Disclaimer: All characters of the Harry Potter series (hereafter known as 'legal property') are the sole ownership of J.K. Rowling (hereafter known as 'owner of said legal property'). No infringement on any copyright of owner of said legal property of the legal property is knowing intended. Published by author (hereafter known as 'other') for entertainment purposes only. No monetary or personal gain was knowingly made by other with the publication of this story, which was based on ideas and characters created by owner of said legal property as they pertain to legal property. No plagiarism of legal property or of any ideas of the owner of said legal property was knowingly intended by other. This statement is fully transferable and is legally held binding for all chapters of the story Family Life as they are presented under different chapter headings and titles for individual chapters.
Chapter One: The Final Straw
Summary: First chapter. Forty-eight to go. That about sums it up.
"What was that?" Vernon Dursley yelled as a loud crash from the kitchen could be heard out into the living room.
Storming into the kitchen, Uncle Vernon found Harry attempting to pick up the pieces of a shattered plate as fast as he could. Force of habit more than anything else had driven Harry to try and clean up the mess before Uncle Vernon saw it. Sitting at the table, Harry's cousin Dudley was barely containing a smile.
"What's going on?" Uncle Vernon yelled at his nephew.
"Harry dropped a plate," Dudley spoke up quickly before Harry could answer.
"That's not true," Harry countered. "You dropped it."
Since Harry had returned home for the summer after his fourth year, these fights had become more and more frequent. But gone were the days when Harry had had to silently take the blame for the majority of Dudley's acts. With the Dursley's ever increasing fear of him, Uncle Vernon had become less and less likely to automatically assign blame for anything that went wrong to Harry.
Harry was also starting to stand up for himself more against such accusations. For too long he was forced to bare the blame for every little mishap. But noting the family's growing unease around him, he had started to use their fear to his advantage. And even if he couldn't use magic outside of school, that was no reason not to make it work for him in other ways. After all, it was the Dursley's own prejudice against anything magical that caused them to fear it so much.
"Boy, go to your room!" Uncle Vernon yelled. This was usually as far as Uncle Vernon ever went with him anymore. Simply get Harry out of his sight as quickly as possible.
"But I didn't do anything!" Harry yelled back. "Why am I being punished? Why don't you send Dudley to his room for a change?"
Uncle Vernon's face began to take on the characteristic purple coloring it adopted whenever the fights would start. But they had now begun to be accompanied by a slight shaking of Uncle Vernon's whole body as he fought to restrain himself.
"Go to your room, boy!" Uncle Vernon repeated. "Or it'll be much worse for you in the end."
"I didn't do it!" Harry yelled. "It was Dudley's fault!"
"How dare you accuse your cousin like that!"
"Make him apologize!" Dudley piped up suddenly. "I want an apology!"
"I'd sooner turn you into a pig!" Harry snarled at his cousin.
What happened next came so suddenly Harry didn't even have time to react. A sharp blow hit him in the side of the face so hard he was knocked to the floor. When he looked up, Uncle Vernon was standing over him shaking a threatening finger in his face.
"How dare you..." he sputtered. "How dare you...threaten anyone...in this house. I should...."
But whatever Uncle Vernon felt he should do, Harry never found out. A slight vibration suddenly echoed through the house, rattling the dishes and the furniture. Harry stayed where he was on the floor, which seemed the safest place for the moment. Apparently Uncle Vernon and Dudley thought so too since they dove for the floor and huddled there on all fours. Aunt Petunia came flying in from the living room.
"Vernon!" she screamed, diving for the floor next to her son. "What is it? What's happening?"
Uncle Vernon had turned his purple face to Harry.
"Is this your doing, boy?" he bellowed above the clattering.
"I can't do anything like this," Harry yelled back, his own fear growing. He wasn't capable of such a strong force of magic, but he knew someone who was.
Harry's mind was racing. He had to get upstairs. He had to get his wand. Without it he had no chance of fighting.
But just as Harry was pouring over what spells he might be able to use, a sudden flare of light appeared in the center of the kitchen. Harry brought his hand up to shield his eyes, then slowly lowered it as the light faded.
In it's wake stood the last person Harry would have ever thought to see. Elderly Ms. Figg from next door. Wearing a simple, pull over blue dress, Ms. Figg stood in the middle of the Dursley's kitchen looking as angry as Harry had ever seen anyone in his whole life.
"Dursley!" Ms. Figg roared, brandishing a small thin stick at Harry's uncle. It took Harry several seconds to recognize the trim, elegant, mahogany wand in her hand.
Uncle Vernon barely managed to turn his head enough to look up at the infuriated old woman.
"Ms. Fiiiigggg?" He stammered.
Ms. Figg stormed over to Uncle Vernon, her wand never wavering off it's target.
"How dare you!" She shouted at him. "Haven't you abused this poor boy enough? Now you're resorting to physically beating him?"
Uncle Vernon could think of no reply, his whole attention focused on the slender wand pointed between his eyes.
Ms. Figg turned finally to Harry, who lay still on the floor, staring up at her through wide eyes.
"Hello, Harry," Ms. Figg said, her whole composure changing to that of an old family aunt addressing her favorite nephew. "Are you all right?"
Harry could do nothing more than nod mutely.
"Well," Ms. Figg sighed, "We'd best be going, Harry," she turned an evil stare back to Uncle Vernon. "Before I lose my temper and do something I might enjoy."
"Go...going?" Harry stammered. "Going where?"
"Anywhere away from here is a good place, dear, wouldn't you say," she said kindly, offering Harry her hand.
Harry quickly grabbed her hand and found himself pulled effortlessly to his feet. Ms Figg place her hand under his chin and turned his face to the light. She then shot Uncle Vernon a murderous look. "Come on, Harry," she repeated, never taking her eyes off of Uncle Vernon until the last moment as she led Harry into the living room. "Don't worry about your things. We can collect them later. First things first, and right now the best thing I think is to get you away from here." Ms. Figg looked around the room. "Well, you can't apparate yet, am I right?"
Harry numbly shook his head, staring transfixed at his elderly neighbor.
"And there's no fire, so port key it is." Ms. Figg stated, pulling a large brass door knocker out of her pocket. "Do hold on tightly, won't you, Dear?" she said kindly as she offered it to him.
Harry grabbed hold of the brass circle and instantly felt the familiar pulling sensation and sudden blurring of everything around him as the portkey transported him away from Privet drive.