Frozen in Death
Chapter 1-5 have been rewritten and I recommend that you read them again unless you started on this story after May 13th 2013.
I would give you a short summary of the changes, but I've postponed writing this for too long and can no longer remember what I changed. Sorry.
Chapter 6 – A Change is Coming
Words: 2 695
That day in April Steve had brought Harry to a bakery which was owned by an old, Bulgarian couple. Mr. and Mrs. Stefanov were kind people and once a month they gave some baked goods to the orphanage. That was how Steve knew about them.
One time he when he had needed to get away from the orphanage, a snowstorm had begun unexpectedly and as by change he had ended up by the bakery. Mrs. Stefanov had taken pity on him when he desperately sought shelter inside the shop and she had allowed him to sit in the back by one of the great ovens. Then she had proceeded to give him a couple of pastries which was a few days old and couldn't be sold any longer, but was just as good despite that.
She had also told him in slightly broken English that he was welcome to come back anytime, as long as he didn't get in the way of her or her husband and didn't stir up any trouble. Steve of course wouldn't dream of bringing any trouble to Mrs. Stefanov and he'd sought shelter in the Bulgarian's bakery a number of times.
When Mrs. Stefanov had seen Harry for the first time that day she had smiled, her kind brown eyes drowning in wrinkles and she had expressed happiness at seeing Steve with a friend and said that he was just as welcome to come their whenever he may please. Then she has ushered them into the shop, and had them seated on the floor by the cooling oven where they could dry off.
Their friendship had evolved slowly to a beginning. They were both hesitant and afraid to trust, never having had a friend before. With time they learned that they could trust each other, as they kept being true to their word. So far they had never let one another down and that was saying a lot. It was new to the two boys to have someone to rely on. In their experience you were always let down in the end.
They never imagined that they were special or that their stories were any more tragic than anyone else's, there were way to many miserable people in the world to pretend that, you need only look to your neighbour to see how true it was, but it felt good to have someone to talk with, someone who could understand and to whom their problems, no matter how small in the scale of things, mattered.
When Harry needed to escape the Dursleys when they were just too much for him he could always go to the orphanage, nobody there noticed one extra kid running about. As long as Harry stayed out of the way around mealtimes and lights out he wouldn't be counted and no one would notice that he shouldn't be there. And when Steve couldn't take being at the orphanage any more and fled to the park, or to Mr. and Mrs. Stefanov's bakery he never had to be alone.
As underdogs they knew that they were safer together, but the best part was that when they were with each other they didn't have to feel like the curb of society, unwanted and weak, they could just be themselves. They didn't have to be, the freak and the weakling. To each other they were simply Harry and Steve.
As they had met for the first time in Prospect Park it became their most frequent hideout. In the vast park there were places where you could keep dry even in a storm and there were places where no one would be able to find them unless they wished to be found.
They would meet after school and on weekends, spending time making up games, talking or just sitting quietly in each other's company.
Now it was in the middle of summer. During the summer Harry and Steve could meet up each day. It was a good time of year. It was warm so they didn't need to feel bound to their respective homes. They met by the Lake in Prospect Park every morning unless something was wrong.
They had come up with a system for how they should react if the other didn't come. It could happen sometimes after all and there was nothing queer about it, one day with a no show was all right. If it happened two days in a row they would begin to get worried and on the third day it was time to investigate. Because when that happened you were probably in trouble, just taking for example the last time it had happened with Harry.
The last time Harry didn't show for three days he had been locked away in his cupboard, not allowed to go out and barely given anything to eat, the Dursleys having blamed him for some strange occurrence or another that Harry couldn't explain.
Steve went to the park as always, sitting down on the grass in front of the large lake, stretching out his legs in front of him and wriggling his toes inside the stuffy shoes. It was the third day since he had seen Harry and he was really hoping Harry would show up. It was the thirty-first of July, Harry's birthday and it was simply wrong that his friend was missing. Today he should be there so that Steve could make sure his day was great, just as Harry had done for him on his birthday a few weeks earlier.
Steve had been saving any money he cold get his hands on. He'd found a few dimes and a couple of nickels and an additional handful of pennies on the street as he roamed around, people could be surprisingly careless with their change. He had saved the coins since winter, planning to buy Harry a fresh pastry from the bakery for his birthday. Steve had also made a drawing, he didn't think it was anything special, but since he could, there was no reason not to and he knew that Harry would appreciate the gesture.
The drawing was supposed to be of the two of them grown up and successful some time in the far future. He didn't think his drawing was anything like what they would actually look like, they were both too tall and muscular for it to become reality. The only thing to identify them by, were that one man had light hair and the other dark.
As time dragged on and Harry continued to be absent he got worried. The rule said that he should go locking and he didn't wait past midday to do so. He didn't want to believe that Harry was once more locked inside his cupboard, but he couldn't help to think that it was exactly what had happened. His friend should have to put up with that on his eleventh birthday.
The last time Harry had spoken with him he had mentioned that there had been a letter to him when his Aunt went to the Post Office. He had only learnt of it as he had heard Petunia complain about it to Vernon. She has said that it was from them, according Harry making the simple word sound like an awful curse.
Steve wouldn't be surprised if Harry's lack of appearance had something to do with that letter and he wouldn't be idle anymore He knew very well that he wasn't welcome at number 124 Midwood Street, but he felt obligated to help Harry if he could. Who else did Harry have to look out for him? The answer was that there wasn't anyone so naturally Steve had to do it.
He walked down the lane, taking in the buildings with the small gardens in front and the tall trees lining the street, watching them idly as his mind ran rampart with possible scenarios of what might happen at his arrival.
The only times he had ventured there Harry's Aunt had looked at him like he was a pest which she would like nothing more than to exterminate, and she had made it implacably known that he wasn't welcome in or even around her home. The saddest part was that she would have said the same to Harry if some sort of obligation didn't hold her tongue.
He and Harry had discussed that a few times, what with the Dursleys so obviously not wanting him around it was strange that they put up with him at all. They could quite easily get rid of him if they so desired, no one would be able to keep track of just another orphan in a city as large as New York. But regardless of their loathing Harry did had a home in their house.
He came up to number 124 and he didn't know if he should be relieved or not, it was obvious that there was no one home. Drapes had been pulled over the windows. The grass was growing high and the car was gone.
Across the street there was a lot of activity, making the Dursley's residence appear even more desolate. Men in blue work clothes were moving in furniture, hurrying in and out. Then there was one man standing by the low wall upfront watching them all like a hawk.
Steve straitened his shoulders and walked over. "Excuse me," he said glancing up at the man. He looked very none describe with brown hair and pale eyes.
"Yes?" he tore his eyed away from one of the men who were carrying a large Chinese vase. "What can I help you with young sir?" His voice was bland. It had an indistinguishable accent and Steve felt as if he would never be able to pick this man out of a crowd. He got the feeling that the Dursleys would very much approve of him, as they approved of normal and orderly people.
"I was wondering if you knew where the family who lives across the street, the Dursleys, are?"
"No, I can't say that I do," the man answered looking at the dark windows of number 124. "Although I did notice them leaving in a haste a few days ago. It didn't seem to me as if the trip was planned and I did overhear Mrs, Jenkins asking when they would be back and… Mr. Dursley was it?" When Steve nodded he continued, "Answered that it was undecided. I think that his wife and sons looked rather put out by the whole thing."
"Not sons," Steve said before thinking. It wasn't his business to tell anyone about Harry's family.
"Oh?" The man didn't appear to care much, just showing idle interest. "You know them?"
"I'm friends with Harry. He's Mrs. Dursley's nephew."
"I see. Well, young sir, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Robert Smith." The man offered his hand and Steve's much smaller hand was engulfed by it as he accepted the handshake.
"Steve Rogers," he said politely.
"I'm sure everything is all right with your friend. You'll see that they are back soon enough."
"I hope so."
"Hmm, yes. Are you and young Harry good friends?"
"Yes." Steve nodded.
"Have you known him long?"
"About a year."
"Hmm. We'll then Mr. Rogers, I think you best be off. Don't hesitate to say hello if you see me again."
"I- Yes, sir. Good bye, Mr. Smith."
Steve began to walk back towards the orphanage, none of his worry revealed, though he now understood why Harry hadn't showed up id didn't mean he wasn't in trouble. "Happy Birthday, Harry," he murmured taking one last look at number 124.
Harry shivered, pulling the threadbare blanket that he had managed to snatch from Dudley when his cousin kicked it off in his sleep closer around himself. He sat huddled in the corner of the large room in the shack his Uncle had taken them to this evening.
It had started with a letter. A letter addressed to him. Then there had been more. He hadn't known of it at first as they were all brought to the Post Office and it was his Aunt who went there to get them. Before she had sometimes had him go there as to save herself the time, but since the first letter to him that had arrived sometime mid July he had not been asked.
Things changed a few days ago. The letters had begun to arrive directly to their home, carried by owls no less. Despite the flood of heavy parchment envelopes addressed to him, Harry hadn't gotten his hands on a single one, his Aunt and Uncle had made sure of it.
Since the arrival of the first letter his Uncle had grown more and more tense, making Harry think that there might have been even more letters he wasn't privy to. At last on the twenty-ninth of July Vernon had snapped. Harry didn't know what had caused it to happen, but the man had yelled at them to pack a few things and get into the car, and none of them had dared to argue. You don't argue with a man who's face has taken on the colour of puce and who's veins look like they are about to burst through the skin.
He wondered what Steve must be thinking. He'd missed their meetings for three days now and he'd spent his eleventh birthday stuck in Vernon's car as they kept driving farther and farther north along the coast.
It had been a rather miserable day, not that his birthday ever had received much of a celebration. He was certain that the Dursleys didn't even know the date, well they did know, but only so that they could make sure that it became even more miserable than the rest of the year's three-hundred-sixty-five days.
The first time he'd ever gotten a birthday gift was last year, the same year he first gained a friend. Steve had made him a drawing and he had blushed profoundly when he gave it to Harry, thinking that it wasn't enough, but Harry couldn't have been happier, it was his first birthday gift and that meant everything.
The drawing had been of a puppy, sitting with its head tilted to the side next to a large ball. Written on top had been 'Happy Birthday' and on the back Steve had written that sometime in the future he'd get Harry a real dog, if he wanted, but that this would have to do for now.
Harry sighed, drawing a dog himself in the dust on the floor before his feet. He didn't manage to do half as well as Steve, and the dog looked more like a pig or perhaps Dudley walking on all fours, than a dog. Harry smiled wistfully, wishing that he was with Steve instead of here.
He couldn't tell how late it was, he could just listen as a storm began to build outside the walls of the miserable excuse for a house they were in. The wind was whizzing around the corners, rattling the slightly lose windowpanes, and eventually heavy rainfall added to the noise.
A chill began to creep through the walls and Harry gave up the thought of sleeping. He might not be used to great comfort, but with all this ruckus going on and the cold seeping under his stolen blanket he didn't think there was any chance he'd be able to get any rest.
His idea was cemented when the first roll of thunder travelled through the heavens, groaning and moaning, the low sound making the walls of the shack vibrate. Harry curled tighter around himself, wondering how Dudley could sleep though it all, but perhaps it was because his cousin's snores were competing with the thunder on who could be louder. Harry could have sworn that as the noise of the storm got higher so did Dudley's snores.
The thunder and lightning was moving and soon it was right over head and Harry was sure that he'd never heard anything louder. Then as a particularly ear-splitting thunderclap shook the house, someone knocked on the door.
AN 24th August 2013:
This chapter's been a long time coming. I've had parts of it written since like January, but yeah. I know it isn't all that existence of a chapter, mainly a filler, but it is what it is and I still hope you liked it.
I cut where I did, because I think you all know what happens next as it follows cannon and I think we've seen the scene retold one too many times. The next chapter will start where things become different again.
Let me know what you thought!
AN 2nd September 2013:
Since I've been hearing it a lot I'd just like to say that I am aware of the fact that the last few chapters, this one included does take a lot directly from the first Harry Potter book. It may have been a poor choice on my part to include all that you already know in this story, but I will strive not to do so from here on out, you need not remark on it in your reviews and I apologize for doing something I myself dislike in fanfiction. Next chapter may take some time as I will plan up te story to make it interesting for you to read, but hopefully I can make the story worth reading again.