Scare Tactics

Vernon Dursley prided himself on his normalcy. He'd always been pleased with his bland, utterly boring life (not to mention personality), and he disliked abnormality in others even more-so than in himself.

. . . Not that much could be called abnormal about him, save for his plump (read: whale-like) build, the truly alarming shade of puce his face turned when he was vexed about something, and a certain not-quite-blood-relation who took the proverbial cake in terms of strangeness. It was no surprise, then, that he absolutely despised his nephew (the aforementioned not-quite-blood-relation), who was abnormal even by abnormal standards.

The nephew in question – Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, the Chosen One, the person who always seemed to end up in truly bizarre and unlikely situations (hardly ever pleasant and often life-threatening) – was the cause for Vernon, his lovely (read: horse-faced) wife Petunia, and his strapping (read: bullying, and just as deserving of the title "whale-like" as his father) son Dudley to be standing beneath the sign for Platform Ten in King's Cross station, awaiting the arrival of the most abnormal person to ever set foot in Number Four, Privet Drive. Considering some of the people who'd paid that particular house a visit over the last several years – Dobby the house elf, Mad-Eye Moody, and Tonks among them – there was some pretty stiff competition for the title. It still went to Harry, though, for a number of reasons which involved curse scars, snakey vocal abilities, and an unparalleled talent for attracting trouble.

Speaking of Harry, the green-eyed, bespectacled wizard was threading his way through the crowd towards them at that very moment, lugging his trunk and owl cage behind himself.

Vernon scowled at him and barked, "Hurry up, boy, we don't have all day!"

Contrary to popular belief, yelling at someone is not, in fact, a guaranteed method of persuading the person in question to obey. In Harry's case, it did nothing of the sort. If anything, he walked more slowly.

As he approached, Vernon became aware of a second, considerably larger figure following his vertically-challenged nephew. Now, Vernon was not a small man by any means – well, girth-wise, at least – but the dark-haired man accompanying Harry was just plain enormous. He towered over the smaller boy by at least half a foot and his build was more than slightly reminiscent of a brick wall: broad shoulders, beefy arms, and muscle. A lot of muscle. He walked with the casual swagger of someone who knew he was dangerous, knew he was intimidating, and was fully aware that none of the people around him were capable of posing a threat.

Harry halted just out of arms' reach – an ingrained action, the result of one too many blows to the head after coming within swinging distance of an enraged Vernon's fists. "Marc–" the man behind him grimaced, obviously disliking the use of the nickname "–this is my Uncle Vernon." He gestured towards the whale-like man, whose face had soured even further upon realizing he would have to talk to the 'freak' his nephew was trying to introduce. "My Aunt Petunia–" this time he pointed to a bony blonde woman standing beside Vernon "–and my cousin Dudley." He didn't bother pointing Dudley out; the sheer terror on his face and the way he was attempting (quite unsuccessfully) to hide behind Petunia made his identity abundantly clear.

"Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, this is Marcus Flint." He hesitated slightly before adding, "My boyfriend."

The huge, hulking man behind him grunted, clearly unimpressed by the Dursleys, but murmured a reluctant, "Nice to meet you," all the same.

Vernon had no such sense of proper greeting etiquette. "I suppose he's one of your kind, then?" he said nastily, sneering.

Harry raised an eyebrow. "If you mean 'gay', then yeah. If you mean 'wizard', then yeah, that too."

Vernon's ruddy complexion flushed even further, giving him an appearance not unlike that of a giant, mustache-sporting beet. Resisting the urge to laugh at his Uncle's outraged expression – whether it was on account of the use of the word 'wizard' in a public area or the thought of his nephew being even more abnormal than he'd originally thought, he wasn't quite sure – Harry continued faux-casually, "Marcus here's a great bloke. Very protective, y'know. He'd be pretty upset if anything were to happen to me."

"Are you threatening me, boy?" Vernon puffed up like an enraged peacock.

"No, I'm threatening you," Marcus cut in before Vernon could start his "you ungrateful brat, after everything we've done for you, giving you clothes and food and a roof over your head" tirade. He stepped closer, putting his considerable height to good use as he loomed above the much shorter man. His dark eyes were as hard and cold as his name suggested; which was to say, they probably would've impressed even Snape with the degree of cold disdain he was displaying in them. It was positively glacial.

"If I find out any of you've so much as touched a hair on his head – and believe me, I will hear about it – I'll make you regret ever being born." He leaned in, lowering his voice to a menacing hiss that sent shivers of fear up the rotund man's spine. "You hurt him, mistreat him in any way, and I'll hunt you down and systematically tear you apart. Then, when I decide you've been punished enough for your actions, I'll magic you back together and do it again. And again. And again."

His voice was deceptively gentle now as he outlined the sorts of horrible, mind-breaking torture he would put them all through. "I will make you beg for death, and once I've shredded every last ounce of fight left in you, broken you body, mind, and soul, I might – might – grant you the refuge of death."

He straightened up, taking a step back so that he was no longer murmuring his threats directly into the Muggles' faces. His tone was decidedly bloodthirsty, eager in a way that would set any normal person's teeth on edge, instincts screaming "Danger, Will Robinson!" as he added, "And the best part is, I won't even need to lay a hand on you to do it."

"B-but, you can't – you can't do that!" Vernon stammered, eyes wide. "You'll get expelled! You can't use m-magic–" he had to force himself to say the word "–outside that school of yours!"

Marcus smiled viciously, revealing two rows of crooked, animalistic teeth. "I graduated yearsago, Muggle. I can and will do whatever the fuck I want to you, should I feel the need, so I suggest you treat Harry like the Queen of England."

Harry cleared his throat deliberately, ruining the moment. "I resent the use of the term 'Queen', no matter how appropriate it might be."

Marcus turned away from a petrified, white-faced Vernon – my, how quickly his complexion changes – and snorted, shaking his head. "Fine, how about 'gorgeous, wealthy, insanely powerful star Seeker'? With lots of emphasis on 'insane', of course."

"That works too," Harry said mildly, not rising to the bait.

Marcus shot one last glare at his boyfriend's relatives (yep, still terrified out of their bleedin' minds) before turning his attention back to Harry, his expression morphing from violent and menacing to something more appropriate for polite conversation about the weather or the price of petrol. With his face no longer visible to the three cowed Muggles, he smirked and gave the shorter boy a slow, deliberate wink. Worked like a charm.

Leaning down a bit so they could talk without the Dursleys overhearing (not that they were even capable of listening, judging from the frozen, horrified looks on their faces) Marcus said, "That went well, don't you think?"

"Oh, definitely. Nice ad-libbing there, by the way. The 'body, mind, and soul' bit wasn't in your first draft, was it? A bit over-dramatic in the beginning, but the delivery was superb. I think Dudley might've pissed himself."

"Wicked. I've always wanted to scare someone so much they wet themselves," Marcus admitted.

"What, you never managed it? Even with all those first years you terrorized?"

"I'm an asshole, I'll admit, but even I'm not that frightening. I don't doubt that Snape's managed it a time or two, though."

"I'll bet he has," Harry snorted. "The greasy git."

"Hey, that's my former Head of House you're talking about there." To his credit, Marcus did a remarkably good job of sounding affronted, but his grin ruined the deception. He started to add something else, but the clock struck the hour at that moment and its ringing stopped him mid-word. Muttering a quiet but heartfelt, "Damn it," he switched back to a normally-pitched voice and said, "I'd best be going. I've got practice in an hour and I can kiss my chances of securing a starting position goodbye if I'm late again."

"Alright. Thanks for meeting me at the station," Harry said, sighing dramatically to show his feelings about the whole rush-off-after-only-just-delivering-blood-chilling-death-threats-to-your-boyfriend's-relatives situation. "Owl me though, okay?"

"Yeah, yeah. I did it all school year, I'm not about to forget just because you've switched locations," Marcus reassured with the air of someone who's been nagged about a particular subject numerous times. He leaned down and caught the younger boy in a quick but thorough kiss – it was plainly visible to passersby that it included tongue – before pulling away and, after shooting the Dursleys one last predatory grin that promised astronomical amounts of pain should they decide not to heed his advice, disappearing back into the crowd. He would've dragged it out a bit more, but they'd already done their fair share of long-overdue making out on the nine and three-quarters side of the platform (they hadn't properly snogged since the last Hogsmeade weekend, which had been positively ages ago), and so he was a tad less desperate to jam his tongue down Harry's throat than he'd been earlier.

Harry watched him go with an affectionate smile. Once Marcus was completely out of sight, he turned back to his three shell-shocked relatives and said brightly, "Isn't he sweet?"