Summary: Just when Harry thought everything was finally going right in his life, his worst nightmare comes back to haunt him…literally.
A/N: This story takes place in my Somewhere I Belong universe. This should make sense by itself, but it'd help a heck of a lot if you read the other stories first. I always said I'd write a fourth story in this Universe, and even though it's not titled SIB4, this is it. It's been a super long wait, so I hope you all like it.
If he had to guess, Harry figured everything went to hell right around his nineteenth birthday. Before that, life had been pretty awesome, for lack of a more sophisticated word. Well, barring the whole debacle in his seventh year of Hogwarts with Cho Chang. He still hated her a little bit. But, back to his guessing, yeah, right when he thought everything was getting normal for his family she showed up out of the blue. His Uncle's sister. Aunt Marge.
She'd never been nice to him. That shouldn't have been surprising, considering who she was related to. And it wasn't. The last time he'd seen her, he'd accidentally blown her up. Luckily, she didn't remember that, or this little family reunion could have gone a lot worse.
He was living on his own now. Well, if having your best friend and your older adoptive brother as flat-mates was considered living on his own, then yeah, he did. He'd bought a flat just outside of Muggle London. As much as he liked magic, he still kind of missed things like television and blenders. Blenders were cool. In any case, he'd somehow ended up with two flat-mates, not that he minded, even though he thought they were probably just there to make sure he was safe. No one had liked the idea of him living alone. As it turns out, neither was home when Aunt Marge dropped by for a visit.
Harry had been fixing himself a cup of tea and slathering jam on his toast when the doorbell had rung. He was still in his pajamas, a baggy pair of gray sweatpants and a white t-shirt. Not actually caring that he wasn't dressed, Harry went to open the door. And boy was he surprised by who was on the other side.
"Aunt Marge?" he was pretty sure his mouth was hanging down by his knees. He stood there gaping at her for a good long moment.
She scoffed at him. "Where are your manners, boy?" she shoved passed him as if she had the right to come into his home. "You're supposed to invite lady callers in!"
It was Harry's turn to scoff. Whatever she was, it definitely wasn't a lady.
Forgoing his 'manners' completely, he quickly got in front of her and tried to keep her from going any further than the entrance hallway. "What are you doing here?" he asked, holding out his arm and leaning against the wall.
She looked at his arm as if she might just snap it off. "I thought you might like to know. Your Uncle Vernon is dead. He hung himself with his bedclothes in his jail cell."
Harry felt his jaw drop again. That was the last thing he expected to hear. He didn't have a chance to react before she shoved her way through his arm and further into the flat. He followed her numbly into the living room.
"I thought you'd like to know, considering you're what drove him to it."
Two years of highly expensive therapy and that didn't even faze him. "Good riddance, then." He said hotly. "Now get out of my house!"
He wasn't expecting her to haul off and slap him across the face. She was a big woman and the impact left him reeling.
"You should be thankful he took you in at all! And out of the goodness of his heart!" she yelled, advancing on Harry until he was backed against the wall.
He stood there in a bit of shock. "Thankful?" he gasped, holding his cheek as it stung. "You expect me to be thankful?" he yelled. "He abused me in every way possible. Why would I possibly be thankful he took me in?"
She took a step back.
"I'd have been better off if he left me on the street."
"And well he should have! You were the death of them all!"
Surprisingly, that actually hurt. Not about his Uncle, but his Aunt and cousin. That still bothered him sometimes. It was true; if he hadn't been around they would still be alive. Voldemort never would have gone after them. His Uncle, on the other hand, deserved everything he had got. Death was too good for him. Harry wished he had suffered more. It might be wrong of him to wish that, but he was still angry. All the therapy in the world wouldn't make him ever forgive what his Uncle had done to him.
"Look, if you're just here to taunt me with your brother's death, you obviously can see I don't give a damn!" he stomped over to the front door and yanked it open. "So get out!"
Her face turned an ugly shade of red. "You ungrateful little brat," she breathed. She stood her ground and glared at him.
Harry was beginning to worry she would never leave.
"I'm sorry you're mourning, but I'll never be sorry he's dead. You don't know half of what he did to me. And, I doubt you'd care. So, please, just leave. I don't want you here," implored Harry.
She leaned over and touched the back of the couch, as if she was steadying herself. Harry thought he saw a flash of silver in her hand but his attention was drawn back to Aunt Marge as she spoke once more.
"He didn't deserve all the grief you caused him," she said lowly, finally walking towards him and the open door. She pushed him up against it as she passed him. "I hope his death haunts you."
Harry rolled his eyes. If she hadn't figured out yet that he absolutely did not care Vernon was dead, then he wasn't going to keep trying to get it through her thick skull.
He watched as she made her slow way down the sidewalk and didn't stop watching until she was long out of sight. After that, he closed the door and leaned his forehead against the hard wood. If that wasn't the oddest experience he'd had in a while, he didn't know what was.
Harry took some floo powder from the iron container on the mantel and threw it in the fireplace. "Snape Manor!" he called. Engulfed by the green flames, Harry disappeared from his flat and stepped out into the library of his father's home.
The library was empty, so Harry headed for the laboratory. The halls were void of any noise and Harry was beginning to wonder if his dad was home at all. It took some getting used to, the constant silence when he visited his father.
Opening the heavy wooden door to his father's laboratory proved difficult. He always had to put his back into it. "Dad, you have got to do something about this stupid door," he mumbled in frustration.
"Just because you have no upper body strength, doesn't mean the rest of us don't," said a deep voice from behind him. Harry spun and would have fallen backward had his father not reached out and took his arm.
"Don't do that, Dad!" he said in exasperation. "You're going to give me a heart attack one of these days and then how will you feel?"
Severus rolled his eyes as he pulled Harry forward, a frown forming on his face. "Why is your cheek so red?"
Harry grimaced. His dad wasn't going to be pleased. At all. "So, I had a visitor this morning," he began, fidgeting.
"And who was this visitor?" Severus still had his arm in his grip and Harry started tapping his fingers against his dad's in a nervous fashion.
"Don't get mad." Severus raised his eyebrows. "Well, you can get mad if you really want to. But, I took care of it."
Snape glared. "Took care of what?" he asked, eyeing the red mark on his cheek with growing anger. "Did someone hit you?"
"Yeah," he muttered, still tapping his fingers against his dad's. "My Aunt Marge, you know Uncle Vernon's sister?" His dad looked livid. "You're getting mad," he pointed out.
"With good reason! What is wrong with that family?" he asked heatedly, steering Harry with the hand on his arm. Snape opened the heavy door, with ease Harry noted, and took them both into the dark depths of his laboratory.
"You really need some windows or light or something down here," mentioned Harry as he was pointed to a chair.
He watched as his father opened a cabinet above their heads and took out a clear vial that contained bruise healing balm.
"I don't think it's bruised," said Harry.
Severus nodded. "Not yet, but it will be."
"Oh, okay." Harry figured his dad knew more about it than he did. If he said it was going to bruise, it was going to. The woman had smacked him pretty hard.
"What was she doing coming to your flat?" asked Severus. He poured out a palm sized measurement of the bruise balm and began to rub it into Harry's cheek. Harry remembered a time when he wouldn't have even allowed his dad to touch him. He'd come a long way from that kid he'd once been, terrified of being touched.
"She wanted to tell me Vernon had killed himself," he said, sighing. "What a bitch."
"Harry, language!" rebuked Snape, but Harry could tell he agreed.
"It's true," said Harry.
Severus nodded. "Be that as it may, I don't like hearing my children cussing."
"You can start cussing when you're thirty," his father responded.
"I thought that was when I was allowed to date?" he laughed.
Severus nodded again. "Indeed."
His father's face grew serious once more. "The redness is starting to fade," he turned Harry's head with a hand around his chin towards the light. "Does it still hurt?"
"No, it feels fine."
Severus pulled a stool up to the table and sat beside his son. "She said your Uncle was dead?"
"Yeah, killed himself, apparently."
"Did she say how?"
Harry nodded. "Hung himself."
Severus' eyes widened. "I suppose he meant business then."
"Most people do when they hang themselves," agreed Harry. "I'm surprised he did it, actually. He never seemed the type."
"Prison life is much different than what he was used to," said Severus. "And I doubt the other prisoners relished his personality."
Harry glanced up at his father. "And if they knew he was a child abuser, that would have made it worse for him," he said softly. "Or so I've heard."
Severus patted Harry's knee. It was obvious he'd been thinking the same thing. "Sirius and I mentioned as much when he was first sent away."
Harry used the opening to change the subject. "Speaking of Sirius, I invited him and Remus over tonight for dinner. Will you come?"
"It depends on what you're having," said Snape with a raised brow.
"Yeah right. You don't care what we're having," he shoved his dad in the shoulder. "You and Sirius have been getting on for a while now, so you can't use that as an excuse. We're having Spaghetti, if you must know, and Draco and Ron are supposed to pick up some garlic bread on their way home from training."
"I suppose I could make an appearance."
Harry grinned. "You need to get out of the house more. You're already way too pale. People will start to talk."
"You mean they don't already think I'm a vampire?"
"Of course they already think that," said Harry. "And possibly a zombie. Though, I'm not sure where they get that idea."
"There's no such thing as zombies," groaned Snape. "Kids these days, they don't know how to open a book."
Harry stood up and started walking towards the door. "So, you'll come?"
Severus joined him. "Of course I will. What time?"
"Around six o'clock?" Harry glanced at his watch and noticed it was almost noon. He had plenty of time to prepare for dinner tonight. He glanced up and started fidgeting again. "I don't know if Aunt Marge would come by again, but when you, Sirius, and Remus are over tonight, do you think the three of you could put up some wards or charms or something? I don't care what. Just make it so she can't come in the flat again?"
A frown formed on his father's face. "Did she say something to make you believe she'd come back?"
Harry shook his head. "No, but I'd rather not have to deal with her if she decides to make a re-appearance. She was hard to get rid of."
"Why did she slap you?" asked Severus.
"Oh, she told me I drove Uncle Vernon to kill hims…"
"What!" If Aunt Marge were anywhere in the vicinity, Harry was fairly certain she'd be cursed within an inch of her life by his father. "She said that to you?" he asked, incredulous.
"Well, yeah, and she probably believes it, too. But, it didn't bother me, honestly! I even told her good riddance, which is when she slapped me," explained Harry, trying to keep his voice even and calm lest Severus lose his cool and try to track the woman down. "It's no big deal."
"It's a big deal to me. I'm sick to death of people hurting you," said Severus, his voice filled with venom.
"I'm fine," said Harry softly. He stepped up to his dad and wrapped his arms around his back. Having never grown any taller than five foot six, he was still able to tuck his head underneath Severus' chin and pretty much cuddle up to him. It was much easier to hug now than it had been a few years ago. He felt a kiss placed against the top of his head as Severus wrapped his arms around Harry in return.
"We'll put up the wards tonight. If she comes by again, she'll suddenly remember something very important and leave. She'll never figure out why she hasn't managed to make it to your flat again."
Harry's shoulders sagged, relieved. "Thanks, dad."
"It's not a problem, Harry."
"Where's the garlic?" asked Draco, his head hidden behind an open cabinet door. "I don't see it anywhere in here."
Harry stepped up behind him and opened the door all the way. "I just saw it," he muttered, pushing a few seasonings around until he found the right one. "Here," he said, tossing it into his brother's waiting hands. "Don't use too much, the bread is already pre-flavored."
"That's never enough for me," mentioned Draco as he maneuvered passed Harry, gently moving him by his shoulders. "And there's never enough room in the kitchen for more than one person."
"Your breath is always horrendous afterwards, you realize? You might want to take it easy on that garlic," Ron piped in from behind the counter. He was seated in a chair, waiting patiently. He knew better than to get in the way.
"I'll use a breath freshening charm then!"
"Fine, but you're going to sort out the television when it goes on the fritz again!" Ron shot back.
"Are we twelve, gentlemen? Still squabbling after all this time?" a deep voice spoke from behind them. Harry didn't even have to turn to know it was his father.
"Hey dad!" he said, still working on the spaghetti sauce. "The food will be ready in just a minute."
"We're grown men, dad," said Draco, coming out from the kitchen. Harry watched him walk over and give their father a hug. "And we don't squabble. We're just citing our differences."
"You consider nineteen and twenty year olds grown men?" asked a new voice. Harry, who had turned back to stirring the sauce, grinned as his godfather and Remus came in through the floo.
"Hey guys!" he yelled, abandoning the sauce for a moment to hug the newcomers. "I was beginning to wonder if you weren't coming!"
"We wouldn't miss a family night for the world, Harry." Sirius shoved Remus out of the way to give Harry a bear hug, lifting him clear off his feet.
Harry grinned at Remus over Sirius' shoulder. "Did you bring dessert?" he asked, knowing they would because they always did. Remus constantly said it was their contribution.
"Apple crumble," said Ron, eyeing the sweet Remus had brought into the kitchen. Harry could almost hear the red-head drooling from here.
"All right, come on in, make your own plates," he said, stepping out of the kitchen so there was more room. Everyone usually lined up, filled their plates, and rushed back to the table in the dining room. Harry tried to serve himself last, but no one would let him. He ended up back at the table before anyone else and waited patiently for the others before digging in.
The next few minutes were filled with silence as everyone seemed to be stuffing their faces. Finally, between bites, Remus glanced up at Harry. "Anything new going on with you boys?" he asked, using his fork to twirl the spaghetti.
Harry grimaced. He hadn't mentioned his visit from Aunt Marge, but figured he'd need to now. Especially if he was going to ask them to put up some wards before they left.
"Yes, actually. And I have a favor to ask of you three," he motioned with his head towards the three actual adults in the room.
His father glanced up at him, knowing what he was going to ask.
"My Aunt Marge paid me a visit today," he started, getting confused looks from most of them.
"She's my Uncle Vernon's sister," he explained softly. That got the reaction Harry expected.
Sirius dropped his fork on his plate with a loud clang. "What'd she want?" he asked, still looking confused if not irritated.
Harry quickly filled them in on what she'd told him about his Uncle being dead and blaming him for his suicide.
Sirius clenched his hands into fists. "That bitch!"
"Now I know where my son's picking up the bad language," muttered Severus.
Harry gave him a small grin. "It's not like I haven't heard it from tons of people," he whispered to his dad.
Severus shrugged. Harry knew Severus just liked to give Sirius hell.
"So, what's the favor?" asked Remus as he wiped his mouth with a napkin.
Harry picked up his own napkin and started folding it. "Dad said you three together would be able to put up some wards to keep her from coming back."
"Do you really think she would?" asked Draco.
"She was hard to get rid of the first time," mentioned Harry, unfolding and refolding his napkin again. "And if she comes back, I'd just rather not have to deal with her. You don't know what she's like," he added, meeting Draco's eyes.
"Is she like her brother?" asked Ron, also clenching his fists.
"They're very much alike, that's for sure," he shrugged his thin shoulders. "She was never nice to me and condoned whatever punishment the Dursley's thought was appropriate." He finally looked up from his napkin only to realize everyone had stopped eating and was staring at him. Harry could feel his face turning red and immediately fixated on his napkin again.
"Just believe me, you don't want to be alone here if she shows up," Harry finally said after a moment's silence. "I don't want her spewing her abuse at either of you," he eyed Draco and Ron.
"And we wouldn't want to listen to it," Draco agreed.
Sirius started eating again. "We'll do it after dinner," he said, eyeing Remus and Severus. The other two nodded their agreement.
Harry smiled gratefully at them, feeling better already. If only he'd known the worst was yet to come.
Later that evening, Harry stood in the bathroom brushing his teeth. The adults had left after putting up the wards. Draco was in his bedroom and Ron was sitting out on the couch watching some reality show on television.
Harry leaned over the sink and spit out the toothpaste in his mouth. When he stood back up he instantly noticed something standing behind him in the mirror. Dropping his toothbrush in the sink, he spun around in shock. No one was behind him. He glanced back at the mirror but whatever he'd seen was gone.
He walked out into the hallway and stuck his head through Draco's bedroom door. "Were you just in the bathroom?" he asked, thinking one of them had just stepped in for a second.
Draco glanced up front his book. "No, why?"
Harry shook his head. "Nothing," he muttered, slipping back out. He went into the living room next but didn't see Ron.
"Ron?" he called out.
"What?" Ron's voice came from behind him.
Harry jumped. "Where were you?"
"In the kitchen getting some left over garlic bread, why?"
"You didn't come into the bathroom a second ago, did you?"
Ron shook his head slowly. "No. Are you ok?"
Harry tried to brush off his anxiety. "It's nothing. I probably imagined it."
"Imagined what?" Draco had come out of his room and was standing behind Ron now.
Harry was starting to feel like an idiot. "I thought I saw someone in the bathroom with me a minute ago when I was brushing my teeth. It was like a reflection in the mirror behind me."
"It was probably just condensation from running the hot water or something," offered Ron.
Harry nodded in agreement. "Yeah, you're probably right."
Harry tried to shrug it off, he really did, but he couldn't help but feel like something was wrong.
A/N: I've been in the mood for Halloween, if anyone is wondering where this story is coming from. Random: You know, I just went back and looked for the last time I wrote in this universe. I finished SIB3 in 2006! Holy crap! It's been forever! I hope this doesn't suck. :)