Chapter One of Sleeping Sun.
Disclaimer - I don't own anything you recognise. The only thing in this fic that is mine is Cedric and I am not giving him up for anything. I mean it.
Warnings: SLASH (nothing excplicit and not for a while, but it is going to be there, sorry that I forgot to put this in before), Dudley-bashing, OC-s, disregard of canon events and likely personalities, to an extent, because I can't remember much of it. Anything new will be added to the start of a chapter.
As soon as they got home from King's Cross station Vernon turned to Harry. As he wasn't yet purple from the face, Harry wasn't afraid that the man was going to say or do something nasty in response to the threat they received at the station.
"Listen here, boy. I got a reward trip to Hawaii for good work from Grunnings, for me and Petunia. Since we can't take Dudley with us and Marge is in America visiting a dog show, you and Dudley will be going to camp. It was a recommendation from Smeltings and cheap enough to send you both there. And don't even think about getting out of it. Think of some explanation for those freaks, so that they won't come bothering me and Petunia while we're on holiday. Now get to your room, there s a pamphlet about the camp. And don t even think you can take that ruddy bird with you to camp," with that Vernon nodded to himself and waddled off into the living room.
Harry just stood by the door for a few moments, before he shook himself out of his stupor and trudged up the stairs, pulling his trunk behind himself. He shook his head, hardly believing that the Dursleys would spend any amount of money on him, let alone send him to a camp. They certainly hadn't before. And it had to be a good one if they were sending their precious Duddykins there too. He opened the door to his room and walked in, dumping his trunk at the foot of his bed and placing Hedwig's cage on the small table. The bird ruffled her feathers a little and then settled to sleep. Harry saw the promised pamphlet and picked it up. It was coloured to look camouflaged and printed on the front was 'Exeter Military Camp for Young Men'. This raised Harry's eyebrows. 'So they're sending us to military boot camp? Sirius would have thought it to be hilarious. Dudley the Whale in boot camp, makes me wonder if the Dursleys actually read about the camp past the cost', Harry thought with a small grin. It still hurt a little to think about Sirius, but he'd come to terms with his passing, at least somewhat. The talk with Luna helped, it made him realize that when he finally met with his parents and Sirius again he wanted them to be proud of him and the way he had lived his life. No more moping about, he had a madman after his life. The camp might actually help somewhat. And it would be fun to see Dudley crawling and running, all of his fat flopping around him. This might prove more effective in losing weight than last summer's diet.
Only problem for Harry was the Order. They would likely protest to him going to camp, so they couldn't know about him going to camp. Hmm, what to tell them? Perhaps, that the Dursleys won a trip around the world? Yes, that would keep the Order occupied outside Britain. Possibly the Death Eaters as well, if they should somehow manage to get wind of him touring the world with his relatives, completely defenceless. It would be the perfect prank, in memory of Sirius.
Harry sat on his bed and opened the pamphlet to read about the camp.
'Exeter Military Camp is located in Cornwall, near the town of Exeter. It is a camp for young men from the age of 14 to 17. We offer a full military training programme, suited for the age group. The exercises are designed to teach strategy, teamwork and survival and give the trainees better endurance, strength and abilities.
All campers are given a full uniform set, to keep as their own. At no time after receiving the uniforms can the campers wear regular clothes, until after the end of camp. Those caught breaking rules will receive a proper punishment, military style. Rules are explained fully after arrival at camp grounds and are displayed at a stand in front of the main building.
All campers sleep in dorm-buildings, divided first alphabetically and after the first week in teams by abilities. Not sleeping in the assigned dorm will result in a punishment, unless the team is completing an exercise outdoors...
Yep, the Dursleys definitely didn't read through the pamphlet. There was no way Petunia would allow her precious Diddidums to sleep outside. Harry just hoped he wouldn't be placed on the same team as his cousin. Sleeping in the same dorm the first week wouldn't happen either, as thankfully they were arranged alphabetically. Which meant that D. Dursley was faaaar away from him, H. J. Potter. Maybe he could avoid Dudley altogether throughout the camp, though he wasn't counting on it much. Dudley would likely try to find as many opportunities as possible to make his stay at camp horrible. But as they were away from Vernon and Petunia, Harry could retaliate freely, especially as he wasn't likely to see them again after the camp. Since the order was going to believe him travelling with his family, returning on the 15th of August...
That stopped Harry in his tracks. 15th of August? And it started on the 15th of June. That meant two months. Two whole months of the summer away from here. In a military camp. Oh Merlin. How the hell did he think he was going to survive that? He was short and scrawny and not all that strong. His only strengths were his speed and quick reflexes. He sighed. Guess he'd have to build up all the other things to survive. Still, he was a hell of a lot better off than Dudley. He was the size of a whale and about as fast as a beached one. The thought made Harry snicker. He couldn't wait to see how bad Dudley would fare in the camp. If all else failed, that could always make his day brighter.
The ten days before camp couldn't have seemed longer. Or shorter. Some moments seemed to speed by at the speed of light, while others went at snail pace. It was like every other summer, spent doing chores, sitting in the park in the evenings and writing answers to the letters his friends sent. Not that they wrote much of interest, just like last summer, except this time Hermione was pestering him about not shutting everyone out and talking about his feelings. She had apparently read that it wasn't healthy to hold in the grief and that Sirius wouldn t have wanted him to waste away in depression. Seeing this, he'd decided it was a good idea that he hadn't told Ron and Hermione about the prophesy. He wouldn t have been able to bear the lectures then.
He also sent the required letters to the order, telling them that he was fine and that the Dursleys were treating him okay.
On the morning that they were to leave for the camp Harry attached a pre-written letter for the order to Hedwig's leg, telling them that he was leaving with his relatives for a round-the-world trip for the next two or so months, starting with America. He sent Hedwig on her way after having given her cage to her, telling her to be careful and not to come find him in the next two months. The bird nipped at his fingers and gave a soft hoot, before flying off.
"Boy! Get down here, we have to get going or we'll be late!" Aunt Petunia's shrill voice yelled up the stairs. Harry sighed, before answering, "Coming, Aunt Petunia!". He picked up his back-pack, containing a change of clothes, his toiletry bag and his shrunken trunk. No way was he leaving any of his things here, especially if he could take them with him. He walked to the door, giving one last glance at the room he had lived in since he was eleven. He had a feeling he wouldn't be returning here, ever. With one last sigh he walked out of the room, closing the door behind himself, and down the stairs to where his relatives were waiting. Dudley had a huge sports bag along with a large back-pack. Harry raised his eyebrows at seeing those, but wisely kept quiet. He did wonder to himself though, what his cousin could possibly bring so much that needed all that space. It once again proved that the Dursleys hadn't bothered to read through the pamphlet.
Vernon nodded to himself, though it looked like his head was bobbing, and they all wlked outside. Vernon locked the front door, before unlocking the car and then popping the trunk. Harry placed his bag in one corner, before lifting Dudley s two heavy bags in as the whale squeesed himself in the car. His eyebrows once again rose, this time at the weight. Seriously, what was he taking to camp? His friends? The TV and computer? He shook his head, closing the trunk, and then got in. Vernon started the car and they took off.
The ride to Exeter was mostly quiet, the radio was playing, news alternating with some kind of music. If asked, Harry couldn't have told you anything about what was playing on the radio. He was completely absorbed in his own thoughts. He didn t really know what to expect from this camp, except for a lot of training. Running, definitely, climbing maybe, likely. What else? How long would it be until the order found him? Would they even realise he was still in Britain, not touring the world? Hopefully there would be no one from the Wizarding World there, or he would likely be screwed. Even if he didn t personally no them, a witch or wizard could easily recognise him becuse of the scar. The press could then find out and it would not be pretty. At all. He sooo didn't want to hear Molly Weasley and Hermione lecturing at him, or see Dumbledore's disappointed blue eyes looking at him over those half-moon glasses. Later would come the lecture about how irresponsible he'd been, placing himself and others in danger, leading the order on a crazy chase around the world. He could already picture it in his mind. After that the order would force the Dursleys to return to Privet Drive, so that the wards could be recharged and he'd be left with the Dursleys for the rest of the summer. They would hate him even more and make him do an impossible amount of chores, feeding him even less and locking him in his room the rest of the time. He almost shuddered at the thought. He really hoped the order wouldn't find out about him being in the camp. A military camp at that. Most of them wouldn't understand a thing about that, being raised in the Wizarding World. There were so few wizards and they were too confident in their Aurors, so they didn't even consider the need for a trained army.
For a while he drifted off, lulled by his thoughts, the radio and the car's rumble. About an hour later he was woken from his slumber by a punch from Dudley. Looking around and rubbing his eyes of sleep, he sat up straight.
"Listen up, boy. we're nearly in Exeter and we have some rules for you. You had better not use any of your freakishness in that camp, because we are normal people and being associated with you is more than bad enough. And you are to stay away from Dudley, if he decides to play as if he doesm't know you. Would have been even better if he really didn't. And I don't want any complaints from them about you. Or from those freaky friends of yours. What did you tell them, anyway?" Vernon said, narrowing his eyes at Harry in the rear-view mirror.
Harry shrugged, answering, "I wrote to them that we're all going on a two-month trip around the world, starting in America, but completely avoiding Hawaii, for some reason. Said we might go to Australia, China and Greece, in no certain order, so that they won't be looking for me here and you can relax in Hawaii."
"Good. If they won't bother us, the better for you," Petunia said, not even looking at him. The car fell silent again after that, Petunia and Vernon both watching the road, Dudley playing some handheld video game and Harry once more lost in thought.
Soon the town of Exeter came into view and ten minutes later they were parked in front of a school building, a big bus waiting twenty feet away with a small group of people standing in front of it. All of them got out of the car, Vernon opening the trunk. Harry quickly pulled out Dudley's bags, before grabbing his own pack and closing the trunk. He started walking towards the group by the bus, the Dursleys coming behind him. Petunia was fussing over Dudley, smoothing his hair and clothes while the boy tried to squirm away.
"Mum, you're embarrassing me!" he whined. Petunia huffed, but stopped, though Harry could have sworn he could still see her hands twitching while he was waiting for them to get to the bus.
"Good day sir, ma'm sending your sons to camp, I see?" said a man standing by the bus entrance. He was wearing a camouflage uniform and had a clipboard in hand.
Vernon visibly purpled at the plural form of 'sons', but said, quite politely, (for him anyway), "My son Dudley Dursley and my wife's nephew Harry Potter." The nephew before Harry's name was slightly stressed and said with not a little contempt, probably to make sure the man understood that Harry was in no way their son.
The man nodded, marking something on his clipboard. "Very well. I'll need the parental consent forms for both boys. You can place your bags in the overhead luggage rack inside the bus. Although, Mr. Dursley, you do know that you only need your personal hygiene products in camp? We provide everything else and casual clothes are not allowed at all during camp," he said, eyeing Dudley s two large bags. Vernon puffed up at hearing that, indignant that his son wouldn't be able to wear what he wanted. Before he could start yelling, the man cut in, saying, "I'm sorry sir, but those are the rules of the camp and they are not broken for anyone. You will have to leave behind everything but a change of clothes and your hygiene products."
All three Dursleys huffed, but seeing as there was no-where for Dudley to stay and the camp had been paid for, there was nothing for them to do but stomp back to the car and unload any and all unnecessary things to the backseat. It took about ten minutes, with Dudley probably trying to sneak some things in his bag. Finally he was done and the family got back. Harry had already gone into the bus and found an empty seat near the front. His bag was sitting on the luggage rack, next to everyone else's. He saw the Dursleys handing over the permission slips and then the parents saying good bye to Dudley. Vernon clapped his son on the back, the fat on his arm rippling. Petunia however had tears in her eyes and was hugging Dudley for all her worth, though the boy was so large she couldn't wrap her arms around even half of him. Finally the man with the clipboard cleared his throat pointedly, making Petunia let go of Dudley. She sniffled, saying something that sounded suspiciously like, 'Oh, my baby boy, all grown up.'
Harry had to stifle his laughter, but some other boys on the bus weren t so discreet. They stopped, however, when Dudley waddled onto the bus. Harry, who had been looking out the window, was startled out of his thoughts when someone plopped down next to him, just before Dudley reached his seat.
"Hey, my name s Cedric Parker," the boy now sitting next to him said. He had dirty blond hair and warm brown eyes, set in a smiling face.
Harry'smiled back, saying, "Harry Potter. Nice to meet you."
"Ya know, I still haven't gotten used to the British accent. It's so strange to hear you people speak," Cedric said. "I'm from the states, my dad got a job here so we moved. Me, my parents and two younger sisters. They're twins, six years old, real menaces. I'm sixteen myself. What about you?" he asked.
Harry sighed. He hated talking about himself, but Cedric did seem nice and better to make friends than enemies, right? "My parents were killed by a maniac when I was a year old. I was an only child. Lived with my mother's sister and her family ever since. I've been going to a boarding school in Scotland since I was eleven, so five years now."
"Hmm, that school wouldn't happen to be Hogwarts, would it?" Cedric asked with a mischievous smile. Harry's mouth fell open and he could do nothing but stare. "Don't worry, I m not going to tell anyone that you're here. Us americans don't really care for all the crap that's been going on here, since it hasn't affected us yet. But we do know about it, since it's taught in school. And I researched the situation before coming to England. Although I certainly didn't expect to meet you of all people here. Didn't really expect to find any of our kind here, to be honest."
Harry's mind was reeling. All the time he had been in the Wizarding World, everyone had been fawning over him or hating him, but here was a young man who apparently didn t care for all that one bit. Although he'd hoped to remain anonymous while at camp, it felt good to know that there was someone who knew. "But, if you know about the situation, why did you move here? Surely you know of the'dangers involved?" Harry asked.
"That's why we moved. My dad was hired by the MI6, he's in the special part. They're working to find ways to bring down the bad guy. Bet they're going to try recruiting you. If they haven't already, that is?" Cedric asked. Harry noticed how his eyes lit up when the other boy was talking about his father and couldn t help but be a little jealous. He wished he had a father to be proud of. Right now he knew very little. Too little.
"No, they haven't recruited me. I'm not really sure I'd accept if they did. I mean, I haven't even finished school yet. And my life expectancy isn't all that high at the moment, what with a madman after my life and all," Harry'said, rather morosely. There just didn't seem much hope that he could win against Voldemort. The first time his mother's sacrifice saved him, first year Voldie was in spirit-form, second year it was the sixteen-year-old memory of the bastard, fourth year he just got lucky and last time Dumbledore arrived in time to save him.
"Hey come on, don't be so pessimistic. You've got a lot of potential and you just need a little push in the right direction to find your way. You'll survive, I'm sure of it. I'll personally make sure that both of us come out of this alive and relatively well," the other boy said. He nodded to himself, making Harry'smile.
"Just make sure you don't get yourself killed while trying to save me," was Harry's answer.
Just then another boy stepped on the bus, followed by the man with the clipboard, effectively cutting off any further conversation between the two boys.
"Listen up, and listen good" the man said. "My name is captain James Merry. As all of you are now finally here," he looked at the boy who had come last, making him blush and duck his head, while some others snickered. They got a glare for their efforts. "we will start the trip to Exeter Camp. Take a look at the boy sitting next to you. They will be your partner for the next week, maybe for the rest of the camp if you re lucky. Or unlucky. You will share a bunk-bed and do any and all exercises that require a partner together. You may not change your partner for any reason. If you can't get along, tha's your problem. Unless they try to kill or seriously maim you, we will not interfere. If you are caught breaking the rules, there will be a military style punishment waiting for you. Sabotaging others to further yourself is not allowed, unless expressly said so. If you are caught doing so, you will be disqualified from the exercise and will not receive any points. Points are given for every exercise completed and the amount depends on your performance. The ones with the most points at the end of this week and the ones with the best scores at the end of the camp get an award. They do not necessarily have to be the same people. We expect you to do your very best and those caught slacking off are given extra assignments. The rules will be explained at the assembly at the camp, after you have received your uniforms. You have to wear it at all times after receiving it. Not doing so will result in a punishment. You have until the end of this bus ride to find a partner you get along with. Once the bus has stopped at the camp, I will write down your name and that of your partner. With your uniforms you are given two name-tags. Fasten one of them to your own uniform and give the other to your partner, to fasten to their's. Any and all questions will be answered at the assembly. Have a nice ride, because it's going to be the last nice thing you experience in the next two months." With that captain Merry sat down and the bus took off.
Cedric reached out his hand and said, "Partners?"
Harry smiled as he accepted it. "Of course."
TBC... (Possibly )
AN. So, I've started a new story. Not sure how frequent the updates are going to be, as school is starting soon and I have a book to write. And I'm rewriting 'Into the Night' again. Just the last chapter, to make the story longer and more detailed, but still. Takes time and energy. And I'm known to have lapses in the interest I have in my stories. Lets just hope my muse doesn't abandon the story. I'll likely finish the story anyway, but the quality and length is dependant on whether or not I actually like writing it. Anyway, reviews are nice and guilt me into writing. ;) Ann