But I've never felt this feel so heavy
And I've never felt this feel so low
Yeah it is a wake inside my whole soul
But you are my strength I won't stand alone
And ask for the things you lack in heart
And you can begin a clean new start
Oh to be of the purest of pure in his arms
Yeah he, he will shield you from all harm
- Brooke Waggoner, Wonder-Dummied
The rain came down with punishing force that late July night in Devon. Ensconced in his vintage pup tent, thirteen-year old Harry Potter could not sleep, for fear that the summer storm would obliterate his faltering shelter. Hogwarts and everything he knew felt so far away on that Southwest English campground. The Dursleys were safely snoozing in their nearby trailer, recently purchased with Vernon's holiday bonus. Although there was room for four in the luxury vehicle, Dudley, of course, took up the entire second double bed, leaving no room for Harry. On any other night, Harry might not have minded his exile to his great uncle's army tent by the fire pit, glistening black in the crepuscular downpour. But that night – the eve of Harry's birthday - was wet, cold and windy. He missed Hedwig, who he had sent to stay with Hermione for the duration of the mini-break, and he could not get his mind off the red-haired boy who had so cruelly broken his heart a few weeks prior.
Emotionally processing Sirius' abrupt arrival and departure had been taxing on Harry. And in that delicate state, he had let slip that he fancied his best mate. It had not gone over well. In addition to being straight as an arrow, Ron also turned out to be a grade A homophobe. Hermione had been more sympathetic. But Harry would be lying to himself if he said he did not notice how awkward things had become, even between them. Hermione certainly wasn't homophobic, but the rift between Harry and Ron seemed to have irrevocably damaged the trio's friendship. They barely spoke anymore. The whole ordeal made spending the summer at the Dursleys that much worse.
Just when Harry let down his guard in the tent and began to cry, a gale-force wind came up and lifted the tent off the ground, throwing Harry forwards. He knocked his forehead against the picnic table, which also ripped the tent into two unsalvageable pieces. Pulling himself together, Harry grabbed his wand and a damp grey blanket and headed off towards the cement building housing the showers and the loo.
Inside, the fluorescent lights wavered eerily as mosquitoes flitted suicidally close to the off-white tubes. Harry breathed a sigh of relief as he took refuge from the storm in the empty shack. Looking himself in the mirror, Harry noticed that the cut on this forehead was bleeding. The sight of the cherry-red blood spilling over his pale skin pushed him to tears, once again, as he thought of how pathetic he looked. Of how pathetic he must have looked. To Ron.
Harry shook his head defiantly, willing his sobs to subside. It only made them worse. Still shivering, Harry took his blanket into the wheelchair stall and curled up in the corner against the wall. He rubbed his clammy hands together and blew warm air onto them, which quickly evanesced into the witchy night air. He wished he could use his wand. But after what had happened last summer with Aunt Marge, he could not risk another episode of underaged magic.
Stuck in a campground loo snivelling on the most miserable night of the summer…
"Some vacation," Harry whispered, if only to himself.
Suddenly, the door to the out-building creaked open. Harry held his breath. Must have been a camper who had ventured out into the rainy gloaming to take a piss. Whoever it was stepped slowly and calculatingly on the concrete floor, as if searching for something…or someone.
Harry's eyes grew wide. Uncle Vernon! Had Uncle Vernon actually noticed he had gone missing and come to fetch him? He'd be in for it now.
The steps stopped outside the stall door and the man tested the door to see if the toilet was occupied.
Harry decided it would be best to simply give himself up. He'd be in less trouble that way.
"I know you must be angry, Uncle Vernon, but please don't –"
Harry stopped in his tracks and snapped his mouth shut as he realized whom he was speaking to.
"Potter!" a familiar voice barked as onyx eyes settled on the sodden waif, "What are you doing all the way out here?"