Car wheels crunched across the gravel drive way of 4 Privet Drive, soon after there was the slamming of car doors and grumbling that could be heard even through the double glazing of the smallest room of number 4. Still Harry did not stir from where he was lying, his eyes flickered beneath their lids and a low moan escaped the boy admitting to the nightmares he was plagued with.
As the front door slammed shut Harry Potter jerked awake on his miserable excuse for a bed. "BOY" the shout echoed up the stairs and across the landing. Harry slowly pushed himself up to sit on the edge of his bed. He wasn't willing to move right then, still beset by the remnants of a dreamscape but knew he had no choice. The muscles in his back tugged painfully but Harry decided to ignore it in favour of standing. There was no use waiting for his uncle to get any more irate.
"IF YOU DON'T GET DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW…" Vernon threatened
"I'm coming" Harry snapped as he started down the stairs, his uncle was glaring furiously at him from the bottom.
"Watch your mouth Boy" Vernon Dursley snarled. Spittle landed on Harry's cheek but he made no move to wipe it away.
"Did you do your chores?"
"Yes" Harry's replied monotonously
"You weeded the Garden?"
"Mowed the lawn?"
"Cleaned out the gutters?" Vernon smirked
"Ye…what…that wasn't on the list" Harry stuttered
"It is now!" his uncle snarled "Get your ungrateful arse in the kitchen and start dinner"
"Yes Uncle Vernon" Harry sighed softly as he walked into the kitchen wiping his sleeve across his cheek as he did so. Silently he wished his Uncle would stop spitting on him.
His Aunt sniffed as she walked past him and on to the living room and Harry went to see what she'd left out for him to make today. The list lay on the kitchen counter next to a tray of raw chicken and a pile of vegetables.
Grilled Chicken, Vegetables and Low-Fat Gravy for four
'Guess its Dudley's diet for 4 again' Harry thought despondently. The menu had been the same since he got here. Today was the 'special' meal. He wasn't complaining of course, considering he was getting more than he used to (His Aunt was taking Moody's threat seriously and didn't want them banging the door down) but still…the thought of Hogwarts food made his stomach grumble.
'Not all of us can live off Rabbit food' he grumbled unkindly; thinking of weekdays when he only had salad and bread.
Harry set to cooking, making sure not to burn anything; knowing his Uncle would have something to say if he did. Not much later the table was set with four perfectly cooked Chicken Breasts, Carrots-sticks, Peas, Cabbage and Boiled Potatoes, plus a full Gravy Boat off to the side.
Now Harry just had to get through another meal with his so called 'Family'.
Of course Harry knew something would be brought up just to aggravate him.
"Dudley says you've been waking him up with your moaning, Boy" his Uncle glared at him through beady eyes. "I'll not have you doing…that…under my roof"
Harry paused with the fork halfway to his mouth (seriously glad he hadn't put it in his mouth lest he end up with gravy all over himself) before it clattered back to his plate.
"You heard me, bad enough I put up with your freakiness but I won't have you depriving my boy of sleep because you can't keep your hands where they ought to be" his Uncle growled.
"What are you on about…What the hell, you think I'm…I have Nightmares!" Harry snapped.
"Your always moaning names and things…I've heard you" sneered Dudley
"That's enough Vernon…good lord, this is the dinner table. Dudikins would you like some more baby?" Petunia spooned more vegetables onto Dudley's plate without waiting for an answer.
"You're right Petunia…, just remember what I said Boy" the warning in his tone could be mistaken for nothing else.
The rest of dinner passed quietly as Harry ate quickly still seething with irritation.
Harry stared out into the darkness of the backyard that night as he finished washing the pots from the Dursleys Supper, his thoughts lost and lonely. He missed Sirius…missed his letters mostly and that was rather pathetic in Harry's thoughts; after all Sirius was his Godfather and he was grieving because he no longer got mail. But still his thoughts lingered. What he would do for a letter to tell him everything was alright and there was no need to worry…but who was he trying to kid, Sirius would more likely be asking him what pranks he was planning on playing on the Dursleys.
It was his Birthday in just more than two hours, already it was 9.50pm.
'Wonder what Sirius would have got me for my 16th' he wondered as he made his way to his room, silently passing the living room where his 'Family' sat watching TV.
When he reached his room he flung himself on his bed, then wincing furiously wished he hadn't. His back seared with agony and he knew he'd probably opened his wounds.
'Damn it' Harry pulled his overlarge t-shirt over his head glaring at the patch's of fresh blood staining the grey material.
His Uncle didn't take kindly to threats and Harry was paying the price this summer. His Aunt lay off and his Uncle lay in, his first punishment was earned when Harry had ignored his Aunt calling him to make breakfast. Harry soon learnt not to push his Uncle considering the deep bloody welts that now littered his back. It wasn't like he wasn't used to such treatment…it was just that Vernon had never done it since Harry had started going to Hogwarts.
Slowly Harry lay down careful not to irritate his wounds and closed his eyes. Concentrating harshly Harry let his magic bleed across the flesh of his back, closing the wounds but not healing them completely.
He knew he could not heal them yet, not without his Uncle knowing it was done with magic…he was perfectly aware his Uncle wasn't stupid enough to believe he was a quick healer.
'Merlin, what I'd do for a hot bath' Harry thought longingly of the Prefect's Bathroom at Hogwarts.
He'd learnt long ago how to heal himself, one of the reasons Harry had never denied being a freak because even he knew it shouldn't be possible...unless you were older and incredibly powerful (like Dumbledore) to have learnt to control magic without a wand of course. He'd been able to do it at the age of 5.
'So much for being normal'
As the Minutes ticked by, Harry stared up at the ceiling; he'd heard his Aunt, Uncle and Cousin going up to bed at 11.30 and decided to stay up till midnight to wish himself Happy Birthday.
His thoughts drifted, sometimes to Sirius and then Ron and Hermione.
'Wonder what they have been up too. Hermione's probably done all her homework already and Ron won't have done any.'
Harry didn't notice the time drawing closer to midnight but he did notice that the room was getting warmer.
'That's not right, it's night time for crying out loud it's meant to get cooler'
Harry kicked off the blankets irritably not noticing his own breathing growing sharper.
Pain lanced down his back and Harry bit harshly on his lip to stop himself from screaming. Then the pain grew, so quickly that Harry didn't have the chance to scream as he arched up in agony. Darkness pressed in on Harry's vision and just before he passed out Harry saw that the time on his alarm clock read 12.00.