Disclaimer: The story is mine, the world of Harry Potter is not. But that's okay... because I'm writing about Hallie, not Harry. Ha ha.
A/N: STOP! If you haven't read "Harry Potter: The 'Boy' Who Lived" then I recommend you do so now and come back later.
Anyway... YAY! IT'S THE SEQUEL!!
(If this chapter seems a little off… Yeah, I've been correcting again… Curse my perfectionism!)
Privet Drive was a peaceful Muggle street, and quite ordinary in that every house was an exact, orderly duplicate of the one next to it, right down to the patterned roof shingles, and even the window shutters were color-coordinated. Each two-story home was centered upon a small plot of dirt, complete with an immaculately trimmed lawn and only the best cars on the market in each driveway. The people who lived on that street were all very well-to-do and serious about their reputations, but none more so than the Dursley family at Number Four.
Vernon and Petunia strived to be the perfect example of a proper British family. Vernon worked as an executive at Grunnings' Drills, and Petunia was the homely wife who cooked, cleaned, and held weekly tea parties with the other ladies on the street. They had one son, Dudley, who was just "so sweet and popular around the neighborhood!" In reality, he ruled the local kids with his gang, and terrorized both small children and animals on a daily basis.
His parents, of course, were completely blind to his bullying ways. They noticed little beyond what they wanted to see. In fact, at times, they hardly noticed that there was a fourth member to their tidy little household. Since returning that June, fresh from her first year at… that place… Hallie Potter was much better left under the radar. Let the girl stay in Dudley's second bedroom, as long as she kept quiet and out of their hair- that was Vernon Dursley's philosophy. The truth of the matter was that he was just too bloody scared to go within ten feet of the soon-to-be-twelve-year-old. Hallie was now a force to be reckoned with.
Or so her relatives thought.
But Hallie could appreciate the need for a healthy dose of fear. Life was so much sweeter when her aunt and uncle lived in terror of waking up as toads one morning. Holding one's family under such threats might not seem normal, but since when had Hallie ever fit that category?
Hallie Potter was not what you would call normal by any definition. Disregarding her status as a wand-waving, magic-casting witch, Hallie was also a celebrity in the Wizarding World. At the age of one, she had survived the unbeatable killing curse and defeated the worst dark lord in a century. Everyone in the magical world knew her name, her family, and probably her cloak size, as well. The only information they were lacking was her gender.
Thanks to one meddling old wizard by the name of Albus Dumbledore, Hallie was known as "Harry James Potter, the Boy Who Lived." For her own safety, Hallie had agreed to the ruse, and was confined to the male role during her entire first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It wasn't, perhaps, the best introduction to magic for Hallie, being told her parents were murdered and then given a powerful amulet to seal the illusion "for her own protection." Still, it could have been much worse.
She had two wonderful friends…
She also had some rather annoying enemies…
And let's not forget the disembodied spirit of Lord Voldemort!
Voldemort had shown himself just two weeks ago in an attempt to regain his powers and kill Hallie once and for all. She had stopped him, though, with the help of her two best friends, and received a good chunk of House points in reward. Unfortunately, Hallie now knew that he was out there, biding his time. He may have been a ghostly shell of his former self, but it was still bloody terrifying to come face to face with the Dark Lord, clinging like some mutant parasite to her Defense Professor.
Other than that close call, Hallie had experienced a rather enjoyable year. She was Sorted into Gryffindor House, the same as her parents, and even won a place on the Quidditch team- their youngest seeker in a century, too! She made several new friends but, most importantly, she'd met Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. They were complete opposites in every way, and couldn't help but bicker with each other constantly, but when it came to Hallie, they were there no matter what. She couldn't have asked for better companions, especially ones who would leap into danger without a moment's hesitation, and who accepted her for what she was. Yes, that had been the true test, revealing her secret.
When Hallie had agreed to disguise herself, she had done it for her safety and her sanity (Just think of the backlash when her 'fans' learned the truth!). It had never occurred to her, however, that she'd be lying to her friends, as well. Hallie had quailed at the mere thought of finally telling them she was a girl. It turned out that she needn't have worried, though. When Ron and Hermione had seen the real her, it hadn't mattered. To them, she was still the same person on the inside, just a little- er, different, on the outside.
Hallie hadn't received word from either of her friends yet, but she wasn't worried. Ron had promised to invite her for the summer, and she knew that he wouldn't let her down. Anyway, Hallie remembered that owl of his, Errol. The poor thing looked like it could keel over and die any day now, so she wouldn't be surprised if he turned up late, or not at all. Hermione, on the other hand, was in France for the majority of the summer, and didn't even have her own owl. Hallie had considered sending Hedwig to her, but she didn't want to tire her out. Besides, it was a miracle that the Dursleys were even letting the bird out. Petunia would throw a fit if Hallie sent Hedwig out more than was necessary. She was already in hysterics over the number of dead rats that both Hedwig and Sable were leaving around the house. Hallie strongly suspected it was done on purpose by her two familiars, but she wasn't about to interfere.
In regards to her relatives, well, they were being about as pleasant as could be expected, but things had definitely improved. For one thing, Hallie was no longer confined to the cramped cupboard under the stairs. Her bedroom of ten years had gone back to storing cleaning supplies, not that it was ever proper for holding small children. Instead, Hallie had been moved into Dudley's second bedroom, where he kept the multitude of toys he'd broken or gotten bored with. There were also a few pieces of worn out furniture that her uncle had found, including a lopsided desk that Hallie had propped up with an old baby block, a dusty wardrobe that refused to shut, and a low bed with a lumpy mattress. It was still a big step up for Hallie... which was kind of pathetic if she bothered to think about it. It certainly made her homesick for the Gryffindor dormitories, snoring boys aside.
Hallie was lucky to have even gotten the room, though. Dudley had completely flipped when he saw her moving her things (few as they were) in. He didn't even want the room, but it was more the principle of the thing. Hallie believed that even the people the next street over had heard his overblown tantrum. She had even heard one of Dudley's gang asking who made "those pansy shrieks." Dudley, of course, blamed it all on Hallie. He claimed she was screaming about a spider. As someone who had grown up checking her clothing for the creepy-crawlers every morning, Hallie thought it a poor excuse.
Regardless of Dudley's efforts, Hallie had been moved upstairs not long after supper on her first night back at Privet Drive, and she was even allowed to keep her school trunk in the room. Not that she had really given her uncle a choice in the matter.
Not a moment after the ignition was turned off, Vernon had tried to punish her, physically pulling her from the back seat of the car and dragging her inside. He'd only begun to threaten her for her indiscretions the previous summer (Did rampaging zoo animals ring a bell?), when Hallie had made a little threatening of her own. Pulling out her wand once more, she made some offhand comments about learning some truly fantastic things at school, such as turning people into toads. That was an outright lie, since McGonagall didn't teach human transfiguration until sixth year, but her uncle didn't need to know that. He had gaped at her furiously for a moment, before hissing in a strained tone that she really was getting a bit big for her cupboard.
So, here Hallie was, for once actually enjoying her summer vacation. It wasn't exactly stimulating, still being confined to the parameters of Privet Drive, but at least it was relaxing. She hadn't been forced to do all the household chores this year (Not even the cooking!), and her relatives were ignoring her for the most part. Normally, she would be expected to wake up early every morning, fix breakfast, vacuum the house, reorganize the garage, wash and wax the car, repaint the fence, prune the garden, make Dudley lunch, wipe down the windows, wash the dishes, do the laundry, dust the living room, mow the lawn, make dinner, take out the trash... and various other things that were mostly just to keep her out of the way. Was it really necessary to wash the car and mow the lawn every day?
Hallie was kept busy at all hours of the day so she wouldn't "get into any mischief," and the few minutes she did have free were spent "Hallie Hunting." That was a game where Dudley and his friends gave her a five-minute head start, before chasing Hallie down and giving her a good wallop, just to remind her of her place. Hallie had learned at an early age that fighting back did little good against five boys who were much bigger than her and had no qualms about hitting a girl. Since then, she'd learned to run for one of her hiding places and stay there until they got bored and gave up.
She had yet to encounter any of Dudley's friends this summer, and she hoped it stayed that way. Unless she wanted to break the Muggle Secrecy Act, and get expelled from Hogwarts for underage magic, Hallie couldn't exactly use her wand to stave them off. They would probably think it was just a joke, anyway, and snap it just for the heck of it. Now, that would be a disaster. She was actually surprised Dudley hadn't thought of that yet. All he had to do was sit on Hallie's wand, and he could torment her all summer without fear of being turned into a pig, which was Hallie's secret ambition for when she turned of age.
'Alright, enough fantasizing, Hallie, you're almost finished,' she berated herself, as she skimmed the page in her textbook on Mandrakes. She had only three inches left of her Herbology essay. That would leave just Transfiguration, History of Magic and Potions, since she'd finished Charms the previous day. There was no Defense homework for obvious reasons.
Hallie had decided to get an early start on her summer homework, something that would have sent her friend, Ron, into convulsions. He would think her crazy for doing assignments during vacation, but all Hallie could say was that Hermione had been a bad influence on her. She was also rather bored at the moment, and if reading through her textbooks was the only method of relieving that boredom, then so be it.
"The cry of the Mandrake is fatal to all who hear it..." Hallie muttered aloud as she wrote.
'Wow, death by screaming plant... Eh, at least it's not Devil's Snare again…' Hallie shuddered as she finished off the last inch of parchment.
"…but in its infant stage… blah blah blah…"
Hallie signed her name at the top with a flourish and capped off her ink bottle, before stowing everything away in the loose floorboard under her bed. She had discovered it by accident when she stubbed her toe on the rough wood one morning, and decided it made an excellent hiding spot. There was no way she was leaving her homework laying around for Dudley to find and tear up. She'd also placed her wand, her father's invisibility cloak, and the necklace from Dumbledore under there. Better safe than sorry. After looking through the photo album from Hagrid, Hallie had hidden it there as well. She could only imagine Petunia's reaction if she were to see the pictures of her mother and father. That woman's jealousy knew no bounds.
'Of course, it must be hard to look like horse when your sister is so beautiful,' Hallie thought, not really sympathetic of her horrid aunt.
She had never really seen a picture of her parents before, except for a glimpse of one that her aunt had torn up only moments after she found it. Hallie now knew that she looked a great deal like her mother. It was kind of amusing that she was almost identical to her father, James, while under the glamour, but by herself, Hallie had her mother's small frame, round facial features, and bright green eyes. The only thing she really had of her father was the messy black hair. She loved having something of both parents, really, but couldn't it have been anything else other than the hair? Hallie was still growing her shoulder-length locks out in the hope that they would be tamed by the extra weight. At the rate she was going, she feared it would be down to her waist before it got any flatter.
As she tucked the drying parchment under her bed, Hallie pulled the thin album out, running a hand over the cover fondly. She knew she would never be able to thank Hagrid enough for the gift. She flipped it open as she sat back on her bed, pausing as the mattress creaked loudly. The Dursleys had all gone to bed, and Hallie didn't want to hear their complaints the next morning if she woke any of them up. Magical threats didn't work on Vernon's tiny brain before he'd consumed at least two cups of coffee.
She turned the first page of the album, searching out the pictures that were fast becoming her favorites. There was one of what must have been her birth, with both Lily and James sitting on a hospital bed and cooing at the tiny bundle between them. The best part about wizard photos was that they moved, and every now and then, Hallie could see the bundle shift and a small, pink limb poke out, which one of her parents would grab at teasingly.
James leaned over to make faces at the baby when, suddenly, a chubby hand reached out and snatched his glasses off. Lily began laughing at the flabbergasted look on her husband's face, before gently pulling the wire frames out of the drooly grasp. Hallie fought back a laugh as James charmed his glasses dry.
Another photo that Hallie loved to look at was of her parents' wedding. There they were, looking so unbelievably happy. They were both very young, but obviously in love with each other, if the sickeningly besotted looks exchanged were anything to go by. Her mother was wearing white silk robes similar to a wedding dress, and her father wore black formal robes. They both chose that moment to kiss each other passionately, making Hallie scrunch up her nose and blush. No one should be forced to watch that kind of action between their parents…
A man behind James snickered at whoever held the camera and nudged James, saying something that got him a withering glare from Hallie's mum. He tossed his long, dark hair roguishly, and gave Lily an unapologetic grin. Next to him was another man, who wore a slightly tired, but cheerful expression. He watched the others with exasperation and shrugged in Hallie's direction, which gave her a pause.
He looked vaguely familiar, but Hallie couldn't remember where she had seen him before... Then there was the last man, this one short and plump. He reminded Hallie a bit of Neville Longbottom, but with none of his timid pleasantry. This man also twitched a lot as his watery eyes flickered back and forth between the lip-locked couple and the other wedding guests. He would grin a little, exposing rather large front teeth, before checking over his shoulder in a paranoid fashion.
Hallie dismissed him as creepy and turned her attention back to the second man, the one with short, sandy hair and amber eyes. Where had she seen him before? He was obviously a friend of her parents, possibly long dead, if that was the case… But why did it feel like Hallie knew him more than anyone else in the photo? His weary face teased the edges of her memory, perhaps with a few more age lines, and deeper shadows beneath the eyes…
Dudley Dursley was experiencing a very pleasant dream that night. He rolled over on his queen-size bed, a sappy smile on his face. In his mind, all was at last right in the world. In other words, Dudley was the supreme ruler of the Earth, and everyone bowed down to his awesome power.
He sat upon a gilded thrown in his own castle, his massive bulk seeping over the sides of it. Dudley was garbed in magnificent golden robes, with a thick crown perched precariously on his round head. The throne room was cluttered with large, expensive toys, teetering piles of sweets, and his personal circus performers who danced around the clock. Servants attended to his every whim with a mere wave of his hand.
"WHERE IS MY CAKE?!" Dudley's voice boomed, as he banged a fist against the arm of his throne impatiently.
A heavy-set man with a walrus mustache came toddling down the endless red carpet. His sweating face was beet red by the time he reached his son. "Forgive me, your highness! There was slight delay in the kitchen, but your mother is coming any second now with your cake!"
Dudley sneered at his sniveling father. The man was saved from his wrath by the double doors banging open. A thin, horsey woman came in, a harness attached to her back as she dragged a dessert cart by two thick cables. An enormous six-layer cake towered on the cart, covered in strawberries and chocolate icing. She stumbled forward, groaning under the weight.
"Here... you are... Diddly-poo..." Petunia gasped.
Her son turned his nose up at the cake dismissively. "Pathetic. The last one was at least twelve layers!"
"I am so sorry, Dudley-Wudley! I'm not worthy of being your mother!" she wailed, dropping to all fours. "Lock me in the dungeons- I don't care! I deserve only the worst for making you unhappy!"
"Guards, take her away!" Dudley ordered, and Malcolm and Piers stalked forward. Piers grinned evilly as he picked up the sobbing woman, and Malcolm patted the large cricket bat secured to his belt.
"I grow bored with this," Dudley drawled. "Bring out the entertainment!"
There was a loud pop, a cloud of purple fog, and a giant top hat appeared in the center of the room. With a snap of his fingers, the show began. Dudley's favorite magician from the telly, The Great Humberto, appeared in a flash of light. His royal blue cape flared around his shoulders as he pulled out a thick black wand and smiled charmingly at the audience.
"For my first trick, Your Highness, I will pull a rabbit out of this hat!" He rapped his wand against the giant hat and said, "Abra Kadabra!"
Then Humberto reached in, his arm vanishing entirely, and came back up with a set of black rabbit ears clutched in his hand. Attached to those ears was Dudley's freak of a cousin, looking horribly frightened and squealing to get free of the man. Hallie struggled some more as Humberto's beautiful assistant wheeled out a long box.
"For my next trick, I will cut her in half!"
Dudley clapped and cheered while his cousin pleaded for mercy.
"Dudley, don't do this! I'm sorry I was such a pest! I didn't mean it! Please no-"
Humberto's assistance shut her in the box, with only her feet and bunny-eared head sticking out. Grinning, the magician pulled out a wicked-looking saw. The blade glinted as he brought it towards the box and-
A loud crash woke Dudley from the best part of his dream. Grunting in annoyance, he blinked in the dark room and struggled to sit up. He finally got his bulk leaning against the headboard, and glanced around his room for the source of the noise.
Everything looked all right. Dudley's big screen TV was still tuned in to his late-night cartoons. The computer sitting on his desk was turned off. The pile of dirty clothes for his mum to do were still in the corner. The floor was still covered in Mars Bar wrappers, crumple paper plates, and broken glass- Wait... Broken glass?
The small white lamp that usually stood on Dudley's bedside table was knocked over, the shade gone, and the light bulb shattered on the rug. Dudley shrugged. He must have knocked it over in his sleep, or something. Oh, well, he'd get someone to clean it up in the morning. He yawned widely, and turned over to go back to sleep. Maybe he could finish that dream?
Dudley snuggled deeper into his Star Wars bed sheets. Just as he was closing his beady blue eyes, he saw something, a shadow, sitting on his bed. Dudley's eyes snapped open, and he tried to make out the thing positioned not two feet from his face. Whatever it was had a dark-colored coat, making it barely visible in his room. Then it blinked.
Two slanted eyes, the same shade as Dudley's, peered down at him. He could do nothing but stare at the strange animal in surprise until, suddenly, the watery blue eyes swirled, darkening to a bloody red, and the pupils narrowed to demonic points. The creature's mouth stretched open lazily, revealing two sets of tiny silver fangs...
Dudley screamed bloody murder and jumped back in horror, toppling off the side of his bed. He hit the floor with enough force to shake the entire house as he continued to shriek, only stopping for breath, then starting again.
Dudley's voice woke the residents of Number Four easily, including the ones next door. Lights were turned on in bedrooms and people opened their windows, yelling for quiet. Two doors down, the neighbors' dog started up, barking in response to Dudley's own howls, followed by the other animals on the street, from Number Two's Great Dane to Number Eight's Chihuahua. Even old Mrs. Figg's cats became irritated on Wisteria Walk as they heard the noise. The oddly intelligent creatures were meowing for their owner to come have a look.
Quietly ensconced in her bedroom, Hallie had been on the verge of a mental breakthrough when the piercing sound of Dudley's scream broke through her reverie, startling her so much that she automatically reached for her wand in defense. Hallie heard the ruckus outside, including a car alarm or two that were set off.
Warily, she tiptoed to her bedroom door, prepared for anything she might find. It was likely that Dudley just had a nightmare, but Hallie wasn't taking any chances after last month. Creeping into the hall, she pushed down her natural desire to light her wand tip to see better in the dark. As she reached her cousin's room, the door creaked open ominously, showing only darkness beyond.
Hallie held her wand out and took a step forward... only to see her own cat slip out. She raised an eyebrow at Sable's appearance. The sleek black feline stared back innocently with her own emerald eyes, and gave a light meow. Hallie snorted.
Just then, Vernon and Petunia burst out of their bedroom. Her aunt was crouched fearfully behind her husband, shaking in her tacky pink robe, while Vernon held a golf club in his hands. Dudley stumbled out into the hall at the moment, pale-faced and trembling. He gasped at the sight of Hallie's cat and tripped backwards onto the floor.
"Mummy," he yelled, pointing at Sable, "it's a m-monster!"
Hallie looked back at her cowering family and said in dry tone, "It's a cat."
"IT TRIED TO KILL ME!" Dudley flinched as Sable meowed again.
Vernon glared furiously at Hallie and started yelling, while Petunia seemed fearful for her son's sanity. It was just a cat, after all, albeit a freaky-looking one. Hallie could only shake her head in disgust as her uncle continued to shout in her face, spittle flying unpleasantly.
"Ron better get me out of here soon," Hallie mumbled under her breath. "These people are nutters!"
"Me-ow," Sable said agreeably.
REVIEW, OR DUDLEY MAY NEVER SHUT UP!
Well, what did you guys think? Was it okay? I already have the next chapter underway, don't worry.
Coming soon: The big dinner with the Masons, Dobby's warning, Hallie's punishment, Draco Malfoy's summer exploits, Ron and Hermione, and Hallie's rescue... I can assure you that things are going to start to deviate from the original plot very soon!