Summary: Harrison Potter's heritage forces him to face the corruption in magic and nature caused by the war between the light and the dark. Neither side is aware of the consequences of their actions, but Harrison now must live on the knife edge between them to return the balance. Hopefully he can survive with his sanity intact.

Disclaimer: We do not own the Harry Potter characters or world, but the over-active imaginations that produced this we will claim.

Rituals and Consequences

by mmagicwolf and WickerChair

Chapter One: The Birthday Boy

The telephone rang at 4 Privet Drive on June 16, 1991 a few minutes before nine in the morning. Petunia Dursley picked up the handset and spoke sweetly, "Dursley Residence. … You did? … Oh dear. Well, we'll find someone else to take care of it." She hung up and turned an angry face to her husband Vernon, "Arabella can't take the boy. She broke her leg. We'll have to take him with us to the zoo."

Before Vernon Dursley could reply, heavy footsteps sounded on the stairs. "Wake up! Wake up! It's my birthday, today!" yelled a whiny voice from the stairs, punctuating each sentence with the thud of jumping on the stairs. Followed by the appearance of an eleven-year-old boy about four and a half feet tall and almost that wide. He thundered into the dining area to examine his birthday presents. Dudley Dursley resembled nothing so much as a whale with arms and legs, but his intellect was not as great. He examined the stack of presents set to one side of the table and laboriously began to count them. After counting the presents twice, he glared at his father, "Thirty six, there are only thirty six! That's two less than last year."

"Darling, did you count the one from Aunt Marge in the living room?" asked Vernon.

Dudley's face compressed itself into the scowl of an oncoming temper tantrum, but was interrupted by his mother, "Popkin, when we go to the zoo, we'll get you two more presents, okay?" Dudley's features compressed in thought rather than rage as he tried to calculate then cleared as his mother told him, "Thirty nine, that's one more than last year. Thirty nine presents for my darling boy. That's one more than last year."

Vernon chuckled fondly, "That's my boy, wants his money's worth."

Harrison James Potter carefully removed two slices of bacon from the skillet and carefully turned the remaining to allow them to crisp. His grimaced at the exchange behind his back, his cousin could not even do the simple addition of thirty seven plus two. Sighing, he turned the bacon over and placed another two slices of toast in the toaster. Perhaps he would get lucky and he would get a full meal this morning, but it seemed unlikely. He usually suffered for Dudley's temper tantrums, but maybe they would leave him behind and he could finish his homework that the teacher had been demanding.

"What are we going to do with him?"

"We can leave him home."

"Vernon, there isn't anyone to watch him," reminded Petunia.

Vernon muttered a moment then said, "We'll just have to take him with us."

Dudley's clearing features immediately crumpled in anger. "I don't want him to come with me to the zoo! Daddy, tell him he can't come."

Fortunately for the peace of the household, the doorbell rang announcing the arrival of Piers Polkiss and his mother. Piers was as skinny as Dudley was fat, but they were best friends; Piers would chase smaller children down and hold them while Dudley punched them. Mrs. Polkiss left and the two boys returned to the kitchen.

Harrison looked down at the bacon, pulling it from the skillet just before it burned and wondered about the zoo. Pictures were fine, if only in the books at school, but the most interesting animal he had encountered had been a salamander. No animals dared enter the yard surrounding the Dursley home; he had never even seen a ladybug on Petunia's flowers, and he would know, after all he was the one who took care of the yard.

Placing the bacon and hash browns on the table, Harrison returned to the stove to get the sausages, eggs, and fried tomatoes. All were placed on the table followed by the toast rack. The two slices of bacon and the slice of toast that got too dark were to be his breakfast. Vernon and Petunia were silent as they ate their breakfast, but Dudley and Piers squabbled over who had gotten a larger serving of eggs. Vernon settled the argument by placing another half-spoonful on Dudley's plate.

Harrison walked to the car, half anticipating the zoo and half dreading the outing with the Dursleys. He had changed into his second-best outfit, a marginally better fitting shirt and pants that were only seven inches too big in the waist and two inches too short, Dudley had outgrown them four years ago. This pair of pants was wearing thin, but if they wore out he would be forced to wear the pair of pants from when Dudley had turned nine. That was an awful pair of orange trousers that Aunt Marge had sent for Christmas the year that Dudley turned eight; they were the right length, but so heavy and hideous that Dudley had refused to even touch them.

"Don't even think about doing anything, boy," growled Vernon as Harrison was about to get into the back seat.

"Yes, sir," replied Harrison. "Er, no sir," he amended as Vernon scowled. He hoped nothing would happen today. He wanted to go to the zoo and pretend that he was actually a part of a family. Not that he knew that much about families, but he occasionally dreamed of a laughing red-haired woman and three men who smiled back at her. If he wanted to pretend that the Dursleys actually cared about him, perhaps he would feel like he did in the dreams; safe and loved, but that was a lie and he knew it. He just needed to pretend every now and then, before being thrown back into reality and hell.

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