It was a night like any other, on the quiet suburban street of Privet Drive. There was a light breeze in the air and you could hear an occasional dog barking. All the houses looked the same, with their neatly trimmed lawns and manicured bushes; it was postcard perfection. All the inhabitants of this mundane street were fast asleep in their beds, save one.
In number four, a small boy lies awake in his miniscule room. His room was actually a storage cupboard under the stairs of his family's home. The little boy in question was named Harry Potter and this was no ordinary night. Six year old Harry was waiting patiently for the stroke of midnight. He would soon be seven years old and he was going to celebrate his birthday for the first time. You see Harry never knew when his birthday was, since his relatives never told him. He started school last fall and learned that he was born on July the thirty first, which was only minutes away.
He had watched his cousin celebrate his own birthday, so Harry decided to do the same but in his own way. He had drawn a picture of a birthday cake with seven candles on a scrap piece of notebook paper he managed to save from school. It wasn't the best of drawings, but that didn't matter to him. It was HIS birthday and he wanted to do something special for himself, since his loving family would not. He listened closely to the imitation grandfather clock as it ticked closer and closer to its appointed time.
It won't be long now. He thought to himself as he waited anxiously. His birthday cake held firmly in his small hands. He was trembling with anticipation; this would be a momentous occasion in his very short life. Another click and the clock started to chime. Harry smile proudly and spoke softly aloud. "Happy Birthday Harry. Make a wish." With this, he inhaled deeply and blew out the candles of his cake. He sat there and hoped that someday he could have a real birthday and that his wish would come true. All of a sudden, there was a bright flash of light. It lasted only a moment, but in its wake was a wrapped gift with Harry's name on it.
Harry was momentarily shocked at the bright light, but even more surprised to see the gift. It was wrapped in shiny red paper with a large red and gold bow on the top. He wasn't sure what to do, he never expected this. He tentatively took the small envelope that was present and opened it. The envelope was made out of a thick brownish colored paper and sealed with wax. Harry removed the card, made of the same strange material, and read it aloud.
Happy Birthday Harry from someone who loves you
Harry started to cry. Someone loves me. He thought to himself. He held the card close to his heart and tried to compose himself. After a few moments, he inhaled deeply and took hold of his gift.
At this very moment, in a castle hundreds of miles away. An ancient looking man dressed in strange clothing was examining some odd looking devices. One of them had set off an alarm and he needed to investigate. Seeing that nothing was amiss, he thought for a moment and remembered the date. He smiled to himself and said aloud. "Happy Birthday, Harry Potter." The old man turned around and returned to his stateroom to resume his blissful slumber.
Another alarm went off in an office in London. The clerk on duty was about to make a report when she realized what had happened.
"Probably just some magical venting. It is his birthday after all." She said aloud to no one and just ignored the alarm and went back to her novel.
Harry didn't want to tare into his first gift, ever, like Dudley would have. He carefully removed the wrapping, trying not to tare it too much. He wanted to save it and savor the moment as long as possible. The bow was already placed carefully to the side; it was just too pretty to destroy. He relieved the box of its covering and with another deep breath opened it. Harry's eyes went wide and he smiled ear to ear. Inside was a stuffed teddy bear. It was nothing special, just an ordinary brown and white bear, but to Harry it was priceless. He held the bear up, to examine it better, he couldn't take it any longer and pulled his new friend to him and gave it a big hug. Warmth spread through Harry like he never felt before as more tears threatened to fall.
He held his bear for a few minutes and something told him to look in the box again. It wasn't because of greed, but he felt he had to look. To his amazement, there was two more items. The first was a small rectangular, velvet box. He opened the box and could not believe his eyes. There was a necklace of silver with a small medallion for a charm. The medallion had some strange markings on it but was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He removed the necklace from it's case and slipped it over his head. It seemed to shrink to fit him perfectly. Harry shook his head and said aloud. "Just my imagination." and shrugged it off. The second item was a blanket. It was red in color and made of the softest material Harry had ever felt. Even in the stifling heat of his room, he felt compelled to pull the blanket around him. He noticed a picture of a golden lion on it as he draped the blanket over his shoulders. Instantly he felt cooler and more comfortable. He didn't understand how it was possible to be cooler with a blanket on him but at the moment he didn't care.
It was getting late and he had chores to do for his family. He quickly put the wrapping paper and bow into the box and placed it in the corner of his room. He folded his old blanket and placed it under his extremely thin pillow, to make it more comfortable. He put his head on the pillow, covered himself with his new blanket, hugged his bear to his chest and fell fast asleep. This had been the best day of his life.
As he slept, the bear started to glow. There were many runic symbols drawn upon its surface. His necklace began glowing the same soft, comforting blue color. Hundreds of miles away, in the same castle. The many odd shaped devices the old man was observing stopped working, briefly glowed a soft blue hue, and then resumed their function. At this same moment in London, the sensors that detected a disturbance earlier glowed the same soft blue then resumed their normal function. These two actions went unnoticed by all, and it would not be known for many years to come. Harry Potter was off the magical grid.
The next morning Harry awoke early and felt well rested. He had the best sleep he had ever had and was awake before his uncle would yell at him. He quickly folded his blanket and returned it to the box it came in. he hugged his bear once more and smiled then returned him as well. He tucked the necklace into his over sized t-shirt and waited to be released from his room. He felt a bit of fear that his gifts would be taken but somehow he knew they would remain with him.
He was released by his aunt and told to use the bathroom and be quick about it. After nature was satisfied he arrived in the kitchen to begin his daily chores. He started cooking for his relatives when he was old enough to understand so this was nothing new. His aunt Petunia was already starting the coffee and he took out the pans needed to feed the others. If he was lucky he might get something they missed. His aunt accidentally brushed against him and felt something, but ignored this and continued about her work.
The Dursley males, smelling food made their way noisily down the stairs and into the kitchen. Dudley was the first to arrive for his morning feeding. He was only a few months older than Harry but was the size of a small whale. He enjoyed pushing Harry around and was often rewarded for his efforts, today was no exception. He came up behind he smaller cousin and pushed him into the stove, hoping he would burn himself. He didn't even notice the strange tingling that had just occurred.
Vernon was the last to arrive and was dressed for his day. He ordered his freak of a nephew to serve him his morning coffee. As Harry handed his overly large uncle his mug their hands brushed against on another but Vernon was too engrossed in the smell of food to notice a change.
Having served the Dursleys their meal, Harry awaited patiently to clear the dishes. He was surprised that he actually got a small plate full of breakfast. It wasn't much compared to his cousin's portion but it was more than usual. As the meal went on, Vernon spoke.
"I'm quite full Pet. You have outdone yourself." Giving his wife a compliment for Harry's cooking.
"I'm full to mum. Great breakfast." Dudley said.
"What are we going to do with all this food I cooked? I hate to waste anything." Petunia said questioningly.
"Make the freak eat it. Its probably his fault you made so much." Vernon said angrily.
"Well what are you waiting for boy? EAT, and don't leave a crumb!" Petunia said loudly.
"Yes, Aunt Petunia." Harry answered carefully. He didn't know what was happening and he didn't want to do anything that would mess it up. He was feeling unusually hungry this morning for some reason. He dug into his breakfast with renewed vigor, being careful not to smile. His family didn't like it when he was happy. While he was eating Vernon spoke venomously.
"Now listen here you little freak. From now on whatever food is left over you have to eat it. Its bad enough we have to put up with your freakish ways, I'll not waste food because of you. Do you understand me?"
"Yes Uncle Vernon." Harry answered dejectedly but smiling inside.
Vernon grumbled something incoherent at Harry, kissed his wife on the cheek and left for work.
Harry finished his breakfast, not leaving a single crumb, cleared the table, did the dishes and set upon his daily chores.
Harry was busy weeding the garden when his aunt called him inside for lunch. Dudley was already stuffing his chubby face with sandwiches and crisps. Harry was given the smallest sandwich and water to drink. Dudley had just finished his fourth sandwich and half the bowl of crisps when he announced he was full. Harry's current task was to eat the last two sandwiches and finish the crisps. What surprised him was the fact that he had been given a glass of milk by his aunt. She said to Harry.
"Drink that. The milk is going to spoil in two days and I don't want to waste good money having to dispose of it."
"Yes Aunt Petunia." Harry answered. He finished his mid day meal and cleared the dishes and resumed his chores.
Harry was stumped. Something strange was going on but he didn't want to say anything. He had eaten more in two meals than he had normally eaten in three days, and there was dinner yet to come. He wanted to ask what the change was but remembered he was not supposed to ask questions, so he just let it be.
He finished his chores and he wasn't as tired and weak as he normally felt. He washed up and began to prepare dinner for he relatives. Roast beef, vegetables, rolls and chocolate cake for desert was on the menu. He couldn't believe they were having cake today of all days, but for some reason said nothing about it.
Dinner was a quiet affair. Harry ate and kept his head down as Vernon chatted to Petunia about his day. He ate a healthy portion of meat and most of the vegetables, Dudley didn't like them. After everyone was finished eating, Harry served the cake, he could not believe his profound luck when he actually was served a piece, with milk to wash it down. Petunia said to Vernon.
"I'm making the little freak drink the milk before it goes bad."
"Good for you Pet. Maybe this will teach him how to respect normal people. Lord knows he needs a strong hand because of his freakishness."
Harry listened to this and wondered. They think feeding me is a punishment. I better not say anything it might be just a fluke. He thought to himself. After desert, Harry went to the loo and prepared for bed. For some reason his uncle didn't lock the door to his room before retiring for the evening. Harry lied in bed wrapped in his blanket holding his bear; he named him Merlin because he arrived to him just like magic. He didn't know what had happened today and hoped it wouldn't stop. He ate more than he ever had and actually enjoyed cake. This was truly the best day of his life.
Over the rest of the summer, Harry had enjoyed the fruits of the strange happenings from his birthday. He ate his fill every meal and started to grow. He had put on some weight but he was still on the small size. The school year was about to start and the biggest surprise of his life happened. Petunia bought him some clothes that were his size. She purchased them from a second hand store but they were better then anything he ever owned before. Vernon ordered him to clean out Dudley's second bedroom and 'forced' Harry to move in there. All the old and broken toys were stored in boxes and put into the attic. The books were placed neatly on a used bookcase that Petunia found at a yard sale. Vernon moved his old desk into Harry's room after he purchased a new one. A freak doesn't deserve anything new, even if the old desk was only a year old.
The school year started and Harry started into his same routine of not performing better than Dudley. Things have improved for him and he didn't want to mess it up. Dudley's gang still terrorized Harry and anyone who came near him, but Dudley stopped hitting him.
The first quarter's progress reports came out and Harry once again was stunned into silence. His Uncle spoke to him in a dangerous tone.
"Listen here boy. Dudley is in much harder classes than you. You had better pull up these grades or there will be trouble. Do you understand?"
"Yes Uncle Vernon." Harry answered. He didn't have to hide his brain anymore.
After this revelation, Harry showed remarkable improvements. He earned several ribbons for academics and rose quickly to tenth in his class. He used to be last.
That summer Harry continued to perform his chores, as always but this time he was given some time off to enjoy himself. He could go to the nearby park to play or he could go to the local library to read. As long as his chores were completed, the Dursleys did not care. His chore list had shrunk considerably as well. He didn't have to paint the house again this year.
His birthday was upon him once again and Harry decided to celebrate the same way as last year. He didn't expect anything to happen but you never know. It didn't matter to him that his family still hated him. He was getting more than enough to eat, he didn't have to play dumb any more and his work load at home had lessened. He was sitting on his bed with Merlin in his lap and his blanket draped over his shoulders. With a picture of a birthday cake in his hands, he waited for the clock to strike. At midnight, Harry once again said. "Happy birthday Harry. Make a wish." Then blew out the 'candles'.
There was another bright flash of light, and this time there was a small package with an envelope. He went to open the envelope, It had the same message as last year. He opened the package with the utmost care and found a small velvet box. Inside the box was a ring made of gold. Harry's couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the name POTTER upon it's surface. The ring had a large red jewel on it and an engraved picture of a lion on one side. It was small in size, so Harry put it on his right ring finger and it fit perfectly. He felt a strange pull on his navel and then he was gone.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything Harry Potter.