Psychological Warfare

Summary: Harry gets a lesson in playground warfare and turns from victim into a Lord. Grey possibly Dark Harry

Rating: PG (for the moment at least)

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all characters found within the books pages belong to J. K. Rowling. The rest of us merely worship her greatness.

To the Reader:

You know, this story began as only a one-shot to get my juices going as I worked on the second chapter of Grandpa Dursley and the Schooling of Harry Potter but for whatever reason every time I tried to work on it I kept getting ideas for this. So even though Grandpa Dursley is still my priority (although there are times when I can't stand even thinking about it) I felt I had to get this out before I could do any decent amount of work of the other story. After much feedback this will continue to be written as a series of one-shots from different and often uncommon POVs as Harry's story progresses. I hope everyone enjoys it since this wouldn't even be happening if you guys hadn't displayed an interest to see it continued. Sorry its a bit shorter than the previous chapter but I figure something was better than nothing and I hit a stopping point for this chapter.

Please Enjoy!

Deep Red

Chapter 2

One Big, Happy Family

Vernon Dursley was not the smartest of men however; he made up for it by sheer hard work. He was the youngest manager Grunnings Drill Company had ever produced and although he wasn't particularly liked, his urge to brag often saw to that, he was well respected. That respect wasn't left at the office either. Throughout his neighborhood home in Surrey people would go out of their way to speak to him and often the other wives in the area whispered how they wished their husband would lavish affection on them like Vernon did with his wife Petunia and their two boys, Dudley and Harry. They were even more amazed since Harry wasn't even their biological son but their nephew. But that never seemed to matter to Vernon, why the neighbors would see him playing with the boys every Sunday in the park and he was always talking about how bright they were, how very close the two boys were.

And Vernon wasn't the only one to notice their closeness either. Petunia Dursley never expected to be grateful that little Harry Potter was left on her doorstep, but ever since the boys started school she found herself more than thankful. Her little Duddykins was being bullied at school but her sister's son defended him, took him under his wing and protected him from the other kids. Oh, she was a bit wary at first, especially with how Dudley began to look up to Harry but as her nephew had yet to display any of that unnaturalness that possessed her sister she decided that her son's needs came before any fear she might have and so she allowed their closeness to continue and in fact helped it along.

Why when Vernon started talking about sending her sweetums to Smeltings she actually brought up the possibility of sending Harry there as well. Of course, the cost of sending both boys there would make things a little tight around the house but she reminded Vernon about how protective Harry was of her Duddy and how if both boys went they would never have to worry that their son would be bullied at the school as Vernon had in his youth. So even if they had to take far fewer vacations throughout the years and purchase a few less presents at birthdays and Christmases they decided that it was best for Dudley to have his cousin with him at his future school.

Why even the boys themselves were a wonderful help in their plan. Well, Harry was a wonderful dear about it all and with his influence it only took a few years for Dudley to stop counting and comparing his gift numbers each holiday, which all things considered was quite nice.

Vernon wasn't around as much when the boys were younger, as he was determined to provide a good living for her and their son, so he wouldn't remember how…difficult… their Duddy could be at times but Petunia certainly did. She also remembered how he began to change, becoming much more manageable after the boys started school. Now, at the time she didn't know her poor Dinky Duddydums was being bullied and if she had known she would have put an immediate stop to it but she couldn't help, in her heart of hearts, acknowledge how much happier she was after Harry stepped in to help her boy.

It was quite fortunate for the fragile balance in the Dursley household that Harry's accidental magic always had an explanation. You see Harry realized at an early age, in fact the very day a group of boys followed him into his school from the playground calling him Bolt, that being good at sports was a way to be protected. In fact, for the attention starved boy the slaps on the back and cheers he received after he scored a goal in football meant the world for him; you could even say it became a need. So if during a big game he was a little faster than most, if perhaps the ball tended to move in unexpected ways when scoring, people assumed he was just that good, they thought they were seeing a star in the making. And Vernon and Petunia Dursley who knew magic was real, who should have realized that his skill wasn't quite natural, were happy to ignore the fact as they enjoyed the other parents crowding around them, congratulating them after Harry's games just as much as he did.

So it was with a great deal of emotion, and more than a bit of trepidation, that when a letter arrived addressed to Harry a week before his eleventh birthday Vernon and Petunia Dursley were more than a bit bothered by it. They had, in all their planning conveniently forgotten that Harry would receive his Hogwarts invitation that summer. Perhaps it shows just how clever Harry was that he could cause such monumental forgetfulness or perhaps it was that insidious magic Petunia was always afraid of but the moment the hated Hogwarts letter was in her hands she wanted nothing more than to hide her nephew away in their cupboard and hope the magical world would forget about him.

It was unfortunate that her hasty plan of ripping the letter apart and hiding it in the trash didn't stop the next from arriving the following morning or the next one after that. And as more owls found there way to number four Privet Drive, causing more than a few questions and stares from their neighbors, she reluctantly admitted defeat and sent her sister's son to fetch some paper to write his acceptance letter.

Harry, who had realized many years before the delicate manipulation required to survive in the Dursley household knew it would be far better if he stuck to his original plan and went to Smeltings like his Uncle Vernon wanted him too. In fact, after knowing his intended destination for some years Harry had written a good many letters to previous alumni and faculty to make sure he would be well received in the school. And he had to admit he was rather annoyed all his hard work and careful manipulations would be wasted now he was slated to go to Hogwarts. Of course, that annoyance disappeared entirely when he finally got his hands his invitation and learned that Hogwarts was in fact not some backwards husbandry school but a school for Magic. And he, like his parents before him, was a wizard. After that he was quite happy to write to Professor McGonagall with both his acceptance and a few questions for the prestigious school.

These questions, so innocently written, sent the usually composed professor storming to the Headmasters office with a few questions of her own and a rather heated demand that she be allowed to reintroduce Mr. Potter to the Wizarding World. The said demand became even more heated when the twinkling eyed Headmaster assured her that Rubeus Hagrid the groundskeeper for Hogwarts would do a more than adequate job of showing young Harry around. The words Minerva McGonagall uttered after that brand of hogwash caused no fewer than seven of the previous headmaster's portraits to threaten her mouth with a well placed silencio. But in the end the threats and even the Headmaster brief choking on his lemondrop was more than worth it as the fierce professor cleared her schedule for the following day to include a visit to the famous Harry Potter.

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