I do not own Harry Potter and I have no financial gain from this story.

Emerald Cocoon

Chapter 1

Summer Pains

The creature opened its eyes, blearily looking around its surroundings, it shifted its body to better fold its huge wings against its body fending off some of the cold of the cave walls. It lifted its head off the stone to look out at the world outside its hiding place. Fortunately its attackers didn't find the opening of the cave last night so it could have a peaceful night, if a little bit cold. It got to its feet and peeked out of the hole he found in the mountain side, while madly trying to escape from its chasers. It was the perfect hiding spot. Its opening hidden by the lush green plants falling over it. Given as it was summer the plant's flower's smell was thick in the air around the cave, effectively hiding the creature's own scent, but in the cave it was pleasant.

This was probably because of the many small passages through the cave. Too small for the creature to use, and probably for everything above the size of mice, but they were very successful in airing the cave. It paused in its thoughts to start preening the feathers on its wings. They became quite ruffled in the chase the day before and it didn't dare set them to rights in fear of the smallest movement alerting its pursuers to its whereabouts. However that wasn't the case now as it hadn't noticed any movement in the sky outside the cave except for a few small birds and a falcon on one of the branches down in the valley. So the creature started to leisurely examine, clean and set its feathers back to their original glory. The feathers were deep purple with a hint of silver at the ends of each one of them. They were quite beautiful if it had to say so itself. Not the best for hiding in the sky in daylight with its body covered in black fur too, but perfect for night-time. And it liked that time of the day better anyway. Once it was finished with its wings it started on its fur. Cleaning its whole body. Licking its huge front paws, it brought them back to also clean its ears and head. After the ritual it went back to napping the day away. It was not overly hungry and was aware of the fact that it would stand out like a sore thumb in this environment.

When the day was nearing twilight it started its cleaning ritual anew, then, once finished, it pushed its sleek body out of the cave, taking extra care with its wings. After a few stretches it unfolded the huge wings on its back and with one powerful push of its hind legs, it soared high in the night sky. After a momentarily indecision while it was sniffing the air, it decided on its route. The creature flapped its wings and flew away in the direction of Northern Britain.

HPCW

Life was again miserable for Harry Potter. It was his fourth summer away from Hogwarts, and he felt the happenings of his latest school-year like a thousand font weight on his slim shoulders. As he was cleaning and weeding the yard for his Aunt Petunia he had ample time to think about his fourth year and the Tri-Wizard Tournament. He was so excited in September when he heard about the competition! He was planning on cheering for the Hogwarts champion with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, and he was looking forward to writing and receiving letters from Sirius, his godfather, or even having some midnight fire chats in the Gryffindor common room! He was awed by the huge horses the Beauxbatons students arrived with and agreed with Ron that the Durmstrang's ship was "freaking cool". He was having a relatively calm school year.

Then that stupid cup had to spew out his name as the "fourth champion". Everything was downhill from then on. He was once again thrust in the spotlight. He still couldn't believe that Dumbledore, Hogwart's headmaster, couldn't do anything about it. It just wasn't fair! Then Ron and almost the whole school turned on him. The school population didn't really matter to Harry. He already knew that public opinions were more fickle than Lavender Brown's hairstyles. But the betrayal of Ron hurt something deep inside him. Ron was his best friend, he was supposed to stand by him and believe in him, like Harry would've done if Ron was in his place. And to top it off Ron was jealous of all things! Jealous of his fame and the spotlight. The two things Harry hated more than anything. It's like he didn't realize that his fame came from the death of his parents, moreover of something he didn't even remember without the "aid" of a dementor. And those memories were far from peachy too. He still had the occasional nightmare from which he would awake in cold sweat his mother's scream ringing in his ears. Though his nights these days were occupied by nightmares of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, and mostly of the Third Task. And Cedric.

The school and Ron once again stood united behind him and the other Hogwarts champion Cedric Diggory after the First Task in which they had to battle bloody DRAGONS. For a stupid egg that SCREAMED. It really wasn't among his favourite times of life. Then there was the whole fiasco with the lake and Moody. He found himself being...doubting of the ex-auror. Not exactly suspicious, but he found the man disconcerting. Which he thought was normal since the man had an eye that could see through everything and was spinning in his head! So he didn't spare much thought to that strange feeling he got around the man. He found it odd that his "most important" thing was Ron. The youngest Weasley boy hadn't been the best friend that he had been in previous years. Though Harry still treasured him as one of his first and best friends. So maybe that's why...It was really easy to forgive him too, once he came to his senses and apologised. But Harry didn't think that forgetting would be just as easy.

Then came the Third Task. In which he had to face Voldemort and Cedric died. In front of him. Without no apparent reason. Just because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And it was Harry who insisted on taking the cup together...And Voldemort came back. He used HIS blood to get a human body again. Or at least something that mostly resembled human, with a nose like a snake's and slitted, blood-red eyes. He really was a frightening sight. Though Harry couldn't properly appreciate it since he had to fight for his life once again. And once again by some insane luck and help from some astral projections of Voldemort's late victims he was saved. So he went back to Hogwarts holding onto Cedric's lifeless body like a lifeline. Dumbledore wasn't smiling for once, no twinkle in his aged blue eyes. No one was smiling, most was screaming really. Seeing Cedric's body was a shock to the few people who could actually see it. Then Dumbledore pried his fingers from around Cedric's wrist.

The black headed boy focused his eyes on his grandfatherly headmaster and said "He's back". Dumbledore didn't need anything else to be said and then the Diggory's arrived and Moody dragged him away from the scene to his office. Where more madness arose. As it came out Moody wasn't Moody but a Death Eater in disguise. What the hell with the teachers Dumbledore let in his school? Though Harry was in too much of a shock to take much of what was said in. He was once again saved by Snape and Dumbledore and whisked away to the Hospital Wing. There he got his winnings from a fuming and scared Fudge and after a lengthy account of what has happened in the graveyard sent home to his "loving" relatives. That was 2 weeks ago.

Harry realized that the poor weed he was holding started to fume in his hands. He hastily dropped it before his Aunt or Uncle noticed it too, the smoke fortunately disappeared the moment he let go and his concentration was broken. Two weeks and he has yet to receive any correspondence from his friends, Sirius had written him a note earlier that week that he had to lay low for a few weeks so he couldn't send any letters for that time. Harry accepted that without problem since he was worried about his godfather. He didn't send him any letters either, waiting for Sirius to give the OK, but Ron and Hermione had no Aurors on their tails. They had nothing to stop them from writing a letter to Harry. Yet they hadn't.

"Boy!" came a loud shout from the house.

Apparently Aunt Petunia had something else for him to do. Figures that she would notice the fact that he was finished with the yard sooner, than Harry himself. The teenager grudgingly looked over two weeks worth of hard work. He re-painted the fences and repaired some damage on the shed, then painted that too. Now everything was stark white. The epitome of an everyday garden. Like all the others on Privet Drive. And now he was finished with the weeding as well. His aunt's flowerbeds were immaculate once again. Harry slowly trudged up to the back-door taking care not to bring mud onto the kitchen tiles. Aunt Petunia was in the middle of making a snack for Dudley who was expected to arrive in a few minutes. He left hours ago to go to some football match in the elementary school's gym. Harry stared at the turkey and ham sandwiches in envy, his stomach giving a sympathetic grumble. His Aunt scrunched up her nose at the noise and tossed him some bread with cheese.

"Hurry it up and then go mow the lawn, before Vernon gets home. Then go to your room and don't make a sound!" came the usual order.

Not that Harry wanted to be anywhere near his Uncle. These days he was in an even more disagreeable mood than ever before. Harry reckoned that something must be up at the company. Maybe they're downsizing? That would certainly explain a lot. He was becoming used to disappearing the moment his Uncle arrived home. Most of the time he reeked of alcohol and once when Harry was still unaccustomed to this new development he caught Harry and gave him the worst thrashing he has ever received at the hands of a Dursley. Some bruises still hurt. So he wisely avoided Vernon, whenever he could. He finished his meagre snack and went back to the garden to start mowing. He was almost halfway through when Vernon's company car drove up the drive-way and his meaty cousin tumbled out of it closely followed by his even meatier Uncle. Harry bowed his head and lifted his shoulders trying to be as unnoticeable as possible. Dudley threw a sneer his way but Vernon seemed not to notice him at all. He dejectedly walked up to the front-porch and walked in with his son on his heels.

Harry quickly finished the mowing after that and tried to escape into his room just as Aunt Petunia told him to do. He was just taking off his whale sized sneakers, when he heard his Uncle's voice from the kitchen.

"They're examining every board Petunia! They are talking about bringing in fresh meat to lead the departments! Today they were all over my offices and people, scrutinizing everything! That stupid Peters was over yesterday telling me how spectacularly the examiners liked his new working policy! They didn't speak to me at all! They're already finished with the inspection by the time they came to my personal office, telling me that I would get the results next week! And then they left! Johnson said they told him there was nothing to worry about since everything seemed to be in working order! Petunia, I..." his Uncle's furious rambling faded away as they ,moved to the living room.

Harry quietly slipped up the stairs, quickly relieved himself in the bathroom and washed away most of the grime, he also drank some water to alleviate his hunger. After all that day he only had the bread and cheese Aunt Petunia tossed him the afternoon. Then he went to his bedroom, lay down on his back and stared at the ceiling contemplating what he heard. So the company was not downsizing but there really was a chance of Uncle Vernon becoming unemployed. Harry shuddered at the thought. Uncle Vernon would most definitely make it his fault somehow, and then life would be even more miserable for him at 4. Privet Drive.

Harry tossed and turned with his troubled thoughts. There was no Hedwig to take his mind off of matters as the snowy owl had left on a hunting trip a day ago. Though she'd be back that night probably. At last Harry fell into a restless sleep, where Voldemort was laughing at his battered body while Uncle Vernon was screaming profanities at him. And Cedric's dead eyes were staring into his.

HPCW

Several nights later Harry yet again awoke to the sound of his own muffled scream. He lay panting in his bed clutching the thin blanket to his chest. He took a big breath and relaxed his body after making sure he was alone in the room. Hedwig was sitting in her cage gazing at him worriedly. She released a soft hoot, trying to calm her distressed master when she saw his head turned towards her. Harry smiled weakly at her, reassuring the bird and Hedwig soon went back to sleep. It was early morning and Harry reckoned he should just get up and start on the Dursley's breakfast. He dressed and moved downstairs into the kitchen. He got ready to make the standard Dursley breakfast. Toast, ham, eggs, honey, 5 different kinds of sugary cereal and the juice and tea.

He was just finishing the bacon when Uncle Vernon came down the stairs like a hippo, the stairs creaking under the weight. That was strange. Usually it was Aunt Petunia who came down first to examine the breakfast Harry prepared and water the plants in the kitchen window while peering outside at the neighbouring houses and to the street. Harry never knew what she hoped to see at 6:30 am. After all theirs was the most boring neighbourhood of all. Just as he finished this train of thought his Aunt appeared on the steps. Uncle Vernon seemed distressed and he only sent a small sneer Harry's way, Aunt Petunia placed a calming hand on his arm and spoke to him in soft tones.

"Everything will be alright you'll see, Vernon dear," she said "You have been working in that company since your graduation. They won't let you go." she tried to calm him.

However Uncle Vernon had huffed at her soft spoken assurances, then his bleary eyes focused on Harry's listening form at the oven. His eyes narrowed and Harry felt the hair on his nape stand on end.

"Boy," the huge man's voice was unusually calm and Harry risked a glance his way as an acknowledgement "you do realize what is at risk right now, don't you?" came the ominous question.

Harry stared at him mutely and gave an almost imperceptible nod of his head.

"Then..." Uncle Vernon seemed to hesitate for a moment and Harry felt the hair on his back join the ones on his neck in their silent vigil. "You do your FREAK stuff, or tell the other FREAKS about our predicament because if I lose my job then you're not to step into this house again!"

By the end of his speech his Uncle was screaming at him and Harry shook from the shock of the man's declaration. In a crazy moment he almost said that he would be happy to be rid of them, but then his headmaster's words came echoing back to him. "You have to live in Privet Drive, Harry. You'll be safe there. Your mother's blood will protect you." But how could he make the boss in Grunnings decide to let Vernon Dursley keep his job? It was impossible! And Hedwig couldn't take a letter that fast! He was so washed away in his worries that he almost didn't realize that Uncle Vernon was again talking to him.

"It's probably your and your freakishness' fault that I may lose my job in the first place! Bad blood, dear Marge always says bad blood! Well you do something to make everything as it was once again or you'll be out of this house so fast your feet won't touch the ground!"

By the end of his tirade Uncle Vernon's head closely resembled a ripe eggplant and Harry was shocked speechless. Well of course he knew that the Dursleys didn't consider him family or even a distant relative, more like a pest, but he never really believed they would toss him out. Not even after the fiasco with Aunt Marge. And that Uncle Vernon would ask him to use MAGIC! Harry's head was reeling by it all.

His Aunt seemed to have made Vernon calm down enough so that he could leave for work. Then she came back and scrunched up her nose again. Harry was still standing stock still, spatula in hand, bacon forgotten on the oven and smoking.

At his Aunt's reappearance Harry stumbled out of his shock and noticed the smell of something burning. He quietly swore and turned to toss the ruined bacon and start on a new one, but his Aunt took the spatula from him and replaced him by the oven to his great surprise. Aunt Petunia however just chucked him a bit of bread and cheese again and told him to go and start on the laundry. Harry obeyed in a daze with a bit of cheese in his mouth.

"And do pray that Vernon'll still have his job by the end of the day." were her parting words.

Harry almost choked on his cheese.

HPCW

Harry spent the day as a nervous wreck. He sent a letter to Dumbledore, telling him about his predicament, but Hedwig would only arrive with the letter around the next day morning. By then Uncle Vernon'd be at home and the matter decided... Harry still thought it would be prudent for the headmaster to know in case his Uncle lost his job and made true on his threat. Maybe he could go live with Sirius! This was such a comforting and pleasant tought that Harry almost started to hope for his Uncle to throw him out. Because then, certainly, Dumbledore couldn't make them change their minds? Though he didn't really look forward to the beating he would receive for failing in "bewitching" the company president. Although maybe they wouldn't give Uncle Vernon the sack, after all he did work there since forever. Maybe they'll just demote him? Not like that wouldn't earn him a trashing...

Harry was folding the washed and dried clothes when his Uncle arrived home. It was rather late already, so Harry had a pretty good idea, that the day was not a success for his Uncle Vernon. He didn't dare go downstairs. It was only Vernon and Petunia with him in the house as Dudley had box training in the afternoon. His Uncle's voice was loud enough for him to hear upstairs. And slurred. He had been drinking. Fabulous. Harry thought dejectedly.

"I's over Pet'nia! I bec'me un'mploy'd! How'll we eve' pay fo' Dudley's school? An' the boxin'? Wha' of the house Pet'nia?"

"Oh, Vernon, I'm sure will think of something. I'm sure you'll find a new job in no time, and I can go looking too..."

"I's that freak' fa'lt! He c'me back from tha' freakish school of his an' made me l'se my job! My job, Petunia!" ranted Uncle Vernon in his drunken state "MY JOB!"

Then Vernon broke down. Harry could hardly believe his ears. Uncle Vernon was loudly sobbing and by the sounds of it still cursing him for ever being born. The green eyed boy felt a stone lodge itself in the pit of his stomach. This did not bode well for him.

"Vernon!" obviously Aunt Petunia had never before seen her husband fall apart like this either. "I'm sure we will be alright!" by the end her voice was close to breaking too.

"Pet'nia, we still haven' finished payin' the mortgage! What'll bec'me of us now?" Uncle Vernon was slowly getting himself under control just to lose his cool again. This time to anger. "It's that freak' fault! Where is he? Where's the boy, Pet'nia?"

Harry felt cold wash over him. If Petunia told...

"He's upstairs, Vernon." she said "Please, don't mess up the washed clothes."

Harry couldn't believe his ears. Aunt Petunia's voice was cold. She was just as ready as Vernon to find a scapegoat for the tragedy that befell her family. And she was worried about the clothes! Then he heard his Uncle's booming steps on the stairs. Harry watched the door in morbid fascination. The booms stopped which clued him in that Uncle Vernon was in front of the room's door as his Uncle's and Aunt's room was the first on this level. The door creaked and Uncle Vernon stepped into the room. His face was a curious mix of red, from the alcohol, and purple, from the rage.

"Into yo'r room, whelp!" cried Uncle Vernon.

Harry carefully put the folded shirt away into the wardrobe before turning and slowly moving towards the door. He thought of reminding Uncle Vernon, of Sirius. However Uncle Vernon had already had some inkling that his threats about Sirius were empty. After all no murderous godfather showed up after Harry received his first beating that summer. And they wouldn't since Harry never told. Not that Uncle Vernon knew this.

"NOW!" apparently his Uncle had lost what little of his patience remained and grabbed Harry's upper arm to drag him into his room.

Once the door was opened Vernon threw Harry inside with such force that he fell on his back on the bed. For which, he supposed, he should thank some god as the floor or the walls would have most likely hurt his back. The less injuries he got tonight the better. Hedwig was thankfully absent from his room as she was still delivering the letter to Dumbledore. Fat lot it would help him now. His Uncle turned and closed the door with a loud thump that sent the cat flip shaking. Then he rounded on Harry, who had by then left the bed to stand behind it in front of the wall. Putting as much distance between himself and the raging man as possible. As it was, the distance was still way too small. Uncle Vernon crossed the room to Harry in three huge steps and in the nick of a moment Harry was sent flying into the wall from the slap that connected with his face. He clutched his right cheek and stared fearfully into his Uncle's thunderous expression.

Then all hell broke loose.

HPCW

Later Harry laid wheezing on his threadbare bed, resting his aching body. Uncle Vernon had been too far gone in his drunken rage to feel tired from beating his nephew. So the hits and kicks and slaps continued for a long time. Far longer than ever. By the end Harry felt as if he had no whole bone in his body and was curled into a foetal position on the floor, whimpering softly. He never screamed except for the time he felt his collar bone snap. That was the first bone he felt breaking. By some miracle his arms and legs were spared of that fate. Ironically, those were the only body parts he really needed whole to be able to do the menial labour for his relatives, Harry thought. As he lay there he made a mental list of his injuries. Bruises covered his whole body, his lips were busted and swollen. He most probably had a few cracked or broken ribs, hence the difficulty in breathing. From his lying position he didn't see his abdomen but it felt tight and it ached something horrible. He really hoped he didn't have any internal bleeding. He wouldn't be able to tough that out. He felt thirsty, but had no strength to move. Not that he would've dared to leave the relative safety of his room. He lifted himself painstakingly slowly off the floor and gently lowered himself to lay on his bed. By then the room was shrouded in darkness. Harry shifted his head so that he could see the stars in the square of the window. Then fell into a restless, but healing sleep.

HPCW

The following day Harry was awoken by his bladder and after a quick look at his watch, 5:10, decided to sneak into the bathroom as it was way too early for his Uncle to be awake. Especially after how drunk he had been yesterday evening. In the bathroom, he had quickly relieved himself then examined his still tight abdomen in the mirror. It was covered in purple and red bruises, just like the rest of his body, however the colour seemed to be more intense around his left kidney. Harry felt dread build inside as he studied the damage. He most probably should go to a hospital, hell he should go because he had at least three broken or cracked ribs on top of his injured kidney or just plain because he was BEATEN.

Harry sighed and thought about how his hair had grown back when Aunt Petunia cut it. Maybe with a little concentration he could heal his kidney. Harry was sceptical as he never before heard or tried self-healing but didn't really see any other option. So he tried to concentrate his magic and send it to the critical area. He felt the warmth of his magic coating his soul, soothing him and his nerves. However he could not grab onto it long enough to steer it in the direction of his kidney. He looked at his watch again and saw that he had been in the bathroom for fifteen minutes already. He would only have time for one more attempt. He concentrated on the warm feeling of his magic and when he found it he imagined two hands wrapping around it and separating a thick tendril of it and pulling it in the general direction of his kidney. The endeavour left him panting and sweating but he was rewarded by seeing the swelling and redness around his kidney recede. He let a small, tired smile grace his face as he hurriedly left the bathroom to dress in clean clothes and then start on breakfast. He had no delusions of his relatives letting him lie in due to his injuries.

In the kitchen Harry contemplated if he could heal his other injuries the same way he had his kidney. Well it was not completely healed, Harry still felt some tightness around it but it was lessening gradually. If he took into account how much it took out of him to heal his kidney he didn't think he could heal his whole body. And Uncle Vernon would probably beat him again if he realized that Harry healed himself. Though maybe he could help his ribs as they were giving him a lot of trouble. Not to talk about his collar bone! That was a pain in the ass. Harry could barely move his shoulders so making breakfast was really hard and slow work. He still almost finished breakfast by the time the Dursleys emerged from their beds. Aunt Petunia came down first, giving him a strange look over. While taking in Harry's battered body and seeing the obvious frown born from pain on his features, she wore an uncharacteristically worried and, dare he think it, shameful expression. However it quickly changed into one of self-assuredness and disdain.

"When you're finished go outside and prune the roses," she started on his daily chore list "then clean the basement. I think I heard some rats in there when I last went down."

Not that she went down there all that often, Harry thought. The basement was mostly used for storing stuff that they didn't need but thought they'd use one day. Even the old sofa was down there. So his Aunt's fears of having rats was completely founded. That sofa would be a perfect nesting place for them.

Harry was once again given a piece of bread and cheese, even though he was hoping for something more substantial as his injuries needed the most energy he could get to heal. After a moment's hesitation Aunt Petunia handed him a small piece of bacon. Harry could almost not believe his eyes. He took the food saying quiet thanks to his Aunt, then left the kitchen to go to the shed for the pruning scissors and some gloves to protect his hands. Once there he tried to grab hold of his magic again and heal his collar bone and ribs. This time he could hold a bigger amount of it so in a few minutes his collarbone was completely healed, but by then he had no strength left to do his ribs too.

He was once again reduced to a sweating and shaking mess. Which obviously didn't agree with his damaged ribs as they were aching horribly. However now he could carefully stretch his hands out and above his head so he could efficiently prune the roses. They were in the backyard which was surrounded by high hedgerows so no nosy neighbour could see his bruised face. Pruning the roses would have been hard and slow going even if he were in top health and, as he obviously wasn't, it took twice the usual time. He was only happy that Uncle Vernon would not hinder his work as it would have been counter-productive for him. The sun was shining and the day was already very warm despite the early hour, so Harry was really grateful for the shade the flowers provided him with. By lunchtime he was finished with the roses and had put the cut off parts in the compost area.

He saw Dudley stretch in his window indicating that he has finally awoken. He would now go downstairs and loudly demand food, Harry mused with a sneer on his face. He flipped his sweaty bangs from his eyes and decided to go inside and quickly wash his face and hands before starting on the basement. After the scorching sun, the cool and damp air of the basement was a rather inviting prospect. Inside he carefully looked around for Uncle Vernon and located his form in the living room chair, reading through the job offers in the newspaper. He quietly sneaked up the stairs and into the bathroom. Where he used the loo and washed most of the sweat and grime off his colourful skin. Then he went downstairs and took the rat poison from his cupboard with several other cleaning supplies. He had a moment of crazy longing while in there. His Uncle Vernon would've never fit through its door... he shook his head and went down to the basement with his head between his shoulders as he felt Uncle Vernon's stare on his back. Then he heard his cousin's loud inquiry as to why his father was at home. Harry immediately picked up his speed not wishing to be around when his Uncle made Dudley understand that the days of his pampering were, as of yesterday, officially over.

HPCW

Harry emerged from the basement a few hours later reeking of rats and cleaning chemicals. He had discovered a rat family nested in the cushioning of the old sofa and felt horrible for killing the babies. But he couldn't save them and they would've died without their parents either way. Like this, at least they didn't suffer. However now the basement was clean and after a few days the adult rats would be gone too because of the poison he placed all around the place. His stomach gave a loud rumble near the kitchen and Aunt Petunia gave him a disdainful sneer.

"Go wash up, then help me prepare dinner," she ordered " depending on Vernon's mood you may or may not get food."

Harry resignedly walked up to the bathroom yet again to wash up and drank as much water as he could without upsetting his stomach. Then he quickly changed his dirty clothes to another huge T-shirt and washed out grey sweatpants that were held on his skinny hips by a drawstring. Then he descended the stairs to help prepare a dinner that he may not even get to taste. He helped Aunt Petunia mash the potatoes and put the spices into it while she was tending to the meat. After the potatoes Harry quickly made salad, mostly for his Aunt's sake as the whale like males in the family would never touch anything that even resembled healthy. And Harry of course would never get any of the scrunchy, fresh salad. He was absolutely salivating by the time he was setting the table and Uncle Vernon and Dudley appeared in the kitchen.

"Petunia dear, the paper has no job offers suitable for me" Vernon told his wife "how will I ever find a new job?"

"Oh, Vernon, you have just started looking," reassured him Aunt Petunia, while placing the bowl of mashed potatoes on the table "maybe you should call Marge and ask her is she knows about any openings around her home."

"Yeah, that would probably be the best, pet. However it's awfully far from here."

"Yes, I believe commuting would be quite impossible from here," acquiesced his Aunt "but we have talked about the possibility of moving yesterday, remember?"

"WHA'?" came the loud and rather disgusting; he spat mashed potatoes all over the table, not even Ron would've done that; interruption from Dudley.

Harry had a similar inner reaction. If the Dursleys moved then the protections around the house would lose their effect.

"Oh, Duds, you must realize that without your Father's income this house is way too big for us," she cried "not to mention the mortgage and your school fees!" She seemed close to crying now and softly hiccuped at the end of her sentence.

"Yeah, Son," continued Uncle Vernon "if I cannot find a job around here that offers about the same salary as the one I had had in Grunnings, we'll have to move."

He sent a hateful glare Harry's way while saying this as if the whole thing was Harry's fault. And the emerald eyed teen saw his dinner fly out the window. As informing as this little chat was, he was sure he wouldn't get dinner with Uncle Vernon so forcefully reminded of his current state of unemployment. He was just thankful that his Uncle had not yet remembered his promise of kicking him out.

"But I have FRIENDS here!" Dudley bellowed "We can't just up and move away! I bet it's the FREAK'S FAULT anyway!"

Dudley was panting by the end and Harry felt his blood run cold. He fearfully looked at Uncle Vernon to gauge his reaction. The obese man's face was yet again turning into an unhealthy shade of purple. However to Harry's great surprise he did not turn his way but to Dudley.

"IT'S NOT LIKE WE MADE THIS DECISION BECAUSE WE WANT TO MOVE EITHER!" he shouted at his son, who dropped his fork in shock "YOU MIGHT AS WELL LOOK FOR A SUMMER JOB IF YOU REALLY WANT TO STAY AND HELP US MAINTAIN THE HOUSE!"

His cousin tore himself from his stupor at that. He was not used to being shouted at, not to mention to not getting what he wanted.

"LIKE HELL!" he screamed back "WHY DON'T YOU SEND THE FREAK TO WORK? OR MAKE HIM DO SOME OF THAT FREAKISH STUFF HE LEARNS IN HIS FREAKISH SCHOOL TO GET US OUT OF THIS MESS! IT'S THE LEAST HE COULD DO!"

Dudley was yet again panting and red in the face. For a moment it seemed like Uncle Vernon would slap his only son for being disrespectful but then he rounded on Harry.

"YEAH, BOY! Why don't you do some hocuspocus or deamenti whatnot and spare us the hardships? After all we did put a roof over your head, fed you, clothed you! Make some gold or something!"

By the end of his tirade Vernon was out of breath and Harry was deathly pale and shaking in his position plastered to the kitchen cupboard.

"ANSWER ME BOY!" Vernon screamed at him, Harry's body flinched violently.

"I...I cannot use magic du...during the summers." he stuttered and he wouldn't even know how to do what his Uncle asked from him. From his studies so far he realized that one could only make gold with the Philosopher's Stone and the only Stone he knew of was destroyed back at the end of his first year in Hogwarts. And he would NOT give a knut to them from the money he inherited from his parents! Seeing the murderous look on his Uncle's face Harry hastily added.

"But I sent a letter to my headmaster, describing your situation and my involvement in it!" he cried "He will probably be able to help!"

He was even telling the truth. Though he couldn't write about the moving plans as he had just been made aware of them. And he hoped that Headmaster Dumbledore would help HIM and not the Dursleys...

"Good." Vernon said "Hope to everything that is saint to such freaks like you that this Headmaster of yours will be able to help! Don't you believe for a moment that otherwise I won't make good on my threat of kicking you out! Ungrateful bastard!"

Harry gulped audibly and meekly bowed his head.

"Yes, sir."

Uncle Vernon huffed and went back to eating. Dudley was still sulking because of the comment his Father made about summer work and Aunt Petunia was pale because of all the shouting and quietly sniffing. Harry was clueless as to what was expected of him now. Should he go to his room? Or stay in case he had to do the washing up? It was as if his Uncle felt his indecision because he lifted his head and looked at him.

"Go to your room whelp and I don't want to hear a sound from you!" he ordered " None of that blasted hooting either!"

Harry gratefully escaped into his room and was thankful that Hedwig still hasn't arrived with the Headmaster's reply. He didn't feel ready to face whatever the Headmaster would decide and so long that Hedwig wasn't near his Uncle he could rest easy and not worry about finding his treasured companion dead on his hardwood floor. His injuries and the stress of the day had left him exhausted so Harry gently lowered himself onto his bed mindful of his still aching ribs and almost immediately fell asleep.

HPCW

The next day Harry was awoken by soft hoots. He slowly opened his eyes and smiled at Hedwig who had arrived from her long journey from Scotland...or from wherever Headmaster Dumbledore lived when school was out. With a blink Harry realized that if Hedwig was there then so was the old wizard's reply to his letter. Just as he was thinking this he spotted the rolled up parchment on his old dresser. He carefully got out of bed and went petted the snowy owl for a job well done.

"Sorry Hedwig, but I don't have any more owl treats."

The bird reproachfully snapped its beak then flew to its cage to drink. Harry smiled at his avian friend's antics and approached the letter. After seeing the seal he quickly unrolled it and started reading.

Dear Harry,

I hope this letter finds you in good health. Your letter caused me and Fawkes a great deal of worry. You must not leave the protection of your Aunt's house. Please do try to reconcile with your Uncle for I believe that such family disputes shall be dealt by within family. However if your Uncle still insists upon your leaving then immediately alert me. You should keep the piece of parchment I have sent with my letter for I have charmed it to send anything you may write on it immediately to a similar parchment in my office. However you have to understand that the charm only works for one message. So do think before you use it. You must also have realized from the lack of post from your friends that owl post is no longer as safe as we would like it to be. So do not use Hedwig for any correspondence. This letter destroys itself in 30 seconds after being opened. I wish you an enjoyable summer holiday.

Best regards,

Albus Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Grand Sorcerer

Chief Warlock of the Winzengamot

Harry numbly sat down on his creaky chair. This was Dumbledore's reply? Harry tells him that his relatives want to toss him out to the streets and he answers like he were some unruly teenager blowing a simple argument out of its proportions? Did he even really send that piece of paper? Suddenly the letter in his hand combusted leaving a small piece of parchment to softly flutter to the ground. Harry carefully lifted it to his face and examined it. It looked just like any other piece of blank parchment. Harry had a sudden picture of the Marauder's Map in his head. He smiled softly despite the infuriating letter. He would just have to deal with the Dursleys on his own like he did before.


Author's Note:

Good day to you my dear readers! If you have read so far then I would like to thank you for giving my story a chance and apologize for any spelling or grammatical error I made. I did proofread this chapter but only once as my eyes were starting to bleed and I was too enthusiastic to wait another day till posting it. This is not my first fanfiction but the first that I have planned out almost completely, so there's a real chance that I'll finish this one!

I would appreciate it if you told me your thoughts on this chapter. :) I'm open to constructive criticism (even demand it!) and if you feel that my writing lacks in something or notice any inconsistencies or twists in logic please review or PM me! This stands for any future chapters too!