Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the sole property of J.K. Rowling and not of Daystar Clarion

First Place Sinner

By Daystar Clarion

Rated M

Warnings: Masochism, language, child abuse, violence, drug abuse, and underage drinking

May 15-

She was giving him the look again, that devastating love- the kind that swallows you up and threatens to drown you. It was a look he thrived to see, because before Vernon had left her and had taken her son, Harry was exempt from that look. And even though it was accompanied by the stabbing pain of the pins, he was pleased. Her dark brown eyes blazed into his own green eyes, and he took in her pallid skin- the light sheen of sweat that clung to her flesh, and the bags under her eyes that mirrored his own. She lifted another of the small silver pins that sat on the coffee table beside her and gazed down at his bloody and swollen right hand which was almost full of pins. The appendage throbbed, and he was shaking from the pain.

Just one more, her words echoed through his head and he sniffed heavily to clear his nose and wiped his tear stricken face with his undamaged left hand.

"Just one more," Aunt Petunia's voice came firm with love and he indulged her with a shaky smile of his own. His hand exploded in pain as she slipped another through his palm, and he whimpered, renewed tears from near swollen eyes falling down reddened cheeks. But he still smiled. Soon she would pull them out and douse his hand in rubbing alcohol; he knew that would hurt greatly, almost as much as the pins, but then she would lovingly wrap up the hand, and then it would be her turn.

He liked to think their bodies mirrored one another; they had scars in all the same places, the word 'sinner' carved down their spines. He took great pride in that one, because he had sat on her back for hours, carefully carving the letters down each bump of her spine, listening to her repeated hiss of pain with each slice. He knew the intricate sounds of her pain like he knew his sins. His were that he had been born to Lily Potter. Hers were that she could not keep Uncle Vernon from leaving, though he imagined she blamed him for that too.

As he knew she would, Aunt Petunia removed the pins and poured alcohol over his hand, and he squealed as it felt like his hand was on fire. Aunt Petunia leaned forward and kissed his sweaty forehead as he whimpered, and carefully wrapped his hand. "I think after this," she said as she wrapped the swollen appendage, "we'll be good for the week."

He wasn't sure he agreed; he had suffered greater pains, and this was nothing. She kissed his forehead again and wiped his face, then laid her hand palm up on the coffee table. With his left hand he picked up the remaining pins and slowly began to slip them into her palm, doing it with as much care as she had him. Above her grunts of pain he could hear the door swing open and shut noisily as John returned for the evening, a fresh whiff of smoke and spirits surrounding him.

God-what a sight, he thought, his dark grey eyes falling on the grisly scene. These scenes were becoming quite common; last week the two of them had chewed glass, cutting their gums, inner cheeks, and tongue. Their mouths were still healing- he knew this because her mouth had bled when he kissed her yesterday, and Harry's mouth was stained crimson still. The month before, they had boiled water and stuck their feet in it. Their screams had driven him from the motel and the tenants around him had shouted, threatening to call the authorities. Still they limped around the room from the burns. Why they did these things, only a psychiatrist would know, and when he'd dared ask, Petunia had told him not to worry about it. He'd asked Harry, and the boy had said they were paying for sins that stained their souls. He'd thought it was a religious thing, but it became apparent that God had nothing to do with their strange acts of penance. But it worked for them- or Petunia anyway, because after these 'episodes', as he liked to call them, she would become quite randy. And he liked that.

It used to be an unspoken rule that he would never shack up with a woman with baggage (kids) and Petunia hadn't mentioned Harry at all when he had come over. In fact, it was only the morning after, when he had decided that the toothpick of a woman with enough scars to piss off a war veteran was his kind of woman, that he was confronted with Harry. The boy had been sitting on the ugly maroon couch (which was actually very comfortable) sipping coffee and reading the papers. At the time, his whole leg had been wrapped in gauze and bandages and it hadn't even crossed his mind at the time that Petunia's leg was also wrapped. He'd had that sinking feeling- and the urge to make a quick exit, but Harry had only given him a cursory glance before continuing to read on.

Later he had asked her why she had never mentioned her son; the woman had given him an uncaring shrug and in a lazy voice had asked, "You're not a child molester are you?"

He'd been appalled and disgusted in one go, and after some angry and vehement protests, she's replied, "Well you're not here to sleep with him, so what does it matter?"

So she'd become a regular booty call and Harry was simply her weird kid whom he'd occasionally ruffle his hair or buy candy for. But then his roommate had moved out and he'd been evicted. Petunia offered a place for him at the motel and though he hadn't been too hot for the idea, he wasn't interested in being homeless. He figured he'd be with her for a month or so then he'd get out of there. That, had been a year ago, and according to Harry, he'd been with them the longest amongst a string of boyfriends who no doubt had left after seeing as 'episode' between the two of them.

He took a swig of his cigarette and watched with a mixture of horror and fascination as Harry slowly and expertly poked pin into Petunia's palm, like it was a cushion. Her face was scrunched up in pain, and judging by his tear stricken face, Harry had gone first. John headed for the bedroom; he would be getting laid tonight.

He supposed that it was her blond hair, her youth, and most importantly- her money that had influenced Uncle Vernon's departure and had turned Petunia Dursley back into Petunia Evans. And it was clear, after he had taken Dudley along with him, that Aunt Petunia had been third in his life. Dudley had been first, money second, and she had taken last place. Harry had thought last place had been good, because he'd had no place amongst them, but now, being the major focus of love in Aunt Petunia's life, he wasn't sure he would even be satisfied with second place- let alone third.

Of course, now there was John McDermott, her newest dead-beat boyfriend, who smoked, cursed, and got drunk often enough that he couldn't say he really knew the man after spending a year in his presence. But he liked John, if only because he didn't ask questions when he gave them his 'funny' looks, or that he let Harry smoke and drink right along with him. He didn't treat Harry like a little kid even if he called him 'kiddo' or on occasion told him to go to bed (he never did). But he wasn't too keen on John taking first place- no matter how cool he was. He'd taken to watching them, waiting to see that look of love and deep affection, but to his relief, it was a look reserved only for him.

When Uncle Vernon had defected, he took the family income and Aunt Petunia had lost the house. Taking Dudley had been the icing on the cake though, and being a housewife with no money or anything for that matter to back her up, she was left with only Harry and Uncle Vernon with full custody of Dudley. After that, it had been a series of roommates, motels, and no good boyfriends until he was number one. Aunt Petunia was a mere shadow of the proud woman she had once been back when he was six.

Harry wrapped up her swollen hand with his left; he was now ambidextrous after so many pains to his right hand. Petunia wiped her reddened face and caressed his hair. "'m going to make dinner," she muttered, but he watched her head into the bedroom where John no doubt lay in waiting. Harry used to share a bed with Aunt Petunia since the motel only had one room, and only took the couch when she had a man over- but John seemed to be a permanent fixture in their lives now, and Harry had to make due with the living room.

Harry dug into John's black leather jacket, pulled out his pack of cigarettes and turned on the telly just as the grunts started, turning up the volume and smoking, reveling in the throbbing pain in his hand. Dinner would have to wait.

May 27-

There was the sound of car tires blowing, the smell of metal and blood. There were brief flashes with each bang and the sound of something smacking against flesh. There was the sound of glass breaking and the scent of alcohol.

Harry awoke from the dream with a small grunt, blinking at the ceiling from his comfortable spot on the couch. He rolled on his side and sat up, blinking blearily at the morning sun and hearing the sounds of the tenants connected to them. There was blood in his mouth from the numerous cuts and gashes from the glass. Standing up, he groaned as his head throbbed, and hobbled to the window, staring out at the children passing by, backpacks and satchels no doubt full of paper, pens, and notebooks. He'd all but forgotten what it was like to go to school; once they had lost the house and moved out- school was something that wasn't even thought about. Although, he did think of it on occasion- remembered how kids used to pick on him, and how he was an outcast. He was glad it was all a distant memory.

He hobbled away from the window, glancing down at his feet, and was startled to see that the flesh was starting to peel off. Sitting down on the rough carpet, Harry began to peel away the dead skin, revealing fresh flesh underneath. His feet were still sore, but they didn't feel anywhere near as bad as when he had stuck them in the pot of boiling water. Now that had been a scream worthy ordeal, and he had crawled around for days until he could handle walking again. Things had been good for a while after that.

Harry rubbed his eyes, which felt swollen from the force of his headache and decided to take a few aspirins to ease the pain the vision had caused. At first he had thought people were just predictable when he knew what they were going to say before their mouths moved- or that they'd had a bad day before their day even started. But it had been clear one day that he could sometimes tell the future when he'd one day warned John not to go to a friend's place. John had gone anyway, and the apartment later that day had been raided and searched for drugs by the authorities. Everyone in the apartment had been arrested except for John, who saw the whole ordeal from across the street at the liquor store where he'd gone to get a six pack. After that, he always asked Harry how his day was going to be; sometimes Harry felt nothing for it, but he knew today was not going to be John's day. He always knew when it had something to do with John- alcohol was always involved, and he always got nasty headaches afterwards. Big things happened around John, mainly because he was around people who had big things happen to them.

Harry swallowed several aspirin from the medicine cabinet, then brushed his teeth and washed his face, grimacing at the blood that mixed with his toothpaste. His mouth burned, the half healed cuts and gashes protesting to the touch of the fluoride. It was a pain, but all pain to him was clearly justified.

The door opened to the bedroom and John emerged, brown hair mussed with a seven o' clock shadow that badly needed shaving. He grunted in greeting as he passed by Harry to take a piss, blinking sleepily at the small boy who was staring down into the sink.

"So," he said in a gravelly 'I just woke up' voice, "Am I going to have a good day or what?"

Harry shook his head, still staring into the sink like he was seeing his future.

"Aw shit," John grumbled as he zipped up his rumpled jeans and headed into the kitchenette to pull out a beer and popped it open, taking a few unhealthy swigs before leaning against the counter to think. What the hell was he supposed to do today then? He'd been planning to go down to the bar and play some pool…but if Harry said he was going to have a bad day…The waif of a kid appeared from the bathroom and moved into the living room, which was also his bedroom, and turned on the telly. "Hey kiddo," he called, leaving the kitchenette to follow the boy into the living-room. "Does this mean I shouldn't hang out with the guys today?" He wished Harry would be more specific about these things. The boy stared emptily at the television a moment before glancing back at him in a rather sluggish manner. John rather thought Harry lived his life like he was moving through molasses, slow and not quite there. Harry shook his head again and turned back to the telly.

John sighed and slumped down on the couch, pushing Harry's green blanket aside, and prepared to wait out the day and hope tomorrow would be better. Behind them Petunia appeared from the bedroom and headed straight for the bathroom, shutting the door quietly behind her. If anyone told him that some ten year old would dictate what he did with his day, well he'd tell them where they could shove it. He sighed again and lit a cigarette, and instead stared over the boy's head at the telly, which was rambling on about the stock market. Wonderful. Whatever happened to Saturday morning cartoons?

The bathroom door opened and Petunia emerged, freshly showered and dressed in a pleasant knee length yellow sunflower dress and white slipper shoes. Her feet though, were wrapped in a thin layer of gauze to hide the blisters and damage done by boiling water. Despite the feet, all she needed was a straw sun hat and she would have looked like the perfect suburbia wife. John suppressed a guffaw as Petunia walked over and kissed Harry lovingly in his hair. Harry looked up at her from the floor and graced her with one of those smiles John rarely ever saw him give.

"Well," she said, looking right pleased with herself. "I'm off to that interview-'' she frowned at John's puzzled face. "You know, the telemarketing one. Oh, don't give me that look! When's the last time you brought anything home? I have a boy to feed."

John scowled as she pivoted toward the door with a visible limp and left. Ok, so he hadn't brought any income for the last two weeks; being a mechanic was a tricky thing! He took a swig of his beer and glanced at Harry, who was gazing out the window after Petunia.

"Oh she'll come back Lassie," he drawled, and the boy turned to give him a cold look before he too left the motel to wander outside. John sighed. He couldn't believe he was staying inside.

May 28-

"Hey John," the East Indian manager called as he approached John, who had been in the middle of telling his buddies that Harry could tell the future, being that yesterday while he moped on the couch, a drunk patron at the bar had pulled a .45 and shot several people. "Can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Sure Parth," he said, moving away from his boys. "What can a bloke do for you?"

The dark-skinned man gave him a small concerned smile as they moved farther from his friends.

"I wanted to talk to you about that kid you're living with."

"Harry?" he asked, surprised, and he glanced across the parking lot where the other side of the motel was, and was startled to see Harry staring out at him from the second floor window. The boy did not look happy.

"Yeah," Parth said. "Listen, I don't want to make insinuations, but some of the tenants have been noticing that he's always injured." John felt a chill of wariness rush down his spine. "Now, I've been seeing that kid in a mess since before you got here and all- but could you please get a handle on whatever she's doing to that poor kid? I don't want social services coming down here."

John gave a small nod and Parth headed for the front office. He glanced up at the window, but Harry was no longer in view. "Shit," he muttered, rubbing his neck and returning to his friends. He would not enjoy that conversation.

Petunia came home in high spirits, having acquired the job yesterday. She'd been unemployed for some time, losing a string of jobs due to ailments that she didn't care to explain. But now, all that was required was to dial numbers and try to sell things; she only needed one hand and a working mouth. John approached her with a frown and dove in head first.

"Hey, whatever you and the kid are doing needs to stop. People are asking questions- we don't need child services coming down here and causing trouble."

Petunia turned to him as she lay her purse down on the table and glared.

"What are you talking about?"

Harry appeared from the bathroom, and there was a trickle of blood seeping from the corner of his mouth, his green eyes falling upon him like a heavy weight.

"Oh give me a fuckin' break Petunia! Every week or so you do some sick shit to the kid and I say nothing- and only the Lord knows why I don't. You think people don't notice the bruises? Or the fact that he's always wrapped up like some fucking mummy?"

"This is none of their business!" the woman shrieked, her pale face turning crimson with rage. Harry rushed over to her side and wrapped bony arms around her waist. He looked at John, and he could see the annoyance in the kid's eyes. God, he was just as crazy as Petunia was.

"Fuck it. I'm outta here." He exclaimed, throwing his arms into the air in defeat. He grabbed his leather jacket, headed into the bedroom and stuffed clothing and a few things that were his into his army bag and stormed out of the motel room.

June 15-

Summer was always his least favorite season, because it was obviously hot, sticky, and there were always these little hordes of gnats that buzzed around sidewalks and made people walk into them. It was aggravating, and sweat tended to make his cuts infected, so he preferred to stay inside with the AC running and watching daytime talk shows, wondering if the dramatic lives the people complained about were real or fabricated.

It had been weeks since John's departure, and Petunia was still visibly upset about the breakup, and spent most of her time at work, spending hours dialing away and attempting to get a word in before being hung up on. Harry did not think of John much, except in his visions, which often included alcohol- more than usual actually. It became apparent after the third one that John was attempting to drown his misery away, and that he missed Petunia deeply. And if he were free to admit it, he too missed John, if only for the free cigarettes, which he longed for deeply. But he did not tell Petunia this, for he was admittedly a selfish boy and preferred to keep her all to himself. On the other hand, it made their weekly flagellations even sweeter, especially now that Aunt Petunia had to be more careful about the punishment since she now had a stable job.

Eyes on him, searching probing, wanting. A rip, a tearing that sounded like paper, a flutter that sounded like wings.

Harry woke in a sweat, his pulse pounding in his ears and an unfamiliar pain, centered on his forehead. He turned over in the bed to stare at Aunt Petunia, who was curled around him. He wiped the sweat with the back of his bandaged hand, now completely wrapped after they had pulled their fingernails off. Harry had put socks in his mouth to muffles his screams, and he had made a mess with her left hand with his own so bloody and swollen. As his hand ran over his forehead, he was stunned when it ran over that unfamiliar burn, and stars exploded in his eyes, making him hiss in pain. Harry slipped out of the bed and went to the bathroom, peering at his forehead in the mirror, and was curious to find that weird lightning bolt scar was an angry red. This had never happened before…

Harry moved to the living-room and dug under the couch, searching for a cigarette as he pondered this new occurrence. The dream, though giving him no headache, made his scar hurt. There had been no alcohol involved, so it mustn't be about John. With a small grin of triumph, he found a half used stick in the fold of the couch and lit it up via stove, taking a deep calming stared out the window down into the parking lot, watched as a couple staggeredto their door. The vision couldn't have been about Aunt Petunia; there was usually a sense of desperation about those visions. So it must have something to do with himself. His eyes narrowed as he rolled the vision over in his mind before a minute feeling of understanding hit him. Someone was searching for him- someone he didn't want to find him.

"John?" Petunia's voice called sleepily from the bedroom, and he ground out the butt against his bandaged hand, eyes narrowing as he blew out the last of the smoke invading his lungs. She had been calling out his name more often lately, and though he had been in the belief that absence made the heart fonder- of others…the same could not be said for Aunt Petunia apparently. And he did not enjoy being mistaken for John.

Harry sighed and headed for the bedroom, removing his pajamas and pulling on jeans and an overcoat that she had bought him on his tenth birthday. Her face looked pinched even in her sleep, and her arm was outstretched over the spot where he had slept…or John had.

Harry sighed again. Guess it was second place for him.

As he traveled down the darkened streets, heading for the pub he knew John practically lived at, he stared at his surroundings, wishing he hadn't brought the coat since it was humid out. A strangely dressed woman stopped at a curb, looking months too early for Halloween due to her witch-like costume and held up a stick- or what appeared to be a wand. There was a loud crack, and a garishly purple bus swerved toward the curb where the woman stood. As he walked by, Harry watched her board, and as he passed, connected eyes with a pimply faced teenager. The teenager seemed to hesitate a moment, as he helped the woman up the steps, as if he hadn't wanted Harry to see him, but judging by how disinterested he imagined he looked, he turned his full attention back to woman.

It wasn't the first time he had seen the bus, or other bizarre things like objects, or people popping out of nowhere, or shops that looked like they should be condemned, in full business. He imagined, it was all a part of the freakiness Aunt Petunia and Vernon used to harp about but no longer spoke of. Ever since Vernon's defection, Aunt Petunia had shut up about his random acts of freakiness, though whenever he did something noticeable, like break a glass by glaring at it, she would always look around nervously, hoping that John hadn't seen it. So to the extent of things, John only knew that he could, occasionally, tell the future- though for some reason, he could only tell bad things.

The pub came into view ten minutes later, and with it John, and several of his drunken friends, all leaning against the wall and conversing, shouting, laughing, and cursing between swigs of beer. As he came closer, he stopped as he noticed the sleazy blond attached to John's shoulder, laughing right along with them in her short denim shorts and barely concealing shirt. One of his friends turned and saw him.

"Hey!" he slurred happily. "It's that kid," he snapped his fingers as his alcohol befuddled brain tried to come with a name. "The fortune teller kid."

The others turned, along with John, his eyes widening, as Harry continued his approach. The friends tossed greetings his way, and a few asked after Aunt Petunia, who used to frequent the pub but hadn't been seen since the break-up. He nodded politely to them before standing in front of John, bandaged hands in his pockets, loathing the words that would have to come out of his mouth.

"It's time to come home now, or you'll have more bad days ahead," he didn't even bother to glance at the woman hanging onto him. He looked directly into John's astonished eyes, and saw a spark of hope, and resisted a groan. The others guys quieted as they watched John run a hand through his hair.

"Yeah," he said, trying to mask apparent relief. "Guess I better get going mates," he shrugged the woman off his shoulder and headed toward the parking-lot, his friends making whipping sounds in their wake. Harry followed behind, wondering why John was weaving toward cars when he stopped in front of an American truck, a beat up old Chevy, and pulled out some keys.

"Got this at a bobbies' auction in London for dirt cheap," he explained, opening the door and gesturing for Harry to crawl in on the drivers' side. The interior was torn up and smelled like cat piss, and the passenger side had no seat belts. Harry sat down just as the blond woman approached the drivers' side.

"Baby, where the bloody hell are you going?" her voice was soft, with an intoxicated whine to it. Harry peered at her from around John, and noticed that she was about ten years younger than John, and she was pretty.

He shrugged, starting the truck which roared to life, and began to pull out.

"John!" the woman shrieked, sounding incredulous. "Who's this kid? He yours?"

"I'll call you later Mary," John sounded a bit aggravated as he pulled away. Harry peered back at her, her arms folded over her chest, face stiff with rage. She would be trouble.

Harry settled back in the smelly seat and watched as John weaved his way back to the motel, clearly too drunk to drive, almost hitting a van, which Harry didn't bother pointing out.

"Boy am I glad to see you," John started conversationally, digging into his pocket for his lights and taking his eyes completely off the road. "I missed you an' Petunia," the alcohol clearly loosening his tongue. "Things weren't the same. Aha!" He pulled the pack out of a pocket and pulled out a light with his mouth, then held the pack toward Harry, who took one. The half used one had been stale. John found his lighter and lit their sticks dangerously as he swerved and hit a trash can. "All right," he said, and looked over at Harry, eyes surprisingly sober. "So, do you think she'll be glad to see me?" His eyes fell on Harry's individually bandaged fingers.

Harry stared out the window and deigned not to reply, instead watching as the motel came into view and frowned at how poorly John parked the truck. He crawled out of the truck, hands screaming but thankful for the fresh air, unfettered by urine. He headed up the gravel stairs and unlocked the door, John following him in with a relieved sigh. Harry headed straight for the bedroom, Aunt Petunia still sleeping, and removed his covers from the bed. John hovered in the doorway, not missing the hostile looks Harry was sending his way as he dragged his covers out of the room and plopping down on the couch, nursing his cigarette as John shut the door behind him. He stared at the darkened television, seeing his faint reflection in the darkness.

The television screen cracked angrily.

Second place it was then.

June 16-

After a month of being in a drunken stupor, it was a major relief to be with Petunia again, and he almost wanted to believe that the last month was nothing more than a bad dream- if not for having to go to Mary's place to pick up his cloths and other belongings. He did not look forward to that. The frosty looks Harry was sending him weren't helping him either. When he had told Petunia that Harry had retrieved him, she had given the boy extra hugs and kisses, which was cute, but the boy kept glaring at him over her shoulder. When she had asked where he had gone the month of their separation, he waved his hand dismissively, saying here and there, but Harry had stared at him over a glass of Smirnoff, and he was grateful that the boy wasn't a talker. He was sure the boy's level of rage would go down- he glanced at the broken telly- in due time. In the meantime, he tried to butter him up this morning by giving him his own pack of cigarettes and buying him a bottle. Damn the kid was good at handling his alcohol.

Petunia kissed them goodbye as she headed off for work, and he watched as she patted the Chevy, looking pleased. Behind him, Harry smoked and drank; he could feel the kid's eyes on his back.

"Ok," he pivoted around and stared at the hunched child on the couch. "I would appreciate if you would not tell Petunia about Mary." The kid's eyes narrowed as he tossed the rest of the vodka down his throat. "She was just a rebound thing- I wasn't serious about her an-''

"I know," the boy interrupted flatly. He took the empty glass into the kitchenette and placed it into the sink. "You'll not have a good day today."

"No surprise there," he replied with a sigh and grabbed the truck keys. "I'll be back," he hesitated at the door and glanced at the telly. "I'll see about getting that fixed." He knew how much Harry liked watching the television. The boy remained in front of the sink and ignored him. John shut the door and embarked on the short- but would prove to be a very confrontational stop at Mary's, to retrieve his stuff. Now that he was back with Petunia, Mary seemed like bad idea. She'd been a good lay, and a bit vapid, but he hadn't been looking for a conversation. He'd been looking for a place to sleep that wasn't on his friends' couches.

He pulled up in front of her apartment complex and saw her window curtains flutter at the sound of the familiar grumble of the Chevy. Her door opened as he approached, her face wary as she regarded him in yesterday's clothes.

"What's going on John? Who was that boy?" She moved back as he entered and made a bee-line for her bedroom, where his army bag full of his belongings remained. "The guys told me that he was your ex-girlfriend's kid. Is that the truth?" He picked up the bag and stuffed wayward clothing into it, before zipping it up and swinging the bag over his right shoulder. Her face was blank, but her grey eyes burned.

"You know it is- why would they lie?" She moved out of his way as he passed, making quickly for the door. This was too easy.

"You fucked around with me John. No one does that to me," Her voice seemed softer, and he turned to look back at her cold eyes and felt a shiver. "No one."

July 3-

Rage, betrayal, revenge, , cloying, falling, a snap like a twig, blood on gravel stairs, a cascade of blond hair. Weakness, euphoria, release, a sigh of relief.

Harry opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling, the hum of the AC filling the silence. He pushed his blanket off of him as he sat up and went into the kitchenette, grabbing a can of Stella and popping it open. He took a gulp and stared out the window. He knew that woman would be a problem. He glanced down at John's truck and spied a shovel in the back, old and rusted- no doubt coming with the truck. He pursed his lips and turned on the newly repaired television, lighting a smoke and watched the paid programming. He had a headache, which was no surprise seeing that it was about John. Big things always happened to John. Putting his can aside, he peeled off bandage wrappings and eyed his weak fingernails, finally having grown back. The side-affect unfortunately was that his fingertips were very sensitive. Ah…the woes of a sinner.

There was a quiet knock on the door, and Harry lifted vaguely curious eyes toward it, before standing up and opening it. Standing there, was one of John's beer buddies, Frank, if Harry could remember. The man peered down at him before glancing about, hands stuffed deeply in his biker jacket.

"Blimey kid, what oo' doin up at this hour?" Harry shrugged and took a swig, and the guy gave a quiet snort. "Bloody 'ell you's a crazy little wanker. 'ere, give this ta John. Tell 'im e' owes me." He pulled out a brown paper bag, the top cap of a bottle showing and handed to him. Harry watched as the guy quickly departed before he shut the door and placed the bag on the table; the bag tipped over and a bottle of vodka rolled out. Harry frowned and opened the bag, then pulled out a small plastic bag of…flour? Harry snorted. Highly unlikely. Harry put the small bag of probably heroin back into its brown paper bag and stuffed it under the couch. The vodka? Well, he'd keep that for himself.

July 10-

"Bad day for you," he told John that morning, and the man froze at the door with Petunia, whom he had begun driving to work while on his way as well. He stared at Harry grimly.

"Should I stay home?" he asked, and Aunt Petunia rolled her eyes and headed down the stairs toward the truck. He stared up at the ceiling, thinking just to make John squirm- then shook his head. John's shoulders sagged. "Bad day either way, eh bucko?" Harry nodded and watched as the man sighed and shut the door, heading for the truck. Once they were gone Harry moved to the kitchen and dug out the biggest knife he could find, with jagged edges, then searched out his old pair of cargo khaki pants. He stuffed the knife in the leg pocket then grabbed some change and left the motel, standing at the bus stop. A few kids ran by, playing and shouting, then staring, stunned at the cigarette sitting comfortably in his fingers. He stared back coldly until they left, then ground out the stick in his open palm when he noticed the bus was coming. Vaguely he wondered if it was possible to summon that purple bus with the maniacal driver with the vendetta against trashcans, but decided it was a thought reserved for another- less important day.

The ride was calming- despite the annoying glances he got occasionally by nosy women, no doubt wondering why his eyes were so red and watery, and why there was a half-used cigarette behind his left ear. It was proving to be one of the nastier hangovers he'd ever had, and he almost wished he had given the vodka over to John a week ago instead of hording it for himself. Not that John cared much- since he still had that little stash of H that he and Aunt Petunia had been snorting. He'd taken particular interest in watching the sedated- almost boneless way they staggered about during their high, and was almost eager to try some himself.

The bus was almost empty by the time he arrived at his area of destination, and he exited the bus and stood on the side of the gravel road, staring out at the yellow grass and weeds. When the bus was a quiet rumble in the distance, he rummaged about in the knee length grass, looking for trash or broken bottles from loiterers or partiers. Only dead grass and weeds, no doubt greener during spring.

Feeling pleased, and remembering the route, he stood on the opposite side of the road and waited for the bus that would take him home.

When he returned to the motel, it was to see a commotion outside of the door. Mary was standing on the stairs, arguing with John, while Aunt Petunia stood in the doorway looking stricken. Harry stared up at the stairs, matching Mary's likeness with the woman who had taken Vernon and Dudley. There were similarities, but Mary didn't have the soft cultured look that the other woman had. It must be a nightmare happening all over again for Aunt Petunia.

"I was very much under the impression that we had something. We did have something!" Mary was hissing, trying not to yell and cause a scene. John was looking very distressed, and he kept glancing back at Aunt Petunia.

"Listen, I'm sorry if I gave you that impression- it was wrong of me, I know- but it's over," he replied vehemently, and Mary gave a scandalized huff before looking past him to Aunt Petunia.

"I bet he didn't tell you all the things we did together," her voice was an ugly sneer, and she opened her mouth to say more, but John cut her off, his face starting to turn red with anger.

"Enough! Mary, you need to leave. Now."

Mary stared at him a moment before turning and stalking down the stairs, crossing the parking lot and hopping into her car. Her eyes roved over the three of them, John's face red with anger, eyes full of regret- not in her favor either. The barely average looking woman Petunia, whose face was pale and dark brown eyes clouded with tears. Then there was the boy, standing below the stairs, watching her, and it was his eyes that had her hands frozen on the wheel. They had an emptiness, an apathy that was there just for her, and a sense that he was waiting for her to do something came over her. She pulled away from his eyes and drove away. She'd be back.

July 22-

It was Mary's last visit, the one she was sure would be the most damaging- John could tell this by the pleasant smile she had on her face when he opened the door.

"What the hell are you doing here?" he hissed, it was one in the morning, and the knock had been heard by both him and Harry, being that Harry's bed was in the living room, and John had been taking a piss. He could feel the kid's cold observation behind him, watching the situation. "It's over between us Mary! Over!"

Mary just smiled.

"Oh I know. You just weren't in love with me, and I've come to grips with that." John blinked rapidly as she dug into her purse and pulled out a handful of Polaroid's, tossing them at him. "I just wanted to give you these!" They fluttered all over the entrance, and pure shame ran through him as Harry picked up a few and peered at them, pictures of Mary and him in positions that should be very private. "I have a whole bunch of those," Mary leered as she turned to step down the stairs. "I'm sure all the guys would like to see that- especially the ones where I have you-''

"You BITCH!" John strangled out, and shoved her from behind. Mary gave a squeal as her ankle twisted in her high heels and she tumbled head-first down the stairs, before stopping at the bottom. John stood at the top, listening to the crickets, waiting for her to get up and start screaming at him. From where he was he could see blood on her knees and arms- one was twisted in a nasty angle, but she didn't move. There was movement behind him, and he glanced back to see Harry picking up all the Polaroid's, glancing at them, then glancing at the motionless Mary.

John felt faint, and he legs buckled underneath him, causing him to grab the railing lest he fall down too. "Did I- did-I-'' He could not even say the word. Luckily, Harry seemed able to.

"Kill her? Mmmm…let me check." John watched in a numb silence as Harry walked sedately down the stairs and stopped at the bottom, kneeling over her body and poking at her. He nudged her head, then taking it in both hands, turned it in such an angle that John knew…he had killed her. Struggling to his feet he rushed into the bathroom and vomited violently, praying that Petunia was the dead sleeper she usually was. He wiped his mouth weakly and stood up, and almost screamed when he noticed Harry was standing behind him, wearing a coat and khaki cargo pants, a box of latex gloves in his hand, and a trash bag full of miscellaneous items. He was staring at John in that way he hated, like he was judging his worth. Then the boy sighed and exited the bathroom. "Come on, we have work to do. Get your keys."

Numbly he followed the ten year old's instructions: Put a sheet over Mary, put her in the truck (he almost vomited when he touched her cooling skin.) He put her in the back, looking around and seeing that everyone was still dead to the world. He watched as Harry took napkins and wiped certain spots of the stairwell before tossing the soiled napkins into a plastic back and heading towards the truck. Together they got in, and with Harry's instructions, took a long drive down the road, and by that time it was three in the morning before Harry told him to stop. The whole ride he had been shaking, jumpy, expecting the bobbies to stop him on the road and look in the back of the Chevy. But they saw no cars on the long drive, and when he pulled on the side of the graveled road could see a darkened field full of what might be yellow grass.

"Come on," Harry said as he hopped out of the truck and moved to the back. "We have to bury her body. This place is perfect- no one goes here." John stepped out of the truck and leaned over the side, putting his arms under Mary's shoulders and pulling her out. As he was doing this, Harry picked up the rusted shovel and lifted it from the truck. He walked around the side and began to trek purposefully through the grass, a small flashlight in his other hand. John staggered behind him, grateful when Harry stopped a ways from the truck. "All right. Put her down." John all but dropped her into the grass. Harry dug into his cargo pants, and to John's horror, pulled out a meat cleaver- one he could remember looking for not too long ago. He handed the shovel to John. "Dig a hole…about he size of a spaghetti bowl and about six feet deep."

John stood with the shovel gripped in his hands and watched in numb silence as Harry knelt by Mary's head. The boy looked up at him with a frown. "Tonight John. The first bus starts at five."

The next hour and a half were the worst moments of his life. After he watched Harry saw her head off with the knife, pull out her teeth one by one with pliers from the bag, dug out her eyes- set her hair on fire, and burnt her face beyond recognition, he buried her head in the hole John had made. Then, he chopped off each finger, burning the tips to get rid of finger prints, did the same to her toes, then, with his own help, broke and severed each bone in her body. When she was in many pieces, they buried her all over the field in random spots that Harry dictated-he vomited several times during the whole process. After that, and cutting it pretty close, they burned the sheet, the bag full of bloody napkins, and the polaroids. "But she said she had more!" John protested, but Harry dug into her purse and pulled out the negatives. He lit them on fire with his lighter.

"We go back now," Harry said in a very soft voice. "You drive her car back to her place. Make sure no one sees you." He handed John latex gloves, a beanie and her car keys. "Touch nothing in the car. Take the bus back. Never speak of this again."

John took the items from the boy and stared at him as he drove back to the motel.

"How did you know to do all this?" He squeezed out.

Harry stared out the front of the car.


"Jesus Christ! On what?"

"Serial Killers."

July 31

Though he had tried to hide it, it became apparent that John couldn't quite deal with being a killer, and so he started drinking more, and snorting heroin, no doubt trying to get rid of the memories that constantly plagued his guilty mind. Aunt Petunia was left to wonder what seemed to be the problem, except that she figured he must be upset over the whole Missing Mary Snyder ordeal. The police had asked for John, and the man managed to act innocent and concerned, and had quickly been dismissed from the investigation as a suspect.

And today, his eleventh birthday, was no different. It was just the three of them, a chocolate birthday cake surrounded by empty cans of beer. Harry, wanting to enjoy his cake first, then drink later, watched in curiosity as John pulled out his stash of junk and made two neat lines on the table.

"Jonathan! We shouldn't!" Aunt Petunia slurred. "Is' Harry's birthday!" She slapped his hand playfully as he rolled a piece of paper into a straw and leaned down, closing one nostril as he sniffed up the line, then did the same with the other.

"So' Kay," he slurred, pupils down to pinpricks. "Arry's a big boy…" his eyes fluttered as he slumped back on the couch. Petunia was already making a line for herself, though not as much as John's. When she too was all but passed out on the couch, Harry took the pouch and made a line, putting the pouch into his pocket. He wrapped a small piece of note paper into a straw, plugged his left nostril, and sniffed up the line.

For a second, he wanted to sneeze, but that evaporated into a haze of euphoric colors- all the muscles in his body loosened up, he slumped into the carpet, and he felt warm inside, so warm. He stared absently at the ceiling, a goofy, empty grin on his face, completely ignoring the hoot of the owl that dropped a letter in his limp hand. The owl hopped once, eyeing him, then the occupants in the room, before deciding that its job was done and flew out the window.

August 1-

Petunia woke slowly, her head foggy and achy, the sound of the AC running coming to her ears. She opened her eyes, blurry as they were, and sat up, her mouth feeling like it was stuffed with cotton. She blinked at the table, which had Harry's half eaten cake sitting there, exposed, with beer cans littered about it. She scratched her scalp and turned to look at John, who was decidedly pale. She got to her unsteady feet, and spotted Harry lying on the floor. "Oh darling," she muttered, and stumbled her way toward him, knelt by him, and as she gathered him in her arms, noticed a letter fall out of his hand. Petunia froze, eyes falling on the address.

Harry Potter

Paradise Motel

Herefordshire, England

Her hands trembled, horror rushing through her. She picked Harry off the floor, for an eleven year old he weighed very little, and held him tightly to her, eyes squeezing shut. They were going to take Harry away from her, just like they had taken Lily, then had killed her. Tears squeezed through her tight lids. The world was going to take one of the only precious things in her life, just like it had stolen her Dudley, and her Vernon. A sob broke through, and she rocked Harry in her arms, his chest to hers, his head hanging back. She could feel his heart beat above her own, calm, slow. Her calm Harry. Rage filled her. They would not take him away from her! They'll have to chase her to the ends of the Earth if she had too! She rushed over to John, nudging him with a free arm.

"John! Jonathan! Get up! We have to go!"

She shoved his shoulder and turned to rush toward the bedroom, grabbing the keys to the Chevy. She laid Harry on the bed and began to stuff his clothes into one of the suitcases that had survived her previous life. When she was done she packed for herself, yelling for John to get up between intervals of tossing all her toiletries and other miscellaneous items into a bag. Rushing into the kitchenette, she tossed some food into another bag, then from the cupboard tossed two boxes of cereal into the bag. One box was empty, except for the hundreds of pounds she had been saving up since she had started the telemarketing job. Rushing out to the truck, she tossed the suitcases into the back and rushed back up the stairs into the room, stopping as she passed by John, who hadn't moved.

"Jonathan! I tol-''

His skin, though she thought it had been white, was actually gray. He wasn't moving- wasn't breathing…Petunia stood near the couch and stared down at her lover in disbelief, before her eyes roved over the table, falling on the cans of alcohol. Bloody hell…he must had ODed! She stared a minute more, feeling despair and anguish rush through her before she ran back to the bedroom and picked Harry up, but not before she lifted a lid and peered into his eye, judging the size of his pupils. As she passed her dead lover on the way to the door, she stopped to grab his leather jacket, knowing how much Harry liked it. She shut the door and locked it behind her, then took the steps carefully before rushing to the truck and placing Harry gently into the passenger's side. Hopping in, she started the car with a roar and eased out of the parking lot.

She never looked back.

August 25-

To his chagrin, the talk of the day seemed to be the fact that Harry Potter had never bothered to respond to his Hogwart's Letter. Minerva speculated that, perhaps the boy didn't understand the letter very well, and Severus Snape had replied that if he didn't then he was too stupid to attend anyway. Many glares he received for that, and after much pointless and wasted discussion, the Headmaster had decided that he would personally pay a visit to Boy Wonder. Only the Boy Who Lived could get an invitation from Albus Dumbledore himself. After mentally washing his hands of the conversation, he was however stunned when the Headmaster asked him to accompany him to Boy Wonder's place of residence. He'd been so incredulous, that all he could do was stare at the old fart.

His inability to respond in the harshest way possible was why he was currently standing in front of the Paradise Motel, wondering how it actually happened that the Savior of the Wizarding World ended up here. He'd wanted to make many comments on this, but after hearing Figg's grim tale of a divorce, and the Aunt being left with nothing, Severus was left to sneer in silence as he watched the muggles go about their lives. The motel looked nothing like paradise- in fact, it looked clearly the opposite, with its chipped paint and worn out appearance. Of course, it didn't look as bad as Albus, in his neon green muggle suit. Even the muggles thought he looked ridiculous as he walked up to the Managers' office.

The Indian man looked up at him, eyes widening at the sight of Albus.

"Wow," the man breathed. "just…wow…"

Albus beamed at the man. "Hello, I'm Albus Dumbledore, and this is my colleague Severus Snape. We're looking for two tenants."

"I'm Parth. Tell me who the tenants are and what your relation to them is," Parth replied, pulling out a paper listing names of tenants.

"Ah yes, Petunia Evans and Harry Potter."

Immediately the man stiffened and his head darted up to look at them. "What is your relation to her-them?"

Severus stared at him narrowly. The man looked alarmed

"We are friends of her sister. We sent her son within Petunia's care, and have come to see him."

The man blinked owlishly at them. "The boy wasn't hers?"

"Would you just give us the room number?" Severus snapped, wanting to get this trip over with. The man flinched.

"I'm sorry. They left quite suddenly almost a month ago, and left poor John dead on the couch," Parth shook his head. "Stunned us all." He gestured for them to step into the office, and both wizards complied mutely. That had clearly been unexpected. The man sat down at his desk and rubbed his eyes. "John was rotting by the time I came for the weeks rent, along with the kids' birthday cake. Place was drowning in beer cans- a right mess."

"May I ask who John was?" Albus asked calmly, though that twinkle in his eyes had disappeared behind the gravity of the situation. Parth sat back in his chair and sighed.

"John was Petunia's boyfriend. Decent guy, drank too much in my opinion, but…he was more decent than she would ever be."

"What do you mean?" Severus asked, watching as the man's lips thinned to a line and a look of guilt flashed over his face.

"Well, I don't know what she was doing but…the kid was always bandaged up, you know, or bleeding somewhere, or limping about. I don't know, I asked John to do something about it- and maybe he tried but…" Parth couldn't seem to look them in the eye. "I guess if he wasn't really hers it would make sense."

"What would make sense?" Severus snapped, feeling angry. "Why should it have mattered if he was her child or not? If she was abusing the child, why did no one call the proper authorities?"

The man had the audacity to shrug. "We didn't want any trouble- but I guess it didn't matter really-not after I found John anyway. They said he died from overdose on heroin, and they think she and the kid were doing it right along with him at the party." Both Albus and Severus blanched at his words. "Don't know why she took the kid and ran though- well, except not wanting to get arrested for a myriad of things. From what I heard, they still haven't found them."

Albus nodded and stood up, shaking the managers' hand and exiting the office, Severus following silently behind him.

"We have to find him Severus," the old man stated determinedly, and Severus agreed wholeheartedly.

August 28-

Harry stood in the bathroom mirror, ice pack held against his swollen lips and pondered the last few months as he peered at his lips in intervals. The swelling had gone down, but his lips were black and blue, with tinges of purple. It was a collage of colors that he found quite pretty and he would have told Aunt Petunia so if not for the fact that his lips had been sewn up. He liked to think that this punishment had been for telling lies, or at least living one, and he exited the bathroom, feeling ridiculously thirsty. Stepping into the small kitchen, he poured himself a glass of lemonade and put a straw in it, where he would place it in the small space at the corner of his mouth, which Aunt Petunia left open so that he could drink and smoke. Taking his drink into the bedroom where Aunt Petunia lay half naked, in a drug induced stupor, and wiped the sweat from his forehead. Like her, he wore no shirt or pants, due to the sweltering August heat and not having the luxury of an AC. On a small lamp table was a careful line of H, and he managed to light a stick through the small opening of his mouth before he snorted the line up, reveling in numbing warmth that ran through his body, though he imagined, it wasn't as intoxicating as the first time. He sat with his leg drawn up in the chair and the other dangling, taking swigs and alternately sipping lemonade, and thought of John through the haze.

When he had woken, Aunt Petunia had been at the wheel of John's truck, sobbing silently that he was dead, having ODed on the heroin. Apparently, it also wasn't a good idea to drink alcohol too. Aunt Petunia had been lucky. She had apparently high-tailed it out of there after waking up and finding him, but Harry knew that there was a lie in there somewhere, and that the sewing of the lips had been to cover her lie as much as his own. He had taken special care in sewing her mouth shut, he'd been quick with the needle despite the pain of his lips.

In his drug hazed mind, he ran over the vision of Mary's death, and puzzled at where John's had been somewhere in there. Ah, he managed a small smile that the thread would allow. It must have been that euphoria and release moment right at the end. Stupid, pathetic John. But it was all right. He was in first place again.

There was a knock on the door. He opened his eyes, staring lazily up at the ceiling and ignored it. Both of them wouldn't be leaving the apartment until they removed the thread, which definitely wasn't going to be today. The banging on the door continued, and he shut his eyes and smoked, relaxing in the heat, cool lemonade in one hand, smokes in the other.

"Sweet Merlin…" a voice breathed, a deep voice, and he lowered his head and opened his eyes, but he couldn't feel startled to see the two men standing in the doorway, one looking- well, like the fictional wizard Merlin, and the other reminding him of some type of sallow skinned vampire. He took a swig of his cigarette, placed his drink on the lamp table, then leaned over and pulled out the meat cleaver from under his pillow. He heard the swift intakes of breath and glanced at them to see that one, the vampire one, was pointing a stick at him. Ooohhh, they were one of those people. That made sense. "Albus, I think he's going to-''

The vampire looked like he was about to do something with his wand, but managed to halt himself in time as Harry severed the thread that kept him from speaking. His tongue darted out and licked wounded lips for the first time in days and took a healthier swig of his light.

"What can I do for you," he breathed, scratching his scalp with the cleaver.

Sweet Merlin.

The moment they had entered the house, a wave of despair had run through them, thick and full of pain. There were cans of beer on the tables and used up butts of cigarettes. The apartment was thick with smoke that the open window was doing a poor job of filtering out, and upon approaching the bedroom door were greeted with a sight he wouldn't forget. Petunia was laid out on the bed, naked but for her underwear, apparently unconscious, and Harry Potter, Boy Who Lived, was in his underwear as well, staring at the ceiling and humming to himself, a cigarette in one hand and a glass of what looked like lemonade in the other. After noticing those first two things, everything went down-hill from there. His lips were black and blue, and he suppressed a gasp when he saw the black thread running through them. His pale body was thin, and littered with scars, some healed, and others raw and red. When the boy opened his eyes and lowered his head to look at them, Severus noticed immediately that those familiar eyes were pin pricks.

The stunning didn't stop when the boy languidly reached under his pillow and pulled out a meat cleaver, and as he pulled out his wand to disarm the boy, the boy calmly severed the threads and politely asked what he could do for them. Severus's eyes fell on a small bag full of white powder, -sweet Circe- that must be what he thought it was.

"Child," Albus's voice came pained, as if the scene was a physical blow to him. "I-'' Albus seemed at a loss for words, his shoulders slumping as he stared at the child, who stared back uncomprehendingly. "I should have kept a better eye on you," the old man whispered.

"Expelliarmus," he snapped, and the meat cleaver flipped out of the boy's weak grasp and flew hilt first into his waiting hand. The child stared in puzzlement at his suddenly empty hand, then shrugged dismissively.

"Is there something you want?" He picked up the packet of heroin and lifted it toward them. At the same time Petunia stirred and lifted her gaze, eyes befuddled before they sharpened. In a flash she had crawled across the bed, grabbed Potter from the chair, and was in a corner of the room, holding the boy to her naked chest desperately.

"You can't have him!" She shrieked, grip tightening on the small eleven year old, her lips shredded and torn as they broke free of the thread. "He's mine! You can't take him from me!" The woman burst into tears and buried her face into Potter's shoulder, smearing him with blood.

"Petunia, why don't you let Harry go and put on some clothes, and we can talk about this," Albus suggested in a calm grandfatherly tone, though it was clear the sheer effort he put into those words. No doubt, this scene was even more nightmarish for him than it was for Severus. Dear Merlin, what were the two of them doing in this room mostly naked, besides drugs? Quite visibly on Harry's bare spine, he could see the word 'sinner' carved right down his spine, and it was done almost artfully.

Petunia stopped crying and stared hatefully at them. "No matter what you say or do, he'll always be mine." Potter was making small wheezes and they noticed at the same time that she was squeezing the boy.

"STUPEFY," Albus bellowed, and the red light expertly hit Petunia's arms, knocking the woman back into the wall, but falling down on top of the waif. Severus rushed over, pulling the naked woman from him and picking Potter up, his green eyes glazed over as he rasped through lips still holding strands of thread.

"Do you think it's safe to Apparate?" he inquired, glancing around for a shirt and spying a large leather jacket. He wrapped it around the boy as Albus nodded, and the two apparated to the Leaky Cauldron so they could floo to Hogwarts.

They left Petunia on the carpet, stunned and bloody.

They always knew when something was bad when Poppy stopped tittering and tutting, and just settled for that blank faced look of professionalism. Albus and Severus stood by and watched her banish the thread in his lips and run several diagnostic spells over him, which was when she got real silent.

"Well?" Severus demanded tired of waiting while she tossed a nutrition potion down his throat.

Her lips pursed when she turned to them, and her face was pale.

"This child," she choked out, "has been tortured for years! He's been starved, beaten, his fingernails had been pulled off, he's swallowed chemical cleansers, chewed on glass, had his feet boiled in water, blades run over his skin, multiple fractures all over his body. Merlin he's had nails driven through his hands and feet! And that's just the beginning of the list!" by then Albus had slumped down onto a bed, eyes wide. "There are high levels of alcohol in his liver and nicotine in his bloodstream to clarify years of drinking and smoking, and he's now addicted to heroin. You need to take him to St. Mungo's for further treatment Albus."

Before Albus could reply, Potter turned over, then sat up, green eyes open. Severus could immediately tell that the boy was off his high- there was a sharpness to those green eyes, and more chillingly, a coldness. The boy's eyes darted between the three of them before he spoke, voice calm and contained. "Who are you? Where is my Aunt Petunia?"

Albus took a deep breath before smiling gently at the child. "Hello Harry. I'm Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This is Madame Pomfrey, the medi-witch at this school and Professor Snape, Potion's Master. Do you remember getting your letter?"

Potters eyes scrutinized the three of them, revealing nothing, before he asked again, "Where is my Aunt?"

"Your Aunt is back in that hellhole she had you in," Severus snapped.

"Severus!" Poppy exclaimed, sending him a sharp look. The boy, on the other hand, didn't seem offended. Instead, he laced his thin fingers together and stared patiently at them, as if expecting them to produce his Aunt. Poppy took that moment to summon a small plate with a sandwich and cranberry juice, which the boy gave a mere glance at before staring back at the professors.

"I want to go home," he stated calmly. Albus sighed sadly.

"I'm afraid I cannot do that Harry. You need proper medical attention and care. You'll be safe here."

"Safe from what?" He seemed interested at that moment.

"Safe from your psychotic Aunt, Potter," Severus sneered, ignoring Poppy's glare. The boy frowned at him.

"Aunt Petunia is not psychotic. She's simply sad. This was not the life she envisioned for herself." The boy's speech seemed older somehow. "She is not as satisfied as I am," he continued with a nod. "with this life." There was something cryptic about the smile now gracing the boys' face, something cold.

"And why are you satisfied?" Albus asked in an almost hushed tone.

The boy looked directly at them with his cold green eyes, so unlike Lily's for the fact that there was no warmth in them.

"Because I'm in first place."


These one-shots are actually ideas for fics that I know I'll never write, so I've decided to type many of them as one-shots. This one has been sitting in my folder for months.

Mary's disappearance remains so. There was nothing sexual between Harry and Petunia- in case anyone wondered.

..DwD will be uploaded- tomorrow...