Title: He Stood in His Shoes and Wondered
There was a naughty boy,
A naughty boy was he,
He would not stop at home,
He could not quiet be-
In his knapsack
Full of vowels
And a shirt
With some towels,
A slight cap
For night cap,
A hair brush,
For old ones
Would split O!
Tight at 'is back
He rivetted close
And followed his nose
To the North,
To the North,
And followed his nose
To the North.
There was a naughty boy,
And a naughty boy was he,
He ran away to Scotland
The people for to see-
There he found
That the ground
Was as hard,
That a yard
Was as long,
That a song
Was as merry,
That a cherry
Was as red-
Was as weighty
Was as eighty,
That a door
Was as wooden
As in England-
So he stood in his shoes
And he wondered,
He stood in his shoes
And he wondered.
It was heavy pounding that woke him up.
Harry jolted upright on his cot, heart beating a frantic rhythm on his ribcage. A glance at the small vent in the cupboard door showed that it was light out. Harry had overslept.
"Get out here, boy! Don't make me come in there!"
The small ten year old ripped the tattered sheet off of his body and scrambled to the door of the cupboard. His hands fumbled with the handle of the door for a moment before he was able to successfully push it open.
"What's the meaning of this, boy? Where's our breakfast? I will not tolerate laziness from you, you little freak!"
"Sorry, Uncle Vernon. It won't happen again, sir." Harry kept his eyes glued on the Uncle Vernon's work shoes. If the man was already dressed for work, that meant Harry had overslept by two hours. He cautiously glanced at the grandfather clock and saw that it was indeed eight-thirty.
The fat man's eyes narrowed, trying to see any impertinence in Harry's tone. Harry braced himself just as the man's hand came up to box his ear. "See that it doesn't. Your Aunt left a list of chores for you on the counter. Make sure you get all of them done by the time I get home. We're having guests tonight and Pet wants this house perfect. Understand?"
"Yes, sir. Have the house perfect by the time you get home. I understand."
When Harry stayed where he was, Vernon snapped. "Well, what are you waiting for? Get working!"
Harry hurried to the kitchen, ducking another swat to the head from his Uncle. He heard the front door open and slam shut and he breathed a sigh of relief. His Uncle was scary when he was angry.
He quickly snatched a handful of Alpen cereal, grimacing at the lack of sugar. He chewed quickly and rinsed his mouth with water. It was the only cereal he could snitch from and not get caught. Aunt Petunia only bought it for herself occasionally and usually forgot she had it, so Harry was able to take a handful here and there once it was opened.
A note sat on the countertop and Harry could see his Aunt's neat handwriting on it. He read over it carefully, not wanting to miss any important information. Harry's stomach dropped at the size of the list. He was fairly certain that he could finish most of it on time, but a few of the jobs, like cleaning out the chimney, would take a bit longer. He scurried about the house quickly, trying to do as many chores at once as possible.
At half past nine, Aunt Petunia came home from shopping. Dudley trailed in behind him, whining that he was hungry. Harry ducked the meaty fist his cousin threw at him and waited for his relatives to get into the kitchen before following them. His Aunt was scanning the list she left him, taking note of the checkmarks he'd already put down.
"You've got the tablecloth out?" Harry didn't hesitate in his answer, knowing she expected immediate feedback to her questions.
"Yes, ma'am. It's on the dining table so the wrinkles will relax out of it."
"Hmm. You washed the table before putting it down, I hope. That tablecloth belonged to Vernon's Grandmother. It's worth quite a bit."
Dudley chose this moment to reiterate his woes. "Mummy! I'm hungry! Make the freak cook lunch already!"
"Dudley, dear, it's too early for lunch." When Dudley's whining grew in volume, Petunia rushed to finish. "But I believe it's just about time for a nice brunch. What do you say, Snookums?"
Dudley let a few fat crocodile tears escape. "Can I have the rest of the kippers and blood sausage?"
"You can have whatever you like. Boy, stop whatever chore you were doing and wash your hands. I want you to cook Duddums his brunch."
Harry quickly set down his dusting rag and hurried over to the sink. His hands weren't too bad, but his nails were black with dirt. Aunt Petunia would have a fit if he even thought of touching the frying pan with hands like that. Harry grunted when a strong push sent his stomach into the side of the counter.
"Hurry up, you freak! I'm hungry and you're taking forever!" Dudley punched him in the back of the head, laughing when Harry's forehead banged on the linoleum countertop. "And don't even think about eating any of the kippers. I'll rat you out to Mum and then you won't eat at all today."
Harry ignored his cousin and started up the frying pan for the bacon. He didn't even like kippers anyway. His stomach grumbled and burned at the smell of cooking bacon and he pressed a fist into his gut to try and quell the feeling. He hadn't finished all of his chores yesterday, so he'd missed out on dinner. Harry didn't want to ruin his chances at getting dinner today by snagging a bite right now.
Harry sat in his cupboard, rubbing his sore stomach. He hadn't been able to finish the chimney before Uncle Vernon had gotten home and got a meaty fist to the gut for it, as well as no dinner for the rest of the week. Harry figured that was alright, since it was Friday, but he knew from experience that more than a couple days without food was not a fun time.
Laughter filtered through the vent slits on his cupboard door and Harry wondered what lame mini-golf joke his Uncle had used this time. Every now and then Harry's nose would be teased with the smell of Aunt Petunia's pot roast or the garlic mashed potatoes that had won her three blue ribbons in the neighborhood cooking fest.
Just when Harry was about to fall completely asleep, the Dursley's guests made their way to the front door. Harry never caught their names, but he did know that the woman must have marinated in her perfume before coming over. He pinched his nose tightly to stop the sneeze that was trying to escape. The smell filled his small cupboard and even burying his face in his old, stained pillow didn't provide any relief. He pressed deeper into his cot and let out a sneeze, hoping that the old linens muffled the noise enough so that the adults outside his cupboard didn't hear. His stomach dropped when one of the guests spoke up.
"What was that?"
Uncle Vernon stammered out an answer, something about settling houses, and escorted his guests out the door quickly. Harry tried to stop his hands from shaking by digging them into his bed linens, but there was nothing he could do about the rest of his body. He flinched when his Uncle ripped the cupboard open and pulled him out by the collar of his shirt. His Uncle backhanded him and he felt his head hit the wall.
"You're treading on thin ice, boy. You better hope I'm in a good mood come Monday or you'll be lucky to ever see the light of day again!"
His Uncle flung him into his cupboard once more and locked it. Harry's heart thumped painfully. They were going to keep him in here all weekend? He'd be fine without food until Monday, but he drank a couple of glasses of water while he did his chores. He wasn't going to be able to hold it in that long. He could already feel the pressure in his gut.
A flash of peach through the vent had him knocking on the door softly. His Aunt stopped mid stride.
"What do you want, boy? You nearly ruined our dinner with the Beauregards."
"Aunt Petunia, I got to go potty. I won't be able to hold it until Monday, ma'am." Harry crossed his fingers, hoping his Aunt would realized that he didn't have anything to use in his cupboard. He knew she disliked messes, even if they were in the cupboard under the stairs.
"Very well, I will let you out for five minutes. Don't dally." His aunt undid the lock and Harry nearly raced upstairs to the water closet. He hurried back, his hands still wet from washing them, with a few minutes to spare. His Aunt locked the cupboard once more and Harry could hear her footsteps on the stairs as she headed to bed.
'Why do they hate me?'
Harry was watering the rosebushes in the front flowerbed when a large shadow fell over him. He looked up to see his Uncle glaring at him, holding a broken statuette.
"What is this, boy?" His Uncle's voice was quiet and calm, deceivingly light.
Harry swallowed. The statuette had been fine when he went outside to start his chores, but Dudley had been in a bad mood all morning and he wouldn't put it past his cousin to get him into trouble for a little entertainment. "It's the statuette you got from work when you were promoted, sir."
"I know that, you dunce. Why is it broken?"
"I don't know, sir."
His Uncle narrowed his eyes, his voice cold as he commanded, "Get in the house."
Harry set down the watering can gently, his heart hurting from fear. His Uncle liked to yell quite a bit, but Harry was more afraid when he was calm looking. It always meant a belt would be in his future. He flinched when his Uncle shoved him none too gently through the door, his anger quickly showing itself.
"You're lucky Dudley's birthday is in two days, boy. If you didn't have to go to Mrs. Figg's, you'd be in for a lot worse." Harry looked up at his Uncle in confusion just as the base of the statuette came crashed into the side of his head, plunging him into darkness.
Severus Snape glared at the fat muggle man in front of him. "What do you mean, Mr. Potter isn't here? I know for a fact that Albus Dumbledore placed the boy in your care. Have you managed to misplace him?"
"Can't misplace what you never had, right? I'm telling you, there is no one by the name of Harry Potter here. Now get your freaky ass off of my property!" The heavy oak door slammed shut in Severus's face and he felt a tic form in his brow.
"Nothing but a rude, piggish moron. I can only imagine how selfish that brat has grown to be." Severus snapped out his wand and flicked it, pushing the door open with a crash. He ignored the muggle man that was yelling at him to get out and held his wand in front of him. "Point me, Harry Potter."
His wand jumped out of his hand and spun once before aiming at the door of a cupboard located under the stairs. A quickly flick of his fingers unlocked the weak latch and he yanked open the door. A small boy sat on a cot inside staring at him with emerald eyes. Severus fought back the snarl that wanted to escape at the resemblance this boy held to his childhood enemy.
"Stop playing around, Potter, and get out here at once. Your failure to respond to your Hogwarts letter as prompted the headmaster to send me to fetch his precious little hero. I was in the middle of a very complicated potion and if your dawdling causes it to over boil, my already substantial hatred of you will know no bounds." He pulled the boy out by one arm, ignoring his yelp of pain. Severus wasted no time dragging the boy out into the street, away from the wards on his house, and apparated to Hogsmeade.
Harry tried to hide his shaking as the tall, frightening man pulled him out of his cupboard. He sent his Aunt and Uncle a pleading look, hoping they would step forward and save him from this kidnapper, but they huddled in the living room doorway, too worried about themselves to care that he was being taken away. He yanked uselessly at his arm, trying to free himself from the iron grip the man had on his wrist. It was beginning to hurt and he just knew there would be a nasty bruise on it tomorrow.
The man dragged him out into the street and Harry suddenly couldn't breath as he was squeezed through a very narrow space. He blinked and a small village was in front on him. His senses returned to him a second later and his stomach heaved violently. He barely managed to avoid the dark clothed man's shoes before he lost the meager dinner he had eaten and passed out on the ground.
As promised, this is the gift fic I'm writing for Natsumi Tsuchi-Ookami. The title is based, obviously, off of the poem in the very beginning. I think the poem fits Harry quite well, if it's thought about in terms of him heading off to Hogwarts in Scotland. I had quite a bit of good luck when I found that poem.