ALL THIS TIME, YOU WERE MISSING FROM MY HEART
Sandra Solaria Dees
Harry despised the summer. The beatings had gotten worse since Grunnings had begun losing money. Vernon had started drinking heavily. Even Dudley and Petunia weren't safe from his anger and abuse, but Harry took the brunt of it. His school things had been locked in his room and he in the cupboard that he had occupied for ten years of his life. Harry had been smart enough to give Hedwig to Ron for the summer, and told him and Hermione not to send letters. Every so often, a letter from Sirius would arrive by owl, and Vernon forced him to write back, saying that everything was fine. Uncle Vernon would find anything to hit Harry for: not walking quietly enough, breathing, or just being there. The worst part happened when Grunnings declared bankruptcy. Aunt Petunia took Dudley to get a new school uniform (either his diet was working or the fat had been scared off by Vernon), and Harry was left alone with a drunk Vernon.
"Get over here, boy!" Vernon yelled. Despite being a large man, he couldn't hold his liquor very well. Harry scrambled over to him, limping on his twisted ankle. It was another injury Vernon had given him.
"Y...yes, Uncle Vernon?"
"DON'T SPEAK TO ME IN THAT TONE!" Vernon backhanded him, sending him sprawling to the floor. "GET UP, FREAK!"
Harry couldn't quite remember what happened next, only the sound of a zipper and a searing pain, like he was being ripped apart from the inside. He must have blacked out for a while, because when he woke up, he was in his room. That almost surprised him, but he figured his aunt had placed him in the bed instead of the cupboard this time. He knew without looking that the door was locked. The battered boy tried to move, but when he did, every part of him screamed in protest. He tried to breathe deeply, but there was a sharp, sweltering pain in his chest. He knew he had a broken rib or two and, judging by the pain in his arm, a broken wrist. With his right hand, he gently brushed his fingers across the elevated skin where his ribs stuck out. Quickly, as though he'd been burnt, Harry removed his hand. Just touching his chest hurt badly.
The Boy-Who-Lived thanked Merlin that tomorrow he would be leaving this horrid place forever. Tomorrow would be the first day of his last year at Hogwarts, and then he could forget the last horrible sixteen years of his life. With that thought, Harry fell into a fitful sleep, full of memories, deaths, and pain. Around five a.m., he woke, his entire body numb. At least he couldn't feel the pain anymore. He jumped when he heard the front door slam shut. Vernon was home from the pubs.
'Please don't come in here. Please don't come in here,' Harry silently prayed. He held his breath as Vernon stomped up the stairs. He slowly let it out as he heard Vernon go into his own room with a bang of the door. With a sigh, Harry closed his eyes and fell unconscious.
Petunia felt tears well up in her eyes when she looked at her only nephew. 'The poor boy.' She smiled slightly; this, she knew, was his last year at Hogwarts, and he could forever be rid of his uncle after this. Vernon would never hurt Lily's son again. Stepping quietly, she crossed the room and knelt beside him.
"Harry, wake up. It's almost time to leave, Harry," Petunia spoke.
Harry's eyes flickered open and came to rest on his aunt. He winced as he sat up. He slowed his breathing to stop the pain in his chest, and cradled his left arm to his battered chest.
"Come on. Let's get you out of here before Vernon wakes," Petunia whispered, helping him to stand. He nodded slightly, but became dizzy and stopped. "I've already put your things in the car."
"I've got some things in here. There's a loose floorboard," Harry's voice was raw and raspy. He pointed to the floorboard on the other side of the room. Aunt Petunia nodded and left him leaning against the wall while she pried the piece of wood up. She gathered the things in it quickly and went back to her nephew. They walked out of the room and down the stairs.
"I thought your wand was in your trunk," Petunia asked him, closing the front door softly behind them.
Harry gave her a small grin. "The Weasley twins gave me some of their trick wands. I made sure there was one in my trunk and I put my real one in the hem of the shirt I was wearing."
"That was very brilliant," Petunia muttered, more to herself than Harry.
"Thanks," Harry smiled as he slid into the car.
"You're welcome, Harry. You're welcome," Petunia whispered.
Harry checked his face again in the mirror. Professor Flitwick would be proud of the concealing charms he'd cast. No bruises were visible on his face or arms, and he was already changed in his robes. He would cast the rest of them later, when he had more time. Sighing, he stepped out of the W.C. and walked back to the Terrific Trio's usual compartment. He was surprised to see Ron, Hermione, and Draco Malfoy talking civilly.
"All right, I think I've stepped into the Twilight Zone, here," Harry raised an eyebrow.
"Oh my god! That's what I said!" Hermione giggled.
"And I still don't get it, Hermione," Malfoy shook his head.
"Ok, could somebody please explain why he's suddenly part of the gang?" Harry asked, sitting next to Ron.
"Lucius disowned me. All because I'm not an ignorant lemming like he is," Draco smirked, but at his comment, and not Harry.
"Though the ignorant part is still disputable," Ron quirked.
Draco Malfoy glared at Ron, but there was no real malice behind it.
"So how did you get all buddy-buddy with each other so quickly?" Harry asked in amazement.
"Quickly? Hah! Took months to get him like this," Draco laughed, pointing at Ron. "Dumbledore sent me to his house."
"Bloody prat scared the daylights out of me. He kept trying to jump my brothers and me," Ron scowled at the blonde.
"Jumped?" Harry asked, getting a strange feeling. He suddenly knew what had happened on his last day at the Dursley's. "Oh god."
Without warning, Harry leaped up and ran out of the compartment and back to the W.C. When he got there, he promptly threw up into the toilet. There was a knock on the door.
"Harry? What's wrong?" Hermione's voice came through the door.
"Nothing, 'Mione. Just...just go sit back down. I'll be back in a few minutes," Harry answered, lying his forehead on the edge of the toilet basin.
"If you're not back in two minutes, I'll come back to check on you," Hermione relented.
"I'll be there, Hermione," Harry muttered, just loud enough for her to hear.
He waited until he heard her footsteps getting farther away and then leaned over the toilet bowl again. There hadn't been much in his stomach to begin with, so when he threw up the second time, it was just bile. Standing slowly, Harry reached over and flushed the toilet; he turned on the water and cupped his hands to catch the liquid. He rinsed his mouth out and splashed the cool water on his face. He just stood there a minute and looked at his reflection. Though the concealment charms where still in place, he knew what they were hiding. Without the cover of the charm, he looked like the walking dead. You couldn't see the pale peach colour of his skin beneath the masses of bruises, cuts, and scars. The charms he would place on the rest of his body later would hide far worse.
Harry sighed and stepped out of the W.C. Just as he reached the compartment, Hermione came back out.
"Oh good. What was wrong?" Hermione asked, sliding the door closed behind them.
"Oh, I just must have ate something bad," Harry lied.
"You sure you're okay?" Ron asked, clearly concerned.
"Yeah! If I'm not feeling better later, I'll go see Madame Pomfrey," Harry responded with forced cheerfulness. The Gryffindor trio didn't notice that Draco was looking at Harry with pity, sadness, and something of understanding.
End Chapter One
THANKS TO Potter's Girl and Kimbralwyn Brennannan
FOR BETAING THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!