Arabella Figg had apparently been informing Dumbledore for years that there was something wrong with the way Harry's relatives were treating him. She intoned that he never even left his house, but Dumbledore swore that was hogwash. Harry clearly enjoyed the indoors more than his boisterous cousin, but surely he left the house sometimes. After all, it wasn't like Arabella was home all of the time.
Now, however, she told them that young Harry didn't even attend school. The first year the warning had been passed off. It was not unheard of for muggle children to begin school a year late if their relatives didn't believe they had developed enough. When another year passed and the youngster still didn't attend muggle primary, however, even Albus could not ignore it.
So, a month before what should have been Harry's third year of school, Severus had been sent to inform his muggle relatives that they really must enroll him. Already he would be far behind in his subjects, and it was doubtful he would be adept at in his basic knowledge when he started Hogwarts.
Severus wasn't pleased that he was being sent to do the Headmaster's dirty work. He had no real patience for spoiled children, and even less for the people who did the spoiling. There was no doubt in Severus's mind that Potter's offspring would be even more obnoxious than his father. After all, in conversations with Arabella Figg, it had been gathered that the young Dursley was pampered beyond belief, and even he had been forced to attend muggle primary. Yes, Severus thought, the Potter spawn must be a loathsome lout.
It was in this mind that Severus stalked up the front path of the Dursley's pristine garden and boarded the three front steps. He rapped his knuckles smartly upon the oak door four times in quick succession before waiting rather impatiently for admittance.
A few moments later, lumbering footsteps preceded the door opening, at long last, to reveal a piggish blond boy with watery blue eyes and an already unhealthy girth. "Hello," the boy said, "I'm Dudley. Mum's in the back green if you want her, but Dad's gone out."
Severus opened his mouth to reply, but just then a spindly, dark haired woman came around the corner, wiping her hands on her dress as she walked.
"Mum!" the boy said excitedly. "I told him Dad's done out but you're here."
The woman gave her son a rather distracted look. "You what? Oh, Diddykins, that's only for solicitors. Door-to-door salesmen can count the cars in the driveway."
Severus watched the proceedings in an annoyed manner. What rude muggles, to assume he was a salesman without even asking him. And even if he was a salesman, it would be beyond rude to discuss evasive tactics in front of him.
"I'm not selling anything!" he interjected.
Petunia Dursley looked up at him in surprise. "Oh?"
"I'm actually here about your nephew."
The fat kid's eyes lit up in surprise and he pulled anxiously on the hem of his mother's shirt. "Mummy, did Aunt Marge have a kid?"
"No, of course not, Sweetums," Petunia replied absently, not taking her eyes off of Severus.
"You're one of them," she said at last, and then she turned her full attention on her son for the first time since Severus had been there. "Dudley, go get your Daddy and send him down here, and then you can play on the computer until supper time."
"Really?" Dudley asked, grinning. "Daddy said no more this week."
"Just this once."
At that, the whale boy raced towards the stairs. Severus watched him go with thinly veiled disgust. He knew better than to hope the Potter brat would be any different than his abominable cousin, and the idea of having a daft ogre like that running around Hogwarts four years from now was almost too much to bear.
"Well," Severus said to the stick woman. "Do you really expect me to stand upon your front door all morning, or are you going to invite me inside?"
Her lips thinned to a white line, but she opened the front door a bit wider and stepped aside to allow Severus entrance. He supposed it was the most he could expect from a muggle, and stepped across the threshold. After all, his only goal was to leave here ASAP, and trying to teach manners to muggles was not the way to accomplish that.
"What's going on, dear?" a husky voice asked. "Dudders said there's a funny man at the door."
"It's one of them," Petunia said, turning to the ghastly elephant trudging down the stairs. "He's asking after Lily's boy."
That was an odd way of putting it, considering Severus had never mentioned Lily. He didn't see what the muggle woman would gain by bringing up her late sister .Was she trying to evoke pity? She'd get none from him.
"Ah," the pug faced man said. "Did you tell him the boy's not living here any more?"
"I was just getting to that," Petunia said. She turned to Severus and sniffed, "He's not living here any more."
"Don't be foolish!" Severus snapped. "Do you honestly think that we wouldn't know if he had moved?"
Vernon Dursley's face turned bright red. "What she means to say is; he's away."
"At boarding school, actually."
Severus frowned. "In August?"
"It's a year round school."
Severus frowned. "Why send your nephew to a boarding school? It can't be cheap. And your son attends a state school."
"Erm…" Vernon turned to his wife for help now.
"Don't be silly, Vernon. We can tell him," Petunia said. "I'm sure he'll understand."
Yeah, because Severus was known for being understanding. He huffed a sigh and stared at the woman, vaguely wondering why he was still here. Potter was attending school, and that had been Severus's mission. Now he could leave. And yet, he was still here, preparing to listen to an insipid woman give an undoubtedly long winded explanation.
"You see," she said. "Harry was very traumatized by what happened to his parents. He was… Disturbed. Always throwing tantrums and whining about not having enough. Vernon and I loved him dearly, but we had Diddykins to think of. Harry was always bullying Dudley and was jealous of anything we gave Dudley. It all got to be too much, so we sent Harry to boarding school. Anyone would have done the same."
Severus wasn't surprised to hear about Potter's selfish nature. Ran in the family, he was sure. In fact, he almost felt sympathetic toward the wig in front of him, as well as her gargantuan husband. Almost. But then, the blond boy from earlier stepped out from his hiding place under the stairs, his blue eyes filled with curiosity.
"Mummy," he said. "Who's Harry?"