Yay, another chapter, I said I would do it and I did! I'm not sure that I like how this went, let me know.
Harry approached Lucius' study door with some trepidation, the last time he had been there had been the day before and the memory of what they had nearly gone through still made him shudder. Now he was here for another purpose so he pushed the memory away and raised his hand and knocked on the door.
"Come in," Lucius called from the other side of the door and Harry pushed the door open and stepped inside. Lucius was at his desk, looking over some paperwork but looked up when Harry entered. "Harry," he said, sounding surprised, "you didn't go with the others?" Draco, Narcissa, Pansy and Hermione had all gone shopping a half hour before.
"No, sir," he said moving into the room to where he was standing in front of the desk, "Pansy and Hermione thought it would be better that we spend time apart."
"Yes, perhaps that is best," the older man said with a chuckle.
As soon as Harry and Hermione had left the library, she had marched him back to Lucius' study where he and Narcissa were still talking and explained what had happened, much to Harry's embarrassment. Narcissa had admonished him before going to find her son to do the same. Once she was gone, Hermione also left, not before she threatened Harry to stay away from Draco. As Harry watched her go, he turned in surprise when he heard laughter and turned to find Lucius nearly doubled over.
"Youth," the older man had said, shaking his head as he wiped a terr form his cheek, but didn't say anything else about it
"Well, what can I do for you Harry?" Lucius asked, bringing Harry back to the present.
"I was hoping I could ask a favor of you," Harry said, sitting down in one of the chairs across from the other man.
"Ask away," Lucius said, sitting back and giving Harry his full attention.
"I'm not sure that you know, but a few months ago my," here he paused as if thinking of the right word, "family went missing, no one saw a moving truck, they didn't say goodbye to anyone, they were just suddenly gone."
"Nothing has been heard from them?" Lucius asked, leaning forward and bracing his arms on the top of his desk.
"No, there is a Squib who lives down the street and I've talked to her a couple of times, but she doesn't know anything."
"Well I can see about having someone look into it," Lucius said, mentally going through his options.
"Actually sir," Harry said, "I had another idea."
Harry and Lucius landed in the backyard of Number 4 Privet Drive and looked around, finding that it looked completely unoccupied.
"Is this where they lived?" Lucius asked, trying not to sneer but failing miserably.
"It usually didn't look like such a jungle," Harry replied, moving towards the sliding glass doors. He wasn't exaggerating, the grass was nearly to his knees, the flowerbeds that Petunia was so proud of had been overrun by weeds and wild flowers.
"I'll take your word for it," Lucius said and ignored when Harry whispered a quick 'Alohomora' and the lock on the glass doors unlocked. Stepping inside, Harry locked the door behind them and turned to look around him. The kitchen that the doors led in to was completely empty, even the oven and fridge were gone, and everything was covered in a thick layer of dust.
"Are you looking for anything in particular?" Lucius asked, following him through the hallway towards the front room and Harry stopped in front of the cupboard under the stairs.
"No, not really," he said, shaking his head.
"I'll look around upstairs," Lucius said, feeling that Harry wanted to be alone, he turned and started up the stairs.
"Thanks," Harry said quietly and reached out a hand, and turned the knob, pulling the door open and glancing inside. Reaching up, he pulled the string that turned on the light before realizing the power was off so he pulled out his wand and whispered a 'Lumos' and looked around the small, empty space. Stepping inside, bending over to fit, he quickly sat and folded his legs under him and reached for the loose floorboard there. He had to know if the Dursley's had taken everything. He didn't have much hidden there, but there had were a few treasures he had hidden to keep from the Dursley's, even when they had moved him to the room next to Dudley.
Pulling up the floorboard, he was surprised to find a large manilla envelope there with his name on it in his Aunts handwriting. Reaching down, he pulled it out and stared at it for a long moment, not sure what to make of it. It was his aunts handwriting, there was no mistaking the swooping 'a' and curl at the end of the 'y' that his aunt always did. The envelope was heavy in his hand and when he shook it, he could hear some things moving around inside.
"Harry?" Lucius' voice interrupted his musings and he glanced up to find the older man watching him through the doorway. "Did you find something?" he asked and Harry glanced down at the envelope in his hand.
"I think so," he replied quietly and stood before stepping out of the cupboard and closing the door behind him.
"There was nothing but empty rooms upstairs, filled with more dust," the older man said and Harry nodded, feeling that he had the only thing that he was going to find in the house.
"I think I'm ready to head back," he said and the older man nodded and Harry gripped his arm and they Apparated away.
Once back at the Manor, Harry thanked Lucius again and made his way to his room where he locked the door and opened the envelope, spilling the contents on his bed. To his astonishment, the things that had been rattling about inside were pictures, and a lot of them. After the pictures, three folded pieces of paper followed and he picked them up and opened them.
I never was able to explain things to you and I regret that to this day, I never got to say that I was sorry for the way we treated you, it was deplorable and I wish I could go back and make it right, but we are leaving and I won't get that chance, so this is my final option.
Harry since your mother came to my family when her parents were killed, I loved her as a sister and when she showed us her magic, I was as excited as my parent's. Perhaps I was a bit jealous because I wish I was able to do magic, but I never stopped loving her. When she went to Hogwarts I was there every time she left and came home and when she was killed, I was devastated. When we found you on our doorstep, I felt like I had a piece of her back in my life and we were happy you were there.
Before you scoff at the idea, it's true, the photos I hope, will show you that. When Vernon and I married, we had a dream of a large family, he wanted ten children, I tried to be more practical and wanted five, maybe six. For three years after we were married, we tried but with no luck. I won't give you the details but we were told that we would never have children, so when I became pregnant with Dudley, we were so overjoyed. I was ordered on bed rest, barely willing to move for fear of losing him and when he did come, he came a month early. To say the least, his birth nearly killed us both. I was in the hospital for a week after, Dudley didn't come home for over a month. I was told I could never have children again, to do so would definitely kill me so our dreams were crushed. We loved Dudley more and more each day, yes we spoiled him but he was our miracle baby and we had so much love to give and only one child to give it to, until you came along.
I remember waking up that morning to Vernon yelling from the front porch and as I ran down the stairs, I found him holding your basket, you were wrapped in a blue blanket and a letter stuffed into the side. That is how I found out my sister was dead, a small note from a man I had never met letting me know that I was the only family you had left.
I was devastated, I remember feeling numb and not comprehending it, I never saw her body, they buried her in your world, I don't even know where her grave is, or if I could ever get to it, or if it's hidden from us Muggles.
We took you in, there was no other option, your green eyes reminded me so much of your mothers, I fell in love with you instantly and you were our other miracle baby.
I know you will find it hard to believe, but Vernon loved you, you and Dudley were his boys and he was so proud of the two of you. You were such a quick learner, you were running before you started walking as they say.
I knew about magic and been around it before so when, at two, I was changing your diaper and turned away for a moment and turned back to find the baby powder and a bear dancing I didn't mind. Vernon was another story, he didn't like anything out of the ordinary so I tried to keep your magic from him and was successful until you were five. I'm not sure you remember, but we were at dinner and Dudley had knocked the salad bowl off of the table and it never touched the ground, you had stopped it. Vernon, for all he acts it, is not stupid and quickly connected the dots and he reacted violently.
That was the start of it, and it just got worse from there, he moved you to the cupboard under the stairs, he wanted to kick you out but I wouldn't let him. You know Vernon's temper and where it was directed towards you mostly, neither I nor Dudley were spared from it. When he was angry, he was terrifying, as I'm sure you remember and I feared for yours and Dudley's lives.
Vernon came up with the story of your parents being killed in a car crash and I was forced to go along to keep you safe. Over the years, lying to you and the bitterness towards your world for taking Lily from me made me bitter and at times I took it out on you and I regret that every moment I'm awake. Once you had left for Hogwarts, I was ashamed that I was never there to greet you and send you off like I had your mother and I think back to what Lily would say about how you've been treated. I know she'd be disgusted with me, as much as I am, if not more.
I'm sure that you won't believe this letter, and I wouldn't blame you, really, but before we leave, I wanted you to know that I am truly sorry, for everything and hope one day that you might find it in your heart to forgive me.
I'm not sure where we are headed, I just know that Vernon has it in his head we need to get out, I don't know what brought this on but I may never see you again, so I took this opportunity to try to explain a few things and apologize. I only wish I could do this in person, but I'm not sure I'll get the chance, I can only hope one day I'll see you again.
Harry stared at the letter and reread it three times before he set it aside, not sure what to think about the whole thing and picked up the closest picture to him. It was Uncle Vernon, Dudley and himself about age three laughing at what looked like the beach. Vernon had a piece of seaweed on his head and an arm around both boys as they stood in the surf. Putting the photo to the side, Harry took a deep breath, finding it hard to digest all of this. Reaching for another a moment later, he picked it up and found a picture of himself and Dudley sitting in front of a Christmas tree, wrapping paper all around them, both playing with new toys, on the back it read 'Christmas 1992'. There were pictures of his birthdays, Christmas', vacations, the first football game Vernon took him and Dudley to when he was three. There were over a hundred pictures there, had to be, and most of them would make an outside think they were a happy family, but they stopped not long after Harry's fifth birthday.
He didn't remember that time before Vernon found him to have magic, he had been too young he assumed and his memories of being locked in a cupboard and beatings replaced the good memories with bad ones.
Gathering up the pictures and papers, he put them back in the envelope and at the bottom of his bag just as there was a knock on the door.
"Harry?" Hermione's voice called through the locked door and he stood to unlock it. "Are you alright?" she asked and he gave her a tight smile.
"I'm fine," he replied and she gave him a hard look before sighing.
"Well dinner is ready," she said and turned to walk away after she had given his arm a squeeze. Harry turned and looked at the clock on the nightstand and realized almost three hours had passed since they had returned from the house.
When he entered the dining room, he found the others already seated, Pansy was sitting in his usual spot next to Draco, much to his amusement. He took the only seat open next to Hermione and Lucius at the head of the table.
"What did you do today while we were gone?" Narcissa asked, looking between Harry and her husband. Lucius looked at Harry who just glanced back at him before turning back to his dinner.
"I worked all day in my study," the older man said, and Harry was grateful that he didn't reveal what they had actually done, he didn't want to talk about it, he was still reeling from what Petunia had left behind.
They spent the rest of the night talking and playing games, Harry took his place next to Draco and glared and Pansy and Hermione in challenge as Draco draped his arm around his waist. The girls gave them an exasperated look before sitting down around the low table to sit down for the games.
"Are you all right?" Draco asked later when they had finished and they were sitting together on a loveseat in front of a fireplace, Pansy was passed out in another chair, Hermione reading in another chair.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked, looking up at him.
"You've been quiet all night," the other boy replied and Harry sighed.
"Come here," Harry said and pulled Draco to his feet and led him to his room and showed him the letter as well as the photos.
"So they left with no reason?" Draco asked once he finished the letter and picked up the pictures.
"She said that Vernon had a reason but hadn't explained it to her, I just can't imagine what spooked him so bad. Plus, that," he said, waving a hand towards the photos still in Draco's hands.
"What does she mean 'cupboard under the stairs'?" Draco asked, glancing at the letter and Harry sighed and leaned back against the headboard.
"Well it turns out that from when I was five and until I received my Hogwarts letter, my bedroom was a cupboard under the stairs, it was small and had a lock on the door."
"A lock?" Draco asked incredulously.
"A lock," Harry repeated, shrugging like it wasn't a big deal.
"Did Dumbledore know about this?" Draco demanded and Harry sighed.
"He says he didn't, but you never know, he seems to always know these things, he just pretends not to."
"They act like you coming to live with us would have been such a horrible thing," Draco said standing and pacing. "What are you doing during the summer?"
"I have no idea, with the Dursley's gone, I can only imagine I'll be going with Sirius, unless Dumbledore tries to say differently."
"Where the hell does he get off?" Draco spat angrily and Harry almost jumped in response. "Who made him your legal guardian? No one did, that's who, Sirius was in prison and since he was your guardian per your parents will, but since he was unable, due to the contract you should have come to us."
"Draco," Harry said tiredly and the other boy rounded on him.
"Don't you dare defend him Harry, he's an old meddling fool who thinks he is entitled to tule your life. I would think that with all you've been through, you should be considered a legal adult, you're no longer his pawn, he can't control you anymore." Harry stood up and stepped into Draco's path and placed a hand on his chest, stopping his pacing.
"Thank you," he said and stood on his tiptoes and kissed the other boy.
"For what?" Draco asked, confused once they pulled away.
"For caring," Harry said and moved back in, wrapping his arms around Draco and hugging him tightly and Draco returned it easily.
"Of course," Draco said and kissed the top of the other boy's head.
"Really guys?" a voice said from the open doorway and they turned their heads but didn't move, as they gazed at Pansy and Hermione who was in the doorway.
"What?" Harry asked innocently and tightened his arms around the other boy.
"You're in your room together, alone, without us," Pansy replied.
"The door was open," Draco pointed out, "and trust me, if we were up to anything, you'd hear, I imagine Harry is a screamer."
"Jackass," Harry said and pulled away before slapping Draco on the arm and pushing them out of his room so he could sleep.
"Goodnight," Draco said and gave him a quick kiss before following the girls out of his room.
"Night," he called to them all and closed the door before putting the pictures and letter away and getting ready for bed.
So I thought about it and really, there is no way that there couldn't be some sort of interaction with the Dursley's and Harry when he was a baby, if there hadn't been, he wouldn't be able to talk or walk, who would have changed his diapers etc. Kids who have no love or interaction or human touch have major developmental problems. Not that I'm trying to preach, but Harry wouldn't be so well 'adjusted' as it were if they had locked him in the closet his whole life. Pretty much I'm trying to explain why I did what I did with Petunia and kind of give a reason to why they disappeared, though I don't know what really happened yet.