In which all hope is lost, then found.
Harry lay on his too thin mattress, his breathing harsh and labored. Several things ran through his head at once; too jumbled to make any sense of. But one thought was constantly at the forefront of his mind; 'Why would Ron say those things? They're not true! I never wanted Sirius to die! Or Cedric!' This thought was what had plagued him ever since he had received the scathing missive from Ron and Hermione, clearly stating that he was too dangerous to be friends with.
It was the second week into vacation when pig turned up; he was carrying a scroll. Harry eagerly snatched it, pleased that he would at least have some outside contact. But inside was a letter which, even a month later, left his stomach burning with rage.
Hermione and I have wised up and have decided that continuing to be your friend is dangerous. You could get us killed like you did Cedric or kill us like you did Sirius! You are turning evil and should do us all a favor and kill yourself. But only after you do your job; the only thing your good at: killing! You need to kill Voldemort then kill yourself. We hate you!
Harold, this is Hermione, I agree with Ron. Being your friend is detrimental to our health. You have almost gotten us killed every year, and I am now convinced that you let that troll in during first year. You are filth and your parents are ashamed of you! Do us all a favor and goto hell, where you belong. We never want to see your filthy face around here. But leave us the money; the amount we're getting from you via Dumbledore isn't enough to do what we want.
Ron and Hermione.'
Harry had dropped the letter and began to cry, all his feelings of guilt were rushing back into him. He lay back on the bed and cried out his pain.
Not hearing the thunderous footsteps on the stairs he was caught by surprise when Vernon threw open the door and advanced on him.
Holding Harry by the throat he punched him in the ribs before dropping him on the ground. Pulling a wooden bat from the hall he once again advanced on Harry. "Good news and bad news freak. Good news! You're not going to be doing any chores this summer. Bad news! I'm going to give you exactly what you deserve; you are going to be punished everyday. And on the last day; the day you go to school. . .I'll finally be rid of your worthless hide!" with that said he whacked Harry in the back with the bat and proceeded to give him the worst beating he had ever gotten.
The beatings had gotten worse until after the third blow each time Harry would pass out.
Felling something in the room with him he looked around, a Gringotts eagle owl was perched on his window sill. Taking advantage of this Harry grabbed his invisibility cloak, his photo album, and his wand. Tying the wand and the album in the cloak Harry also stuffed his letter from Ron and Hermione in there, he had plans if he lived through this summer. Bribing the owl with some treats Harry also attached a letter instructing the goblins to place this in the Potter family vault. Just as the owl flew off Vernon stormed into the room.
"Give me that damn owl!" Vernon grabbed Hedwig's cage and left the room, locking it after him.
Harry sank to the floor, mourning his first friend. He knew that Vernon would kill Hedwig, no questions asked.
Harry did something he had stopped doing after the first few times, believing that God must hate him. He prayed for Hedwig.
In another realm; Arucana.
Raithos Razel Atrum Pennae, second prince of Arucana, stopped in the middle of his conversation with his best friend Marko. Clutching his hearthe distantly heard someone praying to a God they weren't sure existed. 'Please God! Keep Hedwig happy when she get's there. She's been nothing but good to me and now she is going to die because of me. Please let her know that I loved her with all my heart.' when the voice faded Marko was staring at him funny but he laughed it off, and they went on their way, laughing and joking.
Privet drive; smallest bedroom.
Harry lay on his mattress, it was only five minutes to his birthday. He drifted off and when he came to it was twenty after twelve. He looked up as a single owl flew into his room. It landed quietly and held out it's leg. Harry untied it and removed the box. The owl flew off without a sound, which Harry was thankful for. Opening the box he found a square note:
I found this little feller alone in it's nest, abandoned by it's mother. It was coated in dragon's blood so maybe that's why she didn't want it. It's some type of snake, I guess it's a new breed when its mixed with the blood. Olympe and me are building a house close to Grawp. Have a happy birthday! And no matter what anyone says I'm still yer friend.
Harry smiled at the note and reached inside the box. The egg was hard, which confused him; aren't snake eggs soft? He wondered but shrugged his shoulders, there was a lot about he magical world he did not know.
This time Harry heard his uncle's footsteps on the stairs and quickly hid the egg in the back of the bottom drawer. When his uncle barged in he was sitting on the bed staring at his hands. "Well, boy! You've made it to sixteen. Something I swore I would never let happen. But ah well, let's have some fun shall we!" Vernon used his hands, feet and general whale sized weight to break his nephew. Sometime during the beating he registered Harry calling out for someone, anyone, to save him. He glanced around the room as he continued to punish the freak, blood was splattered around the walls, some fresh; the rest old and brown.
Suddenly someone grabbed his shoulder and threw him back out into the hall. He looked around and spotted an impossibly tall man glaring at him. He had long Black hair that floated around him in a nimbus of power. He wore a floor length Black trench coat in a style he had never seen before. He feet were clad in thick Black leather boots and he had a sword on his back. But his eyes; they were all Black. Vernon Dursley was staring into The Void.