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School did not go well the following day.
"Take that, freak!" Piers shouted, kicking Harry's exposed stomach while the boy fruitlessly tried to protect his head from his cousin's onslaught. Dudley, while incredibly fat and sluggish, seemed to be able to pull energy out of nowhere when it came to beating him up. After five minutes they were done with him, and Harry stumbled out of the bathroom with a wicked gash on the side of his head from where Dudley's punches had knocked him into the hard metal knob above a urinal. The impact had torn skin. His insides felt like jelly. He knew from experience that if he lifted his shirt he'd see the bruises that were already forming.
Dudley had gotten off with a warning from the teacher, who stuttered and averted his eyes from the schoolboy. Vernon's relationship with the principal gave the boy clout, and it wasn't something the teacher was willing to go up against.
The nurse had given Harry a few band-aids, antibiotic ointment, and sent him on his way. Without a single word. The boy went back to class and sat down, anger storming like a typhoon up and down his spine. With his hands clenched under his desk in fists so tight his nails made his palms bleed, Harry made a decision.
It wasn't worth dealing with the boy's bullying long enough to create the great concoction Castor spoke of, no, he'd be dealt with swiftly and firstly. Dudley would die first, and he would die tonight. The conversation with the Lords and Ladies, as Castor had suggested, would have to wait. Besides, Harry reasoned inwardly, I don't know what the Lords and Ladies look like, anyways. He chose to ask Belladonna what the characteristics of the noble plants were, instead of Castor, who had referred him. It was a verdict easily made; Belladonna was sweet and motherly, while Castor was a demonic psychopath.
After an arduous car ride 'home' while Dudley kicked his shins repeatedly, Harry hid himself within his cupboard. It hadn't really surprised him when the door locked the previous night. How in the world he'd unlocked it before was clearly a glitch in the laws of reality, and wasn't going to happen again. He opened the drawer in his desk and stared down at the berries from Belladonna and the 'babies' from Castor.
Why not just use both? The simplest option, and yet not one Harry wished to pursue; he was not stupid. Only an idiot would reveal all the cards in their hand at once. No, he'd use one and keep the other secret. Even if they didn't link the death to him, he'd have another handful of symptoms by using only one of the poisons.
With the dark, juicy berry he could give Dudley hallucinations, put him in a frenzy, and make him convulse on the floor. Not to mention the killer migraine that would rack his entire body even before the more serious symptoms occurred.
Castor's tiny beans would make Dudley puke and soil himself as though a firehose was spouting water inside of his body. His skin would turn blue-purple, and he'd crash to the floor, shaking violently. Not long after his innards would begin to disintegrate, and the end result would be similar to a bug caught in a spider's web; the insides would be nothing but juice.
Harry caught himself grinning like a madman, and quickly slapped his face free of the expression. Vengeance, though it was, it shouldn't be so enthralling. He could picture the same terrible things happening to himself and he shook his head, no, no one should ever wish those things upon another person. Unless they were the Dursley's, of course. The boy nodded to himself, arms crossed righteously over his scrawny chest. Once he'd killed his family and gotten taken in by a proper foster home, he'd never use these mysterious poisons again. Pledge made, he opened his eyes, and picked Dudley's poison.
"Take out the trash, freak." Vernon grumbled, pointing to the trash bin in the center of the kitchen. Harry could only restrain himself until Vernon looked away-then his mask broke and he grinned like the madman he was becoming.
Oh, how naive, Vernon. Your son will be dead before the night is gone, and you worry about the trash? Well, considering Dudley is more or less garbage as well, I won't have disobeyed you. Cheers. He patted his thigh, where his choice of catastrophe lay, inside a tiny mint box. Till dinner. That's how long Dudley had to live. Harry lugged the trash outside and threw it in the garbage can, feeling a curious sensation in his chest. It was ineffable; like a pressure right on his heartstrings, but also a sense of relief. Utterly contradicting and yet no other phrases could possibly describe the way he felt.
When he started to cook, he found the word he'd been looking for; excitement. Looking forward to watching Dudley writhe. It was pork chops and beans and gravy for dinner. Though he hated to admit it, Harry was an excellent cook, even if the only reason was because he was forced to do so. Pork chops were his specialty, but tonight, for one night only, they'd be extra special.
Pan-seared, medium rare, with extra death.
He peeked out of the kitchen towards the living room. Dudley sat in front of the television, transfixed. There was a glob of drool sliding down his chin. Vernon in there with him, reading the paper. Apparently brain-dead expressions ran in the family; like son, like father, Vernon was drooling with mouth open. Petunia was-
"Boy!" Startled, Harry jerked back and stared wide eyed up at his aunt.
"You're finished with making dinner. Go clean up Dudley's room."
"I'm not finished." He managed, trying not to scream. "I'll put the food on the plates-I'll-I'll-" He grit his teeth. "I'll clean Dudley's room while you eat." It came out akin to a growl, but Petunia didn't notice. It'd be a stretch to ask to clean the pig's room after dinner-Petunia would outright refuse and he'd have no choice in the matter. So, he'd reach for what he could get.
"Fine. Hurry up, and come get us in the living room when you're finished." She was gone.
Harry had to move fast, lest the world conspire against him. He walked over to the stove top and began placing servings on individual dishes. He made sure one in particular was larger than the rest, with four pork chops instead of two, twice as many beans, and a whole lot of gravy.
The gravy was added after he'd sprinkled the finely ground powder onto the pork chops. It'd conceal the poison's obvious existence, for the powder was white and quite visible if not covered up. It was a crude attempt at making ricin. He'd crushed three beans together on top of his desk between two books, and the end result he'd transferred into the mint box for storage. According to Castor's erudite description, only a 'speck' was needed to kill someone.
If it wasn't already obvious, Harry was aiming for over-kill.
He nodded in satisfaction and then forced himself to look small, unhappy, like his usual self before he'd met Belladonna and entered the mystical world of poisons, before shuffling into the living room.
"Dinner's ready." He said, simply. Vernon's paper lowered and he sent a cursory glare Harry's way before harumph-ing and folding it. Petunia, who sat next to him, pointed upwards. Harry cursed under his breath-he'd already forgotten his compromise. It was the second to worst situation that could have happened, the worst being discovery of his plans. While he cleaned Dudley's room, Dudley would be dying. He'd miss his cousin's death.
For some inhuman reason, he was disappointed.
He wasn't disappointed because he'd be missing justice being served...but rather that he'd be missing a body writhe on the ground with puke and shit spewing out both ends in utter agony. The notion made him shiver, and he made himself walk out of the room and up to Dudley's without a peep.
There were toys all over the floor, clothes haphazardly tossed everywhere including the ceiling fan, and the bed was as unkempt as possible. He heard the clinking of silverware and conversation float up from downstairs as he made the bed. No doubt, Dudley was digging into the biggest portion like the pig he was. The very moment he finished the process of gathering dirty laundry, he heard a pained moan unmistakably from his particular cousin. It took every bit of willpower he had not to run down the stairs and watch.
By the time he'd finished putting the toys in relative order, he'd heard retching sounds. A swift stomping illustrated Dudley rushing to the bathroom, and the subsequent farting and splattering signified the attainment of the point of no return. No matter what treatment Dudley received now, he would die.
"Duddy-kins?" He heard Petunia ask in a worried voice as he walked down the stairs. "Are you alright? You looked a bit-well, blue."
"Growing boys can't help how fast they eat, that's all, nothing serious. " Vernon said in a gruff, placating voice. Harry almost laughed aloud at his uncle's misconception. If it were the rate of consumption which caused this bout of both puking and soiling then Dudley would experience this every time he ate. The young Weed touched down on ground level, watching them from a distance where they crowded against the door of the bathroom. More echoes of retching and diarrhea filled Harry's ears, and he felt that same sinister smirk trying to worm its way onto his face. He pushed it away, trying his best to appear innocent as he posed a question.
"Is-Is Dudley alright?" They both simultaneously spun on him. Vernon looked as though he'd shout something, but was preemptively cut off by an odd sort of thump from inside the bathroom.
"Dudley?" Petunia tried, placing a hand on the doorknob and shaking it gently. A sound not so different from a flailing fish on a dock was made in response; Dudley had reached the convulsion stage. "Duddy-kins?" Petunia tried the door, harder this time, using both hands.
Suddenly it was deathly quiet. Harry, who had crept along the wall to get a closer vantage point, had to cover his mouth to cover his grin. In his mind there was an argument going on whether it was right to be jovial over his cousin's death. He was family, even if he was a pig and a bully and a damn eyesore.
"Vernon, open the door." Petunia said, barely a whisper. She was pallid as a ghost. Vernon was not much better, the usual purple of his face totally absent. He stepped past Petunia and gripped the handle, shaking it at first gently, then so vigorous he nearly broke his wrist. He took wild steps back, like an unsteady elephant, and then charged forward like the hippo he was. The impressive bulk of a fatso like Harry's uncle was not to be trifled with; the lock broke and the door opened. A sick crack was heard, and Harry could not help but rush forward and stand beside Petunia to see what it was.
The door had swung open and smacked the side of Dudley's head, smashing it against the wall. From the angle his neck was currently bent, it was obvious what had just happened.
"Mother of..." Vernon muttered, taking shaky steps back.
Petunia simply screamed.
At the sight of his dead cousin Harry thought he might experience some form of revulsion, disgust, for it was a terrible sight to behold. There was shit everywhere, including Dudley's butt cheeks, which were raised high in the air. His arms were splayed out to his sides and his face looked the definition of horrified. There was a thin bloody stream leaking out of his nose and another from his mouth, which probably contained the first bits of his digested innards.
Instead, Harry felt elated. He felt like he was skipping on clouds, like all was right in the world. He felt damn near invincible, up until Vernon grabbed him by the shoulders and threw him to the wall.
"I bet you did this, freak! Look what letting you stay in our home has brought! You ungrateful pig!"
It was the first and last time Harry ever saw Vernon cry.
All the boy could do was huddle himself together until Vernon's powerful fist stopped coming. For a few moments he'd feared for his life; a distraught Vernon was a particularly dangerous one. In fact, he couldn't imagine the man stopping for anything, much less for fear of killing him. But as Vernon pulled back it was revealed Petunia was holding his arm back, tears streaming down her face, ruining her makeup. Her screeches had been silent for a while.
It would appear that she'd seen enough death for one day. Later it would occur to Harry that she'd just about saved his life...but he wouldn't care. One good act, even if it meant he'd be alive, was not enough to redeem the atrocious way she'd commanded him all this time.
Wait a second-did he just call me a pig?
Harry glanced up at Vernon from his huddled position, jaw dropping at the sight of him shutting the bathroom door and walking away. Petunia went into the kitchen, sobbed briefly, and then dialed the proper authorities. The boy stood up in a phase of wonder, shuddering at what Vernon's pummeling had done to his sides and head. How were they taking this so easily? Their son had just died...you'd think they'd do the whole clutch-the-body-and-moan shtick.
Perhaps it was the condition of the body preventing them from doing so. Harry wanted to go to his cupboard and laugh his socks off, but a stubby, fat finger pointed right between his eyes. Vernon had come back. His eyes were red with both rage and grief, but he was no longer crying.
"Boy." It was when Vernon whispered that Harry was truly afraid. "I am going to ask you this once, and depending on your answer Petunia won't be able to stop me." Harry gave a slight nod. "Did you put anything in the food?"
Harry shook his head with great fervor. Vernon tugged him to his feet and yanked him towards the cupboard, throwing him in. The boy smashed into his desk, hitting the side of his head. Disoriented, he could only mumble in protest while he was gagged with dirty laundry and had his hands tied behind his back. He was thrown to the bed, and even without looking he knew Vernon was searching around the cupboard for whatever had killed Dudley.
An odd sort of scoffing sound came out of Harry's gag. It was the best laughter he could manage under the circumstances. He'd hidden all the beans and berries in the rat hole under and behind his bed. The books he'd used to crush Castor's infants? Cleaned, and inconspicuously out in the open. The mintbox which contained the ricin was in the trash. There was no evidence which could lead to Harry, no matter how right Vernon was.
Belladonna smirked, petals fluttering, from where she sat under the trellis.
"One down, two to go. Excellent planning and execution-good clean up, too...the question is, how much has young Weed's mind skewed? Innocent no longer, and certainly not a child, the costs of his crime will certainly not be mild. Soon, very soon, the House of Borgias will rear their ugly head...and young Weed will learn how to properly create mayhem and dread."
"One down, two to go."
Sorry for taking so long to update; this chapter was a kinky one, as you can tell, and it took a lot of thought. My goal is to update every day and a half or so, but that schedule may not be implemented for a week; next week is exams, and I'm going to have to focus on those for most of my time. I'll try and crank out a chapter or two, though.
ultima-owner: Castor is...interesting, to say the least.
Man of Constant Sorrow: Thanks :D I haven't really thought about Snape yet, but you've given me plenty of ideas with just that one sentence. And, uh...well, if you've read this chapter you've probably noticed Harry isn't quite so 'just' in the head. He's decaying. Plain and simple; his mind is breaking down to that of a killer. Thanks for the idea about the troll fight, and indeed, a bezoar is Harry's worst enemy.
Anon007: Thanks :D
HellionWrath: Well, you've just seen one. I already have Petunia's death planned out, but it won't be happening for a while. No clue how Vernon's kicking it, not yet, anyways.
Thank you everyone for reading, and please let me know what you think! Ido actually get a few ideas from the things you suggest, so lay anything you want on the table and it might squeeze its way in!