belong, stupid to think they'd want him.
But he'd been so good.