DISCOVERY: CHAPTER 1
"But I don't want to go to the stupid coast! I want to go to Germany with Piers!"
Dudley's whining rang throughout the entire house, and Harry groaned, pulling his flat, lifeless pillow over his head. It was infested with mites and smelled vaguely of mucous and the waxy scent of unwashed hair, courtesy of Dudley, but it still buffered the sound so he wasn't inclined to be too picky about its quality.
The low buzz of his Aunt's placations followed his cousin's whining, and they were accompanied by the gruff affection of his uncle, the sounds melding together like some strange sort of symphony, played by uneducated children.
"Make it stop…" He mumbled into his pillow, the sounds torturing his aching head. Last night he'd made the poor decision of breaking out the bottle of clear liquid that Luna had slipped him before he left Hogwarts to spend the summer at the Dursleys. He hadn't known what it was at the time, since she'd thoughtfully torn the label off and only winked and said that it would help.
Apparently the clear liquid had been vodka, and he'd obviously had more than he should have. Every nerve in his body was pissed at him, and his bladder ached from being stretched for so long.
At last he stumbled to his feet, once the discordant sounds of his family communicating had sufficiently died down, and headed for the bathroom.
He emerged half an hour later, clean and refreshed although still a little dizzy.
Unfortunately, Dudley came upstairs just at that moment, took in the sight of harry in a towel, and snickered cruelly.
"You're so skinny." He giggled, waddling past him into his own room and closing the door with a bang that made Harry's head ring.
"Oh…" he moaned, gripping his head and reaching out to press a palm against the dancing wall for support. He stood stock still until everything that shouldn't move stopped doing so, and then stumbled back into his room and got dressed slowly. He was surprised that his Aunt hadn't woken him up to make breakfast that morning, but he wasn't complaining.
They were probably just going through one of their phases where they were terrified of him again, or maybe Dumbledore sent them a letter. He didn't think that either option was very likely, but a third one didn't present itself so he shrugged it off and went back to sleep, dressed in a sack-like shirt and socks from Mrs. Weasley.
Not 45 minutes later, Aunt Petunia banged on his door with her bony knuckles.
"Boy! Pack your things! We leave in half an hour!"
Startled out of sleep, Harry flopped over the side of the bed and ended up flat on his back, staring at the bland ceiling.
The knuckles struck again, sending needles through his head, and she yelled, "Did you hear me, boy?"
"Yes, Aunt Petunia." He said as loudly as he could, although there was a scratchy undertone to his voice that wouldn't normally have been present.
She didn't say anything else for a moment, and then he heard the whispery sound of her carpet slippers moving away across the carpet. He groaned and sat up, rubbing the back of his head. Thankfully, he hadn't been there long enough to really unpack much, so he stuffed his necessities back into his trunk and put away the Transfiguration homework that he'd half-heartedly tried to focus on last night before his curiosity over Luna's gift overwhelmed his resolution.
He picked up the bottle from under his bed, and raised his eyebrows when he saw that he'd barely had an eight of its contents, when last night it'd been empty. It must have been one of those magically-refilling bottles, even if it was made out of plastic.
He hid it inside one of his uglier shirts and stuffed his school things on top of it, suddenly feeling self-conscious about owning something illegal.
Hedwig was asleep on the window sill, her head tucked under her wing, and gleaming in the morning sunlight. He came closer slowly, opening the door to her cage. Her feathers were soft under the tip of his finger as he gently stroked her head, waking her slowly. She cooed at him, yellow eyes opening slowly, and then obediently crawled into the open cage that he held close to her.
Within minutes she had her head tucked back under her wing, as if to say that it was too early in the morning to be doing this.
He did a last-minute search of his room for anything he might have forgotten, and then, satisfied, he went downstairs to wash the dishes. He'd found that there was something very fulfilling in doing things that people wanted you to do without getting asked yet. It made him feel a little bit smug for some reason.
Vernon was the only one downstairs, sitting on the sofa in the parlor and watching the morning news with the paper folded into a manageable size in his swollen hands. Harry made a face at his back and set to work, wanting to get things done as soon as possible. He felt nauseous because of his empty stomach, so he snuck a couple pieces of bread, hiding two away for latter by wrapping them in a paper towel and tucking them down the front of his pants. It was embarrassing but effective.
Aunt Petunia came downstairs just as he was finishing, with a towel wrapped around her head and one loose piece of hair, still dripping wet, coiled around the base of her scrawny neck like a worm. He wrinkled his nose without thinking, and she smacked his head as she walked past him to prepare herself some more tea.
Hearing the sounds of the kettle being put on again, Vernon called out that he would like a cup as well.
While she was occupied, Harry got out mugs for them and then cautiously asked, "Where are we going?"
"You are going to your Aunt Marge's, and the rest of us are going to the coast for the summer. We'll get you before your silly school starts." She sneered at him over her shoulder, and he bit back a nasty comment about her house dress, which had a pattern of over-size roses on it that didn't suit her coloring or shape at all. They made her look like a toothpick in a feed sack.
He didn't say anything else, and since she didn't immediately give him some chore to do before they left, he went back upstairs to his room, taking care to be quiet once he got there so that he wouldn't wake Hedwig up.
A few minutes later he heard his Aunt go into Dudley's room and start simpering to him about what clothes he wanted to wear to the beach while she packed his trunk for him. Harry snorted, and Hedwig stirred, ruffling her feathers and sending him a seething look for daring to upset her sleep.
"Sorry." He whispered. She just turned her back on him, going back to sleep. he decided to do the same, lowering himself back onto his lumpy mattress. The bland ceiling lulled him into sleep, and he didn't wake until Aunt Petunia banged on his door again and ordered him to pack their entire luggage into the car.
He did so in silence, and got inside when he was finished, holding Hedwig between his knees. He hummed to her, hoping to soothe her to the degree that she wouldn't make a scene while they were on their way to Aunt Marge's, since there was no telling what his uncle was capable of when his hatred for the unnatural was combined with his road rage.
Dudley opened the car door opposite him and levered his clumsy body inside, not looking up from his handheld video game for a moment. Harry was happy that nobody was talking, since Vernon was listening to some radio station about immigrants and Petunia was reading the latest bestselling romance novel. A funny little smile was hovering around her mouth that turned his sensitive stomach, so he looked away and stared out at the scenery instead.
He knew that they'd arrived when the sounds of dogs barking startled him out of sleep.
Petunia was twisted around almost completely in her seat, one clawed hand outstretched to shake his shoulder, and an ugly look twisting her face. She froze when his eyes opened, and she retracted her hand almost like a guilty child caught in the act of robbing the biscuit tin.
"Ah." She said. "Well, we're here. Marge knows to not expect us to stop in, since we have a long drive ahead of us, so go get your things." She leaned forward, dropping her voice a few notes unconsciously, "And I don't want to hear a single peep about any freakishness on your part while we're gone, do you hear me?"
He blinked innocently. "I'll be an absolute angel."
Taken aback, she turned away from him. "well, get on with it."
He got out of the car and maneuvered Hedwig onto the gravel drive. The second he had his trunk out, the car peeled away and the faint scent of burnt rubber spiced the air. He rolled his eyes at their dramatics and hefted his trunk, starting the long walk up to Aunt Marge's house.
End chapter one
So…let me know if you guys like it so far, even though this is an introduction.