Harry doesn't even know the second glass is there until he pulls his hand back out of the cabinet and hits it with his wrist.
He quickly retracts his arm, clutching one glass to his shoulder as the other tips out, a flash of white, and drops. It smashes on the pristine kitchen tiles with a loud tinkling that rings in his ears long after the pieces of glass have settled, and it's a whole intake of breath before Harry registers that what he's hearing is Aunt Petunia shouting at him. She comes into the kitchen with Dudley tottering on her heels, though he only hovers in the doorway, grinning.
"Stupid, clumsy boy, what did you do?" Aunt Petunia snaps, surveying the mess.
"Sorry," Harry says, still hugging the glass.
She doesn't appear to have heard the apology. Aunt Petunia plucks him up from the foot stool and sets him on the floor out of the wide spray of broken glass so he won't cut up his bare feet. Long face pinched in a scowl, she pries the remaining glass out of Harry's small, untrustworthy hands and sets it on the counter, safe and well out of his reach.
"Honestly," Aunt Petunia fusses, irritated as she folds the stool up and moves it out of the way, "How hard is it to take a glass out of the cabinet without breaking every one of them?"
"Only - only one," Harry pipes up, "I'm sorry. I - I didn't see it."
"Oh, don't start that rubbish again, please," Petunia says tiredly, as if she has heard this poor excuse a thousand times, and Harry ducks his head, "Go fetch me the broom. And mind the glass, I don't need an even bigger mess or a trip to the hospital."
Harry skirts along by the refrigerator, watching his feet, and quickly returns with the broom. Petunia takes it roughly, admonishing him for coming so close to the glass, and then banishes him to the far corner for breaking the glass in the first place. Harry stands there with his nose against the wall, while Dudley sniggers from the sitting room, watching Saturday morning cartoons, and the glass crinkles and chinks as Aunt Petunia sweeps it into a neat pile.
She has only swept the entire kitchen floor three times, maneuvering Harry out of her way each time, but otherwise ignoring him, when she pauses suddenly.
Harry glances away from the corner and back again, absently rubs his scar and the bridge of his nose.
"Stop that fidgeting. Come over here."
Harry twitches, hesitates, and does as he's told. Aunt Petunia is standing across the kitchen, pointing to her side, and Harry hastens to the indicated spot. He mumbles another apology about the glass, but his aunt ignores him and points, instead, toward the clock ticking on the wall above where he was standing just a moment before.
"What time is it?" Petunia asks.
Harry gapes up at her, blinking bright green eyes, his jaw working in silent confusion. It clearly isn't a trick question, and when Aunt Petunia snaps, "Close your mouth and look at the clock, the time isn't written on my face," Harry bites down on his lip, and glances across the kitchen.
The clock is it's usual fuzzy, black outline on the wall, and he can see a tiny flicker that is the second hand moving; but he can't make out the other hands, let alone the numbers, from here; though he thinks he can see the thicker, short hand pointing up and to the (Harry flexes his right hand) left. Admittedly, he has enough trouble telling time when he's standing right underneath it, and though he can't help thinking this is a very strange question for Aunt Petunia to ask, he's at least better at it than Dudley is and is confident when he answers.
"It's... it's ten? Ten... something?" Harry offers, and doesn't even realize he's squinting and leaning forward until Aunt Petunia swats his face with the back of her fingers.
"What are you screwing your face up like that for?" she asks, frowning.
"I - I'm sorry. I didn't..."
He trails off and makes a concerned effort to straighten out his face, but his brow knots. Harry nervously rubs his fingers across the scar on his forehead and Petunia swats his hand down.
"Stop fidgeting. What's on the grocery list, there on the refrigerator?" she asks, turning her nephew around by his shoulders.
He is right in front of the refrigerator, in plain view of the sheet of paper on which Aunt Petunia has scrawled all of Dudley's favorite dinners and snacks. And he's very good at reading by now - better at it than Dudley, anyway - but he can hardly make out his aunt's cramped handwriting and when he feels his face scrunching up to focus, instead of getting in trouble again, he tries to recite the list from memory. Harry skates by the first few items, but Aunt Petunia is not impressed.
"You can't see it," she accuses, and her hands land on her boney hips, one of them still gripping the broom handle.
Harry inwardly cringes and doesn't answer.
He stops himself, twice, from moving his hand to his hairline and fingering the thin, lightening-shaped scar.
Aunt Petunia doesn't say anything else for a few long moments, and then she abruptly shoos him out of the kitchen to the sitting room. Dudley frowns at him when he comes in and pulls himself up into Uncle Vernon's armchair, but Harry doesn't see it. He does notice his cousin looking at him, though, and offers up a frown of his own. The chubbier boy moves down to the end of the couch furthest from Harry, who doesn't complain and watches the usual, indistinguishable flashing of color from the television set.
When Uncle Vernon comes home later in the afternoon to the delightful smell of supper, his surprisingly good mood is utterly spoiled when his wife mentions the boy.
"We'll have to take him to the Optician, Vernon, there won't be any getting around it," she says matter-of-factly, as if she's discussing the gutters needing to be cleaned out.
Dudley stops shoveling his third helping of potatoes into his mouth to stare side-ways at Harry, who has suddenly lost his appetite and is only poking at his own dinner, now. He has no idea what an Optician is, but he has the terrible, sinking feeling it's something to do with him breaking that glass earlier and Aunt Petunia's random questions. Uncle Vernon's walrus-like mustache bristles as he contemplates this, jabbing violently at his steak. Finally, with one last jab, he grumbles an assent and in the same tone delivers one of Aunt Marge's personal favorite lines, "Bad breeding, indeed. His bloody you-know-what needed them, as well."
The feeling sinks deeper into Harry's stomach because he has no idea what his "you-know-what" even is. He puts down his fork and Dudley seizes the opportunity and Harry's dinner roll. Both actions, of course, go unnoticed by the adults at the table.
"We'll go Monday evening, then," Petunia suggests.
"Might as well go on out Monday morning, it's not as if he's going to be learning anything if he can't see the bloody board," Vernon says roughly.
Because they're talking about a school day, Dudley pipes up, "What are we doing Monday?"
"Nothing, Dudders, darling," his mother simpers, "You're going on to school." Petunia hesitates, then looks pointedly at Harry. "You, however. You're not."
If Harry hadn't already set down his fork he would have dropped it.
"But why - ?"
"We're going to London that morning," Petunia plows on, as if Harry hadn't interrupted, but before she can give a proper reason for why they're going all the way to London, Dudley bursts into a fit of outrage.
"Why's he get to stay home and I've got to go to school?" he demands, pudgy fists banging the table.
"Oh, Dudders, no, dear, he isn't staying home - "
"IT ISN'T FAIR!" Dudley screams.
"Now, son, I - "
"NO, NO, IT ISN'T FAIR! I WANT TO STAY HOME IF HE IS! IT ISN'T FAIR IF HE GETS TO STAY HOME!"
"Really, Dudders, he isn't going to be having fun, we're - "
"I WANT TO GO TO LONDON, TOO, IT ISN'T FAIR!"
After five full minutes of this tantrum, during which Harry barely manages to dodge out of the way of a pudgy fist aimed for his head, the Dursley's relent to keep Dudley home, as well, to go into London with Petunia and Harry the following Monday morning. Uncle Vernon, of course, has to work, but begrudgingly plans on carpooling to work and leaving Petunia the car. No one, however, ever says why they are going to London, which leaves Harry to dwell on the sickening notion that he is going to be dropped off in a dingy alley way and left to fend for himself in the foreign London streets.
He doesn't sleep at all that night, staring, instead, at the cobwebs strewn across the bottom of the stairs, his heart constantly beating a rhythm of nerves against his rib cage.
He is more taciturn than usual all Sunday, and sleeps restlessly that night.
When Aunt Petunia knocks on the cupboard door just after 9 o'clock on Monday morning, Harry is already awake and dressed, and nervously attempting to flatten his unruly black hair because he knows how much it irritates his aunt that it sticks up at every imaginable angle. The car ride is unbearable, and Harry, somehow, can't muster up the voice to ask, once, what it is they're going to do in London, and he finds himself longing for his desk in the back of the classroom as opposed to being strapped into the back seat of the car with Dudley constantly poking and punching him.
It is the longest car ride of Harry's life.
He rubs his forehead nervously, staring out the window at the ominous haze of passing buildings and trucks and the occasional tree, and gets snapped at for fidgeting.
After ages and ages, they pull into a fairly small parking lot, and Harry, his heart racing to notice that it, at least, isn't a dark alley, cranes to see the building and reads "Vision Express". He frowns, unbuckling his safety belt as Aunt Petunia parks the car and beckons for them, "Come on. And behave." This is mostly directed towards Harry, of course, but he's so full of the nerves coiling in his stomach that he hardly even hears her.
The inside of the building is very brightly lit, with a tiled floor, and Aunt Petunia briskly approaches the counter along the far wall, where there are several chairs waiting to be occupied and a door leading further into the building. She talks with the young woman behind the counter, while Harry gapes around at the three remaining walls. They are all lined with several different styles of what he thinks, because he can't really make them out around the bright lights, are spectacles. Slowly, Harry starts piecing everything together as the young woman bends over the counter, passing Petunia a clipboard, and smiles at him.
"Good morning, sweetie. You're Harry, right?"
Harry gives a tiny nod, glancing at his aunt, who quickly shepherds him and Dudley over to the chairs lining the wall. She scratches small, curly letters onto a few sheets of paper, occasionally digging in her purse for something, and then takes the clipboard back up to the counter.
Dudley is still staring around with his mouth open, his brow knotted because he has still not worked out why they're here.
Harry, because he has, is dismayed to realize that he is even more nervous than before. He almost doesn't get out of his chair when a tall, blonde man wearing a coat sticks his head out a nearby door and, smiling, consults another clipboard.
Aunt Petunia stands, nudging Harry, "Come along, then."
They follow the Optician back through a hallway and into a much smaller, darker room. He hoists Harry up into a large cushioned chair in the center of the room, while Aunt Petunia and Dudley sit in two stiffer chairs off to the side. The Optician takes a seat beside Harry, on a rolling stool, balancing the clipboard on his knee.
"Alright, Harry? I'm Dr. Thompson," he says, "Can you tell me how old you are?"
"Er... seven," Harry says quietly, rubbing his scar.
"You're aunt tells me your vision's a bit blurry, Harry," Dr. Thompson says, and indicates a poster on the wall directly in front of Harry, "Can you read that top line for me? The biggest letters?"
Harry rattles off the first row of letters easily (they are quite big), as well as the second and third rows. It's on the fourth row down, where the letters have become normal-reading size, that he encounters trouble. Dudley, who is sitting beside his mother and is very close to the poster, sniggers when Harry names off several incorrect letters. Aunt Petunia doesn't shush him; the Optician scribbles on his clipboard and Harry fidgets, staring at his knees.
"Alright, Harry." Dr. Thompson reaches across him, now, and pulls something with two circular holes in it up to Harry's face. "Just rest your chin here, and look through these. And you tell me when you can see the lines better, alright?"
It passes fairly quickly. After a few dull minutes of Harry repeating, "The first one," or "The second one," or uttering a small exclamation of surprise when the letters move into sharp focus; after being told to sit upright, and to not fidget; and after listening to the Optician scribble endlessly on his clipboard and Dudley whine about being bored; the Optician moves the thing out from in front of Harry's face and sits back.
"Alright, Harry, I think that'll do it," he says, still scratching on his clipboard. He addresses Aunt Petunia, tearing the end off one of his papers and handing it to her, "Give this to Lizzi out front, Mrs. Dursley, and you three should be on your way in no time at all."
Harry slides out of the chair as the Optician bids them good day and exits the room, and Harry quietly follows Aunt Petunia and Dudley back out to the front room. They look around at the displays while they're waiting on Harry's prescription to be filled. Aunt Petunia picks out the simplest, cheapest glasses they have and does not ask Harry's opinion; something Lizzi does not fail to notice, because she makes a point of asking Harry if there was any specific frame that he wants. Of course, Harry mumbles, "It doesn't matter," and "I don't care," rubbing his scar and glancing anxiously at his aunt's livid face. Lizzi reluctantly leaves them be after that.
Dudley, rocking back and forth on his feet, frowns at his marginally smaller cousin.
"You're getting glasses," he states, as if he's just realized it.
"Very good, Dudley," Harry says before he can stop himself, "I hadn't thought of that. What tipped you off?"
But all Dudley seems to register is that Harry is getting something and he is not.
He turns to his mother.
"I want glasses," he demands.
"What's that, Diddy?"
"I want glasses!"
"Oooh, Diddy, darling, you don't need glasses," Aunt Petunia croons, leaning down and squeezing her son's chubby face between her hands, "Your eyesight's perfect, just like the rest of you. How about Mummy takes you to buy a new toy before we head home, Dudders, how about that? You don't want any dreadful glasses ruining your precious face, dear."
"Two new toys?" Dudley asks, mulling this over.
"Of course, darling."
Deciding that he's come out ahead, Dudley turns and smiles smugly at Harry, but Harry, for once, isn't disheartened by the prospect of watching Dudley shop for new toys. It's actually sinking in that he's getting something new, and something his - even if they are only glasses. He watches the counter apprehensively, chewing his lip and trying not to fidget, until Lizzi comes around it again, and over to where they're waiting in the chairs.
She holds out a pair of thin, circular glasses to Harry.
"Here you go, hun," she says.
Hesitating, Harry takes them. He unfolds them slowly, looking at them, and then puts them on. The glasses feel strange on his face, but every tiny detail in the room is so suddenly, vividly there that Harry's mouth falls open.
"Oh, wow," he says, looking around at the small posters he hadn't noticed before, reading the ones all the way across the room from him, and seeing Lizzi's face clearly.
She has blue eyes, and dimples when she smiles.
"Loads," Harry says, feeling them on his face, but taking care not to touch the lenses, "Thank you!"
"You're very welcome," she chuckles, standing.
Aunt Petunia gets to her feet, as well, and follows Lizzi over to the counter. She pays for the glasses, and leads the boys back out into the parking lot. There are even more things to look at outside, everything seems brighter, and Harry tries so hard to look at all of it that Aunt Petunia threatens to leave him standing there if he doesn't stop gawking and get in the car. Safely buckled in the back seat alongside his cousin, Harry cranes to see out the window, at first, but quickly turns his attention to the interior of the car.
It's the first time he's noticed the tiny pattern on the seats and, smiling, Harry traces his finger along it on the seat in front of him.
Dudley snorts derisively from the opposite side of the car.
"You look stupid," he says, beefy arms crossed.
Harry frowns at him, heat flooding his face. Self-conscious, he rubs his scar, bumping his glasses.
"Talk about looking stupid," Harry says, pointedly looking his cousin up and down, "Have you always looked like a whale squeezed into people clothes?"
It happens before Harry can even blink, and even though he's usually very good at dodging Dudley's fists, there it absolutely nowhere to go strapped in the safety belt. Dudley hits him full in the face, the impact making an ugly snapping sound and knocking Harry's head back against the window. Harry shouts, clutching his face, and Dudley shouts, and Aunt Petunia, glaring into the rear-view mirror, shouts, as well, because both boys are shouting; and Harry isn't even worried about how badly his face hurts, or the blood inhibiting his breathing and dribbling down his face.
Doubled over, he feels his glasses slide and shift under his fingers and, sitting up slowly, Harry pulls them off, separately, in both hands. They're bloody, because his nose is still pouring and stinging (and he thinks a tooth is loose, also), and they're broken.
Twelve whole minutes in his possession and they're already broken, and the world is as blurry and dull as it's always been.
His aunt acts as if he's the one that's done something wrong.
Nothing surprising there, but Harry hardly thinks it's fair that all the blame for his new, broken glasses should fall solely on his shoulders.
"Dudley hit me," Harry says, nearly crying with frustration as Aunt Petunia tapes his glasses back together at the kitchen table.
"You shouldn't say such nasty things to him, then."
"He said - "
"I don't care, I don't want to hear it, I've popped you myself for that smart mouth and if Dudley nearly breaking your nose is what's going to put a stop to it, then so be it," Aunt Petunia snaps, handing him his bandaged glasses, "There. Now go to your room."
Breathing heavily, Harry crams the glasses back onto his face.
"I haven't got a room," he says scathingly, loudly, storming from the kitchen, "I've got a bed. That's it!"
"And you should be grateful to even be afforded that!"
"I'm not!" Harry yells, wrenching open the cupboard door, "I'm not grateful!"
He jerks the door closed on his aunt's "Well, that much is clear - !" and collapses onto his pillow, listening to the outside lock twist a second later and Petunia storm back down the hall way. As soon as her footsteps fade away, Harry sits back up, having forgotten about his glasses until he felt them bend slightly between his face and the pillow. Taking them off, he looks at the tape holding them together, the cracks in the left lens, and his vision is so blurry, anyway, that he doesn't really realize he's crying until something splashes onto his hand.
Harry sniffs, blinking back more tears pointlessly; they spill out over his hands as he wipes his face. His nose is still sore, and his glasses are broken. He looks around the cupboard, at the sheets, the few clothes on the shelf in front of him, the cob-webbed underside of the stairs, and then back at his glasses.
The one thing in the world that was just his and was new, and they're broken like everything else he has.
Frustrated, shaking all over, tears spilling down his face at the injustice of it all, Harry hurls them against the back of the stairs and throws himself down on the cot. He doesn't leave the cupboard again, even after Aunt Petunia has decided he's been punished enough and unlocks the door, until Uncle Vernon comes home and gives him a stern talking-to because of his poor conduct today. Though it isn't so much a talking-to as it is Uncle Vernon shouting until his face turns purple and that vein in his forehead starts gymnastics.
His glasses recovered from underneath the cot and once again crammed onto his face, Harry can't even enjoy the striking clarity of the house he's lived in for seven years. He's far too startled when he notices, for the first time, that vein pulsing in his uncle's forehead, stares at it with wide, green eyes the entire time Vernon is shouting, and ends up getting shouted at some more for looking as if he isn't paying attention.
The evening closes on Harry without supper.
He is banished to his cupboard again, and lies on his cot, his stomach grumbling, astonished at all the tiny, thin lines that make up the intricate cobwebs hanging over his head. He has a new-founded respect, of sorts, for the spiders that share his "room". Laying there well into the night, still wearing his glasses and absently plucking at the tape holding them together, Harry is feeling guiltier and guiltier about them being broken in the first place.
Having thought about it all day long, it is his fault.
If he hadn't called Dudley a whale, Dudley wouldn't have punched him and his glasses would be perfectly fine.
He shouldn't have said anything.
Thinking about this only makes Harry want to cry again, and he falls asleep with that miserable, sinking feeling in his stomach, his face scrunched up and the tape on his glasses scratching the bridge of his nose. The next morning, when he wakes up to the sight of stairs that are surprisingly clear and feels something on his face, Harry smacks his hand to his cheek, forgetting, in his drowsy state, that he'd gotten glasses in the first place and fallen asleep wearing them.
Sitting up and taking them off, Harry rubs the sleep from his eyes and blinks blearily around the cupboard. Yesterday and all it's feelings comes creeping back in; he suddenly dreads going to school. A tiny black dot, a spider, moves along the wall beside the door, and Harry looks down at his glasses, turning them over in his hands. He frowns. They aren't wobbly like they were yesterday and the lenses don't look cracked. Biting back another wave of fresh guilt and misery, Harry picks at the tape holding them together in the middle, but is surprised to find, when he peels it off, that the tape isn't holding them together. They aren't broken, not anymore, and, mesmerized, relieved, Harry puts them back on.
He stares around the cupboard again, as if he's seeing it for the first time. Picking the clear strip of tape out of his lap, peering at it fondly, Harry resolves to figure out what kind it is and make sure they get it every time.
Because, obviously... it's very good tape.
(A/n) This. Is probably. The most boring thing I've ever written. Ever. xD I DON'T CARE, I SYMPATHIZE, HARRY. I needed glasses when I was little and no one noticed for ages, either (granted, no one punched me in the nose for my smarmy mouth and broke mine, but whatever, I can only take RealLife experiences so far). This turned out longer than I thought it would, and hopefully you guys enjoyed reading it at least a tiny bit as much as I enjoyed writing it (I am in love with every bit of it, but I'm biased). Hhhhmmm, but now I'm sort of tempted to write a bunch of boring Dentist visits from when Hermione was a little girl. (boring writer has a boring brain, apparently; I wonder what sort of monotony Ron gets up to)
Reviews are appreciated, guys!