According to Harry Potter, the Dursley family was NOT normal, thank you very much. He had lived with them for sixteen years, and so thought he knew them well enough to judge. So now, on his seventeenth birthday, he was perfectly prepared to never see them again. He had only stayed this long to respect the wishes of his dead headmaster. But the blessed day had finally arrived, and the short boy was packed and ready to leave at the first moment of his seventeenth year.
Harry's birthday started out with a bang, mirroring that of a birthday long past. This time, however, the boom was not so friendly.
"Come out young Harry," a high pitched voice called brining a sharp pain to the lightning shaped cut on the recipient's forehead.
"No!" Harry cried softly to himself, realizing how stupid it had been to wait. He would have to fight his last battle here, alone as he was, in the muggle world where none of the people poised to be hurt had ever heard of the parasite called Voldemort.
Anger coursed through his veins. How dare Dumbledore put these people in danger by placing a wizard among them? How dare Harry stay with them until all the protections were lost?
"Expelliamus! Harry whispered desperately. All those innocents were now his responsibility.
Disbelief washed over Harry as he captured a wand. Had Voldemort really been holding his weapon so loosely? The answer was no, the pseudo-wand exploded upon reaching Harry's window, shattering the glass. Shards flayed Harry's face, hands and arms. Ignoring the pain, Harry franticly listed spells in his mind that might help him without backfiring.
A quick flick of the wrist and an eyeball was scooped out of Voldemort's socket with a household melon baler charm. Another wave had all the hairs remaining on the snakelike body ripped out with a quick plucking charm.
"Crucio!" Voldemort screeched his revenge for his smarting hairless nostrils. Harry was forced away from the window with the flash of light.
Shrinking all he worldly possessions and freeing Hedwig, the young hero proceeded to run down the creaky stairs, the noise of the last stair is what finally woke Petunia who after years of teenagers, was attuned to the sound of her son sneaking out. She ignored this and saved her life by staying out of the battle.
Only one thing remained to be done. Running out to confront Voldemort, Harry lifted his wand. Then his jaw dropped. Voldemort, the most feared wizard in Britain was killed by a giant purple bus. The only witness was then invited to pay eleven sickles to ride anywhere in the country. Fifteen if he wanted hot chocolate.
Harry smiled and boarded, rubbing the scratches on his face to make sure no blood was leaking. "Leaky Caldron," was all he said and then Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived-Again, fell into and exhausted sleep.
Using the last of his school money, Harry paid for his bus ride and got off. He walked straight to Gringots to take out some more money so he could finally get some clothes beyond his school robes. The dark haired boy rode down into the darkness with a goblin escort thinking of all the things he could now do as an adult.
The vault was empty. Harry was confused, he knew he hadn't spent this much money. In fact, he hadn't even been to his vault since third year. A stray thought passed through his head, 'the Weasleys had been dipping in,' but he brushed it away. Being poor didn't make them dishonorable, maybe school had cost him more than he thought.
"Do I have a family vault? I thought this was just the trust fund." Harry said calmly. Surely he had more money.
The goblin replied somewhat gleefully, "Trust fund? Why would your parents set you up with a trust fund? They didn't have that much money. Nope, I suggest you find yourself a job. Gringotts policy only allows empty vaults to sit for one year before the patron account is closed."
Harry weakly sat down for the cart ride back to the surface. A jolt passed over him as he realized that he wouldn't be able to make enough money in one summer to finish his Hogwarts education. He didn't have the grades to be granted a scholarship. He wasn't even underage anymore; the government was no longer required to make sure he had an education.
A job, the goblin had said, he needed to get a job. Harry walked out into the sunlight. What kind of job would a drop out with no special skills be able to get. Sure he could play quittich, but most teams were in training right now and wouldn't be recruiting until at least next May.
Harry had thought he wanted to be an auror, but without NEWTs, that dream would never be realized. He refused to use his fame to try and bend rules. The question the newly poor boy was faced with was 'What special skills do I have?'
'Well,' he thought, 'I can cook. I can also clean and do yard work. But there is magic for that, no one needs manual labor in the wizarding world.' Then Harry realized what he had been dancing around, 'Not in the wizarding world, but definitely in the normal world!'
Harry ran out of Diagon Alley not noticing the strange looks that were passed his way. He had hope again and nothing could get him down. He searched the ground for a quarter, finding two before he ran over to a news box and inserted the first. He opened the door and pulled out a Times looking for the want adds. Feverishly hunting through them, Harry ripped out the few manual labor jobs with no school requirement. He finally found one that looked right for him.
Maid wanted, Horton Hotel. The job sounded a bit girly, but wasn't he just a maid to the Dursleys anyway? Harry walked toward the address thinking he had no time to loose. The brunet finally found the place he was looking for and asked for an application. The receptionist sneered at his clothes, but assumed he was just trying to look cool and didn't look too closely.
Harry quickly filled out the application but was stumped at the address and telephone number that were required fields. Harry shrugged and filled in the Dursleys information and then checked the "no" box for pay cheques to be sent in the mail. As long as he never missed work, they would never have cause to call him, and he could always change his information when he got a place to live.
Harry, coming down from the rush that had caused him to act so rashly, shyly presented his application to the receptionist. She looked over it and seemed to decide that inexperienced help was better than no help at all.
"I suppose you'll have to do for now. But be warned, if you don't work hard, we do reserve the right to fire you."
Harry nodded meekly, "Yes ma'am."
"Good that you understand, Mary will show you the ropes, and just so you know," she leaned forward and focused on him, "Uniform is required!"
The other maid, Mary, scurried to him and latched herself onto his arm, steering him forward. She wore a somewhat rumpled blue uniform and had raggedy hair. She brought him into a Laundry that was full of sheets and towels and had cupboards full of mini toiletries. From out of a canvas bin, she produced a clean male uniform in the same shade of blue. It had no name tag, but as she said "No one needs to see you, your job is to clean up while the guests are gone."
Harry was glad to get new clothes, even if he was trading one uniform for another. He was also eager to get to work. He had no home and no money for one, so he signed up for all the hours he could. He also asked about working in the kitchen as a second job. He was told by the other workers that companies couldn't legally make someone work that long, but if he applied under another name, he could take the second job. Harry realized that if he did this, he would almost never be free, but since he had no where to go, he guessed that wouldn't be a problem.
And so, Alfred Pennyworth was born.