No. 4 Privet Drive
Beginning of Summer 1996

Harry knew this summer break would be harder than the rest. He saw the look his Uncle gave him when he heard Moody give his warning. "Those Freaks won't threaten my family!" He roared as Harry got in the car. Harry didn't say a word the whole trip. He could see his uncle glancing in the rear view mirror every so often with an icy glare. He didn't care though. What ever Vernon would do to him was nothing compared to the pain he felt at losing Sirius to the veil.

When they had reached 4 Privet Drive Vernon had slammed the drivers seat door and then wrenched open Harry's door. Harry could see that the prominent vein on Vernon's head was poking out of its place as his face grew a deep red with rage. "Get your shit out of the trunk and put it in the upstairs bedroom. Then I want you in that cupboard and not a peep till I tell you you can leave. Got that?!"

Harry begrudgingly looked up into Vernon's red face. "Yes, sir." He whispered, sliding out of the back seat and walking over to the trunk of the car. He lifted his heavy trunk out of the car Trying to make the walk up to the spare bedroom as slow as possible to stall the inevitable. Sooner then he thought Harry was placing his precious trunk in the closet of his former room. Making his way down the stairs he knew he had done something to anger Vernon since he was standing at the base of the stairs still with that red face of his.

"What did I do?" He asked before he could stop himself.

If it was at all possible Vernon's face grew a deeper shade of purple-red. "I've had enough of your attitude." He yelled, storming up the rest of the stairs and grabbing Harry's upper arm. Vernon dragged Harry down the rest of the stairs faster than Harry's little feet could muster. "I am going to give you 20 pieces of paper you are going to write out the same response for each until you have filled them all. I will be sending them with your damn owl. You got that?"

"Yes." Harry said shortly.

"Yes what?" Vernon asked, violently shaking Harry's arm as he did so.

"Yes, sir."

Vernon shoved Harry of in the direction of the kitchen "Get going."

Harry sat at the kitchen table where he found a stack of paper waiting for him along with a pen. It took him 10 minutes to write the same sentence on the 20 pieces of paper. The sentence read Not much going on here, just doing homework. Hope you guys are well. He signed each of them with his name. By the end his hand was cramped up, he dare not show it in front of Vernon though. He may make him do something about not showing his gratitude at being given these pieces of paper to write on.

"Now get in the cupboard." Vernon said in a threatening voice. Harry scampered out of the kitchen before anyone could say Quidditch. Not that any one would.

He opened the cupboard door to find the thin mattress was still there along witha few thin blankets he had used when he was younger. Harry crawled in the small space that had been his comfort zone for years now. He could here Vernon walking over to the door and locking it shut. Harry sighed in defeat. This was going to be a long break.

Harry was woken by the noise of someone rapping on the side of the cupboard door and the sound of the lock sliding out of its place. He was grateful he didn't have any nightmares last night, but the thought of not having nightmares only brought him to reality that Sirius wasn't coming back. As Harry opened the door and crawled out he came face to face with his aunt Petunia. "Go make the breakfast. You will have none of it. The list of chores we want you to complete is on the fridge. If they're not completed by the end of the day you'll have Vernon to answer to." With that she stalked back up the stairs without a backwards glance.

Harry walked into the kitchen. Getting out a frying pan for the eggs, the eggs and a loaf of bread from the fridge. He began cooking the breakfast.

As he was just setting the food on the table he could here the great thundering of the stairs that marked the approach of Vernon and Dudley. Luckily he was done. He had barely enough time to go to his spot to stand by the sink while the two whales sat down to eat. Neither of them noticed Harry, nor did they try to acknowledge him. Harry took this opportunity to sneak out of the kitchen and grab the chore list that was on the fridge.

He looked down at the list when he got to the entry way and almost dropped it in his shock. It was a whole piece of printing paper full of chores he had to do. He would never be able to finish this in the time his uncle got home from work. Well, better start sooner than later. He thought with a frown.

The first item on the list was to do the dishes, he couldn't do those yet since the whales weren't done eating. The second item was to wash all the windows on the inside and out. Now how the heck was he supposed to do that when they didn't own a ladder? Best just get what I can done. He thought as he stuffed the paper in his day old jeans pockets.

He could tell it was high noon since the heat of the sun was excruciatingly burning his neck and arms. He wouldn't be surprised if he was sun burnt by the end of the week, the day even. More than half of the items on the list were for outside chores. Mow the lawn, rake the grass clippings, empty the gutters and so forth. Harry wouldn't be surprised if the Dursley's had him do the outside chores every day just to keep him busy.

As he finished weeding the last of the garden his stomach gave a loud grumble. Harry sighed. If this break was going to be anyway like his last ones he wouldn't be able to eat a scrap of food either till he finished his chores, which would be a fat chance. The Dursley's always find a way to make them incomplete. Or when the Dursley's thought he'd gone enough without food and so they would give him a slice of bread and some water. He had come to take his meals at Hogwarts for granted, sure today was only the second day of his break but it was the first day of hell for him. He was sure that he wasn't going to be able to eat more than two times this break, once for each month. Harry had gained a little weight over his 5th year at Hogwarts, to only lose that and more in these two months of 'vacation'.

He was glad his uncle was away at work, other wise he would have found reason to give him more chores. Heck he wouldn't put it past Petunia to give him those extra chores.

Harry's day was full of tiring chores, he was on the last one on the list. Make dinner. When his aunt came in and wrecked everything. "Vernon is coming in late tonight, his company just lost an immportant client." She said with a smirk, as if that was a good thing. In reality that was a bad thing, Vernon would come home drunk as ever and he would blame everything on his mind on Harry. Even Harry's existence.

Harry finished the dinner with impending dread. Then he made his way to his cupboard to wait for the unavoidable.

What seemed like minutes Harry heard a car door slam outside, announcing the arrival of Vernon. The front door slammed open with a loud hollow bang. Harry could feel his insides turning in dread. "Boy!" Harry heard Vernon roar.

Before Harry could answer his cupboard door was wrenched open so hard it almost flew off its hinges. Vernon grabbed Harry by the collar of the shirt and pinned him against the wall with his meaty arm. Harry could smell the liquor in his breath and he could see his blood shot eyes. "You know what you did?" He said in a whisper. Harry just kept looking him in his blood shot eyes, to scared to answer. "You lost me my most important client, because of your freak attitude!" He yelled as he punched Harry hard in the stomach, if he wasn't being held up by Vernon he would gave doubled over.

The first month continued along the same lines. Harry doing chore after endless chore then every other night Vernon would come home drunk. Those were the days Harry started to dread. Soon Vernon had stopped using just his fists and started bringing out his wide belt. Just as it was before he went to Hogwarts

No one at Headquarters noticed that Harry's notes where the same sentence, or that he had put a little clue in there for his friends to pick up. After all, Ron and Hermione knew the Dursley's didn't let Harry do his homework, right?

Harry began to speak less and less, until he never talked at all. No one listened to his useless words anyway. He had been losing weight at an alarming rate. He didn't weigh much to begin with. It was already half way into the second month and he had only eaten once, like he predicted. He looked like a walking skeleton. His ribs were visible if he didn't have baggy clothes on. He couldn't hide his cheek bones in his face though. Luckily they weren't as prominent as his ribs or wrists.

On the day that marked a two weeks until school Harry had the break of a lifetime. A brown barn owl had showed up when he was making dinner. He showed it to his aunt, not wanting to anger anyone by opening it. Petunia opened it, pursed her lips like she had just swallowed a sour lemon and called for Vernon, sending Harry to the cupboard right after he finished the dinner. Not noticing the small boy masterfully sneaking a handful of the hot food from the pan, careful not to burn himself.

He could here their exasperated voices drifting from the kitchen as he stuffed the still hot food in his mouth and swallowed it greedily. Sighing when the small mouthful of food was gone. Only succeeding in making him more hungry, he curled up with the thin blanket he had grown to think as his life line. He wished he could just disappear, be back at Grimmauld place where every body he knew was.

"Boy!" He heard Vernon yell, breaking him from his depressing thoughts.

Harry scampered out of the cupboard and into the kitchen. There he saw his aunt and uncle and the owl all standing by the window. "It seems some freaks want you to go with them to a freak house in two days. Seeing as that would get rid of you faster we have decided to agree." He Vernon said with a look of disgust. "Write them a letter telling them to come get you. Not. The. Freak. Way." He said putting emphasis on the last four words as he jabbed his pudgy finger in the air with spit flying unoticed.

With a shaking hand Harry wrote out a response, the words were barely legible due to the shaking. Hopefully they would be able to read his writing.

After the barn owl was sent with Harry's reply the beatings stopped, which Harry was grateful for. He suspected that they stopped only so no one would find out about them.

The two days couldn't have come any sooner. Harry still wasn't feeling as strong as he was when he got back from Hogwarts, but he wasn't as sore from the beatings he used to receive. That in itself was a blessing. He could now bend over with out major pain, there still was pain but not as excruciating as it used to be with daily whippings.

Vernon had finally unlocked the spare bedroom so Harry was able to get his trunk and his wand. He went to the back shed where Vernon was keeping Hedwig. She was alive but skinny, not as much as Harry but enough to tell him that she needed food. "Hi Hedwig." Harry said in a soothing voice that was a little rough from its lack of use, she nipped him in the finger affectionately. "I'm sorry you were put through this." He added softly. She gave a hoot.

Harry waited for who ever was going to come pick him up in the living room. He was surprised the Dursley's even let him in there in the first place. Harry had fished out a pair of his clothes that he had bought in Hogsmeade. They didn't fit him anymore as he guessed would happen.

A few minutes later there was a knock at the door. "Boy! Get the door." Vernon yelled from upstairs. He was getting low on energy as he still hadn't eaten anything. Just the walk to the door took him longer than expected. When he answered the door he was shocked to see the person he expected least to be the one to pick him up. Snape.

Snape gave one look at Harry's disheveled figure and had a look of disgust on his face in an instant. "You look like HELL Potter." He stated bluntly. Harry had to restrain himself from laughing out right to his face he knew nothing. NOTHING. Instead he kept a neutral expression that he had learned to perfect over the years.

Harry left the dour man standing in the door way while he gathered his belongings. When he stepped past Snape's shocked face he took Hedwig out of her cage and whispered in her ear to fly to GrimmauldPlace. She took off with a small hoot of concern. Harry turned backto see Snape had a look of concern. Harry stopped in his tracks, avoiding his Potions Professor's gaze.

Snape shrunk Harry's trunk and owl cage then handed them to Harry to put in his pockets. "We are going to be apparating there, as much as I am loathe to say this. You'll have to hold on tight." Harry shuffled slowly towards Snape and cautiously grabbed onto his arm. Missing the look of concern still on his face.

"Unless you want to get lost I suggest you hold on tighter, Potter. He said in a tone that clearly said 'I'm not impressed'. Although, there was something else there. Something Harry couldn't place.

Harry sighed and begrudgingly held on as tight as he could, which wasn't much. With out warning Harry all of a sudden felt like he was being sucked through a straw and not any straw, those kind they give you with the cups of coffee that have two sides and you can't get anything out of them besides stirring the coffee.

As the sensation of being sucked through a straw left a new feeling of dizziness crept on. As they appeared outside Grimmauld Place Harry could see the sides of his vision start to fade in on him. Before he knew it the blackness spread all over and he blacked out on the pavement in front of Grimmauld Place.