Harry Potter and the Cursed Chalaise

by Vikki

Disclaimer:  This is owned by JKR, blah, blah, blah.  Please don't sue me.

*   *   *

Chapter 1 – The Summer from Hell Begins

It was going to be a very bad summer.

Harry Potter, 14-year-old wizard and student at the prestigious Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, realized this almost immediately when he climbed into the back of Uncle Vernon's car to return to 4 Privet Drive for summer break.  What he didn't understand was why things were so bad, but he knew better than to ask questions.

Personally, Harry didn't feel that he needed a particularly nasty summer with his relatives.  He was well aware that they hated him, mostly because he represented the abnormal and mysterious, things that the Dursley's both feared and loathed.  The feeling was mutual; Harry only returned to their home every summer because Dumbledore insisted, for reasons he seemed to feel would be best left undisclosed.  It made things awkward at best and downright miserable at worst, and Harry honestly didn't feel like dealing with it.  Harry even felt that he had a sort of excuse.  Last year had been horrific, what with Cedric Diggory's death and the return of Voldemort; every night Harry awoke with shards of terrifying nightmares piercing his memory, silent tears that he refused to shed when conscious staining his cheeks.  And now here he was, riding to the one place that he least wished to be: the home of Vernon Dursley and family, the bane of Harry's summertime existence.

And this summer was definitely going to be worse.

The realization first struck when Dudley began to ask if he had to sit in the back with Harry – why couldn't he sit between Mum and Dad? – and Uncle Vernon snapped at him, "Shush, boy!  I have things on my mind!"

Dudley made a whimpering noise and clamped his mouth shut.  Aunt Petunia said nothing, her face pale and stony.

This might have delighted Harry if it hadn't occurred to him that if Uncle Vernon was this snappy with Dudley, then things were bound to be worse for Harry.

He was right.

*   *   *

BAM!!

Harry was rudely and suddenly awoken the next morning by the sound of his bedroom door slamming open so hard that it rebounded off the wall.   Immediately he sat up, peering at the door; the blurred figure of an enraged Uncle Vernon filled the doorway, and Harry groped wildly for his glasses with one outflung arm, not taking his eyes off his angry uncle.

Uncle Vernon covered the distance between Harry's bed and the door in three large strides just as Harry managed to clutch his glasses and slide them onto the bridge of his nose.  Vernon grabbed him forcibly by the arms.  "Well, boy – why aren't you up fixing breakfast!?" he snarled.

Harry dared to cast a glance at Dudley's old, broken alarm clock.  6:30 AM.  "Er … because I usually don't get up for another hour?" he answered.

Obviously that was the wrong answer, because Uncle Vernon's face turned purple with rage.  He seized Harry by the front of his nightshirt and hurled him in the general direction of the doorway; Harry stumbled, tripped, and cracked his head against the frame instead.  Still seeing stars, he felt Uncle Vernon shove him against the wall and heard him shout, "Get down there NOW!"

The shout upset Hedwig, who woke up with a squawk and began to screech irritably at Harry's uncle.  Harry's vision cleared enough to see Uncle Vernon pay her no heed, flinging his large hand out and knocking the cage from its stand, sending it crashing to the floor to roll around as Hedwig screeched and fluttered about in an attempt to escape.  "Shut up, bird!"

"Hey!" said Harry in protest, struggling against Uncle Vernon's fist in his shirt.

He didn't get any further because Uncle Vernon promptly put a fist in Harry's nose, snapping the bridge of his glasses and causing a free flow of blood.  His head snapped backwards, cracking his skull against the wall again; Uncle Vernon shouted something about respect that Harry didn't hear as he thought dazedly that he was going to have to go back to wearing duct-taped glasses because he wasn't allowed to use magic during the summer.  Moments later Harry found himself flung towards the stairway.  He barely managed to save himself from falling down the steps by grabbing the banister and clutching it for dear life.  He watched, silently seething, as Uncle Vernon stomped back into his room muttering about ungrateful hooligans.

Not until he heard his uncle's large frame settling back into bed did Harry dare to sneak back to his bedroom, clutching his nose in hopes it would soon stop bleeding.  Hedwig looked up at him indignantly from her cage, lying on its side on the floor.  "Don't look at me like that," Harry whispered, lifting her cage to set it straight again.  "It's not my fault Uncle Vernon did that to you –"

But that was the question, wasn't it – why had Uncle Vernon gone off his rocker like that?  As Harry struggled out of his bloody shirt, catching the last of the flow and wiping it off on the ruined clothes, he mused on the subject.  Uncle Vernon had promised Harry that he would do violence to his body if he stepped out of line many times before, but he had never actually hit him.  This was the first time Uncle Vernon had given Harry a bloody nose.  And Dudley was pretty terrified of his father these days too, he remembered from the time in the car; Aunt Petunia didn't seem too eager to contradict him, either.  Something was definitely wrong.

As angry as Harry was with his uncle, he wasn't in the mood for another bloody nose, so he pocketed the two halves of his glasses and felt his way down the stairs to make breakfast.  Once everyone had eaten, he could write to Ron and Sirius about his situation.  Surely someone could help.

*   *   *

Author's notes:  I'm aiming for lots of reviews, so review, ppl!  ^^x;;  I swear there's a plot; wait for it!