- Half Hidden By Dark Light -
- aimz666 –
Disclaimer: Anything you recognise is not mine :(
Competition: The MultiChapter Competition AND The School Subjects Competition (Transfiguration)
Prompts: Any character that has at least one line of dialogue must carry or pick up a book during any time in the chapter and for as long as you want, from half a second to throughout the chapter.
Word Limit: Minimum 500 words
Word Count: 4,369
AN: ENJOY! Please R&R :)
Chapter 1 – Book Throwing is an Olympic Sport you know.
It's July 31st today.
I'm turning thirteen, officially a teenager but I don't think I'll be celebrating it with my Aunt, Uncle and Dudley the Doughball. What made everything so much worse was I wasn't even allowed to leave the house because Vernon's sister, Marge, was coming and I had to be on my best behaviour and work like a house elf otherwise Vernon wouldn't sign my Hogsmeade form.
Yes, this year I would be entering my third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and I sincerely hoped that perhaps my friends and I could have a somewhat peaceful year. One where Voldemort wasn't stuck to the back of my Professors head or where Tom Riddle himself didn't decide it was fun to possess me and unleash Slytherin's Basilisk upon the Muggleborns.
I'd left Hogwarts in the Summer, and despite the traumatising and exhausting year I'd just had, I wanted to go back desperately. I didn't want to spend a month longer here; I didn't even want to spend a week here and for the first time since I'd gone to Hogwarts, the Dursleys were actually making me stay in the house while Marge was here.
I wasn't so much that I hated Marge it was more about the run-ins that I had with her huge pitbull, Ripper. She always brought him, apparently she couldn't stand leaving him and vice versa but either way both of them made my life miserable. The worst run-in with Ripper that I remember was about three years ago when I stood on Ripper's tail and he chased me into the garden. I had nowhere to hide or go but up the willow tree at the back of the garden. That's where I stayed until way past midnight when Marge called the beast off so she could get to sleep.
I didn't even want to get out of bed but if I didn't get up soon I certainly wouldn't be having breakfast and I'd probably have to put up with my Aunt screaming at me to get up. Eventually I kicked my legs out of head and wandered across the landing to grab a quick shower. It was exceedingly quick because after about five minutes Dudley started pounding of the door and shouting at me to get out before he just walked in. My cousin was such a jerk and his friends were even worse, particular Piers Polkins who tried to make a move on me every time I'd seen him this summer.
"GET OUT OF THE SHOWER!"
"I swear, if you come in here, I will curse you," I retorted enjoying the refreshing water in preparation for another bout of hot weather today and probably a bunch of exhausting chores.
"But-But-But you're not allowed to do magic outside that freakish school of yours," he stuttered.
"Darn, I guess I'll just get my friends older brother round to give you a nice pigs tail to match those piggy eyes you've got." I think I vaguely heard him curse under his breath and waddle off to tattle-tale on me. Typical.
I finished showering without any other interruptions before twisting my red hair up into a messy bun, changing into a loose-fitting pair of jeans that used to be Dudley's when he was about seven and an old Quidditch t-shirt that I'd gotten from Seamus in my first year. Luckily, it didn't actually have the word Quidditch on it so it was acceptable and at least it fit compared to half the stuff in my cupboard. A lot of it was Dudley's, Aunt Petunia claimed that it passed as uni-sex clothing but it obviously wasn't and I often had to turn the waistband a few times over in order to keep the jeans up.
I slowly made my way downstairs and into the kitchen and plonked down in the seat between Vernon and Dudley. Nobody acknowledged my entrance, this was a good sign that Dudley had been too distracted to tell his parents what I'd said to him. I helped myself to a piece of toast and then looked up at the reporter on the television, who was halfway through a report on an escaped convict.
"… the public is warned that Black is armed and extremely dangerous. A special hotline has been set up, and any sighting of Black should be reported immediately."
"No need to tell us he's no good," snorted Uncle Vernon, staring over the top of his newspaper at the prisoner. "Look at the state of him, the filthy layabout! Look at his hair!" I stared into the eyes of the man now being shown on the television set and I couldn't help but wonder whether I'd seen him somewhere. Both Petunia and Vernon shot nasty looks in my direction as if my naturally messy hair, which I'm told was a trait my father had, and ill-fitting clothes were suddenly my fault. There was no way I looked as terrible as the guy on the screen, I rolled my eyes and continued to slowly munch on my toast. The reporter had reappeared so the attention was quickly diverted from me.
"The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will announce today —"
"Hang on!" barked Uncle Vernon, staring furiously at the reporter. "You didn't tell us where that maniac's escaped from! What use is that? Lunatic could be coming up the street right now!"
I very much doubt this Black guy would want to visit this street of all places but even so Aunt Petunia apprehensively turned to the window and peered intently through it as if scrutinising every single inch of the street outside in great detail. I just bet that she'd love to call a hotline number because she was most definitely the single most-nosiest person I'd ever met in my entire life.
"When will they learn," said Uncle Vernon, pounding the table with his large purple fist, "that hanging's the only way to deal with these people?"
"Very true," said Aunt Petunia, who was still squinting into next door's runner-beans. I daren't get involved with such a conversation because right now it's just not worth it and Petunia would probably say I was deliberately opposing their thoughts and being difficult.
Uncle Vernon drained his teacup, glanced at his watch, and added, "I'd better be off in a minute, Petunia. Marge's train gets in at ten." My thoughts had been consumed for a moment by the thoughts of my friends' holidays that I didn't manage to stop myself from speaking.
"Bloody Hell," I muttered to myself but obviously Vernon and Petunia heard me.
"Marge'll be here for a week," Petunia began, great, lecture time, "and while we're on the subject, we need to get a few things sorted before your Uncle goes and collects her." Dudley smirked and withdrew his gaze from the television. Watching me being lectured by his parents was one of Dudley's favourite forms of entertainment.
"Firstly," Petunia said, "you're to be polite at all times especially when you're talking to your aunt." She wasn't even related to me by blood, why do I still have to call her Aunt?
"All right," I answered bitterly, finishing my toast in a huff and added quietly, "I can't guarantee it though."
"Secondly," said Petunia, ignoring my last comment, "as your Aunt doesn't know anything about your abnormality, I don't want any — any freakish stuff while she's here. You behave yourself, understand?"
"I couldn't if I wanted too," I retorted through gritted teeth, annoyed by the Underage Magic Ban and the fact that all my school stuff except for my wand was locked under the stairs.
"And thirdly," Aunt Petunia began, "we've told Marge you attend a Finishing School for Unruly Girls."
"What?!" I yelled, almost dropping the plate I'd got up to wash.
"You will be sticking to that story, girl, or there'll be trouble," spat Uncle Vernon, who had been watching Petunia lay down the ground rules from the doorway. I wasn't so much scared of Uncle Vernon's threats because at the end of the day it was Petunia who dished out my punishments and chores. I stood perfectly still in the middle of the kitchen for a little while longer, shaking somewhat. This had to be the worst birthday present the Dursley's had ever given me; even worse than the fifty pence coin and the coat hanger they'd sent for Christmas in the first year of Hogwarts.
I hated how whether or not I visited Hogsmeade depended on this next week and I couldn't even see my friends to complain to them about just how rubbish this was going to be. As Uncle Vernon left, I slipped back upstairs to the room that had once been Dudley's second room. They'd finally realised this summer that I was no longer small enough to live in the cupboard under the stairs, although Petunia still liked to use it as a threat.
Personally I was quite happy avoiding it. The dark seemed to be making me more and more edgy these days.
When I reached my room, I flopped down on the bed and looked over at the birthday cards on my bedside that had come from various people. The three cards in the front came from my best friends: Seamus Finnigan, Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom. I got a Broom Servicing Kit, a copy of Advanced Potions and Defence and a huge jar of bite size chocolate frogs as presents respectively off them along with cards from the Weasley twins, Oliver Wood, Katie Bell, Alicia Spinnet, Angelina Johnson and Robin Hammond, all of which I played Quidditch with.
I was Gryffindor's reserve player because there had been no place on the team when I reached second year. I was there in case of injury on the field; basically I'd had some play in the only match Gryffindor played last season in place of Robin. I caught the snitch but that was all I was able to do because I was attacked by a Rogue Bludger - thanks to a house elf named Dobby - and then some idiot removed all the bones in my arm, mentioning no names, cough cough, Lockhart, cough.
You could say it was one disaster after another.
I still got a few other cards from various people I saw around Hogwarts particularly one very apologetic letter from Justin Finch-Fletchley, who seemed quite distraught that he'd not spoken to me the whole year after thinking I'd been the heir of Slytherin. I'd figured out that I'd been a Parseltongue in my first year, after setting a Boa Constrictor on Dudley the previous summer I just had to find out exactly why I could have quite a pleasant conversation with a snake. Of course I'd got Hermione's help to find out exactly what it was and I'd certainly been trying to keep it secret before that fateful day at Lockhart's duelling club.
My Familiar, Toggle, came and lay on my stomach; I'd had Toggle ever since my first trip to Diagon Alley. The owner of the pet shop there said he was a Kneazle, that they had high level intelligence and had a Ministry Classification of XXX, which meant competent wizards should cope with one. He was pretty independent and I didn't really need to control him although he could be quite aggressive to people he didn't like and because of his ability able to detect untrustworthy beings he hated the Dursley's. Toggle was intelligent enough to stay away after I had to drag him away from Dudley when he first met him. I was 100% sure he wouldn't be able to stand Marge. Then there was Ripper, I sighed.
"Togs, you're going to have to go to Neville's for a week," I told her stroking his speckled grey fur gently as he lay there. He kind of gave me one of her sympathetic looks and pounced off the bed and to the window. I watched him bounce onto the low roof, then onto the fence and then he disappeared from sight.
It wasn't long before Aunt Petunia started shrieking up the stairs for me to come downstairs to get ready for the arrival of old Aunt Marge.
"Sort your hair out," she snapped when I reached the hallway indicating to the bun on top of my head.
"What's the point?" I knew even if I put it up in a proper bun it would all just pop out anyway besides Aunt Marge just loved to criticise me so if she was criticising me then she'd stay happy and maybe this would be a painless as possible.
It wasn't long before the sound of Uncle Vernon's car pulling up on the drive made my stomach tie itself in knots and my mind suddenly came up with lots of reasons of how this week could go horribly wrong.
Aunt Petunia ignored my retort and snapped at me to get the door. Sulkily I pulled the front door open. On the doorstep stood Aunt Marge. She was very like Uncle Vernon, part whale; she even had a moustache. In one hand she held an enormous vomit coloured suitcase, and tucked under the other was the evil-tempered bulldog, Ripper. I glared at the dog and it seemed to glare back at me.
"Where's my Dudders?" roared Aunt Marge. "Where's my neffy poo?" Urgh, she makes me sick, she's worse than Petunia with her stupid nicknames. Dudley came waddling down the hall, a bow tie just visible under his many chins. Aunt Marge thrust her suitcase into my stomach, knocking the wind out of me, seized Dudley in a tight one-armed hug, and planted a large kiss on his cheek.
I've decided I hate her as much as Ripper.
I knew perfectly well that Dudley only put up with Aunt Marge's hugs because he was well paid for it, and sure enough, when they broke apart, Dudley had a crisp twenty-pound note clutched in his fat fist. That's nice – where's my twenty quid? Not that I'd have much use for pounds.
"Petunia!" shouted Aunt Marge, striding past me as if I'd suddenly become part of the furniture. Thank god – I didn't really want her to pass comment on me. Aunt Marge and Aunt Petunia kissed, making me grin a little. Uncle Vernon now came in, smiling jovially as he shut the door, his eyes falling to me struggling to hold up Marge's suitcase before he turned his attention back to his sister.
"Tea, Marge?" he said. "And what will Ripper take?"
"Ripper can have some tea out of my saucer," said Marge. Aunt Petunia paled a little, she hated all animals so that was really going to impress her. They all proceeded into the kitchen, leaving me alone in the hall with the suitcase but I'm not complaining; any excuse not to be with Aunt Marge was fine by me. I began to heave the case upstairs into the spare bedroom, taking as long as I could without actually hurting myself getting the case upstairs.
By the time I got back to the kitchen, Aunt Marge had been supplied with tea and half a fruitcake, and Ripper was lapping noisily in the corner. I watched Aunt Petunia wince slightly as specks of tea and drool flecked her clean floor.
"Who's looking after the other dogs, Marge?" Uncle Vernon asked.
"Oh, I've got Colonel Fubster managing them," boomed Aunt Marge, what a stupid name. "He's retired now, good for him to have something to do. But I couldn't leave poor old Ripper. He pines if he's away from me."
I bet he bloody hates her. Ripper began to growl at me as I sat down at the table. This directed Aunt Marge's attention to me for the first time. Great, idiot dog.
"So!" she barked. "Still here, are you?"
"Yes," I said.
"Don't you say 'yes' in that ungrateful tone," Aunt Marge growled, that wasn't an ungrateful tone at all. "It's damn good of Vernon and Petunia to keep you. You'd have gone straight to an orphanage if you'd been dumped on my doorstep." I wish they'd done that but I refrained from saying it out loud, for the sake of Hogsmeade. Although I wasn't able to keep the scowl off my face.
"Don't you scowl at me!" boomed Aunt Marge, making me jump. "I can see you haven't improved since I last saw you. I hoped school would have sorted some manners out for you." She took a large gulp of tea, wiped her moustache, "Where is it that you send her, again, Vernon?"
"She attends a Finishing School for Unruly Girls," said Uncle Vernon promptly. "Free of charge, of course." I clenched my fists under the table, unruly my arse.
"I see," said Aunt Marge. "What form of punishment do they use, girl? Corporal I hope," she barked across the table.
"Er —" I didn't quite know what to say, corporal punishment? Do they even use that any longer? I didn't think they still used in on girls in any case. Maybe in Finishing Schools, Uncle Vernon answered my question and nodded curtly behind Aunt Marge's back.
"Yes,". Then, feeling I might as well do a good job because clearly Aunt Marge was stupid, I added, "All the time."
"Excellent," said Aunt Marge. "I won't have this namby-pamby, wishy-washy nonsense about not hitting people who deserve it. A good thrashing is what's needed in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred. Have you been hit often?"
"Oh, yeah," I said, "but I do try to avoid it." Aunt Marge narrowed her eyes.
"I still don't like your tone, girl," she said. "If you can speak of your punishment in that casual way, they clearly aren't hitting you hard enough. I often frowned upon the use corporal punishment on girls but in your case," she glared at me, "it's necessary. Petunia, I'd write if I were you. Make it clear that you approve the use of extreme force in this girl's case."
I rolled my eyes and glared at her. I think perhaps Uncle Vernon was worried that I might forget our bargain so he changed the subject abruptly.
"Heard the news this morning, Marge? What about that escaped prisoner, eh?"
Over the next few days as Aunt Marge started to make herself at home, I caught myself dreaming of Number Four without her. Usually I'd stay out of the way of the Dursley's and they would stay out of mine and life would be as pleasant as possible but Aunt Marge seemed to want me around if only to compare me to Dudley and suggest things that I should be improving. She delighted in comparing me with Dudley, and took huge pleasure in buying him expensive presents while glaring at me, as though daring me to ask why I hadn't got a present too but I kept my cool and passed no comments on Dudley's new GameCube or TV set or the occasional ten or twenty pound note.
Marge also kept throwing out dark hints about what made me such an unsatisfactory person and every time she did I got more and more annoyed by her comments but I had to keep chanting it's all about Hogsmeade in my head to myself to calm down.
"You mustn't blame yourself for the way the girl's turned out, Vernon," she said over lunch on the third day. "If there's something rotten on the inside, there's nothing anyone can do about it."
I tried to concentrate on my food, but my hands shook and my face was starting to burn with anger. Remember the form, I told myself. Think about Hogsmeade. Don't say anything. Don't rise —
Aunt Marge reached for her glass of wine - at Lunch time!
"It's one of the basic rules of breeding," she said. "You see it all the time with dogs. If there's something wrong with the bitch, there'll be something wrong with the pup —"
That does it.
At that moment, the wineglass Aunt Marge was holding exploded in her hand. Shards of glass flew in every direction and Aunt Marge sputtered and blinked, her great fat face dripping.
"Marge!" squealed Aunt Petunia. "Marge, are you alright?"
"Not to worry," grunted Aunt Marge, mopping her face with her napkin.
"Must have squeezed it too hard. Did the same thing at Colonel Fubster's the other day. No need to fuss, Petunia, I have a very firm grip…"
But Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were both looking at me suspiciously now, so I decided I should skip dessert and escape from the table.
I reached my room, closing the door and leaning against it, breathing deeply but still shaking. It had been a long time since I'd lost control like that. I couldn't afford to let it happen again. The Hogsmeade form wasn't the only thing I'd lose — if I carried on like this, I'd be in trouble with the Ministry of Magic. Being an underage wizard, I was forbidden by wizard law to do magic outside school and thanks to Dobby my record wasn't exactly clean either. I would face expulsion from Hogwarts if the Ministry got wind of magic being done at Number Four.
The next day I decided to sneak up to my room and read my Advanced Defence book. I was quite happy sitting on my bed, book nestled between my legs as I read but Dudley burst in. He ripped the book out of my hands, without even reading the front cover and held it high out of my reach.
"Give it back," I said, trying to add a warning tone to my voice.
"GIVE IT BACK!" I made a lunge at Dudley and surprisingly he dodged, breaking into a waddling run. I chased him down the stairs and turned around in the hallway.
"Come on Potter, do you really want your book back," he teased, balancing on his podgy feet as he held the book above his head a good foot out of my reach,
"Stop being a jerk!" I shouted at him and he stepped back a few steps, when suddenly the book was snatched away from him. Oh God, please don't let this be happening, Aunt Marge was now studying the front of the book. My eyes widened and I felt myself pale. A million different scenarios arrived in my mind but I couldn't act on what was already panning out in front of me - it was like I was frozen in place.
Finally I came to a decision, "UNCLE VERNON!"
Luckily Uncle Vernon appeared almost instantly, "What in blazes is go-?" I fixate my eyes on the book hoping to relay the message with a matter of urgency and his beady little eyes followed my line of sight. After just seconds, he wrenched the book from Aunt Marge's clutches and his small brain started trying to come up with something to say. Maybe if I said something that covered this up then the Dursleys would still sign my form and besides I could quite easily blackmail them since Aunt Marge would still be around.
"Uncle Vernon, give me back my book, it's only a storybook!" I yelled for dramatic effect, unfortunately I sensed that he'd also come up with a rather nasty retort.
"You stole this, you stole this and brought this back to our house!" He hissed, a mean glint in his eyes as he chucked the book through the kitchen door with a thump.
"Are you just going to let her talk to you like that Vernon," Marge cut in, her face etched with disgust as I glared at Uncle Vernon for throwing my book. He strode over to me and grasped my upper arm firmly before dragging me into the kitchen. In the kitchen, Petunia was stood with the book at her feet and Uncle Vernon flung me forward so forcefully I stumbled and fell to my knees.
"I want you to explain just how close that was and how you're going to apologise," Vernon sneered, "I'm going to take Marge and Dudders out for a little while." He directed the second half of his sentence at his wife before slamming the door behind him. Slowly I dragged myself to my feet just as Aunt Petunia bent down to pick up my Advanced Defence Book.
"Where did this come from?" Her voice was quiet yet firm. It was often hard to picture my Aunt mad or even threatening but this was her pissed-off voice and it scared me.
"One of my friends gave it to me for my birthday," I replied calmly, "I was just reading it."
"You know full well you shouldn't be doing anything freakish like this," she scowled, chucking the book at me so it hit be square in the chest. I winced as it caught me sharply but I stopped it from falling to the floor once more.
"It's school work - I have to do it," I retorted, "I'll get into trouble -"
She interrupted, "It doesn't matter to us whether you get into trouble."
"It should-" I began before she slapped me hard, I take a step back away from her and before she can speak I press on, "When I fail my Professors are going to want to know why, they might send you a letter or perhaps they may even come and visit."
It was now my Aunts turn to pale substantially, the last thing she'll want is my kind turning up in her house drawing attention from the neighbours. Not that any of my teachers would be extreme enough to turn up here.
Eventually she forced me to hand the book back over to her and she locked away under the stairs with the remainder of my school equipment. The only exception, well I say exception they were more like unknown quantities, were my wand, broom servicing kit and the other Advanced Potions book Hermione had given me, all of which Aunt Petunia had no idea about.
How was I going to get through the remaining days without something going wrong?
Three days to go.