Finding my Fate book one: Sorcerer's Stone

Harry is 13 years old when he recieves a package from his future self, containing books about his life. How will knowing the future change it?

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3. Chapter Two: The Vanishing Glass

CHAPTER 2

THE VANISHING GLASS

Nearly ten years had passed since the Dursleys had woken up to find their nephew on the front step,

Everyone turned to glare at Dumbledore. 

but Privet Drive had hardly changed at all. The sun rose on the same tidy front gardens and lit up the brass number four on the Dursleys’ front door; it crept into their living room, which was almost exactly the same as it had been on the night when Mr. Dursley had seen that fateful news report about the owls. Only the photographs on the mantelpiece really showed how much time had passed. Ten years ago, there had been lots of pictures of what looked like a large pink beach ball wearing different-colored bonnets—but Dudley Dursley was no longer a baby, and now the photographs showed a large blond boy riding his first bicycle, on a carousel at the fair, playing a computer game with his father, being hugged and kissed by his mother. The room held no sign at all that another boy lived in the house, too. 

"WHAT!!!!" Sirius yelled. 

Yet Harry Potter was still there, asleep at the moment, but not for long. His Aunt Petunia was awake and it was her shrill voice that made the first noise of the day.

"What a wonderful way to wake up." Ron said sarcastically. Remus and Dumbledore chuckled lightly. Hermione socked him in the arm.

"Shush!" 

“Up! Get up! Now!”

Harry woke with a start. His aunt rapped on the door again.

“Up!” she screeched. Harry heard her walking toward the kitchen and then the sound of the frying pan being put on the stove. He rolled onto his back and tried to remember the dream he had been having. It had been a good one. There had been a flying motorcycle in it.

"You could remember that far back?" Hermione interrupted herself. 

"Well, I had dreams about it all the time." Harry said self-consciously. "So I guess." 

He had a funny feeling he’d had the same dream before.

His aunt was back outside the door.

“Are you up yet?” she demanded.

“Nearly,” said Harry.

“Well, get a move on, I want you to look after the bacon. And don’t you dare let it burn, I want everything perfect on Duddy’s birthday.”

"Well of course, Dudley's birthday is a momentous occasion." Sirius said, imitating Percy's pompous voice. "It must be perfect. And-" Sirius slipped out of his imitation. "Why do you have to babysit the bacon?"

"Well, I have done the cooking for the Dursleys since I was six." Harry said. Realizing what he had just informed the whole group of, he looked down at his lap.

Hermione sensed his embarrassment and kept reading. 

Harry groaned.

“What did you say?” his aunt snapped through the door.

“Nothing, nothing…”

Dudley’s birthday—how could he have forgotten? Harry got slowly out of bed and started looking for socks. He found a pair under his bed and, after pulling a spider off one of them, put them on.

Ron cringed at the mention of spiders. 

"There aren't any here, idiot!" Hermione slapped him over the head, and continued reading. 

Harry was used to spiders, because the cupboard under the stairs was full of them, and that was where he slept.

"Heh hem, what?" Sirius fake coughed. "Hermione, read that again.

Harry was used to spiders, because the cupboard under the stairs was full of them, and that was where he slept.

Instant uproar. Remus had to physically restrain Sirius from leaping up to murder the Dursleys, while having to simultaniously restrain himself from doing the same thing. 

Ron, Fred, George, Bill, and Charlie were all swearing, Percy was shouting about injustice, Arthur was yelling at Dumbledore, who was causing a mini earthquake, Molly was sobbing, Tonks's entire being, not just her hair, had turned red with fury, Moody was muttering something intelligable, Hermione looked torn between fury and sympathy and compromised by crying while shrieking things about the Dursleys that should not be put in writing, Neville looked frozen to the spot, Draco looked rather sick, and Snape looked completely horrified. Everything he had trained himself to believe about the boy in front of him had come crashing down around him, and he knew he would not be able to put it back up. 

After at least ten minutes, Harry finally managed to calm them down. A little. 

"Why didn't you tell us?" Ron roared once the rest of the room had calmed down. 

"You should have told us!" Hermione cried, tears still cascading down her face. "We could've, we could, we, we..." she trailed off. There was only one way to say it. There was really nothing they could have done.

"I didn't tell you for this reason!" Harry said. "You all just panicked! Besides, everyone already treats me different than everybody else, why should I give you another reason to?" 

"Because we're your friends, Harry!" Hermione shouted. "We tell you everything! Ron came to rescue you last year, but somebody should have come to rescue you long before that!" 

"Why did Ron have to rescue him last year?" Minerva asked sharply.

"We'll get there when we get there!" Harry shouted. He had lost his temper with them.  Everyone silenced. Most of the teachers had never seen Harry lose his temper like this, not even Snape, and Ron and Hermione had only seen it when Harry had "found out" about Sirius last year. 

"There's a reason I don't tell you guys what happens over the summer!" Harry continued yelling. "You all wouldn't understand! You've only ever seen me here at Hogwarts, even Ron hasn't ever seen what happens over the summer, he only saw that one night! And I can't just go to Dumbledore or McGonagall and complain about my home life, they can't do anything! And do you honestly think I'd go have a chat with Snape about the Dursley's? He hates me! I'm an arrogant toerag to him, remember? I only met Sirius and Lupin this year, I hardly know them! Moody and Tonks, I don't know them at all, I met them an hour ago! And the Weasleys, well, Mrs. Weasley already coddles me, I don't want more of that! And all you guys, you just wouldn't get it! To all of you, I'm the famous Harry Potter, the Boy who Lived, and whatever else happens later in life! Nobody realizes that I'm not some famous wizard who's going to safe the wizarding world from Voldemort, I'm a stupid boy who sucks at school and until two years ago had never had a friend in his life!" 

It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Harry was breathing rather hard. 

"Keep reading Hermione." he said. 

Hermione was still crying, but she took a deep breath and kept reading. 

When he was dressed he went down the hall into the kitchen. The table was almost hidden beneath all Dudley’s birthday presents. It looked as though Dudley had gotten the new computer he wanted, not to mention the second television and the racing bike. Exactly why Dudley wanted a racing bike was a mystery to Harry, as Dudley was very fat and hated exercise—unless of course it involved punching somebody. Dudley’s favorite punching bag was Harry,

Sirius started to say something, but Harry silenced him with a look. 

but he couldn’t often catch him. Harry didn’t look it, but he was very fast.

Perhaps it had something to do with living in a dark cupboard, but Harry had always been small and skinny for his age. He looked even smaller and skinnier than he really was because all he had to wear were old clothes of Dudley’s,

Everyone scowled at both the book and Dumbledore. 

and Dudley was about four times bigger than he was. Harry had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair, and bright green eyes. He wore round glasses held together with a lot of Scotch tape because of all the times Dudley had punched him on the nose. The only thing Harry liked about his own appearance was a very thin scar on his forehead that was shaped like a bolt of lightning.

"You liked your scar?" Ron dared to speak. 

"I didn't know I was a wizard then, I didn't know what it meant, I had no reason to hate it." Harry said shortly. 

He had had it as long as he could remember, and the first question he could ever remember asking his Aunt Petunia was how he had gotten it.

“In the car crash when your parents died,”

"A CAR CRASH?" Sirius broke again. "A CAR CRASH KILL LILY AND JAMES POTTER? IT'S AN OUTRAGE! IT'S  SCANDAL! I'M GOING TO-" He cut off suddenly, and everyone turned to see Remus pointing his wand at him.

"I'll take it off once he's calmed down." he promised. 

Harry grinned. 

she had said. “And don’t ask questions.”

Don’t ask questions—that was the first rule for a quiet life with the Dursleys.

Uncle Vernon entered the kitchen as Harry was turning over the bacon.

“Comb your hair!” he barked, by way of a morning greeting.

"Not going to work!" Ron sing-songed, and the tension in the room broke. Everyone was laughing, even Malfoy.

Remus took the charm off Sirius.

"Just like your dad!" Sirius said affectionately, tousling Harry's hair, making it messier than it already was. 

About once a week, Uncle Vernon looked over the top of his newspaper and shouted that Harry needed a haircut. Harry must have had more haircuts than the rest of the boys in his class put together, but it made no difference, his hair simply grew that way—all over the place.

Sirius rubbed the top of Harry's head again. 

Harry was frying eggs by the time Dudley arrived in the kitchen with his mother. Dudley looked a lot like Uncle Vernon. He had a large pink face, not much neck, small, watery blue eyes, and thick blond hair that lay smoothly on his thick, fat head. Aunt Petunia often said that Dudley looked like a baby angel—Harry often said that Dudley looked like a pig in a wig.

"Stop speaking so eloquently, Harry, you're making us lower class feel bad." Sirius said sarcastically, rolling his eyes. Harry grinned at him. 

Harry put the plates of egg and bacon on the table, which was difficult as there wasn’t much room. Dudley, meanwhile, was counting his presents. His face fell.

“Thirty-six,” he said, looking up at his mother and father. “That’s two less than last year.”

"They don't get him that many presents!" Hermione looked outraged.

"They do." Harry said calmly. "Just wait until we get to the zoo." 

“Darling, you haven’t counted Auntie Marge’s present, see, it’s here under this big one from Mommy and Daddy.”

“All right, thirty-seven then,” said Dudley, going red in the face. Harry, who could see a huge Dudley tantrum coming on, began wolfing down his bacon as fast as possible in case Dudley turned the table over.

Aunt Petunia obviously scented danger, too, because she said quickly, “And we’ll buy you another two presents while we’re out today. How’s that, popkin? Two more presents. Is that all right?”

Dudley thought for a moment. It looked like hard work. Finally he said slowly, “So I’ll have thirty… thirty…”

"The idiot can't even count!" Tonks looked so shocked, it reduced the rest of them again into fits of laughter. 

“Thirty-nine, sweetums,” said Aunt Petunia.

“Oh.” Dudley sat down heavily and grabbed the nearest parcel. “All right then.”

Uncle Vernon chuckled.

“Little tyke wants his money’s worth, just like his father. ’Atta boy, Dudley!” He ruffled Dudley’s hair.

"Little tyke is a spoiled bratty jerk, just like his father. Atta boy, Dudley!" Ron tried to mimic Vernon's voice. 

At that moment the telephone rang and Aunt Petunia went to answer it while Harry and Uncle Vernon watched Dudley unwrap the racing bike, a video camera, a remote control airplane, sixteen new computer games, and a VCR. He was ripping the paper off a gold wristwatch when Aunt Petunia came back from the telephone looking both angry and worried.

"Why does he want a racing bike?" Fred asked. "I thought he was very fat and hated exercise." 

"Didn't Harry ask that earlier in the book?" George asked his twin. "And give those same reasons?"

"Ah, that he did." Fred said. "Sorry for the interruption, Miss Granger."

Hermione rolled her eyes and kept reading. 

“Bad news, Vernon,” she said. “Mrs. Figg’s broken her leg. She can’t take him.” She jerked her head in Harry’s direction.

Dudley’s mouth fell open in horror, but Harry’s heart gave a leap. Every year on Dudley’s birthday, his parents took him and a friend out for the day, to adventure parks, hamburger restaurants, or the movies. Every year, Harry was left behind with Mrs. Figg, a mad old lady who lived two streets away. Harry hated it there. The whole house smelled of cabbage and Mrs. Figg made him look at photographs of all the cats she’d ever owned. 

"I know Mrs. Figg." Dumbledore spoke up suddenly. "She's a squib."

"Then why does she give me such a terrible time?" Harry asked furiously.

"Because if the Dursley's thought you'd enjoyed it there, they wouldn't let you go back." Remus said logically.

"That makes sense." Harry agreed. "They used to send me somewhere else. She was nice to me. Haven't seen her since the Dursley's found out I liked it there."

“Now what?” said Aunt Petunia, looking furiously at Harry as though he’d planned this. Harry knew he ought to feel sorry that Mrs. Figg had broken her leg, but it wasn’t easy when he reminded himself it would be a whole year before he had to look at Tibbies, Snowy, Mr. Paws, and Tufty again.

“We could phone Marge,” Uncle Vernon suggested.

“Don’t be silly, Vernon, she hates the boy.”

The Dursleys often spoke about Harry like this, as though he wasn’t there—or rather, as though he was something very nasty that couldn’t understand them, like a slug.

"I could give them something to feel sorry for themselves about." Sirius muttered. Harry snorted. 

“What about what’s-her-name, your friend—Yvonne?”

“On vacation in Majorca,” snapped Aunt Petunia.

“You could just leave me here,” Harry put in hopefully (he’d be able to watch what he wanted on television for a change and maybe even have a go on Dudley’s computer).

"Not gonna work, Harry." Ginny piped up, grinning at him.

"I could hope, couldn't I?" Harry asked. 

Aunt Petunia looked as though she’d just swallowed a lemon.

“And come back and find the house in ruins?” she snarled.

“I won’t blow up the house,” said Harry, but they weren’t listening.

“I suppose we could take him to the zoo,” said Aunt Petunia slowly, “…and leave him in the car…”

“That cars new, he’s not sitting in it alone…”

"Why are they acting like you're a dog?" Sirius asked slowly.

"You'd know all about that, wouldn't you, Black?" Snape asked sleekily. 

Sirius glared at him.

"Go take a shower, Snivellus." he waved his hand at him.

Now it was Snape's turn to glare.

Dudley began to cry loudly. In fact, he wasn’t really crying—it had been years since he’d really cried—but he knew that if he screwed up his face and wailed, his mother would give him anything he wanted.

"Stupid prat." Tonks said. The way she said it, she may have been commenting on the weather. 

“Dinky Duddydums, don’t cry, Mummy won’t let him spoil your special day!” she cried, flinging her arms around him.

"Dinky Duddydums?" Ron asked. Harry smirked a smirk worthy of Malfoy, who seemed to have had the same thought, and scowled. 

“I… don’t… want… him… t-t-to come!” Dudley yelled between huge, pretend sobs. “He always sp-spoils everything!” He shot Harry a nasty grin through the gap in his mothers arms.

Just then, the doorbell rang—“Oh, good Lord, they’re here!” said Aunt Petunia frantically—and a moment later, Dudley’s best friend, Piers Polkiss, walked in with his mother. Piers was a scrawny boy with a face like a rat. He was usually the one who held people’s arms behind their backs while Dudley hit them. Dudley stopped pretending to cry at once.

Half an hour later, Harry, who couldn’t believe his luck, was sitting in the back of the Dursleys’ car with Piers and Dudley, on the way to the zoo for the first time in his life. His aunt and uncle hadn’t been able to think of anything else to do with him, but before they’d left, Uncle Vernon had taken Harry aside.

“I’m warning you,” he had said, putting his large purple face right up close to Harry’s, “I’m warning you now, boy—any funny business, anything at all—and you’ll be in that cupboard from now until Christmas.”

"Stupid, stupid, stupid..." Sirius was muttering. 

I’m not going to do anything,” said Harry, “honestly…”

But Uncle Vernon didn’t believe him. No one ever did.

The problem was, strange things often happened around Harry and it was just no good telling the Dursleys he didn’t make them happen.

"That would be accidental magic, Harry." Sirius said.

"For pete's sake, Sirius, just listen!" Charlie said. Sirius stuck his tongue out at him. 

Once, Aunt Petunia, tired of Harry coming back from the barbers looking as though he hadn’t been at all, had taken a pair of kitchen scissors and cut his hair so short he was almost bald except for his bangs, which she left “to hide that horrible scar.” Dudley had laughed himself silly at Harry, who spent a sleepless night imagining school the next day, where he was already laughed at for his baggy clothes and taped glasses. Next morning, however, he had gotten up to find his hair exactly as it had been before Aunt Petunia had sheared it off. He had been given a week in his cupboard for this, even though he had tried to explain that he couldn’t explain how it had grown back so quickly.

"Why would the punish you for that?" Hermione asked incredulously. "It's completely ridiculous!" 

"Because they hate anything to do with magic, and they knew that it was my accidental magic." Harry said. "They thought they'd be able to stamp it out of me if they kept me as miserable as possible."

The adults in the room stared. 

"How do you know that?" Moody grunted. 

"You'll see." 

Another time, Aunt Petunia had been trying to force him into a revolting old sweater of Dudley’s (brown with orange puff balls). The harder she tried to pull it over his head, the smaller it seemed to become, until finally it might have fitted a hand puppet, but certainly wouldn’t fit Harry. Aunt Petunia had decided it must have shrunk in the wash and, to his great relief, Harry wasn’t punished.

On the other hand, he’d gotten into terrible trouble for being found on the roof of the school kitchens. Dudley’s gang had been chasing him as usual when, as much to Harry’s surprise as anyone else’s, there he was sitting on the chimney. The Dursleys had received a very angry letter from Harry’s headmistress telling them Harry had been climbing school buildings. But all he’d tried to do (as he shouted at Uncle Vernon through the locked door of his cupboard) was jump behind the big trash cans outside the kitchen doors. Harry supposed that the wind must have caught him in mid-jump.

Dead silence.

"You apparated, Harry." Remus finally said. "You are an extremely powerful wizard."

"If he's such an extremely powerful wizard, why does he suck at school as much as I do?" Ron asked.

"Because he's holding back." Snape muttered. Everyone looked at him.

"Do explain what you mean, Severus." Dumbledore invited. Snape glared at him.

"Miss Granger gets teased and picked on for being smart." he finally continued. "And while he does stick up for his friend, he holds back so as to not get the same treatment. That combined with how the Dursleys treated him and how the rest of the Wizarding World treats him makes him believe he needs to hold back." 

Everyone looked at Harry, who was suddenly very interested in his fingernails.

"Mr. Potter?" Minerva asked. 

"Yes?" Harry responded.

"Is that the reason?" Remus prompted.

"Maybe..." Harry gave himself away. 

Everyone kept staring at him.

"Go on, Hermione." he said. 

She complied, but obviously reluctantly. 

But today, nothing was going to go wrong.

"You just jinxed it, Harry." Ron said. 

It was even worth being with Dudley and Piers to be spending the day somewhere that wasn’t school, his cupboard, or Mrs. Figg’s cabbage-smelling living room.

While he drove, Uncle Vernon complained to Aunt Petunia. He liked to complain about things: people at work, Harry, the council, Harry, the bank, and Harry were just a few of his favorite subjects. This morning, it was motorcycles.

"So he likes to complain about you a lot." Sirius's attempt at humor fell flat. 

“…roaring along like maniacs, the young hoodlums,” he said, as a motorcycle overtook them.

“I had a dream about a motorcycle,” said Harry, remembering suddenly. “It was flying.”

Uncle Vernon nearly crashed into the car in front. He turned right around in his seat and yelled at Harry, his face like a gigantic beet with a mustache: “MOTORCYCLES DON’T FLY!”

Dudley and Piers sniggered.

“I know they don’t,” said Harry. “It was only a dream.”

But he wished he hadn’t said anything. If there was one thing the Dursleys hated even more than his asking questions, it was his talking about anything acting in a way it shouldn’t, no matter if it was in a dream or even a cartoon—they seemed to think he might get dangerous ideas.

Sirius snarled. 

It was a very sunny Saturday and the zoo was crowded with families. The Dursleys bought Dudley and Piers large chocolate ice creams at the entrance and then, because the smiling lady in the van had asked Harry what he wanted before they could hurry him away, they bought him a cheap lemon ice pop. It wasn’t bad, either, Harry thought, licking it as they watched a gorilla scratching its head who looked remarkably like Dudley, except that it wasn’t blond. 

"That was my first-ever ice cream." Harry suddenly remembered. "It was actually pretty good." 

Harry had the best morning he’d had in a long time. He was careful to walk a little way apart from the Dursleys so that Dudley and Piers, who were starting to get bored with the animals by lunchtime, wouldn’t fall back on their favorite hobby of hitting him.

"Favorite hobby." Sirius muttered, shaking his head. 

They ate in the zoo restaurant, and when Dudley had a tantrum because his knickerbocker glory didn’t have enough ice cream on top, Uncle Vernon bought him another one and Harry was allowed to finish the first.

"Well, that's nice." Fred said sarcastically. 

Harry felt, afterward, that he should have known it was all too good to last.

After lunch they went to the reptile house. It was cool and dark in there, with lit windows all along the walls. Behind the glass, all sorts of lizards and snakes were crawling and slithering over bits of wood and stone. Dudley and Piers wanted to see huge, poisonous cobras and thick, man-crushing pythons. Dudley quickly found the largest snake in the place. It could have wrapped its body twice around Uncle Vernon’s car and crushed it into a trash can—but at the moment it didn’t look in the mood. In fact, it was fast asleep.

Dudley stood with his nose pressed against the glass, staring at the glistening brown coils.

“Make it move,” he whined at his father. Uncle Vernon tapped on the glass, but the snake didn’t budge.

“Do it again,” Dudley ordered.

"Why does this boy get to give the orders? Minerva asked sharply. "Completely unreasonable." 

"Have you met the Dursley's?" Harry asked. 

Hermione continued. 

Uncle Vernon rapped the glass smartly with his knuckles, but the snake just snoozed on.

“This is boring,” Dudley moaned. He shuffled away.

Harry moved in front of the tank and looked intently at the snake. He wouldn’t have been surprised if it had died of boredom itself—no company except stupid people drumming their fingers on the glass trying to disturb it all day long. It was worse than having a cupboard as a bedroom, where the only visitor was Aunt Petunia hammering on the door to wake you up; at least he got to visit the rest of the house.

"Wow, Harry, optimism!" Sirius exclaimed sarcastically. 

The snake suddenly opened its beady eyes. Slowly, very slowly, it raised its head until its eyes were on a level with Harry’s.

It winked.

"Uh-oh." said Ron. "Something's gonna happen."

"Remember what I told you last year during the Dueling Club?" Harry asked. "After the whole... incident with Justin?"

"Yeah, you told us... Oh..." Ron suddenly looked excited. "Finally! I've been wanting to hear this!" 

The snake jerked its head toward Uncle Vernon and Dudley, then raised its eyes to the ceiling. It gave Harry a look that said quite plainly:

“I get that all the time.”

“I know,” Harry murmured through the glass, though he wasn’t sure the snake could hear him. “It must be really annoying.”

The snake nodded vigorously.

"You're a Parselmouth, Harry?" Sirius asked. 

"Just hold on." Harry insisted.

“Where do you come from, anyway?” Harry asked.

The snake jabbed its tail at a little sign next to the glass. Harry peered at it.

Boa Constrictor, Brazil.

“Was it nice there?”

The boa constrictor jabbed its tail at the sign again and Harry read on: This specimen was bred in the zoo. “Oh, I see—so you’ve never been to Brazil?”

As the snake shook its head, a deafening shout behind Harry made both of them jump. “DUDLEY! MR. DURSLEY! COME AND LOOK AT THIS SNAKE! YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT IT’S DOING!”

"That boy ruined everything." Harry sighed, remembering. 

Dudley came waddling toward them as fast as he could.

“Out of the way, you,” he said, punching Harry in the ribs. Caught by surprise, Harry fell hard on the concrete floor. What came next happened so fast no one saw how it happened—one second, Piers and Dudley were leaning right up close to the glass, the next, they had leapt back with howls of horror.

"Yes!" Ron punched the air. "Hurry up, Hermione, I want to hear what happens!"

"Well, if you want to hear what happens, why don't you stop interrupting me?" Hermione asked, her voice rather bossy.

Ron had no comeback to that, so Hermione continued. 

Harry sat up and gasped; the glass front of the boa constrictor’s tank had vanished. The great snake was uncoiling itself rapidly, slithering out onto the floor. People throughout the reptile house screamed and started running for the exits.

As the snake slid swiftly past him, Harry could have sworn a low, hissing voice said, “Brazil, here I come… Thanksss, amigo.”

"You are a Parselmouth." Sirius said in awe. "That's incredibly rare."

"Yeah, well..." Harry replied, trailing off. 

The keeper of the reptile house was in shock.

“But the glass,” he kept saying, “where did the glass go?”

The zoo director himself made Aunt Petunia a cup of strong, sweet tea while he apologized over and over again. Piers and Dudley could only gibber. As far as Harry had seen, the snake hadn’t done anything except snap playfully at their heels as it passed, but by the time they were all back in Uncle Vernon’s car, Dudley was telling them how it had nearly bitten off his leg, while Piers was swearing it had tried to squeeze him to death.

"Drama queens." Tonks muttered, while Sirius growled,

"Liars." 

But worst of all, for Harry at least, was Piers calming down enough to say, “Harry was talking to it, weren’t you, Harry?”

Uncle Vernon waited until Piers was safely out of the house before starting on Harry. He was so angry he could hardly speak. He managed to say, “Go—cupboard—stay—no meals,” before he collapsed into a chair, and Aunt Petunia had to run and get him a large brandy. 

"Wait..." Sirius said slowly. "When they lock you in that cupboard, they don't give you meals?" 

"Well, no..." Harry said slowly. "I mean, they won't let me out to get it myself, and they're not going to waste time and bring it to me, are they? But believe me, being so used to not having much food comes in handy next book."

Sirius looked apprehensive. 

Harry lay in his dark cupboard much later, wishing he had a watch. He didn’t know what time it was and he couldn’t be sure the Dursleys were asleep yet. Until they were, he couldn’t risk sneaking to the kitchen for some food.

Snape was watching Harry, wondering how he could have thought that this boy was so like his father. Seeing now, how embarrassed he got whenever given a compliment, or when they found something out about him, he was nothing like his father. And now, well, Snape was finding it hard to hate the boy.

He’d lived with the Dursleys almost ten years, ten miserable years, as long as he could remember, ever since he’d been a baby and his parents had died in that car crash. He couldn’t remember being in the car when his parents had died. Sometimes, when he strained his memory during long hours in his cupboard, he came up with a strange vision: a blinding flash of green light and a burning pain on his forehead.

"You could remember that?" Malfoy spoke up for the first time, surprising them all. 

"Oh, well, i guess." Harry said, treading lightly around Malfoy. "I remembered a bit more later, and you'll find out what the deal with the dementors was..." 

Malfoy looked a bit nervous when he realized that everything that had happened, the real version, not his glossed over version, would be in this book. 

This, he supposed, was the crash, though he couldn’t imagine where all the green light came from. He couldn’t remember his parents at all. His aunt and uncle never spoke about them, and of course he was forbidden to ask questions. There were no photographs of them in the house.

When he had been younger, Harry had dreamed and dreamed of some unknown relation coming to take him away, but it had never happened; the Dursleys were his only family.

"Moony!" Sirius suddenly said. Everyone looked up, surprised.

"What?" Remus asked.

"Why didn't you go get him?" Sirius demanded. "James would've wanting him with us, and since Peter and I were... unavailable, you should've gotten him. Why didn't you?" 

"Because I did not feel like I could." Remus said slowly. "I felt terrible. I felt like I had allowed his friends to betray him and be killed, and that his son should not be trusted to my care."

Silence. Hermione quickly kept reading again. 

Yet sometimes he thought (or maybe hoped) that strangers in the street seemed to know him. Very strange strangers they were, too. A tiny man in a violet top hat had bowed to him once while out shopping with Aunt Petunia and Dudley.

"Diggle." Minerva said. 

After asking Harry furiously if he knew the man, Aunt Petunia had rushed them out of the shop without buying anything. A wild-looking old woman dressed all in green had waved merrily at him once on a bus. A bald man in a very long purple coat had actually shaken his hand in the street the other day and then walked away without a word. The weirdest thing about all these people was the way they seemed to vanish the second Harry tried to get a closer look.

At school, Harry had no one. Everybody knew that Dudley’s gang hated that odd Harry Potter in his baggy old clothes and broken glasses, and nobody liked to disagree with Dudley’s gang.

"Okay, now who?" Hermione asked.

Sirius took the book. 

 

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