Harry Potter looked out of the window of the smallest bedroom of number 4 Privet Drive. It was dark outside, the only light was emitted from the crescent moon and countless stars. He recalled the day; Vernon Dursley, Harry's uncle had picked him up from the Kings Cross Station after Harry had returned from his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
You see, Harry Potter was not your normal boy, he was far from it. Harry was a wizard, and a damn good one at that. Harry lived with his Aunt and her family because Lord Voldemort, the most feared dark wizard of his time had murdered Harry's parents when he was one year old. When Voldemort turned his wand to Harry, amazingly the killing curse which had never failed, rebounded and struck Voldemort. Voldemort, however, became a bodiless spirit, possessing the bodies of others; weak and evil. Only during the end of the school year did Voldemort kidnap Harry and use his blood to regain his body and magical power to resume his goals of immortality and world domination.
The event was very gruesome for Harry, and it haunted him. He was sleepless and scared. He felt hopeless, such as one whom the entire world confronts. He saw the images flash in his mind every time he closed his eyes. The cold face of Cedric Diggory, eyes wide in horror, frozen in time, burned permanently into Harry's mind, following him everywhere. "Kill the spare." The words echoed in Harry's ears.
He wanted out. It was too much he decided. He should never have entered this magical world where he was praised, worshipped, popular…fuck that, a bloody celebrity. Everyone knew his name, his face, his scar, and he despised it, all of it….all of them. It was his fault Cedric had died, whose else could it be? Crouch? He just set up the portkey. Pettigrew? He was following orders, like any true soldier. Voldemort? That fucking bastard? Honestly who could blame him at lashing out at the world. The world was cruel and unfair. Every wants to take revenge, get their piece, steal a larger chunk of the pie. No one wants to be insignificant, left out, isolated, alone, nothing. What did Voldemort have? Power. Influence. He spread fear faster than a sonic boom. He had his loyal servants, his slaves. He would never be like Harry. Totally and utterly alone.
He checked his watch, and noticed for the third time that day it was not on his wrist. He had discarded it after it broke in the second task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament. But of course it was the completion of the third task that brought Cedric to his early demise. Too fucking soon. The guilt and helplessness again flowed through Harry's veins. He felt it penetrate all of the deepest confounds of his mind and body. It was like a drug. Not like anything that made you feel high, but it made you feel low. Every few minutes, more like seconds he felt it released, and he accepted it. He would have tried to fight it, and it wasn't if he couldn't beat it, he knew he could, but he didn't…didn't… want to. He didn't want to muster the strength to do it. Why? God knows. Harry wasn't certain about anything at the moment, and he didn't want to see anybody that could remind him of the pain, the guilt, the wide glassy eyes of Cedric Diggory.
Harry glanced over to his alarm clock. Four eighteen. Harry sighed audibly and turned back to the jet black night, staring into nothingness, hoping for a sign. For hours Harry just sat watching, for anything. Anything to occupy his mind, keep him a wake so the nightmares wouldn't come. So Cedric wouldn't come out of the wand with Bertha, the old man, and his parents. He just wanted to forget it all, to be normal with a family, to be loved, and not pursued in hate. He had to run.
At seven twenty the sun had risen and was up in the sky a bit, Harry decided to go make breakfast for the Dursleys, then he could easily retreat to his room and fight his sleepy eyes until the mental exhaustion was so great he would be forced into a lengthy dreamless sleep, and for him, that was the best choice, no matter what the cost. After he made breakfast, and ate a small bit of bacon and eggs, leaving the rest for his "family," he trudged back up to his room. Despite the brightness of the room, he felt his eyelids begin to get heavy, and his mind beg for rest. It was difficult, but Harry resolved to stay awake as long as possible. So far he'd made it twenty three hours without sleep, and more was needed. But without a burst of energy, sleep would come.
Desperate to keep the slumber away, Harry had to bring up his heart rate. He needed….coffee. 'Crap, the Dursleys don't have any coffee. Alright, no coffee. That leaves…exercise.' Harry wasted no time getting onto the floor in pushup position. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 'That was weak' he thought as he collapsed on the ground, panting and aching. He began to think about other exercises. Sit-ups. Maybe later. Weight lifting? I have no weights. Running. Running. I could do running. Harry put on a different t-shirt and shorts before tying his shoes and walking down the stairs and out the front door. He began in a very slow jog, and was surprised by how soon he was out of breath again and panting, barely two streets away. Harry sat lazily on the curb and leaned back against a tall tree, hoping, praying he had enough juice left to make the jog back to 4 Privet drive. On second thought, falling asleep here wouldn't be such a bad thing. Well, maybe except for the sunburn he'd get. A loud, old, dented and rusty car squeaked itself to a brake in front of the dazing Harry, who just moved his eyes to look at the driver who was staring at Harry for a moment before leaning into the passenger seat and out of view. A second later the window on the passenger side rolled down and the man sat back up.
"Yeh alright, kid?" The man asked in a hoarse voice, raspy probably from smoking his whole life. Harry guessed him to be near sixty, with thick gray hair, a small round nose and other round features. He looked friendly enough.
"Yes" Harry said slowly, as if contemplating the answer. The man thought for a moment, looking Harry up and down.
"Whatcha doin' out here all by yerself?" The answer came slowly to Harry, but he had the confidence to say it more surely than before.
"You live nearby?"
"You want a job this summer? Until you go back to school?" Harry finally took a serious look at the man. He had never considered working. Even to get money. It had never crossed his mind the benefits of a real job. But still. Harry knew better than to agree to a blind offer.
"What does it entail?" The man let out a sort of half grin, half smile. Harry didn't know why but he felt like trusting the guy.
"I own a bookstore, that has it's share of business. Always unloading boxes of books, and stocking shelves. It would make you a bit meaner if you took the job." Harry doubtfully looked closer at the car. It was bad.
"You own a bookstore?" Harry said with more sarcasm than he meant. The man must have noticed Harry's eyes on the automobile.
"Yes, and I don't tend to use muggle contraptions often, but my floo is under repair right now and I never learned to apperate. I found it useless for my lifestyle." The words would have created the surprise on Harry's face he felt, had he enough energy to show it.
"A wizard Harry, yes. I own Flourish and Blotts Bookstore in Diagon Alley. I believe yeh've been there before. I know you don't want the crowd or publicity, but we can change your appearance so no one knows who you are." This began to become appealing. He could work every day, so he wouldn't have to mope around thinking about…last year. He would be making money. Steady income is a good thing. He may even have time to read some books that interested him.
"How would I get there every day? How much would I get paid? How would we change my appearance? When do I start?" He couldn't keep the urgency from his voice.
"Well, it was Albus's idea for me to offer you this job, and I was supposed to do this next week, but by chance or fate I found you now. Your fireplace has been added to the floo-network but only you can use it. A brilliant invention by Albus, I must say. Payment, yes. I never thought of that. I guess we'll go ten sickles an hour. We'll say eight hours a day, that's eighty sickles, or four Galleons and twelve sickles a day. Not a bad salary for a fourteen year old boy. How many day's a week would you like to work, if you're interested."
"How about every day. Including weekends and holidays. I have nothing better to do and it will keep my thoughts away from what hap….things." The man sat back in his chair doing some calculations.
"I'm not so sure that that is a wise choice for you, nor good for me. With the salary I'm giving you, it will accumulate to drain me a lot."
"Mr. Spencer, I am not a greedy person. I don't need that much money. How is this? I work for you every day, for nine hours, from eight to five. You pay me two Galleons a day. That is all I want. The money isn't important. I just want the job. I need to get away."
"You do understand how little you're asking for, right?"
"That is exactly why I'm asking for it. I can take the floo at eight, you can change my appearance and then change it back at five, before I floo home. I get fourteen Galleons a week to change into muggle currency to buy myself things, like clothes, mostly."
"Alright, but if you ever need a vacation or rest from working you will tell me, understood?"
"No sir, just call me Spencer, everyone does. As for your appearance, you will be doing that. Didn't Albus tell you that the ministry took off the magic detectors in your house? You can change your appearance by yourself. A simple Capillus Fuscum will make your hail brown. And a Oculus Caeruleum to each eye to turn them blue. Celare will hide your scar. All of these spells end with a simple Finite Encantem. You start when you want to. Just show up. Flourish and Blotts on the Floo-Network. Honestly though, you don't look good, go home and get some rest Harry, you'll need it."
"Thank you Mr. Spencer."
"Just Spencer is fine."
"You're a lifesaver."
"Glad I could help. I'd better be getting moving. I'll see you soon Harry. Good Bye."
"Bye." Said Harry weakly as he stood slowly, his knees cracking and popping. Once steadily on his feet, Harry walked leisurely back to 4 Privet Drive, a small grin on the corners of his mouth. 'So Dumbledore made them let me do magic, huh. Oh the humanity! What will I do now? Dudleeeey? Oh Duuudleeey? Want to play with me' Harry thought to himself snickering. He entered the house to see a hushed family breakfast. He had to admit, Smeltings was doing a good job with Dudley's diet. It must have been the first time Dudley has ever come home thinner that he was when he left. Petunia was thrilled, and Vernon, now being solely, by far fatter than Dudley, began his own diet. They remarkable ignored him verbally, shooting fearful glances at him. He supposed either Sirius sent a letter to them or someone told them about the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Maybe both.
"What?" he said, as the silence was eerie and making him feel awkward. Uncle Vernon was trembling slightly as he passed a bit of parchment to Harry, who slowly read it.
Dear Mr. And Mrs. Dursley,
I know that you detest our way of life but I beg of you to read this. It concerns Harry. Harry participated in a competition between the three most powerful wizarding schools in Europe. Harry's name was selected to participate making him the fourth competitor, as opposed to the standard three. Harry competed bravely and selflessly and succeeded in winning. However, the completion of the third and final task was the capture of the Tri-Wizard Cup. Harry and another boy who was a friend of Harry were both standing before it, each refusing to accept the victory. Harry suggested they both take the cup, and so they did.
The cup transported Harry and the other boy to an old graveyard. I won't go into details but the boy with Harry was murdered, in front of his eyes. This event was followed by Harry experiencing the worst for of pain and torture our community has. He was forced to provide blood to resurrect the most evil and feared wizard of our time. Harry then fought the Wizard, and succeeded in escaping with the body of the dead boy.
This is a very traumatic experience for Harry, and though he is not at fault, I know he feels the intense guilt accompanied with a death he foolishly feels he could have prevented. Unfortunately he must stay with you this entire summer, because no place is safe for him. I know I cannot dictate how you act towards him or treat him, but I ask you as a human being, do not make his life with you difficult, as he has accomplished feats that bring him admiration from our entire community. However he pays the price of his successes, but even more so for what he believes to be his failures.
I have also lifted the ban on doing magic outside of Hogwarts on him, because I know he will need it this summer. If you have any questions, Harry knows how to contact me.
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorcerer, Chief Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confederation of Wizards)
"Oh" said Harry as he handed the parchment back to Uncle Vernon.
"Is it true?" squealed Dudley, unable to contain himself, his greedy little eyes focused on Harry.
"Did you really see him die?" He was nervous, but for some odd reason very interested in Harry's pain. Go figure.
"Yes. He died the same way my parents did, only he didn't have the chance to fight back." There was another awkward silence and Harry stood, feeling vulnerable and tired.
"Can you do it?" said Aunt Petunia "Can you kill people?" She spoke slowly, and fearfully. He found this as an odd question, but decided to answer honestly none the less.
"I don't know, I've never tried. And I don't think I want to" he added, seeing the unsure relief form on their faces. "I'm going to sleep." He turned and took a step away before he returned to the kitchen. "I almost forgot. I got a job this morning, so I'll be off at eight o'clock every day for the rest of the summer and I won't be home until five. I'll make breakfast before I go." Before they could ask questions Harry left, jogging slowly up the stairs to his room. He closed the door, let down the shades, set his alarm for six thirty in the morning, giving him about twenty-one hours of sleep before he would rise, run, shower, eat and floo his way to work. Harry's head hit the pillow softly, and he nestled it in, creating a warm comforting feeling he hadn't felt in a day. Seconds after his eyes closed, he drifted slowly into sleep.